Murder game

Book Synopsis

To catch a killer, you must first think like one…

A killer is playing a twisted game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead.

In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die.

But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby asks her gangster boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to set up a dangerous meeting to allow her to see into the twisted mind of a murderer.

But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team becomes. Is he really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining her up to be his next victim?

Available to Buy

Amazon UK

Amazon US

My Review

Well I never, a massive five stars for Murder Game by Caroline MItchell, in fact if I could possibly score higher I would but Goodreads, Amazon and all the others don’t have a blown away button.

Murder Game is the third in the series following Detective Ruby Preston another rung higher on the ladder, how is Caroline going to top this one, every one in the series is advancing at an almighty rate of knots, I’m in awe of how Caroline manages it.

DS Ruby Preston finds herself and her team embroiled in an investigation surrounding a copy-cat serial killer who appears to have information relating to an incarcerated murderer Mason Gatley “The Lonely Hearts Killer”. The playground for the killer is centred around the Dark Web, an exclusive dating website labelled Debauchery, a den of iniquity where clients are given a free pass to fulfil there fantasy, without repercussions.

The killer is playing a game with three steps, three photographs, Alive,Tortured, Dead. Can Ruby stop them, can she assemble the clues, build the picture and capture the killer before more women die.

Caroline has created a character in Ruth that gives the feeling that she is a living, breathing entity not just in my imagination, she is strong-willed, full of voracious tenacity with a spirit second to none but with the inevitable faults we all possess. I enjoyed reading more about Cathy and Nathan, the two most important people in Ruth’s life I hope in the next instalment Caroline will give us more of the uniqueness of Ruth’s family and maybe something more.

If I was to look at the dynamics of the whole book, I would honesty portray the book as written with fluidity, shown in the small but important attention to detail, which brought the book to life not just in my imagination. The plot sealed the deal, so to speak, I followed the trail of bread crumbs, picked them up, examined the clues, puzzled over them, had a eureka moment, then got my knickers in a twist, cause I was so wrong…….. Bravo Caroline, you know how to create a diversion and play merry hell with Murder Game.

Like shards of ice dripping through my veins, Caroline Mitchell has induced a euphoric spine-chilling read in Murder Game. Thank you to Bookouture, Caroline Mitchell and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of Murder Game to read in exchange for an honest review.

caroline mitchell

Author Bio

USA Today Bestselling Thriller Author.

Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family, parrot and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. Published by Bookouture and Thomas & Mercer, she now writes full time and all her books have become number 1 best sellers in their categories.

Her fast-paced DC Jennifer Knight thrillers carry a hint of the supernatural and are weaved from Caroline’s personal experiences in the police and paranormal.

Set in Shoreditch, London, her DS Ruby Preston series is described as “terrifying, addictive serial killer thrillers”.

Caroline also writes psychological thrillers, the most recent, Witness, has been described as “thrilling, tense, exciting, dark and twisted in the best possible way”.

Author Links


Twitter: @Caroline_writes







Broken Bones

BROKEN BONES by Angela Marsons
(Book 7 Detective Kim Stone crime thriller series)
Published by Bookouture on 3rd November 2017.
UK 🇬🇧
US 🇺🇸

Its with great pleasure to be part of the Blog Blitz with other fellow Bloggers presenting an Exclusive Extract from Angela Marsons new book Broken Bones available to pre-order now, publication date 3rd of November by Bookouture.

So if you fancy a wee sweetener of what’s in store from the fantastic Angela Marsons, lets get the show on the road, have a sneak peak at the prologue and see what maybe in store for Detective Kim Stone……

Black Country: Christmas Day

Lauren Goddard sat on the roof of the thirteen-storey block of flats. The winter sun shone a grid onto her bare feet dangling over the edge. The cold breeze nipped at her wiggling toes.

The protective grate had been erected some years ago after a father of seven had thrown himself over. By the time she was eleven she had stolen a pair of wire cutters from the pound shop and fashioned herself an access point to the narrow ledge that was her place of reflection. From this vantage point she could look to the beauty of the Clent Hills in the distance, block out the dank, grubby reality of below.
Hollytree was the place you were sent if Hell was having a spring clean. Problem families from the entire West Midlands were evicted from other estates and housed in Hollytree. It was displacement capital. Communities around the borough breathed sighs of relief as families were evicted. No one cared where they went. It was enough that they were gone and one more ingredient was added to the melting pot.

There was a clear perimeter around the estate over which the police rarely crossed. It was a place where the rapists, child molesters, thieves and ASBO families were put together in one major arena. And then guarded by police from the outside.

But today a peace settled around the estate, giving the illusion that the normal activities of robbing, raping and molesting were on pause because it was Christmas Day. That was bollocks. It was all still going on but to the backdrop of the Queen’s Speech.

Her mother was still slurring her way around the cheerless flat with a glass of gin in her hand. Her one concession to the event was the line of tinsel wrapped haphazardly around her neck as she stumbled from the living room to the kitchen for a refill.

Lauren didn’t expect a present or a card any more. She had once mentioned the excitement of her friends. How they had enjoyed presents, laughter, a roast dinner, a chocolate-filled stocking.

