book review · historical fiction · novella · series · WWII

Book Review – Operation Broadsword (Eve’s War: The Heroines of SOE, Book 3)

As Mimi examined her wireless, a figure emerged through the darkness. In his mid-thirties, he possessed broad shoulders and a muscular frame while a proud nose and a neatly trimmed moustache dominated his handsome features.

“The owls are loud tonight,” the man said revealing a voice blessed with a deep baritone.

“You’re allowed to make a loud noise when you’re the wisest of birds,” I replied.

With our code words established, the man stepped forward and shook my hand. His handshake was firm while his pumping action threatened to remove my arm from my shoulder.

“I am Jean-Claude,” he smiled. “Jean-Claude Quiniou. I will escort you to the safe house and introduce you to the Le Roux family.”

“I’m Genevieve,” I said, “and this is Lise.” Of course, I used our aliases, for Eve and Mimi belonged to another life.

My thoughts

As you can tell by my weekly blog posts, I’m loving this series. It’s taking all my strength to not post daily about them, but that’s only because half of the series is, as yet, unpublished. What will I do when I get to the end of the current publications? Well, funny you should say … I have a plan in mind. Stay tuned!

Now, where was I?

Operation Broadsword is the third in the series, and the pace is accelerating. The trio of SOE operatives, Eve, Guy and Mimi, are waiting for the go ahead to see them parachute into France. With their training complete, it’s only a matter of time before they can leave within the window of opportunity granted them by the night’s sky. Eve will not let the minor inconvenience of a fever stop her from going and lands in France to be escorted to the Le Roux farmhouse where she will be staying. Her first few days are spent recuperating, and we get to know the Le Roux family a little. Guy and Mimi take up their positions and become acquainted with the Résistance leaders and Maquis who will work alongside them.
As she is becoming accustomed to life there, Eve still wonders what has become of her husband. Is she a widow for real or is this just a cover?
Another intriguing and engrossing novella in what is proving to be a gripping series.

About the Author

Hannah Howe is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann’s War Mystery Series, The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga, Eve’s War: Heroines of SOE and Saving Grace. Hannah’s books are published by Goylake Publishing and distributed through Gardners Books to over 300 outlets worldwide. Her books are available in print, as eBooks and audiobooks, and are being translated into numerous languages.

Currently, Hannah is writing Stormy Weather, book eighteen in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. She is also researching material for future Sam Smith books along with material for a Victorian novel set in 1888, a novel set in 1948, a novel set in Bulgaria during the Second World War and A Schoolteacher’s War, a story about the French Resistance and the preparations for D-Day. Along with these projects, Hannah is also writing The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga and Eve’s War: Heroines of SOE.

As always,

book review · historical fiction · novella · series · WWII

Book Review – Operation Locksmith (Eve’s War: The Heroines of SOE, Book 2)

“I understand that you wish to return to France,” the man behind the mahogany desk said.

“That’s correct,” I said.

“Your motivation?” he asked, smoothing the corners of his moustache.

“To do my bit for the war effort,” I said, “to defeat the Nazis and to discover what’s happened to my husband.”

“It would be extremely risky,” the officious-looking man said, “suicidal even, for a lone woman to undertake such a venture. However, there is an alternative.”

“Alternative?” I frowned.

“Yes. We’ll parachute you in, as one of our people. Of course, you’d have to undertake training first. Rigorous training. Top secret training. If you fail, I’m afraid it will mean a spell in the cooler, possibly until the war is over.”

“The cooler?”

“But I trust it won’t come to that,” he said, ignoring my question. “When can you start?”

I began immediately. And during my training I met two people who would radically reshape my life – Guy Samson and Mimi Duchamp. I also discovered secrets about myself, abilities beyond my imagination. However, as the training heated up so the situations became all too real, until they reached a point where I had to kill, or be killed.

My thoughts

Having returned to Britain from France, Eve meets Vera Penrose who arranges for her to take a job at the Air Ministry. It’s dull work in comparison to her former life in France, leading airmen to safety across the border into Spain and beyond.
When Eve is offered something more suiting her skills, she can’t wait. But first she has to endure a brutal training camp, from the physical to the psychological. It’s not all plain sailing, Eve is a skilled lockbreaker and a superb shot but struggles with some of the more physical challenges. She’s also very observant and when she suspects foul play, she is not one to sit back and ignore it.
The training programme is extensive, and she builds a great bond with fellow trainees, Mimi and Guy. She’s also cutting back on the cigarettes, which makes the usual feisty Eve way more feisty when tested.
I raced through this book, it’s fast-paced and entertaining and nicely sets the scene for her next adventure.

