My #Review of #OnTheEdge by @AuthorJJesmond published by @VerveBooks #JenShaw #1

Jen Shaw has climbed all her life: daring ascents of sheer rock faces, crumbling buildings, cranes – the riskier the better. Both her work and personal life revolved around climbing, and the adrenaline high it gave her. Until she went too far and hurt the people she cares about. So she’s given it all up now. Honestly, she has. And she’s checked herself into a rehab centre to prove it.

Yet, when Jen awakens to find herself drugged and dangling off the local lighthouse during a wild storm less than twenty-four hours after a ‘family emergency’ takes her home to Cornwall, she needs all her skill to battle her way to safety.

Has Jen fallen back into her old risky ways, or is there a more sinister explanation hidden in her hometown? Only when she has navigated her fragmented memories and faced her troubled past will she be able to piece together what happened – and trust herself to fix it…

This is my first read of a novel by Jane Jesmond, however, I had seen On The edge several times across social media so I was pretty sure that it would be a good read.

Set in the wonderful County of Cornwall (incidentally, where my ancestors come from, they were tin miners around Redruth) this is a great debut novel and written with a pure love of the Cornish countryside and Cornish history.

We meet our heroine Jen Shaw checking herself out of rehab after 8 weeks and returning to her childhood home of Tregonna, after turning on her phone and receiving a message of help from her bother Kit. Well from that point on On The Edge will have you …on the edge lol! It’s a blooming great rollercoaster ride from Jen being drugged and finding herself dangling from a lighthouse to people smugglers, family dynamics and corrupt people in power… I loved On The Edge because it kept me invested with each page, Jen Shaw is a force to be reckoned with. She starts investigating how she managed to be in her hotel room one minute and next she is hanging off a lighthouse, only to be saved by her excellent climbing skills, and in doing so she opens a hornet’s nest of events that threatens to get her killed!

You can tell from Jane Jesmond’s writing that she loves Cornwall and has spent long enough living there to understand its people and how the tourist trade works, On The Edge, is written like a love story to Cornwall and the marvellous Tregonna, Jen Shaw’s family home has a huge role to play in the plot. I loved all the characters in On the Edge, I thought all were well-observed and well-written, and Jane Jesmond has created a great family dynamic, that I’m sure will be explored in further books.

The plot builds like a magnificent crescendo into a gripping ending and I was satisfied to finish it knowing that the bad people would be punished!

You know by now that I don’t give too much away when reviewing books, but if you like crime fiction with a strong female lead, written with a poetic love of the Cornish countryside, then you will want to read On The Edge.

I will give On The edge a 4-star rating, and I’m straight into reading book 2, Cut Adrift as I’m on the blog tour, look out for my post later in February.

Jane Jesmond writes crime, thriller and mystery fiction. Her debut novel, On The Edge, the first in a series featuring dynamic, daredevil protagonist Jen Shaw was a Sunday Times Crime Fiction best book. The second in the series, Cut Adrift, will be published in Feb 2023, and A Quiet Contagion, an unsettling historical mystery for modern times, in Nov 2023. Although she loves writing (and reading) thrillers and mysteries, her real life is very quiet and unexciting. Dead bodies and dangerous exploits are not a feature. She lives by the sea in the northwest tip of France with a husband and a cat and enjoys coastal walks and village life. Unlike her daredevil protagonist, she is terrified of heights!

You can follow Jane Jesmond on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can pre-order Cut Adrift HERE

#BlogTour #Review of #TheNightMan by #JornLierHorst @LierHorst @MichaelJBooks

It happened in the quiet town of Larvik.

A severed head is displayed on a stake. A crime so dark only one man is capable of solving it: Police Inspector William Wisting.

Before long, more bodies are found. Media frenzy sweeps the locals into a panic. And when Wisting’s investigation leads him to a deadly underground crime ring, he fears the whole town may be in danger.

But at the heart of it is just one man: The Night Man.

Their elusive leader. The man Wisting must find if he wants to stop the murders.

That is if The Night Man doesn’t get to him first . . .

As all my followers know, Jorn Lier Horst and Wisting are on the top of my favorite author and character list, so as always I was looking forward to reading The Night Man.

I have all the Wisting books that have been published in English and have read them all in the order that they have originally been published in Norway, However, The Night Man is actually book 5 in the series, so therefore it does read a little out of sync. This is my only minus point and I think that it should be made clear before readers dive in.

That said, the story and plot is excellent as always, the way Jorn Lier Horst writes the police procedural side is always so true to life ( something to do with him being a Detective with the Norweigian Police before becoming a novelist ), and I love that we get so deep into Wisting’s psyche with every book in the series. I don’t know why but I just really feel so much warmth for William Wisting as a character, he is such a lovely thoughtful Detective, who always goes to the ends of the earth for the victims of crime. He isn’t perfect, his relationship with his son, Thomas isn’t the best, but he is close to his daughter, Line who I also love… she is a journalist and has her father’s curious and analytical mind. From reading the first book in the Wisting series I totally fell in love with William, that is definitely down to the skilful writing of Jorn Lier Horst, and as an added bonus being set in my favourite Country, Norway, makes these one of my favourite reads.

Line features quite heavily in The Night Man, and as I’ve said it’s strange reading about what’s happening to her as this book is in the last compared to the last read of A Question Of Guilt. But her character is so well written by Jorn, I always find it amazing how male authors can portray female protagonists so well.I love Line to as she is an inquisitive and kick ass journalist, who won’t let things go….however sometimes this can mean trouble can find her!

