book review · drama · family · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Legacy

The Legacy

An unexpected inheritance. A web of deceit. A desperate escape. 

London, 1969.

James has his dreams of an easy life shattered when his aunt disinherits him, leaving her fortune to her god-daughter, Charlotte. He turns to his friend, Percy, to help him reclaim his inheritance – and to pay off his creditors. But when their plans backfire, James becomes the pawn of Percy and his criminal associates.

Charlotte is stunned when she is told of her windfall. After an attempt at cheating her out of her inheritance fails, James tries to intimidate her. But she is stronger than he thinks, having secrets of her own to guard, and sends him away with a bloody nose and no choice but to retreat for now.

Resigned, James and his spoilt, pampered girlfriend, Fliss, Percy’s sister, travel across France on a mission that promises to free James from the criminals for good. But James isn’t convinced he can trust Fliss, so he makes his own plans to start a new life.

Will James be able to get away, or will his past catch up with him? Will Charlotte’s secrets turn the legacy into a curse?

Purchase Link – mybook.to/legacy

Author Bio

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

The Legacy is a drama set in 1960s London. Like her previous book, Mine, it explores themes of class, ambition and sexual politics, showing how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops(www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

Social Media Links

www.facebook.com/alison.knight.942

https://twitter.com/Alison_Knight59

www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk

www.darkstroke.com/dark-stroke/alison-knight/

My Review

Having read and enjoyed Alison Knight’s previous novel Mine, I had to pick this one up. I wasn’t disappointed.

Jane doesn’t have long to live, but she knows that she doesn’t want her nephew James to inherit her estate, especially as he has rarely visited her over the years, preferring to spend his time and rack up debts in gambling dens. Instead she changes her will to leave the bulk of her estate to her god-daughter, Charlotte, who has been a regular visitor and confidant to the old lady.

Even so, Charlotte is not expecting the windfall any more than James is prepared to be excluded. While Charlotte takes her time to grieve for her godmother, and to let the news settle in, James is already planning to contest the will.

James is in so much debt to all the wrong people and has been counting on his aunt’s money to dig him out of a hole; her change of mind devastates him. He is more upset about losing the money than about his aunt’s passing.

Charlotte, on the other hand, has always lived within her means and cannot imagine how she might spend the money or make use of Jane’s flat in an upmarket part of London.

For James, desperate times call for desperate measures, and “aided” by his friend and lawyer, Percy, he considers his options, not ruling out any nefarious means if the end result sees him getting his “much-deserved” inheritance back.

The Legacy is a short read, a novella in length, but is made even shorter by its fast pace and addictive qualities that had me racing through it to see how it all ended. Both main characters were beautifully depicted: James as the evil, greedy, unscrupulous villain versus Charlotte, the honest, loyal and innocent heroine who was even prepared to help James before he turned nasty.

But both of them were in for a huge shock! Trust me, the twist is excellent.

Highly recommended. Can be read as a standalone, but I felt having read Mine first gave the story extra “juice”.

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Amazon Reviewer Name
Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts

book blitz · Publication Day · thriller

Book Release Blitz – Secrets Mothers Keep

Release Date: May 6, 2021

On Friday night in the clay fields of Bethel Creek, seventeen-year-old Daniel Reyes is found brutally attacked and left for dead. On Saturday morning, Cora Maxwell finds her teenage son’s clothes covered in blood. A small town torn apart by a horrific hate crime. An investigative reporter hell bent on finding the truth. A mother’s worst nightmare.

A small town torn apart by a horrific hate crime.

An investigative reporter hell bent on finding the truth.

A mother’s worst nightmare.

What really happened to the Reyes boy?

In the heart-stopping and timely suspense novel, Secrets Mothers Keep, widow and mother Cora Maxwell faces the hardest decision of her life. In a world where there are few second chances, do you grant one to your child? And if so… what is the cost?


Anya Mora lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Her novels, while leaning toward the dark, ultimately reflect light, courage, and her innate belief that love rewards the brave.
Contact Links

Website

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BookBub

Promo Link

Purchase Link

Amazon


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blog tour · book excerpt · historical · mystery · thriller

Blog Tour – Old Cases, New Colours (including an excerpt)

Old Cases, New Colours

(A Dudley Green Investigation)

Sick of working in a world of spies and bureaucracy, Ena Green, nee Dudley, leaves the Home Office and starts her own investigating agency.

Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to turn down.

While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cases-Colours-Dudley-Investigation-Sisters-ebook/dp/B08Y9887QM/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Cases-Colours-Dudley-Investigation-Sisters-ebook/dp/B08Y9887QM/

Author Bio

I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the first time around. However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.

In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.

In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written nine novels. The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My current novel, Old Cases, New Colours, is a thriller/detective story set in 1960. I am writing Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.

Social Media Links

Madalyn Morgan’s books- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Madalyn-Morgan/e/B00J7VO9I2

Blog – https://madalynmorgan.wordpress.com/

Facebook – www.facebook.com/madalyn.morgan1

Twitter – www.twitter.com/ActScribblerDJ

Pinterest – www.pinterest.co.uk/madalynmorgan

Instagram – www.instagram.co.uk/madalynmorgan1

Excerpt

Intro: Ena is called as a witness for the prosecution in a murder trial at the Old Bailey. When she is cross examined by the defence lawyer of a German spy who murdered her colleague the lawyer twists what she says in an attempt to discredit her.

‘I believe you worked closely with Director Bentley at the Home Office?’

‘Yes.’

‘How many years had you worked with him?’

‘Thirteen.’

‘Thirteen years!’ the defence lawyer exclaimed. He looked at the jury. ‘Thirteen years,’ he said again. ‘And you would have us believe that in all that time you never once suspected he was a spy?’

‘No.’

‘What changed your mind, suddenly?’

‘I had reason to question Richard Bentley’s motives in a certain matter.’

Anderson swung from left to right, his black gown flaring theatrically as he looked around the court. ‘Reason to question? Motives? A certain matter? It all sounds very Machiavellian.’ He put his hand up to his face, his fingers on his lips. ‘And who was it that gave you reason to question the Director of The Home Office?’

Ena had been waiting throughout the cross-examination for a question like this. ‘I am not at liberty to say.’

‘Was it the same person who fed you lies about my client and his lover, Hugh Middleton? The truth is, Mrs Green, Hugh Middleton was not the victim in the relationship. The victim was my client. Mr Middleton cheated on him, lied to him and stole from him. My client regrets the outcome of their relationship and wishes there had been some other way. Alas,’ O’Shaughnessy’s lawyer looked down and sighed, his voice growing deeper and softer as if with emotion, ‘there was no other way.’ The defence lawyer then turned to the jury, cleared his throat, and in a matter-of-fact way, said, ‘During one of Middleton’s aggressive outbursts he attacked my client who, fearing for his life, struck out in self-defence, accidentally killing Mr Middleton.’

Ena looked across at the dock for the first time. She held O’Shaughnessy with a cold stare. As arrogant as ever, he grinned at her. Still looking at O’Shaughnessy, Ena said, ‘Hugh Middleton did not lie, cheat or attack your client. On the contrary–’

‘And how would you know, Mrs Green!’

Ena looked back at the defence lawyer. ‘I am not at liberty to say,’ she said again.

‘Whether you tell the court or not is of no consequence,’ Anderson said, ‘because, Mrs Green, the information that you received came from Nick Miller, a man of dubious character who owned the Minchin Club, a nightclub that my client and his lover frequented in Brighton.’ Anderson looked at the jury, leaned his elbow on the edge of the witness box and crossed his legs as if he was at a bar waiting for a drink. Then, as if something had that second come into his mind, he turned and faced Ena. ‘Perhaps you know Nick Miller better by his real name, Nicolaus Müller – a German spy who became a south London gangster with whom you accompanied to Austria. Is that not so, Mrs Green?’

‘I–’

‘I know!’ Anderson spat, shutting Ena down, ‘You are not at liberty to tell us what information Müller gave you for his freedom.’

‘Before Ena could retaliate, Anderson turned to the judge. ‘No more questions, My Lord.’

Ena looked up at the judge in disbelief. She then looked pleadingly at Sir John.’

The judge waved his left hand. Sir John was already on his feet.

