4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall. @RuthDugdall @LegendPress

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My Review:

It isn’t usual that I will read a series out of order, but that is most definitely what I have done with the Cate Austin books. The first one that I read was book four, Nowhere Girl, which I thought was a brilliant book. Keen to read more I then read Humber Boy B which is number three and was even better than Nowhere Girl. And now I have read book one, The Woman Before Me.

I actually don’t think that it has mattered reading them out of sync and I found it quite amusing reading this book and knowing how far Cate as a character develops over the series.

Although this book is the start of the Cate Austin series, Cate herself is very much a minor role in The Woman Before Me, although a very crucial one.

Rose is most definitely the main character and the majority of the book is told by her. She’s a complex character and I was never sure how reliable she was, as we follow her as she hopes for parole. The book goes back to the past when Rose met her partner and the birth of her little boy Joel.

We know that Joel died and we know that Rose is in prison for the murder of another little boy called Luke, and as the story evolves the truth about what really happened becomes clear. I have to admit that I worked it out quite early on but I still really enjoyed it and a few times I decided that I had got it wrong.

Dugdall is a great storyteller and I love her characters, she has a real way of making them feel real. I love how her characters deal with what life throws at them, there’s no dramatics in her writing and as a result the characters are more believable.

I’ve really enjoyed the Cate Austin series and think that they get better and better. I now need to read number two to complete the set!

Thank you to Legend Press for a copy of The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.


‘An absolute tour de force that left me thinking for days.’ Alex Marwood

They came for me, just like I knew they would. Luke had been dead for just three days.

Rose Wilks’ life is shattered when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. Emma Hatcher has all that Rose lacks. Beauty. A loving husband. A healthy son. Until tragedy strikes and Rose is the only suspect.

Now, having spent nearly five years behind bars, Rose is just weeks away from freedom. Her probation officer Cate must decide whether Rose is remorseful for Luke’s death, or whether she remains a threat to society. As Cate is drawn in, she begins to doubt her own judgement.

Where is the line between love and obsession, can justice be served and, if so… by what means?

New Edition includes exclusive material and author Q&A.

About The Author:

ruthdugdallRuth Dugdall was born in 1971. She holds a BA honours degree in English Literature (Warwick University) and an MA in Social Work (University of East Anglia). She qualified as a probation officer in 1996 and has worked in prison with offenders guilty of serious crimes, including stalking, rape and murder. This has informed her crime writing. Since she started writing, Ruth has won awards in several writing competitions, and has had short stories published in the Winchester Writers’ Conference and the Eva Wiggins Award anthologies.


The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, guest post, true crime

#BlogTour End Game by Matt Johnson @Matt_Johnson @OrendaBooks #EndGame

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Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for End Game by Matt Johnson, published by Orenda Books. Matt has written an incredibly powerful account of losing his friend, WPC Yvonne Fletcher. End Game is the final part of the Robert Finlay trilogy.

Losing a friend 

17th April sees the 36th anniversary of one of the worst days I have ever experienced. It is a day when a friend and colleague was shot and killed. Three decades later, despite the identity of the killer being known, he remains a free man.


On 17th April 1984 I was a 27 year old advanced car driver working in central London on a police traffic car. WPC Yvonne Fletcher was a 25 year old officer on the Vice Squad at West End Central Police Station. My wife of the time served on this same squad. Yvonne was one of her best mates and part of our circle of friends.

Yvonne had been at a house-warming party at my home a few weeks before this fateful day. My lasting memory of her is of seeing her sitting at the bottom of the stairs in my house, looking relaxed and chatting with friends.

At 10.18 am Yvonne was with a small contingent of officers supervising a demonstration outside the Libyan Peoples Bureau in St James Square, London. Her fiancé was among the officers with her. Yvonne had her back to the Bureau.

Without warning, someone in the Libyan bureau fired a Sterling submachine gun into the group of protesters and police officers. Eleven people were hit by bullets, including Yvonne.


Severely injured WPC Yvonne Fletcher being helped by colleagues

An ambulance was quickly sent to the scene and my patrol car was sent to escort the ambulance to the Westminster Hospital.

Anyone who has worked in central London will know just how quickly a major incident can cause the streets to become blocked. Main roads rapidly snarl up and the side streets and rat runs that the taxis and locals use, soon follow. Gridlock is the result.

Getting the ambulance to the hospital proved to be a nightmare. We were forced to drive onto pavements and, on several occasions, we had to get out of the car to get vehicles moved so we could get through. At that time we were aware that the casualty was a police officer, but didn’t know who.