The storyline follows the discovery of a child’s severed head on a post in the middle of Larvik, Norway. There are some quite gory descriptions of this that made my skin crawl haha, but that’s one of the reasons I adore Crime Fiction. We follow Wisting and his team on a journey through drugs and child exploitation from Europe to Afghanistan, on a quest to find the killer or killers.

The detail Jorn Lier Horst writes in his books is what always stays with me, the descriptions of the settings, the food being eaten, the insides of Norweigian homes, all are exquisite and totally make The Night Man sing with realism.

The ending leaves the reader wanting, but as I’ve said if you were to read the Wisting series in order – the next book being Dregs – it actually makes more sense. But as I love Wisting and also Jorn Lier Horst, it didn’t matter to me. It was a great read and another added to my collection. To help new readers I will list the Wisting series in order for you –

  1. Key Witness (Org. Nøkkelvitnet, 2004)
  2. Disappearance of Felicia (Org. Felicia forsvant, 2005)
  3. When the Sea Calms (Org. Når havet stilner, 2006)
  4. The Only One (Org. Den eneste ene, 2007)
  5. The Night Man (Org. Nattmannen, 2009) – translated into English July 2022
  6. Dregs (Org. Bunnfall, 2010) – translated into English by Anne Bruce, 2011
  7. Closed for Winter (Org. Vinterstengt, 2011) – translated into English 2013
  8. The Hunting Dogs (Org. Jakthundene, 2012) – translated into English 2014
  9. The Caveman (Org. Hulemannen, 2013) – translated into English 2015
  10. Ordeal (Org. Blindgang, 2015) – translated into English 2016
  11. When It Grows Dark (Org. Når Det Mørkner, 2016) – translated into English 2016 (A prequel to the series.)
  12. The Katharina Code (Org. Katharina-koden, 2017) – translated into English 2018
  13. The Cabin (Org. Det innerste rommet, 2018) – translated into English 2019
  14. The Inner Darkness (Org. Illvilje, 2019)- translated into English 2020
  15. A Question of Guilt (Org. Sak 1569, 2020)- translated into English 2021
  16. Boundless (Org. Grenseløs, 2021)
  17. The traitor (Org. Forræderen, 2022)

I hope that this helps those readers who haven’t yet ventured into the Wisting series by Jorn Lier Horst, if you want to read gripping, tense, exceptionally well written police procedurals and thrillers, then I urge you to start collecting and reading this series.

I will also add that all the Wisting novels are written in Norwegian first, then translated into English, this is done so well, that one really doesn’t know they were not written in English first!

So my score is a sound 4 stars, and as always I wait for the next Wisting book to be translated into English!

Jørn Lier Horst is one of Norway’s most experienced police investigators, but also one of Scandinavia’s most successful crime writers. He writes engaging and intelligent crime novels that offer an uncommonly detailed and realistic insight into the way serious crimes are investigated, as well as how both police and press work. His literary awards include the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize, the Riverton Prize (Golden Revolver), the Scandinavian Glass Key and the prestigious Martin Beck Award.

You can follow Jorn Lier Horst on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Jorn Lier Horst has his own website HERE

You can watch Wisting on the BBC iPlayer HERE

#BlogTour #Review of #DeadOfNight by @SimonScarrow @headlinepg published on 02.02.2023

BERLIN. JANUARY 1941. Evil cannot bring about good . . .

After Germany’s invasion of Poland, the world is holding its breath and hoping for peace. At home, the Nazi Party’s hold on power is absolute.

One freezing night, an SS doctor and his wife return from an evening mingling with their fellow Nazis at the concert hall. By the time the sun rises, the doctor will be lying lifeless in a pool of blood.

Was it murder or suicide? Criminal Inspector Horst Schenke is told that under no circumstances should he investigate. The doctor’s widow, however, is convinced her husband was the target of a hit. But why would anyone murder an apparently obscure doctor? Compelled to dig deeper, Schenke learns of the mysterious death of a child. The cases seem unconnected, but soon chilling links begin to emerge that point to a terrifying secret.

Even in times of war, under a ruthless regime, there are places in hell no man should ever enter. And Schenke fears he may not return alive . . .

Thank you so much to Jess Hunt from Ransom PR for inviting me to the Dead Of Night blog tour and sending me a copy of the book.

As I knew Dead Of Night was book 2 in the Berlin Wartime Series by Simon Scarrow, I decided to read Blackout ( book 1 ) first. And I’m so glad I did, as Blackout is a fantastic opener to the Kripo Inspector Horst Schenke series.

The story for Dead Of Night is set during the coldest of winters January/February 1940… and from the first page, the reader knows they are in for a thrilling read amongst the politics, in-house fighting, and mistrust of Berlin during the early days of WW2 and the rise in Nazism.

The way that Simon Scarrow writes is utterly compelling, he’s like my favorite History Teacher, because although Dead Of Night is a work of fiction, it is based on truth, and in his exceptional style, taught me to look at how working and living in Berlin under the threat of Hitler and his SS henchmen when one is just trying to do one’s job, becomes a minefield of difficulty. In our protagonist, Criminal Inspector Horst Schenke, we have a man who cannot fight due to an injury sustained whilst racing for the famous Silver Arrows Racing Team, so he has risen to the rank of Criminal Inspector with the Kripos, and he loves his job, and just wants to keep fighting the criminals, murderers and rapists and make sure they are caught and punished….sounds simple right? But during wartime in Berlin, nothing is simple, no one trusts one another, and Horst finds himself embroiled in a case that he has been warned off investigating, and when he continues to do so puts himself and those he cares about in grave danger.

