Liz Currently Loves…..Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths.


Publication Date: 5th November from Quercus

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Pantomime season is in full swing on the pier with Max Mephisto starring in Aladdin, but Max’s headlines have been stolen by the disappearance ’of two local children. When they are found dead in the snow, surrounded by sweets, it’s not long before the press nickname them ‘Hansel and Gretel’.

DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The girl, Annie, used to write gruesome plays based on the Grimms’ fairy tales. Does the clue lie in Annie’s unfinished – and rather disturbing – last script? Or might it lie with the eccentric theatricals who have assembled for the pantomime?

Having absolutely adored “The Zig Zag Girl” I was really pleased when another adventure for Max and Edgar dropped through my door – and I was not disappointed. Once again the mixture of magic and murder makes for an addictive and fun read despite the dark undertone to this particular tale dealing as it does with missing children.

Brighton 1951 and Max is doing Panto….Edgar meanwhile is desperately trying to track down two missing children who seem to have vanished into thin air. Sadly there is no happy ending to be had and Edgar turns to Max for some insight…

Elly Griffiths captures the atmosphere and sense of place so beautifully – Brighton, post war, a very different environment than today with its lack of technology and much slower pace of life. A time when there were still shortages and a lot of people were broken, the whole country in recovery mode. This sets the scene perfectly for characters such as Eddie and Max  – brought together by the war and tied together afterwards by friendship and loyalty…as a pair they are utterly compelling and as individuals absolutely fascinating.

In “Smoke and Mirrors” the underlying dark fairytale theme is truly creepy – an extraordinarily interesting exploration of the original stories which really are scary tales – horror stories for children. Disney may have turned them into saccharine loveable bedtime fun but as Edgar’s team research looking for clues you really do start to get a sense of just how twisted those things really are. Including some I’d not heard of I was absolutely enthralled by this thread of the narrative.

There is a richness to all the characters quite aside from our main protagonists – developing relationships and backstory, in this instalment I was particularly drawn to Emma – a woman in the then very male dominated police world, I look forward to finding out more about her and seeing where she goes. Ruby, Max’s daughter and love interest for Edgar bounces off the page whenever she is around and overall the steady anchor to the series is excellent and certainly ensures that I will be sticking around for more. Yes come on, hurry along I want to know what happens next!

The mystery element is perfect, clues are there if you can only work it out and the mix of steady police work and magical insight gives things an extra frisson and works really really well. Absolutely a page turner but with a depth and beauty to the storytelling that really appeals to me.

Overall then a great read. Consider me hooked. Highly Recommended.

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When the body of a girl is found, cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl.

The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar’s. They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men.

Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate. But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind.

Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days. When Edgar receives a letter warning of another ‘trick’, the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in danger…

Elly Griffiths also writes the really terrific Ruth Galloway series.  Highly Recommended.


Happy Reading Folks!

Written in the Scars Mel Sherratt…A Publication Day taster.

Large WrittenintheScars ebook cover

Awesome Author Mel Sherratt has a new book out today….

Welcome to The Estate – where even the darkest times have their lighter moments…


Sometimes they’re visible. Sometimes they’re burdens that we carry around with us.

You can’t see Donna’s scars from a joke of a marriage.

You can’t see Lewis’s scars from his time in the army.

You can see Megan’s scars but she won’t let you.

And Mary can’t always remember how she got hers.

If the past could be erased to make a better future, we’d all want to do that, wouldn’t we? No matter how dangerous the consequences might be…

WRITTEN IN THE SCARS is the fourth book in The Estate Series but each one can be read as a standalone novel.

How it Begins…..

With a minute to spare before her shift was due to start, Donna Adams rushed into Shop&Save. She ran into the staff room at the back of the building and slipped her green overall over the top of her summer dress. Already she could feel sweat forming, although the glorious hot spell they were enjoying was supposed to break later.

‘Made it by the skin of my teeth,’ she sighed, joining her work colleague and supervisor, Sarah Hartnoll, behind the counter. ‘Bloody hell, it’s as hot in here as it is outside.’ She glanced at the clock. ‘Sorry, I would have been here earlier but I’ve had trouble with Mum not wanting me to leave. She was holding onto my arm for dear life, convinced that someone is trying to kill her again.’

Donna’s mum, Mary, had been living in a self-contained flat for a few years since Donna’s dad had died. More recently, she’d been diagnosed with dementia. After wandering off in the night, setting off the alarm to the front door, and being brought home by the police on three separate occasions, Donna had made the heart-breaking decision to move her into sheltered accommodation, where there would be someone to keep an eye on her all the time.

Sarah shook her head in sympathy. ‘Never a dull moment in your life, is there?’

‘Never.’ Donna logged into the till and then looked up at the television monitor that was split into quarter views of the area in front of them. There were a few customers but thankfully no one was after their attention, and if she wasn’t mistaken, Darren, their youngest member of staff, was stacking shelves in the far right corner.

The shop had four aisles, all covered by cameras, but it was well known amongst a certain group of people for being easy to steal from. Many a time she and Sarah had left someone to it rather than risk either a tongue-lashing or a hand raised to them. They had both learned the hard way over the years not to interfere with some customers.

‘I still feel guilty every time I go and see Mum,’ Donna added. ‘But even if I had the time, I just don’t have the energy to give her what she needs.’

‘You should get Keera to do more.’

Donna stared at Sarah, before smiling at the elderly man who was walking towards them. ‘Chance would be a fine thing with my lot,’ she replied, helping him to fill his shopping bag before handing it back.

Donna had two children. A son, Sam, who was twenty-two and nineteen-year-old Keera, who had recently returned from a short time working in Ibiza.

Sarah held up a hand. ‘I’d much prefer to hear all about the hen party on Saturday. Did you enjoy yourself or did you feel like the oldest swinger in town?’

Donna rang the money through the till. ‘You might be laughing on the other side of your face when I tell you what happened.’ She paused for dramatic effect once the customer had gone on his way. ‘I met someone.’


‘Yes! His name is Owen, his eyes are so sexy – and his body is mmm-mmm.’

Donna smiled even more as she thought back to Saturday night. The hen party Sarah was referring to had been for a woman that Donna used to go to school with. About a month ago, Susan Parker had popped into Shop&Save by chance as she’d been driving through the estate. They’d been really good friends at school but had lost touch when Susan had moved out of the area. Once they’d recognised each other, they had got chatting and Donna had found herself invited to the night out. She’d declined at first as she wasn’t sure she would know anyone else who was going, but Susan had mentioned a few names of women she knew, and said it would be great to catch up again.

In the week before the hen do, Donna had still had doubts about whether to go or not, but Keera persuaded her that she might have a bit of fun. And how glad she was of that now.

‘How I got his attention is beyond me,’ she continued. ‘There must have been lots of women his age that he could—’

‘Wait!’ Sarah held up a hand. ‘How old is he?’

‘Thirty-five.’ Donna dropped her eyes momentarily. ‘He’s too young.’

‘No, he isn’t.’

‘I’m forty-two.’

‘Don’t say it like it’s a disease!’ Sarah scoffed. ‘Besides, aren’t we supposed to be as young as we feel? And at least you look after yourself. Half the women on this estate walk around in their pyjamas and slippers.’

‘I suppose.’ Donna sighed loudly. ‘I’m not seeing him again, though.’

‘Oh! He didn’t want a second date?’

‘Technically that wasn’t a first, but yes, he did ask if he could take me out tomorrow night.’

‘And you said no?’ Sarah’s tone was one of incredulity.

Donna shook her head. ‘You know I don’t have time – what with looking in on Mum and getting to work and then there’s Sam, who couldn’t look after a flea without—’

‘The world won’t fall apart if Donna Adams doesn’t come to its rescue.’ Sarah folded her arms. ‘You should let that family of yours fend for themselves once in a while.’

‘Leave everyone to their own devices?’ Donna shuddered at the thought. ‘It would be carnage!’

A young woman with the brightest of red hair came towards the till, and while Sarah served her, Donna stood staring into space. If truth be told, she hadn’t thought of much else apart from Owen since Saturday evening. She could still recall the taste of him on her lips as he’d dipped his head to give her a long, lingering, goodnight kiss. A delicious shiver pulsed through her body.

‘Earth to Donna, hello!’ Sarah waved a hand in front of her face.

Donna giggled. ‘Honestly, though. It’s been such a long time since anyone’s been interested in me, I just keep thinking that maybe it was too good to be true.’

‘Will you listen to yourself? You haven’t had a good seeing to in months – just get in there and bang him one if you get the chance.’ Sarah picked up two mugs from beneath the counter. ‘I’ll make us a brew. And then I want to hear everything.’ She glared at Donna. ‘And I mean everything.’

Donna kept one eye on two teenage boys who had just walked in whilst Sarah went off to the staff room to make the tea. Sarah was just a few months older than her. Her hair fell to her shoulders, and she showed off pretty blue eyes below a blonde fringe. She wasn’t particularly overweight for her height of five foot four but she did have a tendency to wear tight clothes that emphasised, rather than complimented, her shape.

Donna wished she had curves like Sarah’s, but she was thin to the point of being scrawny. Most of the time she put it down to all the stress that came with her life, but a lot of it was to do with her erratic eating patterns and the fact that she was always on the go. Add that to the long-limbed build of a marathon runner and sadly she was never going to be as voluptuous as Sarah, no matter how much she would like to be. And, being a woman in her early forties, things had begun to sag that were beyond Donna’s control.

Still, she could dream. Owen had made her night a lot more fun than she had thought possible.

Moments later, Sarah passed a mug of tea to her.

‘I wish I’d been invited too,’ she said, wistfully. ‘You seem like you had a great time.’

Donna glanced up at the CCTV monitor again. The teens had been and gone with a couple of chocolate bars and a can of pop. There were only two customers in the shop at the moment, and they were in the middle of an argument. She turned to Sarah.

‘It was one of those perfect nights where you don’t expect anything to happen and then—’ She was interrupted by the ring of her phone, rolling her eyes when she saw who it was. ‘What’s up, Sam? Oh – but you have his phone?’ Donna looked confused as she spoke to the person on the other end. ‘Yes, I’m his mother, his next-of-kin.’ She gasped. ‘What do you mean— is he okay? He what? Oh, no. I’m on my way.’

‘What’s wrong?’ Sarah was already at Donna’s side. She touched her lightly on the arm.

Donna took a few deep breaths, trying to keep her panic at bay. ‘Sam’s had an accident involving a chainsaw.’ Her eyes glistened with tears. ‘He’s been rushed to A&E.’

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Happy Reading Folks!

BloodStream – with Luca Veste.


Today I am really REALLY pleased to welcome Luca to the blog as part of the official tour and I was lucky enough to get to ask him some questions about latest novel Blood Stream.

Tell us a little about the inspiration for this particular adventure for Murphy and Rossi.

The inspiration came from a number of sources. Seeing how social media was changing the national conversation, how 24 hour news affects reporting on major crimes, how famous people are treated as somehow above “normal” people. Those things mixed together formed the idea behind the book. I wanted to see how a criminal investigation works with all those factors at play.

The main theme for me is secrets and lies. It was the idea that all relationships contain some kind of deception – no matter how small – and this cynicism led to the central idea. Someone is targeting people in relationships who hold secrets or lies to their partner… would any of us survive?


The story has some focus on the onslaught of Social Media – What are your thoughts on the benefits versus the downside of 24/7 news and internet anonymity ?

I think it brings people closer in some ways. It strengthens relationships, builds friendships, opens up paths which were closed before. With everything though, we as a species find a way to ruin it! Internet anonymity is useful when used for reasons of safety. If that was all it was used for it would be great, but it’s also used to avoid responsibility. People use anonymity to intimidate and destroy, which skews my view on the innate good of social media. 24/7 news… I don’t see many benefits with it. Mainly because it just becomes a repeat of the same thing hour upon hour, until a major news event hits. Then, it just becomes a sea of rumour and untruth for the most part! Which begs the question for me… what’s the point in it being 24/7?

Writing series fiction must be challenging – do you plan far in advance as far as the main character story arcs go?

I plan a few books in advance, but I’m easily sidetracked. If another idea comes to me, I’ll use that first. Writing a series has many challenges, but it also gives you a framework to start from. Characters, setting, those important parts of a novel, they’re mostly already there. I enjoy writing about Murphy and Rossi at the moment.

Are you tempted to write a standalone novel?

The idea of writing a standalone becomes more and more tempting with each finished novel. I think I will at some point, but for now, there’s more tempting Murphy & Rossi novels to write.

As far as your own reading goes, any books you’ve read this year that you would highly recommend?

