The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth

A brutal murder hints at a terrifying mystery, and this time it’s personal.


Book blurb

A body is found on a quiet lane in Exmoor, victim of a hit and run. He has no ID, no wallet, no phone, and – after being dragged along the road – no recognisable face.

Meanwhile, fresh from his last case, DCI Craig Gillard is unexpectedly called away to Devon on family business.

Gillard is soon embroiled when the car in question is traced to his aunt. As he delves deeper, a dark mystery reveals itself, haunted by family secrets, with repercussions Gillard could never have imagined.  

The past has never been deadlier.

From master storyteller Nick Louth comes the third installment in the DCI Craig Gillard series.

My thoughts

This is becoming a pretty good series. Whilst The Body in the Mist can be read as a stand-alone book quite easily it is actually the 3rd in the DCI Craig Gillard Series by Nick Louth. What a story!

Craig is called back to Devon to sort out some family business. He has two aunts both a bit odd who seem to insist on his help much against his own better judgement he, rather reluctantly, agrees to take a look. His uncle is in a wheelchair and is in a nursing home with the onset of dementia. While there on top of everything else Craig gets embroiled in an investigation into a hit and run. One of his aunts owns the car identified as the vehicle involved but both aunts have a solid alibi. The police are at a loss especially as they cannot identify the victim, have no witnesses and no real leads.

In this book we delve into Craigs family and it’s recent history which is quite dark and learn some sad and rather appalling things. It’s good to see how Craig and co. are developing as characters in this very good series. Craig has his doubts about a lot of things to do with his aunts, he’s not very keen on them, and as we read on it becomes clear and understandable as to why this is. Nevertheless, despite any misgivings, Craig is drawn back to Devon and into helping them out. There are some strange goings on at his aunts farm, then there’s something odd at his other aunts house and what they reveal about his aunts, uncle and, long dead, grandfather is awful – it’s not, perhaps, a family you’d want to be a part of either – still what happens is tragic. Craig is on the side of the law so he will always try to get justice done.

This is a well written, well paced book which has some nice twists and an interesting standpoint with Craig, the main character and a DCI, not actually the investigating officer as the crime takes place out of his jurisdiction. It’s a fascinating angle and a well plotted storyline.

Unlike many books were the end comes when the ‘baddie’ is caught, or not, here we are taken through to the court case and given a glimpse of what happens on the legal side. You get a little insight into how things work and I wonder if you would agree with what happens especially because of what we know from the rest of the story!

Just when Craig, indeed, me and perhaps many other readers think all is sorted and he’s free of his family – and what a family – there’s a rather creepy twist that makes you wonder and look forward to what might happen in the next DCI Gillard book!

If you’ve not read any of the series I would certainly recommend them and should you give them a whirl hope you, too, will enjoy them.

Book Spotlight

With many thanks to Ellie at Canelo for the invitation to Spotlight #TheBodyInTheMist Like to hear more about this terrific book?  Take a look around the rest of the Tour…



Published by:   56E15FF9-826E-4EEA-AF5F-602DF5C400A4     Canelo (20th May 2019)

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

0A24CDFA-6E21-42C1-A601-6F9EFFBF9160Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992, while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies, and been translated into six languages.

The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled  ‘When evil and beauty collide’ was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, is being published by Canelo in September 2017.  

Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and Money Observer, and has published seven other books. Nick Louth is married and lives in Lincolnshire.

Nick’s website     @NickLouthAuthor


The Body in the Marsh, The Body on the Shore, Trapped

Bite, Heartbreaker, Mirror Mirror

Funny Money, Bernard Jones and the Temple of Mammon, Dunces with Wolves, Multiply your Money, How to Double Your Money Every Ten Years



Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Out 17th May 2019

A deliciously dark, relentless and chilling psychological thriller by the international bestselling author of The Cry

Book blurb

Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line. Liam Macdowall was imprisoned for murdering his wife, and he’s published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that makes him an unlikely hero – and a poster boy for Men’s Rights activists.

Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences.

A heart-pounding, relentless and chilling psychological thriller, rich with deliciously dark and unapologetic humour, Worst Case Scenario is also a perceptive, tragic and hugely relevant book by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.