About the Author

Hannah Howe is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann’s War Mystery Series, The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga, Eve’s War: Heroines of SOE and Saving Grace. Hannah’s books are published by Goylake Publishing and distributed through Gardners Books to over 300 outlets worldwide. Her books are available in print, as eBooks and audiobooks, and are being translated into numerous languages.

Currently, Hannah is writing Stormy Weather, book eighteen in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. She is also researching material for future Sam Smith books along with material for a Victorian novel set in 1888, a novel set in 1948, a novel set in Bulgaria during the Second World War and A Schoolteacher’s War, a story about the French Resistance and the preparations for D-Day. Along with these projects, Hannah is also writing The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga and Eve’s War: Heroines of SOE.

As always,

book review · historical fiction · novella · series · WWII

Book Review – Operation ZigZag (Eve’s War: The Heroines of SOE, Book 1)

Marseille, December 1942

“We’re in a fix,” Vincent said. “The Gestapo have captured a British agent, code name Zigzag. They picked him up through his false identity papers, only the thing is they haven’t discovered his true identity, yet. But they will. And he will talk. They all do in the end. And when he talks he will reveal secrets that will destroy the local resistance networks, including our own. But there’s a way out, through a guard. He’s open to bribes. We’d like you to meet the guard, bribe him, spring Zigzag from the Gestapo prison then escort him over the mountain pass into Spain.”

“Why me?” I asked.

“Because you helped to establish the escape network. And you know the mountain trails like the back of your hand. Furthermore, as the wife of respected industrialist Michel Beringar you are above suspicion.”

I glanced at Michel. From the stern look on his face, I could tell that he wasn’t pleased. Was this one risk too many? And as for me being above suspicion…the Gestapo were following me and they were tapping my phone.

As a child, I’d run away from home. As a teenager, I’d travelled the world, living on my wits. As a journalist, I’d witnessed atrocities inflicted in the name of fascism. As a member of the Resistance, I’d eyeballed fear and stared it down. For the past thirty years I’d lived a full life. I could do this. However, even as I voiced my agreement I knew that my life in Marseille, my life with Michel, would never be the same.

My thoughts

I can’t resist reading stories set in this period in history. It never fails to amaze me how much there is to the topic; you’d think we’d heard it all. But no, as we come to learn, these stories – especially those based on real people and events – tell the lived experiences of those caught up in the war. No two stories are ever the same just as no two people experience the same event in exactly the same way. Eve’s War is a series of twelve novellas, around 20,000 words in length, and each is a complete story. The stories follow Eve from her childhood in Wales right through to her days as an SOE operative, her story arc concluding in the final book. At the very affordable price of 99p, these episodes of Eve’s War quickly become addictive and each one is easily read in one sitting.

As the first in the series, this book – Operation ZigZag – provides the background to Eve’s life, from the Welsh mining town to her marriage to Michel and a privileged life in France. It’s well-paced and hones in on what Eve is all about, and how her desire to beat the fascists drives her on.
There’s a very real sense of danger when she falls into the hands of the Gestapo, but her strength and resilience never waver. By the end, however, she is presented with a very real dilemma and has to trust her own instincts to survive.
I’ve already started book 2 and can see myself motoring through these in no time at all.
Highly recommended for fans of wartime heroines and strong females who “take no prisoners”!

About the Author

Hannah Howe is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann’s War Mystery Series, The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga, Eve’s War: Heroines of SOE and Saving Grace. Hannah’s books are published by Goylake Publishing and distributed through Gardners Books to over 300 outlets worldwide. Her books are available in print, as eBooks and audiobooks, and are being translated into numerous languages.

Currently, Hannah is writing Stormy Weather, book eighteen in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. She is also researching material for future Sam Smith books along with material for a Victorian novel set in 1888, a novel set in 1948, a novel set in Bulgaria during the Second World War and A Schoolteacher’s War, a story about the French Resistance and the preparations for D-Day. Along with these projects, Hannah is also writing The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga and Eve’s War: Heroines of SOE.

As always,

book review · cosy · murder mystery · mystery · series

Book Review – Woodson Falls: 9 Donovan’s Way

Welcome to Book 2 in the Gaby Quinn Mystery Series!

