Follow You Home by Mark Edwards. Blog tour. Guest Post.



The Wandering Author – How and Where I Write

This is a picture of my office at home. (SEE PHOTO) It’s not actually an office – that was turned into a nursery two years ago when my third child was on the way. No, it’s a corner of my dining room, with the smallest desk we could find because that’s all that would fit. Out of shot are the dining table, two high chairs, several boxes full of felt tip pens and an essential item for every writer’s workspace: a bright yellow puppet theatre.



A lot of readers – including me, before I became a full-time author – imagine authors locking themselves away in grand offices, probably on the top floor of a large house, with an inspiring view. A solid oak desk, piles of paper everywhere, shelf after shelf of books. A place where magic naturally happens. But I’ve discovered this is not at all typical, especially as most of us have to fit writing around normal life. And if you have small children, the challenge of finding time and space to write is magnified – like every other problem that child-free people can barely comprehend – ten-fold.

So it’s actually pretty rare to find me in my little makeshift office. Instead, most days I can be found wandering the streets of Wolverhampton, looking for a place to park my laptop and increase my word count. I have several favourite venues. The gym is one of them. My gym has a large coffee lounge where I can happily sit all day, using their wifi and watching active types jogging in and out of the changing rooms. Initially, I think the staff wondered what I was up to. When I told them I’m a writer they said, ‘Oh. Someone off The Secret Millionaire used to come here and do that too.’ Which is far more impressive because a) he’s a millionaire and b) he’s been on the telly.

I have a favourite café, called Latuskes, where they serve the best scrambled eggs in the West Midlands. The staff are lovely and at least one of them has read one of my books. I also go to Starbucks which is curiously empty on weekday afternoons. I sit there and pretend I’m Carrie from Sex and the City, imagining that I’m gazing out at Manhattan rather than Wolverhampton city centre and one of the country’s busiest Poundlands.

I’ve become so accustomed to working in public that I am usually able to block out the noise around me, though the occasional conversation pierces my concentration. I recently overheard a teen boy trying to impress his girlfriend by telling her about Orwell’s 1984. ‘Yeah, the TV show Big Brother was based on it. It was written in 1950…’

‘Actually,’ I wanted to cry. ‘It was written in 1948. Orwell reversed the final digits to get the year.’ But I resisted. Still, it was distracting.

I’m not complaining about having a tiny office and being forced to work in public, although it’s easy to forget how privileged I am being a full-time writer. It wasn’t always like this. My first books were written in snatched moments. One of them, my first under a publisher’s contract, was written almost entirely on a train. Thirty minutes in the morning, thirty more in the evening. Writing with a sweaty commuter crammed into the seat beside you while people yell, ‘I’m on the train!’ into their mobiles is not fun. So I may look like a lost figure, wandering about with a laptop under my arm, but I like being a wanderer. The Wolverhampton wanderer. It’s actually pretty apt.

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The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland – Blog Tour.

The 3rd Woman Jacket imageJonathan Freedland PHOTO CREDIT Philippa Gedge 2015


Author Photograph by Phillipa Gedge

Publication Date: 2nd July from Harper Collins

Today I am absolutely delighted to kick off the blog tour for this novel –  you will see a full review from me any day now but at the moment I am about a third of the way through (appropriately) The 3rd Woman. I can tell you now that this is going to be one of my favourite thrillers of the year. The political landscape that Mr Freedland has imagined here is simply brilliant and totally absorbing. Added to that he has created some truly intriguing and intelligent characters and wrapped it all up in a beautifully strung together parcel of addictive reading material. I have no doubt that when I get to the end I shall be blathering on about it endlessly to anyone that will listen. Yes it is one of THOSE books.

And as if by magic, to back up my words, here is an extract to wet your appetite….


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Maddy had been up for twenty hours; all she was asking for was a few hours’ rest. Even a few minutes. She closed her eyes.

Something like sleep came, the jumble of semi-conscious images that, for a normal person, usually presages sleep, a partial dream, like an overture to the main performance. She remembered that much from her childhood, back when she could rest effortlessly, surrendering to slumber the instant her head touched the pillow. But the voice in her head refused to fall silent. Here it was now, telling her she was still awake, stubbornly, maddeningly present.

