Burnt Island by Kate Rhodes

The third instalment in a gripping and atmospheric crime series set on a small island where there is no escape . . .

Book blurb


As the sun sets on a cold November evening, the tiny community of St Agnes prepares for their annual Fifth-of-November festivities. Moments before the fireworks are scheduled to commence, an islander discovers a charred body left on the bonfire, and quickly it becomes clear that a killer is at large.

Ben Kitto is the Deputy Chief of Police for the Scilly Isles, and with a killer on the loose, he has no choice but to forbid all residents from leaving the island. With a population of just eighty people, everyone is a suspect and no one is safe.

When threats start appearing, written in the old Cornish language, Ben suspects that the killer’s motive is to rid the island of the newcomers who threaten their traditions. With time running out, Ben hurries to discover the secrets of the island’s peculiar residents, but he knows it’s only a matter of time before another fire is started . . .

No place to run.

No place to hide.

My thoughts

Anyone who reads this blog or follows me on Twitter will know that I have loved the Hell Bay Series. Burnt Island is the third book and, possibly, the last of the Series which makes me rather sad as now there will be no more DI Ben Kitto or Shadow, his dog, to read about.

The Series has provided some terrific stories set on the Scilly Isles and Burnt Island is no exception. The books are so descriptive and atmospheric that you are immediately transported to this small group of islands off the south coast of England. The way in which Kate Rhodes writes not only brings the setting alive but also the people, the characters and you live the story along with Ben.

Chapter One has the Islanders preparing for the annual firework display and Ben is on St Agnes and Gugh to ensure the safety of the event. Eddie, his newly promoted Sergeant, is there too. It’s Bens Birthday and he is surprised with two gifts as he is on his way to thank the St John’s ambulance and marshal volunteers. The first from his godmother, Nancy, who gives him her fathers vintage Rolex. The second is the return of his best friend Zoe who has been chasing her dreams teaching music in Mumbai. Just as he and all those gathered are expecting the start of the fireworks – traditionally a flare set off from Burnt Island – Steve Tregarron comes rushing to him. Steve was on Burnt Island to set off the flare when he discovered something that Ben really needs to see. Bens birthday isn’t going to end as well as he had hoped.

Ben goes with Steve and finds a body. It is badly burnt.

And so begins another amazing story and the investigation will send Ben looking at all the inhabitants of the island. This is a gripping, twisty tale with plenty of suspects, lot’s of tension and a wonderful cast of characters each of whom make this book even more delightful to read. Yes, I know it a murder mystery and anyone of them might be the murderer but they make the story so believable. Once again the setting and atmosphere are beautifully drawn. This is a book you will want to sit and read all at once and then you will be devastated to have finished it so quickly. It’s a book well worth reading and I would most certainly highly recommend it.

Indeed do read all the books in the Hell Bay Series if you haven’t already because they are excellent. It is no surprise and well deserved, in my opinion, that Hell Bay was Long-listed for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2019.

All thoughts are my own, I have not received any payment for the review of this book.


I have never met Kate in person however our paths have crossed on Twitter. I have loved the Hell Bay Series and done a little to champion her books when possible. I was really chuffed to see that Kate has very kindly added my name, amongst others, to her list of acknowledgements with the following note:-

Finally, thanks to Twitter pals…… Your kind messages of encouragement inspire me to produce the best stories I can dream up, to keep you all entertained.

Thank you, Kate from a truly entertained and thrilled reader.


This has become my sixth read for the #20BooksofSummer challenge. Not originally on my list as it was my intention to buy the paperback but when I realised Burnt Island was coming out as an eBook on 19th June I couldn’t resist. I’ll still get the paperback as I have the others and want the complete series.


Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (Hardback – October 2019)

Length: 384 pages

ISBN13: 9781471165993

eBook: Simon & Schuster UK (13 Jun. 2019)

Buy: AmazonSmileUK

Kate Rhodes © John Goddard, 2014


Kate Rhodes is an acclaimed crime novelist and an award-winning poet. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, the writer and film-maker, Dave Pescod. She visited the Scilly Isles every year as a child which gave her the idea for this new series. She is one of the founders of the Killer Women writing group.

Kate will, along with Isobel Ashdown, be running the Creative Thursday Just Bloody Write session at the Theakston Crime Festival this coming July.

Follow Kate on Twitter or check out her website katerhodeswriter

Books in the series: HELL BAY, RUIN BEACH, and BURNT ISLAND.


Murderland by Pamela Murray

A gripping serial killer thriller

Book blurb

When DI Joe Burton and DS Sally Fielding are called to investigate a suspicious death in a care home, it is just the start of their problems. 

As further bodies are discovered, with playing cards placed beside their bodies, the Manchester police realise they have their work cut out. 

With the press closing in on the case, a criminal profiler is called in to help work out what the killer’s motive is. 

With the clock ticking and more victims uncovered, Fielding and Burton must race to track down a twisted killer before it’s too late. 

But could the killer be closer to home than anyone ever imagined?

My thoughts

I am delighted to be part of the opening day of the BlogTour for Murderland by Pamela Murray.

Set in Manchester and the North East this is a cracking read. Immediately from the tense prologue we are thrown into a murder. Chapter one brings another. They seem unrelated. It is with the death of a care home resident that we get into the story proper. This is no simple, tragic passing of an elderly man. It’s a somewhat bewildering murder – why was Nathaniel Jackson dressed somewhat oddly and is the playing card of significance?

Joe and Sally are DI and DS respectively but more importantly they are a team and have become friends. This is the authors first book but we quickly find it’s a relationship that has worked well in previous investigations making a strong but somewhat precarious bond. They are part of a wider team who also work well together. Still it is Joe and Sally who are the main characters and whose lives we start to learn about as the investigation progresses. I enjoyed getting to know them a little as the story progressed. Other characters are brought in, all who enhance the story in one way or another. This will surely be the first of several books and getting to know the main characters and the others who will be the mainstay of any future stories will surely make them even better.

Joe and Sally are both based with Greater Manchester Police (GMP). Joe joined the Manchester force from London. Sally is from the Northeast. Living in Greater Manchester I enjoyed the setting of the book, some of which was familiar. The book also travels with the investigation into the Northeast and I found this to be rather more lovingly recreated by the author, probably as this is her ‘patch’. Knowing this area a little from travelling and work over the years further enhanced my enjoyment. I do like to be able to picture the setting and when the storyline takes place in familiar areas it does make that easier.

Still it is the investigation into a murder that is the point of the story. So when another murder occurs and there are links Joe and Sally fear they have a serial killer at large. How many will die? Will the duo find the killer? How will it all end?

Pamela Murray has put together a wonderful cast of characters and placed them into a tense, twisty storyline. She has used pace and her characters to bring a well written book to all who enjoy reading crime fiction. The story is well crafted. It is well executed. It brings together the various threads to a terrific climax.

Follow along with the characters and the story in a book that you will surely enjoy as much as I did. I would certainly recommend Murderland and hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

My thanks

Thanks to Heather of Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join the Murderland Blog Tour and for an eCopy of the book.

Blog Tour

Why not check out the rest of this great tour?


Publisher: Bloodhound Books Paperback (10 Jun. 2019) eBook (19 Jun. 2019)

English. 202 pages

ISBN-10: 1912986388. ISBN-13: 978-1912986385

Buy: AmazonSmileUK

Pamela Murray

Author: Pamela Murray is from the North East of England and has spent most of her life living in Boldon. She began writing at an early age when she and her school friend used to write stories for one another. The writing continued on and off over the years but was only recently reignited when the same school friend introduced her to the local writers group she was in.

Pamela had intended to enter journalism after leaving school but found herself going to work in a Public Library instead and has always had more than a passing interest in books and literature.

When not writing Pamela is passionate about Cinema and her three grandchildren. She has also appeared as a Supporting Artiste in two episodes of the hit TV crime series “Vera”.

Wolves at the Door by Gunner Staalsen trans. by Don Bartlett

A Varg Veum Thriller

It’s my turn on this amazing Blog Tour and I am delighted to be able to bring you a fantastic extract from #WolvesAtTheDoor

Wolves at the Door (extract)

Chapter 2

It had been an experience I would not have wished on my worst enemy.

I was taken to the police station and charged with being in possession of what they now called ‘sexually explicit material’ on my computers: films, pictures and books featuring child abuse. And I wasn’t the only person to be charged. Three other men had been brought in for the same reason, and during a later interview I found out their names: Mikael Midtbø, Per Haugen and Karl Slåtthaug.