Missing in Woodson Falls

Attorney Gaby Quinn’s phone has been ringing off the hook since her involvement with the infamous Jorgenson case. Yet she finds herself craving the peace of her garden, as she heals from the senseless death of her husband.

As Woodson Falls’ most famous lawyer, it’s only natural that Gaby is asked to handle the estate when renowned author Phillip Mitchell suddenly dies of an apparent heart attack. Everything seems straightforward until some things turn up missing—including Mitchell’s girlfriend.

Now it’s up to Gaby to dig up the truth.

Praise for Book 2 in the Gaby Quinn Mystery Series

  • It seems like a pleasant sleepy town, but beneath the everyday lives of the townspeople, surprising secrets and schemes unfold. What appears at first to be a routine death by heart attack has unforeseen twists and turns.
  • New England small town attorney-turned-sleuth Gaby Quinn, who we initially met in O’Connor’s first Woodson Falls novel, “16 Lakeview Terrace,” is a plucky and likable attorney with a nose for detail—details that grippingly add up to a shocking crime.
  • Gaby Quinn, the main character, has a habit of getting into the middle of things without really trying. The characters come to life and the town and events are real, strange, but real.
  • A cozy mystery for readers who think they don’t like cozy mysteries!
  • This story focuses on the mysterious death of an author and the disappearance of his girlfriend, but there are side issues dealt with as well along the way, all of which add to the rounding out of the town, its residents and its problems. The end of the book gives us a tantalizing glimpse into the focus of the next story.

My Review

Having read and enjoyed book 1, I was more than happy to be return to Woodson Falls. This time, Gaby is busier than ever, her business has really taken off since her success with the infamous Jorgensen case put her firmly on the map.

Now she is asked to represent the estate of a famous author – Phillip Mitchell – who appears to have died of a heart attack. What should be a straightforward job soon rouses suspicion when Mitchell’s pregnant girlfriend cannot be located.

Gaby goes about her business, methodically getting jobs done but the missing girlfriend niggles her, and since said girlfriend is also a beneficiary in the deceased’s will, not finding her leaves a lot of loose ends.

The residents of Woodson Falls help Gaby identify when the girlfriend, Danielle, was last seen, as well as filling her in on others whose visits to the area have recently become more frequent. It begs the question why, and what were they doing there?

As Gaby draws her conclusions, it’s interesting to see other aspects of her workload. The details given by the author bring both the town, its inhabitants and Gaby’s job to life. However, it starts to look as though the missing girlfriend might never be found … and it’s only when out walking with her dog that they come upon Danielle’s car. Has something happened to her too? And if so, can they believe that Mitchell’s death was the result of a heart attack and nothing more?

I thoroughly enjoyed how Gaby got to the bottom of this, as well as seeing her contribution to Woodson Falls increase and make her a valued member of the town. Of course, the ending thrilled me as it hinted at what was to come next for Gaby, and this time it would get very personal. Bring on book three!

My thanks to the author and the publishers for my copy of 9 Donovan’s Way.

About the Author

Having received a library card before she began kindergarten (requiring her cursive signature), Andrea began her writing career at age five with a short story describing the seasons. Her next endeavor, at age nine, was a novella featuring Christine O’Leary. So began Andrea’s long love affair with the written word.
Singularly focused on a nursing career, Andrea continued to write for pleasure through high school and college. After completing a master’s degree in order to teach nursing, she was offered a position as a nurse editor with the American Journal of Nursing, where she honed her writing skills through editing others’ works.
Andrea was in the midst of writing a novel styled as a memoir when her husband’s Parkinson’s disease had progressed to the point where John was unable to engage in his usual active life style. He longed to “do something,” so she suggested they write a book together. She had long considered writing a mystery series based on some of her experiences as an attorney, and they settled on one of her early cases as the basis for a book.
It was a great opportunity for both. Andrea had left a long career in a “publish or perish” university setting prior to becoming an attorney. It was hard for her not to view writing fiction as lying on paper. John helped her to push the uneasy feeling that was the seed for Woodson Falls: 16 Lakeview Terrace into a believable plot line. It was Andrea’s long service as the chief elected official of a small town in Connecticut that provided the story’s sense of place.
Andrea is the author of three award-winning texts in the area of nursing education and staff development as well as numerous articles in peer-reviewed nursing and education journals. Woodson Falls: 16 Lakeview Terrace is her first foray into the world of fiction. She collects teddy bears and birdhouses, loves to garden and bake bread, and writes from Sherman, Connecticut.

