Dark Game by Rachel Lynch

OUT: 29 Jan 2018




Kelly’s gut turned over as she realised the danger she was in. She heard no sirens. She knew that she was simply collateral. To these men who made a lot of money from the suffering of others, they’d have no problem snuffing her out.

After a scandal forces DI Kelly Porter out of the Met, she returns to her home turf in the Lake District. Crimes in the Cumbrian constabulary tend to be of the minor sort, but Kelly begins work on a cold case that shocked the local community – the abduction and brutal murder of ten-year-old Lottie Davies.

Meanwhile, Kelly is also investigating two seemingly straightforward crimes: a case involving an illegal immigrant, and a robbery following the death of local businessman Colin Day. But evidence comes to light that reveals a web of criminal activity beyond anything Kelly imagined. Behind the veneer of sleepy, touristy towns lies a dark and dangerous underworld. As Kelly threatens to expose those with much to lose, she risks paying the ultimate price to get to the truth…


This is a terrific first in a series of at least four books, see information below, and Rachel Lynch’s second book to be published.

It is a gritty police procedure, well written, structured and very believable. Rachel Lynch brings together three threads from the seedy underbelly of a Cumbria she describes with a certainty which comes from knowing the area so well and builds up the tension to deliver a book which is a gripping read right to the end.

With thanks to Canelo via NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5*


ISBN 9781788630153

Format: Kindle Edition – currently £1.99 on pre-order at Amazon: PRE-ORDER DARK GAME by Rachel Lynch
File Size: 700.0 KB
Print Length: 305 pages
Publisher: Canelo (29 Jan. 2018)

Canelo was founded in 2015. In addition to the main Canelo list, it also incorporates the Frisch & Co and Abandoned Bookshop imprints.


Meet the Author: https://www.canelo.co/company/blog/meet-author-rachel-lynch/

Author: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rachel-Lynch/e/B00LPMBVUU

Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria, studied History at the University of Lancaster and gained her Post graduate Certificate of Education at the Institute of Education, London.She then worked as a History Teacher in London before marrying an Army Officer in 2001. ‘The Dependants’ was her first novel. She is now represented by Peter Buckman, the Ampersand Agency and published by Canelo. Dark Game is the first book in her DI Kelly Porter series. Canelo signed the first three books in the DI Kelly Porter series and Rachel is currently writing the fourth.



The Sherlock Effect by Raymond Kay Lyon





Christopher Sherlock Webster always blamed his Holmes-obsessed father for burdening him with an embarrassing middle name. He spent his school days desperately trying to live it down.

But after his old man prematurely dies, Christopher finds that he has somehow inherited the very same obsession…

Teaming up with Mo Rennie, a marketing-conscious pal, he starts up an agency called Baskerville’s, which specialises in the application of rigorous Holmesian method.

Here are five bizarre adventures from the files – a sumptuous feast upon which the gastronome of crime may gorge.

– A young beautician is stalked by a haunting stranger through the narrow streets of Cambridge. Yet he possesses love letters from the girl, ostensibly in her handwriting. How come?

– A science journalist disappears while investigating UFO sightings in Wiltshire. But is the explanation earthly or supernatural?

– When a pornographer receives death threats online he arranges protection 24/7. Will it work?

– A pop diva’s boyfriend is kidnapped twice by animal rights extremists. Should the ransom be paid again?

– Everything in the garden seems rosy when a millionaire widower meets Miss Perfect through a dating agency. But the lady soon starts to behave oddly. Should the wedding plans be shelved?


After his father gave his son the middle name of Sherlock it did not bode well for Christopher Webster at school. The book opens with hoe Christopher and his father became estranged and then, after his fathers premature death, Christopher is drawn to Sherlock Holmes. Years later he meets an old school friend, Mo, who proposes they set up a detective agency in the mode of Sherlock Holmes. Christopher agrees. And so comes into being The Baskerville Detective Agency.

We are then treated to five stories, or files, each one tells of Christopher and Mo’s adventures into the world of private investigation. The stories are terrific, a bit quirky as you would expect from the Holmesian style, and each builds on the other with regard to the character and relationship of Christopher and Mo.

The tales and characters are delightful and well written. They evoke Sherlock Holmes, and Dr Watson, whilst being given a modern setting. Enjoyable and well worth a read.

Rating: 4*


With thanks to Thistle Publishing for this eARC via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Thistle Publishing (25 Jan. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1786080508
ISBN-13: 978-1786080509


Author: Raymond Kay Lyon won several literary prizes at the Cambridge Grammar School. He went on to create a theory of time, based on its complete non-existence, which gained him an unconditional offer to study Philosophy at University College London.
After being signed by several record labels as a singer/songwriter in his twenties he finally abandoned music to write The Sherlock Effect, having lived for a year on Baker Street to give himself inspiration.
A keen Ufologist, Raymond appeared on television in the 1970s, while still at school, commenting on the flood of UFO reports in the Cambridge area, and outlining the theory that the Bible had extraterrestrial origins.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

My best reads of 2017


In my reckless and undiscouraged youth, I worked in a walnut-panelled office thirteen floors above West 35th Street.

When 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish steps out of her apartment on New Year’s Eve in 1984, little does she know she’s about to embark on a journey across the whole of Manhattan.

But Lillian is no ordinary 85-year-old. On her arrival to New York in the 1930s she took the city by storm, working her way up from writing copy for Macy’s department store to become the highest paid advertising woman in the world. Now, alone on New Year’s Eve, her usual holiday ritual in ruins, Lillian decides to take a walk. After all, it might be her last chance. Armed with only her mink coat and quick-witted charm, Lillian walks, and begins to reveal the story of her remarkable life. The trouble is, once she starts walking she finds she can’t stop.

On a walk that takes her over 10 miles around the city, Lillian meets bartenders, shopkeepers, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be, while recalling a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways she and New York have changed – and endured.


I read this book in 2017 and thought it was a wonderful, charming and fascinating story. It is beautifully written by Kathleen Rooney who gives us a terrific story full of humour, pathos, an amazing time walking the streets of New York on New Year’s Eve 1984 and the  truly fascinating story of Lillian Boxfish. The story of a brave woman, not just because she undertook a walk through the streets of New York on her own at the age of 85, but because some 50+ years before she arrived in New York and forged an incredible career in advertising. We read of the highs and lows in her career, indeed, in her life as she walks and we are drawn into this utterly charming book and its main character.

This is a delightful book and certainly one of my favourites of 2017. I highly recommend it and hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Rating:  5* Highly Recommended


Format: Kindle Edition
Print Length: 302 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250113326
Publisher: Daunt Books (29 Jun. 2017)

Author:  http://kathleenrooney.com/

Available from bookshops and online including:

Zen and the Art of Murder by Oliver Bottini; Jamie Bulloch (Translator)

OUT: 11 January 2018


The first in a gripping new crime series set in Germany – the Black Forest Investigations

Louise Boni, maverick chief inspector with the Black Forest crime squad, is struggling with her demons. Divorced at forty-two, she is haunted by the shadows of the past.

Dreading yet another dreary winter weekend alone, she receives a call from the departmental chief which signals the strangest assignment of her career – to trail a Japanese monk wandering through the snowy wasteland to the east of Freiburg, dressed only in sandals and a cowl. She sets off reluctantly, and by the time she catches up with him, she discovers that he is injured, and fearfully fleeing some unknown evil. When her own team comes under fire, the investigation takes on a terrifying dimension, uncovering a hideous ring of child traffickers. The repercussions of their crimes will change the course of her own life.

Oliver Bottini is a fresh and exciting voice in the world of crime fiction in translation; the Rhine borderlands of the Black Forest are a perfect setting for his beautifully crafted mysteries.


The book starts off well with a monk walking through the snow covered village of Freiburg moving through the countryside towards the forest. You get a good sense of atmosphere and that continues during the monks travels. The local police chief calls for help from the Black Forest crime squad even though there does not appear to have been any crime committed. Chief Inspector Louise Boni is sent. Louise walks with the monk, who has clearly been hurt, and stays in the forest with him overnight. It is intriguing.

Louise carries on looking into the monk but her boss wants it finished with. Then there’s a shooting, a death and the monk goes missing. Louise is allowed to carry on. Through this is the issue of Louise’s drinking and being allowed to continue the investigation is agreed provided she sees a psychologist to help with her drink problem. A problem that has been getting worse since Louise’s marital problems and a previous case.

As the investigation continues there are even darker issues that arise. Louise gets suspended but continues looking into what has become a child trafficking ring. There is pace in places and some tension. This is a book which I enjoyed. I liked the fact that it finished after the conclusion of the immediate investigation so you learnt a bit more about what happens. However what happened to the monk, sadly, remained a mystery I know that’s sometimes, indeed, often the case in life but I was disappointed.

We are treated to a prequel short story at the end it helps with some of the background and might have been useful to read first.

It is the first of a series of six books, listed below, which it seems will be translated from the original German into English. So we will get the opportunity to get better acquainted with Louise and her colleagues. I think it may well be worth it.

Rating:  3.5*


With thanks to Querus Books and Maclehouse Press via NetGalley for an eARC in return for an honest review

First published in the German language as Mord im Zeichen des Zen by Scherz Verlag in 2004, and reissued by DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, in 2015. First published in Great Britain in 2018 by MacLehose Press.

Published by:

Quercus Books:  https://www.quercusbooks.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9780857057358
Maclehose Press:   https://www.maclehosepress.com/books/zenandtheartofmurder

Published: 11 Jan 2018

Available In Hardcover: ISBN 9780857057662


2015 WHITE CIRCLE Bonì No. 6





2007 BY THE FATHER Bonì No. 3



Oliver Bottini was born in 1965. Four of his novels, including Zen and the Art of Murder and A Summer of Murder of the Black Forest Investigations, have been awarded the Deutscher Krimipreis, Germany’s most prestigious award for crime writing. In addition his novels have been awarded the Stuttgarter Krimipreis and the Berliner Krimipreis. He lives in Berlin. http://www.bottini.de.

Jamie Bulloch is the translator of Timur Vermes’ Look Who’s Back, Birgit Vanderbeke’s The Mussel Feast, which won him the Schlegel-Tieck Prize, Kingdom of Twilight by Steven Uhly, and novels by F. C. Delius, Jörg Fauser, Martin Suter, Katharina Hagena and Daniel Glattauer.

If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch


4 JAN 2018 on Kindle and 11 JAN 2018 in Hardback


Book Blurb


Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen.

But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger.

As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go.

A stunning edge-of-your-seat debut novel with an unforgettable narrator.


Took awhile to get into the crime fiction bit but it did and was interesting and unique in it’s telling. Also raised the interesting questions around people who are in a coma as you will find out when you read this book.

A man ends up in hospital, unable to communicate with those who visit him. Will he pull through? Will the family have to make difficult decisions?

What happened on that cliff face to have him end up in hospital? What happens when the police start further enquiries months after the original belief that it was an accident?

If you want to read a completely different take on a mystery, crime fiction story this one will be for you.

Rating: 4*


With thanks to Penguin Random House and Harvill Secker for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 4065.0 KB
Print Length: 313 pages
Publisher: Vintage Digital (4 Jan. 2018)
Language: English
ASIN: B072L1Z934

Hardback publishing date: 11 Jan 2018


Emily Koch is an award-winning journalist and writer living in the UK. Her debut novel – If I Die Before I Wake – will be published in 2018 by Harvill Secker, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

You can find out more about her and her work at http://www.emilykoch.co.uk

Twitter: @emilykoch

A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis



A girl missing
A woman, searching
A killer, planning…

A thrilling new FBI series for fans of Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter.

FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost…

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa’s skin. Everything she has buried – her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother’s death – threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself…and return to the darkness she’s been hiding from for years.


This book is the first involving FBI Agent Elsa Myers. Karen Ellis is developing the characters well. Elsa may be a bit difficult to empathise with initially but she grows on you. The other characters Lex, the detective she is partnered with; The other members of the task force; Mel, Elsa’s niece; Elsa’s father and sister they all need to grow if they are to feature in what will surely become a series.

Elsa is part of an FBI rapid response unit who work missing child cases alongside the relevant police force.  Although she is at the bedside of her terminally sick father she is still called in on a case of a girl, Ruby, who has gone missing.

Elsa lives for her work, she lives to find missing children so barely hesitates to accept the case but it proves to be difficult to keep work and her private life, especially her dark past, separate and Lex is quite intrusive and that is blurring the lines even more.

This book is gripping, tense and deals with difficult themes but there are also some lighter moments. It is well written by Karen Ellis.

Rating: 4*


With thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for an eARC of this book in return for an honest review.

Hardcover: 295 pages
Publisher: Mulholland Books; 1 edition (2 Jan. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316505668
ISBN-13: 978-0316505666

Mulholland Books is an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group.



Author: https://www.karenellisbooks.com/       https://www.katialief.com/

Karen Ellis is a pseudonym of author Katia Lief. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and The Authors Guild. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY.



I read 57 books during 2017 after having given myself a target of 24, sometimes things work out like that. The link below will take you to a PDF of my full list. The book covers below are those books I have written about in this blog.

Top rated books:

I Let You Go, Clare McIntosh; The Nature of the Beast and A Great Reckoning, Louise Penny; The Mother, Yvette Edwards; The Childfinder, Rene Denfield; Lillian BoxfishTakes a Walk, Kathleen Rooney; The Good Daughter, Karin Slaughter; Hortense and the Shadow, Natalia O’Hara;

Val McDermid was my most read author with four books and consistent high ratings:

Out of Bound; The Last Temptation; Wire in the Blood; Crack Down

Genres: Crime Fiction; Poetry; Children’s Fiction; Literary/General Fiction

2017 books