I knew of course that I was innocent and that someone had planted this material on my computers, but that convinced neither the police nor the legal system. After the initial hearing I was held in remand while the case was investigated further. During another interview at the police station I seized an opportunity to escape, and then the nightmare began in earnest. In a race against time I did what I could to get to the bottom of the case, in which the main issue was this: who hated me with such an intensity that they had hacked my computer and planted this material?

I found the answer in a summer house in the village of Søre Øyane, Os Municipality, in a confrontation with four other individuals, all involved in the case in various ways. However, one of them got away. Later that evening I was standing by a diving tower facing Bjørna fjord, searching in vain for a man who had slipped into the sea after being outed as one of the ringleaders in the case. Wave after wave of breakers crashed on the shore, the wind howled around my ears, but no one reappeared from the foaming waters. He had been swallowed up.

I managed to get off the slippery, sea-soaked rocks. Back on dry land I rang two people: first Sølvi, to say everything was in the process of resolving itself, then my lawyer, Vidar Waagenes, so he could help prevent those words from coming back to haunt me. It hadn’t been so easy. When I returned to the summer house I was arrested by armed police, unceremoniously handcuffed, led to a vehicle and delivered post haste to Bergen Police Station. The only information I managed to pass on was that they should start a search for a man in Bjørna fjord. I didn’t find out until later whether that had been done. The orders from the operational commander, an officer I had never seen before, to the policemen taking me to the car had been short and sweet: This man has escaped remand before. Don’t let him out of your sight for a second.

They didn’t either, until they handed me over on the third floor of the police station, where the department head, Jakob E. Hamre, received me with a thick layer of repugnance daubed across his already-pale face. I made an attempt to clarify the situation for him, but he interrupted me with a raised hand: ‘I think we’ll wait until Waagenes is here, Veum, before we say anything.’

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Waagenes arrived and I was able to start explaining. In addition to Hamre, Inspector Bjarne Solheim took part in the interview. He glared at me sourly, and I could well understand why. It was fairly clear that he had been blamed for allowing me to abscond a few days earlier.

The interview was recorded. Solheim sat writing on his laptop and both Hamre and Waagenes took notes. Initially, they let me talk more or less without interruption as I tried to summarise a case that had its roots in the past.

We talked until late in the night. After a few hours a report came back to Hamre to say that the search for a man in Bjørna fjord had been unsuccessful, but they would continue looking as soon as there was daylight. ‘The most important element of your proof is there,’ Hamre had commented, but Waagenes protested at once: ‘Not at all! Varg’s furnished you with so much information that as soon as you’ve examined all the other detainees’ computers and mobile phones there should be more than enough evidence for his statement.’

‘Let’s hope so. We’ll have to rely on the experts here.’

‘You’ve arrested the other three, I take it?’ I asked, and Hamre nodded in a measured way.

‘They’re being interviewed, but we’re unlikely to get through all the material tonight. You’d better prepare yourself to stay here longer until we feel we have a clear overview.’

‘I object!’ Waagenes exclaimed. ‘You’ve both known Veum for many years…’

‘Indeed,’ Hamre mumbled with an eloquent sigh.

‘It’s utterly inconceivable that Varg would’ve downloaded sexually explicit material with his background as a child-welfare officer and a private investigator.’

‘Don’t forget the incriminating photos,’ Hamre said.

‘Which Varg has explained.’

‘Exactly. He has explained. Quod erat demonstrandum, as we Latinists like to say.’

‘Yes. And Mother Nille is a rock – Ludvig Holberg told us all we need to know about Latinists,’ Waagenes commented drily.

But Hamre won the tug of war in the end. I was still formally charged and had to spend further days and nights on remand, interrupted only by more tedious interviews.

On the third day I was summoned to yet another interview, where the police lawyer Beate Bauge, Hamre and Waagenes were present. Bauge was as erect and disgruntled as she had been for all the hearings. The look she sent me before she started speaking told me her hand had been forced. However, the conclusion was clear. Preliminary examinations of the other detainees’ computers had led to them taking the following decision: the charge against me had been withdrawn. After a short, dramatic pause she added: ‘For the time being.’ And she stressed that if any evidence to the contrary appeared I would have to expect to be brought in for further questioning. It was as if snow was falling quietly inside me. I didn’t erupt in whoops of joy and I didn’t burst into tears. However, I did feel a huge amount of relief that they had at long last taken me at my word and that the other computers had corroborated what I had told them.