My thoughts

Outrageous, absolutely outrageous! Bold, unusual, shocking…

Bold: that’s Mary, she drinks too much, way too much; she hates her job, although she hasn’t always, it’s worn her down, worn her out. She’s going though the menopause, she scathing of her employers, her clients indeed pretty much anyone and she’s becoming reckless.

Unusual: with its outlandishly dark humour it’s difficult not to laugh but really what on earth are we laughing at? The actions of a woman who isn’t getting proper treatment for the menopause because she’s too worried about taking time off sick? So inundated with work that she racks up hours of Flexi just to loose it all at the end of the month because taking time off will just make everything worse? There’s no time to get everything done. No Time to do things properly. No time to look after all the others let alone herself. Others like Liam who’s out on license under Mary’s supervision – he flaunts the rules. Is he dangerous, could he really hurt his own daughter? What on earth does Mary’s son think he’s doing getting so close to Liam’s daughter? Still, does all of this really justify her actions? So what’s funny? Well all of it – and none of it – aren’t we laughing because it’s better than crying? Shouldn’t we just get angry? Just look what happens then!

Shocking: the way Mary (and, seemingly, most of her colleagues) is treated by those she works for and those who are under her care; the way Mary acts or speaks before she engages with what the consequences might be; but mostly for the absolute breakdown of the duty of care that must surely be in place, for the clients of course, but also for the officers? Without it how can they do their job and stay in good health – physical and mental? It’s not as though this situation is a new one, it’s been going on for years, decades. There are so many people with so many needs it’s not surprising that issues arise, things fall through the cracks. It’s so difficult and complex. So why be shocked that, with everything that Mary is going through and has done, it all boils down to a meeting about well, in the scheme of things, something so outrageously petty!

Helen Fitzgerald has such a unique voice and this audacious book from it’s jaw-dropping opening and throughout will resonate with and, no doubt, be loved by …. women going through the menopause, their families, their friends, probation officers, people in stressful situations, those with mental health issues ….  simply put it will resonate with – everyone!


With thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater of RandomThingsTours for a copy of Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald as always thoughts are my own and I have not received payment for this review.



The Blog Tour

Want to read more about Worst Case Scenario? Then take a look at the rest of the tour –



Publisher:             Orenda Books       @OrendaBooks

Buy:                        Orenda Links

NHS:                      The Menopause


CAC16E40-B8F5-4FB0-8A7D-7419421371D2Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband.

@FitzHelen   Helen Fitzgerald Blog 



Dead Lovely, published 2007

The Devil’s Staircase, published 2009

My Last Confession, published 2009

Bloody Women, published 2009

Amelia O’Donohue is SO not a Virgin, published 2010

The Donor, published 2011

Hot Flush, published 2011

The Duplicate, published 2012

Deviant, published 2013

The Cry, published 2013, adapted as a BBC serial (2018)

The Exit, published 2015

Viral, published 2016

Worst Case Scenario (2019)





All the Hidden Truths by Claire Askew

Out now in paperback!



Book blurb

This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself.

But no one can say why.

The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.

A stunningly moving novel from an exciting new voice in crime, ALL THE HIDDEN TRUTHS will cause you to question your assumptions about the people you love, and reconsider how the world reacts to tragedy.

My thoughts

The story of the aftermath of a lone killer who murders thirteen young women and injures one man in a shooting at an Edinburgh college. Yes this is a book about death and grieving to some extent but it covers the police investigation – they know who did it, just not why, so is this just a futile exercise? – newly promoted D I Helen Birch investigates, co-ordinates the family support and, after a surprise encounter has to deal with some of her own ghosts. DCI McLeod, her boss, is ‘leading’ the investigation but he’s a bit old school and has a tendency to put the team on edge. The families – it follows mainly Abigail’s family – and Moira the mother of the perpetrator. It also shows that media frenzy (in the shape of one particular reporter, Gary) – the need to know everything however inappropriate and put it out to the world regardless of what this kind of reporting does to the families – can have some devastating effects and yet may even, possibly for all the wrong reasons, end up giving the strength to battle.

It shows how justice cannot always be found but that maybe closure can be – albeit in a somewhat unexpected and surprising way.