My top three reads of the year so far… The Death House by Sarah Pinborough – I Know Who Did It by Steve Mosby – What Remains by Tim Weaver. Each different in their own way. Each also made me shed a tear in a totally manly way.

Can you tell us a little about what is next for Murphy and co?

Currently working on book four in the series. Not much I can say about it at the moment, but it concerns historical child abuse in children’s homes and how it effects people years later. So, as light-hearted as my novels usually are!

Thank you!!

BloodStream is available NOW from Simon and Schuster UK – Purchase here:

Follow Luca on Twitter here:

My Review:


So the third novel from Luca Veste then and each one has been an absolute joy for crime fiction fans – Blood Stream is no exception to that, I completely devoured this in two sittings, an extremely addictive and excellent read.

Two reality tv stars are discovered dead and Murphy and Rossi are under intense media scrutiny as they attempt to unravel what happened. When more couples turn up the same way, things only get more difficult. Meanwhile Rossi is in a new relationship and Murphy is still struggling to mend his own friendships after the emotive events of The Dying Place.

I just love the way Luca Veste writes – an involving, immersive style that just simply hooks you – never fails to give you a starting line that pretty much ensures you are not going to want to put the darn book down and then continuing in that vein all the way through. Gritty but not untamed there is a great authenticity to the feeling of it and the plot fairly rockets along taking you on a journey into some dark and twisted places.

Murphy and Rossi are fast becoming one of my favourite crime duo’s – their relationship is well imagined and very compelling, both have an intriguing and impressively drawn background that just adds a great deal of depth to each of the individual crime stories being told.

In Blood Stream there is a really good mix of continuing the main character arcs and giving us a self contained mystery – the vagaries of social media are put under the spotlight and it’s really quite scary stuff in places. There are some edge of the seat moments, intuitively written to give maximum effect, this really is crime fiction at its very best. Impressive.

Highly Recommended.

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Luca Veste Tour

Happy Reading Folks!

Favourite Series: The Theory of Death. Decker and Lazarus.


Publication Date: Available Now from Harper Collins

Source: A little gift from a friend.

It has been almost a year since Greenbury’s last murder. Detective Peter Decker has enjoyed the slower pace of his new job with the upstate police department. Then he receives a phone call from his captain. A male body has been found in the local woods. It appears to be a suicide – single shot to the head, gun by his side – but until the coroner makes the final determination, Decker and his partner Tyler McAdams must treat the scene as a suspicious crime.

Way way back now, more years than I care to think about, I picked up a copy of a novel called “The Ritual Bath” and was introduced to Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus. I’ve grown up with them pretty much, we are now on book 23 and despite that fact this series just keeps going strong and I have never once been disappointed. Definitely one of my favourite series, here is hoping that our couple have a good few more years in them.

Over the course of the 23 books and counting, we have seen Decker and Lazarus come together, form a family, add to that family all whilst becoming embroiled in murder and mayhem, this is just as much a family drama as it is a crime series. Think The Waltons only less saccharine and with more dead bodies….

Faye Kellerman writes beautifully – the entirety of this body of work is simply amazing – creating an authentic and highly absorbing set of stories that are all extremely addictive –  not only in the mystery elements which are always intelligently done and unpredictable – but also in the background and growth of the characters you come to know and love. Peter and Rina have grown with the series – they age appropriately, they face everyday problems, the religious background and themes work magnificently within the narrative (and often create a starting point for the individual case) so the core of each tale is steady and perfectly paced.

The author has an intuitive way of injecting new life into the ongoing drama every now and then – characters from previous novels often hang around, some permanently, adding to the whole and keeping things fresh, giving the reader new focus (and often huge amounts of book love – Chris Donatti, wait until you meet him)

Recently, with this book and the last, she has shaken things up again – moving Peter and Rina to pastures new and setting off a whole new set of life events for them. Into the mix in “Murder 101” came Tyler McAdams, a new partner for Peter in his policework and fast becoming a favourite for me – although he polarised opinion I’m firmly on the side of more Tyler all the time. Luckily for me it’s looking like I might get my wish…

So here we are at the latest adventure then – The Theory of Death. A student who may or may not have killed himself starts things off – and as Peter and Tyler enter the academic world once again, they will have their work cut out for them as they sort through a myriad of issues. Luckily as usual, Rina is around to ground things and keep them on the straight and narrow.