‘And the other arrestees?’ I asked warily.

‘They’ll stay on remand until they’re indicted.’

‘And Sigurd Svensbø? Has he been found?’

Bauge looked at Hamre, who shook his head.

‘No. But our experience of missing persons at sea is that it can be a very long time before bodies wash ashore, if ever.’

‘If ifs and ands were pots and pans there’d be no need for tinkers,’ Bauge said with the same disgruntled expression she wore earlier, and there were no further comments.

I left the police station in the company of Vidar Waagenes. On the doorstep outside we exchanged glances. It was as though I still hadn’t realised I was free, that I could do whatever I wanted – whether that was to go home, down to my office, visit Sølvi or catch the next plane to wherever in the world. In the end, Waagenes and I went for an early lunch at Holbergstuen, as of old.

But that was almost a year and a half ago. Now something had happened that had brought the case back to life. The first thing I did when I got into my office on Monday morning was ring Hamre, albeit with extreme reluctance.

My thoughts

Oooooh! Intriguing don’t you think? Even from this extract I like Gunnar Staalesens style and you’d hardly know this was a translation a great job by Don Bartlett.

You can see that you’re pretty well caught up on what you need to know and can go right in with this book without necessarily having to go back – although that’s always a good thing to do. Indeed, I have just bought myself We Shall Inherit the Wind because I do like to ‘catch up’ as much as possible and this looks like a terrific series, well written and well worth reading. No surprise as Orenda Books are the publishers and they know when they have a good author and books. Well now if that doesn’t send you rushing off to buy Wolves at the Door perhaps a trip around the BlogTour will.


With many thanks to Orenda Books for this wonderful extract and to Anne at #RandomThingsTours for the invitation to take part in the Wolves at the Door Blog Tour.

Blog Tour

Like to check out the rest of the #WolvesattheDoor tour?

Publisher: Orenda Books

First published in Norwegian as Utenfor er hundene by Gyldendal, 2018

First published in English by Orenda Books, 2019

ISBN 978-1-912374-41-0 eISBN 978-1-912374-42-7

Buy: Waterstones AmazonSmileUK

Author: One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is currently being filmed. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.


Whilst Gunnar Staalesen has written 20+ books not all have been translated into English. His full writing can be found Gunnar Staalesen Website

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Book blurb

It begins with an abduction. The routine of a family shopping trip is shattered when Michelle Spivey is snatched as she leaves the mall with her young daughter. The police search for her, her partner pleads for her release, but in the end…they find nothing. It’s as if she disappeared into thin air.
A month later, on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, medical examiner Sara Linton is at lunch with her boyfriend Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But the serenity of the summer’s day is broken by the wail of sirens.
Sara and Will are trained to help in an emergency. Their jobs – their vocations – mean that they run towards a crisis, not away from it. But on this one terrible day that instinct betrays them both. Within hours the situation has spiralled out of control; Sara is taken prisoner; Will is forced undercover. And the fallout will lead them into the Appalachian mountains, to the terrible truth about what really happened to Michelle, and to a remote compound where a radical group has murder in mind…

My thoughts

Another cracking read from Karin Slaughter The Last Widow opens as Michelle is abducted. She works for CDC and the GBI are trying to find her. Then there’s an explosion and as Sara Linton and Will Trent are on their way to help Sara is taken. Will is injured but desperate to know what has happened to Sara and get her back. The hospital car park explosion has the FBI involved. There seems to be connections between the abduction of Michelle and the hospital bombing. Has Sara also been taken by the same people? Why have these women been taken?

The first books I read by Karin Slaughter were the Grant County Series in which Sara was the main character they are terrific books and well worth reading. Karin Slaughter addresses difficult issues and draws wonderful characters in these books which are gritty, gripping and very well written. When this series finished the Will Trent series started and I did read a couple but missed Sara and the Grant County books. So it’s great to have her back in these books. I think it has made them much more enjoyable and between Sara and Faith, Will’s work partner, has brought more balance to the books and allowed Will’s character and personality to shine and be better understood. They are a terrific combination.