She reached for her phone, letting out a glum sigh: all right, you win. She checked the LA Times site again, her story still the ‘most read’. Then she clicked on the scanner app again, listening long enough to hear the police reporting several bodies found around town. One was not far from here, in Eagle Creek, another in North Hollywood.

Next, a long article on foreign policy: ‘Yang’s Grand Tour’, detailing how the man tipped to be China’s next president had just returned from an extended visit to the Middle East and analysing what this meant for the next phase of the country’s ambition. The piece was suitably dense. Sure enough, it came close to sending her off, her mental field of vision behind her lidded eyes darkening at the edges, like the blurred border on an old silent movie. The dark surround spread, so that the image glimpsed by her mind’s eye became smaller and smaller, until it was very nearly all black . . .

But she was watching it too closely, wanting it too much. She was conscious of her own slide into unconsciousness and so it didn’t happen. She was, goddammit, still awake. She opened her eyes in surrender.

And then, for perhaps the thousandth time, she opened the drawer by her bed and pulled out the photograph.

She gazed at it now, looking first at her mother. She would have been what, thirty-eight or thirty-nine, when this picture was taken. Christ, less than ten years older than Maddy was now. Her mother’s hair was brown, unstyled. She wore glasses too, of the unfashionable variety, as if trying to make herself look unattractive. Which would make a kind of sense.

Quincy was there, seventeen, tall, the seriousness already etched into her face. Beautiful in a stern way. Abigail was adorable of course, gap-toothed and smiling, aged six and sitting on Maddy’s lap. As for Maddy herself, aged fourteen in this photograph, she was smiling too, but her expression was not happy, exactly: it contained too much knowledge of the world and of what life can do.

She reached out to touch her earlier self, but came up against the right-hand edge of the picture, sharp where she had methodically cut it all those years ago, excising the part she didn’t want to see.

Later she would not be able to say when she had fallen asleep or even if she had. But the phone buzzed shortly after two am, making the bedside table shake. A name she recognized but which baffled her at this late hour: Detective Howe. A long-time source of hers from the crime beat, one who had been especially keen to remain on her contacts list. He called her once or twice a month: usually pretending to have a story, occasionally coming right out with it and asking her on a date. They had had lunch a couple of times, but she had never let it go further. And he had certainly never called in the middle of the night. One explanation surfaced. The sweatshop must have reported her for assault and Jeff was giving her a heads-up. Funny, she’d have thought they’d have wanted to avoid anything that would add to the publicity, especially after—

‘Madison, is that you?’

‘Yes. Jeff? Are you all right?’

‘I’m OK. I’m downstairs. You need to let me in. Your buzzer’s broken.’

‘Jeff. It’s two in the morning. I’m—’

‘I know, Madison. Just let me in.’ He was not drunk, she could tell that much. Something in his voice told her this was not what she had briefly feared; he was not about to make a scene, declaring his love for her, pleading to share her bed. She buzzed him in and waited.

When he appeared at her front door, she knew. His face alone told her: usually handsome, lean, his greying hair close-cropped, he now looked gaunt. She offered a greeting but her words sounded strange to her, clogged. Her mouth had dried. She noticed that she was cold. Her body temperature seemed to have dropped several degrees instantly.

‘I’m so sorry, Madison. But I was on duty when I heard and I asked to do this myself. I thought it was better you hear this from me.’

She recognized that tone. She was becoming light-headed, the blood draining from her brain and thumping back into her heart. ‘Who?’ was all she could say.

She saw Jeff’s eyes begin to glisten. ‘It’s your sister. Abigail. She’s been found dead.’

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Liz Currently Loves….In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. July Release


Publication Date: 30th July 2015 from Harvill Secker

Source: Netgalley

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house..

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room..

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room…

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

Seriously addictive and with such a gorgeous  flow that you could easily read it in one sitting if you have a free afternoon, In a Dark Dark Wood is definitely up there with the best psychological thrillers I have read.

It is beautifully character driven  –  to the point that even inanimate objects become characters in their own right – most especially the “dark dark house” mentioned in the blurb which takes on a life of its own and is so deliciously creepy that there is a touch of cinematic horror story to be had in here as well. Ruth Ware has a subtle yet affecting descriptive quality to her writing that sinks into your psyche, making this an edgy and highly intriguing read.