‘If I may, My Lord.’

The Judge nodded.

‘Mrs Green,’ Sir John said with a reassuring smile, ‘would you tell the court why you were not at liberty to answer some of the questions asked you by my learned friend?’

‘I have signed the Official Secrets Act. The work I did at the Home Office was… highly sensitive.’

‘Top Secret?’

‘Yes.’

‘Thank you. You were also asked questions that you were not given time to answer. I apologise in advance if the questions I shall ask you now are repetitious.’ Ena nodded. ‘On the day of McKenzie Robinson’s funeral, did Mrs Robinson accuse you of killing her husband?’

‘No. Mrs Robinson said it was my fault that her husband had been killed, not that I had killed him.’ 

‘Your fault? Why?’

‘Director McKenzie was going to help me with an investigation I was working on before he was murdered. He gave his wife a folder to give to me, which she gave me on the day of his funeral.’ Tears filled Ena’s eyes as Mac’s last words came into her mind. “Make sure Ena Green gets this.”

‘No,’ Ena said, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, ‘Eve Robinson did not accuse me of killing her husband. ‘Her exact words were, “I hope what you find in there was worth my husband’s life. If you hadn’t come to the hospital to see him, he would still be alive.”’

‘Thank you for clearing that up, Mrs Green.’ With a sympathetic smile, Sir John said, ‘Are you happy to continue?’ Ena nodded. ‘I think the court has been misled about your association with Mr Nick Miller. Would you describe the relationship between yourself and Mr Miller and tell the jury why you travelled with him to Austria?’

‘There was no relationship. Nick Miller had been taken into Police custody for questioning. He had valuable information that the security services – my department in particular – and the Police needed in order to expose a large and deep-rooted spy ring. As you know, the Director of the Home Office was the head of the cell, Helen Crowther and Shaun O’Shaughnessy were members. Nick Miller said he would release the information once he had arrived safely in Austria. I didn’t choose to go with him, he insisted I went as insurance.’

Ena looked at the jury. ‘But I did have a personal reason for accompanying Nick Miller to Austria. Nick had proof that Helen Crowther, who was found dead on December 23rd, 1958 in my office, had killed herself. Crowther went to extraordinary lengths to make her suicide look as if my husband had murdered her. I flew to Austria with Nick Miller to save my husband from being hung for a murder he did not commit.’

‘Thank you, Mrs Green.’ Sir John turned to the judge. ‘No more questions My Lord.’

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book review · crime · series · thriller

Book Review – Cry for Help

Shivering in the early morning chill, the caretaker flips the switch on the Ferris wheel and stumbles back in shock. The teenage girl’s body is slumped in a halo of pretty colored lights, long red hair spilling over her tear-stained cheeks, her eyes fixed forever on her dangling feet.

When teenager Nikki Jackson’s body is found at an amusement park, just hours after Fourth of July fireworks lit up the night sky, the Lost Creek police rule her death as suicide––a devastating final act from a girl who had lost all hope. But the absence of the knife used to make the wounds on her delicate wrists makes Detective Madison Harper think otherwise. And the partial fingerprint found on the girl’s face proves her right. Someone else was with Nikki in her final moments…

Back home in Colorado for the first time in seven years to investigate the murder of a woman with ties to the son she lost to the care system, the pressure is on for Madison to work both cases at once. Fearing the team has missed a vital clue, Madison searches the crime scene alone and finds the last thing she ever expected: a note proving the victims knew each other, and that the cases are linked. Is this a coincidence, proof a dangerous murderer is on the loose, or a trap set to lead Madison off the trail?

It’s only when Madison finally finds the knife used to harm Nikki, tucked in an almost impossible to find hiding place, that she knows she is closing in on a twisted killer. But the last person she expects to see dragged into the department in handcuffs is her own missing son…

An absolutely unputdownable crime thriller that will have you sleeping with the lights on. Addictive reading for anyone who loves Lisa Regan, Robert Dugoni and Melinda Leigh.

Add to Goodreads

My Review

Cry for Help picks up the story where Shadow Falls ended, with Madison and Nate heading back to Lost Creek after hearing the news that Madison’s ex-girlfriend has been killed.

