Undertow by Elizabeth Heathcote


*My thanks to Quercus and Netgalley for my review copy*
About the book:

My husband’s lover. They said her death was a tragic accident. And I believed them . . . until now.

Carmen is happily married to Tom, a successful London lawyer and divorcé with three children. She is content to absorb the stresses of being a stepmother to teenagers and the stain of ‘second wife’. She knows she’ll always live in the shadow of another woman – not Tom’s first wife Laura, who is resolutely polite and determinedly respectable, but the lover that ended his first marriage: Zena. Zena who was shockingly beautiful. Zena who drowned swimming late one night.

But Carmen can overlook her husband’s dead mistress . . . until she starts to suspect that he might have been the person who killed her.

My thoughts:

Undertow is a gripping psychological thriller. Combining domestic noir with psychological elements makes for a great read. I was hooked once I started reading it, and that’s always a good sign for me!

The author has done a brilliant job in portraying the characters and their various back stories. Some of them were also genuinely horrible characters, which made me second guess their motives at times but I really enjoyed the sense of menace and tension that builds throughout the novel leading up to its climactic ending.

While I had made some guesses along the way, it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book. I think because I read so many books of this genre I seem to figure out some of the plot twists early on.

However, in a market saturated with this genre, Elizabeth Heathcote has done well to stand out. Undertow is an assured and confident book, and I would definitely recommend it.

Blog Tour- Blood and Bone by Valentina Giambanco

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Blood and Bone by Valentina Giambanco and I have a great guest post from the author for you all! Before that though, here’s all the info!🙂

About the book:

After two years in the Seattle Police Department, Detective Alice Madison has finally found a peace she has never known before. When a local burglary escalates into a gruesome murder, Madison takes charge of the investigation. She finds herself tracking a killer who has haunted the city for years – and whose brutality is the stuff of myth in high security prisons. As she delves deeper into the case, Madison learns that the widow of one of the victims is being stalked – is the killer poised to strike again? As pressures mount, Madison will stop at nothing to save the next innocent victim . . . even if it means playing a killer’s endgame.


About the author (via Amazon Author Page):

I was born in Italy and came to London after my Italian A-levels to do a degree in English & Drama at Goldsmiths – it was an amazing time in an amazing place.
My first love has always been movies and as soon as I walked into a cutting room – actually a cramped college edit suite with an old two-machine system – I knew I was home.
I started in films as an editor’s apprentice in a 35mm cutting room making tea and sharpening pencils. Since then, over almost twenty years, I have been involved in many UK and US pictures, from small independent projects to large studio productions.
I was an early reader and have always kept notebooks of ideas for stories I wanted to write: when I started my first novel, THE GIFT OF DARKNESS, I only knew that it would be about a young homicide detective who is forced by circumstances to investigate a case with a criminal. And the story would be part procedural, part thriller and full of the twists and turns I loved in my favourite books and movies.
I set the Alice Madison series in Seattle because I had fallen in love with the city many years earlier and it was a way of being there. Seattle and the ruthlessly beautiful wilderness of Washington State have shaped and inspired the stories in every way and continue to do so.
I live in South West London but I spend most of my day in the Pacific Northwest.


And without further ado, I’ll hand you all over to Valentina…

The day I met a homicide detective

I was sitting across the table from a homicide detective and she was watching me, taking the measure of me in a way that made me aware of every word I said and how I said it. The room was small – was it one of their standard interview rooms? I caught myself checking for a one-sided mirror but the walls were a uniform pale shade of oatmeal, more office than police. In the room there was nothing but a table with four chairs, a homicide detective with far better things to do and a crime fiction writer who was trying very hard to be calm and collected.

  I should have realised that being in that room in the headquarters of the Seattle Police Department was not a place conducive to get the detective to open up to me and speak candidly about her job and what it is like to be chasing down murderers and violent felons. This was the place where they did the chasing down. It was far more likely that she would get me to talk to her than vice versa.

I write crime fiction, more specifically I write about a homicide detective, Alice Madison, in the Seattle Police Department, in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, which explain why my research had led me on a grey March day – only hours before my plane would take me back to my London home – to be across the table from the real life version of my character. And why I was feeling under scrutiny and slightly apprehensive.

The meeting had been organised by her former detective sergeant and sparing the time to see me in the middle of her day was a kindness – a kindness I did not want her to regret.

She was in her early fifties and had sharp eyes and the poise of someone used to run things and get things done. She had come to policing quite late – when she was thirty-four – but her colleagues had seen an aptitude for a particular kind of work and, after years in other units like patrol and sex crimes, had encouraged her to apply to Homicide. Two and a half years later she had investigated six cases out of Seattle’s yearly quota of 30-35 murders, and – for her sins – found herself talking to me.

When I’m talking to an officer, and I have little time to develop a connection, I always try to get straight to the core of policing: there is a huge mythology about the work police officers do and it has been represented in a thousand ways in books and films – many times possibly misrepresented. What would she have liked the public to know about being a detective that is not always portrayed in the media?

She considered the question and I knew I’d get a straight answer. Detectives need to know how to document things, she said, they need to know how to prepare against the defense because when it goes to court their case needs to be watertight.

I nodded, trying not to interrupt her stream of thoughts. Detectives need to be hard working and tenacious, she continued, with a long attention span. Sure, they need the ability to talk to people but they must be very good with paperwork too. Shoddy paperwork can lose a case. Families don’t get to pick the detective that leads their loved one’s murder investigation and talking to them is like walking a tightrope. I asked her why. Because you cannot give them the complete assurance that you will find the murderer and they’ll go to jail, you just cannot make that kind of promise. But, she continued, what she does say is ‘I promise we will never stop looking’. And when she said it I believed her.

What did she remember most about her first case as a primary detective? Mostly, she replied, the pressure of not messing up, of doing things right, dotting the Is and crossing the Ts. That pressure was all consuming. She was being totally honest and I was more grateful than I could say.

We spoke about the pressures of being a mother with teenagers and working night shifts, of the arrangements come undone because at the last minute a suspect had been arrested and she had to question him instead of having lunch with her daughter on her way to a job interview.

I could have stayed in the little room for hours listening to her talk about the job she obviously felt so passionately about but I was aware that beyond the door she had cases to go back to and work to do. Incidentally, her partner had not joined us because they’d had a murder at the weekend and she was too busy. It kind of puts things into perspective.

As a last note I asked her if there was something particularly irksome in the way films, television and books portray women detectives and I did get a smile. She had watched a film the other day, she replied, and the detective looked frumpy, as if she hadn’t even brushed her hair when she left her house. Women detectives wore business casual, she said, and they brush their hair. I thought about a French television series with a woman homicide detective, I thought of her scrunched up pony-tail and the strap of her vest which was constantly threatening to fall off her shoulder. It was almost distracting from the story. The real detective had a point.

I thanked her and she took me downstairs through security. We said goodbye and I went back to my hotel and she went back to the weekend’s murder. She was brilliant, I thought, absolutely brilliant. My character is twenty years younger and a completely different person but I would love for her to grow up to be that kind of detective.


Huge thanks to Valentina for joining me on the blog today! Blood and Bone will be out in paperback on August 25th and you can order a copy by clicking the link below:

Blood and Bone by Valentina Giambanco

Keep up with the tour:

Blood and Bone blog tour poster


Blog Tour Q&A with Cat Hogan- They All Fall Down

Today, I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for They All Fall Down, written by Cat Hogan. In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t read They All Fall Down, YET!!! It’s on my shelves ready and waiting though!🙂

About the author:

Cat Hogan was born into a home of bookworms and within spitting distance of the sea. Her father, Pat, a lightship man, instilled in her a love of the sea and the stars. Her mother, Mag, taught her how to read before she could walk.
Writing, storytelling and a wild imagination is part of her DNA.

The beautiful County Wexford, Ireland is home to Cat, her musician partner Dave, two beautiful sons Joey and Arthur, and her tomcat Jim Hawkins. There they live a life of storytelling, song and adventure. The other love of Cat’s life is food. A self-professed foodie, there is nothing she loves more than feeding a houseful of friends round her kitchen table.

When she is not conjuring up imaginary friends, she can be found supporting local musicians and writers of which there is an abundance in her home town. One of her first endorsements for her novel is also her favourite and comes from fellow Wexfordian of Artemis Fowl fame.

‘If the Gone Girl met the Girl on the Train, they would have come up with They All Fall Down’ -Eoin Colfer.

They All Fall Down is Cat’s debut novel.

Find Cat on Twitter: @Kittycathogan

And on Facebook: Catherina Hogan Wordsmith


About the book:

Ring-a-ring o’ rosie . . .
… Someone wants to play.
… Who’s not playing the game?
… Now Someone must pay.

Jen Harper likes to play it safe. She is settling into life on the outskirts of a sleepy fishing village with her little boy, Danny. Life by the sea – just how she wanted it.

When she meets Andy, she feels the time has come to put her baggage and the scars of the past behind her. Then she is introduced to Scott, Andy’s best friend, and is stung by his obvious disdain for her. Why is Scott so protective of his best friend? What is the dark secret that threatens all of them?

In her attempt to find answers, Jen must confront her demons and push her relationships to their limits. By digging up the past, she puts Danny and herself in danger. Will she succeed in uncovering the truth before they all fall down?

Raw and energetic, They All Fall Down is a fast-paced and addictive novel exploring the depths of flawed human nature, the thin line between love and obsession and the destructive nature of addiction.


They All Fall Down by Cat Hogan


And without further ado, onto the questions🙂


Bookish ones first:


Can you tell me a little about your journey to publication?


It was a quick one! Within a year of the first draft, They All Fall Down was on the shelves. It has been such a whirlwind really; I’ve barely had time to catch my breath. I love every minute of it all so far and I have met an amazing bunch of people.


What made you choose to write a psychological thriller?


Funnily enough- that happened by accident. I thought I would be lighter than that and funny – but no, my subconscious took over very early and the story started. It was dark. I think I censored myself a bit- it could have been a lot more twisted. In effect, the genre chose me. The next couple of books are darker. I think I have found my voice.


How would you describe They All Fall Down to readers who have yet to pick it up?


They All Fall Down is set in Ireland and tells the story of six people. Eoin Colfer has described it as ‘an intoxicating cocktail of psychological thriller and emotional roller coaster’. It explores the depths of flawed human nature, the thin line between love and obsession and the destructive nature of addiction. It doesn’t fit neatly into any genre per se- but it’s a great story.


What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?


I’m a bookworm- always have been and books always came before the writing. I LOVE getting so engrossed in a book you lose hours and before you know it, it’s three in the morning. You just have to read one more chapter.

My favourite thing about being an author is getting messages to that effect from people. Readers have skipped dinner, ignored the kids and stayed up half the night- just because they couldn’t put my book down. That to me is magic.


What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?


The crippling self-doubt! It was all fine and dandy when I was sitting at my kitchen table in the small hours, writing the book and dreaming about getting a book deal and hitting the best seller list. Then it happened and the book is out there for all to see, and all to have an opinion about!!!

So far, the reviews have been really great and readers are excited to see what comes next. That’s pressure- now people have an expectation and the next book has to be better. I’m nervous about that. I know I can do it, but it still keeps me awake at night.


Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?


Book ten will be completed and I’ll still have a head full of ideas. There will be a movie- of that I am sure. It’s on the vision board- it will happen! Graham Norton’s couch will be visited!! Would love to have a couple of plays doing the circuit as well. Book signings all over the globe- and of course, a house in the sticks.

If you are going to dream- dream big! And then just GSD ( get sh*t done- my catchphrase, along with HFS, holy flying sh*tballs- if you hear me saying that, you know big news is coming! )


What’s next for you?


Next on the cards for me is a tour of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland. As a nod to my late father, who worked for Irish Lights until his sudden death in 2001, all I wanted on the cover of the book was a lighthouse- hence the location of They All Fall Down. You can imagine my surprise when the first publisher to come back to me was Poolbeg- I had my lighthouse after all. I have been in touch with CIL and I am going to use the lighthouses of Ireland as a writers retreat over the winter. I’ve gone from visualising a lighthouse on the cover of my book to writing a book in one. I think Dad would be proud, he spent his life maintaining the lighthouses and bouys around our coast, keeping all seafarers safe, and now I will sit in those same lighthouses, writing the next best seller.


Less bookish questions:


I saw somewhere recently that you describe yourself as a bibliophile (high five for that!), so can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?


Kate- that is a really cruel question. How can you expect me to choose? There are too many to choose from and so many I have yet to read. I’m going to play the game here and list 5 books I couldn’t live without.

  1. Stephen King, ‘On Writing’- this book saved my sanity. Since I was a teenager, I have loved SK. He’s a genius. This book- a combination of his memoirs and writing advice is gold.
  2. Wally Lamb, ‘I Know This Much is True.’ If you haven’t read his work, you are missing out. A gifted writer and the characters stay in your head for a long time.
  3. Anthony Bourdain, ‘Kitchen Confidential’ – My background is in hospitality. I trained in hotel management and spent years in hotels, restaurants and bars. This book is hilarious and anyone who has worked in the industry can certainly identify.
  4. Edgar Allen Poe- any of his work/ all of his work. I started reading him as a young teen. He’s dark and a bit twisted. Just how I like it.
  5. Craig Shrives, ‘Writing with Military Precision’, the only grammar guide ever to make me laugh out loud.


Now that I have started, I could talk all day. I love books in all different genres. Not a huge fan of the classics. I DETEST ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen- I think that might be PTSD from school though. One of these days, I’ll give it another go.


Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?


Maybe the Bible? Best selling book of all time.


When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?


It’s a mad house here most of the time. I have two small boys: Joey (11) and Baby Arthur (3). When I’m not doing school runs, or washing, or cleaning or trying to catch up with friends over coffee, I love to cook. It’s my therapy. As I mentioned, I spent years in catering including training in kitchens. I love food and everything about it from growing to cooking. I’m at my happiest when I have a few friends over for dinner and a good bottle of red.

My partner is a musician so the other big love in this house is music. A lot of his friends stay with us when they are passing through on tour. At the moment, there are four guitars, a base, a cahone and a banjo resting against the wall in the sitting room.


Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?


See above


What’s your favourite holiday destination?


I went to Madrid last year with my friend for 5 days. We stayed in a little apartment right in the city centre and I fell in love with the place. Everything about it. Everything.

In my head at the moment, I am in Marakesh.  A trip might be on the cards sooner rather than later- research😉


Favourite food?


It would be easier to tell you the foods I hate. Sardines and chicken liver pate- Yeugh. On principle I will not eat foie gras, veal or eggs other than free range. I struggle with lamb as well.

If I had to pick one food to eat right now, it would be my mam’s roast beef lunch.


Favourite drink?


Tea, tea, tea and more tea. I could not survive without it. I do like a really good red wine with a meal as well. I don’t drink as much water as I should- it’s just boring. Give me a cup of really strong tea with a little bit of sugar and a splash of milk, I’ll be your friend!!

Huge thanks to the lovely Cat Hogan for joining me today. It’s been fun! if you want to catch up on the blog tour here’s the poster!😉


Weekly Wrap Up August 21st

Hi everyone!

It’s that time of the week again! You know, where I rack my brain trying to figure out where the week went and what I did! 😂

This week I’ve not been feeling the best due to ill health and I had to get 20 injections on Tuesday which meant I found it really hard to hold a book let alone concentrate on reading! I still managed to read three books though, but I also started 2 more and haven’t picked them up since! 😱

I managed to blog 5 times this past week though so it ain’t all bad! Here’s all the link to my of those posts in case you missed them!

Q&A with Harry Bingham


Angel (DCI Ryan 4) by L. J. Ross


Ragdoll by Daniel Cole 


Saturday Series Feature- Carys Jones

Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre


That’s whats been happening here this week, and next week I have some great posts coming your way too.

Tomorrow I have a Q&A with Cat Hogan, author of They All Fall Down, as part of her blog tour.


I’m part of the blog tour for Valentina Giambanco’s latest book, Blood and Bone, and my stop is on Tuesday with a great post from her!

Blood and Bone blog tour poster.png

And I’ll also have the usual Saturday Series Spotlight post and hopefully a couple of reviews if I can concentrate enough to read!😉

How has your week been? Have you read anything that I need to know about?!🙂

Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre

*My thanks to Netgalley and Little Brown for my copy to review*

About the book:

There is no perfect marriage. There is no perfect murder.

Diana Jager is clever, strong and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing.

Then she meets Peter. He’s kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past: the second chance she’s been waiting for.

Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead – and Diana on trial for his murder, a nightmare end to their fairytale romance.

But Peter’s sister Lucy doesn’t believe in fairytales, and tasks maverick reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling Black Widow…

My thoughts:

Black Widow has been on my kindle for a while now so I decided to start it this week and it was an unexpected surprise! Packed full of tension and suspense, I was gripped almost immediately.

Doctor Diana Jager was a very interesting character. Strong, mean and dangerous in so many ways, Black Widow was almost a chronicle of her unravelling psyche at times.

With more questions than answers for most of the novel, the author has done a really good job of ramping up the mystery surrounding her husband’s death. With the introduction of Jack Parlabane, the book takes a darker turn as he works to uncover what has happened to Peter.

I’m not going to dissect the plot for fear of giving away any subtle nuances in the story but it’s safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed Black Widow. It’s an excellent psychological thriller, engaging and full of intrigue, I would highly recommend it!

You can purchase a copy by clicking the link below:

Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre

Happy reading!


Saturday Series Feature- Carys Jones

Hi everyone,

It’s that time of the week where it’s all about the series and today’s post comes from author Carys Jones!

About the author:

Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion, Rollo.

When she’s not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science- fiction films or playing video games.

She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything.
To Carys, there is no greater feeling than when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.

For more information about Carys please visit www.carys-jones.com or follow her on Twitter; @tiny_dancer85


Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Carys…

From Avalon to Bon Temps


I’ve always loved the intensity of small town life. How everyone knows everyone else’s business and it is all just one big boiling pot of secrets.


My crime series follows the story of lawyer, Aiden Connelly, as he moves his family to the fictional small town of Avalon. Exploring the town along with Aiden was so much fun, especially when he inevitably becomes drawn into Avalon’s dark past…


Along with developing the claustrophobic atmosphere of Avalon I loved creating a cast of characters who were able to aide and hinder Aiden in equal measure. I’m equally as attached to the ensemble cast in the series as I am to Aiden which is why it was nice to be able to expand on their stories in later books in the series.


Avalon is a place of searing heat and violent storms which sweep in across the town, with the locals seizing the opportunity to let the rains wash away the worst of their sins. But whilst cultivating a secretive nature Avalon is also a town full of friendly, loyal characters, people with hearts as big as their sprawling homes – people like Edmond, Aiden’s kind boss who becomes a friend.


Not everyone is welcoming of Aiden. There’s the local Sherriff, Buck Fern, whose sour disposition is reserved for anyone he considers an ‘outsider.’ And wealthy local businessman, Clyde White, is equally distrusting of Aiden’s presence since Aiden is representing the woman who killed his son – local football hero Brandon White.


On the surface Avalon looks idyllic. The sun shines on white picket fences and people leave homemade apple pies to cool in open windows. But beneath this sickly sweet façade lies dark secrets which not only bind the town together, they also have the power to tear it apart…


Another small town I love to visit via the pages of a book is Bon Temps. It gained notoriety after being the setting for Charlaine Harris’ beloved vampire series, True Blood.


True Blood is about so much more than vampires. And werewolves. And faeries. It’s about the close knit community of the town and the trials they are faced to weather together. And everyone has secrets. From sassy waitress Sookie Stackhouse who can hear people’s thoughts to her manage, Sam, who harbours more than just a secret crush on her.


Like Avalon, the atmosphere in Bon Temp is hot, sticky, and bubbling with tension. I love how the author chose this backdrop for her vampire series. In the blistering heat it’s the least likely place you’d expect to find sunlight fearing creatures of the night. But they are there. And they test the close minded nature of some of the Bon Temps residents and also liberate those who have always felt oppressed by their small town.


With ten books and a successful HBO television series there’s many stories about Sookie and her adventures in Bon Temps to immerse yourself in and I highly suggest you do. The books are fun, utterly engrossing and a refreshing spin on the regular vampire mythology.


You can find my Avalon series online – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B011M8U0GM/ref=series_rw_dp_sw


Also the boxset of the True Blood books –




To find out more about me and my other books follow me on Twitter – @tiny_dancer85 or on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CarysJonesWriter/?fref=nf

Huge thanks to Carys for taking part in my Saturday Series Spotlight feature!🙂


Ragdoll by Daniel Cole 

*Huge thanks to Sam Eades and Trapeze for my ARC of Ragdoll to read and review!*

About the book:

The nation is gripped by the infamous ‘Ragdoll Killer’
Every news bulletin and headline is obsessed with this story.
Your friends, your family and your neighbours are all talking about it.

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

About the author:

At 33 years old, Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer and most recently for the RNLI, driven by an intrinsic need to save people or perhaps just a guilty conscience about the number of characters he kills off in his writing. He currently lives in sunny Bournemouth and can usually be found down the beach when he ought to be writing book two instead.

My thoughts:

I had seen Ragdoll on social media in recent weeks and immediately added it to my watch list, and I am so glad I did because it is absolutely brilliant!

I love gory and gruesome in books, and I make no apologies for that, so to open with a body made up of different peoples body parts definitely grabbed my attention! So much so that I devoured Ragdoll in less than 24 hours, I just couldn’t put it down.

When I was raving about it to my husband, he said it sounds like it could be a movie or a tv show, and that’s exactly where Ragdoll’s background is. Daniel Cole has effortlessly transformed his writing into a gripping, twisted game of cat and mouse between the pages.

The characters are all really well written too. I am super excited to read more about Wolf because he is by far the most interesting and beautifully flawed Detective that I have encountered in a long time. And don’t even get me started on the Ragdoll Killer because that is one twisted antagonist, in the best possible way.

I don’t want to give too much away about the story, but it went in directions that I just wasn’t expecting. I found myself questioning everyone’s motives and I’m pretty sure I got it wrong every time!

To say I enjoyed Ragdoll would be an understatement! It consumed me while I read it. Definitely one of the best crime books I’ve read in quite some time, with an excellent premise and some darkly humorous moments I cannot recommend it highly enough! One to watch for certain!

Buy the book: 

Ragdoll is not out until February 23rd 2017 but you can pre-order your copy by clicking the link below:

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole