See Them Run by Marion Todd

The page-turning first novel in a gripping series featuring DI Clare Mackay

Book blurb

In a famous Scottish town, someone is bent on murder – but why?

On the night of a wedding celebration, one guest meets a grisly end when he’s killed in a hit-and-run. A card bearing the number ‘5’ has been placed on the victim’s chest. DI Clare Mackay, who recently moved from Glasgow to join the St Andrews force, leads the investigation. The following night another victim is struck down and a number ‘4’ card is at the scene. Clare and her team realise they’re against the clock to find a killer stalking the streets of the picturesque Scottish town and bent on carrying out three more murders.

To prevent further deaths, the police have to uncover the link between the victims. But those involved have a lot more at stake than first meets the eye. If Clare wants to solve the case she must face her own past and discover the deepest secrets of the victims – and the killer.

My thoughts

What a wonderful setting for this new series from Marion Todd. I made an all too brief visit to St Andrews a couple of years ago after enjoying the Bloody Scotland crime festival. I thought it would be somewhere I would enjoy returning to. Now I have, albeit in my minds eye, through this splendid book.

DI Clare Mackay has recently joined the St Andrews force after a devastating incident she had whilst serving in Glasgow. She is the senior officer in St Andrews. So, when a man is brutally killed in a road traffic incident, she heads up the investigation. She and her team are barely into the investigation when another hit and run occurs. It’s seems to be the same perpetrator, there is a calling card left with each body and it all points to further murders.

This is a really good police procedural and we are taken on a grisly and heart rending journey to find the link between these murders and to catch a killer.

We are just getting to know Clare and the other characters in this first novel. I found her quite a sympathetic character she interacted well with colleagues, witnesses and suspects whilst maintaining a professional attitude. Her personal life is where we get more background and the two do collide especially when a DCI is brought in to act as the SIO. He seems to dislike Clare even though they have not previously worked together. She does wonder whether she has made the right move. Still the balance is good and this does not overshadow the investigation.

As the investigation continues we find out some rather dark and appalling things about the victims. This is handled well, is not graphic, whilst still allowing the reader to be caught up with the storyline. Clare’s instinct and experience allows for a heart stopping finale in the need to stop a further killing.

The story flowed well, building tension, drawing you into it and you were with Clare every step of the way. Such a good first outing must have many more investigations to come and I will look forward to immersing myself in them.

I hope you will give this splendid book a read and enjoy it as much as I did.


With thanks to Sophie at Canelo for early access to See them run by Marion Todd via NetGalley.


Published: Canelo (31 Oct 2019)

Buy See Them Run from the digital retailer of your choice right now:


A native of Dundee, Marion studied music with the Open University and worked for many years as a piano teacher and jobbing accompanist. A spell as a hotel lounge pianist provided rich fodder for her writing and she began experimenting with a variety of genres. Early success saw her winning first prize in the Family Circle Magazine short story for children national competition and she followed this up by writing short stories and articles for her local newspaper.

Life (and children) intervened and, for a few years, Marion’s writing was put on hold. During this time, she worked as a college lecturer, plantswoman and candle-maker. But, as a keen reader of crime fiction, the lure of the genre was strong, and she began writing her debut crime novel. Now a full-time writer, Marion lives in North-east Fife, overlooking the River Tay. She can often be found working out plots for her novels while tussling with her jungle-like garden and walking her daughter’s unruly but lovable dog.

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Book blurb

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger. Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice.

My thoughts

I should say from the outset that I have never read any other Michael Connelly books. So, when I saw Dark Sacred Night on NetGalley thought here was an opportunity to put that right.

Michael Connelly has written a lot of books so I was pleased that Dark Sacred Night was just the second in the Renee Ballard series. The first book, The Late Show, has set the scene for Renee working nights for LAPD in Hollywood and that is where we find her in this second book. She gets called to a murder scene one shift and when she returns to base to write up her report she finds a stranger rifling through the files of a colleague. Renee Ballard has just met Harry Bosch – and so have I!