Having already agreed to help Madison find her son, Owen, Nate understands the new urgency and is 100% willing to get justice for Madison’s wrongful conviction and to find the corrupt cops who framed her. His hatred for the police has only intensified since meeting Madison, and since he has no new information on Father O’Connor who set him up for his fiancée’s murder, he is more than happy to expose police corruption while he waits.

As the two of them, along with former K9 dog, Brody, make their way there, local police are dealing with the death of a teenage girl at the amusement park – first indications suggest suicide but a link between this case and the murder of Madison ex-girlfriend can’t be ignored. After all, two suspicious deaths in a small town like Lost Creek is more than a coincidence.

Once again, the author has created a story with characters you can’t help but care about. Putting aside Nate and Madison (whose history and relationship develop beautifully throughout), the story of the teenage girl – Nikki Jackson – is heartbreakingly sad and written with great compassion and empathy.

That said, the villains are appallingly vile too. As the truth about her ex’s murder becomes known, Madison is forced to face the cruel reality of her relationship with her own sister as well as with some of her former colleagues in the police force.

Clearing her name, finding her girlfriend’s killer and tracking down Owen all combine into one monumental challenge, and the author doesn’t give in to Madison’s demands easily. She really makes her and Nate work for the truth. All of which makes it compelling reading.

A certain scene with flies buzzing around a dead animal had me worried. Surely no one would hurt Brody? Was I more concerned about the dog than catching the killers? Probably 😉 Nonetheless, this made it even more of a page turner.

Another excellent story that ticks so many genre boxes – drama, crime, thriller and suspense – yet holds together as a cohesive whole. And, I’m even more delighted to hear that book three is not far off and Nate’s own story will be further explored and hopefully concluded.

Thanks to the author, Netgalley and Bookouture for my e-copy which I am delighted to review. Congrats!

As always,

blog tour · conspiracies · crime · promo · thriller

Blog Tour & Book Promo – Miniskirts are Murder

Miniskirts are Murder

Porter Norton, his friends and his sarcastic spirit guide, The Gliss, are on the trail of a young actress who went missing in Soho, London, in the Swinging Sixties. Still recovering from their last adventure in the battlefields of WW1, the gang are confronted by a transatlantic conspiracy.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miniskirts-are-Murder-investigation-Investigations-ebook/dp/B08THXTBGB

US – https://www.amazon.com/Miniskirts-are-Murder-investigation-Investigations-ebook/dp/B08THXTBGB

Author Bio – Des, 52, is a former Times journalist/BBC TV producer. Miniskirts are Murder is the second in the Porter and The Gliss Investigations series, following Dead & Talking in 2019.
Des likes to live out as much of the stories as possible and spent 3 months in the US researching this novel. He runs a film school in London and has just been commissioned to write a limited season TV series intended for Netflix. He is also a keen musician and through work has jammed with people like Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson and Jeff Lynne. He is married with 1 daughter.

Social Media Links –

www.desburkinshaw.com

twitter.com/DesBurkinshaw,

facebook as Des Burkinshaw

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Audiobook · blog tour · book review · crime · mystery · series · thriller

Audiobook Blog Tour ‘n’ Review – Jailbird

Jailbird

When you’re working undercover the smallest mistake can cost you your life.
‘A riveting read full of tension and suspense with a vivid cast of characters and an enticing plot.’ Heather Burnside

Detective Constable Bailey Morgan has been out of the undercover game since her last job went horribly wrong, leaving her with scars inside and out.
When her colleague Alice is found dead whilst working deep cover in a women’s prison, Bailey steps in to replace her.
Working alone, Bailey embarks on a dangerous journey through the murky underbelly of the prison and soon discovers that Alice’s death was part of a spate of brutal murders.

Surrounded by prison officers, criminals and lowlifes, the slightest mistake could cost Bailey her life.
Illicit drug trafficking, prison gangs and corruption are just some of the things she’s up against… and behind it all lurks a sinister and terrifying secret that will truly test her survival instincts.
Heart-stopping and gripping. Perfect for the fans of hit TV shows such as Line of Duty, Orange is the New Black and Bad Girls.