Her mother had laughed and asked if that was the kind of Christmas she wanted.

Lauren had innocently nodded yes.

The woman had clicked the television to the Hallmark Channel and told her to ‘fill her boots’.

Christmas meant nothing to Lauren. But at least she had this. Her one piece of Heaven. Always her safe place. Her escape.

She had disappeared unnoticed up here when she was seven years old and her mother had been falling all over the flat pissed as a fart.

How lucky was she to have been the only one of the four kids her mother had been allowed to keep?

She had escaped up here when her mother’s drinking partner, Roddy, had started pawing at her groin and slobbering into her hair. Her mother had pulled him off, angrily, shouting something about ruining her retirement plan.
She hadn’t understood it when she was nine years old but she had come to understand it now.

She had cried up here on her sixteenth birthday when her mother had introduced her to the family business and to their pimp, Kai Lord.

She’d been up here two months earlier when he had finally found her.

And she’d been up here when she’d told him to fuck right off.

She didn’t want to be saved. It was too late.

Sixteen years of age and already it was too damn late.

Many times she had fantasised about how it would feel to lurch forward onto the wind. She had envisioned herself floating to and fro, gently making the journey like a stray pigeon feather all the way to the ground. Had imagined the feeling of weightlessness of both her body and her mind.

Lauren took a deep breath and exhaled. In just a few minutes it would be time to go to work. Heavy rain, sleet, snow, Christmas – nothing kept the punters away. Trade might be slow but it would still be there. It always was.

She didn’t hear the roof door open or the footsteps that slowly strode towards her.

She didn’t see the hand that pushed her forward.

She only saw the ground as it hurtled towards her.

Wow what an extract, want more, need to read more, here’s a wee reminder of where Angela Marsons Broken Bones is available to order:

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons, out on 3rd November 2017
UK 🇬🇧
US 🇺🇸








Lost Child Banner

Well I’m absolutely over the moon to be invited onto the Blog Tour for The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney, thank you to Kim Nash and Bookouture for allowing me the opportunity.

Lost Child Cover

Title: The Lost Child

Author: Patricia Gibney

Amazon Links:



They placed me in here and threw away the key. I look down at the gown they’ve put on me. I want my own clothes. I don’t know how long I’ve been here.

An elderly woman is found murdered in her own home, and Detective Lottie Parker and her partner Detective Boyd are called in to investigate. When they discover that the victim’s daughter is missing as well, they start to fear for the safety of the whole family…

Two days later as a nearby house is set on fire and with the body count rising, Lottie and her team begin to unpick a web of secrets and lies, as the murders seem to link back to a case investigated by Lottie’s father before he took his own life.

With little knowledge of what really happened to her father, Lottie knows this is a case that could give her some answers. But how much does she want to know? And how far is Lottie prepared to dig to uncover the truth?

The Lost Child is a thrilling page-turner from the bestselling author of The Missing Ones and The Stolen Girls that will have you guessing right to the very last page. Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsons and Robert Dugoni.

My Review

I need to catch my breath, calm my heart and recover my senses, I think I have invested every emotion possible into The Lost Child, Patricia Gibney has floored me with the third book in Detective Inspector Lottie Parker series and all I want is more.

The Lost Child is a perfect example of the ultimate page-turner, building up the series of books which lead us to this point. The Missing Ones and The Stolen Girls have been parts of the puzzle linking up to The Lost child and it doesn’t disappoint.

Well where do I start, Patricia has pulled no punches in book three, I’m wound up tighter than a spinning top all due to the opening chapter. A historical crime depicting the horror of what one mother can do to her children left a taste in my mouth, a sourness, but it becomes apparent later why, a vital piece, a conundrum to solve.

DI Lottie is plunged deep into an investigation of an elderly woman, who was brutally attacked and murdered, the victims daughter is also missing, all clues start to point Lottie’s father who committed suicide years earlier, the death toll is rising can Lottie and her team prevent any more and the save this family.

The persona of Lottie manifests at lightning speed throughout the book, she’s a tough cookie especially at work. Nothing seems to phase Lottie until she falls of the wagon again, the crutch of alcohol and pills, are they muddying the water and affecting the investigation only time will tell. Oh Boy was I getting excited, Boyd seems to have ignited his candle for Lottie again, will it smoulder and extinguish or will Lottie reciprocate Boyd’s feelings, only time will tell.

The plotline in The Lost Child tumbles, twists, yanks you back and forth, it even screams at you I Know Who Committed The Crimes, before pummelling you into submission almost laughing You Are Wrong Again, a game of Tug of War With Words. I thoroughly enjoyed the games Patricia played with my mind, Touché Patricia I didn’t anticipate the end, the surprises just kept coming roll on book four.

Thank you to Bookouture, Patricia Gibney and Kim Nash for an advanced readers copy to read of The Lost Child in exchange for an honest review.

Patricia Gibney

Author Bio:

Patricia lives in the midlands of Ireland. She is an avid crime reader so naturally she found herself writing in the crime genre.

A life changing experience in 2009, with the death of her 49 year old husband, meant she had to give up her career, and over the following few years, she rekindled her love of art and writing.

Initially Patricia wrote and illustrated a children’s book, but her real ambition was to write a novel. And she did!