I loved this one it has to be said – I found the mathematics theory portions of the tale completely fascinating even though I understood not one darn word of it despite the excellent explanations. Once again Faye Kellerman throws a lot of intriguing and well drawn characters into the mix, gives us a complex and riveting puzzle to solve (and I’m not just talking about the maths here) and keeps you guessing to the very last page. I was enthralled from start to finish. I always am.

Overall this whole series comes highly recommended from me – you can read any of them, but for me to read in order is to go on a wonderful literary journey, after a few books reading one will be like coming home. For that reason hey, start at the start and work your way towards today – I can almost guarantee that once started you will devour each and every one then be tapping your fingers waiting for more. Which is what I’m doing right now.

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Not visited with this family yet? Start here….


Sergeant Decker is called to investigate a rape charge in an isolated Orthodox Jewish Community. Rina Lazarus, a young widow who found the victim, guides Decker through her suspicious community as all the signs point to the rapist’s first crime not being their last.

Need to read in order? Fantastic Fiction can help…

Happy Reading Folks!



Liz Currently Loves….24 Hours by Claire Seeber


Publication Date: Available Now from Bookouture

Source: Netgalley

Here today. Dead tomorrow?
My best friend, Emily, is dead – killed last night in a hotel fire.
But it was meant to be me.
Now I have 24 hours to find my daughter.
Before he finds out I’m still alive.

24 Hours ranks up amongst the best thrillers I’ve read in 2015 – and thats saying something because I’ve read a lot of them. Its been the year of the psychological thriller, some good, some terrible, some simply enjoyable then one or two that have been truly excellent because they offer something more for me as a reader than surface entertainment. 24 Hours is one of those.

On the one hand, this is a page turning, tension inducing race against time – We spend 24 hours with Laurie as she races across country, desperate to reach her daughter before her ex-husband – who she believes is trying to kill her. Suffering both mentally and physically from the aftermath of a fire that has just killed her best friend, many obstacles are thrown in her path, not least her own inability to focus. This makes for some great edge of the seat moments, some intriguing twist and turns and creates the kind of read that is highly addictive.

Then there is another layer – many of them in fact – as we see in flashback the relationship Laurie has with her ex, their lives together  and here is where the story took on an added emotional core quite aside from the thriller aspects. With a subtle and deft touch, Claire Seeber explores the theme of destructive relationships, obsessive love and the diffiulties of  removing yourself from a situation that is damaging. Sid is an entirely fascinating character, creative, haunted, intense, yet oddly sympathetic despite his actions – even given the fact that he is possibly an attempted murderer. Blurring the lines, showing that these things are not simply black and white – the emotive core of the story only makes the journey Laurie is on more absorbing and utterly riveting.

The fact that I really did not know how this was going to all pan out just made it even better – it was unpredictable, compelling and for me completely brilliant. I was almost tearful at the end, I felt like I’d been through the wringer. Some top notch construction, the author moves her characters around like pieces on a chessboard, making you question everything including Laurie herself  -at the same time exploring the vagaries of human nature and all its fallibilities. Really really excellent.

With 24 hours you can have a fast paced thrill ride of a novel but you can also have a delicate character driven tale – the best of both worlds for this reader and as such the book comes highly recommended from me.

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Happy Reading Folks!


Talk of the Toun – guest post from Helen MacKinven

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Today I am VERY happy to be kicking off the blog tour for Helen’s book “Talk of the Toun” – details below. And here she tells us about her lifelong love of Libraries.


A Lifelong Love of Libraries

I was born with the greedy gene. I’m not a fan of everything in moderation except when it applies to Brussel sprouts. I’m more prone to taking the ‘all or nothing’ approach and if I like something I want a LOT of it, hence the reason why I had to join Weight Watchers. My binge mentality doesn’t just apply to food. I LOVE words and have always been a voracious reader since I could flick through picture books as a toddler. My appetite for books was only satisfied because I had access to my local library and made a weekly trip to gobble up more words.

Pic 1 Denny library

I didn’t grow up in a house filled with books but I was encouraged to visit the library and there’s no doubt in my mind that it made a HUGE difference to my education. I also believe that you can’t develop as a writer unless you’re an avid reader. That’s why I was very proud to learn that the Scottish government is giving £80,000 to local authorities to auto-enrol every child in Scotland. Now every child has the opportunity to experience the pleasure books can bring and hopefully this will boost their chances of growing up as a fan of reading.

