Book review – The Man Who Died Twice by @richardosman @VikingBooksUK @EllieeHud

Happy publication day to Richard Osman for The Man Who Died Twice! Thanks to Viking Books and Netgalley for an early read. Before I give you my thoughts, here’s the blurb.


The Blurb

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can the Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?


The Review

The Thursday Murder Club was such a joy to read that I jumped at the chance to read The Man Who Died Twice. I wasn’t disappointed. The beauty of a sequel is that we already know the characters so it’s much easier and quicker to become immersed in the story. Once again, my husband had to put up with me giggling as I read the book, reading out the funniest lines to him. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but I’m so glad I wasn’t born in 1969!

However, there are some more serious plotlines going on. Something happens to Ibrahim that shocks him (and the others) to the core. Richard Osman handles this with great sensitivity. Likewise, the storyline with Elizabeth’s husband, Stephen, and his dementia. There was a bit in the final pages that made me cry.

These things are threaded through the main plot. Elizabeth’s past life crashes into the present in the form of an old colleague who needs her help. Initially she isn’t minded to help him but the mention of diamonds and possible threat to life is enough to reel her in, the others too.

Overall, The Man Who Died Twice is superb. The writing is sublime – funny, touching, but taut when it needs to be. I’ve no doubt that this will be a huge hit, and rightly so.


You can buy The Man Who Died Twice pretty much anywhere! So now’s your chance to go out to your local bookshop. If you’re not able to do that then click here to order a copy.


The Author

Richard Osman is an author, producer and television presenter. His first novel, The Thursday Murder Club, was a million-copy bestseller. Critics have already described The Man Who Died Twice as ‘his second novel’.



Book review – #Hostage by @claremackint0sh @PartyReading

A couple of weeks ago, I took part in another Reading Party event, this time for Hostage by Clare Mackintosh. It was great to hear the opening two chapters and get a flavour for the story. It was even better when my signed copy appeared from Bert’s Books, beautifully wrapped. Before I give you my thoughts, here’s the blurb.

The Blurb

The atmosphere on board the first non-stop flight from London to Sydney is electric. Celebrities are rumoured to be among the passengers in business class, and the world is watching the landmark journey.

Flight attendant Mina is trying to focus on the passengers, instead of her troubled five-year-old daughter back at home – or the cataclysmic problems in her marriage.

But soon after the plane takes off, Mina receives a chilling anonymous note. Someone wants to make sure the plane never reaches its destination. They’re demanding her cooperation . . . and they know exactly how to get it.

It’s twenty hours to landing.
A lot can happen in twenty hours . . .

My Review

Hostage is divided into two parts. Part one is slower as the scene is set and we hear from the different main characters – Mina, an air steward, and Adam, a police officer. Currently separated, they have an adopted five-year-old daughter, called Sophia. It was her voice that captivated me the most when we did the Reading Party. Although autism is never mentioned, there are aspects of her character that suggest it – repetition, the need to know things in advance, knowing the route to school inside out and back to front etc. These are things I know all too well with family members. So for me, right from the beginning, this was a huge draw into the rest of the story.

Once everything is in place, then part two starts and it really is a case of buckle up your seat belt and get ready for the ride! I don’t want to give any spoilers but the way things are revealed and played out in part two is masterful. I almost feel there are parts I need to re-read to fully grasp it all.

There are a few themes going on in this novel, especially environmental ones, which gave food for thought. But the main question throughout the book is – do you save hundreds of lives or the one person you care most about in the world?

Clare Mackintosh is known as the queen of twists and once more, she keeps this going until the very end. If you’re staying home this summer, then this is a great book to read. If you’re flying off somewhere – maybe wait until you’re back home, safe and sound.

My copy of Hostage came from Bert’s Books but it’s available pretty much everywhere!

The Author

With over 2 million copies of her books sold worldwide, number one bestseller Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of I Let You Go, which was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It also won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in 2016. Both Clare’s second and third novels, I See You and Let Me Lie, were number one Sunday Times bestsellers. All three of her thrillers were selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club, and together have been translated into forty languages. After the End was published in 2019 and became an instant Sunday Times bestseller. Together, her books have spent more than sixty weeks in The Sunday Times bestseller lists.

Clare is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity based at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, which supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

Book Review – #TheForevers by Chris Whitaker @WhittyAuthor @HotKeyBooksYA

Thank you to Hot Key Books for allowing me to read an advance copy of The Forevers via NetGalley. Before I give you my thoughts, here’s the blurb.