He’s looking into a cold case. It’s not long before they are working the case together. Renée in her spare time and Harry on his own time. Daisy Clayton was abducted and murdered nine years before but it’s become personal for Harry and he’s determined to find her killer.

We alternate between Bosch and Ballard as we learn about their day to day cases and how they fit in and investigate the Daisy Clayton case. This is a fascinating police procedural which feels very real with regard to workload, action and attitudes.

I liked the main characters of Renée and Harry they both have history, they both want to find the bad guys and put them away. Mind you Harry does have his moments and at one point only just comes back from the brink of overstepping the mark.

There is a steady pace to the book which picks up when Harry’s life is threatened and then he goes missing. The storyline with Renee also picks up as it develops along with the tension when Harry disappears and when following up leads.

This was a really interesting read with regard to the police procedural element and I enjoyed the latter part of the storyline as things came to a conclusion. It felt realistic with regards to workload and relationships, interesting how being without her normal partner (away on bereavement leave) was handled on the night shift and how Renée was able to pick up the ‘hobby’ case and work with Bosch. Also, with Harry how he is working ‘part-time’ and investigating Daisy’s case on his own time. I suppose working cold cases gives more of an opportunity to take time. The working of different sections of police and different areas also played well into the storylines. I liked Renée’s character although her personal lifestyle seemed somewhat unusual and it would be interesting to explore that further as the series goes on. Harry was more difficult to get a handle on. No doubt fans of the Bosch series would be more familiar nevertheless I liked him just not everything he did but, again, this could certainly become a part of further books especially given what was hinted at in the epilogue.

I enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend reading it. It gave a different feel to other American crime fiction so a welcome change.


My thanks to Orion via NetGalley for an eCopy of Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly.


Publisher: Orion (Hardback and eBook: 30 Oct. 2018) (Paperback: 16 May 2019)

Buy: AmazonSmileUKWaterstones

Author: MICHAEL CONNELLY is the author of thirty-two previous novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds of Truth, and The Late Show. His books, which include the Harry Bosch series and the Lincoln Lawyer series, have sold more than seventy-four million copies worldwide. Connelly is a former newspaper reporter who has won numerous awards for his journalism and his novels. He is the executive producer of Bosch, starring Titus Welliver, and the creator and host of the podcast Murder Book. He spends his time in California and Florida. To find out more, visit Michael’s website: or Facebook: MichaelConnellyBooks or follow him on Twitter: @Connellybooks


All books

Renée Ballard Series

The Late Show (2017)

Dark Sacred Night (2018) (also featuring Harry Bosch)

The Night Fire (Coming October 2019) (also featuring Harry Bosch)

The Givers of Stars by JoJo Moyes

Book blurb

‘Alice had come halfway across the world to find that, yet again, she was considered wanting. Well, she thought, if that was what everyone thought, she might as well live up to it.’

England, late 1930s, and Alice Wright – restless, stifled – makes an impulsive decision to marry wealthy American Bennett van Cleve and leave her home and family behind.

But stuffy, disapproving Baileyville, Kentucky, where her husband favours work over his wife, and is dominated by his overbearing father, is not the adventure – or the escape – that she hoped for.

That is, until she meets Margery O’Hare – daughter of a notorious felon and a troublesome woman the town wishes to forget.

Margery’s on a mission to spread the wonder of books and reading to the poor and lost – and she needs Alice’s help.

Trekking alone under big open skies, through wild mountain forests, Alice, Margery and their fellow sisters of the trail discover freedom, friendship – and a life to call their own.

But when Baileyville turns against them, will their belief in one another – and the power of the written word – be enough to save them?

Inspired by a remarkable true story, The Giver of Stars features five incredible women who will prove to be every bit as beloved as Lou Clark, the unforgettable heroine of Me Before You.

My thoughts

I have often seen book reviews and comments on previous JoJo Moyes books but for one reason or another not read any. When I saw The Giver of Stars on NetGalley and read the summary I was fascinated. As someone who loves reading, books and libraries it seemed just right. The real-life history behind the storyline along with so many important female characters was just too intriguing to ignore. Off went my request and I was absolutely delighted when it was granted.