In this book Karin Slaughter weaves a rather frightening tale of what happens when a white supremacist acts out his ‘beliefs’ with his followers. There are some really horrible characters and, as ever, Karin Slaughter pulls no punches and produces a gritty tale of what these people can be capable of and what life can be like living in their midst. Still this is also about finding out what happened to Michelle and Sara, why were they taken and can they be found before it’s too late? What is being planned? Can Will, Faith and Angela work everything out in time?

This is a gripping, well-paced, well plotted and heart rending novel which you won’t be able to put down until the final act is played out.

Don’t just read this, although do read this, read any and all of Karin Slaughters books you will not be disappointed.

With thanks to Harper Collins for inviting me to read and providing an eCopy of The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own, I have not received payment for this review.

The Good Daughter   Cop Town   Pieces of Her


The Last Widow is my third book for the #20BooksofSummer challenge. For more on this challenge please do visit Cathy’s blog 746Books.


HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Buy: From your local independent bookshop; WaterstonesAmazon Smile UK


Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 37 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her novels Cop Town, The Good Daughterand Pieces of Her are all in development for film and television. 

For more information visit KarinSlaughter.com or Follow @SlaughterKarin

Also by Karin Slaughter

The Grant County Series set in the fictional town of Heartsdale, Georgia, (in the fictional Grant County) the narrative takes place from the perspective of three main characters: Sara Linton, the town’s pediatrician and part-time coroner; her ex-husband, Jeffrey Tolliver, who is chief of police; and his subordinate, detective Lena Adams. The series includes Blindsighted, Kisscut, A Faint Cold Fear, Indelible, Faithless and Beyond Reach (also called Skin Privilege).

The Will Trent series takes place in Atlanta and features GBI special agent Will Trent, his partner Faith Mitchell, and Angie Polaski. The first two books in the series are Triptych and Fractured. Then came Undone/Genesis (2009), Broken (2010), Fallen (2011), Snatched* (2012) Criminal (2012), Busted* (2013), Unseen (2013) and The Kept Woman (2016).Sara Linton from The Grant County Series joins the series first appearing in Undone (also called Genesis)

Stand-alone novels

Cop Town; Pretty Girls; The Kept Woman; The Good Daughter; Pieces of Her

ebook originals

Cold, Cold Heart; Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes; Last Breath; Cleaning the Gold (with Lee Child)

*There are also two short stories featuring Will Trent, Busted and Snatched.

novellas and stories

Like a Charm (Editor); Martin Misunderstood

Bold Lies by Rachel Lynch

An investigation leads Kelly back to her former command… and the ex who betrayed her



Book Blurb:

A brutal murder in the Lake District.

A double assassination in a secret lab in London’s west end.

Seemingly unconnected, unexpected links between the gruesome crimes emerge and it’s up to DI Kelly Porter to follow the trail – all the way to the capital.

Back amongst old colleagues and forced to work alongside her calculating ex, DCI Matt Carter, Kelly must untangle a web of deceit that stretches into the highest echelons of power. A place where secrets and lies are currency and no obstacle is insurmountable.

My thoughts

Once again Rachel Lynch has produced a terrific book from the world of DI Kelly Porter. Here we have a murder in the Lake District which leads Kelly back to her old stomping ground in London, not only that but working directly with DCI Matt Carter – her ex!

Her relationship with Johnny is moving along and this adds to the complexity, on the personal side, of having to work with Matt. We know from the previous books something happened to send Kelly back to her roots in Cumbria are we, at last, going to find out what?

Still there’s a murder for Kelly to solve and it has links to two deaths in London. It’s quickly established that the three dead knew each other. They worked together and so did a fourth person who’s gone missing. Is he another victim? Or is he the perpetrator?

In this fifth book Kelly shows how good her instincts are as well as how good a detective she is. We get more insight into her past, her current thoughts and a fascinating, curious plot. This is a well written and really enjoyable read which I would highly recommend.

I’ve read all of the previous books (Deep Fear, Dark Game, Dead End, Bitter Edge) and even though I’ve received them from the publisher via NetGalley I have also bought each of them because this is a series I would have continued to buy and read regardless of being asked to take part in the Spotlights, although I’m delighted to have done so, or not.

