24 October 2017


  • format: Kindle (Amazon) - currently available for $0
  • File Size: 381 KB
  • Print Length: 158 pages
  • Publisher: The Bartram Partnership (July 4, 2017)
  • Publication Date: July 4, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
Synopsis (Amazon)

Welcome to Brighton, England - where they do like to murder beside the seaside…

Don't you just hate it when you get the afternoon off - and then find yourself chasing a train robber with his loot?

Join ace crime reporter Colin Crampton and his feisty Australian girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith as they embark on a new adventure.

It all starts when Colin spends a lazy afternoon by the beach with Shirley. But when a daring robbery takes place before their very eyes, Colin reckons he's on the trail of a big story.

But nothing about the robbery is what it seems. And before long Colin and Shirley are drawn deeper into danger.

Colin encounters a motorcycle rocker with bad teeth, a dyslexic tattooist, and a seller of novelty toilet roll holders as he chases down his story.

Murder in the Morning Edition is the first part of a mystery adventure trilogy which continues in Murder in the Afternoon Extra and Murder in the Night Final.

My Take

While this isn't his first Colin Crampton story, it is the first time that the author has attempted a mystery as a trilogy. In the introduction he even estimates how long it will take the average reader to read. His opinion is that this is his detective's most thrilling adventure yet.

Elsewhere Peter Bartram calls the book a cosy caper, and I think that is about right. I found it engaging reading with just enough mystery in the main plot to keep me interested. As a bonus, at the end there is a chapter from the next book in the trilogy, just to whet the appetite.

So, here is some light reading, which may take a night or two on your e-book reader. And did I mention it is free?

To be honest, I'm looking forward to the next one.

My rating: 4.3

About the author

Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series. His novels are fast-paced and humorous - the action is matched by the laughs. The books feature a host of colorful characters as befits stories set in Brighton, one of Britain's most trend-setting towns.
Website: ColinCrampton.com

22 October 2017

Review: THE SEAGULL, Ann Cleeves

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 2306 KB
  • Print Length: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (August 29, 2017)
  • Publication Date: August 29, 2017
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B072BMV2K9
  • #8 in the Vera Stanhope series 
Synopsis (Amazon)

The Seagull is Ann Cleeves’ searing eighth novel in the bestselling Vera Stanhope series, about corruption deep in the heart of a community, and about fragile, and fracturing, family relationships.

A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper – and Vera played a part in his downfall.

Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, his body buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.

This cold case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as ‘the Prof’, were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were ‘the Gang of Four’, and Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. Vera must confront her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth, as the past begins to collide dangerously with the present . . .

My Take

Vera's boss sends her off to the local prison to give a talk to some geriatric inmates. There she comes face to face with John Brace, a bent copper whom she helped put away. Brace says he has some information about a cold case, in return for Vera visiting his daughter. Vera finds she has a lot of sympathy for the daughter Patty who in reality is not doing all that well. There are some aspects of Patty's story that pricks Vera's curiosity, particularly about what happened to Patty's mother who was a prostitute.

Brace is true to his word and tells Vera where to find the body of a man who disappeared some years before. But there they find two bodies, not one, and then Patty's ex-husband is killed.

In this story I particularly liked the fact that Vera was prepared to go the extra mile, and that she expected her team to do so as well. When it all comes together at the end, it has been a very satisfying journey.

When you read this novel, be sure to read the author's note in the final pages about the setting.

My rating: 4.7

I've also read
mini-review RAVEN BLACK - Shetland #1
WHITE NIGHTS - Shetland#2
RED BONES - Shetland #3
5.0, BLUE LIGHTNING - Shetland#4
5.0, DEAD WATER  - Shetland#5
4.6, THIN AIR - Shetland #6
4.3, MURDER IN PARADISE - Palmer-Jones series #3
TELLING TALES (Vera Stanhope) #2
4.8, SILENT VOICES, (Vera Stanhope) #4
5.0, THE GLASS ROOM (Vera Stanhope) #5
4.9, HARBOUR STREET (Vera Stanhope) #6
 4.5, BURIAL OF GHOSTS - stand-alone
4.8, THE MOTH CATCHER (Vera Stanhope #7)
4.4, TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE (Quick Reads)

19 October 2017

review: HE SAID, SHE SAID, Erin Kelly

  • this edition published by Hodder & Stoughton 2017
  • ISBN 978-1-444-79715-2
  • 408 pages
  • source: my local library
  • Author website
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they'll share.