I’m not going to give any more of the plot away, but let’s just say the speed of Dead Of Night and the storyline, are thrilling and utterly gripping, you will not be able to put it down. It also had me heading across to Google on several occasions to find out more about topics and people ( there are real Nazis in the books ) so as to add to the story.

If you haven’t read Blackout before you start Dead of Night, I would urge you to – it runs closely after the storyline in Blackout and several characters as important to the storyline and plot in Dead Of Night.

I loved Dead Of Night so much, and am a firm fan of The Berlin Wartime series by Simon Scarrow, I actually feel utterly sad now I’ve finished Dead Of Night! And that, my friends, is the sign of a superb book!

If you like thrillers and Police Procedurals set during WW2, then Dead Of Night is definitely for you, the research Simon Scarrow puts into his work makes for such a visceral and realistic read, and it’s refreshing to have a different point of view with a Police Inspector who is German.

An easy 5-star rating for Dead Of Night and also for Blackout. I cannot wait for book 3!

Simon Scarrow is a Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author with several million copies of his books sold worldwide. After a childhood spent travelling the world, he pursued his great love of history as a teacher, before becoming a full-time writer. His Roman soldier heroes Cato and Macro made their debut in 2000 in UNDER THE EAGLE and have subsequently appeared in many bestsellers in the Eagles of the Empire series, including CENTURION, INVICTUS and DAY OF THE CAESARS. Many of the series have been Sunday Times bestsellers.

Simon Scarrow is also the author of a quartet of novels about the lives of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte, YOUNG BLOODS, THE GENERALS, FIRE AND SWORD and THE FIELDS OF DEATH; a novel about the 1565 Siege of Malta, SWORD & SCIMITAR; HEARTS OF STONE, set in Greece during the Second World War; and PLAYING WITH DEATH, a contemporary thriller written with Lee Francis. He also wrote the novels ARENA and INVADER with T. J. Andrews. His thriller, BLACKOUT set in WW2 Berlin and first published in 2021 was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. 

The inspiration for ‘Dead of Night’ (in Simon Scarrow’s own words)

When I research the period covering the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, it is sometimes hard to believe the bald statistics concerning the number of people murdered by the regime, nor is it easy to comprehend the cold-blooded manner in which those responsible went about it. Sometimes the sheer scale and breadth of the horrors inflicted by the Nazis is almost impossible to contemplate, and it is necessary to break the atrocity down in a way that allows people to connect with the victims in a more personal and empathetic way. That was the approach I took with this novel.

In order to understand what became known after the war as the Aktion T4 programme, it is necessary to realise that this mass murder policy was the result of many years of conscious preparation, drawing on influences much wider than those located in Germany. A perversion of Darwin’s theories of evolution gave rise to a growing number of works by scientists and pseudo-scientists advocating the removal of ‘defective’ humans in order to take them out of the chain of heredity and thereby ‘improve’ humankind. Such notions were eagerly taken up across Europe and in the Americas and provided febrile encouragement to the political programme of Adolf Hitler and his followers as early as the mid-1920s, when Hitler was already advocating the elimination of those he regarded as ‘degenerates’ (‘degeneriert’).

When the Nazi party seized power in 1933, they wasted no time in imposing their ideology on Germany. Besides the suppression of the media, the arrest, torture and murder of political rivals and the removal of Jewish civil rights, one of the first measures put in place was compulsory sterilization of certain groups. This was imposed on a wide range of those deemed degenerate: gypsies, prostitutes, the work-shy, habitual criminals, mixed-race people and those with incurable mental and physical disabilities. That same July, Hitler intended to pass laws to enable the killing of patients diagnosed with mental illness but was persuaded that such a move was too controversial. Even so, in 1935 he let it be known that, in the event of war, he would introduce such a measure, since the public’s attention would be elsewhere and, in any case, in time of war, a few extra deaths would be easily missed amongst so many others. From 1937 a secret committee of the Nazi party was making plans for a euthanasia programme, seeding the notion through sympathetic articles in the Nazi-controlled press that portrayed the lives of people with disabilities as ‘life not worthy of life’ (‘Lebensunwertes Leben’).

The programme was activated in February 1939 when the father of Gerhard Kretschmar, a boy born with missing limbs, petitioned Hitler to have his son killed. The father had already approached a doctor in Leipzig asking him to end Gerhard’s life but the doctor had refused on the basis that he might as a result be charged with murder. Having reviewed the case, Hitler sent his personal doctor, Karl Brandt, to arrange the murder of the child at the end of July. At the same time Hitler authorised Brandt to oversee the creation of a euthanasia programme. A month later, Hitler put an end to the sterilization program. Things had moved on from preventing reproduction by the ‘degenerates’ to eliminating them altogether. In October, Hitler signed an order empowering doctors to rid society of ‘useless eaters’ (‘unnütze esser’) by granting them a ‘merciful death’ (‘barmherziger Tod’).

The programme was the responsibility of the Reich Committee for Scientific Registering of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses, whose structure and purpose were kept secret from the general public. The overall head of the programme was Philipp Bouhler, an SS officer, and one of the first members of the Nazi party. The section of the programme concerned with children was under the control of an SS doctor, Viktor Brack, and based at Tiergartenstrasse 4, from which the later name Aktion T4 derives. From the start the emphasis of the programme was on killing, not children already in institutions, but those who were still living at home with their families, before moving on to the elimination of those already institutionalised. Parents were coaxed by doctors to entrust their children to institutions where they would, supposedly, be better cared for. Once the children had been removed from their homes, they were subjected to various treatments ultimately intended to kill them. Some were injected with drugs that would progressively weaken them, while others were starved to death. Their deaths were passed off as the result of natural causes. Often, the bodies were cremated to destroy the evidence, and the parents were only then sent news of the death of their child. Considerable efforts were taken to conceal the scale of the killings; for example Brack’s officials kept a map in their office with pins placed in it for each child, to ensure there were not any suspicious clusters and that the victims were evenly spread out.