My weekly visits to a library extended beyond childhood when I worked as a librarian’s assistant while I was studying to be a primary school teacher. Being surrounded by books made me wonder about the names on the book spines. Who were these people? How did you become an author? No one in my small working class town wrote books. My hometown was part of an industrial landscape where men went to work in the local foundries and brick works and women worked in the bra or jeans factory. I didn’t dream of being an author because it was beyond the power of my imagination

Pic 2 Wrangler Jeans factory

This idea of social class and career expectations is a key theme in my novel, Talk of the Toun, as the main character desperately wants to go to art school but her big ambition doesn’t match the small town expectations of her parents. I was lucky to be the first person in my extended family to go on to higher education and eventually I realised that there was nothing to stop me being a writer. I found role models like Janice Galloway who didn’t let their working class roots hold them back and finally after many years as a reader I made the leap and became a writer too. The dream is now to see my own book on the shelves of my hometown’s library – an image that’s kept me motivated on the long and bumpy road to publication.

About the book:


Published 29th October by Thunderpoint.

Lifelong friends Angela and Lorraine are two very different girls, with a growing divide in their aspirations and ambitions putting their friendship under increasing strain.

Artistically gifted Angela has her sights set on art school, but lassies like Angela, from a small town council scheme, are expected to settle for a nice wee secretarial job at the local factory. Her only ally is her gallus gran, Senga, the pet psychic, who firmly believes that her granddaughter can be whatever she wants.

Though Lorraine’s ambitions are focused closer to home Angela has plans for her too, and a caravan holiday to Filey with Angela’s family tests the dynamics of their relationship and has lifelong consequences for them both.

Effortlessly capturing the religious and social intricacies of 1980s Scotland, Talk of the Toun is the perfect mix of pathos and humour as the two girls wrestle with the complications of growing up and exploring who they really are.


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Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt.


Publication Date: Available Now from Schribner UK

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Spring, 1945: A man wakes in a field in a country he does not know. Injured and confused, he pulls himself to his feet and starts to walk, and so sets out on an extraordinary journey in search of his home, his past and himself.

His name is Owen. A war he has only a vague memory of joining is in its dying days, and as he tries to get back to England he becomes caught up in the flood of refugees pouring through Europe. Among them is a teenage boy, Janek, and together they form an unlikely alliance as they cross battle-worn Germany.

Devastation Road is a truly brilliant read, beautifully written, emotionally resonant and utterly gripping, a novel to be inhaled rather than just read and one that will hover in the back of your mind for a long time after finishing it.

Owen is a character you will never forget. That forms the basis for the rest – this man and his slowly returning memories, on a road to discovery – the people he meets along the way, set against the aftermath of a devastating war. With true originality of substance, the author explores humanity, the vagaries of memory and the true meaning of redemption, this novel encompasses both a physical and a symbolic journey that fills the senses and captures the heart.

Jason Hewitt writes with a melodic and poetic style, visually stunning and descriptively perfect, but most of all, best of all, he tells us a story – an old school, truthful piece of storytelling genius, doing that thing that books are supposed to do – make you feel, make you consider, make you cry or laugh or get angry at the world, to believe just for a time that these characters and events are actually unfolding and taking you right along with them. These are the books I read for, this is what it is all about.

Devastation Road is, without doubt, one of the best and most impactful novels I have read to date – it is likely one I will return to, one of those books that you just know you will get more out of upon further reading, the ending of this one had me in utter pieces on the floor. Incredible piece of writing, remarkable.

Quite definitively Highly Recommended.

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Happy Reading Folks!


Liz Currently Loves…With Our Blessing by Jo Spain


Publication Date: Available Now from Quercus

Source: Publisher Review Copy

It’s true what they say . . . revenge is sweet.
1975. A baby, minutes old, is forcibly taken from its devastated mother.

2010. The body of an elderly woman is found in a Dublin public park in the depths of winter.

Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds is working the case. He’s convinced the murder is linked to historical events that took place in the notorious Magdalene Laundries.