Purchase Link – https://bit.ly/JailbirdAudible

Author Bio –

Caro Savage knows all about bestselling thrillers having worked as a Waterstones bookseller for 12 years in a previous life. Now taking up the challenge personally and turning to hard-hitting crime thriller writing.

Social Media Links –

Twitter Profile: https://twitter.com/CaroSavageStory

https://www.instagram.com/carosavage/

Newsletter sign up: http://bit.ly/CaroSavageNewsletter

My Review

Having already read book 2 – Villain – I jumped at the chance to hear Bailey’s backstory. With hindsight I think I would have slightly preferred to have read this book for myself as although the narrator had a lovely and well modulated voice once she adopted a character’s voice I found it quite dramatic for bedtime listening – the scalpings in particular kept me awake.

That said, as a thriller, this is both original and intense. The women’s prison makes for a perfect setting; you just know it’s not going to be an easy ride for Bailey. There were many times that I just wished Bailey hadn’t been so strong-minded and stubborn, and that she had just got out of there when she had the chance. But Bailey is made of grittier stuff, and when she’s on a job she doesn’t back down for anyone.

And when things go wrong, they go wrong big style. I felt very on edge at times and concerned for her well-being. The author has created a cast of characters that are very believable and their environment is what you would – unfortunately – expect, with a way of life that inevitably includes drugs and violence. Accordingly, the inmates have a very different value system to the outside world. It’s rough, tough and scary but not without kindness and compassion: you just have to be very wary of “Greeks (not literally) bearing gifts.”

The ending is powerful, though I did work out who was involved early on, but the matter of how and why the killer chose the victims and then killed them made for compelling listening.

The narrator – Genevieve Swallow – did a fantastic job and made it easy to follow the story even when the subject matter grew brutally intense. I’m glad to have had the chance to learn more about Bailey, and now that I do, I can’t wait for more.

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

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Dark Memories

Dark Memories

Three letters. Three murders. The clock is ticking…

When the body of a homeless woman is found under Bradford’s railway arches, DS Nikki Parekh and her trusty partner DC Sajid Malik are on the case.

With little evidence, it’s impossible to make a breakthrough, and when Nikki receives a newspaper clipping taunting her about her lack of progress in catching the killer, she wonders if she has a personal link to the case.

When another seemingly unrelated body is discovered, Nikki receives another note. Someone is clearly trying to send her clues… but who?

And then a third body is found.

This time on Nikki’s old street, opposite the house she used to live in as a child. And there’s another message… underneath the victim’s body.

With nothing but the notes to connect the murders, Nikki must revisit the traumatic events of her childhood to work out her connection to the investigation.

But some memories are best left forgotten, and it’s going to take all Nikki’s inner strength to catch the killer…

Before they strike again.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Memories-addictive-nail-biting-Detective-ebook/dp/B08NZ4LV2R

US – https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Memories-addictive-nail-biting-Detective-ebook/dp/B08NZ4LV2R

Author Bio – Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.

Social Media Links 

FB https://www.facebook.com/LizMistrybooks/

Twitter @LizMistryAuthor

Website: https://www.lizmistry.com/

My Review

Dark Memories is the third book in the DS Nikita Parekh series, and having read the previous one, there was no way I could pass on this one. As expected, it is a thrilling story of murders that all link back to Nikki’s (DS Nikita Parekh) childhood and features a chilling look at child and domestic abuse.

This case is more personal for Nikki as she has to face up to the horrors of her past and also share what happened to her with her children and her work colleagues. Her stoicism and sheer strength are to be admired – she is nobody’s victim. 

Linking the murders to letters personally addressed to her, she soon realises her abusive father is back in town. As a result of her connection to the deaths, she cannot head the investigation team and the reins are handed over to her nemesis – Felicity Springer – which only adds more conflict (but wonderfully so!) As always, her partner Saj has got her back, and even when the grimmest events unfold, he is there to keep Nikki informed. 

Solving the case picks up pace dramatically towards the end and it’s a real screen-scroller that kept me reading right until THAT ending! (Oh my – no spoilers – but there is some unfinished business come the end)

As i received an ARC, I did find the formatting made it difficult to follow in parts as the point-of-view characters ran on from each other with no clear separation, meaning I had to reread the odd passage just to get it clear in my head who the scene was about. Once I got a handle on that strange formatting, it became less problematic but clearly something I hope was sorted prior to publication. 