As always,

blog tour · book review · cosy · crime · mystery · series

Blog tour ‘n’ Book Review – Murder at the Summer Fete

Murder At The Summer Fete

A fete worse than death…

After finding the killer of Lucy Roth six months ago, life has settled back to normal for bookshop owner, Nancy Hunter, and her grandmother, Jane. The annual Dedley End village fete is just around the corner, and Nancy is delighted when bestselling author, Thomas Green, agrees to launch his first new novel in ten years there.

But then a series of sinister events lead Nancy to realise someone is trying to sabotage their fete, so she, along with Jane and their journalist friend Jonathan, must turn detective to discover who isn’t at all thrilled about the return of Thomas Green.

When a body is discovered at the summer fete, the death scene mirroring that in Thomas’ latest bestseller, they realise that there’s another killer in Dedley End, but can they outsmart someone who appears to have pulled off the perfect crime?

The clues are right under Nancy and Jane’s noses, if only they can find them. Because the answers to life’s questions can always be found in a book…!

A twisty, unputdownable cozy mystery that fans of Richard Osman, S.J. Bennett and The Marlow Murder Club will love.

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/3HE7928

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3JLSUtX

Apple: https://apple.co/3zDUyte

Author Bio

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. She’s the author of the bestselling GLENDALE HALL series, which continues with its third book HOPEFUL HEARTS at GLENDALE HALL in September, as well as two other standalone novels – SUMMER at the KINDNESS CAFE, and THE SECOND LOVE of my LIFE. She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for two RNA awards. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star, and her books have won wide reader acclaim.

Victoria is a full-time author. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry, and loves books, clothes, music, going out for tea and cake, and posting photos on Instagram.

Find out more about Victoria by following on Instagram at @vickyjwalters, on Twitter at @Vicky_Walters or by visiting her blog at:https://victoria-writes.com/

My Review

It was wonderful to return to Dedley End and the bookshop run by Nancy and her grandmother, Jane. Since last we met, after the murder up at the house on the hill, life in the village has returned to its normal tranquillity. In fact, for both Nancy and Jane, things are a little too quiet which is why they have invested so much time and effort into the upcoming summer fete. Having arranged for a very successful crime writer to launch his latest book at the fete, the level of excitement and anticipation is high. Author Thomas Green grew up in a nearby village before getting an agent and a book deal in London.

What Nancy and Jane, and best friend Jonathan don’t realise is that Thomas Green’s return will not be so widely welcomed, especially among those who knew him in his younger days. Green is reluctant to talk about those days too, which begs the question why.

It takes an act of “vandalism” and threats to spark the sleuths’ interest in Green’s background, but not even they are ready to see another case of murder in Dedley End.

As before, the relationship between the main characters is endearing as are their endeavours to get to the bottom of things. At the outset I thought I knew the motive for the murder but the case almost seemed to be resolved … until Nancy feels the same sense of unease at justice not really having been done and so, encouraged by Jane and Jonathan, she digs further … and finds the real reason behind it. I’m glad to say my initial deductions were correct, and I applaud the author for making me second guess myself. The twisty nature of solving the crime was most enjoyable (and not just because I was proved right 🙂 )

The author picks up the trail of information we learned in book one about the culprit behind Nancy’s father’s death and now the story takes another personal twist in delivery Nancy another mystery, this time to do with her mother who left the family home when Nancy was very young. The author combines well Nancy’s personal family history with mysteries in Dedley End and that combination makes for an interesting, yet fun read, but also leaves me wanting more.

I’ll be looking out for the next book in the series.

For more news and reviews,

As always,

cosy · cover reveal · crime · mystery · series

Cover Reveal – Murder at the Summer Fete

Are you ready to return to Dedley End? I know I am. Murder at The House on the Hill was one of my favourite reads in 2021, a cosy mystery in essence but with a modern vibe. Consequently, I am so delighted to reveal the cover for book two in The Dedley End Mysteries by Victoria Walker … and here it is:

A fete worse than death…

After finding the killer of Lucy Roth six months ago, life has settled back to normal for bookshop owner, Nancy Hunter, and her grandmother, Jane. The annual Dedley End village fete is just around the corner, and Nancy is delighted when bestselling author, Thomas Green, agrees to launch his first new novel in ten years there.

