Under Water by Casey Barrett

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

About the author:

Casey is the author of the Duck Darley crime series. The first in the series, UNDER WATER, will be released by Kensington Books on November 28th, 2017. Book two – AGAINST NATURE – will come out eight months later on July 31st, 2018. And Book three – THE TOWER OF SONGS – is slated for mid-2019 release.

Casey is also a Canadian Olympic swimmer and the co-founder and co-CEO of Imagine Swimming, New York City’s largest learn-to-swim school. He has won three Emmy awards and one Peabody award for his work on NBC’s broadcasts of the Olympic Games.

About the book:

Duck Darley should have been a winner. Once a competitive swimmer destined for Olympic gold, he drank away his gilded youth and followed his fraudster father’s footsteps into prison. Barely scraping by as an unlicensed private investigator, Duck now chases down cheating spouses for the same Manhattan elite who once viewed him as equal, and drowns bitter memories with whatever fills his glass.

Duck’s lost glory days resurface when he’s tasked with finding the teenaged sister of a former teammate turned Olympic champion. Privileged Madeline McKay vanished over Labor Day weekend, leaving behind a too-perfect West Village apartment and a promising athletic career of her own. Duck thinks he’s hunting for a self-destructive runaway—until Madeline’s film student ex is savagely murdered, and the media spins her as the psycho who killed him.

As Duck searches for Madeline, he’s plunged back into the dark underbelly of Olympic swimming—a world rife with wild lies and terrible violence. And he soon learns that no matter how hard he tries to escape his past, demons still lurk beneath every surface . . .

Under Water by Casey Barrett

My thoughts:

Under Water is the first book in a Casey Barrett’s Duck Darley series, and it’s definitely off to a good start!

Darley used to have promise as an Olympic swimmer, but for various reasons, he ended up going to prison instead. This lead to Darley working as a PI in Manhattan, where he exposes cheaters and the usual PI fodder. Until he is contacted by the mother of his old swim team mate.

Madeleine McKay is missing but Darley thinks she’s run away and that there’s nothing untoward about her disappearance. Until her ex is murdered, and she becomes the prime suspect.

From here, Under Water really picks up the pace. Darley gets into trouble on occasion, but all in his pursuit for the truth. At times violent and gritty, Under Water has an almost hard-boiled crime kind of feel to it. It’s noir-ish and quite old school but it’s quite pacy!

It’s been a while since I read a crime book like Under Water. There is a seedy undertone throughout the narrative, but it lends itself well to the investigative work Darley has to do. One for fans of James Ellroy maybe? It’s got that kind of vibe going for it at times. One worth adding to your list!

Recommended for sure!

~Blog Blitz Review~ Snow Light by Danielle Zinn

Hi everyone,

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz for Snow Light by Danielle Zinn today, and I’ll be sharing my review with you all!

About the author:

PHOTOGRAPH_black white_Danielle Zinn

Danielle holds a BA (Hons) degree in Business and Management from New College Durham and after gaining some work experience in Wales and the USA, she settled down in Frankfurt am Main where she works as a Financial Controller at an IT Consultancy.

Born and raised in a small village in the Ore Mountains/Germany, Danielle was introduced to the world of English literature and writing from an early age on through her mother – an English teacher.

Her passion for sports, especially skiing and fencing, stems from her father’s side. Danielle draws her inspiration for writing from long walks in the country as well as circumnavigating the globe and visiting her friends scattered all over the world.

Mix everything together and you get “Snow Light”, her debut detective thriller combining a stunning wintry setting in the Ore Mountains with unique traditions, some sporty action and lots of suspense.

Links:
@DanielleZinn4

About the book:

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When Detective Inspector Nathaniel Thomas encounters a man attacking a young woman in a local park, the DI is unable to save her. Out of guilt, Thomas quits his job at Homicide Headquarters and relocates to the tiny village of Turtleville, where he regains control of himself and begins to enjoy life again. However, a year later, all the guilt and shame of the park murder re-emerges when a local hermit, Ethan Wright, is murdered with an unusual weapon and left on display in the centre of the village. For Thomas the situation gets worse when DS Ann Collins, a colleague from his past, appears to help with the case. But things become complicated when the victim’s identity is put into question. Who is the victim? And why was he murdered? Thomas and Collins will find themselves trying to solve a highly unusual case and both may have more in common than they could have ever imagined.