I love the setting in the Lake District, mind you this book spends some time in London too. The characters – Kelly, her team who we are also getting to know, Johnny and the rest including the peripheral characters necessary to the storyline are not all lovable but they are believable, well drawn and add layers to the books. Rachel Lynch allows you to discover more of Kelly without distracting or loosing any of the plot. The plots are always excellent and Rachel Lynch never shies away from difficult situations or subjects even though they can be a bit dark but then that’s the nature of crime and she is never unnecessarily graphic. Her writing is tight and gripping. This really is a series that’s well worth reading.

Blog Spotlight

Many thanks to Ellie at Canelo for the invitation to Spotlight #BoldLies by Rachel Lynch. Like to hear more about this terrific book?  Take a look around the rest of the Tour…



Published: 56E15FF9-826E-4EEA-AF5F-602DF5C400A4 (27th May 2019)

Buy the Book:    Amazon (UK)     Kobo (UK)      Google Books (UK)      Apple Books (UK)


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








Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas


Book blurb

Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared?

My thoughts

With thanks to Michael Joseph for this weekends invitation to read Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas.

Written from Jess and Margot POV with each section headed up.

Jess – a reporter now working on a bi-weekly paper. When she was younger Jess was best friends with Heather and a constant visitor to her home it was like she was part of the family. But time has moved on and they haven’t seen or spoken for eighteen years. She’s with Josh now, he uprooted and came out to Bristol with Jess after she lost her job in London, he’s supply teaching. Jess has a couple of secrets they could shatter her world. When she tells Jack, the papers photographer and her good friend, one of them he urges her to come clean. She knows he’s right, life’s never easy. She was lucky to be taken on and now she’s got a possible break but can she really be the hard-boiled journalist, can she be impartial?

Margot – mother to Flora and Heather; she looked on Jess as another daughter but then, when Flora went missing, Jess distanced herself from Heather. Margot didn’t understand but she was so devastated over Flora and time has passed. What will she think when Jess comes back into their lives? Under such circumstances? And, now, Jess is a journalist! But Margot needs someone to talk to, can Jess really be that person or will she just take the story and leave – again?

Heather – now married to Adam with an 18 month old son, Ethan. She and Jess were best friends then Flora went missing. It’s been eighteen years. Now Heather’s in hospital believed to have attempted to commit suicide after killing two seemingly innocent people!

There’s a lot to this story – missing persons, drugs, jealousy, need, murder, mystery, secrets and more. You will think you know what happened but do you really? It’s a book that will keep you reading, wondering and guessing until the end. I liked the ending but you are also left with a lingering sadness of what might have been, a heart-rendering sadness for what was. Still hope for what will be.

This is the first book by Claire Douglas that I have read and it’s a cracker! I recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Note: It’s 3 June so I’m counting this as my first read in my #20BooksofSummer challenge.


Publisher: Penguin (Paperback 8 Aug. 2019) (eBook 27 Jun. 2019)

Buy: Waterstones AmazonSmileUK

Author: Claire Douglas has worked as a journalist for fifteen years writing features for women’s magazines and national newspapers, but she’s dreamed of being a novelist since the age of seven. She finally got her wish after winning the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award, with her first novel, The Sisters, which was followed by Local Girl Missing, Last Seen Alive and Do Not Disturb, all Sunday Times bestsellers. She lives in Bath with her husband and two children.

10, 15, 20 Books of Summer 2019! #20booksofsummer

3 June – 3 September



What’s this?

From 3 June until 3 September I will be attempting to read my 10, 15, or 20 Books of Summer. Why not join in with your own 20 (or 10, or 15!)? You can find out all you need to know on Cathy’s Blog it’s easy to join and very relaxed with regard to the ‘rules’.

My challenge

Last year I read the full 20 books but I think that may be a step too far this time around! So I’m committing to 10 books and hope to manage 15 but will read 20 if things go well!


The books

I will be incorporating my blog tour books and using this as a tool to cut my NetGalley (NG) books so that I can start getting to an alarmingly growing TBR pile (eBook and physical books) that I have! Whilst the blog tour books will be read and reviewed by a specific date with regard to the order of reads I may move things around. So here we go…

1. Bold Lies by Rachel Lynch – Blog Tour book, 5th in the terrific DI Kelly Series

A brutal murder in the Lake District.  A double assassination in a secret lab in London’s west end.  Seemingly unconnected, unexpected links between the gruesome crimes emerge and it’s up to DI Kelly Porter to follow the trail – all the way to the capital.  Back amongst old colleagues and forced to work alongside her calculating ex, DCI Matt Carter, Kelly must untangle a web of deceit that stretches into the highest echelons of power. A place where secrets and lies are currency and no obstacle is insurmountable.