But then a series of sinister events lead Nancy to realise someone is trying to sabotage their fete, so she, along with Jane and their journalist friend Jonathan, must turn detective to discover who isn’t at all thrilled about the return of Thomas Green.

When a body is discovered at the summer fete, the death scene mirroring that in Thomas’ latest bestseller, they realise that there’s another killer in Dedley End, but can they outsmart someone who appears to have pulled off the perfect crime?

The clues are right under Nancy and Jane’s noses, if only they can find them. Because the answers to life’s questions can always be found in a book…!

A twisty, unputdownable cozy mystery that fans of Richard Osman, S.J. Bennett and The Marlow Murder Club will love.

Praise for Victoria Walters’ Dedley End Mysteries cozy crime series:

Superb sleuthing! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Dedley End and can’t wait to go back!’ Heidi Swain, author of Underneath the Christmas Tree

‘Such a fab book – really puts the cosy in cosy crime!’ M. A. Kuzniar, author of Midnight in Everwood

‘This is a brilliant ‘whodunnit’ which gave me some serious Miss Marple feels… it’s absolutely brilliant and a pleasure to read’ Head in a Book18

‘I loved this brilliant cozy read… it felt very Christie-esque. Nancy and Jane were fab, I loved their relationship. And I can’t wait for more.’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

‘Even gave me some Murder, she wrote vibes… I truly enjoyed reading this funny, cosy mystery’ Tizi’s Book Review

‘What an absolute delight this was to read… I was still guessing whodunnit until the end.’ Wrong Side of Forty UK

‘A delightful detective duo, a charming and clever cosy mystery.’ Diane Jeffrey, author of The Silent Friend

‘A cosy, satisfying and enjoyable murder mystery full of intrigue… and even better, with a bookshop too!’ Ella Allbright, author of The Last Charm

The book is available to preorder now with a release date of 17th March 2022. I’m in … are you?

As always,

blog tour · book review · conspiracies · fantasy · sci-fi · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Million Eyes II – The Unraveller

Following an impossible discovery in East London, archaeologist Dr Samantha Lester joins forces with software developer Adam Bryant to investigate the events that led to the disappearance of his best friend, Jennifer, and to bring down the people responsible – Million Eyes.

Before long, Lester and Adam are drawn into a tangled conspiratorial web involving dinosaurs, the Gunpowder Plot, Jesus, the Bermuda Triangle, and a mysterious history-hopping individual called the Unraveller, who is determined to wipe Million Eyes off the temporal map.

But as the secrets of Million Eyes’ past are revealed, picking a side in this fight might not be so easy.

Million Eyes II: The Unraveller is the second book in the Million Eyes Trilogy by C.R. Berry.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase Link (Amazon UK)

About the author

C.R. Berry writes conspiracy thrillers with lashings of sci-fi and fantasy. He is a former lawyer turned full-time writer and blogs regularly about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness.

He was shortlisted in the 2018 Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Storgy, Dark Tales, Theme of Absence and Suspense Magazine. He was also shortlisted in the Aeon Award Contest, highly commended by Writers’ Forum, and won second prize in the inaugural To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition.

Why conspiracy thrillers? Because Berry’s favourite characters are often the villains, and in a conspiracy thriller, the villains are numerous and everywhere. They tend to be part of the government, the church, a big corporation, or a secret society, which makes them much scarier — and harder to beat — than a singular bad guy. Part of the fun of a conspiracy thriller is unveiling those involved, discovering their plans, and exposing the ‘big bad’ who masterminded it all.

Berry grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere in Surrey

My Review

5 fabulous stars!

When the author asked me to read and review this second book in the Million Eyes series, I didn’t hesitate. The first book (read my review here) left a long-lasting impression on me. No way would I turn this one down. My only fear was whether The Unraveller would be as good. I need not have worried. It was as intriguing, captivating and addictive as the first. Actually, I’d go so far as to say it was even more so since now I had a complete grasp on the time-travelling theme and the conspiracies at its core.

