Sunday, 22 November 2015


My Thoughts on this clever and fast moving WWI spy thriller .......

THE EMPIRE OF NIGHT  (3rd in the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series)

Published:  Oct 2014
Pages:  401  (Paperback)

It is 1915 and "Kit" Cobb is working undercover in a castle on the Kent coast owned by a suspected British government mole, Sir Albert Stockman.  Kit is working with his mother, the beautiful and mercurial spy, Isabel Cobb, who also happens to be a world-famous stage actress.
Isabel's offstage role is to keep tabs on Stockman, while Cobb tries to figure out his agenda.
Following his mother and her escort from the relative safety of Britain into the lion's den of Berlin, Kit must remain in character, even under the very nose of the Kaiser.

The third instalment in the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series sees our protagonist following a British spy, Sir Albert Stockman, to Berlin to discover whether he is actively aiding the German cause at a time when the allies are struggling against the Germans. He is still a war correspondent but is also working for the US Secret Service.  

But this time his mother, the very famous stage actress, Isabel Cobb, is also working for the US Secret Service and she is also travelling to Berlin on the arm of the British Government man.

As a native German speaker he easily slips into disguise and fools not only Stockman but also those closest to him as he tries to discover his plans, which turn out to be shocking.

This is a tale of betrayal, treason, acting, pretending to be someone you're not.

Though mention is briefly made of past missions this is a stand alone novel.

I really like Robert Olen Butler's writing style, Cobb is very observant, every detail, every conversation, is noted and stored in his memory.  He thinks a great deal and I enjoyed reading his thoughts and wondering where he would go and what he would do next, I found it very compelling and easy to read.  I wanted to know more, to find out where the story was going, where it was leading and Robert Olen Butler did not disappoint as the pace quickened towards the exciting conclusion.

A fantastic, well researched read which I hugely recommend to fans of intelligent spy novels.

Looking forward to the next instalment of this series.

Follow Robert Olen Butler on twitter: @RobtOlenButler
Check out his website

Sunday, 1 November 2015


My Thoughts on this serial killer thriller ......

(The 3rd book in the DI Ian Peterson series)

Published:  26 Nov 2015  (Paperback)

"Silently dipping his oars in the water he made his escape.  It was a weary journey, with few spoils to show for it.  Next time he would do better.  He looked back over his shoulder.  The bridge had disappeared, swallowed up by the darkness.  From its walkway he too had become invisible.  Only the bloody body of a woman showed he had been roaming the streets that night".
DI Ian Peterson investigates a series of gruesome and brutal murders in York.  As the body count mounts, the case demands all Ian's ingenuity. These are murders seemingly committed at random, and this is a killer who leaves no clues.

I've read several Leigh Russell stories before so I knew what to expect, with a killer, a puzzle, the detectives lives, the victims stories and a good storyline that's easy to read, and this followed a similar pattern.  

This is the third book in the Detective Inspector Ian Peterson series and we get to know more about him, this thoughts and feelings and his increasing marriage problems.  He's intelligent and caring and I really liked him as a main character as he tries to discover why anyone would kill random people who seem unconnected.

With a Viking theme throughout, the story moved along at a swift pace and interspersed with the murder investigation were the killer's thoughts which made for chilling reading.

Overall a good read which I enjoyed.

Saturday, 10 October 2015


My Thoughts on this psychological thriller that I found a little too unbelievable .....


Paperback - Published - Sept 2014

 Julia has always been the friend that Livy turns to when life is difficult. United fifteen years ago by grief at the brutal murder of Livy's sister, Kara, they've always told each other everything. Or so Livy thought. So when Julia is found dead in her home, Livy cannot come to terms with the news that she chose to end her own life. The Julia that Livy knew was vibrant and vivacious, a far cry from the selfish neurotic that her family seem determined to paint her as. Troubled by doubt but alone in her suspicions, Livy sets out to prove that Julia was in fact murdered. But little does she realise that digging into her best friend's private life will cause her to question everything she thought she knew about Julia. And the truth that Livy discovers will tear the very fabric of her own life apart.

Overall I thought this was an engrossing read, as Livy tries to find out the truth about her friend Julia's suicide, she doesn't believe she killed herself, but everyone else thinks she did.

I liked Livy, I liked her honesty, her loyalty to her friend and her suspicious nature.  

The theme of the story is 'trust' ...... Livy is learning to trust her husband again after his affair, can she trust her instincts about her friend, she thought she knew Julia better than anyone else and, above all, can she trust Julia's boyfriend.

Although I did enjoy the story, there were certain elements that I struggled with.  The more I read it the more unbelievable some of the parts sounded.  Particularly the fact that her so-called best friend, the friend she trusted above everyone else, had a secret boyfriend that she didn't tell anyone about, a boyfriend that asked her to marry him (or so he told Livy).  I just found it difficult to believe that she didn't confide in her best friend Livy.  Of course, this all added to the mistrust and suspense built up throughout the story.

Sadly, because of my disbelief, this did spoil my enjoyment and I would only give this a 3/5 rating.


Find out more about Sophie McKenzie at

Follow her on twitter @sophiemkenzie_


Saturday, 22 August 2015


My Thoughts on this ingenious psychological thriller .....

THE TELLING ERROR (Culver Valley Crime 9)

Published:  April 2014

Genre:  Crime / Mystery / Thriller

Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It's definitely him, the same police officer, stopping each car on Elmhirst Road. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-turn and makes a panicky escape. Or so she thinks. The next day, Nicki is pulled in for questioning in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road. Nicki can't answer any of the questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why the killer used a knife in such a peculiar way, or why 'HE IS NO LESS DEAD' was painted on Blundy's study wall. And she can't explain why she avoided Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her life. Because although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent ...

All she wanted to do was take her son's forgotten sports kit to school

Nicki is an anxious person, an anxious mother, a liar and she has a secret which makes her do stupid things.

When a local newspaper columnist is murdered Nicki is under suspicion as she's spotted on CCTV cameras passing his house several times during that day.  Even though she's totally innocent she lies to the police about her reasons for travelling and the more she lies the bigger the hole she's digging for herself.

Interspersed with her story are recent comments made by the controversial journalist, Damon Blundy, which I found long winded and boring.

I was glad when the story went back to Nicki and her life, she has an addiction, she enjoys the excitement, the thrill of nearly getting caught, she thinks "being bad and getting away with it: there's no feeling like it."

The journalist had many enemies, his column was very popular, he was very opinionated.
Which one of them loathed him enough to murder him is the problem facing the Culver Valley police including the two detectives from previous novels, Sergeant Charlie Zailer and DC Simon Waterhouse who are now married and I do find their relationship weird, I'm not sure if I like them.

There is a lot going on in this thriller ...... who killed Damon Blundy, the journalist, and why kill him in such a strange way, what are the secrets that Nicki doesn't want anyone to find out, why is she on such bad terms with her mother and brother, is there someone following her?

I enjoyed this story overall, it was full of twists and turns, I didn't guess whodunnit, though I thought there were too many coincidences in the end.

The Telling Error is available from AmazonUK - - Book Depository

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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Cold Revenge by Jo A Hiestand Book Blast

Cold Revenge

by Jo A Hiestand

August 4 Book Blast


coverOne year ago, Marta Hughes won a purse-choking sum of money at a local casino. She never returned home. Her body was discovered in a ditch twelve miles from her home; her car was back in her driveway. Linnet Isherwood cannot let her friend's unsolved murder rest. She convinces ex-cop Michael McLaren to return to the work he loves. He sifts through a confusing web of lies, misconceptions and veiled motives. Are anonymous late-night phone calls, a vanished hitchhiker, and a stalker wielding empty beer bottles somehow related to the case? Or maybe the woman he broke off with is seeking revenge.

Book Details:

Genre:  British Mystery

Published by:   The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Publication Date:   March 20th 2015

Number of Pages:  360

ISBN:   978-1628308907

Purchase Links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

He brought the photo closer so he could stare at the woman. She appeared to be in her mid-forties, a brunette with hazel eyes that looked amusingly at the photographer. She came up to her husband’s chin. The husband was a graying brunet and while her son had inherited her eye color, he was blond. McLaren had no time to comment on this.

Linnet said, “The others…” She leaned forward, her left arm bent and supporting her, and tapped each photo as she mentioned their names. “The group shot is Marta, her boss, and the vet for the shelter. This…” She skipped over the others in the photograph and pointed to the woman to the extreme left. “That’s Verity Dwyer.”

“The wrongly suspected coworker.” The woman in the photo had auburn hair that shone in the sunlight; her blue eyes smiled at him.
Linnet nodded. “Yes. Suspected of killing Marta, though that wasn’t proved. But she was convicted of stealing money from the shelter. She’s three months into her sentence. She was… Oh, it’s extremely involved.”

“I’ve got more time than money. Tell me.”

Author Bio:

authorA true Anglophile, Jo Hiestand wanted to capture the traditional flavor of a detective crime novel and the intimate atmosphere of a British cozy. The result is the McLaren Case mystery series featuring ex-police detective Michael McLaren who now investigates cold cases on his own. 
Jo has combined her love of writing, board games and music by co-inventing P.I.R.A.T.E.S., the mystery-solving game that uses maps, graphics, song lyrics, and other clues to lead the players to the lost treasure.
In 2001 she graduated from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors.
Peter Lovesey, author of the Sergeant Cribb and Peter Diamond series, praises Jo’s writing: “Immaculate research, attention to detail and an elegant style are the hallmarks of Jo Hiestand’s writing. (Horns of a Dilemma is) an atmospheric novel.” 
Jo founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America.

Catch Up:
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This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jo A Hiestand. To win you must be a US resident and be able to provide a US mailing address within 24 hours of receiving an emailing notification of winning. The giveaway begins on Aug 3rd, 2015 and runs through Aug 15th, 2015.
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Friday, 31 July 2015


My Thoughts on this intricate tale of corruption .........


Published:  27 Aug 2015
Publisher:  No Exit Press

German intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt has just been reassigned to the Feldjaegerkorps - a new branch of the military police with far-reaching powers. His position separates him from the friends and allies he has made in the last two years, including a circle of fellow dissenting Germans who formed a rough resistance cell against the Nazis. And he needs them now more than ever.
While retreating through Yugoslavia with the rest of the army, Reinhardt witnesses a massacre of civilians by the dreaded Ustaše - only to discover there is more to the incident than anyone believes. When five mutilated bodies turn up, Reinhardt knows the stakes are growing more important - and more dangerous.
As his investigation begins to draw the attention of those in power, Reinhardt’s friends and associates are made to suffer. But as he desperately tries to uncover the truth, his own past with the Ustaše threatens his efforts. Because when it comes to death and betrayal, some people have long memories. And they remember Reinhardt all too well.
This is a follow up novel to The Man from Berlin which I haven't read and many references to that are made in this book.  
A decorated war hero and former detective, Gregor Reinhardt is a perfect fit for the new branch of military police who answer to no-one.
WWII is coming to an end and in Sarajevo Reinhardt discovers a civilian massacre but something doesn't add up and it niggles him but he doesn't know why.  Then, other murders are committed and Reinhardt really comes into his own when he digs deeper.
Although I thought this was a well written story, I struggled at times to remember all the characters, there were so many.  It is intricate and detailed with a good strong plot and, especially towards the end, fast-paced.
Available from AmazonUK - AmazonUS

Monday, 20 July 2015


My Thoughts on this culinary cozy mystery ......

(Chef Maurice Culinary Mysteries Book 2)

Cozy Mystery (English Village, Culinary)
File Size: 489 KB
Print Length: 168 pages
Publisher: Purple Panda Press (July 13, 2015)

An invitation to dinner at the home of renowned wine collector Sir William Burton-Trent soon finds Chef Maurice in the middle of an all-too-real murder mystery party, when Sir William is found dead in his own wine cellar.
The guests are acting all innocent, but which one is only playing the part? The pushy Californian film director? The seductive French winemaker? 
Or could it be, against all narrative decency, the butler who did it?
With the help of food critic friend Arthur Wordington-Smythe, a large kipper sandwich, and the newly formed Cochon Rouge Wine Appreciation Society, Chef Maurice must get to the bottom of matters before events turn decidedly sour...

"If you were to describe body shapes via the medium of vegetables, Chef Maurice would be an extra large turnip"

I think it's fair to say that Chef Maurice loves his food!

This is the second in the Chef Maurice series, I haven't read the first but I think this can be read as a stand alone novel.

This was an enjoyable and quirky cozy mystery, full of possible suspects in an old English country house where the owner was found murdered in his own locked wine cellar.

I also liked the touch of romance with one of Chef Maurice's kitchen staff, and his 'sort of' girlfriend, the local PC Lucy.

I think this is the sort of fun cozy series that will be very popular with anyone who loves British mysteries that don't take themselves too seriously.

Looking forward to the next!


About the Author

J.A. Lang is a British mystery writer, and author of the Chef Maurice Mysteries series.
She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.
Author Links
J.A. Lang on Facebook


July 14 – Book Splurge – Review
July 15 – The Ninja Librarian – Review
July 16 – readalot – Review
July 17 – Shelley’s Book Case– Review
July 19 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Spotlight
July 20 – Carole’s Book Corner – Review
July 21 – MysteriesEtc – Review
July 22 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
July 23 – Frankie Bow – Spotlight
July 24 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Review
July 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight

To win your very own signed copy of Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes and a cool looking mug click on the picture below, where you'll be taken to the author's website
Open to US and UK residents over 18 only
Giveaway ends on 30 July 2015 at 11.59 PM GMT

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Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Town Dance by Nikki Skies Showcase


Lorna Simon, has plans to diminish her resume of safe journalism and be known for reporting trendsetting stories. Certain that she can persevere her impressive family lineage within her carefree lifestyle as a social butterfly, this notion is put under fire after a night of partying thrusts Lorna into being a newsmaker instead of a news writer. Lorna alleges she has become the victim of a sexual assault crime committed against her by a woman, Trista, who is a promising event planner and an associate of Lorna’s mother.
Paralyzed with the humiliation of having to publically defend her sexuality as a heterosexual, Lorna must decide to believe in her bouts of memory loss and forego the incident or rekindle her passion for journalism to protect her livelihood and uphold the integrity of her family.

About the Author

Nikki Skies is an accomplished poet, author, and playwright living in Atlanta, GA. Skies is the author of the short story book, “Mississippi Window Cracks” and the collection of poetry and prose in the book, “Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips”. Skies is also known for her fiery performances as a featured poet in venues across the country and an inspiring speaker and workshop facilitator on varied topics.
As a speaker, Skies engages on the topics of: "Missing-the Impact of Feminine Images in Arts", "The Rise and Demise of Women in Hip Hop & Poetry" and "The Feminine Influence in the Black Arts Movement." Skies' poem, "One Day White Woman", on beauty standards between black and white women, has been used as curriculum in Oakland's Women Prison System and San Diego State University for multicultural/diversity lyceum programming. “The Town Dance”, is the dramatic debut novel from Skies. More information can be found on Skies on her blog at
A firm believer in the power of education, the Grambling State University alumna, who also studied for her Masters at Howard University, uses her art as a teaching tool to encourage an interest in literacy.


Available to purchase on AmazonUK -

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Q and A with Timothy Patten, Author of Money, Family, Murder

New Thriller Ignites Orange County with Mysterious Murder 

Glamorous Intrigue, and Family Secrets

Author Timothy Patten explodes onto the literary scene with a sleek, action-packed thriller that takes us into the dark heart of one of California’s most exclusive communities, perfect for lovers of NCIS and Criminal Minds. The mystery ignites around a beautiful corpse, a family of billionaires, and one man who must beat the clock and the system to clear his name in an enclave rife with secrets, lies, and betrayal—MONEY, FAMILY, MURDER (TMP Novels, LLC, $24.99, Hardcover, July 14, 2015).

MONEY, FAMILY, MURDER by Timothy Patten 

TMP Novels, LLC

$24.99  285  Hardcover  July 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-34727-0

Fiction/Mystery  Also available as an ebook

TIMOTHY PATTEN is retired, grew up in Highland Park, Illinois and graduated from University of Miami, Florida with a BBA and MBA in marketing. He volunteers and supports a few local charities in Orange County, California.

Tim and his wife, Kathy live in Irvine, California for over twenty-seven years with their grown children and golden retrievers.

In the picture-perfect community of Newport Beach, violent crime is virtually non-existent. Until one sunny morning, when the beautiful bookkeeper of Newport’s wealthiest family is found strangled in her bed. Johnny Barnes — loyal husband, dad, philanthropist, and all-around decent guy — is arrested for the murder.

Johnny has been wrongly accused. He is released on $20 million bail, but the tide of public feeling turns rapidly against him; everyone has competing agendas, from the power-hungry DA to a perspicacious police detective to Johnny’s influential brother-in-law. With diminishing resources and dwindling hope, Barnes must conduct his own investigation. His journey takes him from Montecito to North Dakota to Key Biscayne as he uncovers a dazzling web of intrigue, self-dealing, exhortation, and murder.

The clock is ticking. Soon Johnny will be sent to prison for a crime he did not commit — unless he is able to identify the true murderer and clear his name in time.

A beautiful corpse. A family of billionaires. An innocent man…or is he?

So begins Money, Family, Murder, an action-packed thriller set in contemporary California. On the sunny shores of Newport Beach, a young woman has been murdered. Johnny Barnes — the prime suspect — is desperate to clear his name. Johnny’s luck is running out. He must take on not only a corrupt criminal justice system but his own duplicitous in-laws, proving our families truly are the ties that bind. Tim Patten takes us into the dark heart of one of America’s most exclusive communities, an enclave rife with secrets, lies, and betrayal. His debut novel will leave you on the edge of your seat, begging for mercy — and begging for more.


1. Did you have ambitions to write and publish prior to penning your debut novel? 

It developed over the last few years, but when I was in college it was different because you had a certain subject to report on depending on the class I was taking at the time. Creating a novel from scratch is a unique project to undertake in your middle years. As I got older and after watching hundreds of films and TV shows, I felt like I could accomplish something in writing. 

2. What is it about the mystery-thriller genre that you find most appealing?

The unknown of what people might do to benefit themselves at the expense of others.Whether it’s stealing money or murdering someone in your way. In this case, you really don’t know until the end who did it and why which to me makes it more suspenseful.

3. Where did your inspiration for the book come from? 

Primarily from watching TV shows and movies in the theater like NCIS, CSI, Criminal Minds or books that become movies like American Sniper or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  My wife and I have seen several movies in the last year like Selma, The Birdman and The Homesman where we either walked out of the theater in the middle of the movie or turned off the Pay Per View because it was either boring or too crazy. So I guess that I am in a new phase in my life where I want to try and create a book or storyline versus just being the viewer or reader.

4. Who / what are your biggest literary influences?

I’d say it’s Tom Clancy for a while because of the novels that he wrote which became movies like The Hunt For The Red October or Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit which are more military subjects.  
My Dad was a Marine in the Korean War and was stationed in both New Orleans and Camp Pendleton and we watched a lot of war movies growing up because it was part of the culture at the time after WWII, Korean War and the Vietnam War eras. I missed the Vietnam draft by less than a year and my wife and I still like watching war movies.

5. What did you enjoy most about writing MONEY, FAMILY, MURDER? 

Watching the faces and hearing the comments from my family and friends after I gave them a copy and they read it because I never wrote a novel before and didn’t tell anyone about it until after our daughter was married in January. I didn’t want to spoil her special day and I knew that it could wait 

6. What is the number one thing you want people to take away from your novel?

To enjoy the mysterious, thrilling storyline. I also want for them to pick in their minds who would be the actors and actresses playing the characters if it was a movie.

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