I remember that the ambulance overtook the police car just before we reached the hospital. We had to get out of the car to clear traffic from a junction and the crew seized the opportunity to make progress and get through. When we pulled in behind the ambulance, Yvonne had already been taken into the emergency area. I remember seeing the fantastic efforts and the work that was being put in by the nursing staff to help her. They were fantastic and couldn’t have tried harder.

Yvonne died from her wounds one hour later. She had been shot in the back and abdomen.

After escorting the ambulance, my car was sent to help with the traffic chaos that followed the start of the resulting siege.

I went home that afternoon and switched on the six o’clock news. It was only then that my former wife and I learned that the murdered officer was our friend.

The following day, I was assigned as a driver to the SAS team that had been brought in and stationed at a nearby RAF base. My job was to run the lads around, in short I was a gofer and taxi driver. I made frequent trips to the infamous ‘blue screen’ that was built to block the view into the square and I was present on the night that something amazing happened.

Yvonne’s hat and four other officers’ helmets were left lying in the square during the siege of the embassy. Images of them were shown repeatedly in the British media. They came to represent something quite iconic as a symbol of unarmed police officers who had been attacked so ruthlessly.


What happened was that a PC, acting completely on his own, ran into the square and snatched Yvonne’s hat. There were shouts of ‘get back, get back’ from the firearms officers but the unarmed PC was determined and fast. As he returned to the blue screen, he was bundled away by a senior officer and a firearms officer. I never did find out what happened to the PC but I suspect he got into trouble.

Fact is, what he did was a reckless thing to do. It is quite possible that the hat may have been playing a part in the hostage negotiations that were going on behind the scenes. We will never know. But what I can tell you is how much that PCs actions lifted the spirits of people like me who were sitting watching while the ‘powers that be’ seemed to be doing very little. Grabbing Yvonne’s hat from under the noses of the terrorists stuck two fingers up to them and told them what we thought of them.

To that anonymous PC, I say thanks.

The ‘Peoples Bureau’ was surrounded by armed police for eleven days, in one of the longest police sieges in London’s history. Meanwhile, in Libya, Colonel Gaddafi claimed that the embassy was under attack from British forces, and Libyan soldiers surrounded the British Embassy in Tripoli.

No satisfactory conclusion was reached in the UK, and following the taking of six hostages in Tripoli, the occupiers of the Bureau were allowed to fly out of the UK. The Tripoli hostages were not released for several months, ironically almost on the exact day that the memorial to Yvonne Fletcher was unveiled.

In July 2012 Andrew Gilligan of The Sunday Telegraph received reliable reports that Salah Eddin Khalifa, a pro-Gaddafi student, fired the fatal shot. Unlike a previous suspect named as the killer, Mr Khalifa is known to be alive and may, one day, be arrested. He is currently living in Cairo, a city to which he moved as the Gaddafi regime crumbled.


Yvonne’s death is still the only murder of a British cop on UK soil to remain unsolved.

But, we haven’t forgotten.


Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.

About The Author:

Matt Johnson Author PictureMatt Johnson served as a soldier from 1975-78 and Metropolitan Police officer from 1978 -1999.

His debut novel Wicked Game – a crime thriller – was published by Orenda Books in March 2016. The sequel Deadly Game, was published in March 2017, the finale End Game, in March 2018.


In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whilst undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism.

Matt was eventually persuaded to give this a go, and one evening, he sat at his computer and started to weave his notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. He used his detailed knowledge and recollections to create what has been described by many readers as a fast paced, exciting and authentic tale of modern day policing and terrorism.

I could be argued that Matt Johnson is living proof PTSD is a condition that can be controlled and overcome with the right help and support. He has been described by many fans as an inspiration to fellow sufferers.

Matt is represented by James Wills of Watson Little, Literary Agents and by Kaye Freeman of Andromeda Talent. The former for all literary, audio, tv and film rights; the latter for all public speaking engagements.

End Game by Matt Johnson is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog blast, blog tours, book review

#BlogBlitz The Hunt For The Dingo by P.J. Nash. @PJNash2 @Bloodhoundbook #bookreview

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My Review:

When I read the blurb for The Hunt For The Dingo by P.J. Nash I knew that I wanted to read it, actually it was just the cover that made that decision for me, how could you not love it?

Having visited Australia and knowing how vast the country is and how the outback would make a great setting for any thriller I was excited to read this book. I also have a bit of a thing about Dingos but of course in this book the Dingo in question isn’t actually an animal but a person.

The Hunt For The Dingo is a really fast paced read, it has short chapters that keep the tension going and although it isn’t a long book at under 200 pages the author keeps the reader wanting more right to the very end.

I just wished that I had been able to get to know some of the characters a little bit more, perhaps if a few more pages had been added to the book with more details about the characters within then this book would have really worked, because although I really enjoyed reading it I felt a little bit disconnected from the characters.

