blog tour · book review · crime · police procedural · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Santa Killer

The Santa Killer

The Santa Killer is coming to town…

One night less than two weeks before Christmas, a single mother is violently assaulted. It’s a brutal crime at the time of year when there should be goodwill to all. When DI Barton begins his investigation, he’s surprised to find the victim is a woman with nothing to hide and no reason for anyone to hurt her.

A few days later, the mother of the woman attacked rings the police station. Her granddaughter has drawn a shocking picture. It seems she was looking out of the window when her mother was attacked. And when her grandmother asks the young girl who the person with the weapon is, she whispers two words.

Bad Santa.

The rumours start spreading, and none of the city’s women feel safe – which one of them will be next?

He’s got a list. It’s quite precise. It won’t matter even if you’re nice.

https://amzn.to/3n7JMG5

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3n7JMG5

Author Bio

Ross Greenwood is the author of crime thrillers.

Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years.

He lives in Peterborough.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RossGreenwoodAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rossg555/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/RossGreenwoodnews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ross-greenwood

My Review

I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series but didn’t find it an issue at all, which considering this is book six goes to show how well the author presents his characters and their backstory.
A series of attacks on women points to a workplace issue, but the attacker is dressed as Santa which ties in with another investigation into threatening letters from Santa too. The letters suggest Santa has a list, but the attacks on these women skew the investigation.
DI Barton and his team have their hands full as the two Santa threads overlap, and just when they think they have the culprit there’s another twist to the tale.
Barton is a great character, and his home life features in this story as much as his working life. The blend is well done and highlights the stresses of his role and its impact on his family life.
For me, the story sagged in the middle with one of the threads, but it gathered pace for an ending that was well worth waiting for. 

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As always,

Amazon Reviewer Name
crime · murder mystery · police procedural · R&R Book Tour stop · Spotlight

Blog Tour – A Spotlight on: Grounders

Grounder copy

Welcome to the tour for Grounders by Leonard Love Matlick.

Read on for more details!

lf

Grounders: Publication Date: April 30th, 2022

Genre: Police Procedural/ Crime Fiction

Grounders is cop slang for easy, open and solved cases. A husband kills his wife, a bar-fight with a knife or a gun, cases quickly solved in two or three days. Cops love this, and get credit for promotion for easily solving cases. In Grounders, the NYPD cops find that this murder of a cook is much more than a simple grounder. It involves the Chinese Tong gangs in NYC, Peruvian rebels who want to overthrow their government by using “magic rocks” that were left from an alien civilization like Stargate in Machu-Picchu, and a love story between a detective and a Tong leader’s granddaughter.

Grounders combines everything; murder, love, greed, drugs, and rebels amid the backdrop of detectives trying to solve a murder mystery.

Get your copy from Barnes & Noble or on Amazon!

About the Author

IG Graphic

Leonard Love Matlick is an engineer, writer, and life coach. He works designing and maintaining NYPD police precincts. He has previously published Cops lie! and The success and confidence manual.

Book Tour Schedule

July 25th R&R Book Tour (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com @itsabookthing2021 (Spotlight) http://www.instagram.com/itsabookthing2021

July 26th Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/ Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com @bookswithstacie (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/bookswithstacie/

July 27th @elinasbookstagram (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/elinasbookstagram/ Latisha’s Low-Key Life (Spotlight) https://latishaslowkeylife.com/ Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

July 28th @readwithemstar (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/readwithemstar/ Freelance Writer, Janny C (Spotlight) https://freelancewriterjannyc.com/ @gryffindorbookishnerd (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

July 29th Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/ Haddie’s Haven (Spotlight) https://haddieshaven.blogspot.com Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com @mels_booksandhooks (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/mels_booksandhooks/

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

book review · crime · police procedural

Book Review – 20/20

Can you see a killer before it’s too late?

On the first day of her new job, D.I. Eva Harris is called to the scene of a brutal murder at the heart of Surrey society. A shocking crime by a meticulous killer – who escaped with the victim’s eyes.

With the body drained of blood and no forensic evidence left at the scene, Harris’ efforts to find the killer becomes desperate. But as her investigation is complicated by corruption at the heart of the police, she doesn’t know who to trust on her own team.

