For Reasons Unknown by Michael Wood 

I’ve had this book on my kindle for a few weeks, and I kept trying to get to it to no avail. Until this week. I had pretty much caught up on all my “read to review” books and I had been promising Michael over on Twitter that I would read and review For Reasons Unknown for ages so I started it Friday night!

About the book:

Two murders. Twenty years. Now the killer is back for more…

A darkly compelling debut crime novel. The start of a brilliant series, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, and James Oswald.
DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.
Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda’s case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more…

My thoughts:

Where to start?! First off, I loved this book. I read so many crime books that at times they all run into each other but every so often a book comes along with a story that stands out. For Reasons Unknown did just that.

DCI Darke (what a name by the way!) is back to work after some traumatic events in both her personal and professional life. Clearly not 100%, she is tasked with solving a cold case from twenty years ago. The double murder of Miranda and Stefan Harkness, whose murder was witnessed by their eleven year old son and in turn, rendered him mute.

Simultaneously, acting DCI Hales is investigating a murder in the city. Both past and present cases end up related so it becomes a race against time as it appears that the murderer may not be finished. While I saw this coming, I still enjoyed the way it was going.

I really enjoyed the pace of this story, and I found myself reading at every opportunity (including in the car even though it makes me sick!!! I had 6% left to read!! 😄) as I was enjoying it so much. Hence I had it finished fairly quickly!

As I was nearing the end, I think from about 70% on, my brain starting working everything out! Having said that, I think the author has created an intricate web in a larger story which really comes into its own in the last few chapters. That’s where things really get going, in my opinion.

Now that I’m finished, I feel like I have a book hangover. I don’t get that very often! 🙂

I have recommended this book to people already, and I will recommend it again as I genuinely loved it! Usually on Twitter, so I’m sorry Michael for all the @@@!! 🙂 (@Bibliophilebc if you fancy following)

I gave For Reasons Unknown 5 ⭐️ on Goodreads (a rarity but it does happen! 😉).

Happy reading! 😊📖

White Is The Coldest Colour by John Nicholl


My thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


About the book:
Be careful who you trust…

The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage.
Fifty-eight year old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic predatory paedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters.

Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession, and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.


About the author:
John Nicholl wrote a multi agency child protection good practice manual and articles for news papers and a national social work magazine during his career, but White is the coldest colour is his first novel.

He has worked as a police officer, and as a social worker and operational manager for the child guidance service, two social services departments, and the NSPCC. He has also lectured on child protection matters at several colleges and universities.

My review:

I had seen White Is The Coldest Colour on Relax And Read Reviews and also on Bytheletterbookreviews Goodreads page so I was aware of it before I got the email from John.

I have to say, child abuse is a subject that I find hard to read so I was a little apprehensive before I started reading. However, once I got into the book, it was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting.

White Is The Coldest Colour is a skilfully written book, full of detail that shows the authors knowledge of child protection. It’s portrayal of Dr. Galbraith is chilling, as we see into the mind of a sadistic abuser and the lengths which he will go to in order to control everything and everyone he encounters.

I found myself rooting for the Mailer family from the beginning. Going through a separation, they seek help from Dr. Galbraith as their youngest son Anthony is having behavioural problems in the wake of his parents splitting up. I wanted to scream at the mum, Molly, when she says yes to seeing Dr Galbraith!!!!!

The ensuing events in the book kept me awake later than normal in order to read as much as I could! More than once I wanted to shake the police officers as they just weren’t seeing things!!! As for Galbraith’s family, they were so far gone under his rule that they couldn’t see what was happening around them!

I always think a book that makes you get cross at characters, frustrated at lack of speed in doing investigations and generally wanting to fling (in this case) my kindle across the room, is definitely a book worth reading. If I were to find any fault with this book, and there isn’t many at all, my personal opinion is that the ending left me wanting more!!!!! Which isn’t necessarily a fault either! Sign of a good writer! 😉
I gave White Is The Coldest Colour 4 ⭐️ on Goodreads, I would highly recommend reading it!
Happy reading! 😊📖

Dead Money Run by J. Frank James

My thanks to Kelsey at Book Publicity Services and J. Frank James for my copy of Dead Money Run in exchange for an honest review.

Book synopsis:
Lou Malloy learns of his sister’s death right before he is released from prison, having served 15 years for the theft of $15 million from an Indian casino. He wants two things: to keep the $15 million, which no one has been able to find, and to track down and punish whoever killed his sister.  

 

Lou Malloy teams up with Hilary Kelly, a private investigator. In no time, Lou has found the hidden $15 million, recovered guns and ammunition hidden with the money, and murdered two low-level mobsters and fed them to the crocodiles. 


As the body count rises, the story grows more complex and his sister’s death becomes more mysterious.