Reynolds and his team follow the trail to an isolated convent in the Irish countryside. But once inside, it becomes disturbingly clear that the killer is amongst them . . . and is determined to exact further vengeance for the sins of the past.

A new crime series. Always a good reading day especially when they turn out to be as involving and intriguing as “With Our Blessing”  – a really quite beautifully written, immediately immersive story that is completely gripping throughout.

A few things that made this a stand out for me: Firstly Tom Reynolds. A really fairly normal policeman. Its kind of nice to have someone who simply has the usual problems we all face. He was a great character, plenty of depth and he felt very realistic. In fact the police team as a whole had a wonderfully authentic feel to it, which only added to the atmospheric and emotional case they were investigating.

The story itself was fascinating and completely addictive – admittedly beyond a general knowledge that they existed I did not know anything about the Magdalene Laundries – Jo Spain manages, with her gritty and no holds barred styling to paint a really horrific picture of the things that happened in that time, the echoes of that reverberating down into the present, at times it was difficult reading….for all the right reasons.

The mystery element itself is really well done – it kept me guessing, kept me turning the pages and this is one of those novels that you devour in fairly short order, excellent pacing, unpredictable and intriguing from the moment you start to the moment you finish.

There is a terrific balance of dark and light here – the author manages to walk that line, the narrative is unrelenting in its descriptive prose, yet there is respite to be had in the odd humerous moment. No punches are pulled especially in relation to the historical aspects, an eye opener into the way women were treated, there is no way that you’ll come away from this book without a sense of sorrow for anyone who was affected.

Overall a really excellent debut and one that promises great things from this series in the future. Most definitely Highly Recommended.

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Happy Reading Folks!


Stasi Child – Guest post from David Young.

25708878East Berlin, 1975

When Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.

Müller is a member of the national police, but the case has Stasi written all over it. Karin is tasked with uncovering the identity of the girl, but her Stasi handlers assure her that the perpetrators are from the West ­- and strongly discourage her asking questions.

The evidence doesn’t add up, and Muller soon realises the crime scene has been staged. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Muller doesn’t realise that the trail she’s following will lead her dangerously close to home . . .

Today I am VERY happy to welcome David to the blog as part of the official tour – Stasi Child really is the most amazing read and I’ll be doing a full review very soon – in the meantime here David tells us about early writing and reading. Over to David.

Early Writing and Reading.

I think it’s a truism that most newly-published authors have been desperate to break into print for a long time, writing stories in one form or another for most of their lives. For me, that’s only partially true. At the start of the noughties I wrote two crime thrillers set on the Isle of Wight that I couldn’t find a publisher for, and then turned to another diversion from the day job – in my case songwriting – until the urge to write a novel struck again about three years ago.

But if I delve back many, many years to early childhood perhaps there’s a clue what was in store. I clearly remember, aged about five, writing and illustrating my own version of the story Black Beauty when I was round at a neighbour’s one afternoon. I was very excited about this and fully expected to get it published. My mother let me down very gently, explaining that Black Beauty had already been written by Anna Sewell, and that there wouldn’t really be a market for a version by David Young, never mind any copyright issues. I think this provoked a few tears and a strop but eventually I had to accept it.

Although this setback thwarted a very early writing career, it didn’t stop me reading. My favourite reading material was the now often-maligned Enid Blyton. I was addicted to Blyton’s ‘Mystery’ series (interestingly, The Mystery That Never Was, is one of her controversial titles, rejected by her usual publisher, Macmillan, because: “There is a faint but unattractive touch of old-fashioned xenophobia in the author’s attitude to the thieves; they are ‘foreign’ … and this seems to be regarded as sufficient to explain their criminality”).

Blyton wrote them prolifically and I read them prolifically, and that was my first introduction to what was – I suppose – a form of crime fiction for children. I think it was from reading a technique in a ‘Mystery of’ book that I acted out my very own locked room ‘mystery’. This involved my sister locking me in the toilet with nothing but a sheet of newspaper. I then slid this under the door, carefully knocked at the lock till the key fell out onto the paper, and then slid the key – on the sheet of paper – back inside the toilet and then – hey presto! – unlocked the door from the inside. There is one scene in Stasi Child involving a scam to get photographs of tyre imprints from government cars which was probably inspired by something similar in a Blyton book.