As the pressure mounts, Eva realises the murder is even more horrific than it seems, and her own dreadful history threatens to be drawn out with it…

A dark and compulsive detective novel, for fans of Chris Carter and M.W Craven.

My thoughts

I expected to love this book, and at first I did enjoy it … but then the excessive technical terms distracted me from the story. I realise some background to the eye condition was necessary but it was too much for me and it affected the pacing – and my interest – considerably, becoming more textbook-like than fiction.

Eva is a strong and determined character who has few qualms in doing whatever is necessary to achieve a goal, and she seems to have a wide knowledge of almost anything, from art to film to string theory. She’s also incredibly “busy” – in this book alone there are many mysteries and crimes to be solved – two serial killers and several “mob” gangs that ultimately amount to at least four cases to crack. She is constantly under pressure and the tension is paramount, the pacing does increase substantially and the final scene is good but maybe not what I expected or felt was worthy of Eva’s story.

Fans of gritty and disturbing murder mysteries will enjoy this.

As always,

blog tour · book review · crime · police procedural · serial killer · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Retribution

Retribution

An ex-soldier is mown down in a brutal hit and run. Was it an accident, or an act of murder?

DCI Jane Birchfield isn’t sure. She is struggling to stay focussed after a surprise marriage proposal, and is still waiting for news about a promotion. But she has to push it all to one side as the investigation swiftly escalates into the biggest challenge she has ever faced, bringing her into conflict with her superiors, her partner, and the British Army. She’s tested to the absolute limit, and for the very first time, finds herself asking whether it’s worth the sacrifice. Can she survive the pressure as the harsh reality of military conflict hits the streets of Ashbridge?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retribution-Heaton-Wilson-ebook/dp/B098B9J9JN/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Retribution-Heaton-Wilson-ebook/dp/B098B9J9JN/

Author Bio

I have been a newspaper journalist, a postman, a public relations officer, a consultant, an actor, a director, a playwright. And I have always kept writing.

I always felt I could write a novel. And I did! The first book in my crime fiction series featuring DCI Jane Birchfield, Every Reason, came out in 2016. Whatever It Takes was published in 2021; and the third book (which follows on where Whatever It Takes ends) is nearing completion.

I’m from Manchester but now live on the Isle of Wight, where the sea is never far away. It’s the perfect place to be creative, and to walk the dogs.

Social Media Links

Twitter @kkevvin

Facebook http://facebook.com/heatonwilson

My Review

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I’ve already added the previous two in the series to my reading list.

The author wastes no time in kicking the story off with a bang as the first of several fatal hit-and-runs take place. The deceased is a decorated former soldier on his way home from a Friday night out at the pub. Was it an accident? That’s certainly how it’s viewed initially, until a second incident occurs involving another former soldier and one who served with the first victim. Members of DCI Jane Birchfield’s team are no longer convinced these are accidents.

The investigation gets going proper only after Jane can convince her new boss that it’s worth looking into. The two of them have history, and Jane feels she’s been sidelined for promotion when he is appointed in a role in which she had been acting chief for several months. Nonetheless, he’s happy for her to pursue her enquiries (only because he really has no clue how to run the investigation!) Fortunately, Jane can rely on her own small team who set to work.

Running alongside the plot are several personal stories that flesh out the characters and affect their approach to the job. Jane is super ambitious, feeling a little dejected right now, but determined to scale to greater heights. At home, her partner is considering selling his newspaper business so the two of them can spend more time together. An out-of-the-blue proposal muddies the waters further and put increased pressure on their relationship as they seem to diverge further apart with each passing day. Jane’s wine-gum loving DI is considering retirement, and Jane worries about losing him from the team and her life.

The killer is known by the reader early on, and some chapters are told from his POV. It’s interesting to see the detectives put the pieces together as they get closer to catching the murderer before another death occurs.

This was an excellent police procedural from start to finish, a perfect character-driven, exciting crime thriller. I’m looking forward to reading more about DCI Birchfield and her team.