But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his.

The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder - did she trust the wrong person?

15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past.

From Erin Kelly, queen of the killer twist, He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story.

My Take

You never think that being witnesses for the prosecution will lead to you having to hide away so that the person who is convicted on the basis of your evidence can't find you, and neither can the woman  that you testified for. But that is what happens to Laura and Kit. Laura is worried about a little lie that she told with the best of intentions. What she doesn't realise is that there are some things that Kit has not said.

For fifteen years Kit and Laura chase eclipses, Laura lives in fear of being tracked down, and she becomes more and more insecure, more and more reliant on Kit. Very nasty events occur that make her feel even more insecure. But in 2015 Kit goes to an eclipse on his own, and this brings everything to a head.

In line with the blurb on the book's cover I am trying desperately not to give the plot away.  The book flashes between several time frames: 1999, 2000, 2015. I found that a bit tiresome as a plot strategy as the jump seemed to happen almost at every change of chapter, and the reader can never really relax.

Nevertheless it is a cleverly constructed novel with a huge twist at the end that I really didn't see coming.

My rating: 4.5

About the author
Erin Kelly was born in London in 1976 and studied English at Warwick University. She has worked as a freelance journalist for ten years, specialising in women, health, sex and lifestyle.

She is the author behind Broadchurch.
The Poison Tree (2010)
The Sick Rose (2011)
     aka The Dark Rose
The Burning Air (2013)
The Ties That Bind (2014)
He Said / She Said (2017)

Broadchurch (with Chris Chibnall)
1. The End Is Where It Begins (2015)
2. The Letter (2015)
3. Old Friends (2015)
4. Over the Side (2015)
5. Protection (2015)
6. One More Secret (2015)
7. The Leaving of Claire Ripley (2015)
8. Thirteen Hours (2015)
Broadchurch (2014)

14 October 2017

Review: LOST, Michael Robotham - audio book

 Synopsis (Audible)

Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz is lucky to be alive. A bullet in the leg, another through the hand, he is discovered clinging to a buoy in the River Thames, losing blood and consciousness fast. It takes six days for him to come out of his coma, and when he does, his nightmare is only just beginning. Because Vincent has no recollection of what happened, and nobody believes him.  

From Robotham's website

with a bullet in his leg and an even bigger hole in his memory. He has no recollection of the shooting or how he finished in the river. The only clue is a photograph found in his pocket of Mickey Carlyle, a seven-year-old girl who went missing three years earlier. A man was convicted of her murder.

But what if the police got it wrong? Ruiz's only hope of unravelling the puzzle is to retrace his steps and re-create the night of the shooting. Under investigation by his colleagues and accused of faking amnesia, he turns to Joe O'Loughlin, a clinical psychologist, who he hopes can unlock his memories. Step by step, they piece together a story of grief, vengeance, and the search for redemption.​

My Take

To be quite honest, in the decade since I first read this book, I've forgotten most of the plot. I do remember that it wasn't quite clear at that stage that Robotham was writing a series - in fact, I am not sure that he himself knew that he was.  The main character of the first book THE SUSPECT was Professor Joe O'Loughlin. Vincent Ruiz was the nasty policeman who arrested Joe on suspicion of murder. And then Ruiz became the central character of LOST and O'Loughlin plays a sort of back up role.

The central theme of the plot in LOST is what Ruiz was doing the night he was shot and nearly drowned in the Thames. He has amnesia, but his memory gradually comes back. Quite clearly other people were shot that night, and might possibly even be dead. Ruiz appears to have been working on his own, and he eventually loses his job as a policeman despite his excellent record.

This book won Michael Robotham the 2005 Ned Kelly Award for best mystery by an Australian author.

I'm listening to audio versions of this series and I'm looking forward to starting THE NIGHT FERRY, which features Detective Constable Alisha Barber, who was Ruiz's offsider in the Met. Check details here.

My rating: 4.8

I've also read
SHATTER (audio)
5.0, LIFE OR DEATH Shortlisted for the 2015 CWA Gold Dagger
5.0, THE SUSPECT #1  

Review: THE BEEKEEPER, Stewart Giles

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 1300 KB
  • Print Length: 245 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1912106515
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Joffe Books (May 18, 2017)
  • Publication Date: May 18, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B072FKXNC8
Synopsis (Amazon)

A shocking discovery starts a trail of mayhem on the Cornish coast.

