Blog Tour: No Comment by Graham Smith Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is reviewing No Comment, a DI Harry Evans novella, by Graham Smith!

About the author:


Graham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000, he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and two novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

2018 will be a busy year for Graham as he has the third Jake Boulder being published and a Harry Evans novel and novella.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website since 2009

Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, eight attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.


About the book:

No Comment.jpg

When a single mother, Julie Simon, is found in her kitchen with a stab wound to her stomach, Cumbria’s Major Crimes Team are handed the case. Under the supervision of DI Campbell and with advice from his former DI, Harry Evans, DC Amir Bhaki fights to discover who assaulted an innocent woman and left her with life-threatening injuries.
Nothing is as it first appears and when the team looks into Julie’s life they uncover a hidden sex-life that may just hold the key to the identity of her attacker.

Click HERE to order your copy!

Ellen’s review:

No Comment is the third novella and fifth book in the DI Harry Evans series; it was great to be back with the Cumbrian Major Crime Team who are investigating a case that appears to be aggravated burglary gone wrong. Single mother Julie Simon has been left fighting for her life after a stab wound to her stomach but there is a lot more to this investigation than meets the eye. Julie’s son is serving time in a young offender’s prison after being found with a stash of drugs but he denies any knowledge of them and is insistent he was set up. Is Julie protecting her son or is her son protecting her??

I love the interaction between Harry and his former colleagues. Although they are now under the supervision of DI Campbell, Harry is the one they go to for an insight into proceedings thanks to a little matter of him blackmailing his way into getting a consultancy role. Harry has in depth knowledge of the area and its inhabitants so has a greater understanding than Campbell and let’s not forget that Harry has always had a way of extracting information from people!!

Harry is one of those loveable rogues; you agree with his methods because they get the job done. My favourite character in this novella was DC Amir Bhaki; a gentle soul who is determined to get justice for Julie and her family.

Another great read from Graham Smith and I can’t wait to read the next instalment (When the Waters Recede).

All Systems Down by Sam Boush


About the book:

24 hours.
That’s all it takes.
A new kind of war has begun.

Pak Han-Yong’s day is here. An elite hacker with Unit 101 of the North Korean military, he’s labored for years to launch Project Sonnimne: a series of deadly viruses set to cripple Imperialist infrastructure.

And with one tap of his keyboard, the rewards are immediate.

Brendan Chogan isn’t a hero. He’s an out-of-work parking enforcement officer and one-time collegiate boxer trying to support his wife and children. But now there’s a foreign enemy on the shore, a blackout that extends across America, and an unseen menace targeting him.

Brendan will do whatever it takes to keep his family safe.

In the wake of the cyber attacks, electrical grids fail, satellites crash to earth, and the destinies of nine strangers collide.

Strangers whose survival depends upon each other’s skills and courage.

All Systems Down (The Cyber War) by Sam Boush

My thoughts:

I had seen All Systems Down on Goodreads and thought it sounded like an interesting read, and I wasn’t disappointed!

Centering around a blackout across America, the reader meets the main characters just as all of the systems fail due to a virus that has bee put in there by a master hacker as part of Project Sonnimne.

All Systems Down asks the question what would you do if everything around you changed for the worst essentially. Could you survive? How would you survive if everything went dark?

All Systems Down was definitely an intriguing read. We got glimpses from those who created the virus, along with following the characters that were impacted at the time of the event.

Something about this book says post-apocalyptic fiction, because survival becomes the key, but there is also a lot more in play here. The author has created an engaging plot, and I found myself rooting for certain characters, while wishing bad things on others. You’ll have to read it for yourself to see why though.

All Systems Down is a techno thriller, with a dystopian feel to it once the blackout hits, Easy to follow with some divisive characters, it is great escapism.

Recommended for sure!

Hangman by Daniel Cole


About the book:

A detective with no one to trust. A killer with nothing to lose.
18 months after the ‘Ragdoll’ murders, a body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, the word ‘BAIT’ carved into the chest.