It’s an entertaining and gripping story, and one I’d recommend to fans of fast-paced thrillers / police procedurals. 

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book review · mystery · psychological suspense · thriller

Book Review – Shadow Falls

You thought your little girl was safe at summer camp. You were wrong…

The little girl drags her eyes open, realizing she’s starting to fade. She tries calling out—“Daddy?”—using all her remaining strength. But she’s too late and her voice just isn’t loud enough…

When Detective Madison Harper arrives at a remote summer camp in Shadow Falls, northern California, her heart breaks for Jenny, the sweet little girl last seen splashing in the lake with her friends before she vanished. Peering into the silent cabins filled with rows of neatly made beds, Madison knows this idyllic place is hiding a terrible secret.

The girl’s parents are distraught, and the local police have no leads—they desperately need Madison’s help. She’ll do whatever it takes to crack this case, because it’s the only way back to the son she lost to the care system years ago when she was framed for a crime she didn’t commit.

But with the camp staff keeping tight-lipped and her new partner on the edge of a breakdown, Madison can’t find any truth to her instinct that there is more to Jenny’s perfect parents than meets the eye. Until she discovers a disturbing family portrait Jenny drew at the local library. Was this angelic girl more troubled than anybody knew? Was she in danger from those she trusted most?

One thing is certain, if Madison doesn’t find the answers soon, the lives of more innocent children will be at risk…

An absolutely unputdownable crime thriller that will keep you up all night! Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Melinda Leigh. Previously titled Find My Child.

Amazon UK

My Review

My first psychological thriller of the year, and what a way to start. I must admit that it’s a bug-bear of mine whenever the book’s subtitle insists on calling the story unputdownable or absolutely gripping – because, all too often, that is not the case, for me, anyway – however, this is one book where such a claim is 100% valid.
That this is the first in the series is another reason to dive in, because the two main characters – Nate & Madison – have really interesting stories to tell, both having been imprisoned on murder charges and both keen to prove who set them up.

Shadow Falls sets the reader up for a fascinating ride if we’re to believe their own issues will be met head on in future books. But, back to the plot in question … Nate is hired by the grandmother of a missing 12-year-old girl, who feels police efforts to find her granddaughter have not been thorough enough. As a PI (without license), Nate is ready to investigate. His own experience of being wrongfully imprisoned has put justice centre stage in his life, and if he can also expose police corruption or negligence, then so much the better.

Madison, having served her time, is desperate to find out who set her up too, but she lacks the financial resources to start her own investigations. She persuades Nate that, as a former cop, she can help him with the investigation and asks that he then helps her out afterwards.

Both characters are wounded by their experiences and focusing on something else outside of their own lives helps them to function. At first, there is some awkwardness between them. Nate is way more sceptical of Madison’s cop-like methods, and her directness doesn’t sit well with him. As time goes on, though, they settle into their roles and complement each other.

In the pursuit of the missing girl, they head off to a summer camp where suspects seem to crop up all over the place. With the help of Brody, an ex-police dog, they start to eliminate options while finding more twists and turns that lead them temporarily off-track, until a series of mistakes by the girl’s abductor (now potentially her killer too) allows them to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Although, this is not without putting themselves in great danger first.

It’s a thrilling story that held my attention. An exciting plot with original main characters, whose own back stories will no doubt prove just as fascinating to follow in future books in the series. I’ll be keeping an eye out for book two.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for an ARC of Shadow Falls (previously titled Find My Child) in exchange for an honest review.

As always,

blog tour · historical fiction · mystery · thriller

Blog Tour – Redlined: A Novel of Boston (with giveaway)

RedLine

Welcome to the blog tour for Redlined: A Novel of Boston by Richard W. Wise. Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win an audiobook edition of the book!

Redlined Front CoverRedlined

Publication Date: June 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Mystery/ Thriller

The year is 1974. Boston’s Jamaica Plain is a neighborhood under siege, a community skating along the razor’s edge of decline. The banks have REDLINED Jamaica Plain, causing the housing market to crash, wiping out local homeowner’s lifetime investments and opening the neighborhood to blockbusters and slumlords. Now, someone has begun systematically torching those abandoned buildings and the charred body of Sandy Morgan, a dedicated young neighborhood organizer, has been found among the ashes. Why? Who stands to gain?

Community organizer and Marine combat veteran, Jedidiah Flynt and Alex Jordan, his beautiful Harvard educated researcher together with a group of local property owners are determined to stop the redlining and and bring the arsonists responsible for Sandy Morgan’s death to justice. Their search will lead them through a labyrinth of corrupt politicians, Asian gangsters and bent churchmen.

Two interwoven plots work their way through the narrative, one is absolutely true, the other never happened, but very well might have.

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Excerpt

“Any word from the district fire chief ’s office?”

“So far can’t get anyone from the district to return my calls,” he said with a thin smile. “Better make up a Freedom of Information request, get one of your leaders to sign it. They know they have to respond to that. Talked to one of the fact checkers over at Little City Hall. She claims all fires are ‘thoroughly investigated, Mr. Flynt.’”

He raised his hands and dropped them in a gesture of helplessness.

She made a face. “Guess I better write a letter. So, what’s the point? Insurance?”

“Doesn’t seem to be a reason. Fire insurance on Green Street? Good luck getting any insurance company to write a new policy in your neighborhood or anywhere else in central J. P. The whole area is redlined.”

“Redlined? You’ve mentioned that before, but I really can’t say that I understand it all that well?”

Flynt hesitated and gazed at her for a moment to make sure that she wasn’t pulling his chain. Sandy, he knew, typically came on like she knew it all even when she didn’t.

“It’s complicated. The Northwest Community Organization in Chicago was the first people’s organization to get a handle on it. Got an organizer from N.P.A. —that’s National People’s Action—fellow by the name of Trapp coming in to run a staff training session. Basically, redlining happens when the banks or the insurance companies or all of the above get together and draw a big red circle on a map around parts of the city that they consider too risky to do business with.”

“So they write off the whole neighborhood?”

“You got it and once that happens, kiss the central neighborhood goodbye. Ninety-five percent of all residential housing sales are sold subject to a mortgage, and to get a mortgage you must have insurance. So, Catch 22, you can’t get one, you don’t get the other. If mortgage or the insurance money is choked off, the housing market collapses—which sets the stage for slumlords buying cheap for cash, racial steering and housing abandonment.”

“Redlining is the underlying economic cause of most of the shit we have been organizing around. So, basically all the properties in central J.P. are worthless?”

“Yeah, well there it is,” he said rocking back in his chair. She noted the stubble on his cheeks and the dark smudges under his smoke-gray eyes.

“You ever read the novel Gone with the Wind”? he asked.

“Yeah, when I was like about twelve, why?”

“Well, there is this scene where Melanie is questioning Rhett Butler about how he made all his money. You recall he was a smuggler, dodging the Yankee blockade to bring supplies into southern ports during the Civil War?”

“Uh, huh.”

“Okay, so, Melanie finally overcomes her proper Southern manners and asks the question, and he says, ‘There is more money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization than from the building of one.’”

Sandy rolled her eyes, “Yeah right, okay. I get it.”

“Exactly.”

“Okay, but what’s with the corridor anyhow? I mean whose bright idea was that?”

“Happened before my time. Bunch of community groups got together to stop I-95 running right through the middle of the neighborhood. Finally got the governor to stop it but not until the whole thing was demo’d in from Route 128 to Roxbury. What you see is what’s left, a partially demolished six-lane cancer eating out the guts of the neighborhood,” Flynt said.

She stood up. “Yeah, looks like Berlin after the blitz and only a couple of blocks down from my abandoned house.

Okay, I’ll get set up as soon as I leave here. But what do I do if I see anybody?”

“Stay out of sight! Hide in an alley between the buildings. Or just stay in the shadows. If you see anyone or anything suspicious, try for a description or a license plate. Then get the fuck outta there, call the cops, the fire department and then call me.”

“And if it’s late and you’re home asleep?”

