#BookReview: EXILES by Jane Harper @janeharperautho @panmacmillan

Publication: 2nd February 2023 – Macmillan

A mother disappears from a busy festival on a warm spring night.

Her baby lies alone in the pram, her mother’s possessions surrounding her, waiting for a return which never comes.

A year later, Kim Gillespie’s absence still casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather to welcome a new addition to the family.

Joining the celebrations on a rare break from work is federal investigator Aaron Falk, who begins to suspect that all is not as it seems.

As he looks into Kim’s case, long-held secrets and resentments begin to come to the fore, secrets that show that her community is not as close as it appears.

Falk will have to tread carefully if he is to expose the dark fractures at its heart, but sometimes it takes an outsider to get to the truth…

An outstanding novel, a brilliant mystery and a heart-pounding read from the author of The Dry, Force of Nature, The Lost Man and The Survivors.

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Exiles is the third and sadly last novel featuring Aaron Falk, a financial investigator with the Australian Federal Police. 

In this novel, he’s travelled to Marralle, in South Australian, for the christening of the son of his friend Greg Raco, a police colleague. This is the second time Falk is in Marralee for the christening. A year earlier, it had been delayed following the mysterious disappearance of Kim Gillespie. Kim went to the local food festival with her family, never to be seen again, leaving her 6-week-old daughter unattended.

A year later, there are still no developments in her disappearance and her teenage daughter Zara is convinced that something is not right because her mother would have never left her baby alone. In occasion of the one-year anniversary of the disappearance, Zara makes an appeal during the festival hoping to jog people’s memory and find out what happened to her. Zara is not the only one thinking that something is not right in Kim’s disappearance. Even though Falk had never met Kim in person, he remembers the night of her disappearance and he senses that something is missing.

Exiles is a slow-paced, gripping read and I couldn’t put it down. I have always liked the character of Aaron Falk and in this last book he is quite busy not only trying to solve Kim’s disappearance, but also a six-year-old hit-and-run. The two crimes seem unrelated, but he thinks that there is something going on in the closed community of Marralle where everyone knows each other since they were children. Falk is empathetic and a good listener and everyone seem to want to confide in him. He analyses and rethink his relationship with his father and how his job has completely taken over his life. We also see a romantic side of him that I don’t think we have seen in the previous books. I really enjoyed his relationship with Emma and, like other characters in the book, I rooted for them.

The descriptions of the Australian wilderness are beautiful, vivid, and detailed and the characters are well-developed and intriguing.

I really enjoyed Exiles and I am sorry that this is the last book featuring the character of Aaron Falk, but I liked how everything turned out for him and how the mysteries were resolved. Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Macmillan and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Jane Harper is the author of four internationally bestselling Australian mysteries, including The Dry. Her books are published in 40 territories and have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. Jane has won numerous top awards including the CWA Gold Dagger, the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year and the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year. The 2021 movie adaptation of The Dry, starring Eric Bana, is one of the highest grossing Australian films of all time.

Jane worked as a print journalist for 13 years in both Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne with her husband, daughter and son.

#BookReview: THE BLOOD LINE by Will Shindler @WillShindler @HodderBooks

Publication: 2nd February 2023 – Hodder & Stoughton

The next gripping instalment in Will Shindler’s critically acclaimed and explosive DI Alex Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen series.

An ordinary day. An ordinary street. A gruesome delivery waiting on the doorstep that’s going to set off an spine-chilling chain of events…

Claire Beacham returns from a busy day at work to a parcel on her doorstep – no note, no label. As a politician, she’s used to being suspicious of anonymous hate mail but today she’s too tired to worry. She opens it, finding a gruesome surprise inside. A severed head falls to her kitchen floor; the rich, red drip of blood on her hands.

It is clear to Claire and those around her that this terrifying package is a message. But who sent it, and why?

It’s Claire’s first delivery – and won’t be her last.

DI Finn cannot enjoy the gentle return to his role in the Murder Investigation Team of the Metropolitan Police that he planned. Someone is targeting Claire and with every message comes another casualty. With the clock ticking, DI Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen must wade through the depths of the murky political sphere before the bodies start piling up.

