#BookReview DEATH AT FRIAR’S INN by ROB KEELEY

ABOUT THE BOOK

Dinner at an Inn of Court takes an unusual turn when a corpse falls onto the Benchers’ Table. A battleaxe and a rubber glove are found at the scene. A trophy has been stolen. But who could have wanted the Porter dead – and why?

Aspiring barristers Tom and Becca set out to investigate. But another murder isn’t far away…

Rob Keeley is an established award-winning author of children’s novels, short stories and picture books, including the Spirits series. Other credits include the award-listed stage play Mr. Everyone, and Chain Gang and Newsjack for BBC Radio. Death At Friar’s Inn is his first novel for adults and draws on his own experiences training as a barrister

PUBLISHED BY TROUBADOR PUBLISHING

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

AUTHOR WEBSITE –

 https://www.robkeeley.co.uk/

MY REVIEW

Considering this is only 107 pages long, I’m shocked at just how much was packed into this gripping little crime mystery! It was one of those stories that I found to be immediately appealing with the action and mystery happening from the get go!

Tom is an aspiring barrister, eager to please and a little unsure of his own abilities. He wants to do things the right way and his introduction to early lawyer life is a lot to live up to with traditions to follow and expectations to live up to. He and his fellow lawyers are thrown in at the deep end with a mock trial which introduces you to a lot of lawyer talk and banter but doesn’t overwhelm and seems easy to pick up and assimilate you to the world of the law!

Things start to heat up when a death occurs at a big gathering of lawyers attending a meal – you’d have thought things would have been safe amongst your ‘own kind’! But that sets Tom on a mission to try and solve the case – it feels like Cluedo at some points as he collects clues and tries to make sense of them all!

There are enough red herrings and twists to throw you off track as a reader as to the identity of the killer and I really loved how well that worked as the more that evidence was piled up, the more you began to doubt even your own conclusions! The reveal shocked me that’s for sure!!

The pace of the story was really well worked, and the characters were people I found myself interested in while following them on their journey into a new career… just not quite the start to their career that I’m sure they expected!! Great stuff!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE THOUSAND EYES by A.K.LARKWOOD #TheThousandEyes

ABOUT THE BOOK

The sequel to A. K. Larkwood’s stunning debut fantasy, The Unspoken NameThe Thousand Eyes continues The Serpent Gates series–perfect for fans of Jenn Lyons, Joe Abercrombie, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Two years ago, Csorwe and Shuthmili defied the wizard Belthandros Sethennai and stole his gauntlets. The gauntlets have made Shuthmili extraordinarily powerful, but they’re beginning to take a sinister toll on her. She and Csorwe travel to a distant world to discover how to use the gauntlets safely, but when an old enemy arrives on the scene, Shuthmili finds herself torn between clinging to her humanity and embracing eldritch power.

Meanwhile, Tal Charossa returns to Tlaanthothe to find that Sethennai has gone missing. As well as being a wizard of unimaginable power, Sethennai is Tal’s old boss and former lover, and Tal wants nothing to do with him. When a magical catastrophe befalls the city, Tal tries to run rather than face his past, but soon learns that something even worse may lurk in the future. Throughout the worlds of the Echo Maze, fragments of an undead goddess begin to awaken, and not all confrontations can be put off forever…

 PUBLISHED BY TOR BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon


Blackwell’s  £12.99


MY REVIEW

This was a fitting end to an exciting duology and what a journey we’ve been on in the 2 books!! Thankfully there was a little refresh at the start of this book to help me get back on track with the characters, so it all came back to me and the story hits the ground running and doesn’t really let up until that final page!It’s 2 years on since the last book and life for Csorwe and Shuthmili still finding ways to earn a living with tomb raiding being their favourite way! but that also throws up a discovery that changes their lives – yet again! – and lets the story take you on a completely different journey to what you were expecting. The twists and turns again are epic and that’s all I can say about them! But they work! They don’t take away from the character dynamics, but allows growth and because you grow so attached to these characters it also becomes quite emotional, especially with all the drama they are to face.

Tal was great again in this book especially the banter with Csorwe and you just felt like you were among friends as the characters have been so well fleshed out over these 2 books.

It flows really well, never lulls in action or snark, and I will miss the world created and the characters that inhabit it!!

