Cragside: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 6)


*Many thanks to LJ Ross for my review copy!*

About the book:

Are you afraid of the dark..?

After his climactic battle with notorious serial killer The Hacker, DCI Ryan is spending the summer with his fiancée within the grounds of Cragside, a spectacular Bavarian-style mansion surrounded by acres of woodland. When they are invited to attend the staff summer party – a Victorian murder mystery evening – it’s all a joke until the lights go out and an elderly man is found dead. It looks like an unfortunate accident but, as the dead man’s life begins to unfold, Ryan and his team of detectives realise that all is not as it appears.

When a second body is found, terror grips the close-knit community and Ryan must uncover the killer who walks among them, before they strike again…

Published TOMORROW, click the link below to pre-order your copy:

Cragside: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 6)

About the author:


L.J. Ross is the author of the international #1 bestselling series of DCI Ryan mystery novels. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and went on to become a Kindle UK #1 bestseller. Its sequels, Sycamore Gap, Heavenfield, Angel and High Force have all been top five bestsellers. The novels are all available to purchase in e-book, paperback and audiobook formats on the Amazon store (the audiobook version of High Force will be released in early 2017). Holy Island is also available in German translation.

Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King’s College, University of London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.

Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Bath. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.


My thoughts:

Cragside is the latest installment in the DCI Ryan series by LJ Ross, and to be honest, these books improve with every new book! LJ Ross is one of the authors whose books I eagerly await, and will ALWAYS buy because I am never let down. And its safe to say Cragside is another winner!

Still reeling from the investigation into The Hacker, when we meet Ryan in Cragside, he and Anna are holed up on a country estate as it was the easiest option until they can find somewhere to live. They are attending a staff party with a murder mystery themed evening in the main house, and that’s where events start to take on a life of their own.

During the course of the evening, and elderly staff member is found dead. What looks like, for all intents and purposes, a tragic accident is quickly upgraded when Ryan and his team begin to investigate a little deeper into the man’s life. When another body is found, things escalate quickly and it’s clear that there is something sinister happening at Cragside.

LJ Ross has a great writing style. In this one especially, there is a Golden Age crime feel to it. The murder mystery along with its setting make it seem almost Agatha Christie-esque in tone which makes it a very cosy read. Now in saying that, there is still an element of gore when discussing the murders, and the tension ramps up increasingly with every chapter.

What I love about these books is the characters. Yes, the plots are always excellent, and the intricacies of the mystery always bamboozle me, but the real heart of this series lies in the characters. I’m not one for fictional crushes, but to be honest, DCI Ryan sounds like he could be the poster boy for tortured heroes everywhere. There is something about how his character is built upon with each book that makes the reader feel more connected to him as the series progresses.

The camaraderie and banter between the investigation team is always so dynamic too. I especially love the relationships (and I am so NOT romantic at all!!!) between Ryan and Anna, and Frank and Denise. Considering all that they have been through recently (I’m not spoiling it by telling you, you’ll have to read the books to find out!) LJ Ross has captured their emotions so well. I’m not going to lie, there were a couple of occasions while reading that I may have had something in my eye… That is testament to the author’s ability to write characters so well though. To make the reader empathise/connect emotionally to characters is difficult, but LJ Ross does it with ease.

Cragside is a thrilling and engrossing read. Another stellar installment in the series. I flew through this one in less than 24 hours. I just couldn’t put it down. And my only complaint… that ending has me more than a little afraid for what’s coming in Dark Skies… but bring it on!!!

Highly, HIGHLY recommended!

Previous reviews for the DCI Ryan series:

Holy Island by LJ Ross

Sycamore Gap by LJ Ross

Heavenfield by LJ Ross

Angel (DCI Ryan 4) by LJ Ross

High Force (DCI Ryan 5) by L. J. Ross

Top 13 Books of 2016…

Hi everyone,

It’s that time of the year again. The time where I draw up this list over and over AND OVER again, trying to whittle down the great books I’ve read into one small one.