Much against my wishes, I was packed off to boarding school at the unfeasibly young age of nine for no better reason – it seemed to me – than for my parents to be able to boast about it to their friends. I still read books to fight off loneliness and boredom, but any formal English Literature aspirations were rather thwarted when the school entered our top set into an advanced English Lit ‘O’ level a year early. The main reason it appeared to me was so the English master could get a vicarious thrill from quoting from Chaucer’s The Miller’s Tale to a roomful of 15-year-old boys. His favourite passage was when character ‘x’ grabbed character ‘y’ (I can’t remember who) ‘by the quaint’ – an old-English term for the unmentionable ‘c’-word. I didn’t thrive in this environment, and instead opted to do science ‘A’-levels.

But I guess the biggest influence on Stasi Child from my childhood years came from thriller writers Helen MacInnes and Alastair MacLean. Both are less well-known these days, although MacLean’s name is perhaps more familiar because of the success of films like The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare, which still get regular reruns on some of the minor TV channels. In her day though, Scottish scribe

MacInnes was the Queen of thriller writers, and I was an addict in my teenage years, buying each new title as soon as it came out. She took the reader on thrill-a-minute tours of Europe in titles such as The Salzburg Connection (1968). I hope some of that excitement has spilled over into Stasi Child. Its perhaps most noticeably evident in a scene on The Brocken – which was the highest mountain in the northern part of East Germany, site of the main listening station trying to intercept messages from the West. My heroine – Oberleutnant Karin Müller – is involved in a helter skelter ski-chase, followed by a shoot-out – something that could have come straight from a MacLean or MacInnes novel. What I loved about each of those two author’s tales was that you were almost guaranteed a damn good read. So if people say the same of Stasi Child, I’ll consider it’s been a success.

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Happy Reading Folks!


Liz Currently Loves…The Outsider by Jason Dean


Publication Date: Available Now from Headline

Source: Bookbridgr

The Victim
John Strickland’s life is in tatters. An integral part of a high-profile, federal murder case, Strickland and his son are deep in witness protection following a hit in which his wife died. With seven days to go until he testifies, all he needs to do is survive.

The Protector
US Marshal Angela Delaney is in charge of Strickland’s new protection team. Convinced there will be another attempt on his life, and fearing an inside leak, Delaney knows she needs outside help and there’s only one person she wants.

The Outsider
Former Marine James Bishop has worked close protection and is intimately acquainted with Delaney. He never expected to see her again but when she re-appears, and he meets Strickland and his son, Bishop knows he has to help protect them.

Can this outsider make the difference or are all their lives about to get a whole lot tougher?

I’m a huge fan of great thrillers and Jason Dean writes GREAT thrillers. The Bishop series is really coming into it’s own now, The Outsider is a step up even from the previous excellent novels and I loved every minute.

Basically what this author does is give us a terrific main protagonist (the aforementioned Bishop),  gets him to decide to do something (and nothing he decides to do is ever easy) and then throws as many obstacles into his path as is humanly possible and lets him do his thing. The flow of it is beautiful, the adrenalin rush comes what feels like every few pages and yet there is enough quiet contemplative moments to allow for some really good character development. A thriller with heart.

The Outsider has plenty of action, thrills and spills, some intuitively placed twists and turns and more excitement than is good for me on  a Sunday afternoon (when I devoured the last half with several cups of coffee and a wing and a prayer for Barney) Seriously addictive and James Bishop is to die for, a hero with his own distinctive style and a tendency to dig deep when the chips are down, you’ll be with him all the way. The villains of the piece are always eclectic and well developed so you do worry just a little about what might happen, there is a good dose of unpredictability which keeps things interesting.

Really excellent stuff. Move over Reacher I think you have been outplayed.

Highly Recommended.

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Nine hundred and seventy three days.
Thinking. Planning. Waiting for the perfect moment.

Former Marine James Bishop will only have one opportunity to make his prison break. And one chance to prove that he isn’t responsible for the murders that put him inside.

Three years ago Bishop was the leader of an elite close protection team hired to protect a millionaire and his daughter. After being attacked, Bishop regained consciousness to find seven bodies strewn throughout the millionaire’s Long Island mansion – including those of his two charges – and a mountain of evidence guaranteed to send him down for murder.

But to find out who set him up and why, Bishop needs to be free. And now the time has come to make his move.

Happy Reading Folks!