So we have Nora then – invited rather randomly and out of the blue to the hen party of an old friend she has not seen for ages, she is in two minds as to whether or not to go. Ultimately she makes the decision to attend, a decision that will change the course of her life…

The plot is tense, claustrophobic and completely fascinating – a small cast set up in a tightly woven environment where secrets hover just beneath the surface waiting to jump out – the entire character group are beautifully drawn both individually and in their interactions with each other. The author weaves a web of deceit around her carefully set pieces and the whole thing is just really so readable, involving and entirely captivating.

The ultimate solution may or may not surprise you but in this case the journey is the thing and the extremely compelling  utterly riveting story unfolding before you.

Highly Recommended.

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River of Souls by Kate Rhodes – A terrific series


Publication Date: Available Now from Mulholland

Source: Bookbridgr

Jude Shelley, daughter of a prominent cabinet minister, had her whole life ahead of her until she was attacked and left to drown in the Thames. Miraculously, she survived. A year later, her family ask psychologist Alice Quentin to re-examine the case.

But then an elderly priest is attacked in Battersea, his body washed up at Westminster Pier. An ancient glass bead is tied to his wrist.

The river has always demanded sacrifices, and now it seems a killer believes it’s calling out for more.

Alice is certain that Jude and her family are hiding something, but unless she can persuade them to share what they know, more victims will drown…

I’m a fan of the Alice Quentin books for sure – the first one started with a bang and they have steadily become more and more addictive – Now here we are at No 4 and this one was a doozy.

Jude was brutally attacked and left for dead – now hanging on, her mother asks Alice to take another look at the case. Before she can really get into it though another body turns up in horrifically similar circumstances. Are the cases tied together? Working once more with the police, Alice starts to delve deeper..

There are two things mainly about these novels that really appeal to me – first Alice herself, who has a great depth to her and is beautifully normal. Yes she has her ups and downs but for pure authenticity she is, for me, one of the top fictional female protagonists.

The other thing is the really gorgeous flow that Kate Rhodes manages to weave into the narrative. The very definition of addictive reading – River of Souls grips from the start, all the way through and then clings onto you for a fair while after you’ve finished it.  I mean really, what more do you need from a book?

There is a lot of emotional resonance to these also which is very engaging and cleverly done to tug on the heartstrings on occasion – whilst then sending you off on a bit of an adrenalin rush when things hot up in whatever case Alice is involved in. In the case of this instalment I was on the edge of my seat at the end there – I was not QUITE sure what the outcome was going to be….Whether I heaved a sigh of relief or had a good cry you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Overall I loved this one – and the ones that went before it. They come highly recommended from me and I am very much looking forward to seeing what is next.

Pick up a copy, batten down the hatches and enter Alice’s world. You won’t be disappointed.

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Liz Currently Loves… Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway – July release.



Publication Date: 16th July from Simon and Schuster UK Childrens

Source: Netgalley

Oliver’s absence split us wide open, dividing our neighborhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you’re shaking.


Emmy and Oliver then – a book that made me cry just because really – this is a story of friendship, love and family and is written beautifully, with a gorgeous witty undertone and is at turns sad, heart warming, very very funny and extraordinarily insightful.

Emmy and Oliver are childhood best friends – living next door to each other and along with Drew and Caro, they are fixed to each other in that way that only young children seem to be able to do really well.  Before they can come of age however, Oliver is kidnapped by his Father and the ripples of that are still spreading years later when Oliver returns…

It is actually quite difficult to describe how wonderfully engaging this is – multi-layered and full of depth, I fell insanely in love with all the characters (especially Drew it has to be said) – Robin Benway has written a genuinely exquisite little novel here that really touches the heart.

We see snapshots in time from when Emmy and Oliver were young, whilst also seeing them take their first tentative steps towards rekindling that connection now both of them are teenagers. The ten year gap means they are walking a fine line between the children they were and the adults they are becoming. Add to that the fact that Emmy, Drew and Caro have continued on without Oliver, have their own friendship language, their own dynamic, Oliver’s return makes for some great interactions as everyone tries to resettle.