As I type this I’m surrounded by 5 or 6 different attempts, and I’ve decided that because 13 is my lucky number, I’m recommending 13 great books from those I have read this year. And for good measure, I’m putting in two books at the end from 2017 that you all need to watch out for!!!

The drawback about listing books, is that I know for a fact I have some absolute standout books from 2016 on my TBR shelves, but I haven’t gotten around to reading them, yet… And also it’s SO hard to choose and not everyone will be happy! But at the end of the day this is personal preference, books that have been great for me. 

This is almost a list of two halves. There is a certain publisher who consistently releases excellent books, so needless to say, they feature heavily. I’ve also got a couple of book series thrown in because I’m not doing two separate posts this year like I did in 2015! If you want to see them, the links are below:

My Top Ten Books & Series of 2015 Part 1!!!

My Top Ten Books & Series of 2015 Part 2!!!

Anyway, as usual, I digress!!!

Onto my TOP 13 BOOKS OF 2016 (in no particular order, with review links under the photos)…


Dodgers by Bill Beverly 

I read this at the right time. It was everything I was looking for, and I absolutely loved it. I still think about East, months later.



The Constant Soldier by William Ryan

This book broke me. I sobbed as I finished it, I just couldn’t comprehend the beauty of this book. It was utterly breathtaking.


Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight took me weeks to read, I just didn’t “get it” immediately, so I left it and came back. I was hooked when I picked it up again. Amazing storytelling, magical prose and a kick-ass heroine, it is a superb starting point for a series.


The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

Menacing book this one! Slow deliberate prose that will make the hairs on your neck stand on end. Unputdownable, gripping and eloquent!


Pendulum by Adam Hamdy

Best action thriller of the year for me I think! Pendulum was fast-paced, cinematic and super fun (not for the characters obvs, but I loved it!).


The Deviants by C J Skuse

Another one that broke me. A YA book so full of heart with great characters. Bawled!!!!


Blackout by Ragnar Jónasson 

This man can do no wrong in my eyes. In my top books last year, and here we are again. Highlight of my year was meeting Ragnar. #epicfangirl

Dead Is Better by Jo Perry

Dead is Best by Jo Perry

These books are all kinds of awesome. Charlie and Rose are dead and they are two of my favourite characters in fiction this year.

Where Roses Never Die cover Vis copy 2

Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen

Another beautiful Scandi crime novel makes the list. This one was special. Well worth reading!

The Defence by Steve Cavanagh

The Plea by Steve Cavanagh

Eddie Flynn is another of my favourite characters this year. Steve Cavanagh writes legal thrillers, and they are just perfection. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment!

Epiphany Jones A/W.indd

Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus

This book! This one. Unexpected, odd, and absolutely wonderful. Read it, you’ll thank me later!

There you have it, my Top 13 Books of 2016. Here are the two I think you all should keep an eye out for in 2017 and that will more than likely be on this list next year for me…


Ragdoll by Daniel Cole 

A PROPER serial killer thriller. Edge of your seat amazing, great characters and a twisted antagonist. What more could you want?


Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

LOVED this one! Haunting and threatening. It freaked me out more than once. Superb writing style, razor sharp. You’ll want to read it!

And so it ends. These books have been my favourites this year, by a mile. They have made me cry (which rarely happens with books!!!!), made me laugh, given me hope and filled me with excitement.

Have you read any of these? Would you? Do let me know in the comments…

My Top 20 ATF Mystery/ Thriller books….

Hi everyone,

Last week I took part in a 4 day event on THE book club on Facebook and I had to list my Top 20 All Time Favourite Mystery and Thriller books. I figured I may as well post the list here, and add links to any I have reviewed on here!

I’ve got the link on the titles to those I have reviewed so you just have to click to be taken to the reviews and I have also written a sentence or two below them all!

