Welcome to my book-blog. I spend as much time as I can within the pages of a book and hope you'll get some reading inspiration from my library. Catch me on Instagram as well as books.tea.and.me – I'm always looking for recommendations!
The second installment in the Marion Lane mysteries series.
The envelope was tied with three delicate silk ribbons: “One of the new recruits is not to be trusted…”
It’s 1959 and a new killer haunts the streets of London, having baffled Scotland Yard. The newspapers call him The Florist because of the rose he brands on his victims. The police have turned yet again to the Inquirers at Miss Brickett’s for assistance, and second year Marion Lane is assigned the case.
But she’s already dealing with a mystery of her own, having received an unsigned letter warning her that one of the three new recruits should not be trusted. She dismisses the letter at first, focusing on The Florist case, but her informer seems to be one step ahead, predicting what will happen before it does. But when a fellow second-year Inquirer is murdered, Marion takes matters into her own hands and must come face-to-face with her informer-who predicted the murder-to find out everything they know. Until then, no one at Miss Brickett’s is safe and everyone is a suspect.
With brilliant twists and endless suspense, all set within the dazzling walls and hidden passageways of Miss Brickett’s, Marion Lane and the Deadly Rose is a deliciously fun new historical mystery you won’t be able to put down.
This was my first outing with Marion Lane – I’m not sure how I missed the debut of the series, ‘Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder’, but I’ve definitely got it on my future reading list after the fantastic sleuthing adventure of ‘Marion Lane and the Deadly Rose’.
Firstly, a fantastic cover design lures you to the blurb, which promises the thrilling hunt for The Florist – a new killer at large in Lane’s 1959 historical/steampunk crime world. London is the setting and Lane is assigned the case via Miss Brickett’s Inquiry Agency.
I absolutely love the vibe of the setting, the drama – both plotting and relationships. It’s such a fun read, a mystery that keeps you guessing with a vibrant protagonist to really hook yourself to.
I’d certainly recommend this book for those readers looking for a zesty murder mystery. It’s layered, cosy and twisty – perfect escapism and jolly good fun! Oh, and a dash of romance to top it all off.
I’m delighted to be a part of the Regency Faerie Tales series, consisting of a trilogy of novels: ‘Half A Soul’, ‘Ten Thousand Stitches’ and ‘Long Shadow’. With thanks to @Tr4cyF3nt0n at Compulsive Readers for the invite and @orbitbooks for the review copies.
Do keep scrolling for the blurbs and some bookish chat…
HALF A SOUL
It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.
Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.
If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.
TEN THOUSAND STITCHES
Faerie godfathers are supposed to help young ladies find love. Unfortunately, no one told Lord Blackthorn that.
Effie has most inconveniently fallen in love with the dashing Mr Benedict Ashbrooke. There’s only one problem; Effie is a housemaid, and a housemaid cannot marry a gentleman. It seems that Effie is out of luck until she stumbles into the faerie realm of Lord Blackthorn, who is only too eager to help Effie win Mr Ashbrooke’s heart. All he asks in return is that Effie sew ten thousand stitches onto his favourite jacket.
Effie has heard rumours about what happens to those who accept help from faeries, but life as a maid at Hartfield is so awful that she is willing to risk even her immortal soul for a chance at something better. Now, she has one hundred days – and ten thousand stitches – to make Mr Ashbrooke fall in love and propose. . . if Lord Blackthorn doesn’t wreck things by accident, that is.
Proper Regency ladies are not supposed to become magicians – but Miss Abigail Wilder is far from proper.
The marriageable young ladies of London are dying mysteriously, and Abigail Wilder intends to discover why. Abigail’s father, the Lord Sorcier of England, believes that a dark lord of faerie is involved – but while Abigail is willing to match her magic against Lord Longshadow, neither her father nor high society believe that she is capable of doing so.
Thankfully, Abigail is not the only one investigating the terrible events in London. Mercy, a street rat and self-taught magician, insists on joining Abigail to unravel the mystery. But while Mercy’s own magic is strange and foreboding, she may well pose an even greater danger to Abigail’s heart.