The Blurb

They knew the end was coming. They saw it ten years back, when it was far enough away in space and time and meaning.
The changes were gradual, and then sudden.

For Mae and her friends, it means navigating a life where action and consequence are no longer related. Where the popular are both trophies and targets. And where petty grudges turn deadlier with each passing day. So, did Abi Manton jump off the cliff or was she pushed? Her death is just the beginning of the end.

With teachers losing control of their students and themselves, and the end rushing toward all of them, it leaves everyone facing the answer to one, simple question…

What would you do if you could get away with anything?

The Forevers

My Review

It’s quite tricky to review The Forevers. I’ve read all of Chris Whitaker’s books and it would be so easy to review this book in that vein. Except this is a YA novel, which will hopefully give him a new generation of readers. So, I’m going to try and steer away from his previous books and just look solely at this one.

For the last ten years, an asteroid has been hurtling through space on a collision course with the Earth. Despite many attempts, nothing has stopped it or veered it off course. It’s now only a month away from impact. With a premise like that, you’d think this was a sci-fi book set in the distant future. Instead, it’s near future and feels very like life now. Needless to say, with only a month to live, people are behaving erratically and some are taking their own lives rather than wait for the inevitable. Abi Manton is one such person. Abi had been Mae’s best friend until she joined the main clique at school. Mae find’s it hard to come to terms with her friend’s death and decides to find out why Abi choose to die. In doing so, Mae discovers a whole host of secrets and with the end of the world nigh, tensions reach boiling point.

This book is set in the costal town of West but I struggled to place which country it was meant to be in. Although London was mentioned a couple of times, it felt more American than British. It was the same with the characters. That may have more to do with Chris Whitaker’s style of writing though.

The characters are dealing with a whole range of issues – suicide, abuse, self-harm, eating disorders, homosexuality – to name just a few. This is a group of older teens (17-18) who don’t have time for counselling – they need to live their lives while they still can. There’s a big cast of characters, perhaps even too many, but if you look at them all, it would be impossible to extract any of them from the plot. Like a game of Kerplunk, pull out the wrong character and everything falls apart. So get ready to remember their names! As the countdown continues, people’s lives become more manic and messy. Not exactly anarchy but people taking matters into their own hands.

Overall, this is a thought-provoking and tense read aimed at YA readers rather than this oldie reviewer. I think the main question is whether or not I’d be happy for my older teens to read it and the answer is yes. In his last three books, Chris Whitaker has written amazing teenage characters. Now, he’s written an amazing book for teenagers.

If you’d like to buy a copy of The Forevers then click here or head down to your local independent bookshop.

The Author

Chris Whitaker 2

Chris Whitaker is the award-winning author of Tall Oaks, All the Wicked Girls and We Begin at the End. All three books were published to widespread critical acclaim, with Tall Oaks going on to win the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award.
An instant New York Times bestseller and the #1 Indie Next Pick, We Begin at the End was also a Waterstones Thriller of the Month, a Barnes & Noble Book Club Pick and a Good Morning America Buzz Pick. It has just won the CWA Gold Dagger Award, and is shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year.
When not writing, Chris works at his local library, where he gets to surround himself with books.
Chris lives in the UK with his wife and three children.

Book review #TheTrawlerman by William Shaw @william1shaw

I’m a massive fan of DS Alex Cupidi and The Trawlerman is the fourth book in the series by William Shaw. Before I give you my thoughts, here’s the blurb.

The Blurb


The naked corpses of Aylmer and Mary Younis are discovered in their home. The only clues are a note written in blood and an eerie report of two spectral figures departing the crime scene. Officer Jill Ferriter is charged with investigating the murders while her colleague Alex Cupidi is on leave, recovering from post-traumatic stress.


The dead couple had made investments in a green reforestry scheme in Guatemala, resulting in the loss of all their savings. What is more disturbing is that Cupidi and Ferriter’s disgraced former colleague and friend Bill South is also on the list of investors and the Younis’s were not the only losers.


Despite being in counselling and receiving official warnings to stay away from police work Cupidi finds herself dragged into the case and begins to trawl among the secrets and lies that are held in the fishing community of Folkestone. Desperate to exonerate South she finds herself murderously compromised when personal relationships cloud her judgement.

Pacey, intense and riddled with surprising twists, The Trawlerman shows that deceit can be found in the most unlikely places. The brooding waters of the Kent coastline offer an ominous backdrop for this lively page-turner of corruption, mental health and the complexities of human connection.

