Monday, 30 April 2018

Space Police: The Toaster That Time Forgot by David Blake

I was lucky enough to be able to read another David Blake comedy through the TBC Reviewers Request Group. It was so much fun.

The Blurb:

It's the 25th Century and the President of Earth is about to be arrested for tax evasion.

Meanwhile... as Detective Inspector Capstan becomes increasingly used to his new life in the future, he's asked to track down a mad and rather disgruntled scientist who's just escaped from a maximum security prison asteroid. But when the scientist in question threatens to travel back in time to punish the person he feels responsible for having had him locked up, it's up to Capstan and Dewbush to do whatever they can to stop him.

This, the third in the brand new Space Police series, is a hilariously funny Sci Fi space comedy that's just perfect for fans of Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Terry Pratchett, and the Space Team books.

My Review:

Capstan and Dewbush are back for another adventure. Oh, I do love this pair. Dewbush with his wide eyed innocence and Capstan still finding his feet (well foot, really, as the other one is bionic) after waking up four hundred odd years in the future.

In this hilarious story, our intrepid duo get a case that involves two eccentric scientists, one of whom is definitely a bit mad, a time travelling machine disguised as a toaster, dinosaurs, Black Friday and a sandwich maker. Meanwhile, the work shy, golf loving President (remind you of anyone?) of the Earth has his own problems with the IRS, back taxes and a giant worm, who can't wait to see his sex tape!

It's utterly, utterly bonkers and brilliant because of it. I loved the passing references to 'Back to the Future' and 'Mr Benn' - so appropriate given the story.

I am loving work from David, and looking forward to reading more. Highly recommend if you fancy a good giggle. Don't worry if you haven't read the previous books in the series, this works fine as a standalone, but you should read them anyway, because they're great.

You can buy Space Police: The Toaster That Time Forgot on Amazon UK and US.

You can read my review of Space Police: The Final Fish Finger by David Blake here.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Presumed Dead by Mason Cross

I am delighted to be reviewing Presumed Dead, and even more thrilled that Mason Cross is answering a few questions on today's post! I was lucky enough to get a tiny peak at the very beginning of the book way back, so I couldn't wait to be clutching a finished copy in my sweaty little palms!

The Blurb:

What do you know about the Devil Mountain Killer?


Adeline Connor was the Devil Mountain Killer's final victim. After she was gunned down, the murderer disappeared and the killing spree ended.


Carter Blake has been hired to do what he does best: to find someone. But this time he's hunting a dead girl - Adeline Connor's brother is convinced she's still alive.

But this town doesn't want an outsider digging up old business. And as Blake gets deeper into the case, it starts to become clear that the murders didn't just stop fifteen years ago.

The killer is on the hunt again.

My Review:

I am a big fan of Mason Cross and his Carter Blake series of books, so I was really looking forward to reading this new one. Happily, I was not disappointed.

This is the fifth Carter Blake book, but don't let that put you off if you haven't read any or all of the previous four. This works brilliantly as a standalone (as do the others).There is the occasional reference to escapades from previous books, but nothing that would spoil your enjoyment of this one. Having said all of that, I would urge you to read the others simply because they are so good! The link to my review of The Killing Season, the first Carter Blake story, is below.

Carter Blake is doing what he does best - looking for someone. Only this time, the person he is looking for is presumed dead. A friend from his past asks him to get involved with the case of a long missing girl, presumed to have been murdered. But her brother is convinced he's seen her alive.

Local law enforcement are initially hostile towards Blake, but come to appreciate his expertise, particularly Deputy Isabella Green, who ends up working closely with Blake.

The Devil Mountain killings happened years ago, and then nothing. Until now. As Blake looks for Adeline Connor, bodies start to mount up, killed in a manner reminiscent of the slayings 15 years before.

I loved that we find out a bit more about Blake's background in this book, but that he still remains a bit of a mystery. I felt there was more of a focus on other characters in this book, particularly Isabella Green, as well as Blake, which gives a nice dynamic. Mason changes between writing in the first person for Blake and the third person for everyone else, which is really effective.