This is may be a difficult book for some to read although it does not wallow there is a deep, sometimes overwhelming sadness in the story – yes from the very act, from what happened, from the heroism, from the waste of lives or, rather, what they could have been but also from the aftermath what happens to the families who have lost loved ones only to find some hidden truths that will break them, build them or even do both. It is a testament to how humans survive terrible tragedy even when that tragedy has been compounded by those hidden truths.

This book is well worth reading.

With thanks to Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley for an eCopy of this book. Thoughts are my own.


Publisher:                          Hodder Paperbacks (2 May 2019)

Language: English           Paperback: 384 pages

ISBN-10: 1473673046       ISBN-13: 978-1473673045

Author:                             865A154B-A211-4A09-8F88-2B27209335C8Claire Askew is a poet, novelist and the current Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh. Her debut novel in progress was the winner of the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, and longlisted for the 2014 Peggy Chapman-Andrews (Bridport) Novel Award. Claire holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and has won a variety of accolades for her work, including the Jessie Kesson Fellowship and a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award.

Her debut poetry collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016 and shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and a Saltire First Book Award. In 2016 Claire was selected as a Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion, and she works as the Scotland tutor for women’s writing initiatives Write Like A Grrrl! and #GrrrlCon.

You can follow Claire Askew @OneNightStanzas

More about Claire Askew Scottish Book Trust



The Murder Mile by Lesley McEvoy

Evil Never Dies!



Book blurb

Forensic Psychologist, Jo McCready is assisting DCI Callum Ferguson on a murder inquiry, when one of her patients is found brutally murdered.

Jo was the last person to see Martha Scott alive. She was helping Martha unlock a repressed memory. But during the session Jo unlocked more than she bargained for. An alter personality introduces himself as the reincarnation of Jack the Ripper – and thanks Jo for setting him free to kill again.

As Ferguson’s team race to find Martha’s killer, a series of copycat killings begin, replicating ‘The Autumn of Terror’ in 1888. But if Jack is just a construct of Martha’s damaged mind, who killed her?

As the body count rises, Jo must construct a profile to stop the murderer re-creating the terror of the most infamous serial killer of all time.

But not everyone is on Jo’s side. The police Intelligence Unit have their own profiler, Liz Taylor-Caine, who resents Jo’s involvement as a contributing expert in the case.

Suspicion about Jo’s involvement in the killings increases when someone close to the team becomes one of Jack’s victims.

And as the anniversary of the final and most gruesome of all the killings looms, Jo discovers that the killer has one murder on his mind far closer to home…


I am delighted, on the second day of this splendid blog blitz, to be hosting Lesley McEvoy the author of this marvellous book The Murder Mile 

Guest Post

When I tell people about my book, one of the first things I’m asked is where the idea came from? I suppose the short answer is that it sprang from the job I do. I’m a behavioural analyst – a profiler by trade. I profile human behaviour and the way people interact with each other. But I soon found that there were more psychopaths in business than there were in prison. So I took my skills into the corporate world. Profiling people in business as well as training people who work in potentially risky environments to identify suspicious behaviour and manage confrontation.

Alongside my corporate work, I also have a private psychotherapy practice and it was during my work there that the idea for the book first presented itself.

Quite a few years ago (shortly after setting up in private practice) a friend of mine asked if I would see someone she knew. I’ve changed the details of the condition and the identity of the client here, but in brief the lady in question wanted hypnotherapy. She had used it successfully in the past and felt it would help with her current situation. However, her illness was becoming so severe that she hadn’t been able to leave her home for several months. That made accessing therapy quite difficult, so my friend asked me if, as a favour to her, I would bend the rules and see the client at home rather than at my practice. With hindsight it was a rule I shouldn’t have broken – but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

It was the middle of winter and by 5pm it was already dark. As I followed the satnav I began to think I’d been given the wrong address. I drove down a rough country lane that became narrower and narrower, eventually bringing me to a small cottage in the middle of a wood! The house was totally remote, down a single track with no street lights. Secluded and absolutely spooky. It was like a scene straight out of Hansel and Gretel!

As I got out of the car, an owl hooted and a fox screamed in the darkness. A horror writer couldn’t have painted the scene with more foreboding. As it turned out, the atmosphere was perfect for what was about to unfold.