The book opens in England with Alice who feels she is not meeting expectations and is therefore something of a disappointment to her parents. She meets Bennett and after a brief time they marry and she is off to new and, she feels assured, happier times.

Moving swiftly from England to the USA we follow Alice to Baileyville, Kentucky. Here life is not quite as she expected. She feels like one stifling life has been exchanged for another. Then one day whilst at a church meeting she hears Mrs Brady speak about a library service stemming from the WPA initiative (see information below) whereby books are to be delivered free of charge by horse-back to remote areas, a travelling library – the Pack Horse Library. She asks for helpers and puts forward her daughter Izzy. No one else offers to sign up but then Alice, much to Bennett’s chagrin, says she’ll do it.

Margery O’Hare is already part of the Pack Horse Library. She’s a free spirit, independent, unconventional and a bit of a lone wolf. Margery has a passion for books, for reading and is fiercely determined to make the travelling library a success.

There is already another travelling library rider, Beth Pinker, and Fred Guisler is housing the library in his old barn.

It’s the 1930s, it’s still a truly male dominated world, women need to know their place and life can be tough. The Great Depression was taking a huge economic toll on America. It was still unusual for the times to have women working like this but times and women were changing.

The library is begun. It’s a terrific idea even though some don’t see it that way. Soon enough Margery, Alice, Izzy and Beth build a thriving library. The long, arduous hours spent delivering has left the women tired. Margery realises they need to bring some better organisation, a better lending system, a way of getting the books repaired quickly and getting use out of those books and magazines no longer able to be mended. Enter Sophia.

The characters in this book are wonderful Alice, Margery, Izzy, Sophia and Beth each have their own experiences and it is great getting to know them alongside Mrs Brady, Kathleen, Fred, William and the Horners. Of course, there are some nasty characters too. I had my favourites and no doubt other readers will have theirs but that just shows how well written they are that this book, it’s characters and theirs lives are so believable, so realistic.

The library brings not only books and people together, serves the community but builds a great friendship between these five women. We hear their stories along with that of the library and some of those they serve. It goes beyond lending out books when massive rainstorms come and these women go courageously to the aid of their community.

Alice loves her work, feels so at home with her co-workers, her friends especially Margery. It is to Margery she turns too in her troubles but Margery has troubles too. She’s been making powerful enemies and when, as the snows melt, a body is found it brings dreadful consequences and untold misery.

This is a wonderful book, a story that so deserved telling and JoJo Moyes had done that beautifully. She has brought us into the life and lives not only of these amazing women but of the people of Kentucky. You feel like you are there in the mountains, in the town and in the hearts and homes of this beautiful place. This is a fabulous book with a wonderful cast of characters whose spirit, fortitude and resolve should and, no doubt, will live long in both the memory and heart of those who read it.


My thanks to Michael Joseph via NetGalley for an eCopy of The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes.


Imprint: Michael Joseph. Penguin. Published: 03/10/2019

ISBN: 9780718183202. Length: 448  Pages

Sources for reference:

The Great Depression (USA)

WPA: final report

Smithsonian Magazine Article

Institute of Museums and Libraries (USA)

Find your local public library (UK)

Find your local public library (USA)

Lib-Web (world-wide) library search





Jojo Moyes is a novelist and journalist. Her books include the bestsellers Me Before You, After You and Still Me, The Girl You Left Behind, The One Plus One and her short story collection Paris for One and Other Stories. Her novels have been translated into forty-six languages, have hit the number one spot in twelve countries and have sold over thirty-eight million copies worldwide. Me Before You has now sold over fourteen million copies worldwide and was adapted into a major film starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke.

The Giver of Stars is Jojo’s 15th novel and will be published in hardback, ebook and audio on 3rd October 2019. #TheGiverOfStars

@jojomoyes @ JojoMoyesAuthor @ jojomoyesofficial

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.


Book blurb

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

My thoughts

In this story an innocent homeless man is beaten to death by those who are sworn to uphold the law and protect people from harm.