In January 2016, she joined with Ger Nichol of The Book Bureau Literary Agency. In July 2016, Patricia signed with Bookouture for four DI Lottie Parker crime novels.

The Missing Ones (Book 1) published in March 2017 and to date has reached a high of number 2 in Amazon UK Kindle charts and number 6 in the US. It also achieved number 1 in all its categories. It is a bestseller in UK, US, Canada and Australia.

Book 2 in the series, The Stolen Girls, published on July 6th, 2017.

Book 3, The Lost Child, is on pre-order and is published on October 27th, 2017.

Author Social Media Links:





Absolution - P.A. Davies - Blog Tour Poster 3.0

Well today I have the pleasure to be part of the Blog Tour today for Absolution by P.A.Davies.

Absolution - P.A. Davies - Book Cover

Book Description

Absolution – Paul Davies – Blurb

When the Militia came in the peaceful village of Nyanyar Ngun, South Sudan in 1993 – amidst the backdrop of a bitter civil war – it wasn’t in peace. Under the command of General Ode Tombura, the soldiers of the SPF committed untold atrocities in that small farming village before finally razing it to the ground.

Boys were taken from their families to be trained as soldiers of the Militia, whilst girls as young as eight-years-old were abducted for trafficking to a waiting market of odious buyers.

In a field of high-maize, sixteen-year-old Jada lay hidden and afraid, witnessing the merciless slaughter of his parents and the capture of his sister Kadeni powerless to stop it, too frightened to try.

But now – tortured with grief, consumed with shame and driven by guilt – Jada must embark on a long and arduous journey to rescue his sister from a sinister world and find his absolution … or die trying!

Available to Buy

Amazon UK

Amazon US

My Review

Reading Absolution by P.A.Davies wasn’t what I envisioned, I had a sense that it would all centred around the militia and war but to my surprise this wasn’t the case, yes war is ever present in the book when it flips back and forth but not overly done. If I’m realistic I honestly thought this isn’t for me but I’m glad to say P.A.Davies proved me wrong.

Absolution is a very thought provoking book, turning the pages of the prologue I was catapulted straight into the depiction of the Sudan, a war ravaged region which engaged me from the start. The landscape, the people, the cruel and unjust imposition was felt and seen with every word read, the descriptions generated a sense of knowing the characters producing an uncomplicated, absorbing read, this is just the beginning.

After the prologue which depicted the harrowing atrocities of the Sudan and WWII, we are propelled from historical atrocities swiftly into present day, where the characters have hidden agendas and the truth never seems to surface, the perfect basis for a thriller with a multitude of directions.

I’m not going to delve any further into Absolution, its a book which you need to read, its too easy to give too much away, so I shall leave that to the reader to discover. Absolution is a fast paced thriller which will have you wondering about humanity and how can we allow such atrocities to occur, have we no heart, are we just as immoral, can we vindicate crimes against humanity. A thought provoking book which will have you dissecting it long after the book has closed.

Thank you to P.A.Davies for an advanced readers copy of Absolution, many thanks to Caroline Vincent for the invite onto the Blog Tour, its been a pleasure to take part and read Absolution in exchange for an honest review.

P.A. Davies Author Image

Author Bio

P.A. Davies was born in Manchester, UK, a city he has lived in and around all his life. He loves Manchester and is proud to be part of the multi-cultural, modern city that houses two Premiership football teams and is the birthplace of many a famous band, such as Oasis, the Stone Roses, Take That and Simply Red.

For most of his life, he has dabbled with writing various pieces – from poems to short fictional stories – but this was always just for fun. However, following advice from a good friend he decided to have a go at writing a novel. Thus, his first novel ‘Letterbox’ was conceived, a fictional take on the infamous IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996. It took him over a year to complete but while doing so, he found it to be one of the most satisfying and interesting paths he had ever followed. It came as no surprise that the writing bug subsequently became firmly embedded within him.

P.A. Davies’ second book – George: A Gentleman of the Road – was published in May 2013 and is a true story about one of Manchester’s homeless. His third novel – The Good in Mister Philips – is an erotic novel (arguably set to rival Fifty Shades…!) and his fourth – Nobody Heard Me Cry (Dec. 2015) – is again a fact-based tale about Manchester’s darker side. The thriller ‘Absolution’ (Oct. 2017) is his fifth novel.

To label P.A. Davies’ writings would be difficult because his works range from thrillers to touching novels to true-to-life tales embedded in a captivating story, making P.A. Davies an imaginative and versatile storyteller.

P.A. Davies on Social Media:
FB Author Page:
Twitter: @padavies


Silent lies

Book Description

‘Your husband didn’t kill himself.’

Five years rebuilding your life. Five words will destroy it again.

Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter, Freya. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students, Josie Carpenter, vanished.

Five years later, and Josie is still missing but Mia has finally found some happiness with new boyfriend Will.

Until one day when stranger Alison walks into her life and tells Mia that her husband didn’t kill himself.

Desperate to find out what really happened to Zach, Mia is forced to put her trust in Alison. But she soon discovers that Alison has her own agenda behind exposing the details of Zach’s death. Can Mia really believe anything Alison says?