The book is beautifully written, with well fleshed out characters. It has a real cinematic feel to it - I can easily imagine it on the big screen. The pace is just right, with tension mounting as the story progresses. It's a book that keeps you wanting more - I read it very quickly because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next, but then was sad when I finished it cos it was over! But I wasn't disappointed by the ending. OMG, the last couple of chapters! Wow! Absolutely fantastic.

Carter Blake has inevitably been compared to Jack Reacher, the character created by Lee Childs.  For my money, Mason Cross is the better writer - more original, less formulaic. And that's fabulous. Can't wait for more from him! Highly recommended.

Q & A:

I am absolutely delighted that Mason was able to pop by and answer a few questions for us.

So where does the inspiration for Carter Blake come from? Is he who you would be if you weren't a writer?! 😀
- I wanted him to be kind of a mixture of James Bond (capable badass), Jason Bourne (conflicted mystery man) and Bruce Wayne (always prepared). No, he's nothing like me! Although we share the same taste in music, and I am quite envious of his nomadic lifestyle.

Presumed Dead is the fifth Carter Blake book, but the first one with such a focus on other key players as well as Blake. Why the change? 
- All of the books so far have had chapters from other characters' points of view, but Presumed Dead is definitely a little different, because it's the first time there's almost a co-protagonist in the form of Deputy Isabella Green. I think the reader definitely gets inside her head more than usual for a supporting character.

You write strong female characters. Was that a conscious decision? 
- Thanks! I'm not sure if it's a conscious choice or just that I do my best to make  all of the major characters strong, or at least well-defined. Also, I'm probably influenced by the female characters I've grown up reading / watching, like Dana Scully, Buffy, Ripley, Temperance Brennan, Selina Kyle, Clarice Starling - none of them take any shit.

What's next for you? Carter Blake 6? 
- Not yet. The next book is going to be a standalone and, unusually for me, it's set here in the UK. Watch this space!

We will  do! Thank you. 

About Mason:

The first thing you should know about him is that his name isn't actually Mason Cross.

Mason Cross is the author of the Carter Blake thriller series published by Orion. The first book, The Killing Season, was  published in 2014, and was followed by The Samaritan, The Time to Kill (titled Winterlong in the USA), Don’t Look For Me and now  Presumed Dead.

Mason Cross’s short crime stories have been published in magazines including Ellery Queen and First Edition. His story, ‘A Living’, was shortlisted for the Quick Reads ‘Get Britain Reading’ Award.

The Killing Season was longlisted for the 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award, and The Samaritan was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club for Spring 2016.

He lives near Glasgow with his wife and three children.

You can buy Presumed Dead on Amazon UK, Amazon US, and in all good bookshops.

You can read about the launch event for Presumed Dead here.
My  review for the first Carter Blake book, The Killing Season, is here

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

This Dark Place by Claire Kittridge

This was my most recent read through the TBConFB Reviewers Request Group. It's Claire Kittridge's debut work, and it's a really impressive start.

The Blurb:

Priscilla’s body lay motionless on the couch in front of her. They were blood sisters, but Avery never thought it would end like this - thrust against her will into this dark place.

When the brutal death of a young American theatre student in London is splashed across headlines worldwide, NYPD Detective Kelly Moore flies across the Atlantic to join a crack team of British investigators on the case.

Together with the London Metropolitan Police, Kelly must track down a twisted killer who seems to know her every move. As the body count rises, and panic spreads, the killer threatens to make Kelly the next victim.

In a heart-racing game of cat and mouse, Kelly must outwit this elusive master of surveillance – who might be the last person she suspects.

From debut author, Claire Kittridge, comes this page-turning, unputdownable thriller. This Dark Place is the first novel in the Detective Kelly Moore series, introducing a tough streetwise cop who will go to any lengths to catch a killer.

Fans of Robert Bryndza, Karin Slaughter, and Rachel Abbot will love discovering this thrilling new series today.

My Review

Kelly Moore is a New York detective who is parachuted into an investigation by the Metropolitan police into the suspicious death of a young American student, Priscilla Ames. The victim's father is rich, powerful and influential, and insists that Kelly is involved with the investigation. Superintendent Janet Frame is not keen for her involvement, but Kelly gets on well with the rest of the team.

Following Priscilla's suspicious death, there are soon more bodies, as Kelly and her British pals race to find the connection that will lead them to the perpetrator.