My thoughts:

When I read the blurb for Snow Light I was intrigued immediately as it sounded like the kind of book I would enjoy and I was definitely not disappointed!

Snow Light introduces us to Nathaniel Thomas, a Detective Inspector, who stumbled upon an attack but was unable to save the victim. Fast forward a year and he has relocated to a quiet town to try and work through his guilt away from Homicide HQ.

From here, Snow Light moves along quite slowly in terms of pace. A local hermit has been found dead, but here is little in the way of evidence or suspects. The investigation takes time, and there doesn’t seem to be much for Thomas or his team to go on initially. From here though, the pace picks up as they find out the victim wasn’t who he purported to be.

I don’t want to say much about the plot though, because the author has skilfully woven a taut narrative that leads the team on quite the investigation. The characters are well-written, the location lends itself really well to the chilling nature of the murder and the plot is definitely one for mystery lovers. I really enjoyed Snow Light. And its a DEBUT. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to seeing where the author will take the reader next!

Recommended for sure!

Check out the other fab blogs taking part:

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~Blog Tour~ Hell To Pay by Rachel Amphlett Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for Hell To Pay, the new Kay Hunter book from Rachel Amphlett. I’ll be sharing her review with you all in a bit, but first, here’s the all-important bookish information!

About the author:

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Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag in 2017.

Praise for Rachel Amphlett

“Thrilling start to a new series. Scared to Death is a stylish, smart and gripping crime thriller” ~ Robert Bryndza, USA Today bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice

“Scared to Death… moves along at breakneck speed with twists and turns” ~ Angela Marsons, bestselling author of the Detective Kim Stone crime thriller series.

As featured on ABC 612 Brisbane – listen here: https://soundcloud.com/abc_radio/rachel-amphlett-female-thriller-writer
As featured on BBC Radio Kent – listen here: http://www.rachelamphlett.com/uploads/7/7/9/0/7790161/rachel_amplett_on_bbc_rk.mp3

Follow the author:

Email: info@rachelamphlett.com

Skype: rachel.amphlett1

http://www.rachelamphlett.com

Twitter: @RachelAmphlett

Instagram: @RachelAmphlett

Facebook: Rachel Amphlett

About the book:

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When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?

Hell To Pay by Rachel Amphlett

Ellen’s Review:

Hell To Pay is the fourth in the Detective Kay Hunter series by Rachel Amphlett; as with the other books (Scared To Death, Will To Live and One to Watch) it could be read as a standalone but you should definitely read the whole series because they are awesome! Kay Hunter is one of my favourite characters in a series and each book has teased a little more about her past troubles, false accusations of misconduct and the tragic consequences of the stress she was placed under.


 


In Hell To Pay, Kay is on the trail of a serial killer who is exploiting vulnerable women. The investigation leads her to the man who wants her silenced and who has been behind the plot to destroy her career. I was gripped from the start and raced through the pages as Kay got closer to cracking the case and hopefully delivering justice to those that had wronged her. Kay’s nemesis exudes arrogance and is totally loathsome; my nerves were shredded for the last chapter.


 


The light relief in the book comes from Kay and Adam’s house guests Bonnie and Clyde, I always look forward to seeing what kind of patient Adam has brought home from work and this time it’s guinea pigs.


 


This book is a fast paced thriller and I guarantee once you’ve picked it up you’ll struggle to get anything else done until you finish it. Five stars from me and bring on book five!!

Previous reviews:

Scared To Death by Rachel Amphlett ~ Ellen’s Review

Will to Live by Rachel Amphlett ~Ellen’s Review

One To Watch by Rachel Amphlett~ Ellen’s Review

Follow the blog tour:

Dreams of A Broken Man by Roger Bray~Ellen’s Review

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About the book:

On a cold, misty night in Eugene, Oregon Hazel Reed disappears from outside her ex-husband’s home. Hazel is stunningly beautiful, intelligent and unfaithful. So when she vanishes without a trace a jealous ex-husband is the natural suspect. Alex says she came to reconcile but, the DA thinks otherwise and Alex is convicted and imprisoned for Hazel’s murder. His sister, Alice, refuses to believe that he is a capable of such an act.
Three years pass and the last appeal fails. Alex is in jail and Alice is desperate and alone; until a chance meeting gives her hope.
As her new friend, Steve, helps her peel away the hidden truths and fragile lies holding the prosecution case together they realise that they are revealing a deeper and more sinister mystery.
Without them knowing, finding out what happened to Hazel has become a race against time.

Click the link below to get your copy:

Dreams of a Broken Man by Roger Bray

About the author (info from author’s website):

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I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.

My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.

Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.

So here we are, two books published and another on track.

Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

Personal fun facts:

I am married with three grown children and one grand daughter. I live with the love of my life, my wife of thirty years and her overly cute cat who, maybe unknowingly but I doubt it, saved my life by, for the one and only time, jumping on my lap and purring his head off when I was at my lowest and the depression almost got me.

I do enjoy hearing from my readers so please, drop me an email.

Ellen’s Review:

This book is quite different to anything I have read this year, the story concentrates on the friends and relatives of Alex who has been imprisoned for the murder of his ex wife Hazel and their quest to clear his name. Alice (Alex’s sister) is convinced of her brother’s innocence and after three years and a further appeal fails she enrols the help of a private investigator Steve to try and ascertain what actually happened that night. Hazel’s body was never found and there are a lot of inconsistencies in the investigation.

 

I liked the developing relationship between Alice and Steve and their persistence in clearing Alex’s name. An interesting story which really captured my imagination. It is difficult to say much more about this book without giving anything away, I’ll simply say that nothing is ever as it seems! Dreams of a Broken Man truly is a tale of hidden truths and fragile lies.

4/5

 

Guest Post: Why My Main Character Has Cerebral Palsy by Richard Rippon

Hey guys,

Today is publication day for Lord Of The Dead by Richard Rippon, and I have a guest post from him for you all to read! First though, here’s the all-important bookish information you need to know!

Press Release:

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On the 3rd November 2017, a thrilling new voice in contemporary British crime-fiction will emerge.

 

A woman’s body has been found on the moors of Northumberland, brutally murdered and grotesquely dismembered. Northumbria police enlist the help of unconventional university psychologist Jon Atherton, a decision complicated by his personal history with lead investigator Detective Sergeant Kate Prejean. 

 

As Christmas approaches and pressure mounts on the force, Prejean and Atherton’s personal lives begin to unravel as they find themselves the focus of media attention, and that of the killer known only as Son Of Geb. 

 

Lord Of The Dead is a gripping, electrifying piece of modern noir fiction.

 

“A stunning novel. If Thomas Harris was to write a British take on the Nordic-Noir genre, this would be it. Rippon is an exciting new voice in British crime fiction.” 

Nathan O’Hagan, author of ‘The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place’

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http://www.obliteratipress.com

@ObliteratiPress

obliterati.press@yahoo.com


Why My Main Character Has Cerebral Palsy

 

Before I started writing it, I had some ideas of the things I wanted to achieve with my novel. I wanted it to be firmly set in the North East, but I didn’t want it to feel small-town. I wanted to create a pacy thriller, but have an interesting and unique premise. I wanted it to have a gritty noir feel, but have almost cinematic moments, which would make the most of the Northumberland setting. Most importantly, I wanted the characters, and particularly my protagonist, to be as realistic – but as different and engaging – as possible.

 

I hit upon the idea of creating a younger version of my Uncle Jim, a retired accountant who happens to have a razor-sharp intellect, a great sense of humour and a wicked turn of phrase, which I thought would work well on the page. He also happens to be affected by cerebral palsy.

 

Although I initially planned to simply transplant parts of his personality into an able-bodied person, it didn’t feel right to airbrush his disability away, to just cherry-pick certain aspects of his personality for the convenience of the book. Disabled people are still woefully under-represented on TV and in literature. For example, around 5% of TV characters have a disability, compared to 16% in the UK. When they are represented, they’re rarely given substantial storylines. I wanted my character to be front and centre – the lead, the hero – not the quirky sidekick behind the scenes.    

 

And so, Jon Atherton was born. While I wanted to include his disability, I didn’t want this to be the sole focus, I wanted it to be more incidental. Yes, it’s part of him, but just one part. I went on to add some significant embellishments, until Jon stopped being a version of Jim, and took a life of his own.

 

Of course the fictional Jon’s disability is something that has shaped him in part. He has memories of being bullied, and a complicated relationship with his parents that stems from this, but it isn’t his defining characteristic. He’s a bit of a lad – a sexual being, with a fondness for female company – and has an interesting psychological makeup, which makes him well-suited to hunt down killers. He’s also not without his flaws. He’s witty, but sometimes his sarcasm can be hurtful and inappropriate. He’s been unfaithful to a wife who is still suffering from post-partum depression, and their relationship is still in recovery.       

 

Atherton having CP presented a few practical problems. He probably couldn’t be the cop I first envisaged. Instead, he’d be a university professor who specialises in serial killers. There’d be no chase scenes, or sliding over car bonnets in the pursuit of criminals. Instead, his input would be rely on his intellect, aided by a female partner, and police team who’d step in when things got physical.

 

Another problem was that I didn’t know enough about the day-to-day implications of living with cerebral palsy. I felt like a bit of a charlatan. What right did I have to write with any kind of authenticity about what it would be like to have a lifelong condition such as CP? I turned to Twitter for help, and found someone who helped me better understand how CP feels, and the frustrations that can come with it.

 

In the end, I think my decision to introduce Jon Atherton was the right one. I’ll never be the best-qualified to write with absolute authority about life with CP, but I can at least try to contribute a believable and compelling hero who happens to live with a disability.


Many thanks to Richard Rippon for this great post, and to Nathan O’Hagan of Obliterati Press!

You can pick up a copy of Lord Of The Dead by clicking the link below:

Lord Of The Dead by Richard Rippon

~Blog Blitz~ Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell

Hi guys,

Today I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog blitz for Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell, and I’ll be sharing my review with you all further down!

About the author:

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USA Today Bestselling Thriller Author.

Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family, parrot and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. Published by Bookouture and Thomas & Mercer, she now writes full time and all her books have become number 1 best sellers in their categories.

Her fast-paced DC Jennifer Knight thrillers carry a hint of the supernatural and are weaved from Caroline’s personal experiences in the police and paranormal.

Set in Shoreditch, London, her DS Ruby Preston series is described as “terrifying, addictive serial killer thrillers”.

 

Caroline also writes psychological thrillers, the most recent, Witness, has been described as “thrilling, tense, exciting, dark and twisted in the best possible way”.

Author Social Media Links:

www.caroline-writes.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3076677.Caroline_Mit

https://twitter.com/Caroline_writes

www.pinterest.com/Writeparanormal

https://www.facebook.com/CMitchellAuthor/

About the book:

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A serial killer is playing a terrifying game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead.

In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the twisted killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die…

But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby persuades her boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to use his criminal connections to set up a dangerous meeting. Because to catch this killer, she needs to think like one…

But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team become. Is Mason really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining Ruby up to be his next victim?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Peter James will be hooked by this dark and utterly disturbing thriller, packed with twists until the final page.

Buy links:

 UK: http://amzn.to/2v1l8v5

US: http://amzn.to/2umrDqp

My thoughts:

Having read and really enjoyed the first two books in this series, I was delighted to be able to read Murder Game for the blitz. It was great to be able to catch up with Ruby and her team following the events in Sleep Tight!

Murder Game is another excellent installment in the series. In this book, a killer is on the loose, kidnapping their victims and leaving clues for the police to try and decipher. The caveat is that they are against the clock, and the clues are gruesome reminders that if they aren’t fast enough, the victim dies.

Another disturbing fact is the killer seems to be emanating another killer from years before, Mason Gatley. But he is in prison. So Ruby has to try and glean some information from this sadistic killer before its too late. This makes for some very uncomfortable prison scenes as she tries to figure out just what exactly is going on.

Murder Game is a very clever game of cat and mouse. It’s definitely the best Ruby Preston book, in my opinion. The team is tighter, the characters are really well fleshed out, and the crimes are gory as hell. I raced through this one because I was eager to see where Caroline Mitchell would take us on her twisted journey into the mind of a killer.

Safe to say I really enjoyed this one! Highly recommended! 🙂

Previous reviews:

Death Note (as Love You To Death) by Caroline Mitchell

Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell

Check out the other fab blogs taking part:

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~Blog Tour Review~ Don’t Tell A Soul by DK Hood

Hi guys,

Today I’m one of two stops kicking off the blog tour for Don’t Tell A Soul by DK Hood and I’ll be sharing my review with you all. First though, here’s the all-important bookish information 🙂

About the author:

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Born in London, D.K. traveled extensively before settling in sunny Australia. Her interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. She is an avid reader of crime, mystery and thrillers. Writing in this genre has been an exciting adventure for her but nothing could top the thrill of receiving a proposal for her first submission,  ‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ from commissioning editor Helen Jenner at Bookouture. D.K. looks forward to sharing her spine tingling stories with you.

 

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dkhoodauthor/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/DKHood_Author

Website: www.dkhood.com

 

About the book:

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The floor was stone cold on her bare skin. Her heart pounded in her chest. ‘Not a soul knows where I am,’ she thought as she took in the darkness around her. And then she heard his footsteps…

When a body is found stuffed into a barrel at a garbage dump, covered in long red cuts, Detective Jenna Alton and her new deputy, David Kane, rush to the scene.

Nothing ever happens in the small American town of Black Rock Falls, so Jenna believes the victim must be one of two recent missing persons, and she fears for the life of the other.

Both were strangers to the town, but there’s nothing else to link them. Jenna knows someone must have seen something, but no one’s talking; how well does she really know the people around her?

Then a disturbing clue makes Jenna suspect a connection with other disappearances in the town’s history. Just when she begins asking the right questions, she realises she’s being followed. Is she next on the killer’s list?

In a race against time, Jenna and David must unlock the dark secret at the heart of the town, before it’s too late… 

A completely addictive detective thriller that will have you guessing right to the end. Perfect for readers of Robert Dugoni, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott.

Buy links:

UK http://amzn.to/2wESpf4
US http://amzn.to/2vgQtva

 

My thoughts:

I love a good serial killer thriller, especially ones based in the USA, so it was an easy yes to taking part in the blog tour for Don’t Tell A Soul by DK Hood. It sounded like something right up my street and I was not disappointed!

When a body is discovered in a barrel at a waste disposal site in Black Rock Falls, it’s up to Detective Jenna Alton and her new Deputy, David Kane to find out who it is and what happened. This is a small town, where nothing ever happens, but there are a couple of missing persons cases and Alton is afraid that the victim may be one of the missing so she begins an investigation that will threaten everyone’s safety around her.

Gah! I’m writing this review eager to tell you EVERYTHING about this book, but I can’t, because SPOILERS!!!!

So lets discuss characters instead for a bit. Jenna Alton is a strong female lead in this book, she takes no prisoners and takes s*** from NO-ONE! I loved her no-nonsense attitude and how she carries herself. Everyone has a past, and Jenna is no different but hers is one she has hidden away from the rest of the world. Enter Deputy David Kane….

Kane is such a great character. Full of machismo, but ultimately a very caring and honest man, he leaves the reader in no doubt that he is a very determined and interesting character. Alton and Kane meet in a great scenario (not going to say more!!!!) and their relationship starts off on an uneven keel for sure. As a pair, these two work so well together. They have each other’s backs, but are respectful of their differing methodologies and approaches to crimes/suspects. I really liked their inner monologues throughout the course of the book!

That plot though!!! It is detail-heavy, there are lots of extra stuff in there that creates the scenes and sets up the characters really well. So much so, that you will question everyone’s motives in the course of reading the book. I had inklings as to the whodunnit bits, but the author created such a wider picture that my theories were disproved more than once. I did get some bits right, but the ultimate reveal wasn’t what I was expecting. In a good way of course!

DK Hood, I need more Kane and Alton in my life, ASAP please 🙂 I am a huge fan of these two, and thanks to the author’s skill at not disclosing every minute detail, I am hankering for the next book and for answers!!!! Read it, and you’ll want to know what I want to know!

Don’t Tell A Soul is an absorbing, clever and dark book. Delving into small-town America and creating a sinister snapshot of life in a sleepy Montana town, it is compulsive and moreish. You need to keep reading, gleaning more information, putting it together in your head. And then the author will add in a tiny detail to make you go OMG! How did I miss that?!

Bravo, Ms. Hood. Bring on book 2.

Highly recommended!

 

Follow the blog tour:

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