For more news and reviews

As always,

crime · police procedural · series

Book Review – Broken Girls

Brambles catch her dress, scratch her legs, pierce her feet. To escape, she’d had no option but to go barefoot. They’d been laughing together a few minutes before, but things can change in the blink of an eye…

The woman is dark-haired and young, judging by the short red dress. Any other signs of her identity have been erased during her long wait to be found, but it’s clear she was strangled: this was a passionate and personal murder.

D.I. Bernadette Noel knows that every second counts if she is to catch this killer, but she has no leads – until the discovery that the dead woman’s rings match a stolen property report, and the rings’ owner mentions Rosa, her missing nanny.

Just when Bernie and her team think they’re getting somewhere, a shocking discovery about Rosa – and the news that another young girl has been abducted – changes everything the team thought they knew about the case.

Laura is only twelve, and her parents are beside themselves with worry – but Bernie has an additional fear. Laura’s home is right next to the woods where their murder victim was found: are the cases connected?

When Bernie notices similarities between descriptions of the man last seen with Rosa and someone Laura was messaging online, these fears grow stronger. But they still have no clear leads as to the identity of the culprit.

With few options left, and time running out, she makes a desperate plan to trap the predator. But any mistakes will mean another innocent life lost…

A gripping crime thriller with a nail-biting climax. If you like Angela Marsons, Val McDermid or Cara Hunter, you’ll love Joy Kluver.

Readers can’t get enough of Joy Kluver:

Wow!! Just wow!!… This book is brilliant! More than brilliant, amazing!!!… Absolutely gripping, addictive and captivating… I was absolutely hooked from the first page to the last. I had a complete shock at the twists… Love, love, loved all the characters!!!… I would love to see this made into a movie.’ Bookworm86 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I read it in a few greedy gulps…It gets a very easy five stars from me… gave me goosebumps as I was reading it… If you haven’t yet started this series, then you really need toTop stuff!’ Hooked From Page One ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

More red herrings than an Agatha Christie will have you burning the midnight oil… When the killer was identified my jaw hit the floor. I couldn’t have been more shocked if the perpetrator had been Bernie herself.’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

That ending! Talk about a twist you won’t see coming!… This is such an addictive series… I don’t know how I’m going to make it until the next one comes out!’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Impossible to put down. I downloaded it this Monday morning, and by evening, I had finished. The rollercoaster was intense, the twists and turns unexpected, and the element of surprise insane… gripping read.’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Twisted, intense and heartbreaking… Once you start this book you just can’t put it down! Out of all the books that I have read this year none of them shocked me as much. There was one twist that I literally was yelling and screaming at the character!!!’ Heidi Lynn’s Book Reviews ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘I am blown away by this book, the twists and turns are mind-boggling!… BRILLIANT… If I could I would give it more than 5 stars.’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Brilliant… had me eagerly turning the pages as I not only wanted to know more about the crime but also about the investigating team… I adored this… A story that takes a dark turn, has several surprises and kept me on my toes.’ Vonnibee ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase link

My Review

The author’s first book, Last Seen, left me with great expectations for book 2, and boy did she exceed them. I read this in two sessions, not wanting to put it down. Doesn’t happen often!

Broken Girls is one of those police procedurals in which you get a in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the investigation team, and Bernie Noel’s team is one you can have absolute faith that they’ll solve the crime in spite of all the obstacles thrown at them. They have tenacity as well as personality.

Broken Girls begins with the gruesome finding of a young woman’s body, her face unidentifiable and extracting DNA impossible. Even when they finally get a whiff of her identify, things go all kinds of crazy leaving them virtually back at square one. But Bernie is nothing if not determined; she will get justice for the victim. Once again she is aided again by her fabulous team, including the very welcome return of DS Doug Anderson and they turn over ever stone despite the intrusion of her boss DCI Worth, aptly nicknamed Worthless – a selfish, petty man who feigns interest if only to protect himself and his forthcoming retirement.

Out of work, Bernie’s private life has its ups and downs and the atmosphere between her and Doug Anderson brings its own extra zing to their working relationship. The book’s ending – once the case is closed – is sure to stir things up deliciously for book 3.