If I hadn't known this was a debut novel, I would never have guessed. It doesn't feel like one. It's well written, well paced and the characters are all well defined. I particularly liked Kelly - she's efficient, tough but fair, and good at her job. But she has ghosts - her own link to the UK - and this features strongly in the book.
I thought it was a great idea - a UK based crime and team but featuring an American cop, and victim. 

It would appear that this book is the start of a series and I am delighted. I am very much looking forward to reading more by this author. Recommended.

You can buy This Dark Place on Amazon UK and US.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Presumed Dead Book Launch

It was a packed house at the Waterstones store in Glasgow's Argyle Street last Wednesday evening, for the launch of Presumed Dead, the fifth Carter Blake book, by Mason Cross. He was introduced by fellow crime writer Douglas Skelton, who then went on to quiz Mason.

Douglas looked out at the huge crowd and joked 'Are you sure you're all here to see Mason?" before introducing the man of the moment. He revealed that Mason is not averse to cracking the spines of books - the horror! After gently ribbing Mason, Douglas admitted he'd loved the book, and thought it was Mason's best yet. And he particularly loved the line 'Eating Twinkies one minute, dead the next'!

The book is set in Georgia, and centres around a girl who is presumed dead, and presumed to have been the last victim of the notorious Devil Mountain Killer. Mason was inspired to write the book after researching serial killers for previous books and realising that not all victims are found. Another inspiration for the setting was Bill Bryson's book, 'A Walk in the Woods' about walking the Appalachian Way.

Most of Mason's research is carried out through Google - he hasn't discovered much he can't find out there! But he explained that this was an easier book to write than some of his earlier ones, as it's his most linear to date - all the action takes place in the same time zone, and in a relatively small area.

Carter Blake is a 'Location Consultant' - Douglas asked what that means. Mason's response was that he was basically an expensive private investigator! Before he wrote the first book, he came up with a character that could find himself in all sorts of situations, working on his own, or with various branches of law enforcement. So, hopefully, there will be plenty more Carter Blake stories, but Mason's next book will actually be a standalone set in the UK.

Douglas asked Mason about his writing routines. With a young family and full time job, he has learnt to write little and often, whenever he can, and finds it mounts up quickly. He likes to do a degree of planning, but doesn't do it in great detail.

Douglas quizzed Mason for the best part of an hour, before opening it up to the audience, who had a variety of questions. The most important one? 'French Toast or Eggy Bread?', following a Twitter debate between Mason and a fellow author, which loads of other people commented on. The correct response, in case you're wondering, is French Toast.

The evening came to an end far too soon with a huge queue of folk picking up the new book and getting Mason to sign them. Loads of selfies with him too, including mine!

A fabulous fun evening,  and free wine too!

You can buy Presumed Dead here:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Killing Season by Mason Cross

Presumed Dead, the fifth book in the Carter Blake series by Mason Cross is published on Thursday, and has its launch in Glasgow tonight. This is a series I love, and I will be writing about both the launch and the new book in the next few days. But in the meantime, I thought I would share my review of the first in the series, The Killing Season. This was the first book review I ever wrote!

The Blurb:

'The first thing you should know about me is that my name is not Carter Blake. That name no more belongs to me than the hotel room I was occupying when the call came in.'

When Caleb Wardell, the infamous 'Chicago Sniper', escapes from death row two weeks before his execution, the FBI calls on the services of Carter Blake, a man with certain specialised talents whose skills lie in finding those who don't want to be found. A man to whom Wardell is no stranger.

Along with Elaine Banner, an ambitious special agent juggling life as a single mother with her increasingly high-flying career, Blake must track Wardell down as he cuts a swathe across America, apparently killing at random. But Blake and Banner soon find themselves sidelined from the case. And as they try desperately to second guess a man who kills purely for the thrill of it, they uncover a hornets' nest of lies and corruption. Now Blake must break the rules and go head to head with the FBI if he is to stop Wardell and expose a deadly conspiracy that will rock the country.

Slick, fast-paced and assured, The Killing Season is the first novel in the gripping new Carter Blake series.

My Review:

'The first thing you should know about me is that my name is not Carter Blake.' What a fantastic opener! Carter Blake is a fantastic hero. Flawed, but brilliant, and inherently good. Women want him (or maybe that's just me!) and men want to be him.