Very soon there was pressure to increase the numbers of those being eliminated. The German forces in Poland had already been engaged in mass murder of patients with mental illnesses of all ages, and had first started using poison gas on Polish inmates transported to Posen. Chemical expert Albert Widmann was brought in from the Kripo’s forensic department to develop the most effective and efficient means of using gas (at this point carbon monoxide) to murder people, or, as they were described to him, ‘beasts in human form’. Widmann oversaw the construction of a test unit at Brandenburg prison, where patients diagnosed with mental illness were gassed in batches of fifteen to twenty. The process took approximately twenty minutes to kill them.

The programme was rapidly expanded across Germany and for some time it was kept secret from those not directly involved. But suspicion began to be aroused when the number of deaths in institutions for those with particular illnesses and conditions swiftly climbed and a number of doctors, coroners, judges and Catholic priests began to protest. The American journalist William Shirer was aware of the programme very early on, but only had concrete proof of its existence when he was contacted by a conscience-stricken official with the details in September 1940. Nonetheless, by a combination of denial, distraction, threats and ideological justification, the Nazi regime managed to prevent any effective opposition to the programme. By the end of the war, more than 80,000 people with disabilities had been murdered, over 5,000 of them children.

While the Holocaust is the most notorious crime committed by the Nazi party, it was through the euthanasia program that the Nazis first experimented with then perfected the means by which vast numbers of Jews, political opponents, gypsies, homosexuals and other victims were subsequently murdered. It was on the bodies of those helpless children that the most terrible atrocity of the twentieth century was built.

What was the fate of those responsible? Philipp Bouhler was captured by the Americans then committed suicide. Karl Brandt was tried and hanged in 1948, as was Viktor Brack. Albert Widmann escaped justice until 1959, when he was finally tried for his part in the programme and sentenced to six years in prison. He died in 1986. Even after the war, many of the doctors involved in the programme expressed their pride in what they portrayed as a process intended to improve the human race. In truth, all the above were the real ‘beasts in human form’.

It is worth remembering that the Nazis were not alone in imposing compulsory sterilization. As mentioned earlier, the cause of improving racial purity had gained advocates in many countries. Between the 1907 and 1939  the USA carried out over 60,000 compulsory sterilizations. In Europe, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway also embarked on similar programmes in the 1930s. In the case of Sweden, between 1935 and 1975, over 63,000 compulsory sterilizations took place. That is proportionately more, taking account of the relative populations, than Nazi Germany’s 350,000. It is clear that some seeds of Nazi Germany’s racial policies were sown in many other nations who were influenced by eugenics advocates from both ends of the political spectrum. We should not be so complacent as to assume that what happened in Nazi Germany could not be replicated somewhere else at another time.

I am sure that most people reading this account of the Aktion T4 programme will share my despair that such things are possible. How could such inhumanity as that underlying the Aktion T4 programme and the Holocaust have existed on so vast a scale? I can think of no greater horror than the fate of the vulnerable children who were murdered in cold blood by the Nazis.

You can buy Dead Of Night HERE

You can follow Simon Scarrow on TWITTER & FACEBOOK

Simon Scarrow has his own website HERE

My #review of #TheLittleWartimeLibrary by @katethompson380 @HodderBooks

London, 1944.

Clara Button is no ordinary librarian. While the world remains at war, in East London Clara has created the country’s only underground library, built over the tracks in the disused Bethnal Green tube station.

Down here a secret community thrives: with thousands of bunk beds, a nursery, a cafe and a theatre offering shelter, solace and escape from the bombs that fall above.Along with her glamorous best friend and library assistant Ruby Munroe, Clara ensures the library is the beating heart of life underground.

But as the war drags on, the women’s determination to remain strong in the face of adversity is tested to the limits when it seems it may come at the price of keeping those closest to them alive.

Based on true events, The Little Wartime Library is a gripping and heart-wrenching page-turner that remembers one of the greatest resistance stories of the war.

For those followers who know my reading patterns, they will know that I really love novels set during WW2, so when I won The Little Wartime Library, I was so pleased as from the premise, I hoped it would be a good read.

Firstly, I must say that The Little Wartime Library is based on fact, this made the red so much better. This is the story of two friends, Clara and Ruby manage to survive the latter part of the war in Bethnal Green, London, working in a library that has been built above the tracks of the Underground because the above-ground library has been hit by a bomb and destroyed. This novel follows their lives and those of the locals, trying to work, live, love, and survive in tired war-torn London.

The cast of characters is quite large, but they are written with such love and care, you can tell that Kate Thompson has done a huge amount of research into the history of Bethnal Green and its inhabitants. I loved the cast of The Little Wartime Library and found the plots to be heart-rendering, gripping, and warm. We follow the novel from both Clara’s and Ruby’s perspectives in each chapter, and this works well.

As always you know I’m not going to give any spoilers away, but this is a multi-faceted story of the lives of the Jewish and English residents of this small corner of London, I really did enjoy The Little Wartime Library, and particularly liked the section at the end of the paperback that tells you how Kate Thompson researched the background to writing this book.

If you like books based during WW2, that are also based on truth, books with a lovely warm feeling about them but also written with knowledge and great care and compassion, then The Little Wartime Library is one for you. I really did enjoy it and gave it a strong 4 stars.