Joy Kluver is an author I’ll be following from now on, and if you enjoy excellent crime dramas, then be sure to get this series.

As always,


blog blitz · crime · police procedural · thriller

Mini Blog Blitz ‘n’ Guest Post – Coldharbour

Coldharbour

The Met Police’s Major Investigation Team East has its hands full: a rash of tit for tat gang related stabbings, a strangled housewife, the decomposed remains of a woman found in a ditch and more to come. Adding to their woes is their boss, Chief Inspector Matthew Merry, being distracted by his problems at home.

For Matthew’s wife, Kathy, her only concern is dealing with the aftermath of being drugged and raped by a co-worker. Will the trial of the man responsible be enough to give her the justice she demands. Or, as her therapist states, is it revenge she really desires. She doesn’t know. As her emotions see-saw from elation to depression, her only certainty is that her husband seems more concerned about his work than her.

And Matthew is only too aware of his failings both at home and work. But the police machine grinds on, seeking information and sifting evidence — justice is not their concern.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coldharbour-John-Mead-ebook/dp/B08NF7VK8N

US – https://www.amazon.com/Coldharbour-John-Mead-ebook/dp/B08NF7VK8N

Author bio

John Mead

John was born in the mid-fifties in Dagenham, London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub, he writes.

John is currently working on a seies of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city

Amazon author profile: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07B8SQ2ZH

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17891273.John_Mead

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnMeadAuthor

Guest Post

Why do I write?

I can honestly say it isn’t for the money, nor the accolades, not even the celebrity lifestyle. If it were I’d be greatly unhappy because I have achieved none of the above. So, is it about the creative process? Weeelll… perhaps, if you consider the creative process to be about the technicalities of writing. In the same way you would expect a painter to be interested in brushes, paint and canvases, so I have an interest in things like grammar and punctuation. No, I couldn’t care less where you stick a comma but I do care about where I place it, usually after considerable thought.

The simple fact is I write because I enjoy it, I always have. As I learned to read as a child, so I learned to write, the two things seemed linked and I naturally fell into the habit of writing out the stories that formed in my head. Things were easy, at first, but as I became older I began to realise that I had a problem. Whatever I wrote, whether it was an essay or a short story, those who read it seemed to have problems understanding it. Perhaps it was a lack of understanding about the process, the technical side of writing – grammar, punctuation and spelling – or could it be dyslexia? I don’t honestly know because dyslexia did not exist when I was young, you were just “thick”.

I could memorise long lists of spellings and, therefore, do well in tests. I would quickly pick up on how each teacher used grammar and punctuation, and given that no two teachers seemed to follow the same rules, I could happily get an “A” without any real understanding about how those rules worked. In fact I spent the first half of my life being thought of as a “good writer” by keeping things simple and applying a few cheats that I had learned to cover up any deficiency. Which was fine for professional reports, and as I had a busy career I didn’t have time to write stories, so that aspect went by the wayside.

Of course there was the odd mishap, such as the embarrassing occasion when I had put something out using the word “roll” instead of “role”. People, jokingly pointed out the typo, I laughed and went along with it, and eventually got “roll” changed to “role”. The problem was I couldn’t, at the time, actually see the difference. I knew the different meanings and how to use them, I just couldn’t see the actual difference between R O L L and R O L E. Try telling someone who is colour blind that the light is red, not green. And, just don’t start me on words like affect and effect. Have you seen the definitions in some dictionaries?

Deciding that avoidance was not an answer to the problem is what got me back to writing stories again. I wanted to be able to write what I saw in my mind, to paint a written picture that others could also see and, hopefully, enjoy. As spellcheckers developed that helped, though auto-correct is a pain, but learning to proofread has made the most difference. Reading and re-reading is a must. Reading a book in reverse, from the end to the start, or reading chapters in a random order, tends to take the focus off of characters and plot lines and puts it onto meanings and the language used. And, of course, an absolute must for all authors is to have a good copy editor — they are your second pair of eyes and best friend rolled into one.

John Mead

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blog tour · book review · crime · police procedural · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Preacher Boy

First in the Dr Harrison Lane series

Preacher Boy

IT’S TIME FOR A NEW CRIME MYSTERY HERO

Dr Harrison Lane is everything you wouldn’t expect from a man with a psychology doctorate. For victims, he’s everything they need.