Mia must decide how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth – even if she risks losing everything she loves.

Available to Buy

Amazon UK

Amazon US

My Review

Five Years. 
Five Words. 
Mia delves into the past looking for the truth, does Alison hold the key to Silent Lies.

A seemingly perfect life, shattered into a million pieces when Mia becomes a widow after her husband Zach, apparently commits suicide. Struggling for a number of years as a single parent eventually becoming a counsellor, finds love again with Will then Mia is dealt another blow, Alison a new client, drops a bombshell…… Alison believes Zach didn’t commit suicide.

Should Mia believe her?

What’s the evidence?

Why is Alison revealing this information now?

How far will Mia go to expose the truth?

After reading Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft I have deduced that there is four main questions which have built up this fantastic psychological thriller and each one was embroiled in a web of lies, half truths and at the centre of it all the truth. I loved having to pick my way through the hints, sometimes slamming into that proverbial brick wall, when I ultimately took the wrong turn, but that added to the thrill of the chase, hunting down the truth to the Silent Lies.

I looked hard at Mia while reading wondering did I like her, feel sorry for her or did I think she deserved what was coming to her, it took a while for me to settle on my opinion of Mia. I came to the conclusion that Mia was a tad materialistic especially while Zach was alive but upon his death she changed, went in the opposite direction and became a commitaphobe especially when it came to Will. The character of Alison is a whole different ball game, I found her to be very emotionally dependent, unstable and volatile all just scratching the surface of her mental health issues which become apparent the further into the book I read.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the ease of reading Silent Lies, it was very well written, not over described and it had no complicated vocabulary that needs a dictionary to decipher which is always a bonus. If you want a nice straight forward but twisted plot the Silent Lies is the one for you.

Silent Lies is a brilliant psychological thriller which will tense up your mind, flood your senses with apprehension and leave you sitting in a heap on the floor wondering what the hell happened there.


Thank you to Bookouture, Kathryn Croft and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of Silent Lies in exchange for an honest review.

Kathryn Croft

Author Bio

Kathryn Croft is the bestselling author of five psychological thrillers, and to date has sold over one million copies of her books. The Girl With No Past spent over four weeks at number one in the Amazon UK chart and her other novels, Behind Closed Doors, The Stranger Within and The Girl You Lost all reached number one in the psychological thriller charts.

She has just completed her sixth psychological thriller, which is due for publication on 25th October 2017.

After six years teaching secondary school English, Kathryn now writes full time and has a publishing deal with Bookouture, as well as foreign rights deals in thirteen different countries.

Having always been an avid reader, Kathryn believes in the power of words to entertain, teach and transform lives. She is also a firm believer in following your dreams and says anything is possible if you work hard enough and never give up!

Kathryn lives in Guildford, Surrey with her husband, their little boy and two cats.

Links to Author Pages





Lets start with a bit of background information on Lisa Regan before we reveal her new book Vanishing Girls.

Lisa Regan - Author Photo

Author Bio

Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Find out more at her website:

Connect with Lisa Regan here:




Its with great pleasure that I have been given the opportunity to be part of the Cover Reveal for Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan.

Drum roll please ……… Vanishing Girls final 2

Wow what an amazing cover for Lisa’s new book, subtle but dramatic in appearance.


Vanishing Girls: A totally heart-stopping crime thriller (Detective Josie Quinn gripping crime fiction series – Book 1)

She was close enough to see that the girl had written a word on the wall in bright, warm red blood. Not a word, actually. A name…

Everyone in the small American town of Denton is searching for Isabelle Coleman, a missing seventeen-year-old girl. All they’ve found so far is her phone and another girl they didn’t even know was missing.

Mute and completely unresponsive to the world around her, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Detective Josie Quinn can get from her is a name: Ramona.

Currently suspended from the force for misconduct, Josie takes matters into her own hands as the name leads her to evidence linking the two girls. She knows the race is on to find Isabelle alive, and she fears there may be others…  

The trail leads Josie to another victim, a girl who escaped but whose case was labelled a hoax by authorities. To catch this monster, Josie must confront her own nightmares and follow her instinct to the darkest of places. But can she make it out alive?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Helen Fields and Robert Dugoni will be utterly gripped and sleeping with the lights on once they discover the first in this unputdownable new crime thriller series.

Vanishing Girls is a available for pre-order now, publication date 17th of January 2018.

Pre-Order Here 

Amazon UK

Amazon US







Today I have the auspicious task of reviewing Maggie by Netta Newbound as part of a three day Blog Blitz, courtesy of Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books.


Book Description

When sixteen-year-old Maggie Simms’ mum loses her battle with cancer, the only family she has left is her abusive stepfather, Kenny.

Horrified to discover he intends to continue his nightly abuse, Maggie is driven to put a stop to him once and for all.

However, she finds her troubles are only just beginning when several of her closest allies are killed. Although nothing seems to be linking the deaths, Maggie believes she is jinxed.

Why are the people she cares about being targeted?

And who is really behind the murders?

Sometimes the truth is closer than you think.

Available to Buy

Amazon UK

Amazon US

My Review

Maggie by Netta Newbound is a heart wrenching psychological thriller which tore at every ounce of my being. I felt a multitude of emotions whilst reading about Maggie, a sixteen year old who loses her mother to cancer only to be abused by her lecherous step-father, Kenny.