Alice Green is a beekeeper in the small Cornish village of Polgarrow. She lives with her pet jackdaw in a beautiful cottage not far from the sea. One evening, Alice finds something strange under the hollyhock bush in her garden. The gruesome discovery will change everyone’s lives. And then Alice’s best friend Milly disappears . . .

Detective Harriet Taylor has just transferred to the area from Edinburgh. As she investigates a series of shocking crimes, she grows close to the old beekeeper and is determined to bring the criminals to justice. But who is really what they seem and who can she trust?

A crime mystery with a touch of black humour. You’ll enjoy this fast-paced and dark unearthing of the secrets of a sleepy Cornish village.

My take

This was recommended to me as a lightish read, a cozy, and that is really how I found it.

Three elderly people who were part of a wedding party forty years before all die within the space of a week. And, even though I had my suspicions, the plot kept me guessing almost to the end. The detective, Harriet Taylor is an interesting character, and extra tension arises when she is included in the investigative team when a group of "experts" descend from Exeter because the local team are apparently not getting anywhere.

Alice Green was the fourth member of that wedding party. She is the beekeeper, and her bees have begun producing strange tasting honey, and Alice is worried. She becomes friends with Harriet Taylor and that seems to give her some sort of immunity from suspicion.

I've never read anything before from Stewart Giles and I might just give his other series a try.

My rating: 4.4

About the author
After reading English & Drama at three different English Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling and finally ended up in South Africa, where I still live. I enjoy the serene life running a boat shop on the banks of the Vaal Dam. I came up with the DS Jason Smith idea after my wife dropped a rather large speaker on my head. Whether it was intentional still remains a mystery. Smith, the first in the series was finished in September 2013 and was closely followed by Boomerang and Ladybird. Occam's Razor, Harlequin and Phobia (a series of short stories detailing Smith's early life) were all completed in one hazy 365 days and Selene was done and dusted a few months later. Horsemen, the seventh in the DS Smith thriller series is out now. The Beekeeper, a departure from the DS Smith series will be released through Joffe Books on 22 May. 

11 October 2017

New-to-me authors July to September 2017

I have continued to read a number of new-to-me authors, many really good titles
I have read 33 titles this year, over one third of all the books I have read.
  1. 4.1, Cherringham 1-3, Costello, Neil & Richards, Matthew
  2. 4.2, STORMY COVE, Bernadette Calonego
  3. 4.4, SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE, Sarah Schmidt
  4. 4.6, MASK WARS (aka CRIME ON THE FENS), Joy Ellis
  5. 4.5, A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE, Shari Lapena
  7. 4.4, GOODWOOD, Holly Throsby 
  8. 4.4, JOURNEY TO DEATH, Leigh Russell 
  9. 4.4, POSTCARDS FROM THE PAST, Marcia Willett
 See what others have read.

Meme- New to Me Authors - July to September 2017

It's easy to join this meme.

Just write a post about the best new-to-you crime fiction authors (or all) you've read in the period of July to September 2017, put a link to this meme in your post, and even use the logo if you like.
The books don't necessarily need to be newly published.

 After writing your post, then come back to this post and add your link to Mr Linky below. (if Mr Linky does not appear - leave your URL in a comment and I will add to Mr Linky when it comes back up, or I'll add the link to the post)
Visit the links posted by other participants in the meme to discover even more books to read.

This meme will run again at the end of December 2017

Review: SOMETIMES I LIE, Alice Feeney

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 1865 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0008225354
  • Publisher: HQ (March 23, 2017)
  • Publication Date: March 23, 2017
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01LXD38NC
Synopsis (Amazon)

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me.
1. I’m in a coma
2. My husband doesn’t love me any more
3. Sometimes I lie
Unnerving, twisted and utterly compelling, you won’t be able to put this new thriller down. Set to be the most talked about book in 2017, it’s perfect for fans of Behind Closed Doors, The Girl on the Train and The Widow.

My Take

The story opens on Boxing Day 2016. Amber Reynolds works out that she is in hospital, unable to open her eyes or move. Something very bad has happened and she cannot remember what or when. Two nurses come into the room to look at her and from their conversation Amber works out that she is in a coma.

The story leaps from one time frame to another: first of all back to events one week earlier, then back to present time, then to 1991 when Amber began to write a diary. In 1991 Amber was almost ten, and beginning at a new school. Her Nana has recently died, and her parents argue a lot. A month later at school Amber is sitting next to Taylor who is exactly the same age as her, and they become friends.

The story flits from one time frame to another, and gradually a picture builds of Amber's life over the last 25 years, and then she begins to remember the most recent events that have resulted in her being in a coma.

This became one of those books that I really wanted to race through. I thought initially that a single voice was telling the story, but now I am not so sure. It is one of those books that could probably do with a second reading.

For those thinking of using the book with a reading group there are some searching questions at end for discussion.

My rating: 4.6

About the author
Alice Feeney is a writer and journalist. She spent 16 years at the BBC, where she worked as a Reporter, News Editor, Arts and Entertainment Producer and One O’clock News Producer.

Alice is a Faber Academy graduate from the class of 2016. She has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside, where she lives with her husband and dog.

Sometimes I Lie is her debut thriller and is being published around the world in 2017. 

9 October 2017

Review: TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, Ann Cleeves

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 2745 KB
  • Print Length: 73 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (February 4, 2017)
  • Publication Date: February 4, 2017
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B074FJVL9Z
Synopsis (Amazon)

Too Good To Be True is a gripping Quick Read from Ann Cleeves, featuring Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez from the bestselling Shetland series.

When young teacher Anna Blackwell is found dead in her home, the police think her death was suicide or a tragic accident. After all, Stonebridge is a quiet country village in the Scottish Borders, where murders just don't happen.

But Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez soon arrives from far-away Shetland when his ex-wife, Sarah, asks him to look into the case. The local gossips are saying that her new husband, Tom, was having an affair with Anna. Could Tom have been involved with her death? Sarah refuses to believe it - but needs proof.

Anna had been a teacher. She must have loved kids. Would she kill herself knowing there was nobody to look after her daughter? She had seemed happier than ever before she died. And to Perez, this suggests not suicide, but murder . . .

My Take

Although it was published only recently, this short novel goes back into Jimmy Perez' past. The time frame is shortly after his fiancee Fran's death, his daughter Cassie is about 6 years old.

Jimmy has been contacted by his ex-wife Sarah about the death of a local school teacher. Jimmy soon learns that Sarah hasn't told her husband that she has contacted Jimmy, and that there is a lot she is not telling him.

A satisfying one-night read, which adds a bit to what we already know about Jimmy Perez.

My rating: 4.4

I've also read

mini-review RAVEN BLACK - Shetland #1
WHITE NIGHTS - Shetland#2
RED BONES - Shetland #3
5.0, BLUE LIGHTNING - Shetland#4
5.0, DEAD WATER  - Shetland#5
4.6, THIN AIR - Shetland #6
4.3, MURDER IN PARADISE - Palmer-Jones series #3
TELLING TALES (Vera Stanhope) #2
4.8, SILENT VOICES, (Vera Stanhope) #4
5.0, THE GLASS ROOM (Vera Stanhope) #5
4.9, HARBOUR STREET, Ann Cleeves (Vera Stanhope) #6
 4.5, BURIAL OF GHOSTS - stand-alone
4.8, THE MOTH CATCHER, Ann Cleeves (Vera Stanhope #7)

8 October 2017

Review: AND FIRE CAME DOWN, Emma Viskic

  • first published August 2017 by Echo Publishing
  • source: an ARC from the publisher
  • ISBN: 9781760402945
    Format: Trade paperback
  • 326 pages
 Synopsis (Echo Publishing)

Deaf since early childhood, Caleb Zelic used to meet life head-on. Now he’s struggling just to get through the day. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours.

But when a young woman is killed after pleading for his help in sign language, Caleb is determined to find out who she was. And the trail leads straight to his hometown, Resurrection Bay.  The town is on bushfire alert and simmering with racial tensions. As he delves deeper, Caleb uncovers secrets that could threaten his life and any chance of reuniting with Kat. Driven by his demons, he pushes on. But who is he willing to sacrifice along the way?

My Take

Returning to Resurrection Bay means dealing with events he'd rather forget but the death of the girl who comes to him for help in Melbourne means that Caleb Zelic has no choice. He has been working in Melbourne as an independent investigator but he really has few clients.

The contact details for him that the girl had were written on a receipt that came from Resurrection Bay and the first person he asks about her is able to identify her. Immediately after he visits her father Caleb is attacked and warned off.

As he investigates further Caleb realises that there is a trade in ice happening in Resurrection  Bay and trying to work out who is behind it gets more and more dangerous. A young aboriginal man is murdered and at his funeral Caleb meets up with his wife Kat and her family.

There are a number of very complex relationships in this novel, and the picture painted of the small coastal community of Resurrection Bay is very grim.  I had trouble remembering what happened in the original title in this series, and my advice to the reader would be to read them in order.

My Rating: 4.3

I've also read

About the author
Emma Viskic is an award-winning Australian crime writer. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Resurrection Bay, won the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, as well as an unprecedented three Davitt Awards: Best Adult Novel, Best Debut, and Readers' Choice. Resurrection Bay was iBooks Australia’s Crime Novel of 2015. She has also won the Ned Kelly and Thunderbolt Awards for her short form fiction.

A classically trained clarinettist, Emma’s musical career has ranged from performing with José  Carreras and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, to busking in the London Underground. Emma studied Australian sign language (Auslan) in order to write Resurrection Bay.

3 October 2017

What I read in September 2017

A good reading month. Some lighter, not quite crime fiction as well as starting to listen to audio versions of Michael Robotham novels.
Pick of the Month September 2017
  1. 4.5, DARK PLACES, Gillian Flynn
  2. 4.2, THE QUEEN'S CORGI ON PURPOSE, David Michie -not crime fiction
  3. 4.4, JOURNEY TO DEATH, Leigh Russell 
  4. 4.5, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, Caroline Overington
  5. 4.6, CRIMSON LAKE, Candice Fox 
  6. 5.0, THE SUSPECT, Michael Robotham - audio book
  7. 4.7, THE GOOD PEOPLE, Hannah Kent
  8. 4.4, POSTCARDS FROM THE PAST, Marcia Willett
  10. 4.9, GLASS HOUSES, Louise Penny  
 See what others have chosen as their Pick of the Month

Review: RATHER BE THE DEVIL, Ian Rankin

  • this edition published 2016 by Orion books
  • ISBN 978-1-4091-5941-4
  • 310 pages
  • #21 in the Rebus series
Synopsis (back cover: author website)

Some cases never leave you.

For John Rebus, forty years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand still preys on his mind. Murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, Maria’s killer has never been found.

Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?

In a tale of twisted power, deep-rooted corruption and bitter rivalries, Rather Be the Devil showcases Rankin and Rebus at their unstoppable best.

My Take

This novel, #21 in the Rebus series, brings together John Rebus, Malcolm Fox, and Siobhan Clarke, and old arch-enemy Big Ger Cafferty. Rebus retired back in EXIT MUSIC, but he has knowledge that is invaluable to the police. Fox and Rebus, once rivals, have now decided that they can work together if need be. Rebus of course does not have a police badge but is not above using Fox's business card if it furthers his cause.

Rebus has never forgotten the unsolved murder of Maria Turquand forty years before, the main suspects in the murder are all still alive, and it is a case that Rebus would love to solve.

Rebus is not in the best of health, has even given up smoking, and is drinking light beer, encouraged by his current girl friend who also conducts police autopsies.

The past meets the present when a young gangster modelling himself on Big Ger Cafferty is mugged in his driveway, and then when a banker is abducted.

I found the plots a bit twisted and convoluted, hence the slightly lower rating, but still a good read.

My rating: 4.5

I've also read
4.4, WITCH HUNT - writing as Jack Harvey

1 October 2017

Pick of the Month: September 2017

Crime Fiction Pick of the Month 2017
Many crime fiction bloggers write a summary post at the end of each month listing what they've read, and some, like me, even go as far as naming their pick of the month.

This meme is an attempt to aggregate those summary posts.
It is an invitation to you to write your own summary post for September 2017, identify your crime fiction best read of the month, and add your post's URL to the Mr Linky below.
If Mr Linky does not appear for you, leave the URL in a comment and I will add it myself.

You can list all the books you've read in the past month on your post, even if some of them are not crime fiction, but I'd like you to nominate your crime fiction pick of the month.

That will be what you will list in Mr Linky too -
ROSEANNA, Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo - MiP (or Kerrie)

You are welcome to use the image on your post and it would be great if you could link your post back to this post on MYSTERIES in PARADISE.


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