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DI Alex Finn is back to his job after a six-month sabbatical.  He’s finally dealing with his grief over his wife’s death and he is ready for work. His first case is high-profile as it involves a MP fighting against women’s abuse and for the rights of immigrants. One night, Claire Beacham arrives home to find a package on her doorstep. There is no label, but inside there is a severed head. While the police investigates, Claire receives other packages containing body parts. If DI Alex Finn hoped for a simple case to ease his way in, he is out of luck. The crimes are gruesome and atrocious and DI Finn and his team can’t find a connection between the victims. And a killer on the loose is not the only trouble awaiting the team…

The Blood Line is a wonderful addition to this fantastic series by Will Shindler. The story is told from different perspectives and it addresses timely themes like police corruption, organised crime, immigration, mental health, and the protection of MPs. The suspense is high from the very first page and the twists and surprises just keep coming.

This series features a fantastic cast of characters and I loved how the two protagonists have developed in this fourth book. DI Alex Finn seems to have found some kind of peace after a rough and struggling couple of years following the death of his wife. In this book, he seems more relaxed and attentive and his relationship with his team develops. DC Mattie Paulsen is more self-assured and she is looking for a promotion to DS, even if it would mean leaving Finn’s team.

The story is macabre, dark, and thrilling and it will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end with a shocking final twist that you won’t see coming. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for a proof of this novel.

Will Shindler has been a Broadcast Journalist for the BBC for over twenty-five years, spending a decade working in television drama as a scriptwriter on Born and Bred, The Bill and Doctors. His time on these leading prime time dramas has given him a rich grounding in authentic police procedure, powerful character development and gripping narratives. He currently combines reading the news on BBC Radio London with writing crime novels and has previously worked as a television presenter for HTV, a sports reporter for BBC Radio Five Live, and one of the stadium presenters at the London Olympics.

#BookReview: A GIFT OF POISON by Bella Ellis @brontemysteries @rowancoleman @HodderBooks

Publication: 9th February 2023 – Hodder & Stoughton

Haworth 1847 – Anne and Emily Brontë have had their books accepted for publication, while Charlotte’s has been rejected everywhere, creating a strained atmosphere at the parsonage.

At the same time, a shocking court case has recently concluded, acquitting a workhouse master of murdering his wife by poison. Everyone thinks this famously odious and abusive man is guilty. However, he insists he is many bad things but not a murderer. When an attempt is made on his life, he believes it to be the same person who killed his wife and applies to the detecting sisters for their help.

Despite reservations, they decide that perhaps, as before, it is only they who can get to the truth and prove him innocent – or guilty – without a shadow of doubt.

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A Gift of Poison is the fourth and last book in this gripping series that features Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Brontë as they mix their lives as debut authors and detectives of mysteries.

It is set in 1847. Anne and Emily’s novels, Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights, are about to be published and they are busy editing their manuscripts. On the other hand, Charlotte’s novel, The Professor, has been rejected by publishers and she tries to not feel jealous about her sisters’ success by being excited for the imminent visit of her friend Ellen Nussey.

The Brontë sisters think they have left their detecting days behind, but someone blackmails them into one last investigation. Everyone in Haworth knows that Abner Lowood is responsible for the death of his wife and children, but he’s been acquitted. Now, he claims that someone has tried to poison him and he wants the sisters to investigate and clear his name or he will reveal everyone about their detecting adventures. With the aid of their friend Ellen, they start their investigation that it turns to the supernatural when there is talk of dead coming back to life.

I am sorry that this is the last book in the series as I have really enjoyed seeing these three fantastic authors coming to life not only as authors, but also detectives. The supernatural elements perfectly mix with the mystery and the suspense kept me on edge. It is thrilling and twisty and it took me often by surprise.

Anne, Charlotte, and Emily are well-portrayed. The story is set a few months before the death of their brother Branwell, whose mental health is now deteriorating fast, and the sisters are aware that the end is now close. Emily and Anne are about to publish their novels, while Jane Eyre is taking form in Charlotte’s mind. We also glimpse the beginning of the courtship of Arthur Nicholls towards Charlotte and her initial rejections.

Well-written and well-researched, A Gift of Poison is immersive and evocative and the perfect ending to this fantastic series.

A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Bella Ellis is the Brontë-inspired pen name for the award winning Sunday Times bestselling author Rowan Coleman. A Brontë devotee for most of her life, Rowan is the author of fourteen novels including The Memory BookThe Summer of Impossible Things and The Girl at the Window.

#BlogTour: EMILY WILDE’S ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF FAERIES by Heather Fawcett @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Publication: 19th January 2023 – Orbit

Enter the world of the hidden folk – and discover the most whimsical, enchanting and heart-warming tale you’ll read this year, featuring the intrepid Emily Wilde…

Emily Wilde is good at many things: she is the foremost expert on the study of faeries; she is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encylopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby.

But as Emily gets closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones – the most elusive of all faeries –  she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all – her own heart.

Filled with enchanting magic, heart-warming romance and a heroine you can’t help but love, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries is the perfect read for fans of The Ten Thousand Doors of January and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

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I am really excited to take part in the blog tour for Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Fairies, the fantastic new novel by Heather Fawcett.

The protagonist of the story is Emily Wilde, a Cambridge professor and a worldwide expert on dryadology, the study of faeries. The story is set at the beginning of the 1900s, and, because she is a woman, Emily must prove twice as much as her male colleagues her value and her knowledge. Emily is working on a comprehensive encyclopaedia of faeries, the first of its kind, so she travels around the world researching. Her next trip is to Ljosland, an isolated island situated in the wild seas between the Norwegian and the Arctic Circle coasts.

While Emily is highly intelligent and really good at her job, she is not good at socialising or talking to people in general, so she manages to antagonize the villagers of Hrafnsvik on her first day there. And when her charming, handsome, and yet frustrating colleague and only friend, Wendell Bambleby, arrives to help her, things get much more interesting. Emily is focused on her research for the mysterious species of faerie known as “Hidden Ones”, and, as secrets are unravelled, she will have to figure out what she really wants…

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Fairies is an incredible story. I was completely engrossed in the writing style, the story, and the amazing characters. Emily is a unique character and I loved her. Socially awkward, smart, witty, and determined, she travels followed by her loyal dog Shadow and her many books. She has always been obsessed with fairies and she’s made her life mission to uncover their secrets, no matter the dangers. I enjoyed her relationship with Wendell and their slow-blooming romance, but he is keeping secrets. What happens when she uncovers them?

At the beginning of the story, Emily declares that she intends to give an honest account of her activities, so the story is told in first person in diary format which I really loved as it makes for a different and fantastic reading experience. Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Fairies is a cosy, magical, intricate, and engrossing academic fantasy debut, the beginning of a series that I can’t wait to keep reading.

A huge thank you to Tracy and Orbit for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of the novel.

Heather Fawcett is the author of the middle grade novels Ember and the Ice Dragons and The Language of Ghosts, as well as the young adult series Even the Darkest Stars. She has a master’s degree in English literature and has worked as an archaeologist, photographer, technical writer, and backstage assistant for a Shakespearean theater festival. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada.

#BookReview: THE DRIFT by C. J. Tudor @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks

Publication: 19th January 2023 – Michael Joseph

Survival can be murder…

Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. Evacuated from a secluded boarding school during a snowstorm, her coach careered off the road, trapping her with a handful of survivors.

Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She’s in a cable car stranded high above snowy mountains, with five strangers and no memory of how they got on board.

Carter is gazing out of the window of an isolated ski chalet that he and his companions call home. As their generator begins to waver in the storm, the threat of something lurking in the chalet’s depths looms larger.

Outside, the storm rages. Inside each group, a killer lurks.

But who?

And will anyone make it out alive?…

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If you are looking for a novel full of twists and suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first to the last page then I can’t recommend The Drift enough! It was a wild ride of a read and it confirmed, once again, that C. J. Tudor never disappoints.

The Drift is set in an apocalyptic near future in which a virus is killing people and the few survivors, the Whistlers, some kind of zombies easily recognized by the whistling sound they make through their lungs, are used as Guinea pigs to use their blood to find a cure.

The story is told from three different perspectives. First there is Hannah. Her father is one of the genius scientists the world is counting on to find a cure to the virus and she is a medical student traveling to the Retreat, the lab researching for a cure. The bus crashes and Hannah and her fellow students are trapped inside, some of them dead. Was the crash an accident or were they sabotaged? And why?

Then there is Meg. She is a former police officer traveling on a cable car towards the Retreat where she is volunteering for tests. The cable car stops in the middle of nowhere and one of the passengers is found murdered. Will they survive both the killer and the cold?

And finally, there is Carter. He works at the Retreat and, returning from a trip to the grocery shop, he finds the electricity out and two of his companions murdered. Can he trust his other companions? There is something dangerous locked in the basement. Has it found a way to get free?

These three characters have a lot in common besides being trapped in an enclosed space with a killer and a few dead bodies. They have suffered and experienced grief, they are keeping secrets, and they are all trying to survive in a world that is slowly dying. But what is the connection between them? Even as I started to suspect it, I didn’t see all the brilliant twists that keep coming until the end.

I loved all C. J. Tudor’s novels, but I think that The Drift may be my favourite. It is claustrophobic, with a constant sense of isolation and near end of the world. It is dark, chilling, at times gruesome, and gripping and I couldn’t put it down!

A huge thank you to Michael Joseph and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

C. J. Tudor’s love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.

Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author.

C. J. Tudor’s first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in over forty countries. Her second novel, The Taking of Annie Thorne, was also a Sunday Times bestseller as was her third novel, The Other People. All three books are in development for TV. Her fourth novel, The Burning Girls, was a Richard and Judy Book Club selection and has been adapted for television by award-winning screenwriter Hans Rosenfeldt (creator of The Bridge and Marcella). It will debut on Paramount Plus in 2023. The Drift is her fifth novel and has also been optioned for the screen. C.J. Tudor is also the author of A Sliver of Darkness, a collection of short stories.
She lives in Sussex with her family.

Twitter @CJTudor
Facebook @CJTudorOfficial

#BookReview: A LADY’S RISK by Felicity George @ElizabethWelke @books_dash #ALadysRisk #FelicityGeorge

Publication: 29th September 2022 – Orion Dash

Never trust a rake…

Lady Margaret has devoted herself to taking care of her young siblings and the estate while her half-brother fritters away the family fortune. Upon Edwin’s death, she learns he has left them destitute and, worst of all, at the mercy of a notorious and cruel rake.

Lord Nicholas would much rather be pursing women for quick sport rather than taking care of a headstrong debutante without any prospects, as well as her siblings. But Edwin saved his life once, and now he owes him a debt. Fortunately, all he has to do is find Meggy a husband, and his debt will be paid.

There’s just one issue: Meggy is nothing like what he’d imagined. And the more time he spends in her company, the more he begins to wonder whether he’s met his match…

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I am currently on a historical romance binge read, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of A Lady’s Risk, the debut novel by Felicity George.

The story follows Lady Margaret and Lord Nicholas. Following the death of her parents, Margaret has been taking care of her younger siblings in the family estate while her older half-brother squandered away all the family money in London. On his deathbed, he asks Nicholas to be joint guardian of his siblings with Margaret and find her a suitable husband. Nicholas has no choice, but to accept, since the man has saved his life years before, but he can’t wait to find Margaret a husband and be free of the responsibility of her and her family and return to his lavish lifestyle. However, right from the start he is drawn to her, but Margaret, knowing all about his past, has no intention to be seduced by Nicholas, even though she is attracted to him.