After all the turmoil of Maggie’s mothers death and the funeral, Kenny is killed at the hands of Maggie in self defence after a particularly vicious sexual assault, then the people who believe in Maggie start to die.

Is Maggie to blame?

Who will believe Maggie?

Does someone want to frame Maggie?

The characters created by Netta are steadfast and wholesome, especially in the case of Maggie, there were two sides shown to Maggie. When under duress it was apparent Maggie was withdrawn and uncommunicative with her peers, as her demeanour and circumstances changed she became more sensitive, forthright and independent drawing me closer to her. I felt a bond with Claudia a character who loved and protected Maggie, she reminded me a little of myself, a selfless character who would do anything to help another.

Don’t get me wrong not all the characters were worthy of my praise, there were a few dubious and repulsive personalities who I would gladly see an expiration date on, which is exactly what I think Netta portrayed in a methodical manner.

Netta has produced a book with edge, even though Maggie contains scenes which some readers may find wretched, Netta has communicated the topic with sensitivity and not sensationalised it, but stuck to the facts.

Questions are raise in rapid succession, deaths just as fast, holy moly my head was spinning, even with all the furore I was a bundle of nerves wondering what could possibly happen next.

Netta is a first-class writer, a master of psychological intensity which will have you hanging on by your fingertips with fear and trepidation.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books, Netta Newbound and Sarah Hardy for an advanced readers copy of Maggie in exchange for an honest and impartial opinion.

Netta pic

Author Bio

My name’s Netta Newbound. I write thrillers in many different styles — some grittier than others. The Cold Case Files have a lighter tone and are full of fun. I also write a series set in London, which features one of my favourite characters, Detective Adam Stanley. These books are a little grittier. My standalone books, The Watcher and An Impossible Dilemma, are not for the faint hearted, and it seems you either love them or hate them—I’d love to know what you think.

Originally from Manchester, England, I have travelled extensively and have lived and worked in a variety of exciting places. I now live in New Zealand with my husband. We have three grown up children and four grandchildren.

Author Links

Twitter –
Facebook –
Website –








Well today is my turn on the Blog Tour for His Third Victim by Helen Durrant published by Joffe Books. Thank you to Jill who kindly invited me to part of the tour.

His Third Victim

Book Description

HIS THIRD VICTIM by Helen H. Durrant


A man is shot dead and his body is dumped on the moors. His arm is stamped with the Chinese symbol for sorry.

There have been five unsolved murders with the same hallmark. The police can’t find any motive or connection between the victims.

Bella Richards was close to the murdered man. She lives with her five-year son and has begun a new life in the local area.  But although clearly grief-stricken, she is not telling the police everything she knows.

Detective Talbot Dyson wants his most trusted inspector on the case. But DI Matt Brindle is out of action. He was badly injured and his sergeant was killed in a criminal ambush.  He is drawn into the investigation and must decide whether he wants to go to back to his old life.
What is the real connection between the victims and who will be next?
This is a detective mystery full of twists and turns, with a stunning edge-of-your-seat ending.

Available to Buy

Amazon UK

Amazon US

My Review

His Third Victim is a standalone police procedural concentrating on DI Matt Brindle who was semi-retired from the force after an incident which killed his sergeant and left him suffering a terrible injury. While reading His Third Victim it gave me the impression that another series could be in the offing centred around DI Matt Brindle, I sincerely hope so I have my fingers and toes crossed that this may come to fruition because it would be another smash hit.

Starting off with a formidable crime the death of a man known to Brindle and an abduction of a young child, it doesn’t take long for Brindle to return to work as the investigation has peaked his interest. Is there a connection between them and previously discovered victims, can Brindle bring it all together and prevent any more deaths, its a race against time.

The characters in His Third Victim are true to life giving the sense that you could easily interact with them, Brindle is flawed and struggling with his personal and work life, PTSD his gripped him ever since his traumatic injury leaving him uncertain and struggling to put the guilt behind him. Haines is the opposite of Brindle, shown in her confidence and how assertive she is, Brindle and Haines make a perfect match.

Helen has developed a plotline which I found plausible and quite intense at times, with plenty of characters in which I was convinced were capable of the killings only to be thrown another red herring, I certainly was agog when I found out who was responsible.

His Third Victim is fast paced with graceful fluidity of the writing enabling an easy and effortless read where I raced through the pages, adrenaline flowing salivating at the twists and turns until the very end.

I beg of Helen to carefully consider a Brindle and Haines series, it would be another great series of books which would be an absolute thrill to follow.

Thank you to Joffe Books, Helen Durrant and Jill Burkinshaw for the invitation to take part in the Blog Tour for His Third Victim. All opinions in my review are my own and written with impartiality and honesty.

helen durrant

Author Bio

OVER 500,000 books sold of her Calladine & Bayliss and DI Greco Series

I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled.
I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else!
I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is.


Twitter: @hhdurrant
Facebook Page:



It is with great pleasure to be part of the Blog Blitz hosted by Sarah Hardy for the newest psychological thriller Her Dark Retreat by J.A.Baker published by Bloodhound Books.