2. Death of an Angel by Derek Farrell – Blog Tour book, this author is new to me

A woman is found dead in a London street – the evidence suggests she plummeted to her death from a nearby tower block – but did she fall or was she pushed? And why does she have Danny Bird’s name written on the back of her hand?

In the frame for a murder he didn’t commit, London’s self-proclaimed Sherlock Homo has no choice but to don his metaphorical deerstalker one more time to prove his innocence and uncover the truth about the tragic death of Cathy Byrne.

With the indomitably louche Lady Caz by his side, Danny plunges headlong into a complex investigation while at the same time trying to be a dutiful son to his increasingly secretive parents, and still find the time to juggle his frustratingly moribund love-life.

3. Murderland by Pamela Murray – Blog Tour book, another new to me author

When DI Joe Burton and DS Sally Fielding are called to investigate a suspicious death in a care home, it is just the start of their problems.

As further bodies are discovered, with playing cards placed beside their bodies, the Manchester police realise they have their work cut out.

With the press closing in on the case, a criminal profiler is called in to help work out what the killer’s motive is.

With the clock ticking and more victims uncovered, Fielding and Burton must race to track down a twisted killer before it’s too late.

But could the killer be closer to home than anyone ever imagined?

4. Murder Unearthed by Amanda Waller – Blog Tour book, again new to me author

When DI Tessa Marsden is called to a road traffic accident, she is disturbed by the crime scene she must investigate. She now has a double murder to contend with; two dead girls from the same village.

Realising the murders aren’t linked, Marsden summons the help of the Connection Investigation Agency, run by Kat, a church Deacon, Beth, (known affectionately as Mouse), a computer expert, and Doris, Beth’s feisty grandmother.

When it is discovered that one of the murdered girls was pregnant the case takes an unexpected turn.

Can DI Marsden, with the input of Kat and Mouse, solve the case before another body appears?

Meanwhile, the agency has been asked to track down the long lost son of Ewan Barker. Will Kat, Mouse and Doris find him and reunite him with his father?

This might just be their toughest investigation yet…

5. This is as yet untitled! – the new title from Dreda Say Mitchell – Blog Tour book, I’ve been meaning to read one of her books for some time so looking forward to this!

6. The Last Stage by Louise Voss – Blog Tour book,

A violent and horrific incident forces a young woman to go into hiding, at the peak of her career as lead singer of an indie pop band. Years later, strange things start to happen and it becomes clear that some know who she is…

At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now living a quiet existence in a cottage on the grounds of an old stately home, she has put her past behind her and come to terms with her new life.

When a body is found in the manicured gardens of her home, and a series of inexplicable and unsettling events begins to occur, it becomes clear that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is … Someone who wants vengeance.

And this is only the beginning…

7. The Chain by Adrian McKinty – NG/publisher invite








8. The Colour of Bee Larkham by Sarah J Haines – NG & Purchased book,

How do you solve a mystery when you can’t understand the clues?

There are three things you need to know about Jasper.

1. He sees the world completely differently.
2. He can’t recognise faces – not even his own.
3. He is the only witness to the murder of his neighbour, Bee Larkham.

But uncovering the truth about that night will change his world forever…

An extraordinary and compelling debut which will make you see the world in a way you’ve never seen it before

9. The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter – NG/publisher invite, always look forward to reading Karin Slaughter books.


10. Where The Truth Lies by M J Lee – NG book,

DI Thomas Ridpath was on the up in the Manchester CID: a promising young detective whose first case involved capturing a notorious serial killer. But ten years later he’s recovering from a serious illness and on the brink of being forced out of the police. Then people start dying: tortured, murdered, in an uncanny echo of Ridpath’s first case.

As the investigation intensifies, old bodies go missing, records can’t be found and the murder count grows. Caught in a turf war between the police and the coroner’s office, digging up skeletons some would rather forget, Ridpath is caught in a race against time: a race to save his career, his marriage… And lives.

When a detective goes missing everything is on the line. Can Ridpath close the case and save his colleague?

Now if I still have reading time I’ll add another five and so make it…


11. Absolute Proof by Peter James – NG book,

Investigative reporter Ross Hunter nearly didn’t answer the phone call that would change his life – and possibly the world – for ever.