This time around we meet the Unraveller whose role it is to change the course of history. The Million Eyes travellers are charged with making sure that doesn’t happen. But, of course, it’s not that easy. Spanning millennia and new to the series, the conspiracies of book two are evermore “out there”. From the dinosaurs to Jesus of Nazareth, characters from the first book are thrust into new settings. Heaven knows how much research was needed to give this story the credibility it has. Linking the past with the present, and even the future, the story occupies so many timelines you’d think it impossible to keep up. But that’s not so. The stories are interlinked in such a way as you can’t help but be swept along by the intrigue and danger. What might on the surface seem absurd suddenly becomes bizarrely plausible and totally intoxicating. There are a lot of characters and story lines to keep track of but I didn’t find that off-putting. If anything, it was a compelling read that held my attention and had me asking “What else could possibly happen?” By the way, C R Berry, that’s not a dare!

As someone who really doesn’t read much (any) fantasy or Sci-Fi these days, this was hugely entertaining. As a history buff, I loved the periods of history represented in this story, it made it relatable and all the more fascinating. A sublime revelation at the end made it still more satisfying. If you haven’t read this, then what are you waiting for. I would suggest starting with book one rather than launching straight into book two as I do believe that earlier grounding in the concept made the second book way more enjoyable and easy to follow.

And to the author, when you’re looking for reviewers for book three, I’m over here, ready and waiting.

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,

Featured Author - Phyllis Entis · Mystery Authors International · series · The Damien Dickens Mysteries · thriller

Guest Post: Phyllis Entis

I’m often blogging and writing reviews about books and authors I’ve never connected with in real life, but not today. Phyllis is a good friend and fellow mystery author, and I’m thrilled to say she’s just released the sixth book in The Damien Dickens Mystery series … and it’s a corker, heading more into the thriller category than her past books.

So, let’s hear it for

THE SILVER STAR CAPER

Genres: Mystery/Husband-and-wife private investigators/Woman Sleuth/Thriller

Check out the blurb and tell me you’re not hooked!

Damien and Millie take on their most dangerous assignment yet.

After a string of arson fires drives migrant farm workers from their homes and threatens Millie’s daughter-in-law, Damien agrees to go undercover to infiltrate the white-supremacist, neo-Nazi militia responsible for the fires and unmask the identity of their leader.

Millie covers his absence by spreading the news that they have separated, while he travels back to Atlantic City. When Damien reappears in California, it’s in the guise of a former cop with neo-Nazi sympathies.

Left alone to run their detective agency while maintaining a brave front, Millie dives into an investigation of a friend of the new mayor of Carmel-by-the Sea, a local resident she suspects of being a Nazi war criminal in hiding.

The action is non-stop as Damien and Millie risk their lives to eradicate the spectre of violence and racism from their community.

You need more?

Then the prologue will have you one-clicking for sure.

Thursday, March 20, 1986

We were seated on the patio of the Hog’s Breath Inn, the downtown Carmel restaurant owned by Clint Eastwood. The place was packed with a lunchtime mix of tourists and locals, most of them talking about the upcoming municipal elections and the likelihood that Clint would be the town’s next mayor. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a couple of friendly waves, but I ignored them, focusing my attention instead on Millie, who was slowly crumbling a sourdough roll into pieces small enough to feed to the birds.

The last few weeks had been hard on her as we engaged in an ever-rising tide of public displays of discord. Our friends had started asking what was wrong. Had wondered out loud whether our marriage was on the rocks. Today, they would have their answer.

This morning, it was Millie’s turn to pick the fight. She did so in my office, her accusations about my excessive drinking loud enough to carry through the walls to the dental offices next door. I followed through by giving my wastebasket a noisy kick, sending its contents flying, and punctuated my angry retorts by slamming my fist into the wall so hard that the plaster cracked. Millie retreated into her own office, slamming the door with such force that Hershey, our 60-pound labradoodle, took shelter under the reception counter.

A few seconds later, she emerged from her office, a grim smile on her face. “That should about do it, especially since Malvina was scheduled for a dental check-up this morning. Let’s go to lunch and get this over with.”

Now, you want the buy links, don’t you? 😉

Amazon Buy link: mybook.to/TSSC

Amazon Buy link for Damien Dickens Mystery series: mybook.to/DDMSERIES

Author Bio:

Phyllis Entis is the author of the Damien Dickens Mysteries series, which includes The Green Pearl Caper, The White Russian Caper, The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper, The Gold Dragon Caper, The Blue Moon Caper, and The Silver Star Caper. She was the recipient of the 2019 Top Female Author award (Mystery/Suspense/Thriller).