They look, but they don’t see…

As Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Ritualistic Behavioural Crimes Unit, Dr Harrison Lane knows his Voodoo from his Aum Shinrikyo and a Satanist from a Shaman.

Harrison had an unusual childhood, raised by a bohemian mother and one of the native American Shadow Wolves – the elite tracking squad that works with US Drug enforcers. After his mother’s murder, he dedicated his life to tracking down those who hide behind spiritualism and religion to do evil.

Following the discovery of a missing boy’s body in what looks like a Satanic killing, Harrison is called in to help detectives. When a second boy is snatched, it becomes a race against time to save him, and sees Harrison come face-to-face with some dark secrets from his own childhood.

Preacher Boy is the first book in a gripping new crime mystery series from Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, Gwyn GB. Perfect for fans of LJ Ross, JD Kirk, J.R. Ellis, J M Dalgliesh, Rachel Abbott, Joy Ellis and David Blake.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Preacher-Boy-Harrison-mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B08YYS3Q7L

US – https://www.amazon.com/Preacher-Boy-Harrison-mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B08YYS3Q7L

Author Bio

Gwyn is an Amazon Top 20 bestselling author. She’s a former UK national TV newscaster and presenter, and journalist for national newspapers and magazines. Gwyn became a journalist because all she wanted to do was write and has finally realised her dream of being a full-time fiction author. Born in the UK, Gwyn now lives in the Channel Islands with her family, including a rescue dog and 17-year-old goldfish.

Gwyn launched her debut novel, Islands as Gwyn Garfield-Bennett in 2016, the romantic suspense book rose quickly into the Amazon top 20. Her first crime mystery series, featuring DI Falle, launched with Lonely Hearts in 2017.

You can find out more about Gwyn at www.gwyngb.com

Or on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GwynGBwriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GwynGB

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gwyngb/

My Review

Dr Harrison Lane is about to become one of my new favourite crime-solving heroes. As an avid viewer of Criminal Minds and the Behavior Analysis Unit of the FBI, it was a no-brainer that I wanted to read this book. And while the BAU team includes many a fabulous character, there’s no-one quite like Dr Lane. He is an enigma to his colleagues with his unusual skills (as learnt whilst growing up among the Shadow Wolves, a group of Native American trackers who work to prevent smuggling along the Mexico-USA border in Arizona.) Not to mention, he has a mystery of his own to solve (that of his mother’s killer). Combined, he stands out as different. But if your loved one has been the victim of a murder, then he’s the one you’d want to hunt down the murderer.

The story features a number of great characters, many with their own personal issues that affect how they handle their job. The plot is clever and interesting as it evolves from a single murder to a serial killer case, requiring the police team to trust Lane’s judgement regardless of whether they understand or even agree with it.

I found the writing to be unusual, varying from most books I read these days in that it was more omniscient in style than viewpoint-driven, often in more than one character’s head in a scene. When even a nameless woman “with pulled back hair” got to have “thoughts” about the situation unravelling at the police station, it threw me out a little. But despite being that little bit different in storytelling style, the strength of the story and the cast of characters more than kept me engaged. I’ll be checking out the next book in the series for sure.

Preacher Boy is an intriguing mystery, not least for its leading man, but also as a result of the dynamics between the characters which drive the story forward at a good pace, while still thrilling the reader with its originality.

Highly recommended.

For more news and reviews

Blog Tour Participants

As always,

Amazon Reviewer Name
Reviews on Amazon UK as MeandtheMutts
blog tour · book review · crime · police procedural · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – A Knot of Sparrows

A Knot Of Sparrows

Welsh detective Winter Meadows takes on a new murder case

There were a lot of things you could call Stacey Evans. And many of them would be true. And unprintable. But did she deserve to be murdered?

DI Winter Meadows has no doubt of the answer when he takes on the case. The crime was violent. The victim helpless. But the motives are many, and the only clue is a strange word left on Stacey’s body.