This book set in a small town in America highlights the plight of homeless people particularly those who are ex Military and have seen battle, been to war. Coming back home they are unable to adjust. So not only do they end up sleeping rough, or occasionally in shelters, they may well have physical and, most certainly, are suffering mental issues. It is, however, their vulnerability when faced with authority figures, such as members of the police force, that problems arise and tragic, appalling consequences happen.

Those few, but sadly too many, individual officers who blatantly ignore their sworn duty and, in effect, become vigilantes indeed murderers. And then the ‘higher powers’, those who employ these officers, just want to brush everything under the carpet, to ignore it and, because the victim may have no ‘voice’, cover up wrongdoing and believe they can just make it all go away.

In Justice Gone N. Lombardi Jr takes this scenario one further step. A step that he has imagined and does not seem unlikely or exaggerated albeit extreme. When an innocent is killed by those who have such authority, such power what does anyone do? What difference do those actions make?

Tessa is a Veteran’s counsellor in a small organisation, she is one voice who stands up for and helps those veterans who need it. Nathaniel Bodine is a defence lawyer.

This story gives an individual’s choice of action, an authority out of it’s depth and a force who need a perpetrator but have they got the right one? Do they care? As one bad decision follows another we are brought to a trial. Only Nathaniel and Tessa stand between an innocent man and the death penalty. Is Donald Darfield innocent? If he is then will he be proved innocent? And, if it wasn’t Donald, who did this?

The court action is intense. The storyline moves at a pace. The characters are well drawn, the story is heart wrenching and both are very believable. With an ending that twists the story on it’s head will Tessa work out the truth and will she survive it?

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr. is dedicated to Thomas Kelly

“In memory of Kelly Thomas, who was beaten to death by members of the Fullerton Police Department on July 5, 2011.”


My thanks to Emma at Damppebblesblogtours for the invite to the Justice Gone Blog Tour and Roundfire Books for the eBook. Do take a spin ’round the rest of the tour..

#JusticeGone #NLombardiJr @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours


Published in paperback and ebook formats by Roundfire Books on 22nd February 2019.





Chosen by among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers


Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository




N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years. 

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Visit the author on:





Cage (Reykjavik Noir Trilogy) by Lilja Sigurðardóttir translated by Quentin Bates


Book blurb

A masterful conclusion to the award-winning, critically acclaimed Reykjavík Noir trilogy, as drug-smuggling, financial crime, political intrigue, love, murder and betrayal come together.

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence for financial misconduct ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.

As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed. Ruthless entrepreneur Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home. And at the same time, a deadly threat to Sonja and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive…

The lives of these characters are about to collide in a shocking crescendo, until the winner takes it all…

My thoughts

I’m delighted to be first along with Chapter in my Life on this month long blog tour for the third and final book in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy Cage by Lilja Sigurðardóttir, superbly translated by Quentin Bates and brought to us by Orenda Books.

There is such a lot packed into this one!

We have Agla coming to the end of her sentence for her part as a financial wheeler-dealer which resulted in the 2008 banking collapse in Iceland. She is hired to look into what is happening in the aluminium sector. She brings in María, a former banking prosecutor, who is now an investigative journalist with The Squirrel. Whilst prison has taken its toll on Agla it seems that she may not have learnt her lesson. However, this along with a new development on a personal level makes for a gripping and engaging storyline with an ultimately satisfying conclusion.

Then there’s Anton. He’s in love. He sees an injustice in what is happening in Iceland. It must be dealt with. It will soon be Júlía’s birthday and he has just the right gift. It will truly demonstrate his desire to take care of and look after Júlía. His plans will have far reaching consequences way beyond those he anticipated.

Ingimar likes to make money, he has a lot of money. He is into something that he wants to keep under the radar, it’s not illegal but…. and someone is being a bit too nosey. It’s time to show them who they are dealing with. Still Ingimar isn’t fully aware and his ‘happy ending’ may not be all he wished for!

Sonja, well we couldn’t have a final book without her in it! Her life has moved on. She now lives in London. Tómas is her whole world everything she has done and is still doing is to keep him safe – isn’t it? Will she finally get her chance to break free?

The cage Sonja knows all about that! And yet it is more, it is a symbol of how each character is trapped and which allows this truly skilled writer to bring all these desperate threads together.

This final book in the trilogy brings together a wonderfully gripping, truly twisty tale and serves up an ending which will bring a tear to the eye.

A breathtaking ending which will certainly do justice to the whole series and it’s fabulous characters. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride and this final episode is no different.

The superb writing, wonderfully translated, is a joy to read. The pace and timing is just right. The twists and turns are all beautifully drawn together. What an amazing story.

I will miss the characters, the devious plotting and wonderful storytelling but as they say you should always leave your audience wanting more.

You know it’s that final song, the encore has been played, the audience still want more, the applause echoing around, the artist has left the stage. There is a joy, a sadness, an anticipation. This maybe an end but there are other stories that need to be written and I for one will look forward to reading whatever comes next from Lilja Sigurðardóttir.


With huge thanks to Orenda Books for an e-copy of Cage and many thanks to Anne from #RandomThingsTours for inviting me on this wonderful #BlogTour

Enjoy following the #Cage #BlogTour brought to you by the fabulous Orenda Books and Anne Cater…..

Like to check out what I thought of the previous books in this series? You can check it out here….



Orenda Event – Manchester

ℹ️ Information ℹ️

Publisher: Orenda Books (17 Oct. 2019)

Buy: Local indie search



Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language, a new profession as a seaman and a family before decamping en masse for England.

He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism largely by accident. He has been the technical editor of a nautical magazine for many years, all the while keeping a close eye on his second home in Iceland, before taking a sidestep into writing fiction. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, and Cold Comfort), which have been published in the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, Finland and Poland. He has translated a great deal of news and technical material into English from Icelandic, as well as novels.

Visit him at Quentin’s website or on Twitter.


Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare and Trap, the first two books in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Follow Lilja on Twitter  and on her Website


Steps (Spor), 2009
Forgiveness (Fyrirgefning), 2010
Snare (Gildran) 2015 (Reykjavík Noir 1)
Trap (Netið) 2016 (Reykjavík Noir 2)
Cage (Búrið) 2017 (Reykjavík Noir 3)
Svik (no English title yet) 2018

Lilja’s latest book, Svik is a standalone thriller with a political twist and will be published in Iceland in October 2018 by Forlagid publishing.

Blood Rites: DI Kelly Porter Book 6 by Rachel Lynch

Book blurb

DI Kelly Porter is about to discover just how dark things can get in the Lake District.

When a young woman is found unclothed, unspeaking at an ancient stone circle it’s not clear if any crime has been committed. DI Kelly Porter and her team start looking into the circumstances, but the mystery girl disappears.

Soon after, a brutal murder is committed and sinister markings at the scene indicate that the killer had a message. The investigation reveals that in the beautiful Lake District there are those who believe in ancient ways, and within those circles old resentments are spilling over into terrible violence. 

Kelly has all the pieces to solve the puzzle, but to put them together she must confront a figure from her past: one who nearly destroyed all that she holds dear. Will she avoid the same fate this time, or can the killer stay one step ahead of her to the bitter end? 

My thoughts

We are back in the beautiful Lake District with Rachel Lynch’s sixth D I Kelly Porter book. You can breathe in the air, the scenery and settle right back in with Kelly and her team along with Ted, Johnny and Josie.

We are getting to know Dan, Kate and the team more and more. We are seeing Kelly’s increasing trust in them allowing her to give them the responsibilities they should have. Not that Kelly is a sit-behind-the-desk type she gets right in there with the investigation which also means getting out and about because that’s how she thinks.

In this story there is an investigative strand that means she has to get very up close with someone from the past. I like the way Rachel Lynch allows Kelly to be quite human, you are shown feelings and trains of thought which, along with the interaction with other characters, allows a lot of procedural information to come through in a natural way.

We also have the personal side to Kelly her relationship with Johnny and his daughter Josie and with Ted. All effortlessly woven into the overall story of the investigation.