Here he is on the trail of Caleb Wardell, a fantastic baddie - so well portrayed by the author.

Blake is an expert in finding people who don't want to be found, and the FBI reluctantly bring him on board to help them find Wardell. The story follows the journey of Blake and the FBI hunting down Wardell, sometimes together and sometimes with Blake on his own following his gut feelings. The story twists and turns and keeps us hooked right until the explosive end. I don't want to say too much, because you should read it!

The whole book is very descriptive and cinematic. Somebody is missing a trick not making this into a movie. I'm thinking Matt Damon for Blake and Tom Hardy for Wardell, but they're maybe a bit mainstream. But someone should definitely make a film of it!

Basically you should buy it and read it! I couldn't fault it - a brilliant hero, a well described baddie, and a great story. I don't want to give anything away, but this is an awesome debut, and promises much more to come. Read it!

You can buy The Killing Season on Amazon UK, Amazon US and in all good bookshops.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Healer: The Gift of Dreams by Sarah Dahl

Occasionally, I like to mix it up, and Sarah Dahl's short stories enable me to do just that.

The Blurb:

Viking farmer Magnus is plagued by a demon. Since his wife’s death, the dreaded Mara tortures his body and mind. Powerless, he sends for a healer, the unexpectedly young and beautiful Audr … Are her sensual powers and his unleashed virility enough to banish the demon from his bed?

Set in the Viking era, this is a stand-alone, adult read with a HEA.

My Review:

This is the fifth short story in the Tales of Freya series, and the third one I have been lucky enough to read.

Magnus is in pain and grieving. He arranges for a Healer to visit him, expecting an old woman to attend. But she's not old, she's young, beautiful and bold, and that throws him off balance. And always in the background is his devoted servant Alvi, who adores her master.

I always feel deliciously naughty when I read one of Sarah's stories. She writes beautifully sensual scenes without being  explicit or crude. And the sense of place she evokes is wonderful - I almost feel that I am there, watching the scenes unfold in front of me. My only complaint is that it's too short - I wanted more! Having said that though, it's perfectly formed. Loved it.

You can buy this story on Amazon UK.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Spook Street by Mick Herron

As well as being a member of THE Book Club (TBC) on Facebook, I am also part of a real life crime book group, run by the gorgeous Sharon, blogger extraordinaire over at Chapter in my Life - do check her blog out, it's fab. Anyway, this was our book for this month.

The Blurb:

Never outlive your ability to survive a fight.

Twenty years retired, David Cartwright can still spot when the stoats are on his trail.

Jackson Lamb worked with Cartwright back in the day. He knows better than most that this is no vulnerable old man. 'Nasty old spook with blood on his hands' would be a more accurate description.

'The old bastard' has raised his grandson with a head full of guts and glory. But far from joining the myths and legends of Spook Street, River Cartwright is consigned to Lamb's team of pen-pushing no-hopers at Slough House.

So it's Lamb they call to identify the body when Cartwright's panic button raises the alarm at Service HQ.

And Lamb who will do whatever he thinks necessary, to protect an agent in peril . . .

My Review:

This was the first book I have read by Mick Herron, although it's the fourth in his  Jackson Lamb (Slow Horses) series. It  was absolutely fine to read as a stand alone, as the characters are well described, but there is a clearly a back story for each of them covered in previous books.

This came highly recommended so I was keen to get started. But, to be honest, it took me a good while to get into it. For the first few chapters, which set the scene and introduce the main players, I found the writing quite laborious. The sentences are long, and very adjective heavy - it almost felt in places as if the author was trying too hard.

But this is a book of two halves, or rather one third and two thirds. Almost as soon as Jackson Lamb arrives in the story, the action and the pace build up, and the style of writing changes too. I really got into the book at this point, and it was much easier and more enjoyable to read from then on.

Jackson Lamb heads up a team of disgraced secret service agents known unofficially as the Slow Horses. There has been  something that has happened to each member of the team which has ended with them being sent to join Lamb at Slough House, to stay out of trouble. But it doesn't quite work out that way.

One of the team, River Cartwright, is concerned about his grandfather, a retired spy, who appears to have the symptoms of dementia. But the old man is convinced he's being watched. And then there's a dead body in his house...