HALF A SOUL
This is the first book in a Regency Faeries fantasy series by Olivia Atwater – each book is a stand-a-lone set in Regency England, but one where faeries and magic exists. So, imagine Jane Austen merged with the fae folk who live at the bottom of your garden 😉
In ‘Half A Soul’ our protagonist, Dora, has a problem – and that problem began when a faerie came to claim her soul as a young girl. Fortunately, her sister was on hand with a pair of iron scissors, although a little late – in the nick of time to avoid complete disaster. The outcome: Dora lives her life with half of her soul missing; it’s the half where her emotions come from, so that does have its drawbacks. Regency society, as always, demands young ladies find husbands and this has proven challenging for Dora but not her delightful sister.
In the wider world England is protected by the Lord Socier – who happens to be rather brooding, but with hidden depth and feelings. His role is challenging enough but when children begin to be afflicted by an unusual plague, the role of protector becomes even more difficult, and this is how our love interests meet.
‘Half a Soul’ is a charming, fun read that dives you into a world of faerie escapism set within the popular literary Regency period, I’d recommend ‘Half a Soul’ simply because it’s lots of fun and enables you to escape reality for a few hours. It’s also my favourite of the three reads.
TEN THOUSAND STITCHES
This book follows the life of Effie, who is suffering from ‘Insta Love’ for the dashing Mr. Benedict Ashbrooke. Effie is a great character, who’s a skilled at stitching and embroidering, but socially has a problem with finding love with Mr. Ashbrooke – she’s a maid. So, here sets up the dilemma for the book – mixed into this is the delightful Lord Blackthorn from the faerie realm, who embroils Effie in the fae world, of selling souls and mischievous business – who generally tries to help in the only way he knows. It’s fun, light-hearted and a gentle read with some depth in terms of themes – the poor, servant classes and workhouses.
This book opens with yet another problem – this one’s rather a big drama, as young, marriageable ladies in England are mysteriously dying! The books ties in more to ‘Half a Soul’, as our protagonist is Abigail – the daughter of Lord Sorcier and Dora. The problem seems routed in the court of Lord Longshadow.
Abigail soon finds an ally to help her investigate these dark events, it’s a young woman called Mercy – who’s a ‘street rat’ and a self-taught magician’. The pair set out and work together to find out what’s going on and who’s to blame. Along the wat Abigail and Mercy find out that they are falling for each other too.
This book has some great themes and world building, although a slower pace than the first two, it’s still fun to read with some more serious themes pushing through.
The tour closes today with my post but do check out all the fabulous bloggers on this tour and more bookish chat. Please buy from Independents if you can XX
A simmering supernatural romance set in the crumbling Italian city of Castello, where mafia clans make the rules, dark magic pulses the streets and the sins of the past threaten to consume the present. . .
When sixteen-year-old Lilly arrives in Castello, she isn’t impressed.
A secluded town in the Italian mountains is not where she saw her last years of high school playing out.
Divided for generations by a brutal clan-family war, the two halves of Castello are kept from destroying each other by the mysterious General, a leader determined to maintain order and ‘purity’. . . whatever the cost.
Lilly falls in with the rebellious Liza, brooding Nico and sensitive Christian, and sparks begin to fly. But in a city where love can lead to ruin, Lilly isn’t sure she can trust anyone — not even herself.
And then she accidentally breaks Castello’s most important rule: when the General’s men come to test your blood, you’d better not be anything more than human…
The city of Castello seems to be falling apart and far removed from civilised society – almost like a dystopian Brigadoon (although not appearing every 100 years) through the clouds. It’s to Castello that our protagonist Lilly arrives, relocated with her father from Maine, and she immediately senses something very strange is lurking in the city. Graffiti sprawls on the city walls ‘All witches burn’ and ‘The Saints Live’ but without any Wi-Fi Lilly feels isolated. The opening pages bombard the reader with mysteries and questions and seemingly shifts the setting into the past. It’s clear Lilly’s life has already been challenging and her arrival in Castello looks set to be a rocky ride.