Book Description

The coastguard’s residence Chamber Cottage, which sits high up on the North Yorkshire cliffs overlooking The North Sea, holds many dark secrets.

Alec and Peggy are struggling to overcome their marital problems. Both damaged by problems from their childhoods, they are trying to get on with their lives. But this is hard for them to do when they both believe they are being watched. As a result, Peggy, who has terrible scars on her face, becomes more agoraphobic.

To make matters worse, Peggy discovers her estranged mother is stalking both she and Alec, claiming she has a dark secret that is putting Peggy in danger.

What caused the scars on Peggy’s face? Is Alex really the monster Peggy’s mother believes him to be? And what secrets does Chamber Cottage hold?

Available to Buy

Amazon UK

Amazon US

My Review

I have sat and pondered awhile, wondering what can I say, I could rabbit on about how unputdownable, stomach churning and how insatiable my appetite was to devour Her Dark Retreat, but that would be a lie, it was So So Much More.

Her Dark Retreat was like a bucket with holes, the faster you try to fill it the faster it runs out. The red herrings throughout the book remind of that bucket the quicker I filed one away another appeared, thanks for sending me on a wild goose chase, it was awesome.

I have read many opening chapters in my time, some good, some bad, but this one had me gasping for air, clawing my way through the pages, absorbing the essence of each and every character. Several of the characters are flawed with hidden pasts, unwilling to confront their demons and move on with their lives.

Peggy is alienated from her family due to her choice of husband which conspired a conflict in which her mother believed Alec is a philander and has murderous intentions. Alec is a man with a whole heap of turmoil embroiled in his personality all stemming from his childhood and abusive relationship with his father, but is it all as we are led to believe.

I absolutely loved the description of the Chamber Cottage and the surrounding area, it has the nitty-gritty feel of a creepy, dark and lonesome place over looking the unrelenting and cold North Sea. I could conjure up the mental image of the area in my mind and actually felt acutely aware of the coldness seeping into my very soul and my lifeblood flowing with shards of ice, OMG the shivers.

J.A.Baker has set aside what I would class as normal parameters in writing this plotline, nothing is straight forward or as it seems, an excellent narrative of each character in this psychological book which draws various conclusions and plenty of red herrings.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books, J.A.Baker and Sarah Hardy for the opportunity to read Her Dark Retreat in exchange for an honest review.


Author Bio

Born in Middlesbrough too many years ago to mention, J. A. Baker developed a deep appreciation of literature and reading from a young age after being introduced to it by her parents. Weekly visits to the library were the norm and after being handed a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories by her father, her love for the darker side of fiction slowly grew. She is an avid reader of all books but is drawn in particular, to psychological thrillers.
After many rejections (too many to mention!) her debut novel, Undercurrent, was published by Bloodhound Books in March 2017 and made it into the top 100 Amazon chart in both the UK and Canada. She is currently putting the finishing touches to her third novel and working on her fourth one.
J. A. Baker has four grown up children and lives in a village on the outskirts of Darlington with her husband Richard, and Theo, their barking mad dog.


Facebook – thewriterjude/
Twitter – thewriterjude
My website –
Amazon – A.-Baker/e/B06XSNWB4T/ref=sr_ ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1505332991& sr=8-1



Its with great pleasure to be invited to take part in the Blog Blast for The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland, with a sneaky preview of an extract for everyone to enjoy. Without further ado lets get this Blog Blast on the road.

Shalini Boland - Author Pic

Firstly lets see what Shalini Boland has in store for us with a short description of her upcoming psychological thriller The Secret Mother.


Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen calling her ‘mummy’. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.
Not anymore.
She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.
After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…
A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

What readers are saying about Shalini Boland:

‘Read in one sitting from 9pm last night until 2:15 am. I literally could not put it down!!!! The story line and the twists and the way it’s written just draws you in completely and you have to know where it’s going I couldn’t read fast enough… absolutely addictive and brilliant and an end I didn’t see coming. This is one book you have to read and it gets 5 huge stars from me!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘What can I say? Just wow. I’m usually never surprised by an ending, but this one blew me away. I am totally in shock and think I’ll have a hangover from this book for a while. A great read that keeps you on your toes until the very last word.’ Stacey Harrell, Goodreads

‘If anyone can have me reading until 2am and finishing a book in less than 48hrs in the school holidays it’s this author… massive five stars from me.’ Sarah Mackins, UK Crime Book Club, 5 stars

‘The ending of this book blew me out of the water, you won’t be able to put this down.’ For the Love of Books, 5 stars

‘The plot is gripping and once you’ve started reading, you have to keep on reading, you need to know how the story will end.’ Bits About Books, 5 Stars

‘… one of the most chilling reads of the year for me.’ Ajoobacats Blog, 5 Stars

‘This book should come with a warning… make sure you have enough time to read it in one-sitting because as soon as you’ll pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down!’ Bookishly Ever After, 5 stars

‘This is a brilliant psychological thriller. In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve read. It is full of suspense and has more twists and turns than a fairground ride.’ Jackie Roche, UK Crime Book Club, 5 Stars

‘I thought I knew the direction this story was going go. Then the jaw dropping moment happened!… unputdownable!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 Stars

‘Once again, Boland has managed to blow my mind with all the twists and turns… an outstanding explosive read!’ Mello and June, 5 Stars

‘Great book. I read it in less than 24 hours. I was unable to put it down. The story was fast paced and intriguing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

UK 🇬🇧

US 🇺🇸

Okay I think you’ve all waited long enough, who’s up for a wee sneak peak of The Secret Mother. We have an extract courtesy of Shalini Boland and Bookouture, so no more delays here we have Chapter One for you to read.