Once it gets going this is a brilliant, enjoyable read. The main characters are all quirky and clearly have issues, particularly J K Coe. They were all well drawn, but I shall be reading the earlier books because I'm interested now in their back stories.

And what can I say about Jackson Lamb? I adored him. He's unkempt, rude, disregards authority, smokes too much and drinks too much, but he's fabulous.

The plot moves along at a pace, after the first few chapters, and builds up to the finale. There is dark humour running all the way through, which I loved. You do need to keep your wits about you - there are a lot  of characters involved,  some using different names.

Looking forward to reading the earlier books in the series.

You can purchase Spook Street (and the other books in the series) online at Amazon UK or US,, and in all good bookshops.

Monday, 9 April 2018

The Liar's Promise by Mark Tilbury

I had some reservations before reading The Liar's Promise by Mark Tilbury - I already had a gargantuan TBR pile (still do!), and it was a bit different from my usual read. But I am so glad I did! Loved it. Ordered his previous book Abattoir of Dreams and pre ordered his next, The Key to Death's Door (out next week) on the strength of this one - no pressure then, Mark!

The Blurb

How does a mother protect her child from the unknown?

During a visit to a local theatre, four-year-old Chloe Hollis becomes hysterical. But her mother, Mel, doesn’t realise that this is just the beginning of the nightmare. In the coming weeks, Chloe talks of The Tall Man - Of death.

At her wit's end, Mel confides in Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school where she works. But what Mel doesn’t know is that Charles is linked to what is happening to her daughter.

Will Mel learn the terrible truth? And can she overcome her own tragic past and save her daughter before it’s too late?

The Liar’s Promise is a story of past lives and future torment

My Review

OMG! What a book!

I wasn't sure about getting this book as my To Be Read list was so huge, but it really appealed to me. And, gosh, I am so pleased I did - I was hooked from beginning to end!

Four year old Chloe has a fit and refuses to watch the pantomime at the local theatre. She starts talking about the threat of the 'Tall Man' and other strange things. 

Desperate, her mother confides in the headmaster of the school she teaches in. But is he the right man to talk to?

I thought this was a very original story - certainly not like anything else I've read. The characters and situations are richly described. It features a Shakespeare fanatic, colour coded freezers and a horrific, deadly game. I can't really say much more without revealing spoilers!

There was nothing I didn't like about this book - an absolutely cracking read. A word of warning though - it is quite gruesome in parts, and thus not for the faint hearted. But I loved it and can't wait to read more by this author. 

You can buy The Liar's Promise on Amazon UK and  Amazon US and in all good bookshops!

Friday, 6 April 2018

House of Sand by Michael J Sanford

This one was a bit different for me. A brilliant but disturbing description of the descent into madness, or at least how I imagine it might be! And it played tricks on my mind too!

The Blurb:

I want to watch you burn.

Consumed by hate, I've done the unthinkable. And it's turned me into a hero. Now, I must decide how far I'll go to keep my secret safe.

I won't let you know the truth.

But the sounds that echo in my head...

...are only growing louder.

Attempted murder gives a man his family back. It's everything he's ever wanted, but he can't forget what he did. And the longer he holds the secret, the more control he loses to the darkness whispering in his ear. It craves violence and can't be silenced forever. The line between truth and lies is disappearing. And with it, the difference between right and wrong.

My Review:


I needed time to think about this one. A very intriguing and intense story. Dark and disturbing, but good.

A dark tale of creeping insanity, which becomes more disturbing and violent as the story moves on. The main character steadily loses his grip on reality and so I found myself wondering what was real in the story and what wasn't. Even after finishing the book I'm still not sure! The characters are well drawn, the story moves along quickly, there's a big twist part way through, and an even bigger one at the end. I really enjoyed this book even though I had questions at the end!

An aside - I loved the font used for the chapter headings!

You can buy House of Sand on Amazon UK, Amazon US and at other good retailers.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The Corpse Role by Keith Nixon

Having enjoyed a couple of other books by Keith Nixon, I was keen to read this one. 

The Blurb:

Not everything that gets buried stays buried... sometimes things have a nasty habit of resurfacing…

When the corpse of a security van driver implicated in an unsolved £1.2 million heist turns up in a shallow grave two years later it’s just the beginning for Detective Inspector Charlotte Granger.