DI Meadows struggles to pierce the secrecy surrounding the teenager’s busy love life. Was the killer one of her pursuers acting out of jealousy? Maybe someone’s wife seeking revenge?

But as each suspect is excluded from the enquiry, and other markings turn up, Meadows is convinced that something more sinister is afoot.

When another body is found, a veil of silence descends like a fog upon Gaer Fawr. What more will it take for the village to give up its secrets?

A KNOT OF SPARROWS is the fourth standalone title in a series of murder mysteries by best-selling author Cheryl Rees-Price. It will appeal to fans of David Pearson, L J Ross, John Dean, Joy Ellis, and Pippa McCathie.

The full list of books is as follows:

1. THE SILENT QUARRY

2. FROZEN MINDS

3. SUFFER THE CHILDREN

4. A KNOT OF SPARROWS

Cheryl Rees-Price is also the author of the standalone thriller BLUE HOLLOW.

All of these books are FREE with Kindle Unlimited and available in paperback from Amazon.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08XQS6219/

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XQS6219/

Author Bio

Cheryl Rees-Price was born in Cardiff and moved as a young child to a small ex-mining village on the edge of the Black Mountain range, South Wales, where she still lives with her husband, daughters and cats. After leaving school she worked as a legal clerk for several years before leaving to raise her two daughters.
Cheryl returned to education, studying philosophy, sociology, and accountancy whilst working as a part time book keeper. She now works as a finance director for a company that delivers project management and accounting services.
In her spare time Cheryl indulges in her passion for writing, the success of writing plays for local performances gave her the confidence to write her first novel. Her other hobbies include walking and gardening which free her mind to develop plots and create colourful characters.

Social Media Links

The Book Folks | Facebook

Cheryl Rees-Price | Facebook

https://twitter.com/CherylreesPrice

My Review

After finishing this I was kicking myself for coming late to the party with this author but, on the plus side, there are three more books for me still to discover!

Teenager Stacey Evans is found murdered, having recently split with her boyfriend amid rumours of her involvement with other men in the village. It comes to light that she bullied a girl at school who later went on to kill herself. For DI Meadows, the case suggests there are many with a motive to kill her. Was it really a random killing as many seem to say or is something more sinister afoot. The killer’s calling card in the form of REV17 written on her body infers it’s not as straightforward as some might think. And when more incidents occur with similar messages left behind, the connection points to biblical references.

Whenever Meadows and his team sense a breakthrough, the suspects seem to have firm alibis as the community bandies around to vouch for each other. Things do not add up, but Meadows is not one for giving up easily. I enjoyed how his team worked together, he and Edris have a great rapport (on a side note, I’d go to their Halloween party 😉 for sure) and a dogged determination to solve the case(s)

The villagers, on the other hand, possess a loyalty that unites them in grief, no matter how misplaced said loyalty is, and the lengths to which they would go to keep a secret says a lot for their sense of community and justice … or should I say revenge?

An original ending too, that goes to show that not every story ends as you might expect it to.

For more news and reviews,

As always,

Amazon Reviewer Name
Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts
blog tour · book review · crime · police procedural · series · social media

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Hashtag Killer

The Hashtag Killer

Catch a killer or save a child. What would you do?

DI Jen Flowers thought she’d seen it all after fifteen years on the force, but when a vigilante serial killer hits the city and uses social media to gather supporters, she must fight the public and her doubts to catch a murderer and save her daughter.

Suffering from blackouts and abandoned as a child by her father, Ruby Vasquez has been chasing that one scoop to make her an internet star. Living with an alcoholic mother who hates her, Ruby discovers a secret about the vigilante’s first victim, which puts her in the killer and DI Flowers’ sights.

Jen and Ruby have to overcome the secrets in their past while battling each other to discover the Hashtag Killer’s identity. Jen will have to choose between keeping her daughter safe or finding a killer, while Ruby will need to decide if becoming famous is more important than doing the right thing.

Purchase Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08SPBY6QZ

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SPBY6QZ

Author Bio

Andrew French is a man of no wealth and little taste.

He lives amongst faded seaside glamour on the North East coast of England.

He likes gin and cats but not together, new music and old movies, curry and ice cream.