In London a copycat killer strikes, branded with the word ‘PUPPET’, forcing DCI Emily Baxter into an uneasy partnership with the detectives on the case, Special Agents Rouche and Curtis.

Each time they trace a suspect, the killer is one step ahead. With the body count rising on both sides of the Atlantic, can they learn to trust each other and identify who is holding the strings before it is too late?

Hangman by Daniel Cole

My thoughts:

I loved Ragdoll, the first book in this series, so I was delighted to be able to read and review Hangman. I had been dying to read it from the moment I finished Ragdoll, and its safe to say it was worth the wait. Hangman was just as good, if not better.

Focusing on DCI Emily Baxter in this one, she’s called to investigate a copycat murder. A body found hanging, with BAIT carved into its chest, in America. When another body turns up, this time with PUPPET carved into the chest, it becomes a race against time to decipher the message as the body count rises on both sides of the Atlantic.

Hangman is such a clever thriller. I absolutely flew through it because I was so caught up in the characters and the investigation that I just had to keep reading to find out what was going on.

Daniel Cole has a knack for writing serial killer thrillers, and he showcases it brilliantly i these books. They are addictive, thrilling and so utterly absorbing that you just have to keep going until the very end.

If you like twisted killers, great characters and a cracking plot then add Hangman to your TBR as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.

Highly recommended!


Previous reviews:

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole 

The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste


About the book:

What if the figure that haunted your nightmares as child, the myth of the man in the woods, was real?

He’ll slice your flesh. 
Your bones he’ll keep.

Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned.

Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper.  Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood.  But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone.

The disappeared have been found. And their killer is watching every move the police make.

The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste

My thoughts:

The Bone Keeper is the latest book from Luca Veste, the author of the Murphy & Rossi series. I was more than a little excited to be able to read a very early copy of this one last year and I can finally share a review with you all.

The Bone Keeper has one of the creepiest openings I’ve read in a while. I don’t tend to scare easily while reading, but there is something threatening in those first few pages that made me uncomfortable and really set the tone for the rest of the book.

A legend, an urban myth, we’ve all heard them. The Bone Keeper takes people, and never gives them back. Yet someone has escaped and its up to Louise and Paul to investigate what happened.

Cynical about things like this, Paul Shipley doesn’t pay heed to the references to the Bone Keeper. But Louise, she’s different. Something in her gut is telling her to watch out, but there is so much more to come.

I loved The Bone Keeper. It creeped me out in places, but I had to keep reading. I was hooked from those opening pages. Luca Veste has done an excellent job with this highly addictive and supremely unnerving novel.An excellent premise with a fast paced plot means the reader won’t be able to tear themselves away until the very end.

The Bone Keeper is a chilling crime read. Full of tension and with a sinister undercurrent, it will definitely get under your skin. It gave me the heebie-jeebies for sure! An absolutely banging plot, with great characterisation made it throughly unputdownable!

Highly recommended!

An Engineered Injustice by William Myers. Jr


About the book:

What if the deadliest train wreck in the nation’s history was no accident?

When a passenger train derails in North Philadelphia with fatal results, idealistic criminal defense attorney Vaughn Coburn takes on the most personal case of his young career. The surviving engineer is his cousin Eddy, and when Eddy asks Vaughn to defend him, he can’t help but accept. Vaughn has a debt to repay, for he and his cousin share an old secret—one that changed both their lives forever.

As blame for the wreck zeros in on Eddy, Vaughn realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. Seeking the truth behind the crash, he finds himself the target of malicious attorneys, corrupt railroad men, and a mob boss whose son perished in the accident and wants nothing less than cold-blooded revenge. With the help of his ex-con private investigator and an old flame who works for the competition, Vaughn struggles to defeat powerful forces—and to escape his own past built on secrets and lies.

An Engineered Injustice by William L. Myers Jr.

My thoughts:

William L. Myers Jr. is a new author to me and having read and loved A Criminal Defense, I was delighted to be able to read this follow-up. I’m a big fan of legal thrillers and An Engineered Injustice is another excellent addition to the genre

A passenger train derails with fatal results, and Vaughn Coburn takes on the case. His cousin, Eddy, was the engineer driving the train when it derailed. Coburn sets out to defend Eddy against claims that he caused the crash.

This case is very personal to Coburn, not least because he and Eddy share a secret from their past that imapcted both of their lives. What follows is a completely engrossing story, with more twists and turns than I was expecting. I found it impossible to put down. I was eager to learn what happened that caused the train to derail.

An Engineered Injustice is a very clever thriller, with some seriously shady characters. I loved how the author wove the story together, feeding the reader little nuggets of information along the way.

If you are a fan of John Grisham, Steve Cavanagh etc, then you need to add this book to your TBR immediately.

Highly recommended!

Previous Reviews:

A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers Jr.

Blog Tour: Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley and I have a great post from Mary-Jane for you all further down. First though, the all-important bookish information!

About the author:

mary-jane riley

Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Mary-Jane has three grown-up children and lives in Suffolk with her husband and two golden retrievers.

DARK WATERS is her third crime thriller featuring investigative journalist, Alex Devlin.


Twitter: @mrsmjriley

Instagram: maryjanerileyauthor


About the book:

Cover Dark Waters

Secrets lie beneath the surface…

Two men, seemingly unconnected, are discovered dead in a holiday boat on the Norfolk Broads, having apparently committed suicide together.

Local journalist Alex Devlin, planning an article on the dangers of internet suicide forums, starts digging into their backgrounds.

But Alex’s investigation soon leads her to a much darker mystery – one that will hit closer to home than she could possibly have imagined, and place the lives of those she loves in terrible danger.

Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley

And now, over to Mary-Jane…

I can’t believe DARK WATERS is my third book and that it’s been three years since my agent called me to say that Killer Reads/Harper Collins had offered me a contract for my first book, THE BAD THINGS (now I’ve just got to think of a  way of squeezing the name of my second book, AFTER SHE FELL, into that sentence…). Writers often talk about the long and winding road to publication – the difficulties, the rejections, the blood, sweat and tears, and all that is true (except for those who strike it lucky first go … grrr), but do you know what? What? I hear you cry (I hope). I have learned even more over these last three years that I would like to share with you….

  1. Trust your instinct.

I wrote a book to send to agents. I wrote a prologue for said book, then I read a lot of stuff about how agents/publishers/uncle Tom Cobbley and all didn’t like prologues. I took the prologue out. The lovely person who was to become my agent asked for some revisions on the manuscript, then said ‘I think you need a prologue”. Reader, the prologue went back in.

An extreme example of not following my instinct came some time after the prologue incident. I wanted to get my book to my agent (a different one). My instinct was telling me, nay screaming at me, that I should read the whole thing again because the book wasn’t ready, wasn’t polished enough. I knew it in my gut. But what did I do? I sent it. It was returned with a very stiff admonishment and a long bruising phone call. I polished that book.



Don’t fret about other people’s deals/success/prizes.

Therein lies madness and the waste of several hours on social media and Amazon stalking the author and wondering why your book isn’t racing up the charts/in the Sunday Times/the subject of a bidding war (actually, a little boast here: my first book was the subject of a bidding war in Germany and it was very exciting!). You have to remember that people put their best faces on Facebook, and the best bits of their writing lives on Twitter. No-one talks about falling sales or publishing deals falling through in a public space… if they do, point me at ‘em! No, the best thing to do is put your head down and write your book and make it the very best you can. Ignore the success stories, they really are few and far between.



Turn off the WiFi

This advice is everywhere, but it does bear repeating. Social Media is a total time-suck. If I leave the wifi on, I find that I look at social media every two minutes when I’m writing a difficult scene or I don’t know where I’m going next. As if watching a BGT performer from Romania will help! Turn it off, keep it off. Of course, it’s a bit difficult when you need to do some research – I do mine as I go along – because it has to go back on. And then it’s just a little look at a couple of cute cat/dog/baby videos….



I can call myself an author


Yes, I can! Three books in and it starts to feel as though I’m not the biggest imposter in the world. Possibly.




Every. Step. Of. The. Way. (I usually hate seeing separate words punctuated by full stops, but it seems appropriate in this case). This was my agent’s very good advice. It’s a huge thing, writing a book. When you finish, celebrate. When you get an agent, celebrate. A publisher? Celebrate. Self-published? Celebrate. Finished editing? Celebrate. You get my drift?



The support of readers and bloggers

Invaluable. I didn’t realise how many people would see my books, would read my books, and it has been so exciting. It is always fabulous to get reviews (as long as they are nice, thank you very much). It was lovely after the first book was published to get messages from people I had worked with saying how great it was to read my books (especially as I had plundered their names for characters) and friends I hadn’t seen for many years got in touch to say they were buying my books (whether they read them is another matter, but they have bought all my books so far).

And as for book bloggers, your enthusiasm and hard work is amazing and I can’t thank you enough. You treat each book you review/read/host on a tour as though it was the only book in the world at that moment. I don’t know where you get your time and energy from, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart.



Huge thanks to Mary-Jane for such an insightful post, and I wish you all the best with Dark Waters 🙂

Check out the other fab blogs taking part in the tour:

Blog Tour - Dark Waters

Blood of Assassins by RJ Barker


About the book:

The assassin Girton Club-foot and his master have returned to Maniyadoc in hope of finding sanctuary, but death, as always, dogs Girton’s heels. The place he knew no longer exists.
War rages across Maniyadoc, with three kings claiming the same crown – and one of them is Girton’s old friend Rufra. Girton finds himself hurrying to uncover a plot to murder Rufra on what should be the day of the king’s greatest victory. But while Girton deals with threats inside and outside Rufra’s war encampment, he can’t help wondering if his greatest enemy hides beneath his own skin.

Blood of Assassins: (The Wounded Kingdom Book 2) by RJ Barker

About the author:

RJ Barker lives in Leeds with his wife, son and a collection of questionable taxidermy, odd art, scary music and more books than they have room for. He grew up reading whatever he could get his hands on, and has always been ‘that one with the book in his pocket’. Having played in a rock band before deciding he was a rubbish musician, RJ returned to his first love, fiction, to find he is rather better at that. As well as his debut epic fantasy novel, Age of Assassins, RJ has written short stories and historical scripts which have been performed across the country. He has the sort of flowing locks any cavalier would be proud of.

My thoughts:

In Blood of Assassins, we’re back with Girton Club-Foot and his master, Merela. Events in the previous book have led them back to the the Maniyadoc, where there is a fight for the crown between three kings, one of whom is Girton’s old friend, Rufra.

The place is ravaged by war, with some truly horrible new threats to the characters in this book. If I could read with my hands over my eyes, it still wouldn’t be enough.

So, there is apparently a traitor in Rufra’s midst, and there is a plot to murder him. Girton is tasked with trying to find out who is responsible. What follows is an epic ride across the various encampments, gathering information, and with plenty of bloodshed along the way.

Girton has more than just this to contend with though. There is an inner struggle taking place for him, but he can’t confide in anyone, and more than once it is nearly his ruin. I don’t want to say any more. Except maybe that there is a really unexpected and satisfying arc for a recurring character, but you’ll have to read it to learn for yourself because I am not spoiling it!

If you like fantasy with heart, great characters and clever world-building then you definitely need to add Blood of Assassins to your TBR. You won’t be disappointed.

Highly recommended!

Much blood. Much assassins. #TeamGirton


Previous reviews:

Age of Assassins by RJ Barker