The lady was lovely and our session was uneventful, until we neared the end. My client was in a deep state of hypnosis, when suddenly, her eyes flew open and she turned her head slowly to look at me. The bright blue eyes I had noticed during our therapy session, had turned into black dots that stared coldly into mine. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. But then she spoke to me. Gone was the soft gentle voice of the lady I had met earlier. Out of the petite body of this frail woman, came the deep guttural voice of an old man!

If anyone else had described this encounter, I wouldn’t have believed them. But the transformation in front of my eyes was as real as it was shocking.

The ‘man’ I was engaging with now, told me that his spirit was inhabiting her body. He said he liked it there and warned me to “back off” and leave them alone. I found myself entering into a bizarre conversation with this alter ‘personality’, during which he threatened to kill me if I interfered or ‘exorcised’ him. Needless to say, I left him exactly where he was!

On bringing my client back from her hypnosis session, it became apparent that she was blissfully unaware of the presence of her dark companion. I chose not to enlighten her, but left as quickly as I could.

In speaking with colleagues to try to rationalise what had happened I found that others had encountered similar ‘personalities’ but none as malevolent as the one I had the misfortune to meet that night.

I can’t speak for all writers, but for me ideas spring from a central question, which is – “What if?”

I found myself replaying that hypnosis session and asking…”what if an alter ego appeared during therapy like that and threatened to commit murder now that he was ’free’”?

What if a series of murders began replicating exactly what the alterpersonality had promised to do? There had only been two people in the room that night. Only two people who could know what was said…what if one of those people became his first victim? The therapist would be the only one left…she would have to work out how that could happen.

It would be the ultimate “locked room” mystery, but it would be a locked mind instead and the therapist would have to find the key to explain it.

And that’s how it all began…


My thoughts

What a chilling encounter! Isn’t it fascinating to hear how an author takes an experience such as this and is able to fashion a story full of tension that gives a new dimension and twist to such an infamous real-life tale?

The opening of the book is really good, a mini story in itself, it’s tense and brings the reader right up to speed on the dynamics of several characters in the book, it sets the scene and gives background for the main story.  This is a well paced, well written book which I very much enjoyed and would certainly recommend. I look forward to reading more from the fine pen of Lesley McEvoy.

Blog Blitz Tour

Many thanks to Heather at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join this wonderful Blog Blitz and for an eCopy of The Murder Mile by Lesley McEvoy. Like to see more about this terrific book then why not check out The Murder Mile Blog Blitz Tour….



Published:  Bloodhound Books (7  May 2019)

Buy:             Amazon UK – smile


F793347D-02EA-4F7C-9A54-C217C191EC32Lesley McEvoy was born and bred in Yorkshire and has had a passion for writing in one form or another all her life. The writing took a backseat as Lesley developed her career as a Behavioural Analyst and Psychotherapist – setting up her own Consultancy business and therapy practice. She has written and presented extensively around the world for over 25 years specialising in behavioural and attitudinal management, with a wide variety of organisations. The corporate world provided unexpected sources of writing material when, as Lesley said – she found more psychopaths in business than in prison! Lesley’s work in some of the UK’s toughest prisons was where she met people whose lives had been characterised by drugs and violence and whose experiences have informed the themes she now writes about. Deciding in 2017 to concentrate on her writing again, Lesley produced her debut novel, due to be published by Bloodhound Books in May 2019. These days she lives in Cheshire with her partner but still manages to lure her two grown up sons across the Pennines with her other passion – cooking family feasts.

Follow Lesley on Twitter  @LesleyMcEvoy20   on GoodReads Lesley Envoy  or check out her website Pyramid Training



Becoming Mrs Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Coming 16 May 2019


Book blurb

Rather than just put the usual up I thought you might like to hear what the author herself says

Patti Callahan on ‘Becoming Mrs Lewis’

My thoughts

Helen Joy Davidman is a poet and writer who is married, although it’s a difficult marriage as her husband is an alcoholic, and has two boys. However, they are moved to embrace the Christian faith.  Joy struggles but after a conversation with a friend Joy begins corresponding  with the writer and theologian C S Lewis. They build a long distance friendship in their letters. At first both Joy and her husband enjoy these exchanges but ultimately it is Joy who treasures them the most. After a rather nasty illness Joy travels to England staying with a friend in London. She meets with C S Lewis on a trip to Oxford. They are soulmates and their friendship deepens.

