First Monday Crime June Spotlight ~ No One Home by Tim Weaver

Hi loves,

So today I’m shouting about No One Home by Tim Weaver. Tim is one of the panelists on the upcoming First Monday Crime and I was lucky enough to get to read his latest book in the David Raker series. Before I get to reviewing though, here is all of the important FMC info you need to know!

The where and the when:

June 3rd, 2018

6:30 pm

College Building, Room A130

City University London

Join us for another killer panel, starring Tim Weaver, Angela Clarke, Doug Johnstones and Peter Hanington.

Click the link below to order your tickets:

Reserve Your Free Seat

AND, if that weren’t enough, stay for the Summer special – find the perfect book for your holiday with the Big Summer Book Blind Date!

The holiday is booked, the swimming costume is packed, but the big question still remains: who are you bringing with you?

No, not family (sadly you can’t escape them) – we mean what’s your go-to summer read? Big ones, small ones, fast ones, slow ones: there are so many fantastic thrillers and mysteries out there, how can you choose just one?

This year, to make life easier for us, we have some brilliant authors coming to tell us all about their books, and explain why they’re the one you should be sneaking into your suitcase.

Yes, back by popular demand, it’s First Monday’s SUMMER BLIND BOOK DATE

The who:

Tim Weaver – ‘No One Home’

Tim Weaver is the Sunday Times bestselling author of ten thrillers, including I Am Missing and You Were Gone. Weaver has been nominated for a National Book Award, selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, and shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library award. He is also the host and producer of the chart-topping Missing podcast, which features experts in the field discussing missing persons investigations from every angle. A former journalist and magazine editor, he lives near Bath with his wife and daughter.

Angela Clarke – ‘On My Life’

Angela Clarke is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Social Media Murders series. Her debut Follow Me was named Amazon’s Rising Star Debut of the Month, longlisted for the CWA’s Dagger in the Library, and shortlisted for the Good Reader Page Turner Award. Angela has appeared on CBS Reality’s Written In Blood, on stage for BBC Edinburgh Fringe and on BBC News 24’s Ouch comedy special Tales From the Misunderstood, at Noirwich, Camp Bestival, Panic! (in partnership with the Barbican, Goldsmiths University and the Guardian), at City University, at HM Prisons, and she hosts BBC 3 Counties Tales From Your Life, and the Womens’ Radio Station Three Books show. She won the Young Stationers’ Prize 2015 for achievement and promise in writing. A sufferer of EDS III, Angela is passionate about bringing marginalised voices into publishing. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Doug Johnstone – ‘Breakers’

Doug Johnstone is an author, journalist and musician based in Edinburgh. He’s had eight novels published, most recently Crash Land. His previous novel, The Jump, was a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his other novels have been award winners and bestsellers, and he’s had short stories published in numerous anthologies and literary magazines. His work has been praised by the likes of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Irvine Welsh. Several of his novels have been optioned for film and television. Doug is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow. He’s worked as an RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University, taught creative writing at Strathclyde University and William Purves Funeral Directors. He mentors and assesses manuscripts for The Literary Consultancy and regularly tutors at Moniack Mhor writing retreat. Doug has released seven albums in various bands, and is the drummer for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He also reviews books for The Big Issue magazine, is player-manager for Scotland Writers Football Club and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

Peter Hanington – ‘A Single Source’

Peter Hanington is the author of A Dying Breed and A Single Source. He has worked as a journalist for over twenty-five years, including fourteen years at the Today Programme and more recently The World Tonight and Newshour on the BBC World Service. He lives in London with his wife and has two grown-up children.

No One Home by Tim Weaver~Review:

No One Home is the tenth book in the David Raker series, and I’ll be the first to hold my hand up and say I’ve only read book one. BUT that in no way stopped me from following the story or picking up on Raker’s backstory, it actually made me eager to read the previous books in the series because I enjoyed this one so much.

The book focuses on a small village called Black Gale, and a missing persons case. Raker is called in to investigate the disappearance of four households. The occupants literally disappear overnight with no trace, and the families are trying to find out what happened and where they went on that fateful night.

What follows is a taut, absorbing and thoroughly gripping story that reaches as far back as 1980’s America. I loved the timelines, past and present. I was completely sucked into the lives of the characters and the narrative as a whole.

Complex, dark and tense, No One Home is one of those books that keeps you guessing. It keeps you turning the pages as you become more and more desperate to find out just what happened that night in Black Gale.

No One Home also manages to deliver an emotional gut-punch. It was completely unexpected to feel that level of emotion, but it was pitch perfect in terms of how it all played out.

Highly recommended!


First Monday Crime May 2019 Spotlight- Hunting Evil by Chris Carter

Hey guys,

Today I’m shouting out about May’s forthcoming First Monday Crime Panel with a review for Chris Carter’s newest book, Hunting Evil. First though, here’s all the info you need to know about the May 2019 FM panel! And can I just say, what a panel it is!!!!

About the panel:

May Panelists (it’s a Tuesday!)

Reserve your seat for May 7th here

Mark Billingham – ‘Their Little Secret’

Mark Billingham is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and popular crime writers. A former actor, television writer and stand-up comedian, his series of novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne has twice won him the Crime Novel Of The Year Award as well as the Sherlock Award for Best British Detective and been nominated for seven CWA Daggers. His standalone thriller IN THE DARK was chosen as one of the twelve best books of the year by the Times and his debut novel, SLEEPYHEAD was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade. Each of his novels has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. 

A television series based on the Thorne novels was screened in Autumn 2010, starring David Morrissey as Tom Thorne and a BBC series based on the standalone thrillers IN THE DARK and TIME OF DEATH was shown in 2017.

Mark is also a member of Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers. Performing alongside Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville, Doug Johnstone and Luca Veste, this band of frustrated rockers murders songs for fun at literary festivals worldwide.

Chris Carter – ‘Hunting Evil’

I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.

I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years, during which I interviewed and worked on over one hundred cases involving serial killers, murderers and serious offenders, before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.

A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full time writer.

Deborah O’Connor – ‘The Dangerous Kind’

Deborah O’Connor read English at Newnham College, Cambridge before going on to become a television producer. Having worked on everything from The Big Breakfast to Big Brother she produced the BAFTA award-winning poetry documentary Off By Heart and is currently the head of factual development at TV production company, CPL. 

Born and bred in the North-East of England, she now lives in East London with her husband and three-year-old daughter.

Vanda Symon – ‘The Ringmaster’

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has hit number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

Hunting Evil by Chris Carter

‘Every story one day comes to an end.’
As roommates, they met for the first time in college. Two of the brightest minds ever to graduate from Stamford Psychology University.
As adversaries, they met again in Quantico, Virginia. Robert Hunter had become the head of the LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit. Lucien Folter had become the most prolific and dangerous serial killer the FBI had ever encountered.

Now, after spending three and a half years locked in solitary confinement, Lucien has finally managed to break free. And he’s angry.

For the past three and a half years, Lucien has thought of nothing else but vengeance.
The person responsible for locking him away has to pay, he has to suffer.
That person … is Robert Hunter.
And now it is finally time to execute the plan.

Click the link below to order your copy:

Hunting Evil by Chris Carter

My thoughts:

I have been a huge fan of Chris Carter ever since I read The Crucifix Killer, so after working my way through the entire series, I was super excited to be able to read Hunting Evil and its safe to say I was NOT disappointed.

In Hunting Evil, Carter brings back one of the most cunning antagonists I’ve ever read, Lucien Folter. I’m not ashamed to say I love a good villain, and Folter is the epitome of a villain. He is devious, scary, patient and thoroughly twisted in his methods and I AM HERE FOR IT!

That being said, I have a soft spot for Robert Hunter, so I spent the entire book holding my breath as Hunter and Garcia worked towards trying to corner Lucien. Vengeance is key for Lucien, so its safe to say that othing is what it seems with him here. Every move, every action has a consequence for those involved. It truly was a nail-biting read.

Hunting Evil is Chris Carter at his best. It is tense, dark, gruesome and gripping in equal measure. I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

Highly recommended for sure!

In case you need it again, here’s the link to grab your free ticket to the FIRST MONDAY CRIME PANEL MAY 7TH 2019:

Reserve your seat by clicking here!


First Monday Crime (April 9th) Spotlight: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Hi everyone,

It’s nearly time for the April First Monday Crime event and I’m sharing my review for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.

On April 9th, some amazing crime writers will be doing the First Monday Crime night and you can reserve your free seat by clicking the link below to be taken to the First Monday website:

First Monday Crime- Reserve your place here!

Check out who is taking part in this event:

(Info from

John Connolly- ‘The Woman in the Woods’

John Connolly was born in Dublin in 1968. His debut novel, Every Dead Thing, immediately launched him into the front rank of mystery thriller writers, and each of his subsequent novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers. His crime anthology, Books to Die For, edited with Declan Burke was the winner of the 2013 Anthony, Agatha and the Macavity Awards for Best Non-fiction. He was the first non-American writer to win the US Shamus award, the first Irish writer to be awarded the Edgar by the Mystery Writers of America. In 2016 he won the CWA Short Story Dagger with history; ‘On the Anatomization of an Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier’ from Night Music: Nocturnes Vol 2.


Rachel Abbott- ‘Come A Little Closer’

Rachel Abbott, born and raised in Manchester, founded her own

interactive media company in the 1980s, before selling it and retiring

in 2005. She then moved to Italy where she worked on the

renovation of a 15th century Italian monastery, and it was here that,

one day, she found herself snowed in and decided to begin writing

for pleasure. This became her debut novel Only The Innocent, which

she went on to publish via Kindle Direct Publishing, topping their

chart for 4 weeks.