Ah, The investigation! It begins with the discovery of a young woman on Castlerigg Stone Circle she is naked and seemingly abandoned. There is no identity and she won’t or can’t speak. There is something wrong but no obvious signs of an attack. Taken to hospital Kelly goes to talk to her but she has disappeared. Concerned for her safety a missing persons case is opened. It’s difficult with so little to go on. Then Kelly is called to a murder and this takes precedence.

We are lead into the world of Panganism the murdered woman, Mary Hales, was part of such a group. They are a small group who feel their beliefs are not widely known and, perhaps, are misunderstood, stereotyped or generalised by those who do not know much about it. They disavow any association with a darker side. Nevertheless there is both a lot of personal anger and symbolism at the scene.

There is little graphic detail in the story which has murder, child abuse and animal cruelty within it. All well handled by Rachel Lynch. She includes sufficient information to get across what she needs to demonstrate the evil within the world today without giving it any kudos.

As always we get an excellent police procedural with these books but, for me, they are also a cracking good read, well paced and a fascinating story. They are set amongst some of the most beautiful scenery we are lucky enough to have in the UK and you get a great sense of place. Highlighting some of the social and political situations of the day whilst keeping focused on the main investigative story line.

There are new characters in this story including Callum and Demi Cramer who may well become a part of further books in this series? I hope so.

The D I Kelly Porter series continues to be a really good read. It really is a terrific book and series, I always look out for when the next will be published. Without any hesitation at all I highly recommend this book, indeed the whole series. I hope you will read them and agree.


With thanks to Sophie at Canelo for the exclusive access to an early copy of Blood Rites, the sixth book in the DI Kelly Porter series, via NetGalley. I had this on order but couldn’t resist this early read! Of course, I will still purchase – and receive – Blood Rites by Rachel Lynch on 30 September.

Here are links to my reviews of the previous DI Kelly Porter Books:-

Bold Lies by Rachel Lynch

Bitter Edge by Rachel Lynch

Dead End by Rachel Lynch

Deep Fear by Rachel Lynch

Dark Game by Rachel Lynch


Published: 30 September 2019


Buy: AmazonSmileUK


F6AD47FB-2EC7-4C7D-B9AB-F490E1884BF2Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.

Twitter: @r_lynchcrime




Book blurb

In this powerful new thriller, Michael J Malone returns to A Suitable Lie territory, movingly and perceptively addressing a shocking social issue. Chilling, perceptive and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash.

And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence…

My thoughts

John’s mother has had a stroke and now resides in a care home. John is going to have to sell her home, the family home, in order to pay the costs. He needs to sort out and clear the house making a start in the attic. He finds some stuff that relates to another child. He has a younger brother, Chris, but this is someone different. He’s older than John, the family resemblance is unmistakeable but who is he?

John starts to look into it – he has another brother! He never knew and when Chris turns up on a flying visit John explains what he’s found. Chris wants to know what it’s all about too, what happened and says he will be back. John continues and, on his return, Chris joins the search for answers.

What transpires is a harrowing although not an overtly or unnecessarily explicit story.

This is not a book that will be easily read with regard to it’s subject matter. Yet it is one that brings difficult, horrendous experiences into the open. It shows how important it is to have places of refuge, trustworthy people to intervene and help. We must ensure there are always such places and people available when needed. That help is readily available.

This book is gripping. It will sear into your mind and crush your heart. In the absence of miracles it will bring a sliver of hope.

The characters, foremost John, are well written and the subject matters well handled. The thoughtful and sensitive way in which the various situations and the characters actions, thoughts and feelings are portrayed make this story a truly worthwhile read.


Many thanks to Orenda Books for an eCopy of In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone and to Anne from #RandomThingsTours for the invite to read and review. Like to check out the rest of the tour? Here’s the list…


Publisher: Orenda Books (19 September 2019)

Buy: AmazonSmileUK. Waterstones. Search Local Indie Bookshops.

Author: Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.


You can find and follow Michael on


His website,

Twitter: @michaelJmalone1