I loved those two characters. Since their first meeting, the tension and attraction between Margaret and Nicholas is high and I loved how they flirt, argue, and exchange witty remarks. Both have trauma and ghosts from their past that define them and they have to overcome. Margaret has been taking care of her family since she was fourteen years old and she would do anything to protect them, even marry a man who she could never love. She is determined, smart, and feisty and I couldn’t help but like her from the very first page. Nicholas is not only a notorious rake, but there are layers to his character that unravel page after page. Especially, I liked how good he was with the children and his determination in showing Margaret that she can trust him.

A Lady’s Risk is the first novel in the Gentleman of London series and I am already looking forward to the sequel coming out next year. Funny, romantic, and immersive, it is a fantastic novel that I found difficult to put down.

A huge thank you to the author and Jessica Bull for sending me a copy of the book.

Felicity George is a writer and teacher from Toronto, where she lives with her husband, her two teenage children, a large cat, and a tiny dog. A lifelong devotee of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, Felicity adores a happily-ever-after. ‘A Lady’s Risk’, book one in the ‘Gentlemen of London’ series, is her debut novel.

Connect with Felicity:

On Twitter: Felicity George @ElizabethWelke

On Facebook: Felicity George, Author @FelicityGeorgeRegencyRomance

#BookReview: BLEEDING HEART YARD by Elly Griffiths @ellygriffiths @QuercusBooks

Publication: 29th September 2022 – Quercus Books

A propulsive new thriller set in London featuring Detective Harbinder Kaur. A murderer hides in plain sight – in the police.

DS Cassie Fitzherbert has a secret – but it’s one she’s deleted from her memory. In the 1990s when she was at school, she and her friends killed a fellow pupil. Thirty years later, Cassie is happily married and loves her job as a police officer.

One day her husband persuades her to go to a school reunion and another ex-pupil, Garfield Rice, is found dead, supposedly from a drug overdose. As Garfield was an eminent MP and the investigation is high profile, it’s headed by Cassie’s new boss, DI Harbinder Kaur. The trouble is, Cassie can’t shake the feeling that one of her old friends has killed again.


Is Cassie right, or was Garfield murdered by one of his political cronies? It’s in Cassie’s interest to skew the investigation so that it looks like the latter and she seems to be succeeding.

Until someone else is killed…

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I am a huge fan of Elly Griffiths’s novels, especially the Dr. Ruth Galloway series, but in the last couple of years I have also been really enjoying the Harbinder Kaur series. Bleeding Heart Yard is the third novel in the series and it’s as much gripping and suspenseful as the previous ones.

The protagonist is former DS Harbinder Kaur, now a DI in London Met and sharing a flat with two other women. She is called to Manor Park School where a school reunion as turned into a murder. The victim is a Conservative MP, Garfield Rice, and the cast of suspects include a famous actress, a rockstar, another politician, an aspiring author, the headmaster of the school, and one of the DS in Harbinder’s own team. Why them? The suspects and the victim were all part of what was known as the Group back in school, the golden kids everyone envied. As the investigation progresses, Harbinder starts to suspect that Garfield’s death is somehow connected to the death of another Manor Park student twenty-one years earlier. Back then, the police thought that his death was a drug-related accident, but then why everyone keeps bringing it up? And when another member of the Group is found murdered, Harbinder needs to find the killer before he kills again.

As in the previous novels, the story is told from different perspectives, all intriguing and interesting, but my favorite was Harbinder’s point of view because I have come to really like this character. She is smart and witty and, even though most of the plot focuses on the investigation, the author also gives us a glimpse into her new life in London as she tries to adapt not only to her new job and her new colleagues, but also to co-habitation with two women.

The plot is so well-developed and so full of twists that you never know what’s coming next. I loved how it all wrapped-up, not only with the investigation and the solution of the case, but also in Harbinder’s personal life and I am already looking forward to reading more about it in the next book!

A huge thank you to Quercus Books and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Elly Griffiths is the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries and the Brighton Mysteries. She has won the CWA Dagger in the Library, has been shortlisted five times for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for The Lantern Men. Her new series featuring Detective Harbinder Kaur began with The Stranger Diaries, which was a Richard and Judy book club pick and won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in the USA. The Postscript Murders followed and was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. Elly lives near Brighton with her archaeologist husband.