Stuart Turton- ‘The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle’

Stuart Turton is a freelance travel journalist who has previously worked in Shanghai and Dubai. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is his debut novel. TV rights have been optioned by House Productions. Stuart is the winner of the Brighton and Hove Short Story Prize and was longlisted for the BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition. He lives in West London with his wife. @Stu_Turton


Leigh Russell- ‘Class Murder’

Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi and Class Murder. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.


Barry Forshaw- Moderator

Our Moderator for the evening will be Barry Forshaw, one of the UK’s leading experts on crime fiction and film. Barry’s ooks include Brit Noir, Nordic Noir,Detective: Crime Uncovered, Sex and Film and The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction. Other work: Death in a Cold Climate, British Gothic Cinema, Euro Noir and the Keating Award-winning British Crime Writing encyclopedia. He broadcasts, and edits Crime Time (

About the book:


‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

Click HERE to order your copy now!

My thoughts:

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book to review, and even luckier to buddy read it with some friends. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is the perfect book to do that with, as you can share your thoughts and theories and its fun to see who can figure out some stuff along the way.

I enjoyed reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It is a time-travelling murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. Its concept is very well-thought out and it is unlike anything I have ever read. There is an interesting mix of characters as well, some are brutish and divisive, and others you can’t help but feel a bit sorry for them at times.

This book has been likened to Cluedo, Inception and many more mind-bending things, ad I can definitely see why. My own mind was melted trying to figure out who was who and what was going on. But that was part of the fun, because nothing is what it seems with this one. Just when I thought I had something unravelled, the author tied my brain in knots again!

Clever, innovative and immersive, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a very complex debut.

Recommended for sure!

If you want to see Stuart Turton, along with the other fab authors in this line-up, make sure to click the link below to reserve your place! 

Reserve your seat here!


First Monday Crime March 5th 2018

It’s nearly time for the March First Monday Crime event and I’m resharing my review for Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan who will be taking part in this one!

On March 5, some amazing crime writers will be doing the First Monday Crime night and you can reserve your free seat by clicking the link below to be taken to the First Monday website:

First Monday Crime-Reserve your tickets here!

In attendance for the March Panel:

Jake Kerridge- Moderator

Moderator for the evening, Jake Kerridge, writes on arts and books for a number of publications and takes an unhealthy interest in violence and murder as the Telegraph’s crime fiction critic.

Elly Griffiths- ‘The Dark Angel’

Elly Griffiths was born in London. The inspiration for her books about forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway came from her husband who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist. Elly lives near Brighton but often spends holidays on the wild Norfolk coast. She has two children and a cat. The Dark Angel is the tenth in the Ruth Galloway series

Sarah Vaughan- ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’

Anatomy of a Scandal combines Sarah Vaughan’s experiences as a news reporter and political correspondent on the Guardian with her time as a student reading English at Brasenose College, Oxford, in the Nineties. Published in the UK, US, Australia, NZ, Canada and South Africa, it will be translated into 17 languages throughout 2018 and 2019. 

Anatomy of a Scandal is her third novel, her first courtroom drama/psychological thriller and her first book for Simon & Schuster. Married with two children, she lives just outside Cambridge and is currently finishing her fourth novel.

Matthew Blakstad- ‘Lucky Ghost’

Matthew Blakstad  writes pacy, character-driven fiction that explores the impact of technology on how we live and who we are. His first published story, Fallen Angel, a 100-page micro-thriller, came out in May 2016, followed by Sockpuppet, his first full-length novel. His second novel, Lucky Ghost, came out in July 2017. All three books are part of the Martingale Cycle, a series of standalone stories gravitating around a fictional computing pioneer and political radical called Elyse Martingale. 

Stav Sherez- ‘The Intrusions’

Stav Sherez is a British novelist whose first novel, The Devil’s Playground, was published in 2004 by Penguin Books and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger. Sherez attended Latymer Upper School and the University of Leeds. His latest work, The Intrusions, is a Sunday Times and Guardian Book of the Year.

My review for Anatomy of a Scandal:


Anatomy of a Scandal is one of “those books”. The kind where ‘just one more chapter’ turns into ‘oops, I’ve read the whole book’! Well that’s what it was for me anyway. I read the whole thing in just a couple of sittings.

I had been saving it until closer to publication to read, but I jumped at the chance to take part in the blog tour as it meant I could it sooner, and I am so glad I did!

Anatomy of a Scandal is a compelling and timely tale, full of secrets and lies. I found it difficult to see where it was going st times, and the subject matter i very dark. But Sarah Vaughan writes with honest and sensitivity that it ends up being a very cleverly woven tale.

The blurb is fairly self-explanatory, if a bit vague. So, in that vein, I’m keeping my review a bit vague too. I’d be afraid to give away any of the subtle nuances that are so intricately written into Anatomy of a Scandal.