★★★★

my thanks to Tor Books and Black Crow PR for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BlogTour OUR LADY OF MYSTERIOUS AILMENTS by T.L.HUCHU #BookReview #OLOMA @UKTor @BlackCrow-PR

Delighted to be with you today as part of the awesome Blog Tour for the fabulous OUR LADY OF MYSTERIOUS AILMENTS by T.L.HUCHU. My thanks to the author, publisher and team at Black Crow PR for letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Some secrets are meant to stay buried

When Ropa Moyo discovered an occult underground library, she expected great things. She’s really into Edinburgh’s secret societies – but turns out they are less into her. So instead of getting paid to work magic, she’s had to accept a crummy unpaid internship. And her with bills to pay and a pet fox to feed.

Then her friend Priya offers her a job on the side. Priya works at Our Lady of Mysterious Maladies, a very specialized hospital, where a new illness is resisting magical and medical remedies alike. The first patient was a teenage boy, Max Wu, and his healers are baffled. If Ropa can solve the case, she might earn as she learns – and impress her mentor, Sir Callander.

Her sleuthing will lead her to a lost fortune, an avenging spirit and a secret buried deep in Scotland’s past. But how are they connected? Lives are at stake and Ropa is running out of time.

PUBLISHED BY PAN MACMILLAN

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

The fun and intrigue continues here in Book 2 of the Edinburgh Nights series, and once more I couldn’t get enough!  The odd goings on continue and Ropa is at the heart of it all again as she is keen to find out more about the underground library, along with doing all she can to assist those in need, and take care of her family!

Her life as a ghosttalker means there’s never a dull moment, and they still pop up whenever they are in need of assistance and make it very difficult for her to ignore! No matter how hard she tries! Money is at the heart of the matter for her as she wants to help out more at home, with her grandmother and sister so when she’s offered money to help investigate some strange illnesses at the hospital she can’t turn it down and it leads to some rather shocking discoveries. She goes into full ‘detective’ mode as she tries to figure out who the patient – Max – was in touch with before he became ill and what he’s mixed up in that isn’t of this world!

I loved this latest installment!  There were no lulls, there’s great banter galore and you’re just drawn into this world so easily.  It has a really fresh feel about it and plenty of snark in the humour – I do love that aspect of a story!!  It has a great mix of the supernatural, the mystery, history and all things in between, and I think the character of Ropa is such a fascinating creature! She’s pro-active, hard working and has a great sense of fairness about it.  She could easily crumble but has this inner resilience that is really empowering!

Brilliant!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE KEY IN THE LOCK by BETH UNDERDOWN



ABOUT THE BOOK


I still dream, every night, of Polneath on fire. Smoke unfurling out of an upper window and a hectic orange light cascading across the terrace.

By day, Ivy Boscawen mourns the loss of her son Tim in the Great War. But by night she mourns another boy – one whose death decades ago haunts her still.

For Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened all those years ago: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. A truth she must uncover, if she is ever to be free.

Brimming with secrets, this lyrical haunting historical thriller is perfect for fans of Elizabeth Macneal, Sarah Waters and Diane Setterfield


PUBLISHED BY VIKING

PUBLICATION DATE – 13TH JANUARY 2022

PRE-ORDER LINK
Amazon

MY REVIEW


If you are looking for an atmospheric gothic mystery, then look no further! I found this to be one of those stories that keeps you guessing, and gets you emotionally involved with the characters as secrets begin to reveal a shocking past!

Told over 2 time periods – 1918 and 1888 – we are following the story of Ivy who is struggling to come to terms with the loss of her son Tim 10 months earlier. She’s going through the motions and trying to make sense of it all and hearing stories back from the war makes her want to know more of what exactly led to his death.

But it also triggers memories of 30 years ago when another boy died in traumatic circumstances, and she’s been left haunted by his death ever since. The story flits between the 2 timelines seamlessly and both are full of mystery, deception and tragedy.

As both storylines play out, the mysteries hanging over the deaths start to reveal themselves and I loved the way it’s all revealed and the emotions of the main characters are explored. There’s mysteries for Ivy to uncover, all while trying to balance her emotions and find comfort or distraction in her quest to uncover the truth. A really absorbing story.


★★★★★

#BookReview THE LAMPLIGHTERS by EMMA STONEX



ABOUT THE BOOK 


They say we’ll never know what happened to those men.

They say the sea keeps its secrets…

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

The Lamplighters is a heart-stopping mystery rich with the salty air of the Cornish coast, and an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.

PUBLISHED BY PICADOR

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

Holy Moly!! This is one of those books that leaves you feeling bereft when it ends! The characters take over your every thought and you’re left experiencing every kind of emotion as you read their stories unfold in front of your eyes. And all set against the backdrop of an imposing lighthouse and the unpredictability of the sea.

The story is told as now and then! Looking back at the families of the men who worked on the lighthouse and how they dealt with the mystery of the men’s disappearance on one fateful night. There’s no sign of a struggle, they left no trace behind … so where did they go and what happened to them? The book is based on a real life event, but the author has a wonderful time reimagining the events surrounding the disappearance and the impact on the families left behind.