After arriving at school Lilly meets an eclectic bunch of students, from the over enthusiastic, to the withdrawn and the openly hostile. She learns quickly that The General is in control and dictatorship rules. The Sign sprawled on the wall at the school from Dante’s Inferno is a big alarm bell: Abandon all hope, you who enter here’.
This is a YA fantasy read, so you have all the usual threads and angst you’d expect. I did find myself drifting on several occasions – I’m not of a YA age, but I do read and review many YA books. For me, the characters seemed so adrift and Lilly was very irritating at times, particularly how she was drawn to several people at once, and seemed to be easily swayed – maybe she’s just an open relationship kind of girl. I liked the character of Nico, although he was kept to the sidelines, but I assume he’ll play a key part in the next in series.
Overall, this book creates a great fantasy setting, where control, fear and manipulation rule. There’s an undertone of Romeo & Juliet in terms of the warring families.
Do check it out if you enjoy angst ridden drama, with multiple love interests, in a supernatural fantasy setting with a mystery at its core.
Kat Delacorte was eleven years old when her family moved from the United States to a small town in central Italy. She soon began writing stories about her new friends developing superpowers, and she hasn’t looked back since. She graduated with a BA in History from Columbia University, and lives in Venice, Italy.
I’ve been going through a bit of a reading slump recently – too many distractions thinking about my career changes; coming out of Covid and completely changing direction, ending a business established in the late 1990s; a divorce, securing a home, dealing with my daughter leaving home, caring for a relative with dementia with the daily impact on the family, and finally dealing with palliative care for my beautiful dog, the most loyal and loving of companions. I thought living alone would result in extra reading time but found that I just couldn’t focus on my books. Books have always been my therapy, escapism, my adventures, and discoveries. So, finding I was too distracted to focus was so frustrating. Time passed and I tried not to worry and do other things; I’d started to settle again, dipping in and out of my favourite books, and suddenly there’s a book that comes along and just drags you back in, fuelling that reading passion – ‘The Party House’ was that book for me.
Thank you to Lin Anderson for coming my way at the right time. Do please keep scrolling for some more book chat…
Devastated by a recent pandemic brought in by outsiders, the villagers of Blackrig in the Scottish Highlands are outraged when they find that the nearby estate plans to reopen its luxury ‘party house’ to tourists.
As animosity sparks amongst the locals, part of the property is damaged and, in the ensuing chaos, the body of a young girl is found in the wreck. Seventeen-year-old Ailsa Cummings went missing five years ago, never to be seen again – until now.
The excavation of Ailsa’s remains ignites old suspicions cast on the men of this small community, including Greg, the estate’s gamekeeper. At the beginning of a burgeoning relationship with a new lover, Joanne, Greg is loath to discuss old wounds. Frightened by Greg’s reaction to the missing girl’s discovery, Joanne begins to doubt how well she knows this new man in her life. Then again, he’s not the only one with secrets in their volatile relationship . . .
Ian Rankin said, ‘The Party House is a real page-turner’ and I must completely agree. This was a one sitting read (albeit with a few snack breaks for stamina and energy) and I kept reading until the early hours and the final page. It was worth the lack of sleep.
Admittedly, I’d blocked out the plot and the guilty pretty much in my head quite early on, (over 35 years reading is a huge part of that) however, it didn’t matter at all; I enjoyed the journey so much. I loved Anderson’s choppy chapter structure and alternative point of views. This really drove the narrative pace and make the “oh, just one more chapter” a breeze – lol!
I’m always a fan of thriller reads set around unusual houses or wild locations and ‘The Party House’ is a great setting for the mysteries, the dramas, and relationships: both locals and outsiders. The setting is the Scottish Highlands – perfect for wilds, mountains, lakes and deep forests plus, there’s a kilt or two along the way!
There’s also a psychological spiral running through the central murder mystery and this relationship really hooked me in. With layers of grief, animosity, tempers, power, trust and relationships – both damaged and complex; I’d highly recommend ‘The Party House’ as a small community is unwrapped in the midst of a new relationship. Buried secrets are raised when a past mystery is shockingly revealed.