The characterisation is excellent in this book. The reader will find themselves too-ing and fro-ing between the characters as much as the actual characters themselves. The plot is well-executed and compelling. It is not fast paced, but it tips along nicely from start to finish. It definitely kept me enthralled.

I think if you like character-driven books, moral dilemmas and their resolutions, then Anatomy of a Scandal should most certainly be added to your 2018 list.

Highly recommended!



First Monday Crime is coming…

It’s nearly time for the December First Monday Crime event and I’ve got a little snapshot of some of the participants!

On December 4th, some amazing crime writers will be doing the First Monday Crime night and you can reserve your free seat by clicking the link below to be taken to the First Monday website:

First Monday Crime- Reserve your seat!

There’s also some fun stuff going on, take a look at the details from their site:

December 4, 2017

6:30 pm

City University, College Building, A130


Our event this month is a real holiday treat! Not only do we have a cracking panel- Louise Jensen, Chris Whitaker, Susi Holliday, Mel McGrath, moderated by the lovely Claire McGowan, but wine will be graciously sponsored by No Exit Press.


As an extra festive bonus, some of the finest crime fiction authors in the WORLD are going to pitch their cherished dream projects to you, the audience. A panel of experts, with savage wit and repartee, will be there to add commentary, but YOU decide who the winner is! There will be tears, laughter and possibly dinosaur detectives.


This part of the event will be crafted under the careful and caring gaze of MC Howard Linskey, Rod Reynolds, Abir Mukherjee, Cass Green, Leye Adenle, Susi Holliday, Derek Farrell, Lisa Cutts, Chris Whitaker, Mason Cross, Neil White and James Carol as they vie for the ultimate prize: the coveted title of First Monday Pitch an Audience Champion 2017.


And don’t forget about our Secret Santa Book Exchange. Bring a book (pre-loved is fine!) wrapped in tissue/news/wrapping paper and get a book in return!

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city.His debut novel, Tall Oaks, won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger. Chris’s second novel, All The Wicked Girls, was published in August 2017. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons.

Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker

Tall Oaks

I had Tall Oaks on my TBR for far too long so it was another book I picked to read this summer and I’m just sorry I left it so long. It is a taut and emotive story, with such a great cast of characters that I was sucked in immediately when I started reading it. I couldn’t put it down until the very end and its safe to say I was put through the emotional wringer by the end. Highly recommended!

Louise Jensen

Louise Jensen is the bestselling author of the psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift and The Surrogate and is a repeat holder of the No. 1 spot in the UK and Canadian charts as well as being a USA Today bestseller. To date Louise has sold over 800,000 books and her novels have been sold for translation in sixteen territories. Louise was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. The Surrogate is Louise’s recently released third novel about how far we’d go to create that perfect family.

Louise J.jpg

Another interesting psychological thriller, The Sister is perfect if you want twists and turns aplenty and you love an engaging past/present storyline!

MJ McGrath

Melanie McGrath is an Essex girl, cofounder of Killer Women, and an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction. As MJ McGrath she writes the acclaimed Edie Kiglatuk series of Arctic mysteries, White Heat, The Boy in the Snow and The Boneseeker, twice longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and picked as Times and Financial Times thrillers of the year. As Melanie McGrath she wrote the critically acclaimed and bestselling family memoir Silvertown. As Mel McGrath she is the author of her recent psychological thriller Give Me The Child. The New York Times called her ‘wickedly talented.’


I devoured this book when I read it. There was something very compulsive about Give Me The Child, almost like you know something bad is about to happen but you cant look away. That’s how I felt when I was reading it anyway!

Is it just me, or are kids possibly one of the creepiest plot devices in books lately?! I don’t know about you guys, but the mere mention of a quiet or distant child in a book sets of all of the warning bells in my head and I want to put the book in the freezer. I have two of my own, so it freaks me out to read about children in books these days.

Anyway, I digress. Give Me The Child is an interesting take on the psych thriller genre. The main character,  Cat, is a child psychologist researching psychopathic indicators (!!!!) in young vulnerable children, which in itself is tough enough. Add to that the arrival of Ruby Winter, tension at home and you’ve got more than enough to keep the reader interested to see where the story will go.

Highly recommended!

So there you have it. A little snapshot from just some of the fab authors who will be at First Monday Crime next week. That link again, in case you need it, is below:

First Monday Crime- Reserve Your Seat!

Books First Monday Review

First Monday Crime Spotlight~ Vaseem Khan & Elodie Harper

Hi all,

So First Monday Crime is almost upon us again. Sadly, I have yet to make the pilgrimage to the UK for these events, but I have the pleasure of getting to shine a spotlight on a couple of the talented authors participating in next weeks First Monday!

If you want to go along on November 6th, just click the link below to be taken to the First Monday website where you can reserve your tickets to see Stuart McBride, Vaseem Khan, Elodie Harper, Simon Booker and moderator Barry Forshaw!

First Monday Crime Nov 6th 2017- Reserve your tickets HERE!

Make sure to check them out over on Twitter @1stMondayCrime to get up to the minute news on First Monday!

I had the pleasure of reading Vaseem Khan and Elodie Harper’s books for this post, and I’ve got a couple of mini-reviews for them too so you can get a flavour of what to expect!


Vaseem first saw an elephant lumbering down the middle of the road in 1997 when he arrived in India to work as a management consultant. It was the most unusual sight he had ever encountered and served as the inspiration for the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series. The first book in the series, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, was a Times bestseller, a Waterstones’ paperback of the year, and an Amazon Best Debut. The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown, the second in the series, was published in May 2016, and the third, The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star came out in May 2017. Vaseem returned to the UK in 2006 and has since worked at University College London for the Department of Security and Crime Science. Elephants are third on his list of passions, first and second being great literature and cricket, not always in that order.

For more information about the world of the series please visit where you can also keep abreast of Vaseem’s latest goings-on, competitions, events, and extracts from upcoming books via The Reading Elephant Book Club.

Check out his website at:

Although this is the second book in the Baby Ganesh Detecive Agency series, it can easily be read as a standalone book! In The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown, Chopra is tasked with finding out who stole the Koh-i-Noor diamond from the Crown Jewels, which were on display in Mumbai. Chopra himself was present at the time of the theft as he and his wife were attending the exhibition. Needless to say he is a little put out that it happened right under his nose!

I really enjoyed this book. Its got a very cosy crime feel to it, as its not gruesome or gory, but there is still plenty going on in the book to keep the reader interested. I loved the location descriptions as it painted a very vivid picture and it made it a much richer read. The characters are well-developed, and with the added bonus of a super cute baby elephant, it made it quite an unusual book!

I am definitely going to be reading the other books in the series (The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra and The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star) as it is such a welcome change of pace from my usual choices. Rich in descriptions, interesting characters and a brilliant heist-like plot made it a very engaging read! Recommended for sure! 

Click the link below to pick up your copy:

The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in The Crown by Vaseem Khan



Elodie Harper is a journalist and prize winning short story writer. Her story ‘Wild Swimming’ won the 2016 Bazaar of Bad Dreams short story competition, run by The Guardian and Hodder & Stoughton and judged by Stephen King. She is currently a reporter and presenter at ITV News Anglia, and before that worked as a producer for Channel 4 News.

Dr Janet Palmer is the new lead psychologist at HMP Halvergate in a remote, bleak area of Norfolk. At first, she was excited by the promotion. Then she starts to see how many secrets are hiding behind the high walls.

A string of inmates have committed suicide, leaving no reasons why, and her predecessor has disappeared – along with his notes. The staff are hostile, the threat of violence is ever-present, and there are rumours of an eyeless woman stalking the corridors, punishing the inmates for their sins.

Janet is determined to find out what is really going on. But the longer she stays and the deeper she digs, the more uncertain she feels.

Halvergate is haunted by something. But it may be a terror worse than ghosts.

The Binding Song is a creepy, gothic book that creates a sense of foreboding from the very beginning and doesn’t let up until the final pages. Dr Janet Palmer is the new psychologist at Halvergate Prison and it is clear from her first day that there is something sinister going on in the prison, and she wants to know why.

I don’t want to say much more about the story because the author has done a great job of creating a level of tension and suspense that she keeps up until the final pages. The characters are well-written, divisive and in some parts, downright chilling.  The plot is tightly woven and interspersed with pieces from  Janet’s past, all of this lends itself very well to the gothic vibe running through the book. I found myself feeling apprehensive to turn the pages more than once because I was afraid of what I would read. I was creeped out more than once reading The Binding Song.

An elegant, gothic and sinister debut, The Binding Song is a great example of a psychological thriller and definitely one to add to your reading lists! 

Click the link below to grab your copy:

The Binding Song by Elodie Harper


So, there you have it! Two great books to check out! Remember, if you want to head to First Monday Crime on November 6th, click the link below to reserve your tickets now!

First Monday Crime Nov 6th 2017- Reserve Your Tickets HERE!



First Monday Crime Spotlight on: Julia Crouch

Hello fellow crime lovers,

It’s nearly time for the monthly First Monday Crime event run by Goldsboro Books, and I get to share my Q&A with one of the panelists, Julia Crouch. You can catch that further down in the post.

Here’s all of the information on website for the panelists for the forthcoming First Monday Crime event taking place on March 6th:

The brilliant Erin Kelly will be telling us all about her belter of a novel He Said/She Said and then former RSPCA officer Daniel Cole – who has well and truly let the dogs out with Ragdoll, a novel so enticing it’s being published in 35 countries – will be revealing all. Did we mention the wonderful Julia Crouch and her chilling new novel: Her Husband’s Lover? She’ll be with us and you won’t want to miss her, nor MJ Arlidge who will be in one of our hot seats, talking about Hide and Seek – the sixth in the awesome DI Helen Grace series. It’s going to be a tough job to keep that lot in line but Barry Forshaw – aka “Mister Noir” – will be making sure our fabulous four sparkle and entertain.

First Monday Crime will be taking place in Browns – The Judges Court (82-84 St Martins Lane London, WC2n 4AG United Kingdom) from 6.30-7.30pm.

Buy your First Monday Crime tickets by clicking HERE!

About Julia Crouch:

Julia Crouch grew up in Cambridge and studied Drama at Bristol University. She spent ten years working as a theatre director and playwright, then, after a spell of teaching, she somehow became a successful graphic and website designer, a career she followed for another decade while raising her three children. An MA in sequential illustration re-awoke her love of narrative and a couple of Open University creative writing courses brought it to the fore.

Cuckoo, her first novel, emerged as a very rough draft during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2008. A year’s editing got it ready for submission to an agent and within a couple of months she had a book deal with Headline and had given up the day job.

Every Vow You Break, her second novel, was published in March 2012, Tarnished, her third, came out in 2013, followed by Every Vow You Break in 2014 and Her Husband’s Lover in 2017. She is also published in Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Brazil and China.

Unable to find a sub-genre of crime writing that neatly described her work, she came up with the term Domestic Noir, which is now widely accepted as the label for one of the most popular crime genres today. She has even written a foreword to a book of academic essays on the subject.

She works in a shed at the bottom of the Brighton house she shares with her husband, the actor and playwright Tim Crouch, their three children, two cats called Keith and Sandra, and about twelve guitars (you can find #Keith, who has his own hashtag, on twitter). She is a self-confessed geek and fights a daily battle to resist tinkering with the code on her website, which can be found at


Q&A with Julia Crouch:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Brighton with my husband and seventeen-year-old son, Joey. Owen, our twenty-five-year-old musician son spends about half the week with us, and Nel, our twenty-seven-year-old theatre director daughter lives in Cambridge (which is, weirdly, where I grew up). We have two cats – Keith and Sandra – who provide comfort to me as my nest empties. I have a degree in Drama and an MA in Sequential Illustration. I was once on MasterChef.

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

I always rather fancied the idea of being a writer, but I didn’t really think I had it in me to actually write. In my twenties I wrote plays, but these were mostly devised in rehearsal with actors – I was more a director/editor, really. When I had the children, I retrained and worked as a graphic/website designer for many years, until my youngest started school and I had a bit more free time. Just out of interest, I took on a couple of OU creative writing courses, and it just sort of grew from there. When I got my first book deal, I was the first published novelist I knew.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

It takes a while! I’ve always got my eyes and ears open for odd stories, events, characters and places. So many details go into a novel – everything is useful. When I’m getting more specific about pinning a project down, I start with a ‘what if?’ question, then turn it over for a while. If I decide it has legs, a setting and characters will emerge, and then I’ll start thinking the story over

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

Dark, twisted and twisting, with a strong sense of place.

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

Most definitely. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook are great at getting stuff out there; if you are one of those writers who refuse to engage, then you will lose out. But you won’t get far if you only use the platforms to sell your books. People suss that one out very quickly and turn off. The key is to engage and connect with others, let your personality out a bit. Loads of writers do this very well – we sit on our own most of the time, and words are our chosen form of communication, so it kind of follows. Social media can also be a great source of support. I’m a member of a couple of closed writers’ groups, where we can let off steam, share concerns, knowledge, contacts and networks. Of course, it’s entirely possible to spend far too much time on the online engaging and connecting, so I do employ an internet blocker when I need to actually get some proper work done.

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


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


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

I don’t want to sound churlish, but I truly believe in just concentrating on making the book I’m working on the best it possibly can be. Who knows what the future holds? If I can still be making a reasonable living from writing, I’ll be really, really happy. Of course, a massive blockbuster and a Hollywood movie wouldn’t go amiss…

What’s next for you?

I’m have several projects in various stages of development: a Young Adult trilogy about a young woman looking for goodness in a fractured world, an international thriller with a kick-ass 45-year-old mother looking for her disappeared grown up son, and two domestic noir novels – one, about a group of friends renovating an old building in Puglia, Italy that may or may not be haunted, the other about an online community network page that gets out of hand and spills over into real life.

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

I read all the time. I don’t think you can be any kind of writer unless you do so. Apart from writing, the best thing about being an author is all the free books that are sent to me. I am seriously considering building some more walls in my house because I have run out of shelf space. I love psychological thrillers by people like Erin Kelly, Sabine Durrant, Alex Marwood; modern American novels by people like A M Homes, Anita Shreve, Donna Tartt and Jonathan Franzen. I have read great swathes through the Victorians like the Brontes, Hardy, Dickens and George Eliot

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

It really depends what mood I’m in, and what I’m thinking about for my current work in progress, but my top five right now are:

The Secret History (Donna Tartt),

Notes on a Scandal (Zoe Heller)

Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

The Prodigal Summer (Barbara Kingsolver)

Station Eleven (Emily St John Mandel

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

Loads! Most recently, Lie with Me by Sabine Durrant. I read Something Might Happen by Julie Myerson a long time ago, before I wrote Cuckoo, and I remember feeling really strongly that I wanted to write a book just like it – that was what me really going as a writer, I think.

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

Reading, cooking, running Brighton Half Marathon next weekend – eek!), walking, mountain biking and yoga. Hanging out with friends and family – my favourite thing is wine and Doritos round the kitchen table with my husband and kids.  I love the cinema and theatre – I go quite a lot because of it being, almost disease-like, in the family.

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

Apart from the above, I love to travel. My husband is a playwright and actor who tours his work all over the world. Due to the children growing up, I increasingly get chances to go with him. Wife on tour is the most fantastic job in the world, particularly as I can combine it with my day job, and write while he is on stage/doing interviews etc.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Greece. If the blockbuster ever happened, I’d buy a little house by the sea on a quiet island and spend as much time there as possible, with everyone coming to visit. I have family there, and my middle son’s girlfriend is Greek, so it’s not an entirely impossible ambition.

Favourite food?

A really good plate of spicy Mexican taquitos including fresh and zingy guacamole. Or, when I need comfort, a really good pizza, ideally eaten in Naples.

Favourite drink?

Our corner shop does this amazing organic Cabernet Sauvignon that tastes like chocolate (we live in Brighton, so corner shops are like that). That, please. Or, before 6pm, my constant companion is a giant Sports Direct mug full of tea. I’m dead classy, me.

About Her Husband’s Lover:

She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life.

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start.
Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died.
Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.
But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie.
And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.
Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?


Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch is out now and you can get your copy by clicking HERE!

Huge thanks to Julia Crouch for answering my questions! 🙂

Books Q&A

First Monday Crime Spotlight: Erin Kelly Q&A

Hello fellow crime lovers,

It’s nearly time for the monthly First Monday Crime event run by Goldsboro Books, and I get to share my first First Monday Q&A with one of the panelists, Erin Kelly. You can catch that further down in the post.

Here’s all of the information on website for the panelists for the forthcoming First Monday Crime event taking place on March 6th:

The brilliant Erin Kelly will be telling us all about her belter of a novel He Said/She Said and then former RSPCA officer Daniel Cole – who has well and truly let the dogs out with Ragdoll, a novel so enticing it’s being published in 35 countries – will be revealing all. Did we mention the wonderful Julia Crouch and her chilling new novel: Her Husband’s Lover? She’ll be with us and you won’t want to miss her, nor MJ Arlidge who will be in one of our hot seats, talking about Hide and Seek – the sixth in the awesome DI Helen Grace series. It’s going to be a tough job to keep that lot in line but Barry Forshaw – aka “Mister Noir” – will be making sure our fabulous four sparkle and entertain.

First Monday Crime will be taking place in Browns – The Judges Court (82-84 St Martins Lane London, WC2n 4AG United Kingdom) from 6.30-7.30pm.

Buy your First Monday Crime tickets by clicking HERE!

About Erin Kelly (via author website):

I am the author of the critically acclaimed psychological thrillers The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose and The Burning Air. In 2013, The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama starring MyAnna Buring, Matthew Goode and Ophelia Lovibond. It was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2011, and was longlisted for the 2011 CWA John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger Award. The novel has been translated into eleven languages.

I was born in London in 1976 and grew up in Essex. I read English at Warwick University and have been working as a journalist since 1998, writing for newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Express and The Mirror, and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire and Elle. I continue to write about health, lifestyle, women’s issues and parenting.

I live in north London with my husband and daughters.

About He Said/ She Said:


In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden… something she never could have guessed.

Out in April, click HERE to pre-order your copy!

Q & A with Erin Kelly

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in London with my husband and two daughters. After I left university I was a journalist for years, writing for women’s magazines. I’ve been writing fiction for a decade now and I also teach creative writing.


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

I can’t remember a time I didn’t know this would be my career. I never had a plan B. Being a journalist helped as I was used to earning my living from words.


Where do you get your inspiration from?

If you need to ask, you wouldn’t understand.


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

I’ve written six psychological thrillers, and also wrote the novelization of Broadchurch. They’re quite literary and gothic. I love stories about long-buried past incidents that come back and haunt people just when they think they’ve got away with it. My biggest influences are Daphne du Maurier, Barbara Vine, and Patricia Highsmith.


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

Up to a point, but you have to be careful not to spend too much time online. It fries your brain.  


What’s your favourite thing about being an author?

The work. I genuinely love spending hours on my own in my imagination.


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

The RSI. Seven hours a day at a desk is not good for you.


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

I’d like to keep writing books I’m proud of, and maybe branch into screenwriting too.


What’s next for you?

I’m writing another psychological thriller, about a Victorian asylum.


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

Yes! I still read a couple of books a week; fiction in all genres, and I’m increasingly drawn to memoir and non-fiction. I get sent a lot of psychological thrillers but the more I write them, the less inclined I am to read them; it feels too much like work. My favourite recent books have been Instrumental by James Rhodes and The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry.


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

It would be more like a top 100 but here are a few from that list: The Secret History by Donna Tartt, A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine, Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, On Beauty by Zadie Smith.


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

All of the above!


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

Slumped motionless in front of Netflix.


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

I like to go running to clear my head.


What’s your favourite holiday destination?



Favourite food?



Favourite drink?


Huge thanks to Erin Kelly for taking the time to answer my questions! 🙂

Books First Monday

*First Monday Crime* Spotlight on Alex Marwood

Hi everyone,

Next Monday (December 5th), Goldsboro Books First Monday Crime *Christmas Cracker* is taking place in Browns – The Judges Court from 6.30 to 8.30 in the evening. The line up includes Mark “Dasher” Billingham, Yrsa “Dancer” Sigurdardottir, Alex “Prancer” Marwood, Paula “Vixen” Daly, Daniel “Donner” Pembrey and Corrie “Blitzen” Jackson are going to be in harness and event chair, Barry “Bad Santa” Forshaw at the helm of this sleighful of authors!

Tickets to see Bad Santa and his criminally good reindeer are available, as always, from Goldsboro Books for £7. At the time of writing this, the tickets are sold out but you can click HERE to find all the relevant information!

I’m shining the spotlight in “Prancer” aka Alex Marwood today and re-sharing my review for The Darkest Secret which I reviewed way back in January!

About the book:
When three-year-old identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.
But what really happened to Coco during her father’s 50th birthday weekend?

Set across two weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second, at the funeral of Coco’s father, where at last, the darkest of secrets will be revealed…

Click HERE


About the author:

Alex Marwood is the pseudonym of a journalist who has worked extensively across the British press. She is the author of the word-of-mouth sensation The Wicked Girls, which won a prestigious Edgar Award and The Killer Next Door, which won the coveted Macavity Award. She has also been shortlisted for numerous other crime writing awards and her first two novels have been optioned for the screen. Alex lives in south London.


My thoughts:

I don’t know where to start with this review. First off, I read this book in about four sittings over two days, which in itself is a good sign. I just feel a little unsure about it though.

It took me a while to get into the authors style of writing, as well as the chronology as it switched between characters and years which was confusing to me for the first quarter of the book.

The characters in The Darkest Secret are some of the most hate-inducing people I’ve read about in a while. Egotistical, narcissistic and scathing are just some of the words I would use to describe them. The only characters I actually felt any emotion for were Camilla and Ruby, two of Sean’s daughters. Sean being Coco’s dad and Ruby being her twin sister. Mila is one of his daughters from a previous marriage.

By telling the story of Coco’s disappearance, and Sean’s death years later, in alternating chapters, the reader gets to see the characters better and gauge how they have changed over the years.

This review is a bit disjointed as I don’t want to go into any detail about the plot. It’s hard to get some of my points across without revealing things the author skilfully reveals in the course of the novel.

The way Marwood has written this book, it unfurls slowly, like an animal stalking prey. It is definitely a great book, there’s no denying that fact. It left me feeling uncomfortable, angry, shocked and saddened in equal measure. Not many books evoke these sorts of feelings in me, I think that’s why I find this review hard to write. There’s a lot I want to say, but I can’t without spoiling some of the twists and turns.

Sufficed to say, Alex Marwood has the perfectly crafted novel, despicable characters written alongside innocent children, and the events that bring their worlds crumbling down around them.


Books Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up November 6th

Hi everyone,

So I’m still in a bit of a reading slump and it’s going on for a week now! I have managed to read 2 books this week, but it was hard work to do it!

I don’t have much bookish news either, it’s been pretty quiet chez Bibliophile so I’m going to keep this relatively short! Here’s what you may have missed out on this week:

Daniel Pembrey and Susi Holliday in Conversation…


What Alice Knew by T. A. Cotterell

First Monday Crime: Spotlight on… Adam Hamdy


*Blog Tour* The Bone Collection by @KathyReichs


October Book Haul


*Blog Tour* Crash Land by Doug Johnstone



Before It’s Too Late by Jane Isaac

So that’s been my week! Next week I’ve got the Beneath the Ashes blog tour, My Sister’s Bones blog tour and part one of the Finnish Invasion tour with The Exiled towards the end of the week! 🙂

Hope you’ve all had a good week!