The Trawlerman

My Review

As I wrote above, I’m a huge fan of DS Alex Cupidi and she’s one of my favourite fictional police detectives ever. William Shaw puts her through the wringer though and after her last case, Alex is signed off sick with PTSD. William Shaw always examines important themes in his novels and mental health is high on the list in this story.

Police officers are often hyper-aware of their surroundings and impending threats. For Alex, PTSD has taken this to a new level. She spots a woman with a concealed knife long before anyone else and intervenes. But at a restaurant, she shouts out about a knife brought to cut a birthday cake, much to her embarrassment. Her ability to determine threat has gone into freefall. Time off and counselling is meant to be helping her but Alex can’t resist the pull of a double murder and her natural instinct to investigate.

As well as the recent suspicious deaths, Alex is also drawn into a cold case mystery – a trawlerman missing for seven years, presumed dead. But is he? Shaw skillfully weaves between the two cases, using them to draw out the raw, deep-seated fears that Alex has been holding onto. It’s a very different Alex we see here. She’s convinced she’s fine but we see the concern from everyone around her.

I don’t want to tell you too much more about the plot as I want to avoid spoilers. But there’s an unusual feel to this book as Alex is mostly away from the central action of the police investigation and the camaraderie of her colleagues. I found I missed the police station as much as she did!

Shaw continues his tour round Kent and Folkestone is one of the settings, tying in with the missing trawlerman. Of course, it’s still Dungeness that’s centre stage – the wonderfully bleak outlook of the nuclear power station alongside the rich biodiversity of wildlife. It feels as though the two shouldn’t co-exist and it’s a great metaphor for Alex’s life in this novel.

As I’ve come to expect, The Trawlerman, is a stunning read. I’m looking forward to seeing where William Shaw takes Alex Cupidi next. I hope he’s going to be a little kinder to her.

You can buy The Trawlerman here or better still, go and visit your local independent bookshop. My copy was purchased from Bert’s Books as part of The Reading Party. This is an event that allows you to read an extract of the book with the author present. Click on the links to find out more.

The Author

William Shaw

William Shaw has been shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger, longlisted once for the CWA Gold Dagger and twice for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, and nominated for a Barry Award.

His DS Alexandra Cupidi series – and the standalone bestseller The Birdwatcher – are set in Dungeness Kent. He also writes the acclaimed Breen & Tozer crime series set in sixties London. He worked as a journalist for over twenty years and lives in Brighton.

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He’s also the author of several non-fiction books including Westsiders: Stories of the Boys in the Hood, about a year spent with the young men of South Central Los Angeles, and A Superhero For Hire, a compilation of columns in the Observer Magazine.

Starting out as assistant editor of the post-punk magazine ZigZag, he has been a journalist for The Observer, The New York Times, Wired, Arena and The Face and was Amazon UK Music Journalist of the Year.

He runs the online book event Reading Party.

First Monday Crime Book Review – #TheColoursOfDeath by Patricia Marques @marquesp09 @JennyPlatt90 @HodderBooks @1stMondayCrime

After two months of confusion, First Monday Crime is finally back where it belongs – on a first Monday! As we attempt to get back to normal, we have a fantastic panel for you – Imran Mahmood (I Know What I Saw), Dorothy Koomson (All My Lies Are True), Jo Spain (The Perfect Lie) and Patricia Marques (The Colours of Death). Our very own Sophie Goodfellow will be asking the questions and kicking off proceedings on Monday 7th June, 7.30pm BST on our Facebook page. Before I give you my thoughts on our debut book, here’s the blurb for The Colours of Death.


The Blurb

The Murder
In the Gare do Oriente, a body sits, slumped, in a stationary train. A high-profile man appears to have died by throwing himself repeatedly against the glass. But according to witnesses, he may not have done this of his own accord.

The City
Lisbon 2021. A small percentage of the population are diagnosed as Gifted. Along with the power comes stigma and suspicion.

The Detective
In a prejudiced city, Gifted Inspector Isabel Reis is hiding her own secrets while putting her life on the line to stop an ingenious killer.

A violent and mysterious crime. Suspected Gifted involvement. A city baying for blood. And a killer who has only just begun . . .