Joy realises she needs to sort out her marriage as soon as she returns to the USA and when she learns of her husbands most recent affair, which is very close to home, she makes a decision that will be the start of a whole new chapter in her life.

That decision is not an easy one for Joy it is the 1950s when you accepted your life if you were married especially if there were children and that shows the bravery that lived within Joy and which she would have to call upon again.

Many will have read something written by C S Lewis, perhaps A Grief Observed his version of their story – or watched Shadowlands , the film with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger or the TV series with Joss Auckland and Claire Bloom – or the Chronicles of Narnia.

Here we have the story from the point of view of Joy and it is fascinating and moving. This is surely historical fiction at it’s best, based on true life yet reading as if it is written by the narrator – Helen Joy Davidman-Gresham-Lewis – her voice lovingly recreated by Patti Callahan. It tilts this amazing story and gives the opportunity to readers of getting to know more of Joy and is well worth reading.

With thanks to Harper Inspire via NetGalley for an eCopy of Becoming Mrs Lewis  by Patti Callahan. All thoughts are my own, I have not received any payment for the review of this book.


Publisher:                  Harper Inspire:              ITPE edition (16 May 2019)

                                   ISBN10: 0310104807    ISBN13: 978-0310104803




Buy:          Waterstones    Amazon Smile UK   HarperCollins



6B6F2EE7-20F1-45BE-BB34-1B4C4D0F3B3BPatti Callahan (who also writes as Patti Callahan Henry) is a New York Times bestselling author. Patti was a finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, has been an Indie Next Pick, twice an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year. Her work has also been included in short story collections, anthologies, magazines, and blogs. Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full time. The mother of three children, she lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina, with her husband.

Visit her on Twitter: @pcalhenry.

Follow the journey: Patti and Joy

Mari Hannah: Stone and Oliver Series (Books 1 – 3)

‘Brand new series. Same top-notch writing.’ Eva Dolan


Book blurb

The Lost

‘He was her child. The only one she’d ever have. It would kill her to learn that he was missing.’


Alex arrives home from holiday to find that her ten-year-old son Daniel has disappeared.

It’s the first case together for Northumbria CID officers David Stone and Frankie Oliver.

Stone has returned to his roots with fifteen years’ experience in the Met, whereas Oliver is local, a third generation copper with a lot to prove, and a secret that’s holding her back.

But as the investigation unfolds, they realise the family’s betrayal goes deeper than anyone suspected. This isn’t just a missing persons case. Stone and Oliver are hunting a killer.

My thoughts 

The opening book of the Stone and Oliver Series and what a find! Mari Hannah has the gift of writing a police procedural, if you will, which is gripping and and excellently portrayed. The characters are enjoyable and well drawn. DS Frankie Oliver is 3rd generation police it’s in her DNA and it’s her life. DI David Stone has taken a demotion to move back to his roots. They both have demons but it only drives them to be better at what they do and they are good. The storyline is fascinating and will keep you gripped. Set in the North East Mari Hannah’s obvious knowledge – and love – of the area shines throughout and brings it to life further enhancing what is already a terrific book.


The Insider

‘It was the news they had all been dreading, confirmation of a fourth victim.’


When the body of a young woman is found by a Northumberland railway line, it’s a baptism of fire for the Murder Investigation Team’s newest detective duo: DCI David Stone and DS Frankie Oliver.

The case is tough by anyone’s standards, but Stone is convinced that there’s a leak in his team – someone is giving the killer a head start on the investigation. Until he finds out who, Stone can only trust his partner.

But Frankie is struggling with her own past. And she isn’t the only one being driven by a personal vendetta. The killer is targeting these women for a reason. And his next target is close to home…

My thoughts 

The second Oliver and Stone book and it continues in the same excellent style drawing you in immediately and keeping you gripped throughout. This is a tense storyline were we continue to get to know Frankie and David and become further invested in their characters and lives. I really enjoy how Mari Hannah writes stories that are well detailed in police procedure whilst still delivering a terrific, pacy tale which keeps you turning the pages and guessing until the very end.


The Scandal

‘Some fear is real, some imagined.’


When an young man is found stabbed to death in a side street in Newcastle city centre in the run up to Christmas, it looks like a botched robbery to DCI David Stone. But when DS Frankie Oliver arrives at the crime scene, she gets more than she bargained for.