With the story being told from both the viewpoint of the men as they worked on the lighthouse, and to the women dealing with life married to them and the years that followed after their disappearance, you really get a wonderful sense of how the isolation the men often felt, alongside how the women coped and tried to come to terms with their lives after – their own theories of what happened and the letters shared between the women as their friendships shattered.

There’s so much going on within each chapter and revelation. I loved the way the story came back to life as the mystery was looked into by a writer who wanted to try and get to the bottom of it all. Old wounds are reopened and feelings have to be confronted.

A wonderfully evocative book that has a little bit of every genre in it and I adored every single second of it!!

★★★★★

#BookReview TRAP FOR CINDERELLA by SEBASTIEN JAPRISOT



ABOUT THE BOOK


A racy, chilling noir mystery of mistaken identity, deception, and greed by the author of A Very Long Engagement.A suspicious fire consumes a beach house at a southern French resort. Two young women — friends on the surface but deep down foes — are trapped inside. One is rich, the other poor. One is killed and the other survives, burned beyond recognition and in a state of total amnesia. Plastic surgery gives her a new pretty face, but it can not restore her memory of her identity. Who is she? The heiress or her friend? A killer or an intended victim? Only one person knows the truth about the betrayal and hair-raising terror which took place that night. And she is not about to give it away…Winner of France’s most prestigious crime-fiction award, Trap for Cinderella is an engrossing tour de force by a master of mystery and deception.


PUBLISHED BY GALLIC BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website
Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

The book opens with a woman in a hospital room, not knowing why she’s there or who she is! And that mystery continues throughout the book in a really clever and engaging way, as she tries to put the pieces of her life back together after an horrific house fire that claimed the life of a friend, and left her with very few memories.

From her time spent in hospital, where the medical staff would just call her ‘mummy’, to the presence of Jeanne, the woman who used to take care of her pre-fire, and is there for her now to guide her back to some kind of normality. You do begin to wonder if she’s a help or hindrance at times though! As she informs her of a portrait of a none too pleasant person! A Disagreeable attitude and poor behaviour, it seems being liked was low on her list of priorities. And what of her friend who died in the fire?

As she starts to investigate certain names in her past, she begins to question who is telling her the truth of her life before. As a reader, your spidey senses are also tingling as the various accounts of her life just muddy the water and wonder about the motives involved for maybe being a little loose with the truth!

I really enjoyed the mystery and darkness of it all, along with the devious minds of the characters! I’m not sure you’d want to be friends with any of them as lying seemed to come too easily to some!


★★★★

My thanks to Gallic Books for sending me an advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE by MARIE LAVAL

ABOUT THE BOOK


An ancient secret hidden within a mother’s song …When young widow, Marie-Ange Norton is invited to Beauregard in France by the mysterious Monsieur Malleval to collect an inheritance, she has no choice but to accept.
But when she embarks on the voyage with her fiery-tempered travelling companion Capitaine Hugo Saintclair, little does she know what waits for her across the sea in turbulent nineteenth-century France on the eve of Napoleon’s return from exile. When she arrives, she is taken aback by Malleval’s fascination with her family – seemingly inspired by his belief they are connected to a sacred relic he’s read about in coded manuscripts by the Knights Templar.
As it becomes clear that Malleval’s obsession has driven him to madness, Marie-Ange is horrified to realise she is more the man’s prisoner than his guest. Not only that, but Hugo is the only person who might be able to help her, and he could represent a different kind of danger …
This was previously published as Angel Heart by Accent Press in 2015. This is a revised, edited and updated version. Published February 2021 by Choc Lit.

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

This was a fascinating piece of historical fiction – full of intrigue, mystery and romance – that takes you on a thrilling adventure through France in the search of hidden treasure!
Marie-Ange is at the centre of the story, a widow for 6 years and now set to travel to France for a family inheritance that is much needed. It isn’t right for a woman to travel alone, so she is set to be accompanied by Capitaine Saintclair, a dashing escort to say the least, but with a bit of a brusque attitude so sparks fly almost instantly! And is there more to his role than he is letting on to Marie?!

I loved the setting of this whole story – the political landscape of France is changing fast over there, and there is seemingly danger round every corner! She sees a face from the past which really rocks her while she is travelling, and then meeting her long lost relative adds more intrigue as he is obsessed by a piece of treasure and seems set to go to extreme lengths to get his hands on it, no matter the consequences. Marie-Ange needs to keep her wits about her, and knowing who to trust is a minefield of its’ own!

This was such fun and quite tense too! You really get involved in the history and supernatural elements of the storyline, and the hold that the Templar Knights legend has over everyone is clear for all to see. Hugo is a pretty mysterious character as he escorts her around France, and you’re always second guessing his motives but the connection between them is pretty electric and you’re always willing them to find happiness – amongst the madness!!


★★★★★

#BookReview THE DISAPPEARING ACT by FLORENCE DE CHANGY @mudlarkbooks #nonfiction

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘The affair was weird when seen from afar, but seen in close-up, it was Kafkaesque: it was not possible in 2014 for a Boeing 777 to have simply disappeared…’

A remarkable piece of investigative journalism into one of the most pervasive and troubling mysteries of recent memory.

01:20am, 8 March 2014.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying 239 passengers, disappeared into the night, never to be seen or heard from again.

The incident was inexplicable. In a world defined by advanced technology and interconnectedness, how could an entire aircraft become untraceable? Had the flight been subject to a perfect hijack? Perhaps the pilots lost control? And if the plane did crash, where was the wreckage?

Writing for Le Monde in the days and months after the plane’s disappearance, journalist Florence de Changy closely documented the chaotic international investigation that followed, uncovering more questions than answers. Riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions and a lack of basic communication between authorities, the mystery surrounding flight MH370 only deepened.

Now, de Changy offers her own explanation. Drawing together countless eyewitness testimonies, press releases, independent investigative reports and expert opinion, The Disappearing Act offers an eloquent and deeply unnerving narrative of what happened to the missing aircraft.

An incredible feat of investigative journalism and a testament to de Changy’s tenacity and resolve, this book is an exhaustive, gripping account into one of the most profound mysteries of the 21st century. 


PUBLISHED BY  HARPER COLLINS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a fascinating investigation on the disappearance of Flight MH370. How can a plane, carrying 239 people on board, just go missing in this day and age? Well, that is what happened on the 8th March 2014, and the relatives of those on board are still waiting for answers.

I remember seeing this on the news at the time and thinking that the authorities would be doing all they could to discover just what happened to make a plane disappear into thin air. But after reading this book and the calamity that was the investigation, it just makes you extremely worried that so many agencies and countries seem willing and able to hide the truth.

Was the plane hijacked? Did it change route? Was it shot down? The author explores all the theories as she travels across the world talking to relatives of the lost passegers, along with eye witnesses on the ground who were ignored by official investigators. Her research was extensive and exhaustive as she looked into every single theory – official or otherwise- and the more you read, the more suspicious you are of all those involved across the world in various governments. And why was a commercial flight disappearance being controlled by governments?! What did they want hushed up? There’s question marks over some of the passengers on board, the cargo being carried, the mental wellbeing of the pilots – but still nothing concrete has ever been discovered despite the occasional discover of pieces of plane at various locations.

The fact that another Malaysian plane was lost a few months later just muddies the water and left me feeling shocked that such incompetence was allowed to go unchecked – which just makes you think even more that something dodgy was behind all this. It all felt very choreographed to distract people from the reality of what did happen and a number of countries seemed complicit in the cover up

Was it pilot error? An accident? Terrorism? After reading this you’ll definitely believe there is more to this disappearance than meets the eye and you can only commend the author for their research in trying to find out the truth – a shocking and eye opening read! Highly recommended!

★★★★★

#BlogTour CROW COURT by ANDY CHARMAN #BookReview #CrowCourt @AndyCWriter @unbounders @RandomTTours

Delighted to be sharing my thoughts on CROW COURT today on the fabulous Blog Tour! My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of  Random Things Tours for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

‘Debut novels shouldn’t be this perfectly formed. Its subject is historic, yet its exploration of morality feels utterly modern. A rarity in historical fiction: it truly places you in the here and now of a world once removed. Crow Court already looks, feels and smells like a classic’ – Ben Myers, author of The Gallows Pole and The Offing 

‘Inventive, original and deeply moving. There is a warmth and humanity, an acceptance of the vagaries and challenges of life’ – Alice Jolly, author of Mary Anne Sate, Imbecile

Unbound’s lead fiction title for 2021: a stunning debut from a breathtakingly assured new voice in fiction Spring, 1840. In the Dorset market town of Wimborne Minster, a young choirboy drowns himself. Soon after, the choirmaster—a belligerent man with a vicious reputation—is found murdered, in a discovery tainted as much by relief as it is by suspicion. The gaze of the magistrates falls on four local men, whose decisions will reverberate through the community for years to come.

 So begins the chronicle of Crow Court, unravelling over fourteen delicately interwoven episodes, the town of Wimborne their backdrop: a young gentleman and his groom run off to join the army; a sleepwalking cordwainer wakes on his wife’s grave; desperate farmhands emigrate. We meet the composer with writer’s block; the smuggler; a troupe of actors down from London; and old Art Pugh, whose impoverished life has made him hard to amuse. Meanwhile, justice waits… 

‘A confident and exciting debut: exactly observed, densely textured and richly flavoured, Crow Court is throbbing with life’ – Rick Gekoski, author of Darke 

‘This clever narrative is both page-turning and original – an innovative and beautifully-written historical novel that features an array of diverse characters and voices from its vividly-realised Dorset setting’ – Jane Harris, author of Sugar Money

 ‘A gripping mystery, beautifully teased out over several decades, full of intrigue and ambiguity’ – Andy Hamilton, author of Longhand

 Published by UNBOUND

PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk
blackwell’s

About the author: 


Andy Charman was born in Dorset and grew up near Wimborne Minster, where Crow Court is set. His short stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Pangea and Cadenza. Crow Court is his first novel, which he worked on at the Arvon course at The Hurst in Shropshire in 2018. Andy lives in Surrey and is available for interview, comment and events

.MY REVIEW


I was drawn to this book because of the links to Wimbourne, a place where I spent many happy holidays as a child, and it was brilliant to be transported back in time for this ‘history mystery’ that had me anxiously turning the pages to see how things would pan out for all the characters.  And it was a novel experience not to be having much sympathy for the choirmaster victim!! His death shook the local community albeit tinged with relief, but as the story evolves and widens you see behind the facade and the beliefs, and get the reality of someone abusing their power but people keeping quiet about it.  


When a choirboy drowns in Wimbourne, nobody has any idea of the chain of events that  his death will lead to.  But the whispers begin and we get to see various stories of local characters who are linked with the tragedy and how the gossip affects them and their behaviour. 

The story is told in such a way that you get a real feel for the history of the times – the goings on, the way of life and the local dialect used, which has a handy glossary at the back of the book so you can understand phrase used a little more!


There are many secrets being kept and many ‘naysayers’ who won’t even entertain the idea that the claims about the choirmaster and his ‘indiscretions’ – even as a reader, you are really left doubting the rumours at times, and struggle to pin down the accused as they all have seemingly good stories behind them!  So what really did happen that night?!  There’s always more to the story than meets the eye!


I really loved the pace of this story.  The language did take some getting used to, but once I was accustomed to it I really felt that I was on the fly on the wall watching the crime being solved in front of me.  The different storylines are woven together very carefully and link brilliantly together! An impressive debut!
★★★★★

#BookReview 337 by M.JONATHAN LEE #BookReview #337LEE @HideawayFall @MJonathanLee

ABOUT THE BOOK


337 follows the life of Samuel Darte whose mother vanished when he was in his teens. It was his brother, Tom who found her wedding ring on the kitchen table along with the note. While their father pays the price of his mother’s disappearance, Sam learns that his long-estranged Gramma is living out her last days in a nursing home nearby. Keen to learn about what really happened that day and realising the importance of how little time there is, he visits her to finally get the truth. Soon it’ll be too late and the family secrets will be lost forever. Reduced to ashes. But in a story like this, nothing is as it seems.


PUBLISHED BY HIDEAWAY FALL

PURCHASE LINK

AMAZON


MY REVIEW

I found this to be one of those ‘quiet’ books that focus on a family plagued by tragedy, that then sledgehammers you with the truth later on, so all the trauma, the angst and issues that have impacted on Sam and his family are laid bare.

The story centres around a family where the mother disappeared while her 2 sons were younger – one day she was there, the next they find a note on the table with her wedding ring and no sign of her. This causes major upheaval for the family with police questioning, rumours and gossip from the neighbourhood – a major impact on the 2 young boys who have to try and make sense of it all.

WE catch up with them as men, Sam mainly, who is the only one around to go and visit his grandmother in a home as she’s on the verge of death. Can she shed more light on the events all those years ago?

I was so gripped by the human aspect to this story – how traumatic events play such a huge role on the outlook on life of those involved. How it had split the brothers up, how Sam found himself constantly living in the past unable to move on and live life normally. So much anger and resentment had built up so he goes to visit his grandmother hoping to find answers.

This was definitely a powerful page turner for me, watching as the mystery of the story was revealed with flashbacks to the family in the past – before and after the mother disappeared. This adds to the tension and makes you understand why Sam acts the way he does now. And then there’s that ending… I’m still reeling now!!

★★★★★

My thanks to the author and publisher for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.