Phyllis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. In December 2020, she released TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures, an exposé of the shortcomings of the food manufacturing and foodservice industry sectors on which we all rely to supply us with safe food.

Phyllis lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom. When she’s not writing, Phyllis usually can be found walking around town, baking bagels and pastries, or enjoying her garden.

A message from the author:

Writing fiction is a very intense experience, at least for me. Once a story starts to develop inside my brain, I feel as though I am simply a reporter, taking dictation from the main characters.

In December 2019, I bade a temporary farewell to Damien and Millie Dickens and shooed them out of my head while undertaking a non-fiction project.

The dynamic detective duo started clamoring to return late last fall, and have been with me ever since.

The first draft of this novel wrote itself in only four months—an extremely fast pace for me. There were nights when Damien and Millie entered my dreams, and days when the emotional content of the plot was so overwhelming that I had to stop and open a fresh box of Kleenex tissues. At times, I was afraid of shorting out my keyboard!

Although set in the mid-1980s, The Silver Star Caper embraces themes that are relevant today: racism, domestic terrorists, white supremacy militias, and neo-Nazi movements. Although fiction, the story is grounded in history.

I’ll be sharing pieces of that history from time to time on my blog. I hope you’ll drop by and read the stories behind the story.

Website and blog: phyllisentis.wordpress.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PromptProse

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/DamienDickensMysteries/

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/PhyllisEntis

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/phyllis-entis-1697a849/

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Entis/e/B001JRZM1K/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1750852.Phyllis_Entis

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/phyllis-entis


As always,

family · Publication Day · romantic comedy · series

Publication Day Push – The Ticklemore Tavern

The Ticklemore Tavern

Violet makes her own gin.

Logan Cassidy sells it in his pub, The Ticklemore Tavern.

It should have been a match made in heaven, especially since the pair of them fancy the socks off each other, and they are both young, free and single.

Except…

Logan’s mum, Marie, doesn’t think Violet is good enough for her son. No woman is, or ever will be. And when she becomes ill, Logan is torn between looking after his mum or following his heart.

However, neither Logan, nor Marie, has taken the sheer force of nature that is Violet into account. What Violet wants, Violet gets.

Usually…

But maybe not this time, eh?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ticklemore-Tavern-uplifting-heart-warming-romantic-ebook/dp/B093DC6BL1

US – https://www.amazon.com/Ticklemore-Tavern-uplifting-heart-warming-romantic-ebook/dp/B093DC6BL1

Author Bio

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.

Website: https://lizdaviesauthor.wixsite.com/home

Social Media Links

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/lizdaviesauthor

Facebook: fb.me/LizDaviesAuthor1

My Review

Oh my! Where have I been? How did I miss the previous books in the Ticklemore series? I LOVED The Ticklemore Tavern! So much. Fortunately it’s easily read as a stand-alone. That said, I shall look forward to checking out the other books in the series.

So, what exactly is so wonderful about The Ticklemore Tavern? By that, I mean the story, not the pub – which sounds amazing too. Well, putting aside the glorious gin concoctions that Violet makes, the story is one that hooks you like a soap opera. Both Violet and Logan are such likeable characters, and from the moment they meet, it’s impossible not to root for them. They have great chemistry that is infectious … until Logan’s mum, Marie, gets involved.

I understand (a wee, tiny bit) that she is worried about losing Logan, and that she feels no woman would ever be good enough for him, but when those headaches start, it’s blatantly obvious what she’s up to. And, Logan, bless him, won’t have a bad word said about his mum, and consequently the tell-tale signs go way over his head.

Thank Heavens for Hattie – who I know now to be the stalwart of Ticklemore’s residents – the mender of broken hearts, the fixer of all things wrong, and, unfortunately for Marie, the seer of fake illnesses. It doesn’t bear thinking what might have happened to Logan and Violet had this wise octogenarian not done what she does best and stepped into the fray between the loved-up couple and Marie.

The Ticklemore Tavern is a sweet, heart-warming story that really pulls you in. It’s a happy, feel-good read with plenty of inner turmoil and conflict to keep you turning the pages. And those Gin flavours – please tell me they are real!

I hope there’s more to come from Ticklemore, but in the meantime I’ll busy myself catching up with the author’s back catalogue.

Highly recommended for those seeking some respite from everyday issues. Grab a copy, a cup of tea (or gin!) and put your feet up in Ticklemore.

As always,

Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts