Wednesday 3 April 2024


'Like a woman in her tenth month, the clouds over the city twisted and roiled in angry discomfort, but refused to deliver the promised snow.'

I was a little taken aback with this. In a recent 87th, I'm pretty sure I came across an old lady called Sadie and imagined she'd be the subject of this one. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Sadie When She Died shouldn't be as good as it is. In some ways, it has a Columboesque feel in that we're pretty sure of our ground from the off. 

Carella and Kling are working this, in the main. It's coming up to Christmas and the world is under pressure to buy gifts and be jolly. The cops, they need to find their pleasure in solving cases. 

This one seems pretty open and shut. A well-to-do lawyer returns home following a burglary to find his wife has been stabbed. There are open windows and there's a trail of blood, prints and witnesses that means new technician Marshall Davies believes he'll have it wrapped up in no time. And he's right, only there's something off with the case. The husband, when interviewed at the scene tells Carella that he's 'very glad she's dead' and that he's 'delighted that someone killed her'. 

Carella's spidey-sense prickles at that, as well it might, and because of that we know, just like he does, what has really happened. 

Said husband proceeds to court and taunt Carella for reasons that are difficult to fathom, while Kling is stuck somewhere between trying to forge a new relationship with one of the case's witnesses while hoping to get back together with former sweetheart, Cindy. 

We get to travel to some new places in Isola, viewing it from its top of the range to its bottom. There's a diary code to solve, a cop beating, a series of ex-lovers to be grilled and some great work from the technical team. 

The way the personal and the professional lives of our detectives are wrapped together is a real treat. The case itself is intriguing though not intense, while Kling's relationship dilemmas bring a whole heap of tension to the party.

A load of fun.




Friday 29 March 2024



Here's one you can read for free if you have an account with Net Galley

It's also available over here at Amazon

This is what you're in for if you get on board for the ride:

"Blending literary suspense, travelogue, and a spirit of uneasy eroticism, HELEN BONAPARTE plumbs the heart and needs of a bored academic ... This is a full-bodied, sumptuously written, always perceptive study of yearning for something more, as Helen works through a moment of existential crisis, eager for connection ... [D'Stair] brings poetic vigor to Helen's imaginings and occasional pushing of boundaries, deftly mingling desire, tension, and the feeling that things could go very wrong ... the prose startles, dazzles, informs, and pleases." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Middle-aged, middling academic Helen Bonaparte has left her husband and children at home for a week-long Italian group tour with strangers. Happy with her home life, but needing self-renewal, she intends to sulk in the corners of buses and museums for a week, indulging in great art but scowling the rest of the world away.

Until, that is, she meets Marieke, the tour guide, who becomes the object of erotic fantasies Helen didn't even know she had.

As each day passes, Helen's home life recedes, only to be replaced with increasingly bizarre, invasive, and always secretive ways to get closer to Marieke. As she meanders around tourist gems of Renaissance Italy, Helen must come to terms with her new obsession, existing just on the border of dream and disillusionment, the imaginative and the mundane, the sacred and the profane.

A Dead Guy Who Won't Stay Dead - Free For Easter


Drawn In is one of my favourtes in terms of work I've written. I love the concept and it feels pretty original. 

As part of the plot, there's a dead guy who just won't stay dead, so what better time to give it away than Easter. 

There's more to it than that, of course. In fact, said dead guy is merely an obstacle.

Anyway, it's free this weekend and I hope you enjoy it. 



Sunday 24 March 2024



Amazon UK

Amazon US

Passing through Detroit, Tom meets brother and sister Ruth and Calvin Styles whose parents were murdered two years ago.

Ruth and Calvin have been trying to discover who was behind the killings and their investigation has stirred up a hornet’s nest such that they themselves now have targets on their backs.

Determined to protect them, Tom takes on the siblings’ powerful enemies – a corrupt unit within the police force who will do whatever it takes to stop the truth getting out. Even worse, the bad cops are in bed with street gangs they can unleash on anyone who poses a threat.

Tom soon finds himself caught in the middle of a raging gang war while being relentlessly pursued by dirty police who want to terminate him – with extreme prejudice.

Outnumbered and outgunned, Tom will have to dig deep and use every one of his deadly skills if he is to keep brother and sister alive and get justice for their family.

Full Throttle - Book 12 in the superb Tom Rollins action thriller series. Perfect for fans of Lee Child, Jason Kasper & David Archer.

Thursday 14 March 2024

When Eric Met Duane

Just look at this for a cracking event. It's way too far for me, but I reckon if you're within a hundred miles or so, this should be on the to do list. If you can't make it along, you can buy the books to offer support by following the links. 

 You do make it, let me know how it went. I promise I won't be too jealous. 

 The Last Few Miles Of Road by Eric Beetner: AMAZON UK AMAZON US 

 California Bear by Duane Swierczynski: AMAZON UK AMAZON US

Thursday 7 March 2024


 Tell us something about yourself!

My name is Martta Kaukonen and I'm a Finnish thriller writer. My debut novel psychological thriller Follow the Butterfly has been sold to 13 countries. It made the Spiegel bestseller list in Germany and is being adapted for a TV series by American-German production company Legendary Tobis TV. The English translation will be published by Pushkin Press 7.3.2024. Before I became a full-time author, I was a film critic for Finland’s biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. I’ve interviewed the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and Justin Bieber. Alongside writing, I love psychological thrillers, film noir, flea markets, abandoned houses and travelling. Fun fact: I met my future husband at his second hand bookshop and fell in love.

Can you tell us something about your thriller Follow the Butterfly?

My novel has two main characters, Clarissa and Ida. Clarissa is a renowned therapist who isn’t afraid to explore the darkest side of humanity. Haunted by the death of a young patient, she will do whatever it takes to save the most vulnerable. But when Ida – angry, damaged and seemingly suicidal – walks into her office, Clarissa may have met her match. For Ida has secrets. Murderous secrets, which mark her like a bloodstain. Somehow, Clarissa must find the key to unlock Ida’s past. So she makes a bargain with her – six months to stop Ida taking her own life. But what if she has entered a game more deadly, and more evil, than she could ever imagine.

What inspired you to write this book and to explore these characters/themes?

I never thought that I would write fiction because I’ve worked as a journalist for so long and I knew it would not be fun and games but hard work. I also thought that I would never invent an interesting story. But one evening I was laying in my bed and waiting to fall asleep when I heard the first five lines of my book in my head. I took my iPhone and dictated the lines to the dictaphone. In the morning I started to write Follow the Butterfly. I knew the beginning of the book and pretty soon I knew the ending but I didn’t know what happened in between. Luckily my main character Ida took me by the hand and led me from the beginning to the end.

How did you come to write this book, how did the idea of the book originate?

To this day I don’t know where the story came to me! It was totally subconscious. But I guess it was because I had been reading so many psychological thrillers since I fell in love with Gillian Flynn’s novel Dark Places (it is still my favourite Flynn novel). Something had to come out of the excessive exposure to all those terrifying stories.

Do you have any idols?

Oh, so many! Gillian Flynn is a genius. I’ve read all her novels several times. I love Elizabeth Little’s Dear Daugter. Joyce Maynard’s thriller To Die For made a huge impact on me. Jessica Knoll’s new thriller Bright Young Woman blew my mind. Paula Hawkins, Erin Kelly, Mary Kubica, Amanda Coe, Lucia Whitehouse… the list goes on!

  Otto Virtanen / WSOY

What is your favourite hobby?

My favourite hobby is to read ”old” women’s magazines from the 1990s or from the beginning of 2000s. As you read them you soon realize that so many things that are now considered important, trendy or talked about are only a couple of decades later (mostly just a couple of years later) indifferent, ridiculous or boring. It gives you a perspective and makes you realize that the trendy things aren’t very important after all, and so you shouldn’t take yourself or most other things too seriously.


Thursday 29 February 2024



CLAIRMONT Out today!

**The spellbinding, bold new retelling of the story of Lord Byron and the Shelleys, from the perspective of Claire Clairmont, the incredible woman that history tried to forget.**

'Beautifully written, 
Clairmont tells the sensuous hidden story of an influential historic woman.' Sara Sheridan, author of The Fair Botanists Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year

'An absorbing, intoxicating page-turner about a woman who deserves to be remembered.' Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne and Atalanta

'Riveting - a clever portrait of a fascinating, flawed heroine.' The Times

'An intimate and enlightening tale of one of Romanticism's forsaken muses - an artfully told story that lingers in the mind far beyond the last page' Susan Stokes-Chapman, author of Pandora

1816. A massive volcanic eruption has caused the worst storms that Europe has seen in decades, yet Percy and Mary Shelley have chosen to visit the infamous Lord Byron at his villa on Lake Geneva. It wasn't their idea: Mary's eighteen year old step-sister, Claire Clairmont, insisted.

But the reason for Claire's visit is more pressing than a summer escape with the most famous writers in the world. She's pregnant with Byron's child - a child Byron doesn't want, and scarcely believes is his own.

Claire has the world in her grasp. This trip should have given her everything she ever dreamed of. But within days, her life will be in ruins.

History has all but forgotten her story - but she will not be silenced.


I adored The Longshot and I really enjoyed Gone To The Forest, though not quite as much. Intimacies, for me, comes in third place in terms of the position of reading the books and the enjoyment gained.

There's a quote on the cover of my edition: 'Glitteringly intelligent.' I think it probably is. It feels clever. Almost cold, which puts the title at odds with the story. Perhaps what can be said is that this is a cool series of observations relating to intimicies. There's the unusual relationship with her lover, much of which is at a distance. There's a relationship with a president accused of war crimes, phsically close while also at an intellectual distance. We have the relationship with the law and the legal system, logical and stuck in its ways and hypocracies. New friends whose warmth quickly chills. Perhaps it's telling something of the relationship of a stranger to a strange land (be that literal or not), I'm not entirely sure. 

In the end, I feel it was me who was kept at a distance. When I did get close, it seemed to push me away. That's certainly unusual in a read for me, though I'm not sure how to interpret that reaction. 

Mostly smooth and efficient, there are some examples of information/research dumps that I could have done without. 

It's also listed as one of Barack Obama's favourite reads of 2021 (he sure does get around with is recommendations). Perhaps it was his love of the law that allowed him to fully access Intimacies. 

I'm glad I read it, I'll not be reading it again. 

Tuesday 13 February 2024



New from Joe Clifford, A Moth To Flame

Spanning twenty-five years, A MOTH TO FLAME tells the story of two sisters, Lydia-and Jessica Barrett, who is found, dead, at the bottom of a ravine in 1991 after attending a protest in a support of a recently fired, popular teacher.

Twenty-five years later, Lydia, who suffers from nyctophobia (a fear of the night), is a coroner's investigator on the graveyard shift in Los Angeles. A promotion awaits. Her mentor Maureen Gearon is grooming Lydia to take over as county medical examiner. If Lydia can conquer her fear of the dark.

Early one morning Lydia encounters a woman, whose neck has been broken like her sister's. Checking a missed voicemail, Lydia hears a message from the dead woman who claims to have information about Jess.

While researching her sister's accident, Lydia stumbles upon a true-crime YouTube channel, Night Shade, hosted by a former classmate, Shane Ellet, who maintains Jess' death wasn't an accident; it was murder. Caught in a web of lies and deception are Cam Rawls, Jess' ex-boyfriend and current hometown sheriff; Brad Pearce, the handsome, young English teacher who was sexually involved with students; and a recovering addict, Mark Burns, employed by Richard Fontaine, Mom Gloria's new boyfriend and general contractor. As Lydia grows closer to the truth, the Sand Wildfire breaks out, encroaching, and threatening to burn everything to the ground. Will Lydia learn the truth in time?

In the modern vein of authors such as Thomas Harris, Jeffrey Deaver, Paula Hawkins, and Tana French, A MOTH TO FLAME tells the story of a woman in a man's world, set against the illusion of perfect suburban lives that are anything but, populated with the scariest monsters of all: the ones right in front of our faces that we cannot see through the dark.