Bloody Christmas by Caimh McDonnell

Hi guys,

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Caimh McDonnell has released a Bunny McGarry novella in aid of The Peter McVerry Trust and both myself and Ellen are reviewing it.

First things first, here’s what you need to know about Bloody Christmas:

It’s Christmas Eve and DS Bunny McGarry is in the mood to celebrate – he’s back on active duty having successfully proved that throwing a senior officer off a building was an appropriate step to take in the course of an investigation. His festivities are interrupted when someone attempts to assassinate him while he’s trying to take a leak – is nothing sacred?

The thing is, the assassin isn’t all he initially appears, and Bunny soon finds himself in a race against time to trace a kidnapped child before the people who ordered the hit realise that he is considerably less dead than they had hoped. 

He’s making a list but he’s only checking it once because time is of the essence and some people need a refresher in the meaning of Christmas.

Bloody Christmas by Caimh McDonnell

All proceeds from sales of Bloody Christmas will be going to the Peter McVerry Trust, so click the link above to grab your copy now!

And now, the important part:

Peter McVerry Trust is a national housing and homeless charity committed to reducing homelessness and the harm caused by substance misuse and social disadvantage in Ireland.

The charity provides low-threshold entry services, primarily to younger people and vulnerable adults with complex needs, and offers pathways out of homelessness based on the principles of the Housing First model.

You can find out more about the Peter McVerry Trust by clicking the link below:

Peter McVerry Trust

Ellen’s Review

Wow! What a (Christmas) cracker of a novella from Caimh McDonnell! I absolutely love this series of books and the central character Bunny McGarry has given me so much pleasure over the years. He really does have a special place in my heart.

Bloody Christmas is set just after A Man With One of Those Faces, book one of the Dublin Trilogy series. You don’t need to have read all of the series but why wouldn’t you, go on and treat yourself. This novella is extra special as all proceeds are going to the Peter McVerry Trust, an Irish housing and homeless charity committed to reducing homelessness and the harm caused by substance misuse and social disadvantage. As I write this review Bloody Christmas has already raised €10,000!!!

As always there are laugh out loud moments and some tender ones too. Expect the unexpected from Bunny; his methods may be extreme but they always get the job done. Five stars from me!

My review:

I have yet to read this series so my review will be short and sweet! 😆

Bloody Christmas is an unrelenting and funny novella. Having not “met” Bunny McGarry yet, I found this was a really witty introduction. I mean, how often are you introduced to a character who has an assassination attempt happen to him at the pub urinals?!

What follows is a great little read, packed with some interesting characters and plenty of details to make me want to go and read the whole series.

My first foray into the world of Bunny McGarry, but definitely not my last.

Recommended for sure, and for a most worthy cause too!


A Woman Scorned by Jack Jordan


About the book:

Are you afraid? 
You should be.

The husband: in over his head with no way of knowing the truth.
The mistress: blinded by love, betrayed by her family…
The neighbour: will stop at nothing to protect the life he has fought to create.
The wife: a woman bent on revenge, but how far is she willing to go…?

Click the link below to find out…

A Woman Scorned by Jack Jordan

About the author:


Jack Jordan is the global number one bestselling author of Anything for Her (2015), My Girl (2016), A Woman Scorned (2018), and Before Her Eyes (2018).

To find out more about Jack, enter numerous annual giveaways to win signed copies of his books, and be one of the first to hear of new book releases and news, follow him here:

Facebook: JackJordanOfficial

Twitter: @JackJordanBooks

Instagram: @JackJordan_Author

Goodreads: JackJordanOfficial

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Jack’s previous books, so I was super excited to be able to read an early copy of A Woman Scorned! And I stand by my hashtag, #JackIsBack, and with a bang!

A Woman Scorned is a short read, at less than 125 pages, so it was very easy to pick this one up, and not put it down until I finished it. It helps that it was a fun story to read too. Not fun in the usual sense obviously, but fun in the sense that it was a juicy little read.

I enjoy a domestic noir-ish thriller, but this one has a little more spice to it. The characters are multi-faceted, and we get a glimpse into each of them, which made it all the more interesting to see why they were the way they were, if that makes sense?!

Honestly, I would have read the hell out of this if it was a full book! I wanted more! But that being said, this is a little gem of a story. It packs a punch for such a short story, but it feels satisfying when you’re done. I really enjoyed it!

#JackIsBack 🙂

Previous reviews:

Anything For Her by Jack Jordan

My Girl by Jack Jordan


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

Hi everyone,

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

About the author:


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

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

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

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

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


Graham can be found at:




About the book:

No Comment.jpg

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

Click HERE to order your copy!

Ellen’s review:

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

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

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

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

Books guest post

Rebecca Bradley Guest Post

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to have the lovely Rebecca Bradley joining me on the blog today. Rebecca has written an excellent guest post on Sexism in Modern Policing which I get to share with you guys!

Rebecca has recently published a novella, Three Weeks Dead, which is a prequel for the DI Hannah Robbins series and you can get your copy by clicking HERE.

And click HERE to have  look at Rebecca Bradley’s Amazon page and her books!

About the book:

How far would you go if someone took your wife?

Especially, if you buried her a week ago.

When Jason Wells is faced with this scenario, he is confronted with the prospect of committing a crime that will have far-reaching consequences.

Can young DC Sally Poynter get through to him before he crosses that line, or does a desperate husband prove to be the case she won’t ever forget?


About Rebecca Bradley:

Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective and lives in Nottinghamshire with her family and her two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.

Sign up to the newsletter, on the blog at, for exclusive content and giveaways.


And without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Rebecca…

Sexism in Modern Day Policing


Firstly, I want to thank Kate for having me on the blog today, especially after a bit of a mix up with dates thanks to a hastily arranged medical procedure throwing  me off kilter, making me forget to write this! So, thank you for still having me Kate.


I’m a medically retired police detective, having served for 16 years before retirement. I worked 8 years in uniform and 8 years as a plain clothes detective in a specialist unit.


I asked Kate if she’d be interested in this topic because in Three Weeks Dead, the novella I’ve just released, my DC, Sally Poynter, starts her first shifts on the Major Crimes Unit and faces a misogynistic colleague. It got me to wondering what the perception was of sexism in modern day policing – would my story of it be believed?


So, with that in mind, I thought I’d write a blog piece. A behind the scenes look, if you will, because there have been plenty of news articles on the topic over the years. Only in August of this year, ex-Chief Constable of Northumbria, Sue Sim stated that there was a ‘sexist, money-grabbing, boys’ club culture’ within her own force. This is a 2016 news article not 1980s sentiment as you might imagine. Examples in the press tend to be the extremes, though. The big cases that involve outlandish statements or large sums of monies when women sue forces for sexism. I wanted to give a personal view, a personal working experience.


This is that.


I joined the police in 1999. My tutor was a long-serving male officer and a nicer officer/man, you couldn’t wish to meet. I was incredibly lucky to be sent out onto the streets with him as my guide. With (we’ll call him Derek) Derek, I got to hear about how life in the police was in the ‘old days’. He used to love to tell me the tales about how women officers never even used to be allowed into the main station, they had their own shed to work from which was set up in the car park. Can you believe that, they had a shed to work from? And their work was to look after the women and children. If you look at it from that point of view, then women in the police service has moved on considerably.


As a probationary constable, I was treated as part of the team, right from my first day. But, there was one officer, who, when we went out together, said to me once, and I’ve never forgotten it – ‘If someone does a runner, I’ll give you my hat to hold while I run after them.’


Well, I’m not a shy retiring flower. I gave him some earache and as soon as we were back in the station I made sure everyone else knew so they could give him earache. It wasn’t malicious, not on his part or on mine. We ribbed him about the stupidity of his comment and that was how I dealt with it. I was lucky to work with a great group of people.


I was also very lucky to be told during a discussion one evening that one of the guys would rather go into a fight (pub fight or some other similar public disorder incident) with me than some of the other male choices he had. My early years were positive and I didn’t see – other than one stupid, but not malicious male – misogyny.