I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. I don’t know what I was expecting but Dead Money Run is definitely a good read!

Lou Malloy is serving 15 years in prison for his part in a casino robbery that left him $15 million dollars richer. Just before his release, he learns of his sisters murder so he leaves prison on a mission. Get the money and find out who killed his sister.

The book reads like an action movie. From once Lou walks out of prison, right to the end, the pace is kept up! Teaming up with Hilary Kelly is one of the better decisions Lou makes. Kelly is a strong character and she manages to soften Lou’s edges at times.

Dead Money Run is a fast paced crime caper! The amount of bodies piling up in the wake of Lou’s release is staggering, but it’s all in his quest to bring his sisters killer/killers to justice.

I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. The chapters are short so you fly through it! If you like action movies, your main character to be full of brawn and wild goose chases then this is the book for you!

I gave Dead Money Run 3 ⭐️ on Goodreads!

My thanks again to the author and Book Publicity Services for my copy!

Happy reading 😊📖

The Widow by Fiona Barton

Many thanks to Ben at Transworld for my ARC of The Widow by Fiona Barton.

I have been seeing this book pop up in tweets and on bloggers pages for the past couple of months so I was dying to get my hands on a copy to see what all the fuss was about. The lovely Ben Willis at Transworld Books kindly sent me out a copy to read and review. Needless to say I was like a child upon receiving it!


Goodreads description:


We’ve all seen him: the man – the monster – staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.

But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?
Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming. 
Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.
But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.
Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows.

The Widow is a a great book. It’s extremely psychological with intimate insights into the mind of the widow, the detective, the reporter, the mother and the husband told through alternating chapters. The aforementioned widow becomes one early on in the book,with her husband being hit and killed by a bus. Prior to this, her husband Glen, had been accused of a terrible crime.

A little girl goes missing from her front garden while her mother is inside. Glen is accused of kidnapping Bella Elliott and The Widow tells the story of events after, and later on in the book, prior to the abduction.

The Widow is by no means an on the edge of your seat thriller. It is a slow burner, with information slowly being revealed in each chapter. It’s at times painful to read some of the details of the case. No parent ever wants to imagine anything happening to their child.

The widow herself, Jean, is hard to like as a character. I found her to be very hard to empathise with. If that’s even possible in the situation she is in. Jean is clearly an emotionally weak person in the earlier half of the book, but towards the climax of the story she seems to find her inner voice.

I’m not one for spoilers,but with a book like this it’s difficult not to see what happens at the end!

I have to say, I really enjoyed The Widow. Fiona Barton has a lovely writing style and it’s very easy to follow. I’m glad I got a chance to read this book before January 2016 as with the hype surrounding it, I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten near it!

My thanks again to Ben Willis and Fiona Barton for my copy of The Widow!

4 stars on Goodreads from me!

Happy reading 😊📖


Guest post- author Martin Lee

Many thanks to Martin Lee for agreeing to do a guest post for my blog!

About the author~ (via Goodreads)

Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.

He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

Whilst working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarter of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in 1920s and 30s.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.


Seven novels that killed me.

And inspired me.

 

I’ve always loved crime.

 

Murder. Larceny. Blackmail. Arson. Kidnapping. Burglary. Serial killings. Extortion. Gang violence. It doesn’t matter what sort of crime, I’m up for it.

 

Luckily, it hasn’t landed me in jail yet, but it has given me a love of one of the most popular genres of writing.

 

The Crime Novel.

Here are seven books that inspired me to write about crime.

 

And then there were none.

From the Queen of Crime herself. I remember reading this when I was eleven. It was called something terribly non-PC then. Having finished it, I went back to the beginning and started over again. All the clues were there, I just hadn’t seen them. Fiendishly well plotted, even for Agatha Christie

 

The Daughters of Time

Again, something I read when I was young. Beautifully constructed, it made me revisit the history of the period and re-evaluate all that I believed about Richard III. Great title too. I read it again this year. It stands the test of time which is always the sign of a great novel.

 

 

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

 

The series of works that gave rise to the modern crime novel. An eccentric detective, a fumbling sidekick and stories that blew readers away with their sheer brilliance. Every other crime novel is measured against the master.

The Name of the Rose
Every once in a while, a book comes along that shows the crime novel can be far more than a series of gory killings. This has wit, erudition, an understanding of philosophy and, at its heart, a plea for more laughter in the world. Who could ask for more?

 

The Remorseful Day

 

A great central character with enough quirks to sink the Titanic. A sidekick with a love of the Full Monty. Great plots, intriguing stories, palpable intelligence, and the most wonderful sense of place: Oxford in the Eighties. Colin Dexter created a cult classic that went on to become some of the finest crime dramas on television.

 

L A Confidential

 

I could have chosen any of James Ellroy’s books. Once I start them, I can’t put them down. They have such a pace, style and sheer pizzazz, that is quintessentially American. Ellroy leaves out the bits other authors keep in. I’d love to have those bits.

 

 

The Talented Mr Ripley

 

Vastly underrated, Patricia Highsmith for me was the writer’s writer. Beautiful sentences, crisp characterisation and an understanding of human psychology go hand in hand for a wonderful series of crime novels. Even better, she created an anti-hero that we could all love. Brilliant.
 

So those are my choices.

 

I can hear you all shouting and screaming now. How could you leave out Mario Puzo, Val McDermid, Stieg Larssen, Peter James, Ellis Peters, Dashiell Hammett, P D James,Thomas Harris, C J Sansom and Stephen King?

 

Nobody said choosing seven novels was easy, You have to murder some you love. But that’s the job of a crime writer after all.

 

What would be your seven most inspirational crime novels?

 

 

Massive thanks again to Martin for doing this guest post! 🙂

 

M J Lee is the author of ‘Death in Shanghai’, the first in the Inspector Danilov series, set in the city in the 1920s from Carina/Harper Collins and available on Amazon. He loves to chat about crime, real or imagined, and can be found at his website, writermjlee.com, Facebook or Twitter under the same handle.

 

 

 

Dead Eyed by Matt Brolly

I’ve had Dead Eyed on my Netgalley TBR for a while now and some blogger friends of mine, Noelle over at Crimebookjunkie Book Blog and Joseph at Relax and Read Book Reviews had reviewed it so my interest was piqued!

By pure coincidence, Matt emailed me a couple of weeks ago asking would I like to read and review Dead Eyed. Of course my answer was yes, happy that I had a copy of it on my kindle!
Goodreads description:

DCI Michael Lambert thought he’d closed his last case…

Yet when he’s passed a file detailing a particularly gruesome murder, Michael knows that this is no ordinary killer at work.
The removal of the victim’s eyes and the Latin inscription carved into the chest is the chilling calling-card of the ‘soul jacker’: a cold-blooded murderer who struck close to Michael once before, twenty-five years ago.
Now the long-buried case is being re-opened, and Michael is determined to use his inside knowledge to finally bring the killer to justice. But as the body count rises, Michael realises that his own links to the victims could mean that he is next on the killer’s list…

There are so many crime books out there now that it can be difficult to separate them from each other. Not the case with Dead Eyed. With a serial killer called Souljacker, you know it’s going to be good! And this is a debut! I honestly couldn’t believe that this book was a debut, it seems so accomplished that I would have expected it to be well into a series at least!

Souljacker goes around killing people, taking their eyes out, and carving a Latin phrase into their bodies. Insane, but chillingly good as a killer.

Lambert is great as a character, he has his weaknesses and demons in his past, but he’s just so easy to like as a protagonist. Sarah May proves to be a strong female character in Dead Eyed too, adept and intelligent. Together they work the case simultaneously, leading to interesting developments in the investigation.

I don’t like going to far into plots as I think it takes away from the readers experience if they know too much. Sufficed to say, Dead Eyed is an astonishing debut novel. Matt Brolly’s writing style is clear, concise and vivid. The action is relentless, there are so many twists and “I know who”  moments (I was wrong, consistently, by the way!!!) that all add up to it being a brilliant storyline, with excellent characterisation, and a truly deranged sociopathic killer.

Holy Island by LJ Ross

Thanks to Maxine at Booklover Catlady and LJ Ross for my copy of Holy Island to review.

I hadn’t heard of this book before I read it, but I won’t forget it in a hurry!

Holy Island does not begin gently, it starts with the murder of Lucy Matheison and the discovery of her body at the Lindisfarne Priory.

Amazon describes it as follows-

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory.
When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight, while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation. 

This description doesn’t do it proper justice!

Holy Island is an excellent book, well plotted with very little of the predictable crime formulae to be found! More than once I thought I had sussed the killer, and every time I was wrong!!! The killings are described brutally, the locations are described beautifully! It’s the perfect juxtaposition!

DCI Ryan is a great character, flawed in his own way, with demons in his past. It was very easy to be rooting for him all through the book. Dr. Taylor is also a strong character, doesn’t suffer fools and very intelligent. Predictably, they begin a relationship, but it blends into the whole story. There are twists and turns aplenty, but I have to say, the ending was my favourite part. It ends with a genuine shocker!! Which makes me want to read book 2 Sycamore Gap as soon as possible!!! Well played Miss Ross! 😉

I gave Holy Island 4 stars on Goodreads! I would highly recommend this book! It was absolutely brilliant!

Happy reading! 😊📖