Slow bike rides and long walks to the pub are his usual exercise, as well as flicking through the pages of good books and the memoirs of bad people.

Social Media Links – Website, Twitter, Instagram, FB page

My Review

An original and timely police procedural with an abundance of twists along the way. The Hashtag Killer, as you might expect, uses the power of social media to bring the killings to the public’s attention, and wannabe influencer Ruby Vasquez cannot resist keeping the story alive with her blog posts.

From the moment Ruby realised she was first on the scene, she was in “detective” mode on the dark web, finding information that a regular internet user would not see about the victim. Her reporting of that info played a massive role in managing the public’s opinion of the victim, and rather than call out for the killer’s arrest, there was instead a sense of justice having been done in ridding society of a rapist. Suddenly, the killer became a vigilante whose actions were appreciated – definitely not the ideal scenario for the police’s investigation.

The story was told from various points of view – DI Jen Flowers, blogger-journo Ruby and the killer him/herself (no spoilers here!) Such an approach allowed the readers great insight into the lives of Jen and Ruby, and how the story impacted their lives. For me, the killer’s chapters were overwritten and full of excessive details that had me skimming ahead. It soon became clear that the person who “claimed” to be the killer couldn’t possibly be, and that aspect made the killer’s chapters a struggle for me to get through.

Things picked up considerably when looking at the investigation from DI Flower’s perspective, and with Ruby’s efforts to remain relevant in the cut-and-thrust world of social media. The friction between the police and the news reporting made for great tension and kept the story moving at a good pace, adding another layer of drama and anxiety to the police’s need to stay ahead of the game if they were to ever catch the killer.

An interesting and original take on a crime investigation, highlighting the difficult job the police have when public opinion is swayed by the force that is social media.

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Book Review – Last Seen

I can see her, shouting with laughter as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. I can feel her tiny hot hand in mine, and my heart aches. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village seems to care that Molly is missing at all. Why?

And then Bernie makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls, and just when they think they’re making progress a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Can Bernie outwit the most warped criminal she has ever faced and bring Molly home safe, or will another innocent life be lost?

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My Review

I’m always delighted to get in on the first book in a new police procedural series. Last Seen has set the bar very high and I’ll be looking out for Joy Kluver’s next book for sure.

Detective Bernadette (Bernie) Noel is a former Met Police officer and, at first, it’s not clear why she has transferred out of London to a Wiltshire town where the pace of life is decidedly slower. Nonetheless, she soon faces a major investigation when a five-year-old girl, Molly, goes missing from a local park.

Keen to get search parties organised, she is quick to start door-to-door enquiries with locals in the area, only to find them unwilling to get involved in the search. Mystified as to why none of them are interested in a child’s life, she pushes on. When they find a child’s fleece and a pushchair in the bushes with no prints or DNA other than the child’s, it becomes obvious that this was no random abduction.

Whilst this is going on, we learn a little more about Bernie’s past. Having just returned from a family funeral, she seems concerned that her whereabouts as the lead investigator will have revealed her identity. But to whom? On top of that, she fears a hand-delivered note may mean that they have already found her? But who is looking for her and why?

Struggling to move the case forward, Bernie soon finds her position leading the case is at risk. This only fuels her determination to find Molly, with or without the villagers’ help. Aided by a strong team who have the same goals, Bernie is able to double-down and slowly but surely the pieces begin to fit together. But can she find Molly before she is made to step aside?

The investigation soon raises questions about Molly’s family which seems to link her disappearance with another case many years before. As the secrets are revealed, the reason behind the villagers’ reluctance to help becomes known – and it’s a cunning and clever twist, though not one that sits comfortably with Bernie and her team. How can people leave a child’s life in danger as some sort of payback for past events? It is most curious and fascinating.

This story has a compelling mystery at its core but it is the strong cast of characters who carry it through to its conclusion along with family drama, intriguing backstory, and great teamwork and dedication from Bernie’s colleagues.

An excellent start to a new series. I’ll be back for more.

My thanks go to the author, Bookouture and Netgalley for my advanced copy which I have reviewed voluntarily and with pleasure.

As always,