#BlogTour: MURDER MOST ROYAL by S. J. Bennett @sophiabennett @SJBennettbooks @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Publication: 10th November 2022 – Zaffre

December 2016.

A severed hand is found washed up on a beach next to the Queen’s estate at Sandringham.

Elizabeth has become quite accustomed to solving even the most complex of murders. And though she quickly identifies the 70-year-old victim, Edward St Cyr, from his signet ring, the search for his killer is not so straightforward.

St Cyr led an unconventional, often controversial life, making many enemies along the way in the quiet, rural world of North Norfolk, where everyone knows each other’s business.

But when a second man is found dead, and a prominent local woman is nearly killed in a hit-and-run, the mystery takes an even darker turn.

With the Christmas break coming to an end, the Queen and her trusted assistant Rozie must race to discover how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Or the next victim may be found even closer to home.

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Today, I am thrilled to take part in the blog tour for Murder Most Royal, the new novel by S. J. Bennett in the Her Majesty The Queen Investigates series.

It’s Christmas time and, as every year, the Queen and the royal family are planning to spend it at Sandringham. However, right before their arrival, a severed human hand is found on the beach by the Queen’s estate. The Queen recognizes the ring on the hand as belonging to an old family friend, Edward St. Cyr. But where is the rest of the body? And, who is the killer?

The Queen and her energetic assistant Rozie start their own investigation and, with the help of village gossip, they uncover family secrets, resentment, and also money laundering and drug dealings. 

Murder Most Royal is the third book in this fantastic series. I haven’t read the previous two novels, but I am excited to catch up soon, because I really enjoyed it. It is fun, gripping, and full of twists and, with the royal family often in my mind in the last couple of months, I loved reading about the Queen and her family, even if in a fictional world. Murder Most Royal is clearly well-researched and S. J. Bennett gives you a great insight into the royal family and their traditions:

“She had been dreaming of it for days. Sandringham was Christmas.”

We see the royal family away from the spotlight, trying to relax and enjoy their Christmas. The murder and the following uncovered crimes add suspense to the story making Murder Most Royal a wonderful and highly recommended novel!

A huge thank you to Tracy and Zaffre for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of the novel.

Follow the rest of the blog tour:

S.J. Bennett holds a PhD in Italian Literature from the University of Cambridge and was a strategy consultant and startup manager before turning to writing. She has published ten books for teenagers, winning The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition in 2009 and the RoNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2017. The Windsor Knot is her first novel for adults. She lives in London.

You can find her at SJBennettBooks.com and on Twitter @sophiabennett and @SJBennettbooks

#BookReview: THE BRUTAL TIDE by Kate Rhodes @K_RhodesWriter @simonschusterUK

Publication: 27th October 2022 – Simon & Schuster UK

REVENGE
DI Ben Kitto made many enemies in his time working as an undercover officer for the Met police, none more ruthless and calculating than gang leader Craig Travis.

IS WORTH
Travis has longed to make Kitto pay for his role in getting him convicted – and that day has finally arrived. Now, a dark and twisted killer is heading for the Scilly Isles, one who has waited a long time for revenge.

WAITING FOR . . .
With Kitto busy investigating the discovery of a body on the islands and distracted by the imminent arrival of his first child, his defences are down. He has so much to lose.

And Travis will stop at nothing to take it all from him.

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I started reading the Ben Kitto series since the first book, Hell Bay, came out and I’ve enjoyed every single one of them, loving the small island setting, the small community vibe, and the well-developed characters.

The Brutal Tide is the sixth book in this series whose protagonist is DI Ben Kitto. Born and raised in Bryher, one of the smallest Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish coast, he returned to the island after a career in London. In this new novel, one of his old cases from London risks ruining the normal life he’s created for himself in Bryher. 

Craig Travis was one of the most dangerous gangsters in London and it was thanks to Ben’s undercover work that he was captured and sent to jail. Now, he’s dying of cancer, but he’s determined to take his enemies down with him, sending a dangerous killer after the people who betrayed him and sent him to jail, including Ben Kitto. 