In no particular order:

Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes 
When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.
But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.
Until the day the phone rings . . .
~This is the perfect example of a psychological thriller. Gripping and scarily accurate you’ll find it hard to put it down. ~
2- I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.
Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .
~A thoroughly engrossing thriller. Well thought out and with an excellent storyline, this was one of my top reads of 2015.~
Between You and Me by Lisa Hall
They say every marriage has its secrets.

But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.

And sometimes those doors should never be opened …
Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.
~Uncomfortable, twisted and completely absorbing, I loved this one!~
Black Night Falling by Rod Reynolds
‘And now I stood here, on a desolate airfield in the Arkansas wilderness, a stone’s throw from Texarkana. Darkness drawing in on me. Cross country to see a man I never imagined seeing again. On the strength of one desperate telephone call…’
Having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast, reporter Charlie Yates finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it’s less of a story Charlie’s chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it’s too late.
Rod Reynolds’ exceptional second novel picks up just a few months on from The Dark Inside, and once again displays the feel for place, period and atmosphere which marked out his acclaimed debut.
~A sublime example of American crime noir. Black Night Falling was an exceptional and heartfelt mystery with all the elements of a great thriller novel. Highly recommended.~
Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.
Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?
And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?
The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?
~Another supreme example of domestic noir. This book has brilliant and hateful characters that keep you turning the pages until the very end. ~
Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus
Jerry has a traumatic past that leaves him subject to psychotic hallucinations and depressive episodes. When he stands accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh painting, he goes underground, where he develops an unwilling relationship with a woman who believes that the voices she hears are from God. Involuntarily entangled in the illicit world of sex-trafficking among the Hollywood elite, and on a mission to find redemption for a haunting series of events from the past, Jerry is thrust into a genuinely shocking and outrageously funny quest to uncover the truth and atone for historical sins.
~A very out there choice, but one I stand by completely. I fell hard for this one. The characters, the black humour, the sadness and the superb writing won Epiphany Jones a place in my heart.~
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder. This is a modern re-imagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train from the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart.
On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. But their game turns dark when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.”
From there, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they plot Miranda’s demise, but soon these co-conspirators are embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse–one they both cannot survive–with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.
~Absolutely loved this one. Couldn’t put it down once I started. It has everything I look for in a mystery/ thriller novel and for me, it really delivered.~

The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn
Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape… TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough… Haunting, consuming and powerful, The Bird Tribunal is a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless.
~This book is a superb character study. Completely unsettling and chilling in equal measure. I got lost in this book and I couldn’t put it down. A real sense of foreboding runs through it.~
All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.
Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.
As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town – or perhaps lives among them – drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.
~Brilliant unreliable narration with a very real and horrendous crime at its core. Superb writing with an excellent edge to it. Highly recommended. ~
Dodgers by Bill Beverly
Dodgers is a dark, unforgettable coming-of-age journey that recalls the very best of Richard Price, Denis Johnson, and J.D. Salinger. It is the story of a young LA gang member named East, who is sent by his uncle along with some other teenage boys—including East’s hothead younger brother—to kill a key witness hiding out in Wisconsin. The journey takes East out of a city he’s never left and into an America that is entirely alien to him, ultimately forcing him to grapple with his place in the world and decide what kind of man he wants to become.
~Dodgers is just wonderful. It is beautifully written, it is gritty, it is a lesson in the beauty of the American landscape at obscure times of the morning and night. But it’s so much more. A stand out read for me.~
Nightblind by Ragnar Jónasson 
Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him.
The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman – shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will.
Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all. Dark, chilling and complex, Nightblind is an extraordinary thriller from an undeniable new talent.
~I LOVE the Dark Iceland series. Cold, mysterious and full of beautifully written prose, they are an absolute feast for the mind. I cannot recommend them highly enough.~
Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon
Amy Stevenson was the biggest news story of 1995. Only fifteen years old, Amy disappeared walking home from school one day and was found in a coma three days later. Her attacker was never identified and her angelic face was plastered across every paper and nightly news segment.

Fifteen years later, Amy lies in the hospital, surrounded by 90’s Britpop posters, forgotten by the world until reporter Alex Dale stumbles across her while researching a routine story on vegetative patients.

Remembering Amy’s story like it was yesterday, she feels compelled to solve the long-cold case.

The only problem is, Alex is just as lost as Amy—her alcoholism has cost her everything including her marriage and her professional reputation.

In the hopes that finding Amy’s attacker will be her own salvation as well, Alex embarks on a dangerous investigation, suspecting someone close to Amy.

Told in the present by an increasingly fragile Alex and in dream-like flashbacks by Amy as she floats in a fog of memories, dreams, and music from 1995, Try Not to Breathe unfolds layer by layer to a breathtaking conclusion.
~Books like Try Not To Breathe take you on a journey. They make you feel for the characters, and their circumstances. It is effortlessly written, blending Amy’s past,with Alex’s present and weaves the perfect take around the true events of Amy’s attack and subsequent hospitalisation. Really enjoyed this one.~
The Lobster Boy and The Fat Lady’s Daughter.

Mel Barry is a detective like no other and when her step-father, Charlie ‘Lobster Boy’ Koontz is arrested and framed for murder, Mel is his only hope.
Surrounded by freaks of the modern circus, Mel pursues a heartless killer through the darkest heart of the gothic South, only to discover the mysteries of her own shadowy past revealed in blood.

Set on the carnival lot of a South Georgia tobacco town, The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter is a wild Lynch-ian ride through a world that few ‘normal’ people have ever experienced.
~Shining the spotlight on alternative mysteries here. Lobster Boy is a genre bending thriller and I couldn’t love it any more! Odd, quirky and downright brilliant!~
Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Stalesen
September 1977. Mette Misvær, a three-year-old girl, disappears without trace from the sandpit outside her home. Her tiny, close, middle-class community in the tranquil suburb of Nordas is devastated, but their enquiries and the police produce nothing. Curtains twitch, suspicions are raised, but Mette is never found. Almost 25 years later, as the expiry date for the statute of limitations draws near, Mette’s mother approaches PI Varg Veum, in a last, desperate attempt to find out what happened to her daughter. As Veum starts to dig, he uncovers an intricate web of secrets, lies and shocking events that have been methodically concealed. When another brutal incident takes place, a pattern begins to emerge … Chilling, shocking and full of extraordinary twists and turns, Where Roses Never Die reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.
~This Scandinavian thriller is a real treat. Full of mystery and intrigue but with real heart. I may have welled up a little reading it. Haven’t forgotten it.~

The Long Count by J. M. Gulvin
In The Long Count, the first book of JM Gulvin’s masterful new crime series, we meet Ranger John Quarrie as he is called to the scene of an apparent suicide by a fellow war veteran. Although the local police want the case shut down, John Q is convinced that events aren’t quite so straightforward.
When his hunch is backed up by the man’s son, Isaac – just back from Vietnam, and convinced his father was murdered – they start to look into a series of other violent incidents in the area, including a recent fire at the local Trinity Asylum and the disappearance of Isaac’s twin brother, Ishmael. In a desperate race against time, John Q has to try and unravel the dark secrets at the heart of this family and get to the truth before the count is up…
~Loved this one. A proper American thriller. Great characters, and a superb plot line. John Q is one of my favourite characters of late!~
I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork

When a six-year-old girl is found dead, hanging from a tree, the only clue the Oslo Police have to work with is an airline tag around her neck. It reads ‘I’m travelling alone’.

Holger Munch, veteran police investigator, is immediately charged with re-assembling his homicide unit. But to complete the team, he must convince his erstwhile partner, Mia Krüger – a brilliant but troubled investigator – to return from the solitary island where she has retreated with plans to take her own life.
Reviewing the evidence, Mia identifies something no one else has noticed – a thin line carved into the dead girl’s fingernail: the number 1. Instinctively, she knows that this is only the beginning. To save other children from the same fate, she must find a way to cast aside her own demons and confront the most terrifying, cold-hearted serial killer of her career…
~I’m a huge fan of Scandinavian crime so it’s a given that this one is on my list. Loved the story line and the characters were brilliant. I couldn’t put it down. It was in my Top 10 in 2015.~
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo Nesbø’s antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.
Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.
Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.
~Yes. Another Scandinavian thriller. It’s JO NESBO though. My lists wouldn’t be complete without one of his books on there and The Snowman is my fave. It gave my chills reading it, creeping me out the entire time. Truly brilliant!~
No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay
Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke one morning to discover that her entire family, mother, father, brother had vanished. No note, no trace, no return. Ever. Now, twenty-five years later, she’ll learn the devastating truth
Sometimes better not to know. . .
Cynthia is happily married with a young daughter, a new family. But the story of her old family isn’t over. A strange car in the neighborhood, untraceable phone calls, ominous gifts, someone has returned to her hometown to finish what was started twenty-five years ago. And no one’s innocence is guaranteed, not even her own. By the time Cynthia discovers her killer’s shocking identity, it will again be too late . . . even for goodbye.
~A thriller of the highest order. Couldn’t put it down and had to buy the sequel so I could read it immediately afterwards! Gripping and a proper thrilling read, Barclay doesn’t disappoint!~
The Plea by Steve Cavanagh
Fraud. Blackmail. Murder. It’s all in a day’s work for Eddie Flynn.
For years, major New York law firm Harland & Sinton has operated a massive global fraud. The FBI are on to them, but they need witnesses to secure their case. When a major client of the firm, David Child, is arrested for murder, the FBI ask con-artist-turned-lawyer Eddie Flynn to secure Child as his client and force him to testify against the firm.
Eddie’s not a man to be forced into representing a guilty client, but the FBI have incriminating files on Eddie’s wife, Christine, and if Eddie won’t play ball, she’ll pay the price.
When Eddie meets David Child he knows Child is innocent, despite the overwhelming evidence against him. With the FBI putting pressure on him to secure the plea, Eddie must find a way to prove Child’s innocence while keeping his wife out of danger – not just from the FBI, but from the firm itself.
~LOVE LOVE LOVE this series. This is book two (The Defence is book 1) and to be fair I loved them equally. Eddie Flynn is a masterful main character and there is a constant sense of action in these books. Gripping legal thriller!~
Holy Island by L. J. Ross
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.
~Another stellar start to a series. Cant recommend them all highly enough. Absolutely wonderful characters, vile antagonists and a constant sense of fear of what will happen next. Holy Island is just the beginning…~


So there you have it. I’ll have to admit, this list was whittled down from the high 40’s because it was to hard to choose!

Bear in mind these are all books that fall under the mystery and thriller genres, as asked for as part of the event. I had to adhere to the guidelines of the event so there are no CRIME mystery thrillers in there as such. 

Also, these are my own personal choices. 

Have you read any? Would you read any? Do let me know in the comments…

What Alice Knew by T. A. Cotterell


*My thanks to Becky Hunter and T. A. Cotterell for my copy*

About the book:

Alice has a perfect life – a cool job, great kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; the phone rings and then goes dead; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

What Alice Knew will be released in ebook format on December 1st, you can click HERE to preorder your copy.


My thoughts:

I had seen What Alice Knew pop up on social media a couple of times so naturally I had to find out what it was about and once I read a synopsis I knew I’d have to read it!

What Alice Knew is a thriller, by all accounts. But what kind of thriller? Crime? Mystery? Psychological? It’s hard to choose just one. There are so many subtle nuances within the pages of this book that the reader essentially interprets it their own way by the end.

Following the lives of Alice Sheahan, her husband Ed and their kids, Nell and Arthur, the reader is taken on a journey alongside the characters. For all intents and purposes, the Sheahans have the perfect life. Great jobs, beautiful home, the usual. But one night, Ed goes missing and their lives go into free fall.

What follows is a dark narrative that will leave you questioning everything you have read. There are so many themes at play in this book that it will make you think on more than just one level. It is brimming with tension, made all the better with some rather unreliable narration. What Alice Knew is compulsive reading. You know that something is happening, and you cannot tear your eyes from pages.

I found myself confused when I finally finished the book. Not bad confused, just a little unsure as to what I had just read. But in a good way. The author has made What Alice Knew quite ambiguous, and because reading is so subjective, you can draw your own conclusions at times. I liked this. It was different to the cut and dried books of late where everything is all neatly wrapped up.

What Alice Knew was a gripping read, with a supremely eloquent writing style. The author clearly knows his way around art because his writing paints some haunting and evocative pictures. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. Different, dark and completely absorbing, I would definitely recommend What Alice Knew.

Angel (DCI Ryan 4) by L. J. Ross

First off, my thanks to Louise for allowing me to read an ARC of Angel, I was more than a little excited to be asked 😊 I’ve read and loved the previous three books in the series, and you can click the links below to catch up on my reviews:

Holy Island by LJ Ross

Sycamore Gap by LJ Ross

Heavenfield by LJ Ross

About the author:

Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, LJ Ross moved to London where she graduated from King’s College London with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Law. After working in the City as a regulatory lawyer for a number of years, she realised it was high time for a change.
Her first book, ‘Holy Island’, has consistently been listed as an Amazon bestseller since its release in January 2015 and hit the Amazon UK Kindle #1 position in May 2015. Its sequels, ‘Sycamore Gap’, ‘Heavenfield’ and ‘Angel’ have all been #1 bestsellers.

LJ Ross Facebook Page

LJ Ross Twitter

About the book:

He’ll make you his angel, but first you have to die…

After a turbulent time, DCI Ryan’s life is finally beginning to return to normal and he’s looking forward to spending an uneventful Easter bank holiday weekend with his fiancée.

Then, on Good Friday morning he is called out to a crime scene at one of the largest cemeteries in Newcastle. The body of a redheaded woman has been found buried in a shallow grave and the killer has given her wings, like an angel.
Soon, another woman is found at a different cemetery, followed quickly by another. Panic spreads like wildfire as a new serial killer is born, and Ryan’s band of detectives must work around the clock to unmask him before he can strike again.

My thoughts:

I’m pretty certain that the DCI Ryan series is improving with the release of each book and that’s evident with Angel as it’s the best in the series so far in my opinion.

I feel sorry for poor Ryan, he always draws the crazy people and this book is no different. This time we have a killer who believes he is essentially a messenger of God and killing in His name. Posing them in the position of an angel, the symbolism is not lost on the team of investigators.

Angels have long been a symbol in religion, and though this book has religious references and connotations, it is done in a sympathetic way and stays true to the story. Though Angel has its roots in religion, the book stays with the characters and their various investigations which means it’s not something the reader has to focus on.

I absolutely adore Louise’s writing style, and it’s getting better and more assured with each book. Angel is gory, gruesome but packed to the rafters with action and mystery. The familiar cast of characters are all there, but I’m pretty sure Ryan is still my favourite 😊

I won’t give anything away about the story, but it is brilliant! Heart-pounding cat and mouse games are prevalent in Angel and I’m pretty certain that I held my breath more than once as I raced toward the conclusion! Which, if I’m honest, I WAS NOT EXPECTING!!!!!*

*This is code for please get the next DCI Ryan book out as fast as possible please and thank you!* (You’ll understand when you read it! 😉

I love this series, I love the characters and I really love how invested I become in the fates of the fictional characters. Angel is most definitely the best book in the series so far, and they are all superb, but Angel is exceptional!

All the stars for this one! Highly recommended 😊

Angel is out in ebook on August 26th and you can pre-order your copy by clicking the link:

Angel: A DCI Ryan Mystery by LJ Ross

Happy Reading 😊

Dark Water by Sara Bailey

*My thanks to Nightingale Editions (an imprint of Blackbird Books) for my review copy!*

Dark Water is out on October 3rd and you can preorder your copy by clicking the link below:

Dark Water by Sara Bailey

About the book:

Friendship doesn’t die, it waits…

A haunting and lyrical novel, ‘Dark Water’ is a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession.

When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia, disappeared after a swimming incident. But what really happened that night by the wrecks?

My thoughts:

Dark Water is a debut. I feel I need to state that, because at no point during the course of my reading this book did it feel like a debut!!!Sara Bailey writes like an accomplished novelist, so I was quite taken aback to see that this is her first novel!

When I started reading Dark Water, I didn’t know what to expect. Once I got into the story though, I was completely caught up in it. It is a very intriguing novel, in that there appears to be more than one specific genre in it. It flicks between psychological thriller, young adult, a touch of a ghost story and most definitely mystery. This mix doesn’t hinder Dark Water in any way, if anything it enhances the prose at the right times.

Told in alternating time frames, we get a glimpse of the main characters as they were when they were teenagers, and as they are now. The conflicting feelings that come with adolescence are captured really well, and even as adults the author shows how these insecurities can follow into adulthood.

The surrounding landscape of Orkney and the sea provides an excellent backdrop for Dark Water too. More than once, I found myself doing a google search for the dive tours in the area and the photos are haunting as there are ships purposely wrecked in the sea and they look very eerie.

As you know by now, I am not one for full on plot discussion. What I will say though, is that Dark Water is a haunting debut. Full of atmosphere, wrought with tension and decidedly chilling, Sarah Bailey has written an exceptional first novel. I would definitely recommend Dark Water highly!

I’ll leave you with the quote from the opening…

Dark water- the depth at which divers can’t tell which way is up and which is down.


Give It Back by Danielle Esplin

My thanks to the author, Danielle Esplin, for my review copy of Give It Back to read and review for Bibliophile Book Club.

About the book (via Goodreads): 

This novel follows three characters: Lorraine, Lexy, and Ella.


Not long ago, Lorraine lost her husband to another woman. She thought that was the worst thing that could happen to her, but soon she realizes it’s just the beginning of an everlasting nightmare.
Lexy, an au pair from London, moves to Seattle to help Lorraine with her infant son. But she didn’t come for the child…she came for something else.
When Ella receives a call from her sister, Lorraine, who begs her to leave San Diego to spend time with her, she decides to take a few days off from work to visit her. Frightened to see how much Lorraine has weakened since her diagnosis eight months ago, she packs a bag and heads to Seattle with a foreboding feeling that this might be the last time she sees Lorraine.
But on her way to the airport, she learns that something shocking has happened since she last spoke with Lorraine and now. To make matters worse, once Ella arrives in Seattle, Lorraine’s story keeps changing, making Ella question how reliable her sister really is.
Soon Ella is entangled in a mysterious investigation, and more so, in the lives of everyone involved. She realizes not only that she won’t go home anytime soon but also that she’ll never look at others the same way she did before.

My thoughts:

Give It Back is a novel full of mystery. When the author first sent me the review copy, I read the first 50 pages in one go to get a feel for it. I didn’t get a chance to get back to it until the last few days so I had a lot of catching up to do.

I have to admit, I was more than a little confused for the first while trying to keep up with jumping timelines and different characters was tough, especially as I was trying to get over a stomach bug so my concentration wasn’t up to par! 🙈

However, once I managed to pass 50% Give It Back started to unfold in my brain, and take shape as a story!

The three main female characters, Lorraine Ella and Lexy all have complicated issues and throw in a whopper of plot twist and it makes for a very interesting read! I found myself really getting into Give It Back, and getting invested in the characters and what was happening in their lives!

The author has managed to weave a very mysterious story, with psychological and crime elements all present, and the reader essentially has to figure out what has happened through the different narratives and timeframes.

A very intriguing debut, I think Danielle Esplin has a knack for writing very interesting characters! Give It Back is out now and you can purchase a copy by clicking the link below!

Give It Back by Danielle Esplin

Happy reading! 😊