Shalini Boland

Chapter One

The street lamps flicker, illuminating the grey pavement mottled with patches of dirty snow and slick black ice. Slushy puddles hug the kerb, cringing away from the hissing, splashing car tyres. It takes all my concentration to keep my balance. My hands would be warmer if I jammed them into my coat pockets, but I need them free to steady myself on walls, fences, tree trunks, lamp posts. I don’t want to fall. And yet would it really be so terrible if I slipped on the ice? Wet jeans, a bruised bum. Not the end of the world. There are worse things. Far worse things.
It’s Sunday: the last exhale of the week. That uncomfortable pause before Monday, when it all starts up again – this lonely pretence at life. Sunday has become a black dot on the horizon for me, growing larger each day. I’m relieved now it’s almost over and yet I’m already anticipating the next one. The day when I visit the cemetery and stand above their graves, staring at the grass and stone, talking to them both, wondering if they hear my inane chatter or if I’m simply talking into the empty wind. In burning sunlight, pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures or thick fog I stand there. Every week. I’ve never missed a Sunday yet.
Sleet spatters my face. Icy needles that make me blink and gasp. Finally, I turn off the high street into my narrow road, where it’s more sheltered and the wind less violent. A rainbow assortment of overflowing bins lines my route, waiting for collection tomorrow at some ungodly pre-dawn hour. I turn my face away from the windows where Christmas tree lights wink and blink, reminding me of happier Christmases. Before.
Almost home.
My little north London terraced house sits halfway along the road. Pushing open the rusted gate, I turn my face away from the neglected front garden with its discarded sweet wrappers and crisp packets blown in from the street, now wedged among long tussocks of grass and overgrown bushes. I thrust my frozen fingers into my bag until they finally close around a jagged set of keys. I’m glad to be home, to get out of the cold, and yet my body sags when I open the door and step into the dark silence of the hall, feeling the hollow of their absence.
At least it’s warm in here. I shrug off my coat, kick off my boots, dump my bag on the hall table and switch on the light, avoiding my sad reflection in the hall mirror. A glass of wine would be welcome about now. I glance at my watch – only 5.20. No. I’ll be good and make a hot chocolate instead.
Strangely, the door to the kitchen is closed. This strikes me as odd, as I always leave it open. Perhaps a gust of wind slammed it shut when I came in. I trudge to the end of the hall and stop. Through a gap in the bottom of the door I see that the light is on. Someone’s in there. I catch my breath, feel the world slow down for a moment before it speeds back up. Could I have a burglar in my house?
I cock my ear. A sound filters through. Humming. A child is humming a tune in my kitchen. But I don’t have a child. Not any more.
Slowly I pull down the handle and push the door, my body tensing. I hardly dare breathe.
Here before me sits a little boy with dark hair, wearing pale blue jeans and a green cable-knit jumper. A little boy aged about five or six, perched on a chair at my kitchen counter, humming a familiar tune. Head down, he is intent on his drawing, colouring pencils spread out around an A4 sheet of paper. A navy raincoat hangs neatly over the back of the chair.
He looks up as I enter the room, his chocolate-brown eyes wide. We stare at one another for a moment.
‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks.
I bite my bottom lip, feel the ground shift. I grasp the counter top to steady myself. ‘Hello,’ I say, my heart suddenly swelling. ‘Hello. And who might you be?’
‘You know. I’m Harry,’ he replies. ‘Do you like my picture?’ He holds the sheet out in front of him, showing me his drawing of a little boy and a woman standing next to a train. ‘It’s not finished. I haven’t had time to colour it in properly,’ he explains.
‘It’s lovely, Harry. Is that you standing next to the train?’
‘Yes.’ He nods. ‘It’s you and me. I drew it for you because you’re my mummy.’
Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone crazy? This beautiful little boy is calling me his mummy. And yet I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before in my life. I close my eyes tight and then open them again. He’s still there, looking less confident now. His hopeful smile has faltered, slipping into a frown. His eyes are now a little too bright. I know that look – it’s the one that precedes tears.
‘Hey, Harry,’ I say with false jollity. ‘So you like trains, huh?’
His smile returns. ‘Steam trains are the best. Better than diesels.’ He scrunches up his face in disgust and blinks.
‘Did you come here on the train? To my house?’
‘No. We came on the bus. I wish we did come on the train, the bus was really slow. And it made me feel a bit sick.’ He lays the sheet of paper back on the counter.
‘And who did you come with?’ I ask.
‘The angel.’
I think I must have misheard him. ‘Who?’
‘The angel brought me here. She told me that you’re my mummy.’
‘The angel?’
He nods.
I glance around, suddenly aware that Harry might not be the only stranger in my house. ‘Is she here now?’ I ask in a whisper. ‘Is there someone else here with you?’
‘No, she’s gone. She told me to do some drawing and you’d be here soon.’
I relax my shoulders, relieved that there’s no one else in my home. But it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of who this little boy is. ‘How did you get into the house?’ I ask, nervously wondering if I might find a smashed window somewhere.
‘Through the front door, silly,’ he replies with a smile, rolling his eyes.
Through the front door? Did I leave it open somehow? I’m sure I would never have done that. What’s going on here? I should call someone. The authorities. The police. Somebody will be looking for this child. They will be frantic with worry. ‘Would you like a hot chocolate, Harry?’ I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. ‘I was going to make one for myself, so—’
‘Do you make it with milk?’ he interrupts. ‘Or with hot water? It’s definitely nicer with milk.’
I suppress a smile. ‘I agree, Harry. I always make it with milk.’
‘Okay. Yes, please,’ he replies. ‘Hot chocolate would be lovely.’
My heart squeezes at his politeness.
‘Shall I carry on colouring in my picture,’ he says, ‘or shall I help you? Because I’m really good at stirring in the chocolate.’
‘Well, that’s lucky,’ I reply, ‘because I’m terrible at stirring in the chocolate, so it’s a good thing you’re here to help me.’
He grins and slides off the stool.
What am I doing? I need to call the police right now. This child is missing from somewhere. But, oh God, just give me ten minutes with this sweet little boy who believes I’m his mother. Just a few moments of make-believe and then I’ll do the right thing. I reach out to touch his head and immediately snatch my hand back. What am I thinking? This boy has to go back to his real mother; she must be paralysed with worry.
He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts.
‘Okay,’ I say, taking a breath and blinking back any threat of tears. ‘We’ll do the chocolate in a minute. I’m just going to make a quick phone call in the hall, okay?’
‘Oh, okay.’
‘Carry on with your drawing for a little while. I won’t be long.’
He climbs back up onto the stool and selects a dark green pencil before resuming his colouring with a look of serious concentration. I turn away and pad out to the hall, where I retrieve my phone from my bag. But instead of dialling the police, I call another number. It rings twice.
‘Tess.’ The voice at the other end of the line is clipped, wary.
‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’
‘What? Now?’
‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’
‘Tessa, I’m knackered, and it’s hideous out there. I’ve just sat down with a cup of tea. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’
‘No.’ Standing by the hall table, I glimpse Harry through the doorway, the curls of his fringe flopping over one eye. Am I dreaming him?
‘What’s the matter?’ Scott says this the way he always says it. What he really means is, What’s the matter now? Because there’s always something the matter. I’m his damaged wife, who’s always having some new drama or make-believe crisis. Only this time he’ll see it’s something real, it’s something not of my making.
‘I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s too weird. You have to come over, see for yourself.’
His sigh comes long and hard down the phone. ‘Give me twenty minutes, okay?’
‘Okay. Thanks, Scott. Get here as soon as you can.’
My heart pounds, trying to make sense of what’s happening. That little boy in there says an angel brought him. He says I’m his mummy. But he’s not mine. So where on earth did he come from?
I take a breath and go back into the kitchen. The air is warm, welcoming, cosy. Nothing like the usual sterile atmosphere in here.
‘Can we make hot chocolate now?’ Harry looks up with shining eyes.
‘Of course. I’ll get the mugs and the chocolate. You open that drawer over there and pass me the smallest pan you can find.’
He eagerly does as I ask.
‘Harry,’ I say. ‘Where are your parents, your mummy and daddy?’
He stares at the pans in the drawer.
‘Harry?’ I prompt.
‘They’re not here,’ he replies. ‘Is this one small enough?’ He lifts out a stainless-steel milk pan and waves it in my direction.
‘Perfect.’ I nod and take it from him. ‘Can you tell me where you live?’
No reply.
‘Did you run away from home? Are you lost?’
‘But where’s your house or flat? The place you live? Is it here in Friern Barnet? In London? Close to my house?’
He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor.
‘Do you have a last name?’ I ask as gently as I can.
He looks up at me, his chin jutting out. ‘No.’
I try again, crouching down so I’m on his level. ‘Harry, darling, what’s your mummy’s name?’
‘You’re my new mummy. I have to stay here now.’ His bottom lip quivers.
‘Okay, sweetie. Don’t worry. Let’s just make our drinks, shall we?’
He nods vigorously and sniffs.
I give his hand a squeeze and straighten up. I wish I hadn’t had to call Scott. And yet I need him to be here when I ring the police. I can’t deal with them on my own, not after what happened before. I’m dreading their arrival – the questions, the sideways glances, the implication that I might have done something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, though. Have I?
And Harry… he’ll be taken away. What if his parents have been abusive? What if he has to go into foster care? A thousand thoughts run through my mind, each worse than the one before. But it’s not my place to decide what happens to him. There’s nothing I can do about any of it, because he’s not mine.
I don’t have a child. Not any more.

Okay that’s us, time to wrap it up, hope everyone enjoyed the extract from The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland. Until the next time I will leave a reminder of the links of where to purchase.


UK 🇬🇧

US 🇺🇸