In the meantime, on Bryher, bones are found buried in a building site and stolen before they can be properly examined. Searching for the identity of both the victim and the killer, Ben locks down the island, hoping to stop a killer from leaving and another from arriving. But can he stop a killer looking for revenge?

The Brutal Tide is another fantastic addiction to this series. I love the suspense and the twists. One would think that on an island with a couple of hundreds of people it would be easy to find the killer. But there are so many layers to the case and a series of possible suspects that it’s not at all easy to figure out the truth. I loved how the story is split between Ben’s investigation and the killer’s path of revenge for Craig Travis, making it difficult to put it down (I read it in one day!).

The character of Ben Kitto is wonderful. On the personal side, he is looking forward to fatherhood, although he and his girlfriend can’t seem to agree on baby names. On the professional side, he’s still haunted from his work in London, he often clashes with his arrogant superior, and he’s forced to suspect people he considers friends.

The Brutal Tide is a gripping and exciting read with a few twisty mysteries and rising suspense. I really enjoy this series and I am already looking forward to the next book!

A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster UK and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

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.

#BlogTour: A CONFLICT OF INTERESTS by Claire Gradidge @ClaireGradidge @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Publication: 13th October 2022 – Zaffre Books

June 1944, Romsey, England.

Josephine ‘Jo’ Fox is at an impasse since the unwelcome return of her wayward husband Richard. So, when he disappears again, she is neither concerned nor surprised – until a burning car is discovered with a body inside. And there are signs that Richard is somehow involved.

Jo is determined to find both her husband and answers, yet with her friend Bram Nash in hospital suffering an infection of his old war wound, she must do so alone. When information comes to light that implicates Bram too, Jo finds herself on a dangerous path to the truth.

But what will be left for her when all is revealed?

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WATERSTONES

I am delighted to take part in the blog tour for A Conflict of Interests, the new engaging novel by Claire Gradidge.

The year is 1944 and, while in Europe the war goes on and D-day is fast approaching, in Romsey, a village in Hampshire, the remains of a burned out car are found with an unidentified body inside. While coroner Bram Nash is in hospital fighting an infection from an injury he sustained during WW1, his assistant Josephine Fox is investigating on her own. Clues found on the site make her think that her estranged husband Richard is somehow involved. But is he the killer, the victim, or just a witness?

The pace is easy and slow and there are a few unexpected surprises along the way. This is the third book in the Josephine Fox series, but it can be easily read as a stand-alone. Not having read the previous two novels of the series, I wasn’t familiar with the characters, especially Josephine and Bram’s complex relationship, but I quickly caught on and it made me eager to read the previous two books. Josephine is a smart, determined, and strong woman. Rejected by her family for being illegitimate, she’s been on her own since a young age. Her marriage with Richard has been over for a long time, even though he refuses to give her a divorce. Her feelings for Bram are strong and complicated as they won’t admit their strong attraction to each other as long as Richard is in the picture.

The story is told mostly from Josephine’s perspective as she juggles a murder investigation, her worry for Bram’s health, and the unwanted attentions of a friend of Richard. I started to have my suspicions on who the killer was halfway through the story, but I couldn’t figure out the motive. I was really engrossed in the story, excited to find out the truth and I loved how it all played out in the end.

Overall, A Conflict of Interests is a thrilling and enjoyable read with quite a few twists, a couple of intense moments, and a fantastic ending! Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre Books for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of the novel.

Claire Gradidge was born and brought up in Romsey. After a career as, among other things, a nurse and a school librarian, she went to the University of Winchester, where she graduated in 2009 with a first class honours BA in Creative Writing. In January 2018, she was awarded a PhD in creative writing and The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox was written as the creative element of her PhD study. An early version of the opening 3000 words was highly commended in the Good Housekeeping Magazine competition in 2012.

She has taught at the University of Winchester as an Associate Lecturer for six years and has also had some short fictions and poems published in SouthOrbis and Vortex. She has been married for 40 years and has two adult sons.