I’m off to buy more novels by Lin Anderson…
The Blog Tour
Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels, and for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival.
‘The Party House’, published on 4th August 2022.
There are 16 novels and one novella in Lin Anderson’s Forensic Scientist Rhona MacLeod Series – follow the below Amazon link for more purchasing information.
A ‘Quarter to Midnight’ is the first book in a new series by Karen Rose and features the Burke Broussard Private Investigation Agency. Rose has many successful published novels: the Baltimore Novels, beginning with ‘You Belong to Me’; the Cincinnati novels, that open with ‘Closer than you Think’ and the Sacramento novels, starting with ‘Say You’re Sorry’. ‘Quarter to Midnight’ begins the New Orleans series. Many thanks for the tour invite, it’s great to be joining this tour today.
Rocky Hebert walks into his death at quarter to midnight one New Orleans night. His son Gabe cannot accept the official verdict of suicide and enlists the help of the Burke Broussard Private Investigation Agency to discover the real cause of death. PI Molly Sutton knows what it’s like to lose a father in tragic circumstances and will go to any lengths to crack the investigation, as she tries to fight off her growing feelings for Gabe. They soon realise Rocky was working on an investigation of his own; one that threatened to expose the deep corruption going all the way to the top of the police department. And that the key to the puzzle lies with a young witness to a murder that happened years earlier: Xavier Morrow.
Just what did Rocky know? And who might have shut him up? As they get closer and closer to the truth, they realise that the killer is not going to stop at Rocky. And that Xavier is in very real danger. Someone will go to any lengths to protect what he witnessed that night coming out…
This is the first book in Karen Rose’s New Orleans series set from the Burke Broussard Private Investigation agency and focuses on one particular employee Molly Sutton, an investigator and past US Marine, so not someone to be underestimated. She is tasked to Gabe Hebert – pronounced “Ay-bear” in the New Orleans way and the suspicious death of his father. Firstly, this is a big book (not uncommon for Karen Rose novels), my review copy is 591 pages – but don’t let that dissuade you from picking it up – once you begin, you don’t really notice (a few drops in pace maybe could have been avoided by tightening up, just my opinion) and the pages do turn swiftly.
The prologue introduces us to our victim and we’re into the drama when the smell of ‘death’ alerts us that something significant is going on and Rocky Hebert (Gabe’s father) is in deep, deep trouble. Rocky has recently retired from the New Orleans police department, but his retirement is not going well, but he’s planning ahead in the event of the worst-case scenario.
The central story is about the corruption that lies with power and links to an old murder case, where a witness still needs silencing. Molly Sutton is soon hooked into the case and is trying to deal with the attraction she feels towards Gabe as they try and uncover what really happened to Rocky. This leads them into very dangerous territories where knowing who to trust is hard and dangerous.
I love the setting of the atmospheric city of New Orleans with its vibrancy, flavours and people, but there’s also the swampland that lurks and lures around the edges. At the heart of this story is how corruption bleeds into the city and lives of its people. How people will abuse power for control and riches, but this is balanced by those who are out for truth and justice. As with other Karen Rose reads this is a mystery, suspense romance read and the relationship between Molly and Gabe grows within the emotional drama of the investigation.
A recommended read from me for those who enjoy a modern romance mystery with depth.
The Blog Tour
Karen Rose was introduced to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep. Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat, Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby – knitting.
Sometimes, revisiting the past is the only way to rescue the present . . .
Winter has come to North Carolina and, with it, a drop in crime. For a while, temporarily idle forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is content to dote on her daughter Katy, finally returned to civilian life from the army. But when mother and daughter meet at Tempe’s place one night for dinner, they find a box on the back porch. Inside: a very fresh human eyeball.
GPS coordinates etched into the eyeball lead to a Benedictine Monastery where an equally macabre discovery awaits. Soon after, Tempe examines a mummified corpse in a state park, and her anxiety deepens.
There seems to be no pattern to these random killings, except that each mimics in some way a killing that a younger Tempe witnessed, analysed, or barely escaped.
Who or what is targeting her, and why?
