Big Flies by Keith Hirshland~ Ellen’s Review

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*Many thanks to the author for the review copy*

About the book:

After Chester Daniel David, highly celebrated travel writer and hospitality critic, dies in an automobile accident, his son, Leland, is the heir to his prosperous estate. Among the late writer’s possessions are stacks of magazines hidden in an attic that suggest that his stories about his world travels were less than authentic.

As Leland grew up, it seemed as if his father was never home. If he wasn’t at the exotic locations depicted in the various publications, then where was he? And what was he doing?

In a witty mystery that simultaneously follows the lives of the father and son, clues that Chester leaves behind point to notorious unsolved crimes committed within a fifteen-year span:

    • The D. B. Cooper plane skyjacking and ransom demand in the Pacific Northwest


    • The theft from a Caribbean museum of a twenty-four-carat-gold cross recovered from a sixteenth-century shipwreck


    • The inexplicable vanishing of $1 million from the Chicago First National Bank


    • The theft of a collection of priceless artifacts from a Mexican anthropological museum

As Leland unlocks the mysteries surrounding his father’s true life, he finds himself with even more unfathomable questions that he never anticipated asking about his family—and himself.

Click HERE to order your copy!

Ellen’s review:

“Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.”


One of the most original books that I have read this year – I enjoyed how the stories of Leland and his father Chester were told in tandem. A chapter from Leland in These Days discovering his father wasn’t the travel writer he had always been told and then a chapter from Chester in Those Days revealing his true activities.


I was intrigued and entertained throughout although there was one point in the story where I got a little confused and had to go back to re-read as it seemed a bit “Bobby Ewing”.


Chester was my favourite character in Big Flies; his story of heists and derring do really appealed to me. The weaving of real life mysteries onto the narrative really added to the story and left me wanting to know more. I can’t leave this review without mentioning another favourite – Harriet Potter, Leland’s two-year-old Bernese mountain dog. I just loved her!


4 stars!


~Blog Tour Review~ Fateful Mornings by Tom Bouman

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Fateful Mornings by Tom Bouman and I get to share my review with you all!

About the book:

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In Wild Thyme, Pennsylvania, Officer Henry Farrell’s life is getting complicated. Widowed and more traumatised than he cares to admit, he is caught up in an affair with a local woman, and with helping out his friend’s barn construction job – on which the clock is ticking. When a troubled old acquaintance of theirs becomes the prime suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend, it becomes increasingly clear that something seriously dark is at large in the woods that surround them.

Against this old and strange landscape – where silence rules – a fascinating and troubling case ensues, as Henry struggles for his very survival.

For fans of James Lee Burke and Cormac McCarthy, Tom Bouman is the new must-read author exploring the outer darkness of contemporary America.

Published by Faber and Faber and out now, click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

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Tom Bouman is a former book editor and musician who lives with his wife and daughter in northeastern Pennsylvania.

My thoughts:

Fateful Mornings is the first book I’ve read by Tom Bouman, but I’ve had Dry Bones in the Valley on my bookshelves since it came out, just waiting to be read. I’ll definitely be picking it up at some point having read this one.

In Fateful Mornings, we meet Officer Henry Farrell, the central character in these books. Struggling after the death of his wife, he is carrying out an illicit affair with a married woman. Along with this, there is trouble in Wild Thyme. When he is called on to investigate the disappearance of Penny, the girlfriend of an old acquaintance, things take a turn for the worse for Officer Farrell.

Situated on the edge of the woods, Penny’s home is on the precipice of a place where there is most definitely something sinister going on. When Farrell starts to nose around, he ends up finding more than he bargained for.

I don’t want to say much more for fear of giving anything away. Fateful Mornings is a slow and intricate book, with a great sense of location and a wide-ranging cast of characters. The author has an excellent eye for detail, and his prose is second to one. I read Fateful Mornings is a day as it was a compulsive and enveloping read.


Catch up with the blog tour:

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Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart


*Many thanks to the publishers for my Netgalley review copy!*

About the book:

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Published by Hot Key Books in September, you can pre-order your copy by clicking HERE.

About the author:


E. Lockhart is the author of We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The Boyfriend List and several other novels.

Liars site:
Twitter: elockhart

My thoughts:

Genuine Fraud is garnering comparisons to The Talented Mr Ripley from any early reviews I’ve seen. Not a book I’ve had the chance to read but it definitely piqued my interest enough to want to read this one. After finishing it, I could see how, from what little I know of Ripley, the comparisons are drawn.

Genuine Fraud focuses on Jule and Imogen and their intense friendship. Seemingly polar opposites, its only a matter of time before they start to become like each other. Genuine Fraud becomes a story of reinvention and deceit the more of it you read. There are murders, fights, disappearances and plenty more going on in this book.

Genuine Fraud is a compulsive read, in that you have to keep reading to get answers to previous events, because it is told in a reversed timeline format. While it is not anything new, it is still a current and interesting read. The characters are also intriguing, chameleon-like in how they shed facets of themselves during the course of the narrative.

This book wasn’t as suspenseful a read as I had hoped, but it is still a steady read. If you’re looking for another We Were Liars, then you’ll be disappointed as this is nothing like it. I think if you’re new to the psychological thriller genre, then you will enjoy this one. If psych thrillers are your thing, you won’t find anything new with this one. That being said, it’s a solid page-turner and definitely one to watch out for.



~Mini Review~ Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford


*Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy*

About the book:

In a city divided and broken, this revelation will set it on fire…

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.

Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Little Boy Lost. Its short chapters make it very easy to speed through half the book without realising it. I am a fan of legal thrillers, and this one was no exception.

There is so much more going on with Little Boy Lost though. Racism, politics, bullying and murder can be found in this book, and the author handles every theme quite sensitively.

I found that at times the flow of the book felt a bit off, in that there was time skipped and I wondered what was missing, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. Packed with great characters, and with some very current themes, it’s a very good read! 


The Owl Always Hunts at Night by Samuel Bjork


*Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy!*

About the book:

When a young woman is found dead, the police are quick to respond. But what they find at the murder site is unexpected. The body is posed, the scene meticulously set. And there is almost no forensic evidence to be found.

Detective Mia Krüger is a woman on the edge – she has been signed off work pending psychological assessment. But her boss has less regard for the rules than he should. Desperate to get Mia back in the office, Holger Munch offers her an unofficial deal.

But the usually brilliant Mia is struggling and the team are unable to close the case. Until a young hacker uncovers something that forces the team to confront the scope of the murderer’s plans and face the possibility that he may already be on the hunt for a second victim.

Published in April 2017, click HERE to order your copy!

About the author:

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Samuel Bjørk is the pen name of Norwegian novelist, playwright and singer/songwriter Frode Sander Øien. Øien wrote his first stageplay at the age of twenty-one and has since written two highly acclaimed novels, released six albums, written five plays, and translated Shakespeare, all in his native Norway. Øien currently lives and works in Oslo.

My thoughts:

I’m not going to lie, I had been waiting to read The Owl… since I turned the last page in I’m Travelling Alone as it was one of my favourite reads of 2015. Something about the authors writing really captured my attention with the first book, so I was really hoping that they would be able to do the same with the second in the series.

In The Owl… we’re back with Holger and Mia. When the body of a troubled teen runaway is found posed on a bed of feathers in the forest, Holger and Mia are called in to investigate the apparently ritualistic killing. What follows takes the whole team off down a very dangerous path.

In this book, Mia is very troubled. Still struggling with her demons after the events in book one, she throws herself into this case in a bid to get herself back on track. Burying herself in solving the case seems to be the only way Mia is able to expend all of her nervous energy. Thanks to this manic energy, she manages to spot vital clues throughout the investigation.

Holger is also having a bit of personal trouble in this one, yet he still manages to keep the investigation moving forward. His daughter, Miriam, also features prominently in The Owl… She has met an activist and seems to be veering away from her marriage towards something that she does’t understand. It turns out to be bigger than anyone could have anticipated.

The Owl Always Hunts at Night is a suspenseful and gripping slice of Scandinavian crime fiction. Packed with creepy and unusual ritualistic elements, with a very dark undertone, it is a crcking follow-up to I’m Travelling Alone.

Highly recommended!

Previous reviews:

I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork

Author Q&A~ Steve Brewer

Hi everyone,

I’ve got another author q&a to share with you all today and its the turn of Steve Brewer, whose latest book Side Eye was published in May 2017.

About the author:

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STEVE BREWER is the author of 20-plus books about crooks, including the recent crime novels PARTY DOLL, LOST VEGAS, THE BIG WINK and CALABAMA.

His first novel, LONELY STREET, was made into a Hollywood comedy starring Robert Patrick, Jay Mohr and Joe Mantegna. BOOST currently is under film/TV option.

Brewer’s short fiction appeared in the anthologies DAMN NEAR DEAD, THE LAST NOEL, CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT and WEST COAST CRIME WAVE, and he’s published articles in Mystery Scene, Crimespree and Mystery Readers’ Journal.

A former journalist and syndicated humor columnist, Brewer now works as a writing coach, book doctor and University of New Mexico lecturer. A frequent speaker at mystery conventions, he was toastmaster at Left Coast Crime in 2011.

Married and the father of two adult sons, Brewer lives in Albuquerque, NM, USA.

Check out Steve’s Amazon page HERE.

About Side Eye:

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Josh Nieto celebrates his 18th birthday by walking out of Juvenile Detention and into a sweet job as the driver for an elderly loan shark named Malcolm Hunt. But when Hunt’s Dixie Mafia past catches up to him, Josh finds himself in the middle of a blood feud.

“Steve Brewer’s latest is a bare-bones tale of murder, deceit, and betrayal. A prison-hardened member of the Dixie Mafia has tracked down the man he blames for his incarceration, and he intends to get his pound of flesh. The only person who can save the man’s life is a kid just released from juvenile detention, but he’ll have to risk his freedom to do it.” — Bill Fitzhugh, award-winning author of HUMAN RESOURCES

“Fast-paced, fun, and funny, this caper is another must-read from the master.” — Edgar Award-winning author Charlie Price


Can you tell us a little about yourself?


I grew up in Arkansas, but have spent most of my adult life in Albuquerque, NM, and in Northern California. Most of my 30 books are set in those locations. I worked as a journalist through my twenties and thirties. Started trying to write fiction on the side when I was 30. Quit full-time journalism at 40, but started writing a weekly humor column that ran nationwide for 10 years. Do you see a pattern with these round numbers? I turned 60 recently; no telling what will happen next.


My wife and I live in Albuquerque, not far from the University of New Mexico, where I teach in the Honors College. We have two adult sons who make us proud.


How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?


I started in newspapers, but around age 30, when I was working for the Associated Press in San Francisco, I caught the fiction bug.


Where do you get your inspiration from?

Real-life news stories provide a lot of the jumping-off points. Then it’s a matter of asking “what if” until I’ve got a plot.


How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?


I write books about crooks, often with a comic twist. I wrote nine tales featuring bumbling private eye Bubba Mabry; the first one, LONELY STREET, was made into a 2009 Hollywood comedy starring Jay Mohr and Robert Patrick. I recently published three crime novels under the pen name Max Austin for Penguin Random House’s Alibi imprint. My new book, SIDE EYE, is about an 18-year-old orphan who gets hired to be the driver for an Albuquerque loan shark who’s losing his eyesight.


Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?


Yes, but not enough. We’re all flailing in an ocean.


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


Dreaming up the story and writing the first draft. The rest of it is work.


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


The vagaries of the publishing industry. I’ve had a roller-coaster career.


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


I’m not sure, frankly. I’ve certainly slowed down lately.


What’s next for you?


I’ve been thinking about doing more short stories.


I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?


Like most people these days, I spend too much time staring at news reports on my phone. But I have always loved to read, especially crime fiction. Right now, I’m reading Don DeLillo and Sam Wiebe.


Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?


“The Hunter” by Richard Stark


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


Pretty much everything by Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake/Richard Stark


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


Teaching and grading papers. Overseeing the rehab of a 70-year-old house that we bought a few years ago.


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


I love to listen to music – jazz, blues, rock – and I’m a big fan of basketball and football.


What’s your favourite holiday destination?


These days, we mostly stay home or visit relatives. But I do love the California coast.


Favourite food?


Fried okra. You can take the boy out of the South …


Favourite drink?


Coffee with too much sugar in it.


Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?


I’ve spent my entire life writing; I’m not sure I can do anything else. Nothing else gives me the same creative charge. But I do love teaching, and I recently doubled my teaching load to two classes per semester. I teach an Honors writing workshop every semester as well as upper-level courses on the creative process and American crime fiction. Great fun.



Many thanks to Steve for taking the time out to answer my questions! 🙂

Connect with Steve:



You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood


About the book:

It’s easy to judge between right and wrong – isn’t it?

Not until you hear a convincing truth.

Now it’s up to you to decide…


An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.

He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth.

There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters:

Did he do it?

Click HERE to pick up your copy!

About the author:


Imran Mahmood was born in Liverpool in 1969 to first generation Pakistani parents. He has been working on the criminal bar in London for over 20 years and regularly appears in jury trials across the country dealing in serious and complex criminal cases.

He now lives in South East London with his wife and is currently plotting a second novel.

My thoughts:

You Don’t Know Me is one book I’d been waiting to read when I’d heard the buzz surrounding it. Essentially, it is a legal thriller, but it is written in a very unusual style if you were to compare it to others in a similar genre.

We meet the defendant, unnamed, and accused of murder. Having fired his lawyer, he decides to give his own account of what happened. Eight pieces of evidence are used in the case, and the defendant talks the jury, and the reader, through each one.

Told in the first person, using his own colloquialisms, You Don’t Know Me is a very different book. The defendant takes us through how he ended up in the dock accused of murder. His tale is an epic one, with so many different characters being brought into the narrative.

Gang culture, morality and murder are all addressed in the defendants speech. How he got to where he is now is just one of the avenues explored in his testimony. The defendant is the only voice (until the end) and the reader comes to know him a little bit more through every monologue he gives.

You Don’t Know Me is different, and odd, but it is very compelling to read. Did he do it? Why is he there? Ultimately, the reader is left with some unanswered questions but the author has written a very clever novel. It is evident that he comes from a legal background.

Compulsive, clever, and more than a little frustrating at times, You Don’t Know Me is divisive, and definitely one to watch.