Kate is an award-winning journalist, ghostwriter, and novelist. She spent five years working on national newspapers such as the Daily Express and Daily Mail, and also on all the major national woman’s magazine titles.

Over the past seven years, she has concentrated on writing ten fiction and non-fiction titles. Her debut novel, SECRETS OF THE SINGER GIRLS, was a Sunday Times bestseller in 2015, with first-week sales of over 10,000. It has recently been optioned by Bandit Television.

Kate’s first non-fiction book , which uncovers the lives of extraordinary women of wartime East End, THE STEPNEY DOORSTEP SOCIETY, was published by Penguin (Michael Joseph) in February 2019 and reached number one in the history categories on Amazon.

You can follow Kate Thompson on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can buy The Little Wartime Library and Kate Thompson other books HERE

My #Review of the disturbing #SoPretty by @Ronnie_Turner published by @OrendaBooks

When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.

Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.

Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.

As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.

Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

Firstly huge thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for kindly sending me a copy.

I went into So Pretty with an open mind, I hadn’t really read much about this novel so when I started reading it, well let’s just say, from the outset unsettled me!

The opening page is the advert above, and Berry & Vincent’s shop is where most of the action takes place.

We follow the story from 2 points of view- Teddy, the son of a notorious serial killer, and Ada, a single Mum of Albie, trying to rise him away from an unloving Mother. Both are inherently lonely and lost, and both are damaged humans, from upbringings and well, life’s hand that they’ve been dealt.

The story starts slowly and builds with each page that you turn, in the small seaside town of Rye, on the South Coast of the UK. We learn things about both Teddy and Ada as we start reading through So Pretty, and the more you read the more creepy, gothic, and frankly bloody terrifying the novel becomes.

I really do not want to give away any of the explosive and utterly thrilling plots, but I will tell you once you start reading, you will not be able to put So Pretty down. And the darkness that lies in the quaint and beautiful Rye, will eek itself into your mind and give you sleepless nights! the way that Ronnie Turner has observed the minds of both Teddy and Ada and has then been able to express this in her writing is frankly a marvel! Her skill at making the reader feel very uncomfortable and unsettled is amazing. So Pretty is a dark, psychological thriller with short snappy chapters that are written in an almost poetic style, and each one will give you that creepy feeling of a gothic horror novel. And it culminates into a frankly terrifying and page-turning conclusion.

This is Ronnie Turner’s first novel and it is a total book banger, another superb find by Orenda books. I look forward to reading her next novel and having sleepless nights!

An amazing and frightening 5-star read.

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature. She now works as a Senior Waterstones Bookseller and barista. Ronnie lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and taking long walks on the coast.

You can buy So Pretty HERE

You can follow Ronnie Turner on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

My #Review of #KillingJericho by @WHusseyAuthor published by @zaffrebooks on 27/04/2023

Scott Jericho thought he’d worked his last case. Fresh out of jail, the disgraced former detective is forced to seek refuge with the fairground family he once rejected.

Then a series of bizarre murders comes to light – deaths that echo a century-old fairground legend. The police can’t connect the victims. But Jericho knows how the legend goes; that more murders are certain to follow.

As Jericho unpicks the deadly mystery, a terrifying question haunts him. As a direct descendant of one of the victims in the legend, is Jericho next on the killer’s list?

From the award-winning author of The Outrage comes Killing Jericho, the gothic, helter-skelter thriller debut that introduces crime fiction’s first ever Traveller detective, Scott Jericho

Firstly a huge thank you to Abi at Bonnier PR for sending me a proof copy of Killing Jericho.

I can’t remember where I first saw the talk of Killing Jericho by William Hussey but as soon as I saw the cover, I just knew it was a book I needed to read and I’m so glad I have!

And from the very opening pages I was hooked! Killing Jericho is an absolutely unique and ground-breaking crime thriller. Not only is our main protagonist, Scott Jericho, a Traveller but he is also Gay, plus he used to be in the Police! The latter 2 things do not sit well within the Traveler society, but William Hussey has managed to describe exactly the impact on Scott Jericho’s life, that this has had and how fabulous to read a crime thriller AND learn about a section of our society that often sees prejudices and misconceptions. We meet Scott while he is living in a trailer at his dad’s traveling fairground. There has never been a Traveller detective in fiction until now, and in Scott Jericho, we have an amazing main character, he is damaged by his past but has the rare skill of being able to read people with aplomb, he is a complex but ultimately loveable character, I’ve fallen for him from this, the first book in an (i hope long!) series!

The plot and storyline are also superb, I’m not going to give too much away but it revolves around some seemingly unconnected killings, that seem to be connected to a century-old fairground legend. there is a marvelous array of characters, which really makes Killing Jericho a vibrant and lively novel, but the theme running through, death and murder, is almost gothic in its intensity.

Killing Jericho needs to be on every crime fiction fans list, it is written extremely well by William Hussey, you can feel his love and passion for his people (the son of a traveling showman himself) and it is an important book within the traveling community and also the LGQBT+ community, and I really hope that Killing Jericho wins prizes and gets the recognition that is so deserved. I’m almost welling up writing this because I really cannot explain how much I adore Killing Jericho, I’ve read many crime fiction books, but this one is a real gem, and I feel honored to be able to review it! I was gripped from the first page, and the plot is excellent, culminating in a hugely surprising ending (which I did not see coming!)

I am left bereft now I’ve finished Killing Jericho! I hope that we don’t have to wait too long for book two! A stunning and masterful read from a hugely talented author. Absolutely fabulous and unique 5-star read from me.