Helping Tempe discover the answers is Detective Erskine ‘Skinny’ Slidell, retired but still volunteering with the CMPD cold case unit – and still displaying his gallows humour. But as the two infiltrate a bizarre survivalist’s lair, even Skinny’s mood darkens.
And then Tempe’s daughter Katy disappears.
Electrifying, heart-stopping and compulsive, this is Tempe’s most personal and dangerous case yet …
Temperance Brennan ‘Tempe’ is back in Kathy Reich’s latest crime thriller novel, ‘Cold, Cold Bones’.
I’ve been reading this series since the release of ‘Deja Dead’ back in 1997, so the anticipation was high for this latest outing with the Brennan, our forensic anthropologist, and the team.
This is an atmospheric read that immerses the reader, not only in the investigation, but into life in North Carolina during a frigid winter. Once again, Brennan is dragged up front and centre into the crime via a shocking discovery – actually on her doorstep this time. It’s, as usual, a gruesome discovery – a fresh human eyeball! But this eyeball houses a further mystery etched into it: the co-ordinates to a Benedictine Monastery and another shocking discovery.
Reich’s always plots meticulously, with creativity, and rather a lot of drama. There’re several crime threads that are worked into the overarching narrative, and it’s fun piecing all the layers together.
What you also always get with Reichs is Tempe’s family life and relationship dramas added to the mix and in her true style there is someone close to Brennan at risk in ‘Cold, Cold Bones’. Brennan’s daughter Katy is a part of the mystery and eventually dragged completely into danger! The race to find answers speeds up the pace into the final pages.
It’s great to see new characters and, of course, characters than have been with us throughout the series. One of my favourites is Ryan, now long-term boyfriend of Brennan. He’s a great ‘other-half’ both in terms of the investigation, but also in terms of their relationship and it’s development through the books.
As always, I do recommend this series for those who enjoy a good thriller and crime mystery read with drama!
Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead, published in 1997, won the Ellis Award for Best First Novel and was an international bestseller. Kathy was also a producer of Fox Television’s longest running scripted drama Bones, which is based on her work and her novels. Kathy uses her own dramatic experiences as a forensic anthropologist to bring her mesmerizing thrillers to life. One of very few forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, Kathy divides her time between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montreal, Québec.
ONE PROMISE Aged thirteen, best friends Eleanor and Fin are inseparable. They are convinced that it will always be this way. But to be sure, they make a pact to always be there for each other. And of course, they’ll get married if they’re both 35 and single.
TWO DECADES Eleanor and Fin haven’t spoken in fifteen years. They live on different continents, but more than an ocean separates them. Everything has changed since the last time they met.
CAN THEY STILL KEEP THEIR WORD? So, when newly single Fin reappears, there’s no way they can keep their promise. Is there?
The ‘Last Time We Me Met’ makes an enduring, emotional and entertaining read from the pen of Emily Houghton. It’s a contemporary romance using the trope of friends to lovers and centres on Eleanor and Finley.
Characters drive this novel, and the lives of our characters is built over the pages, back and forth through the timeline and across differing points of view. I really enjoyed this shifting of time and perspective from Houghton. From their days as youngsters to adulthood, wishes and pacts are not fulfilled; life wasn’t as either expected and the reader is drawn into how things change, why they do and how people can reconnect through the challenges life throws at them. The supporting characters are carefully drawn and work well to bolster the narrative and its themes.
I found this book emotional at times, and I connected with the dementia storyline. Its themes of friendship, misunderstandings, alcoholism, grief and love merge into an enjoyable read. Yes, it may be predictable – but it’s as it should be.
I’d happily recommend this book to people who enjoy this genre.
Check out the fabulous bloggers on this tour:
The Author – Emily Houghton
EMILY HOUGHTON is the author of Before I Saw You. She is an Essex girl at heart, but now spends most of her time between London and Suffolk. Emily worked in digital product management at Tesco and Barclays for seven years, and it was during a sabbatical from work, travelling around India, that her first book was born; the first draft is still written on her phone!
After a whirlwind few months, Emily quit her corporate job to live her dream of writing full-time. A true Gemini at heart, she’s got many interests and is a trained spin and yoga teacher. She has a curiosity for life and a passion for all things well-being, one day hoping to create her own retreat space with a lot of dogs! Her writing, while centering around love stories, often touches on deeper emotional themes such as self-love, healing and the power of finding yourself.
Emily says: “Last Time We Met is a story of love, loss and enduring friendship. How sometimes the things that aren’t said are the words we need to hear the most; and how forgiving others is nowhere near as important as forgiving ourselves.”
The waves are to die for. It’s a paradise they’d kill to keep. There’s a darkness inside all of us and The Bay has a way of bringing it out. Everyone here has their secrets but we don’t go looking for them. Because sometimes it’s better not to know.
Kenna arrives in Sydney to surprise her best friend, shocked to hear she’s going to marry a guy she’s only just met. But Mikki and her fiancé Jack are about to head away on a trip, so Kenna finds herself tagging along for the ride.
Sorrow Bay is beautiful, wild and dangerous. A remote surfing spot with waves to die for, cut off from the rest of the world. Here Kenna meets the mysterious group of people who will do anything to keep their paradise a secret. Sky, Ryan, Clemente and Victor have come to ride the waves and disappear from life. How will they feel about Kenna turning up unannounced?
As Kenna gets drawn into their world, she sees the extremes they are prepared to go to for the next thrill. And everyone seems to be hiding something. What has her best friend got involved in and how can she get her away? But one thing is rapidly becoming clear about The Bay: nobody ever leaves.
‘Sorrow Bay’ is the setting for Allie Reynold’s new novel and it’s an atmospheric one. Reynold’s debut novel ‘Shiver’ was another thriller steeped in atmosphere, although a frosty setting high in the French Alps and a deserted lodge mystery. ‘The Bay’ shifts to a tropical paradise and a surfing backdrop to the mystery and dangers in this new driven read.
The thriller focuses on Kenna, who arrives in Australia to surprise her bestie – however she soon becomes embroiled with a group of people with secrets, deceptions and manipulations. Can she trust anyone?
Reynold’s has structured the narrative to drip feed information about the events, introduce mysteries and draw the threads together into a surprising climax. There’re not many likeable characters in the book, people disappear and a gang of arrogant, adrenaline searching and aggressive people lead the reader into their world – the backdrop of the missing rising ominously in the background.
Kenna leads the novel and it’s mainly told from her perspective, sometimes others interject at times; I really enjoyed this structure. Kenna does become a little irritating, but her loyalty and fear for her friend helps the reader stay connected to her and the story.
Reynold’s writing is atmospheric, from the bay to the storm; I enjoyed the setting and how it served as a backdrop to the characters moods and finally their realisation and reckoning.
It’s an enjoyable read with zest that I’d recommend to thriller/mystery readers.
The Blog Tour
Born and raised in Lincoln, England, Allie moved to Gold Coast, Australia in 2004. She lives near the beach with her two young boys.
Many years ago she competed at snowboard halfpipe. She spent five winters in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. These days she sticks to surfing – water doesn’t hurt as much as ice when you fall on it.
Her first ever job was a Saturday job in a bookstore, at age 14. She taught English for many years and became a full-time writer in 2018.
Once again, many thanks for the tour invite @Tr4cyF3nt0n to join these amazing bloggers on #TheSiege tour. For more bookish chat, please keep scrolling…
Nine hostages. Ten hours. One chance to save them all.
Lee James Connor has found his purpose in life: to follow the teachings of far-right extremist leader, Nicholas Farmer. So when his idol is jailed, he comes up with the perfect plan: take a local immigrant support group hostage until Farmer is released.
Grace Wheatley is no stranger to loneliness having weathered the passing of her husband, whilst being left to raise her son alone. The local support group is her only source of comfort. Until the day Lee James Connor walks in and threatens the existence of everything she’s ever known.
Superintendent Alex Lewis may be one of the most experienced hostage negotiators on the force, but there’s no such thing as a perfect record. Still haunted by his last case, can he connect with Connor – and save his nine hostages – before it’s too late?