Overall a great read, I look forward to reading more from the author.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for a copy of The Hunt For The Dingo by P.J. Nash. I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.


 P.J. Nash - The Hunt for the Dingo_cover_high resA fast paced serial killer thriller
In the arid expanses of Australia’s red deserts, a killer is preying on British female backpackers. Dubbed ‘The Dingo’ by the media, he stalks his prey then disappears without a trace.
In a bid to catch the man responsible, the local police call on the talents of Melbourne’s finest, ex British cop, Lawrence James and leading criminal psychologist Jesse Sandersen.
Meanwhile, James has unfinished business with Melbourne crime kingpin, Cyrus Bain, a gangster who will do whatever it takes to stay out of jail.
When another young girl disappears, it is a race against time to catch the killer.
Can James bring The Dingo to justice?
Will he escape with his life intact?
In their hunt for the murderer, James and Sandersen unearth some disturbing secrets that many would rather remain buried.

About The Author:

P.J+NashP.J Nash was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, the birthplace of George Eliot and Shakespeare, respectively. Not surprisingly he decided he’d like to be a writer too.

After studying history and working in PR for a few years, he was running a second hand bookshop, when wanderlust and destiny in the form of his future wife took him to Prague.

During his time behind the counter in the shop and travelling on trams between English lessons he wrote his first crime novel, The Hunt for the Dingo featuring maverick British expat cop , Lawrence James and and his hunt for a serial killer in Australia. On his return to the UK, he drew on his Bohemian adventures to write his second crime novel featuring Lawrence James and his co-investigator, Dr Jessie Sandersen.  He currently lives on a narrowboat with his wife Clare and grumpy cat, Lulu.

In his past life P.J. Nash was a Special Constable for the Warkwickshire police.

Nash is also a member of the CWA and International Thriller Writers.


The Hunt For The Dingo by P.J. Nash is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, book review, debut author

#BookReview Home by Amanda Berriman. @DoubledayUK @MandyBerriman @jounwin @TransworldBooks @bookreview

Home by Amanda Berriman.

My Review:

When I read the blurb for Home I knew that I wanted to read it, I then started to hear from others who had read it and they all seemed to love it so I was even more determined to read it. And I’m so pleased that I did.

From literally the very first page I was hooked. The book is narrated by Jesika, a four year old who lives with her Mummy and little brother Toby after her Father moved to Poland, never to be heard from again. Jesika’s Mum is struggling with life, she doesn’t have enough money and they live in a flat that’s got many things wrong with it, including mold. As a result Toby and their Mum both have a bad cough that won’t go away. Life is about to get very difficult for Jesika.

A book narrated by such a young child could easily be awful but thankfully that is not the case here, not even close. It is written in a simple language but I really liked that. From the very start Jesika worked her way into my heart, she was such a wonderful little girl who felt so very real. Her innocence was wonderful and I loved seeing her world through her eyes, but this isn’t always an easy book to read.

Home gives a brilliant example of how grooming happens, the subtleties and ways in which an adult will convince a child to keep secrets for them. While it is not easy to read I thought that Amanda Berriman handled it sensitively and realistically, something that is impressive for any author, let along a debut author. But some will find this very difficult to read so be warned.

But despite this darkness, there is much light in the book. The love that Jesika has for her Mother is wonderful, but also for her little brother Toby. Jesika really is a special little girl who unknowingly brings out the best in people.

Home had me going to bed early so that I could read and check in on Jesika because I’d be worried about her and how she was doing, that is how real that she felt to me. When I finished the book at 2am I felt as though my heart had been shattered by little Jesika and what she went through, but filled with hope that her life was going to get better. The most upsetting thing? That I won’t get to check in on Jesika again and see how she is doing. Home really is a special book and for a debut author it is nothing short of brilliant.


Jesika is four and a half.

She lives in a flat with her mother and baby brother and she knows a lot. She knows their flat is high up and the stairs are smelly. She knows she shouldn’t draw on the peeling wallpaper or touch the broken window. And she knows she loves her mummy and baby brother Toby.

She does not know that their landlord is threatening to evict them and that Toby’s cough is going to get much worse. Or that Paige, her new best friend, has a secret that will explode their world.

About the Author:

Berriman-Mandy-Author-Pic-640x707Mandy was born in a British military hospital in Germany and grew up in Edinburgh, reading books, playing music, writing stories and climbing hills. She studied music at Sheffield University, where she met her husband, and they climbed some more hills in the Peak District before setting off to travel around the world. After learning to teach in Glasgow, she taught in a primary school in the Cambridgeshire fens (not very hilly), where she rediscovered the joy of making up stories and started writing again. She’s now a specialist music teacher at a primary school in Oldham and lives on the edge of the Peak District with her husband, two lego masterbuilders and dog.

Home by Amanda Berriman is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour: 37 Hours by J.F. Kirwan. @kirwanjf @UKCarina @rararesources

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My Review:

Having read and enjoyed book one in the series I was looking forward to reading 37 Hours and finding out what was next for Nadia and Jake and what they were going to get themselves into this time.

The book did not disappoint because once again Nadia gets herself caught up in a whole lot of trouble. Once again the threat is nuclear and it takes all that Nadia has along with the help of MI6 as they race against time to find a stolen warhead.

37 Hours had many twists and turns and lots of unexpected events that kept the pace going and the tension rising. I had really like the character Jake in the first book and I was disappointed that he didn’t feature more in this book but hopefully book three will make up for that.

The diving remains a central part of the plot but this time there are also some recreational dives to enjoy which I liked, although sharks were a little too demonised in my opinion which was a shame.

I do think that to fully understand the plot of 37 Hours the reader needs to have read the first book in the series, 66 Metres as Nadia especially has so much history that there would be big gaps missing if you hadn’t started the story at the beginning.

Overall this is a great read, it’s fast paced and will keep the reader hooked and guessing what will happen next. I’m now looking forward to reading book three in the series.

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of 37 Hours, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.


37 Hours_FINALAfter two long years spent in a secret British prison, Nadia Laksheva is suddenly granted her freedom. Yet there is a dangerous price to pay for her release: she must retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her deadliest enemy, a powerful and ruthless terrorist known only as The Client.

But her mysterious nemesis is always one step ahead and the clock is ticking. In 37 hours, the warhead will explode, reducing the city of London to a pile of ash. Only this time, Nadia is prepared to pull the trigger at any cost…

The deadly trail will take her from crowded Moscow to the silent streets of Chernobyl, but will Nadia find what she is looking for before the clock hits zero?

About The Author:

KIRWAN Barry 01 ret 6x8J. F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels.

An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

33 Hours by J.F. Kirwan is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

You can also read my review of book one in the series, 66 Metres here.

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood. @DKHood_Author @bookouture

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My Review:

It isn’t often that I read two books from a series in a row but that is what I did with Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood. I read it right after I finished reading part one, Don’t Tell a Soul. As is usual with books in a series book one does a lot of scene setting and character introduction and generally having read book one helps you to understand what is going on it subsequent books. While I think that you could read Bring Me Flowers without having read Don’t Tell A Soul it would definitely be helpful to start at the beginning.

The main characters, Sherrif Alton and Deputy Kane both come with complex pasts which need to be fully understood to appreciate what great, multi-dimensional characters they are.

I enjoyed Don’t Tell A Soul but Bring Me Flowers is even better, somehow the storyline worked in a way that it hadn’t quite in the first book and the more established characters worked well as a team. It was a great read, one of those that you think about when you aren’t reading and go to bed early so that you have a bit of extra reading time. I like Alton and Kane more than I did in book one and, well let’s just say that when I finished Bring Me Flowers I was disappointed that there wasn’t book three waiting for me to read next.

This is definitely a series that is going places and if you like reading books from the point of view of the police, which is how most of the book is told, although we do hear from the perpetrator, victims and some other characters too, then you will enjoy Bring Me Flowers. I am now waiting, not so patiently, for book three.

I received a copy of Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood from Bookouture, I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.



Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood.


She didn’t know he was watching. Until it was too late.

She’d walked this path hundreds of times before, she knew every twist and turn. But today was different. She didn’t know someone was waiting for her, hidden away from view. She didn’t know this was the last time she’d walk this path.

Hidden deep in the forest, schoolgirl Felicity Parker is found carefully laid out on a rock with nothing but a freshly picked bunch of flowers next to her lifeless form. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate the gruesome discovery.

With the body found just off a popular hiking route, Jenna believes the killer is a visitor to the town… until a second local girl is discovered.

Within days, Kate Bright, a school friend of Felicity’s, is found brutally murdered at the local swimming pool and once again, the killer has displayed his victim in a terrifying manner and left flowers at the scene.

The town is gripped with fear and Jenna and her deputy, David Kane, now know that the killer is living amongst them, and that he’s picking off school girls one by one. But they don’t know who is next on the list.

As the trail goes cold, Kane and Alton are forced to sit and wait for the killer to make his next move. But now he has a new victim in his sights, and he’s looking much closer to home …

If you love Robert Dugoni, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott you’ll love this nail-biting thriller from D.K. Hood.

About the Author:

17096652I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour, and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories.
My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine tingling stories with you.

D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dkhoodauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DKHood_Author

Website: www.dkhood.com

Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.