But, that’s it, isn’t it? Does sexism have to be malicious to cause harm to its subject? Or does the hapless, speak-before-they-think, male, still fall into this category? I don’t think hat-holder meant to offend, he was a lovely guy in every other way, but I do think he considered himself the better option to go off during the chase.


Other than the early incidents (there may have been a couple with hat-holder), I never saw my career being hampered or held up because of my gender. My health was doing enough of that for me in later years!


What I did notice though, was how female officers of rank were talked about. How they dressed, wore their hair and even how they smelled were perfectly acceptable discussion points. In fact, these were practically all that were mentioned rather than work issues. Women in such a strong work environment are fighting to be seen on an equal footing. Don’t let it fool you that we have female Chief Constables and females of higher ranks so women must be winning the fight for equality within the walls of policing, because these women have worked hard to get where they are, but I’m betting you, someone, somewhere, below them, is discussing what they’re wearing (if in plain clothes) how they’re styling their hair and how they smell – women wear perfume, get over it.


No, I didn’t find myself up against sexism, but had my health allowed me to progress the promotion ladder, I most certainly would have been discussed in terms of all the above when out of earshot, rather than what it was we were working on.


This is not acceptable and policing has a long way to go to have women on a real equal footing. There is still education to be done amongst the lower ranks about women and their progression. I adored the job, but it doesn’t mean I’m blind to its flaws.


Within the police there are a couple of associations, the Black Police Association, and Women’s Police Association to name a couple. What I regularly heard from white males, was why wasn’t there a white male association. Many just don’t understand the difficulties facing women (or black/minority ethnic officers), they see that women are now progressing, but they don’t notice the underlying problems that are still there. That women officers might need the support of fellow women officers. That if there wasn’t an issue in the first place the associations wouldn’t have existed. According to 2015 only 30% of the police service is made up of women and of those only 21% are Chief Inspector or above.


While some women may have broken through the glass ceiling in policing and made it all the way to Chief Constable level, the way in which they are perceived by their peers and subordinates, is another issue entirely.


Women in policing – there is a long way to go. There is still work to do. And it’s work that everyone, women included need to be a part of. There is sexism in the police service, but it’s not always as overt as you’d expect it to be. Now it needs to be brought out from the shadows and all officers just do the job and love it, regardless of the gender they are or the gender of those they work with, below or above.

Huge thanks to Rebecca for taking the time to come up with such an interesting guest post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading that, and getting a glimpse into her time working in the police.

I was lucky enough to be a part of Rebecca’s previous blog tour too, and you can click the link below to have a look at another great post!

Rebecca Bradley *Guest Post*


Books Novella Review

Soul Rights by Liberty Gilmore

About the book:

Stood a long way from the edge of the crowd, faces twisted by the heat and the violence staring down at me, I feel more than a little vulnerable. Which is why it’s a damn good job I always carry my sword with me.

Cadence Hart has come to a dead end in her investigation into the supply of the Demon Blood drug. Any leads from the phone she recovered from the warehouse have all been buried. Even with the help of her new partner, Matthew – a Soul escaped from Hell – she’s getting nowhere fast.

When riots at a Soul Rights rally clear and a body is left in their wake, Cadence and Matthew are brought in to speak to the Souls who might have been witnesses. But investigating the murder puts them up against more than just a DI who’s not too happy to have Cadence on the case, and things needs to be solved quickly, before anyone can claim the murder had a political motivation.

In the centre of a political debate that could destroy the fledgling partnership between them, Cadence and Matthew will have to face a few demons of their own before they can bring a killer to justice.

My thoughts:

You may remember I posted a review for the first in the Hart & Soul series not so long ago (review here–>  New Dusk by Liberty Gilmore), well this is the second book in the series. More like a novella, but still plenty to get to grips with!

Soul Rights focuses on pretty much that, the political implications of giving Souls rights. After a rally, a man’s body is found and he has been stabbed to death. Cadence and Matthew are tasked with trying to find anyone who may have witnessed anything and what follows is actually a neat little story.

I really enjoy these books, even though they are slightly removed from my usual crime books due to the demonic theme. Interesting from the start, but I’d recommend you start with New Dusk first as it is referenced in this one.

I find it hard to review short books. Usually they are packed full of action (as is the case here) and by discussing it fully you run the risk of revealing too much. So I won’t. I would highly recommend the Hart & Soul books. For me they are escapism, full of interesting characters and the premise is new and different!

Have you read any? Would you read them??

Blog Tour Books Review

Matching The Evidence by Graham Smith Blog Tour

Hi everyone,

So today is my stop on the blog tour for Matching the Evidence by Graham Smith, published by Caffeine Nights.

About the book:


United are playing Millwall and the Major Crimes Team are assigned to crowd control as punishment for their renegade ways. Typically, DI Harry Evans has other ideas and tries to thwart the local firm’s plans to teach Millwall’s notorious Bushwhackers an unforgettable lesson.

Meanwhile an undercover cop is travelling north with some of the Millwall contingent. His mission is to identify the ringleaders and gather evidence against them.

Three illegal immigrants have been transported to Carlisle and are about to meet their new employers.

Nothing is as it seems for Evans and his Major Crimes Team as they battle to avoid a bloodbath while also uncovering a far more heinous crime.

About Graham Smith:


Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last eleven years he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.
An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well respected review site for over two years.

As well as reviewing for Graham has also interviewed such stellar names as David Baldacci, Jeffrey Deaver, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Matt Hilton, current CWA Chair Peter James, Mark Billingham and many others.
When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.

My thoughts:

Matching the Evidence is the first book I’ve read by Graham Smith and it was definitely an interesting introduction to DI Harry Evans. This book follows on from Snatched From Home, which I haven’t read, but it still works well as a standalone novella. Previous incidents are mentioned in MtE, but it works in such a way that it makes the reader eager to find out what his backstory is.

Events in Snatched From Home have lead to Evans and his team essentially being punished by having to do football hooligan crowd control when Milwall are up against United. What follows is not what I expected. There is much more to this book than meets the eye but won’t go into detail, as it being a short book I would surely give something away!

Funnily enough, I don’t tend to read much UK crime fiction, which is odd as being Irish we’re next door neighbours. However, Graham Smith’s writing style is gritty and engaging and it makes me want to know more about the characters. DI Harry Evens especially, is one to watch out for. I really like how he is portrayed, and I want to know what happened to him to make him the way he is. I love a flawed detective, and yes I know there’s tons of them out there already, but there’s always room for another.

Matching the Evidence addresses much more than hooliganism, there is also the horrendous treatment of illegal immigrants and we get some of the story through their narrative which is tough to read.

Graham Smith has packed a big punch in a small novel. Well written, with intriguing characters and a plot that flows easily, Matching the Evidence was a great introduction to this series and it’s one I will be watching with interest to see where it goes. Highly recommended!

Matching the Evidence is out on the 8th of September and you can preorder your copy by clicking here.

There is also a stellar line up of bloggers taking part in the tour, so here’s the info you need to keep up with it!


Huge thanks to Graham Smith, Caffeine Nights Publishing and Noelle Holten for allowing me to take part in the tour!

Happy reading!

Books Review

You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames

*My thanks to Mollie at Pushkin Press for my ARC copy of You Were Never Really Here to read and review.*

About the book:

A former Marine and ex–FBI agent, Joe has seen one too many crime scenes and known too much trauma, and not just in his professional life. Solitary and haunted, he prefers to be invisible. He doesn’t allow himself friends or lovers and makes a living rescuing young girls from the deadly clutches of the sex trade. But when a high-ranking New York politician hires him to extricate his teenage daughter from a Manhattan brothel, Joe uncovers a web of corruption that even he may not be able to unravel. When the men on his trail take the only person left in the world who matters to him, he forsakes his pledge to do no harm. If anyone can kill his way to the truth, it’s Joe.

My thoughts:

This novella packs a punch in its short pages! You Were Never Really Here opens with some action and the pace never stops until the end. I had no idea what to expect when I started it, but by the end I was wishing it was a full novel because I didn’t want it to end.

I’m not going to lie, I was drawing comparisons with a certain Mr. Child and his Jack Reacher character while I was reading this book. Joe is very similar to Reacher which in itself if was enough to make me want more.

The plot, for such a short book, was gripping. The sex trade is never an easy one to tackle, and especially not when you add in corruption and murder. I found You Were Never Really here to be violent but unflinching read.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and like I said, I only wish it was longer. Seriously, that is my only criticism. Gripping, violent, fast and full of action it is a brilliant novella. So much detail, and excellent characterisation squeezed into so few pages and yet it is still superb.

I highly recommend You Were Never Really Here. It’s out at the end of July, and you can pre-order your copy by clicking the link below:

You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames


Blackwater Lake by Maggie James



About the book:

Matthew Stanyer fears the worst when he reports his parents missing. His father, Joseph Stanyer, has been struggling to cope with his wife Evie, whose dementia is rapidly worsening. When their bodies are found close to Blackwater Lake, a local beauty spot, the inquest rules the deaths as a murder-suicide. A conclusion that’s supported by the note Joseph leaves for his son.

Grief-stricken, Matthew begins to clear his parents’ house of decades of compulsive hoarding, only to discover the dark enigmas hidden within its walls. Ones that lead Matthew to ask: why did his father choose Blackwater Lake to end his life? What other secrets do its waters conceal?


My thoughts:

Blackwater Lake is a super speedy novella. I read it in one sitting last week! I had read The Second Captive by Maggie James last year (review – The Second Captive by Maggie James ) and I had been on Amazon and Blackwater Lake was free so I downloaded it and got stuck in.

For such a short book, it certainly packs a lot into the narrative. I wasn’t expecting there to be so much depth in such a short story so that was a pleasant surprise.

The characters are quite well fleshed out too and you get a good glimpse into all of them as the family saga unfolds between the pages.

I really enjoyed the way the story played out. I can’t go into much detail without giving anything away but I will say that it was unexpected. For a novella, Maggie James has done a really good job of packing in plenty of mystery and intrigue.

If you’re looking for a quick read, with a meaty plot, then I would definitely recommend Blackwater Lake.

BUY THE BOOK: Blackwater Lake by Maggie James

2016 authors Books Novella Review

Web of Deceit by Mel Comley and Tara Lyons


First off, many thanks to Tara Lyons for my copy of Web Of Deceit in return for an honest review.

I’ve not read any books by Mel Comley yet, but I have Cruel Justice and Wrong Place on my kindle TBR for a while. I’m also waiting for Tara’s debut novel to be released!


About the book:

There’s no description up on Goodreads as of yet. However, it’s a DI Sally Parker novella. It focuses on Megan Carmen, an France-based author who wants to move back to the UK and enlists the help of one of her Facebook friends to help her search for her dream home.


My thoughts:

Ive just finished Web of Deceit and I still haven’t given it a rating on Goodreads. I’m torn! I don’t usually read novellas, so I’m not used to the pace at which they progress or how speedily things happen.

Web Of Deceit is a novella with trust at its heart. Megan trusts her new Facebook friend Tina, so much so that she comes over to England and lets Tina help her find her new UK dream home.

On the first night, Megan and Tina have a strange night at a hotel, with unsettling events happening and enough to leave Megan shaken. The two women move to a second hotel on the next night, but when Megan wakes up and Tina is nowhere to be found, panic sets in.

Megan is put in touch with DI Sally Parker, who leads the investigation into the alleged disappearance of Tina. However, things take an even more sinister turn, and not everything is as it seems.

As this is a novella, I can’t give any more away without spoiling the plot. Sufficed to say, Web Of Deceit is a book that focuses on exactly that. The intricate webs of deceit which people weave effortlessly, with little thought for others.

It is a cautionary tale, forcing the reader to consider how well they know people, especially those who forge friendships with people they meet online. Social media is a shadowy place, where many people are not what they seem.

Web of Deceit is a well written story, with a well thought out plot. For me, it was a nice introduction to DI Sally Parker, who seems like a capable and intelligent character and I look forward to reading more about her.

I gave Web Of Deceit 4 stars on Goodreads. A well thought out novella, and a great intro to DI Sally Parker.

Happy reading 😊📖