‘The Siege’ by John Sutherland doesn’t take long to snare you. It’s a tense, driven novel of a volatile hostage situation with depth. By depth, I mean this is a story driven by its characters.
Three central players drive this stomach clenching drama as Lee, a young man gripped by grief, pulled into an online existence and detached from reality is radicalised. He sets himself on an extreme pathway, fuelled by discord into creating and controlling a hostage situation. It’s in this tense setting that he meets Grace and Alex.
Grace is a young widow, burdened by grief and loneliness; she is our warrior within and the events of the novel create a phoenix in her, to rise up against her situation and reach deep inside for that human connection in a situation of fear and threat.
Alex is burdened by a past failed hostage negotiation and has his own demons to battle whilst maneuvering the opportunity to connect and save those now under threat.
Sutherland writes an absorbing and adrenaline inducing read perfect for fans of tense thrillers. It’s dark at times, but it’s also emotional, thoughtful and moves along at a dynamic pace. I’d happily recommend ‘The Siege’.
John Sutherland is a father of three who lives with his wife and children in south London. For more than twenty-five years he served as an officer in the Metropolitan Police, rising to the rank of Chief Superintendent before his retirement on medical grounds in 2018.
John is a sought-after public speaker and commentator on a broad range of issues, who regularly appears on TV and radio and writes for major newspapers.
His first book, BLUE, written and published while he was still serving in the Met, was a Sunday Times bestseller.
It tells the remarkable stories of his policing life and describes his long road to recovery following the serious nervous breakdown that ended his operational policing career.
As always, please buy from Independents if you can XX
Two men are found dead in London’s Battersea Park. One of the bodies has been laid out like a crucifix – with his eyes removed and placed on his open palms.
Detective Inspector Grace Archer and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, lead the investigation. But when more bodies turn up in a similar fashion, they find themselves in a race against time to find the sadistic killer.
The hunt leads them to Ladywell Playtower in Southeast London, the home to a religious commune lead by the enigmatic Aaron Cronin. Archer and Quinn suspect Cronin’s involvement but his alibis are watertight, and the truth seemingly buried. If Archer is to find the killer, she must first battle her way through religious fanatics, London gangsters – and her own demons . . .
‘See No Evil’ is the second book by David Fennell featuring DI Grace Archer and DS Harry Quinn, the first being: ‘The Art of Death’. This can, absolutely, be read as a standalone, however it’s always an idea to start at the beginning of any series for character development plotting. But, it’s really not an issue as Fennell builds important relationship detail into the narrative and as the new plot develops we are drawn into the character portrayal from ‘The Art of Death’ as our principal characters deal with a new threat and perpetrator to hunt down.
I really enjoyed ‘See No Evil’ perhaps more than I did ‘The Art of Death’. In the first book I worked out too early where it was heading, but this time I was hooked into connecting all the pieces together until the end. From the start, Fennell’s character driven narrative hook immersed in fear and creepiness grabs the readers’ attention and introduces a brutal crime that builds as the story progresses. Again, this is not a book for the faint-hearted and there are dark, twisty moments that delve into fanatical mindsets and coercive behaviours.
If you’re a crime and thriller reader, I’d highly recommend both ‘The Art of Death’ and ‘See No Evil’ – a fast-paced, exhilarating crime thriller that explores darker themes and is satisfyingly good.
Please click on the below link to read about the first book in the series ‘The Art of Death’.
Born and raised in Belfast before leaving for London at the age of eighteen with £50 in one pocket and a dog-eared copy of Stephen King’s The Stand in the other. He jobbed as a chef, waiter and bartender for several years before starting a career in writing for the software industry. He has been working in CyberSecurity for fourteen years and is a fierce advocate for information privacy. David has played rugby for Brighton and has studied Creative Writing at the University of Sussex. He is married and he and his partner split their time between Central London and Brighton. To find out more, visit his website: www.davidfennell.co.uk. Follow him on Twitter: @davyfennell
‘See No Evil’ published 28th April 2022, Zaffre, Hardback, eBook and Audio, £14.99