Of course there is also the family to take into consideration – Emmy’s parents wrap her up in cotton wool, so much so that she has to hide her life from them to a large extent, Oliver’s family has grown while he has been away and there are a lot of other pitfalls along the way as everything is changing for a second time.

As a reader you will be right in this – it is impossible not to become emotionally involved, not to root wildly for Emmy and Oliver and their growing struggle to find themselves – the supporting cast are all so important as well to the whole and it is all so perfectly flowing that you will practically live it with them.

I adored this with true passion. I think my tears at the end were mostly because I’ve had to leave them all behind. I really didn’t want to.

Highly Recommended.

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The Other Child by Lucy Atkins. Blog tour.


Publication Date: Available Now from Quercus

I am very pleased to join the blog tour for Lucy Atkins and the fantastic new novel “The Other Child” – a review to follow but first here is an extract for you.

Lucy Atkins, photographed by Charlie Hopkinson © 2013.

Lucy Atkins, photographed by Charlie Hopkinson © 2013.

Extract 1 The Other Child by Lucy Atkins

‘It’s perfect,’ he’d said when he called from Boston to tell her that he’d given the realtor a massive deposit without consulting her, without even emailing her a picture. His face blurred in and out of focus on her phone screen. He was in a public place, probably the cafeteria at Children’s Hospital. She could see people in the background carrying trays or coffee cups, many wearing scrubs. ‘You’re going to love it, Tess, I know you will. There’s a great elementary school, a big park, a cute little main street with a couple of cafés, a bar, an artisan bakery, a market, a yoga studio. It’s all very green and pleasant, absolutely no crime and only twenty minutes from downtown on the freeway. It’s the perfect little town.’

‘I thought it was a suburb?’

‘We call suburbs towns.’

She noted the ‘we’. After fifteen years in London, Greg had seemed to feel no affinity with his homeland. His only remaining American traits were his accent, his handwriting and an ongoing despair at British customer service. But now, suddenly, it was ‘we’.

‘You weren’t answering your mobile, but I had to grab it.’

A baby wailed somewhere near him, an abnormal, plaintive sound, disturbingly thin and off-key. ‘There were three other families due after me this morning; it was going to go. But you’ll love it, honey, I promise. It’s not too far from Children’s – maybe a fifteen-, twenty-minute commute max.

There’s three beds, three baths, a big yard for Joe. A ton more space than we have now—’

‘Three baths?’

He grimaced, his eyes half shut, and it took her a moment to realize that the connection had failed, leaving his handsome face frozen in a sinister, pixelated rictus, halfway to a smile.

She had always thought Greg liked her tall house on the outskirts of town, with the cornfield behind it and views of the Downs, improbably green in springtime, lightening to biscuit through summer and, as autumn wore on, darkening and thickening into wintery browns. When he moved in he had been charmed by the sloping floors and the woodburning stove, her own photographs hanging next to her father’s paintings, shelves crammed with books, old Polaroids tucked behind ceramics, Joe’s pictures peeling off the fridge, things balancing on other things and the light pouring in. He had said he did not want to change a thing.

Her chest tightened at the thought of everything she’d be leaving behind.

‘Greg? Are you still there? Greg?’ But he didn’t respond.

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Other child packshot


Sometimes a lie seems kinder than the truth . . . but what happens when that lie destroys everything you love?

When Tess is sent to photograph Greg, a high profile paediatric heart surgeon, she sees something troubled in his face, and feels instantly drawn to him. Their relationship quickly deepens, but then Tess, single mother to nine-year-old Joe, falls pregnant, and Greg is offered the job of a lifetime back in his hometown of Boston. Before she knows it, Tess is married, and relocating to the States. But life in an affluent American suburb proves anything but straightforward.

Unsettling things keep happening in the large rented house, Joe is distressed, the next-door neighbours are in crisis, and Tess is sure that someone is watching her. Greg’s work is all-consuming and, as the baby’s birth looms, he grows more and more unreachable. Something is very wrong, Tess knows it, and then she makes a jaw-dropping discovery . . .

I was a huge fan of “The Missing One”, one of my favourite books of it’s year so I was extremely happy to find a copy of “The Other Child” popping through my letterbox – and boy it was a corker.

So we are following along with Tess, who after a whirlwind romance finds herself fairly isolated in a strange new environment – her young son is reacting badly to the move, pregnant and struggling to cope, Tess starts to feel like there is something going on with her new husband Greg that is not quite right…

Lucy Atkins really has a beautiful turn of phrase and wonderfully engaging descriptive prose when it comes to setting her characters in place and drawing you into the tale. In this case it is immediate and irrevocable – once you pick this up and start identfiying with Tess, which trust me you will, you won’t want to put it down until you are done.

There are two elements really to this that keep you up into the night – the mystery element which is absolutely intriguing and so gorgeously twisty and turny that it will keep you right on your toes. Who to believe, when to believe it, poor Tess she is pulled this way and that, trying to keep her family together and discover the truth. The journey is terribly addictive and perfectly done.

Then there is the character drama that lives and breathes within that – the relationship between Greg and Tess is fascinating – they don’t know each other that well and here they are. When at least one of them is keeping secrets, it makes for some highly complex interactions and emotions that just pop off the page. I especially liked the dynamic between the three, Joe, Tess, and Greg who Joe is wary of…there is an authentic edge to the whole story as it plays out, even allowing for the mystery portion interwoven therein.

A nod to Greg before I’m done – he was the one who perhaps intrigued me the most, a workaholic quietly quivering character who exudes an ever growing sense of menace – the tension in him building along with the plot, until you are on the edge of your seat…Lucy Atkins manages to keep you totally off balance when it comes to him and whether or not Tess really should be worried..

Basically I loved it. A really terrific mystery thriller with some memorable and heartfelt characters that packs a real punch.

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Liz Currently Loves..Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten


Publication Date: 2nd July from Egmont/Electric Monkey

Source: Netgalley

Thanks to Louise O’Neill for pointing me in the direction of this one.

June barely has time to mourn the death of her best friend Delia, before Delia’s ex-boyfriend convinces her Delia was murdered, and June is swept into a tangle of lies, deceit, and conspiracy.

I have just finished this novel and all I can say is what the holy heck? The whole thing was addictively brilliant but THAT ENDING OH MY! I am not entirely sure what I’m feeling right now but that was powerful powerful stuff.

June’s best friend has committed suicide. They had drifted apart in the months leading up to the tragedy and June is struggling with survivor guilt. However things are strange – and lead her to believe that perhaps this is not as straightforward as it seems. Did Delia really kill herself? Or did someone help her along the way…

Ok so basically what you have here is a brilliantly complex but eminently readable mystery story, with a central character at the heart of it who is enigmatic, superbly drawn, difficult to get a handle on and so deeply fascinating that I will never forget her. Secondly you have a beautifully written and emotionally resonant story of one girl and her search for the truth.

This book WILL mess with your head, in the best way, as the twists and turns and “oh my gosh” moments come thick and fast – but never ever does the author allow this to detract from the character driven heart of this story which is one of deep seated friendships and the things that both drive us apart and keep us together. It is a tale of psychological depth which is also a heart stopping thrill ride of the highest order.

About 3/4 of the way through my head was almost exploding as June gets shock after shock, Lynn Weingarten puts the pressure on in a gorgeously written style that hits you BAM, right in the guts. I had no idea where this was going ultimately, as we headed into THAT finish, I was agog, I could not turn the pages fast enough.

A powerhouse of a novel that will leave you speechless.

Highly Recommended.

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Liz Currently Loves….Derwent. Erm I mean After the Fire by Jane Casey.


Publication Date: June 18th From Ebury (Randomhouse UK)

Source: Netgalley

After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in an 11th floor flat. But is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad. It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue. But what was such a right wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate?

I am absolutely in love with this series. Completely hook line and sinker. They really do just keep getting better and bettter. Also they have Derwent. Which basically makes them better STILL. If that’s possible.

Anyway before I go off on a Derwent love tangent, After the Fire is the 6th book in the Maeve Kerrigan series, but can easily be read on its own merits – in this instalment Maeve is attempting to deal with a problem from her past when she is thrown into a new and traumatic case.  A fire has taken lives – but was it arson or accident? As Maeve and co investigate it seems as if everyone has something to hide..

There are some serious strengths to this series as a whole, mainly the absolutely organic way Jane Casey merges her mystery and character elements – Neither one is secondary to the other, they work together in perfect harmony. Each new case for Maeve has a different feel, an authentic edge and a frankly blinking annoying addictive quality – just try and put the darn thing down once you pick it up – my kindle went literally everywhere with me for three days straight. Really well constructed, character driven always and ever intriguing.

On the character front, there really is such a great reality to them, I honestly feel like I’ve met them, they pop so much – straight off the page and into your heart. Yes I will do the Derwent thing in a minute but lets give a nod to the girl without whom the whole thing would fall apart – Maeve Kerrigan herself. If you are looking for the very definition of a strong and independant female protagonist then here she is right here – beautifully drawn, a little clumsy, a bit damaged but never falling, Maeve is easy to love and very funny. She is the glue that holds the whole thing together, a girl after my own heart and her ongoing story is fascinating.

Ok here we go then – Derwent. Sidekick to Maeve (he would say it is the other way round) and her boss (although she basically rolls her eyes at that as she’s always getting him out of trouble) he is without doubt one of my favourite fictional characters ever. In ANY genre. He is horrible. He is lovely. An old school bad boy of the sort I used to run with in my mis-spent youth, he is a fictional character who is real enough to elicit a genuine emotional response. I’m not sure whether I’d like to bed him or kick him, the main thing about Derwent is he is just so beautifully normal. Not politically correct in any sense of the word, yet still you’ll love him. Or you’ll hate him. Either way it will be an absolutely pure response.

The relationship between Maeve and Derwent gives all the novels an edge that I think it would be impossible to get anywhere else- they are intensely hilarious, there is one scene in this book that had me giggling like an idiot (on the bus as well, but to be fair I’m used to the strange looks now). The heart of it though is a growing friendship that lights up the page. I may fangirl over Derwent but I can’t imagine one without the other at all now – although he did not appear until book 2.

I wouldn’t want you to think they are it – ALL the characters in the Kerrigan series are given the same touch – all brilliantly drawn, the ones you meet every time and the ones you only see through one investigation.  The rest of the team are perfectly placed to give the police procedural elements an anchor – in “After the Fire” especially there is a real punch to the guts to be had – sob – but no spoilers you’ll have to wait and see.

It may have come across that I slightly love these books. Just a bit eh? Anyway they are all absolutely Highly Recommended by me – if you have not read them yet then I would seriously consider doing so. You won’t be disappointed.  I especially of course want more from Derwent, So much so that I made up a hashtag. #AMDAP. As much Derwent as possible please! Just make sure Maeve is along for the ride. Otherwise he’ll probably start the apocalypse.

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Liz Currently Loves….The Ghosts of Altona by Craig Russell


Publication Date: Available Now from Quercus

Source: Publisher review copy

Jan Fabel is a changed man.
Head of the Polizei Hamburg’s Murder Commission, Fabel has dealt with the dead for nearly two decades, but when a routine enquiry becomes a life-threatening – and life-altering – experience, he finds himself on much closer terms with death than ever before.
Fabel’s first case at the Murder Commission comes back to haunt him: Monika Krone’s body is found at last, fifteen years after she went missing. Monika – ethereally beautiful, intelligent, cruel – was the centre of a group of students obsessed with the gothic. Fabel re-opens the case.

So this series has been running for a while it seems, me I’m late to the party but I really loved this one and am going to slowly work my way through the previous stories – for anyone who, like me, has stupidly let these pass them by, you can start here I had no problem at all reading this cold.

The thing that struck me about The Ghosts of Altona was the beauty of the storytelling, the sheer power of the characterisation and the thought provoking themes that Craig Russell weaves seamlessly into the plot – add to that a descriptive power to the use of language and you have a way above average crime thriller.

In this instalment, main protagonist Fabel is returning to work after a near miss and a life changing experience – the opening pages pack a real punch both emotionally and physically, after which the author allows a step back, a more thoughtful and intense way forward as things start to unfold. When a body is discovered that takes Fabel back to his first case, then more deaths follow, this is page turning stuff –  a truly involving mystery with an  eclectic and absolutely fascinating supporting cast, a really enthralling tale.

Some difficult subjects handled with sensitivity and obviously well researched, all mixed up in the unfolding murder case make for some great moments, Fabel himself is absolutely brilliant, I loved him – so well drawn and I am honestly looking forward to heading back to see who he was before…

For me the parts of the novel that dealt with gothic origin were superb, as were the threads looking at Near Death Experiences – There are many layers to be had here and Craig Russell brings them all together over time in indomitable fashion – clever construction and a real feel for character development means this comes highly recommended from me.

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Lullaby Girl Blog Tour. Guest Post and Review


Who is the Lullaby Girl?

Found washed up on the banks of a remote loch, a mysterious girl is taken into the care of a psychiatric home in the Highlands of Scotland. Mute and covered in bruises, she has no memory of who she is or how she got there. The only clue to her identity is the Danish lullaby she sings…

Borders and belonging. Aly Sidgwick

A recurring issue for me over the last few years has been cultural identity. The little differences in attitude between countries, and the way people adhere to national stereotypes. Even down to small details like food preferences. I once offered to cook a traditional Swedish dish for my family (Flygande Jakob- a delicious comfort food), and everyone wrinkled their noses when I described its contents. Likewise when I presented British mince pies to my Swedish friends at Christmas. People instinctively trust what’s native to their country, and skirt around the unfamiliar. Yet I wonder…If a Brit had grown up in a bubble, with no knowledge of traditional Brit food, would they like black pudding straight away? Would Scots be all that bothered about haggis? Would Norwegians still choose to eat lutefisk?

It’s interesting to me that countries separated by a short plane trip can be so different, socially. You board the plane with one set of rules, and disembark to a new set. I remember flying back to Britain to visit my family (after several years in Scandinavia), and seeing British customs with fresh eyes. Suddenly, certain things seemed funny or odd. Over-politeness or forced politeness was the most noticeable British trait. It’s kind of drummed through every Brit from birth, and I never questioned it until I’d spent several years with the more straightforward Scandi style of conduct. Also, the avalanche of signs telling you you’re not allowed to do things… ’Don’t walk on the railways tracks.’ ’Don’t stand on the grass.’ ’Don’t stick your arm out of the window.’ ’Don’t feed the birds.’ ’Don’t lean on the counter.’ ’Don’t electrocute yourself on the highly electrical thing.’ My ex found those signs hilarious, and after a while I came to share his way of thinking. Yet I didn’t quite fit into Scandinavian culture either. Even after seven years there I felt like an outsider, and I’m sure that was due to the British values I grew up with. When I was homesick for Britain I’d seek out stereotypically British food items or TV shows. Now, when I’m homesick for Norway/Sweden, I seek out stereotypically Scandi things. At Christmas, I still miss Julebrus and pepperkaker. It’s a strange limbo I’ve ended up in, really. Both places are dear to me, yet I feel I don’t belong to either.

My Review of Lullaby Girl…


Lullaby Girl is a tense and claustrophobic psychological thriller, the kind I love where the story is told in both past and present, setting the scene and building you up to those reveal moments that make you gasp..

The “Lullaby Girl” of the title, Kathy, is a mess – washed up onshore, unsure who she is or what has happened to her, at the start of the novel she has reverted to a child like state that, as she talks, is very disconcerting. Fixated on one particular member of the care home she ends up in, she is constantly on edge and scared of everything. Slowly but surely she begins to gain her feet but it is a hard and scary journey as she starts to remember the past.

The author builds the tension beautifully and there is a haunting aspect to the writing that keeps you on edge and right beside Kathy as she confronts her demons. Kathy as a character is intriguing and often frustrating as she hides herself away, seen through her eyes the whole world and everyone in it is a menacing place where there are no places of safety. The reasons for this become apparent as she moves towards recovery…

Difficult to review the story aspects without giving anything away, suffice to say it is cleverly constructed to keep you involved all the way – Aly Sidgwick  has a gorgeous way with words, descriptively lovely even through this dark story, the environment that Kathy is in comes to life around her and the further you get into it the more fascinating and often scary it becomes.

Overall this is a terrific book for fans of psychological thrillers – taut, intelligent and thought provoking, this comes highly recommended from me.

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Happy Reading Folks!