She IDs the victim as Herald court reporter, thirty-two-year old Chris Adams she’s known since they were kids. With no eyewitnesses, the MIT are stumped. They discover that when Adams went out, never to return, he was working on a scoop that would make his name. But what was the story he was investigating? And who was trying to cover it up?

As detectives battle to solve the case, they uncover a link to a missing woman that turns the investigation on its head. The exposé has put more than Adams’ life in danger. And it’s not over yet.

My thoughts 

Each Oliver and Stone book gets better and here, in the third, we are thrown straight into a tense scene with Nancy desperately trying to get away before her absence is spotted but she soon realises someone is following her.

Then a body is found in a Newcastle side street, a young man stabbed to death. Oliver and Stone are on the case but it’s a bit personal for Frankie because this is a childhood friend and neighbour – Chris Adams.

In this a beautifully woven story we follow the investigation as it leads to what Chris was writing an expose on and brings into danger someone very close to the two officers.

The cast of supporting characters are being brought more into this story which makes for a more interesting storyline as we can veer, at times, away from the strict police procedural to add layers and depth to the story.

Another wonderful and well written book which will keep you gripped and and leave you wanting more of these terrific books.


My thoughts

In case you’re not sure I really like these books. The characters are realistic, well, portrayed and likeable.

The plotting is really good and remains believable whilst keeping you guessing and offering some unexpected results. They are well paced and I found it fascinating to follow the workings of the main protagonists minds and how they have to work within police policy and procedures. Mari Hannah does this without her stories becoming pedestrian but, rather, maintains the tension and keeps you gripped.

This is a terrific series, each book gets better – although how that can be when the first book was soo good I’m not sure – and which I certainly recommend and look forward to reading more of.


Cocktail Time!

One of the characters in this series enjoys the odd cocktail so, just for a bit of fun, here are recipes for two mentioned in the books.

Here’s a recipe for an Icelandic ice tea cocktail, shown here in a hurricane glass 4A68934D-3030-43D9-B733-3EB1C823D770


Or, here’s one for a Strawberry Daiquiri 8C41F501-5144-4B5B-94B7-0513292F523C


And for those who prefer or are ‘on duty’ here are 10 non-alcoholic drinks 🥛     Enjoy!

🍸 🍹  🍸



I would like to thank Orion Publishing via NetGalley for eCopies of The Insider and The Scandal. All thoughts are my own, I have not received any payment for the review of these books.

I purchased an eCopy of The Lost and look forward to buying and reading the new Stone and Oliver books …..

“And now to the BIG news. I have just signed a new contract for three more books with Orion and can finally tell you that the first to be published – THE DESCENT – is a KATE DANIELS title. Yes, Kate is coming in March 2020 and then two more in the Stone and Oliver series.” Mari Hannah



The Lost         On Sale: 22nd March 2018      ISBN-13: 9781409174066

The Insider    On Sale: 1st November 2018   ISBN-13: 9781409174080

The Scandal   On Sale: 7th March 2019         ISBN-13: 9781409174103

Buy:                               Amazon Smile – UK     Waterstones     Your local bookstore     Orion

Libraries: Anyone living in the UK is legally entitled to borrow books for free from UK public libraries, ensuring that everyone can have equal access to the power and pleasure of reading, information and ideas, and the skill and expertise of the professional librarian. Libraries also run a wide range of other services, programmes and events.

Find your local Library:    England and Wales    Scotland    N.I.    USA   Canada   Europe    Rest of the World

The Author

17F3C2CF-F436-4A7A-84C6-E0BCB3019F6AMari Hannah is a multi-award-winning author whose authentic voice is no happy accident. A former probation officer, she lives in rural Northumberland with her partner, an ex-murder detective. Mari turned to script-writing when her career was cut short following an assault on duty. Her debut, The Murder Wall (adapted from a script she developed with the BBC) won her the Polari First Book Prize. Its follow-up, Settled Blood, picked up a Northern Writers’ Award. Her Kate Daniels series is in development with Stephen Fry’s production company, Sprout Pictures. She is currently Reader in Residence for Harrogate International Crime Writing Festival. Mari’s body of work won her the CWA Dagger in the Library 2017, an incredible honour to receive so early on in her career.

Mari Hannah, has taken over the mantle of Programming Chair from Lee Child for the 2019 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

This year, @MariWriter has been shortlisted for the #DIVAAwards19 Wordsmith of the year award! 😀

Find out more by following Mari on Twitter @mariwriter or visiting her website


Also by Mari Hannah

Stone and Oliver series

The Lost

The Insider (Stone and Oliver 2)

The Scandal (Stone and Oliver 3)

Mari Hannah has signed with Orion for a further two books in this series – coming soon!

Kate Daniels series

The Murder Wall

Settled Blood

Deadly Deceit

Monument to Murder (aka Fatal Games)

Killing for Keeps

Gallows Drop

The Descent is due out in 2020

Ryan & O’Neil series

The Silent Room

The Death Messenger


The Island (Hidden Iceland Series #2) by Ragnar Jónasson trans. by Victoria Cribb

Four friends visit the island. But only three return . . .



Book blurb

Elliðaey is an isolated island off the Icelandic coast. It has a beautiful, unforgiving terrain – and an easy place to vanish.

At the peak of her career Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to discover what happened when a group of friends visited Elliðaey – but one failed to return.

Could this have links to an incident ten years previously out on the Westfjords? Is there a killer stalking these barren outposts?

Written with Ragnar’s haunting and suspenseful prose The Island follows Hulda’s journey to uncover the island’s secrets and find the truth hidden in its darkest shadows.

My thoughts

The Island is the second book in the Hidden Iceland Series and, having read the first book The Darkness,  I was delighted to receive a copy of The Island from Penguin UK – Michael Joseph via NetGalley.

The series is written going back in time from the first book with this second in the series being mainly set in 1997 it also returns to 1987/8. It is very clearly set out what take place and when although the characters are intentionally and necessarily a little more ambiguous within those times. I wasn’t sure whether I like this ‘back to front’ style but I do think it can be an interesting way to handle a story. The story contained within The Island is a really good read. Hulda has a dark tale of her own but I really like her as a character.

We are getting more of Hulda’s personal life her search for her father, which takes her on a trip to the USA, as well as her relationship with her mother, now dead, and how she has been affected by the deaths of her daughter and her husband. Life isn’t easy by herself, with only her nightmares to keep her company.

It is just as she returns from her trip to the US that she gets a call from an officer in the Westman Islands their detective is off sick and they need someone to look at a fatal incident. Hilda decides to go herself and, after travelling to this remote area, seeing the spot where the death happened, speaking with the three young witnesses she is left with a niggling doubt but cannot see that this is anything other than terrible accident. That is until she gets a call from Sæmundur who is about to carry out the post-mortem. It is now clearly a murder investigation.

Hulda is a good detective, thorough, intuitive and with an ability to make connections which lead her to the right resolutions. However, she has been overlooked over the years and her progression has been slower than for officers with less experience like her boss. She assumes it’s because she’s a women and when she began in the Police female officers were not considered as resilient as their male counterparts. Well her record now stands for itself, she has built a reputation for tackling the difficult cases.

The story here is sorting out who did kill and did they kill twice? It’s Hulda being thorough and persistent that gets her the information she needs to work out what happened and why.  She also uncovers some very disreputable, even illegal shenanigans in an old case which had it not happened would have saved so much heartache and loss.

The Icelandic setting is beautifully portrayed and, as is so often the case in Ragnar Jónasson books, plays an intrinsic part to the story. Two remote places, with the island being entirely cut off, enables the tension to build and provides an almost ‘locked room’ scenario.

Once again Ragnar Jónasson has written a dark, satisfying and rather perplexing tale which I am happy to recommend.


Publisher:  Michael Joseph (PenguinRandomHouse)  (4 April 2019)

Buy:            Amazon Smile UK                          Waterstones

Author:     Ragnar Jónasson (PRH)                     Ragnar Jónasson Website

Translator: Victoria Cribb is a freelance translator of Icelandic literature. Her translations of Icelandic authors published in English include crime novels by Arnaldur Indriðason, The Blue Fox and From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón, and Stone Tree by Gyrðir Elíasson. She has an MA in Icelandic and Scandinavian Studies from UCL and a BPhil in Icelandic from the University of Iceland, and lived and worked in Reykjavík for a number of years as a publisher, journalist, and translator. She is currently completing a PhD in Old Icelandic at the University of Cambridge.