She embarks on a murder investigation that takes her into dangerous territory – a world of corrupt police, unscrupulous private investigators, local gangsters, organised crime and an investigative journalist who'll stop at nothing to get his story. Meanwhile events from Granger's own past are threatening to come back and haunt her...

As people are murdered to silence them and vital information vanishes from files, can DI Granger get to the truth? And if she does, what will that truth reveal?

My Review:

I had previously read two Solomon Gray novels by Keith Nixon, so I was interested to read something different from him.

This book features Detective Inspector Charlotte Granger as she tries to solve the murder of a security guard who was involved in a heist two years ago. The bodies soon start to pile up, and DI Granger and her team try to both establish the link between the victims, and discover the identity of the murderer.

The book is told in the present, following the investigation, interspersed with chapters told by an unidentified narrator set two years previously as the original heist is underway.

The story kept a good pace up right from the beginning, and the characters are well fleshed out. I found the chapters set in the past answered some of my questions and had me asking more! Mainly about everybody's identity.

The last chapter - I absolutely did not see it coming, and I loved it! Highly recommend.

You can find my review of Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon here.

And my review of Burn The Evidence also by Keith is here.

You can buy The Corpse Role here:

And in all good bookshops!

Burn The Evidence by Keith Nixon

This is the second Solomon Gray novel, and I enjoyed it as much as the first.

The Blurb:

Mixing business with family can be a murderous affair ...
A body washes up on the beach near Ramsgate in the South of England. For DS Solomon Gray, the case appears cut and dried—a drowning. An immigrant. Another victim to the sea in his desperate attempt to reach the UK.

As the tidewaters recede, two more corpses surface. One appears to be a refugee, stabbed to death. The other, Gray recognises immediately. Regan Armitage: son of business tycoon Jake Armitage. Gray knows this means trouble.

A post mortem reveals ligature marks on Regan's wrists. Drugs in his bloodstream. All signs indicate murder. Armitage swears to track down his son's killer and avenge his death.
Gray's investigation points to a deadly fire ten years prior, and soon Armitage comes under suspicion. But DS Gray knows what it's like to lose a child and puts aside his distrust of Armitage to help.

How are the dead men connected to each other — and to the infamous fire?

It's then that Gray gets another tip on the whereabouts of his own missing son, Tom...

Burn the Evidence is the second book in a series featuring Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray. The crime series is perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

My Review:

This is the second book to feature Solomon Gray, but could easily be read as a stand alone.

Now, I have a wee soft spot for Sol - he's damaged, and that makes him interesting. This book sees him investigating the death of the son of an old friend, but also looking at a crime from 10 years ago.

The story nips along at a good pace, and features some interesting, well described characters. It was hard to tell who was good and who was bad, and I certainly didn't guess all of the outcome. And some of Gray's relationships with friends and colleagues are affected by the crimes in the book. As with the first book, there was a wee cliff hanger at the end.

Looking forward to reading more about Sol in the next book!

You can find my review of Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon here.

And my review of The Corpse Role also by Keith is here.

You can buy Burn The Evidence here:

Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon.

This is the first in the Solomon Gray series and as I love a damaged man (!), I was looking forward to reading it.

The Blurb:

Was it suicide ... or murder?

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective's son, Tom, would've been, had he not gone missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there - or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery.  Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray's number on the dead teenager's mobile phone?

With his boss, Detective Inspector Yvonne Hamson, Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. An investigator from the Met is called in to assist, setting the local police on edge. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray's old church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons. Crippled by loss but determined to find the truth, Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption.

Set in the once grand town of Margate in the south of England, the now broken and depressed seaside resort becomes its own character in this dark detective thriller. Dig Two Graves is the first book in a series featuring Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray. The crime series is perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

My Review:

I'm drawn to flawed, damaged cops (well, men generally really!) So I immediately liked Solomon Gray, although the reason he is damaged is heart breaking. His son disappeared aged 6 whilst in his care, and he has spent 10 years carrying the guilt, and conducting his own investigation into the disappearance.

I liked Gray's general disregard for his superiors, although it does him no favours, and I was frustrated with him sometimes for not being more open, or asking for help.