‘I’d just like to assure you I’m not a nutcase, Mr Hunter. My name is Dr Harry F. Cook. I know this is going to sound strange, but I’ve recently been given absolute proof of God’s existence – and I’ve been advised there is a writer, a respected journalist called Ross Hunter, who could help me to get taken seriously.’

What would it take to prove the existence of God? And what would be the consequences?

The false faith of a billionaire evangelist, the life’s work of a famous atheist, and the credibility of each of the world’s major religions are all under threat. If Ross Hunter can survive long enough to present the evidence…

12. Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelley – NG book,

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.

13. The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths – NG book,

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to tales of murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer R.M. Holland, she teaches a short course on them every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an R.M. Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

14. Mercy Killings by Lisa Cutts – Purchased

The violent death of a local sex offender puts intense pressure on the police officers at East Rise incident room. Under constant scrutiny, they must treat this case like any other murder. But how can they feel sympathy knowing the terrible things Albie Woodville did?

However, as the investigation progresses, it becomes clear this isn’t just a one-off killing – someone is out for revenge…

15. Lost Lives by Lisa Cutts – NG book,


When Anna arrives in the UK, she believes it’s the start of a better life for her and her daughter. But what awaits her is more shocking than anything she could have ever imagined . .


DI Harry Powell is investigating a shooting, but the victim has been scared into silence. As Harry struggles to piece together what little information he has, he stumbles upon an operation that may put countless lives across the country at risk.


As Anna’s situation grows more dangerous by the day, Harry is forced to push his overstretched team to the limits to find answers. But for one of them, will it already be too late?

And just in case! Though, I think, unlikely I’ve put another five aside….


16. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley – NG book,

Everyone’s invited. Everyone’s a suspect.

Nine friends ring in the New Year in the remote Scottish Highlands.

As the curtain falls on another year, the celebrations begin.

The next 48 hours see the friends catching up, reminiscing over past stories, scratching old wounds. . . And guarding friendship-destroying secrets.

The clock has barely struck 12 when a broken body is found in the snow.

Not an accident – a murder among friends.

When a thick blizzard descends, the group are trapped.

No-one can get in. And no-one can get out.

Not even the killer.

17. The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Ansty Harris – NG book,


Between the simple melody of running her violin shop and the full-blown orchestra of her romantic interludes in Paris with David, her devoted partner of eight years, Grace Atherton has always set her life to music.

Her world revolves entirely around David, for Grace’s own secrets have kept everyone else at bay. Until, suddenly and shockingly, one act tips Grace’s life upside down, and the music seems to stop.

It takes a vivacious old man and a straight-talking teenager to kickstart a new chapter for Grace. In the process, she learns that she is not as alone in the world as she had once thought, that no mistake is insurmountable, and that the quiet moments in life can be something to shout about …

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton is the story of a woman who has her heart broken, but then puts it back together again in the most uplifting and exquisite way.

18. The Quaker by Liam McIlvanny – NG/publisher invite book.

A city torn apart.
It is 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city. The Quaker has taken three women from the same nightclub and brutally murdered them in the backstreets.

A detective with everything to prove.
Now, six months later, the police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. They call in DI McCormack, a talented young detective from the Highlands. But his arrival is met with anger from a group of officers on the brink of despair.

A killer who hunts in the shadows.
Soon another woman is found murdered in a run-down tenement flat. And McCormack follows a trail of secrets that will change the city – and his life – forever…

19. Broken Ground by Val McDermid – Purchased

As Karen gets closer to the several truths, it becomes clear that not everyone shares her desire for justice. Or even the idea of what justice is.

Alice Somerville’s inheritance lies six feet under in a Highland peat bog – a pair of valuable vintage motorbikes buried by her grandfather at the end of World War II. But when Alice finally organises their recovery, she finds an unwelcome surprise -a body with a pair of bullet holes . . . and Nike trainers. DCI Karen Pirie of Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit is called in to unravel a case where nothing is quite as it seems.

20. I have a number of books that, if I get this far, I can slot in as the final book of 2019.


So if I get this far I will have fulfilled my current Blog Tour and NetGalley commitments leaving me to start on that ever growing TBR pile! So really thanks to @cathy746books it’s good to get focused.