“I’m serious, Morgan. Don’t take any chances. People who torch houses are not the kind of fuckers you want to screw around with. Call me if you see anything suspicious, no matter what time, day or night, just call me, okay?”

“Aye, aye, sir!” she said, and she tossed off a mock salute.

“Sandy!”

“Okay, okay. I get it. I’ll call!”

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About the Author

Vault

Richard Wise is the author of three books. His latest novel, REDLINED, A Novel of Boston is a mystery thriller set in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. PublishersWeekly raves: “Fans of suspense fiction with a social conscience will be pleased.” Midwest Book Review describes REDLINED as a “An original and simply riveting novel.” REDLINED was nominated for the National Book Award and the Benjamin Franklin Award in fiction.

The author’s first book: SECRETS OF THE GEM TRADE, THE CONNOISSEUR’S GUIDE TO PRECIOUS GEMSTONES was originally published in 2001. The book was serialized in two magazines and became a critically acclaimed best seller. The second edition appeared in 2016. Extensively revised and rewritten, the 2nd edition has added 127 pages, 11 new chapters, 5 new introductory essays and 161 additional photographs.

Mr. Wise’s second book,THE FRENCH BLUE, a historical novel published in 2010 was the winner of a 2011 International Book Award in Historical Fiction. The novel is set in the 17th Century gem trade. Called “a fine piece of historical fiction” in a 5 star review by Midwest Book Review, THE FRENCH BLUE tells the back story of the Hope Diamond and the true life adventures of 17th Century gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.

Richard Wise has enjoyed a diverse career. He is a veteran of the U. S. Coast Guard. After receiving his B.A., teaching and doing graduate work at the University of Rhode Island, he spent most of the decade of the 70s as a professional community organizer. Wise headed organizing projects in Massachusetts and Rhode island. In the late 1970s he left organizing and apprenticed as a goldsmith. He studied gemology at the Gemological Institute of American and received his Graduate Gemologist diploma in 1985. He founded his retail company R. W. Wise, Goldsmiths, Inc. in the early 1980s and began traveling internationally, buying gems and writing about them in 1986.

Mr. Wise’s articles have appeared in Gems & Gemology, Lapidary Journal, JQ and Colored Stone. He is a former Gemology Columnist for National Jeweler and Contributing Editor at Gem Market News. The author retired from retail in 2012 to pursue his writing. Currently, he writes a book review column for Gemmology Today Magazine. He lives with his wife and two cats in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Richard W. Wise

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cover reveal · psychological suspense · thriller

Cover Reveal – The Happy Family

The Happy Family by Jackie Kabler

The brand new thriller from the Kindle & USA Today bestselling author!

A mother who disappeared… 
When Beth was 10 years old, her beautiful, wild mother Alice walked out and never came back. Beth’s life since hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but now she is happy and settled, with a successful career, a loving family and a beautiful home. 
 
An unexpected visitor…
Then one day there’s a knock at the door. Alice has returned. Overjoyed to have the chance to rebuild their relationship, Beth invites her mother to move in.
 
A life that comes crashing down…
At first, everything seems wonderful. But then Beth’s friends begin to drift away, strange things start to happen at home, and rumours begin to circle about her past. As the mysterious events around Beth become darker and more dangerous, she is forced to question everything. Is somebody in her life trying to destroy her happiness? And how far will they go?

Publication Date: June 4, 2021

The book is available to pre-order now:

(UK) https://amzn.to/3f8UMyh  (US) http://mybook.to/TheHappyFamilyUS

Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, C. L. Taylor and Lisa Jewell

Praise for Jackie Kabler

‘An intriguing and gripping psychological thriller that keeps you guessing as you frantically turn the pages’ Sunday Times bestselling author C. L. Taylor

‘This is a psychological thriller that has everything: intrigue, mystery and constant twists and turns. I couldn’t put it down!’ Alex Lake, bestselling author of Seven Days

‘There is no let-up in this twisty-turny thriller…Just when you think you’ve cracked its secrets, your expectations are upended again’ Kate Riordan, author of The Heatwave

I’ve read a couple of the author’s previous books The Perfect Couple and Am I Guilty? If The Happy Family is half as good, then it will be amazing! Can’t wait to get my copy.

As always