The story, beginning with the apparent suicide of a young man zips along nicely, and the bodies mount up. I didn't guess 'whodunit' so that was great. There is a bit of a cliff hanger at the end, so I am very much looking forward to reading a follow up.

You can see my review of Burn The Evidence by Keith Nixon here.

And my review of The Corpse Role also by Keith is here.

You can buy Dig Two Graves here:

Monday, 2 April 2018

Space Police: The Final Fish Finger by David Blake

I fancied a wee break from my usual reading, so requested this book via the TBC Reviewers Request Group on Facebook. And what a joy it was.

The Blurb:

It’s the 25th Century and the President is being blamed for Earth's fish supply problems. 

Meanwhile... Detective Inspector Capstan and Lieutenant Dewbush have somehow managed to prevent the destruction of their home planet by the Mammary Clans. With a much deserved day off they decide to visit the British Museum where the last ever fish finger is the key exhibit. But it's about to be stolen, and the evidence leads them to Ganymede, a moon orbiting Jupiter, where they come face-to-face with the mysterious Gorgnome Obadiah.

This, the second in the brand new Space Police series, is a hilariously funny Sci Fi space comedy that's just perfect for fans of Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Terry Pratchett, and the Space Team books.

My Review:

OMG, what a laugh!

Think James Bond meets Danger Mouse and Penfold. In the future. In space.

Detective Inspector Capstan has just woken up in 2459 having been cryogenically frozen in 2017. He has been reinstated at his old rank to the new version of the police - The United Kingdom of America Space Police. As he is adjusting to his new circumstances, he also has to try to solve the case of the missing fishing trawlers (yep, they still have these in the 25th century) and the theft of the very last fish finger from an exhibition of 21st century life.

I loved Capstan, but I adored Lieutenant Dewbush, who seems to be the sweetest man, and acts like an innocent abroad. Very Penfold. Also, Obadiah, the Bondesque megalomaniac villain, albeit with huge yellow duck feet, is brilliantly described, as is his dastardly plan.

The story was everything I wanted it to be - utterly ridiculous and totally preposterous, and brilliant fun because of that. It's not subtle - the Mammary Clans being a personal favourite. There is also a social media app called Slaptwat, which is so much better than the actual name of the app it's based on that I will be using it from now on! And it's genius that this is a comedy written in a future where joke telling has been banned since 2367.

This was a very welcome change from the normal stuff I read, and I am very much looking forward to reading more by this author.

You can buy the book here:

Sunday, 1 April 2018

The Reckoning by Kerry Watts

Recently, I was asked to read this book, from an author completely new to me.

The Blurb:

A series of grisly murders drags D.I. Grant Noble back from compassionate leave following the tragic death of his wife.

Ross Blake sees the injustice of the world all around him and sees no other option but to begin evening the score. The slayings initiate a shocking sequence of events that will lead directly back to Grant's door.

But can he battle his own demons and protect what's left of his family?

My Review:

This is the first book I have read by this author, and I loved it. I will definitely be looking out for more.

DI Grant Noble is called back in to work from compassionate leave following the death of his wife, to look into a very gruesome murder. The victim is a convicted paedophile, recently released from prison, and when Noble and team realise this is the third similar murder in recent weeks, they know they are dealing with a serial killer.

We know who the perpetrator is from the outset - Ross Blake, a young man who was abused by his own father and pretty much ignored by his junkie mother. Blake is a well written character, and we see the love that he has for his dog and his grandmother. It's very hard not to feel sympathy for Ross - he is clearly damaged, and his victims are evil men.

Grant Noble is another great character. He is very recently widowed, struggling with his OCD and anxiety attacks. Some of his actions out strain on his relationship with his daughter Katie, who is trying to process her own grief.

There is a lot going on in this book. The action moves along at a cracking pace and the body count increases. The murder scenes are described graphically and are not for the faint hearted! There are also several subplots going on - one involving Grant, one Katie and one with Scott, her boyfriend. These helped add interest and the complete package easily kept my attention. Would recommend.

You can buy The Reckoning here:



And in all good bookshops!

These Lost & Broken Things by Helen Fields

I am thrilled to be on the blog tour for this historical thriller from Helen Fields. This isn't a genre I go to very often but I knew He...