William Hussey is an award-winning author of over a dozen novels. From thrillers for Young Adults to gripping whodunnits for grown-ups, he has written in almost every genre of fiction. His latest books include the highly-anticipated KILLING JERICHO (April 2023), the first in a brand new series featuring crime fiction’s first Traveller detective, and the acclaimed political thriller for teens, THE OUTRAGE.
His other titles for children and Young Adults include Hideous Beauty, Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide, Witchfinder: Gallows at Twilight; Witchfinder: The Last Nightfall; Haunted; The Nightmare Eater; and Turn Her Face To The Wall.

You can Pre-order Killing Jericho HERE

You can follow William Hussey on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

William Hussey has his own website HERE

#BlogTour #AWinterGrave @authorpetermay @riverrunbooks @soph_ransompr published UK 19.01.2023

From the twelve-million copy bestselling author of the Lewis trilogy comes a chilling new mystery set in the isolated Scottish Highlands.

A TOMB OF ICE

A young meteorologist checking a mountain top weather station in Kinlochleven discovers the body of a missing man entombed in ice.

A DYING DETECTIVE

Cameron Brodie, a Glasgow detective, sets out on a hazardous journey to the isolated and ice-bound village. He has his own reasons for wanting to investigate a murder case so far from his beat.

AN AGONIZING RECKONING

Brodie must face up to the ghosts of his past and to a killer determined to bury forever the chilling secret that his investigation threatens to expose.

Set against a backdrop of a frighteningly plausible near-future, A WINTER GRAVE is Peter May at his page-turning, passionate and provocative best.

Firstly thank you so much to Jess at Ransom PR for inviting me to the blog tour and supplying me with a print copy of A Winter Grave.

Now I’ve only read one other book by Peter May ( I know !) which was Lockdown and I thought it was superb, so I was looking forward to A Winter Grave described as a “Crime Cli-Fi” novel…. I read the blurb and was already itching to start reading!

The novel is set in 2051 and revolves around a body being found in the Scottish Highland during ice and snow storms, where a lot of Scotland has been lost to rising sea levels because successive Governments had ignored the warnings. We follow the journey of Cameron Brodie, a veteran Glasgow Detective as he travels to the bleak inaccessible village of Kinlochleven and the events that surround him once he arrives to investigate the body that was found, who was an Investigative Reporter.

From the get-go, A Winter Grave is absolutely gripping and so visceral, in fact sitting here writing I can see the whole book running through my head like a movie. I mean, Peter May is a Bestselling author for a reason, but I believe A Winters Grave may be his finest novel.

It’s written with so much love and care, by that I mean, you can see Peter May cares about the planet, about finding a way to stop Global Warming and Climate Change, and his love especially of Scotland, his homeland.

The way he has written and described the journey Cameron Brodie has up to Kinlochleven is absolutely breathtaking, I mean you feel like you are traveling with him in the eVTOL ( You need to read A Winters Tale to find out what superb craft this is!), and from the start, even this is hazardous for our protagonist!

The storyline is just sublime, an absolute gem, that gives you shocks, surprises, and major OH NO moments in it, I loved the characters and the way they are written is exceptional, full of vim and empathy, Peter May is an artist at writing his characters!

I was a little worried about reading a book set in the future, as it’s not something I’ve read before, but I need not have been. There’s enough of the familiar to keep the reader invested and it really does work superbly well as a crime novel, but focusing on climate change.

You can see how much research Peter May has done with the turn of each page, and nothing is too technical or scientific that it would baffle the reader. And the attention to detail in the props and climate talk is again, exceptional.

A Winter Grave is a truly gripping bookbanger of a novel, I predict that this will be one of the biggest novels of 2023. You can always tell how good a novel is when you’ve read another couple of books afterwards, but the story is still vivid and dancing inside your mind! There is only one thing that I wanted, and that was a map of the Scottish area from now to how it had changed in 2051, but that’s just my thing, I love book maps!

A super 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read from me, and a book that needs to fly in 2023!

Peter May is the multi award-winning author of: – the Lewis Trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland; – the China Thrillers, featuring Beijing detective Li Yan and American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell; – the Enzo Files, featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo MacLeod, which is set in France. The sixth and final Enzo book is Cast Iron (January 2017, Riverrun). He has also written several standalone books:

– I’ll Keep You Safe (January 2018, Riverrun) – Entry Island (January 2014, Quercus UK) – Runaway (January 2015, Quercus UK) – Coffin Road (January 2016, Riverrun)

May had a successful career as a television writer, creator, and producer.

One of Scotland’s most prolific television dramatists, he garnered more than 1000 credits in 15 years as scriptwriter and script editor on prime-time British television drama. He is the creator of three major television drama series and presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland before quitting television to concentrate on his first love, writing novels. Born and raised in Scotland he lives in France.

His breakthrough as a best-selling author came with The Lewis Trilogy. After being turned down by all the major UK publishers, the first of the The Lewis Trilogy – The Blackhouse – was published in France as L’Ile des Chasseurs d’Oiseaux where it was hailed as “a masterpiece” by the French national newspaper L’Humanité. His novels have a large following in France. The trilogy has won several French literature awards, including one of the world’s largest adjudicated readers awards, the Prix Cezam.

The Blackhouse was published in English by the award-winning Quercus (a relatively young publishing house which did not exist when the book was first presented to British publishers). It went on to become an international best seller, and was shortlisted for both Barry Award and Macavity Award when it was published in the USA.

The Blackhouse won the US Barry Award for Best Mystery Novel at Bouchercon in Albany NY, in 2013

You can buy A Winter Grave HERE

You can follow Peter May on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can find Peter May’s website HERE

#Review of #TheSSOfficersArmchair by #DanielLee @daniellee550 @vintagebooks

The gripping account of one historian’s hunt for answers as he delves into the surprising life of an ordinary Nazi officer.

It began with an armchair. It began with the surprise discovery of a stash of personal documents covered in swastikas sewn into its cushion.

The SS Officer’s Armchair is the story of what happened next, as Daniel Lee follows the trail of cold calls, documents, coincidences and family secrets, to uncover the life of one Dr Robert Griesinger from Stuttgart. As Lee delves deeper, Griesinger emerges as at once an ordinary man with a family and ambitions, and an active participant in the Nazi machinery of terror whose choices continue to reverberate today.

I saw this book and read the premise and was so intruiged I had to buy it!

I’ve always had a bit of an interest in WW2 and especially from the German point of view, no idea why, this book was a great read and kept my attention all the way through.

The story was so well researched by Daniel Lee, he went to extraordinary lengths to find out how a chair was found in the Czech Republic, to have a hoard of Nazi documents sewn into the seat, and how for 70 plus years they were only discovered when it was taken to an upholsterers!

I found it even more amazing that Daniel Lee is a Jew, so writing and trying to find out about the life of a former SS Officer was brave move and not without objection from his own community!

The book is as I’ve said, so well researched, I learnt a lot and I think Daniel Lee has managed to write a book describing the almost “normal” life of a man trying to live a life, with a family as a Nazi during WW2 and the effect this had on his relatives which still has an impact even today.

I found it a engrossing read, there are lots of research notes and photographs to help the reader navigate thru a pretty normal life, in terrible times. I do feel as a society we must learn from the past, and this means having the intelligence to read all accounts of peoples lives, weather they be deemed good or bad.

I shall be looking out for any other novels by Daniel Lee, a 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read from me.

DANIEL LEE is a senior lecturer in modern history at Queen Mary, University of London. A specialist in the history of Jews in France and North Africa during the Second World War, he completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford, and is also the author of Pétain’s Jewish Children. As a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker, Lee is a regular broadcaster on radio. He lives in north London.

You can buy The SS Officers Armchair HERE

My #review of #TheDrift by @cjtudor MichaelJBooks released 19.01.2023

Survival can be murder . . .

Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. Evacuated from a secluded boarding school during a snowstorm, her coach careered off the road, trapping her with a handful of survivors.

Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She’s in a cable car stranded high above snowy mountains, with five strangers and no memory of how they got on board.

Carter is gazing out of the window of an isolated ski chalet that he and his companions call home. As their generator begins to waver in the storm, the threat of something lurking in the chalet’s depths looms larger.

Outside, the storm rages. Inside each group, a killer lurks.

But who?

And will anyone make it out alive? . . .

Firstly hugest of thanks go to CJ Tudor for kindly sending me a proof copy of The Drift.

Ever since I saw the very first promo for The Drift, I was hooked and just knew this would be a book that I would devour and enjoy….little did I know that I would be reading the PERFECT thriller and CJ Tudor’s most accomplished novel yet!

Firstly a couple of things, I adore snow, I adore snowy thrillers and reading The Drift, I was immediately taken into the snowy mountains and because of the way The Drift is written, I actually felt like I was there! This book is so visceral in its depictions of a place high in the mountains, in the future, where a world has been ravaged by disease and survival is the only way forward, it’s cold, it’s chilling and it’s creepy, The Drift has it all!

There are 3 settings in The Drift, we start with an overturned coach and a cast of characters who have survived this, lead by Hannah. Then we meet Meg, in a cable car stuck high above the frozen landscape and a claustrophobic setting and group of people and finally we meet Carter, in The Retreat, a place of safety from those who threaten the safety and survival in these dangerous and frankly scary times.

As always I’m not going to give the game away by telling you what happens BUT I will tell you The Drift will be a massive bestseller, it’s frankly bloody triumphant, the mixture of a frankly gripping and outstanding plot, with what could be any of our futures, in the coming years, and add to the mixture characters you will love and want to survive against all the odds, plus a dash of horror, sickeningly realistic gore and a creepiness that permeates the whole book…..I LOVED it, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read!

So in summing up, it’s a 5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 read for me ( actually it should be 500 stars!), The Drift needs to be on everyone’s list to read in 2023….in fact get it pre-ordered now and set yourself a couple of days aside because once you start you won’t lbe able to stop reading The Drift! A bookbanger and a masterpiece of thrill writing!

C. J. Tudor lives with her partner and young daughter. Her love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.
Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author.
Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in thirty-nine territories.

You can pre-order The Drift HERE

You can follow CJ Tudor on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

My last #Guest #Author of 2022 is #EmmaStyles @emstylesauthor author of #NoCountryForGirls @BooksSphereMy

JW; I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea for No Country For Girls come from?

ES; I’ve always loved writing and reading. At age twelve I would raid my parents’ bookcases for my dad’s Robert Ludlum and Dick Francis thrillers, and I remember thinking, one day at high school, ‘When I’m old I’ll be a writer.’ I didn’t start writing my first novel until I was forty, which twelve-year-old me would definitely have thought was old!

The idea for No Country for Girls came from the two protagonists Charlie and Nao, who appeared almost fully formed during a writing exercise. They had great chemistry and a lot of stuff to work out and I knew I wanted to send them on a road trip together. I’d been considering writing a Thelma & Louise-style road trip thriller and these two were the perfect characters for that story.

JW; How much research did you have to do for No Country For Girls, did you get to visit any of the places mentioned in the book?

ES; I did a fair bit of research online, as well as speaking to locals about particular aspects of the plot, setting, and characters. I’d been to almost all the locations in the book before and driven the road trip as far as Broome a few times growing up, so the setting was very alive in my imagination. I’d have loved to visit again while writing, but the pandemic got in the way of that. Instead, I traversed hundreds of kilometers in Google Street View and asked my West Australian family and friends to send me pictures, videos, and sensory impressions of the road trips they were doing in 2020. I did miss some things though! Termite mounds are one feature I realized I’d forgotten once we’d finished all the edits. 

JW; How important to you was it to raise awareness of women’s issues in rural Australia, particularly First Nations Australians?

ES; I didn’t think about these aspects consciously but I can see why they emerged. I was in my early twenties working as a newly qualified veterinarian in rural Australia when Thelma & Louise was released, coming up against sexism and misogyny every day in my life and work. When I started writing and thought back to how much I loved that movie, I began to question how much the world had changed in thirty years. 

There’s a line in the film when Louise says, ‘We don’t live in that world, Thelma.’ She’s talking about a world where victim blaming of women and girls doesn’t exist, and we still don’t live in that world. I wanted to write about two young women who are not powerful in their lives and give them the opportunity to fight back and find their freedom. This, along with the Cormac McCarthy novel No Country for Old Men, informed the title No Country for Girls.

In terms of the First Nations characters in the story, especially Nao, it was second nature to me to include this perspective. It doesn’t feel possible to write authentically about modern Australia and intimately about the Australian landscape, without writing from this point of view, even though it’s not my background. It also became increasingly important to me that I was writing two characters trying to connect across their difference. The world needs that so badly, for us to genuinely listen and communicate with one another whatever our different perspectives might be.

JW; Who would you like to see playing the parts of Charlie and Nao, and Warren when No Country For Girls is turned into a Movie!

ES; I so hope they make the movie. I’ll be beside myself with excitement if that happens. I can see Eliza Scanlen playing Charlie, Rarriwuy Hick playing Nao and David Wenham has always been Warren for me, right through from writing the earliest drafts. 

JW; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader, or was television your thing? Do you have a favorite childhood book or television program?

ES; I did watch TV but books were what I escaped into the most. I loved pretty well anything with wilderness in it, both in the characters and the landscapes. I’ve talked about them before (notably in front of a sold-out crowd at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate) but the Silver Brumby books by Elyne Mitchell were beloved books for me growing up, as well as Mary O’Hara’s My Friend Flicka and Green Grass of Wyoming. I loved losing myself in the big landscapes and heart-in-mouth drama of those stories.

JW; If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

ES; This is extreme but honestly the first thing that came to mind was the Big Bang. I mean, it’s the biggest thing that’s happened in the universe and none of this would exist without it. If I could have a front-row seat to that and survive it, like maybe from the Tardis, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

JW; What is your favorite book or books that you have read so far in 2022, and why?

ES; Three brilliant crime fiction debuts I’ve read this year are Wake by Shelley Burr, Better the Blood by Michael Bennett, and Breathless by Amy McCulloch, in each case because of an exceptional sense of place and the strength of the connection between the setting and characters, which is always what makes a book for me. In YA fiction I’ve recently finished The Eternal Return of Clara Hart by Louise Finch, a debut time-loop novel with an incredible voice that unpicks toxic masculinity. These books are all amazing reads.

JW; What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

ES; Wildlife and wilderness. Spending time in nature, whether in the UK or Australia, is the one thing that never fails to remind me how rich and amazing life on this planet is. The wildness of one kind or another will always find its way into what I write. I’d probably be planting trees somewhere if I wasn’t writing.

JW; Do you have a favorite author or favorite book of all time?

ES; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro has been my book of all time for years for its emotional devastation, and my crime novel of all time is Truth by Peter Temple. Both these books are filled with longing, which is always what fuels what I write.

JW; If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

ES; This was a fun question. I’ve settled on four characters from crime fiction who I’d love to throw together and see what happens. Villanelle, Vera, V.I. Warshawski and Allie Burns. They’re all great female characters and between them, they have the perpetrator, detective, PI, and journalist covered so I think it’d be an interesting evening. 

JW; If you were to be marooned on a desert island what 3 items would you take?

ES; Some high-factor sunscreen, a really good knife (no crime writer marooned on a desert island should be without one), and a huge box containing each of the debut novels I’ve been published alongside this year. That’s probably cheating, but there’s so much of life covered in these books. Reading them reminds me how different we all are, and what an achievement it is to get your first book out into the world.

JW; Do you have a hidden talent?

ES; I learned to fly when I was in my twenties and got my private pilot’s license. I’m not sure that’s a talent but I loved learning to navigate and read the weather as well as the technical aspects of flying. I didn’t have the money to keep it up, and neither did that feel like a sustainable thing to do in terms of the climate and environment, but it was a formative experience I’ll always be grateful for.

JW; Are you currently writing another book, and when will it be released? 

ES; I am! I’ve had a few runs at two different books and I’ve now settled on one of them, a serial killer thriller set in Western Australia, again with two young women protagonists. A story that couldn’t be set anywhere else, it’s strongly influenced by the Claremont serial killer case in the mid-90s that haunted the neighborhood where I grew up. There’s still a lot of work to do and I’m way off having a release date yet, but I’m excited about the story and I love the two main characters.

You can follow Emma Styles on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can find out more about Emma Styles HERE on her website

You can buy No Country For Girls HERE