The Colours of Death

My Review

This is a very accomplished debut by Patricia Marques. Set in Lisbon, we follow Inspector Isabel Reis as she investigates the death of a high-ranking official. But Isabel is no ordinary detective. She’s Gifted. The Gifted are a group of people who have extraordinary powers – either telepathy or telekinesis. Perhaps not surprisingly, they are viewed with suspicion by Regulars or ordinary people. When I first heard about this aspect of the book, I wasn’t too sure whether it would work. But it does and brilliantly so. By the end of the novel, it felt completely natural to have the Gifted around. It’s a very clever way to look at prejudice and stigma and how fear propels control.

Isabel’s Gift is telepathy. There are strict rules around her using her Gift and she’s not allowed to read a witness’s mind without their permission. But she can pick up on emotions and sees them as colours – hence the title of the book. I have to say now, that this is the most beautiful proof I’ve ever seen. And it came with a recipe card! That’s another thing that really centres this book and keeps it in the real world – Portuguese food and family life. It takes energy to power Isabel’s Gift so that involves eating a lot of food. It’s a great way to find out more about Portuguese cuisine. Flashback chapters tells us about Isabel’s childhood and how she adjusted to her new Gift and the effect it had on her family.

The plot itself is a slow-burn initially but as this is the first in a series, there’s a lot to fit in with regards to introducing Inspector Isabel Reis and her back story. It does pick up though as the case develops. Aiding Isabel is Inspector Aleks Voronov. As a Regular who had grassed up his previous Gifted colleague for criminal activity, Isabel is unsure about trusting him. He’s definitely an enigma and I’m sure there’s more to come from him in the next instalment. 

I really enjoyed this book and want to visit Lisbon now, despite the cold weather portrayed in this novel. This was a good way of adding atmosphere as it took us away from the presumed norm of the warm, sunny climate that Portugal is known for.

As we’re left with a possible new investigation at the end, I’m hoping there’s more to come from Inspector Isabel Reis. Although we learn quite a lot about her in this book, it feels as though we’ve only scratched the surface. I look forward to reading the next novel. 

The Colours of Death will be published on Thursday 17th June so you can pre order here or check out your local independent bookshop.

Remember to come and join us on Monday 7th June at 7.30pm BST on First Monday – A Regular Night of Murder and Mayhem for Crime Fiction Folk | Facebook to hear from Patricia herself.


The Author

patricia-marques-32 (2)

Half-Angolan and half-Portuguese, Patricia Marques was born in Portugal but moved to England when she was eight. As well as an MA in Creative Writing from City University, she holds a BA in Creative Writing from Roehampton. She lives in London and The Colours of Death is her first novel.

Book Review – #BlackReedBay by @Rod_WR @OrendaBooks

Happy e-publication day to Rod Reynolds for Black Reed Bay! The paperback will be out on the 2nd September but you can buy your e-book copy today. Before I give you my thoughts, here’s the blurb.

The Blurb

When a young woman makes a distressing middle-of-the-night call to 911, apparently running for her life in a quiet, exclusive beachside neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything suggests a domestic incident.

Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn’t sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, lead detective Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case that looks like it’s going to have only one ending…

And then the first body appears…

Black Reed Bay

My Review

I’ve loved all of Rod Reynolds books but there’s something particularly special about Black Reed Bay and it’s Detective Casey Wray. After reading only a few chapters, I felt as though I’d known Casey all my life. Tough but empathetic, Reynolds puts her through the wringer in this book but somehow she’s still standing at the end.

Reynolds has moved back to the US for his setting but unlike his Charlie Yates series, we’re in modern day. That doesn’t affect his lilting American style though and we’re treated to some superb writing. I don’t want to give away any more plot than the blurb above but I was kept on tenterhooks throughout. Like Casey Wray herself, I was struggling to work out who could be trusted.

I really hope this isn’t a standalone book as I think there’s a lot more to come from Detective Casey Wray. I can’t wait to see what happens with her next.

You can buy the e-book now and pre order the paperback here.

The Author

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Rod Reynolds is the author of five novels, including the Charlie Yates series, the standalone Blood Red City and the forthcoming Black Reed Bay.

His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books published his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City, which was a Summer 2020 pick in the FT. In 2021, he again turns to the US, this time to present-day Long Island, with Black Reed Bay.

Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in Novel Writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and children and spends most of his time trying to keep up with them.

Contact him:
twitter: @Rod_WR
facebook: @RodReynoldsBooks

Extra May FM Panel with @BAParisAuthor @FionaAnnCummins @mcgrathmj @LauraSRobinson @JakeKerridge @1stMondayCrime Book Review #DaughtersOfNight

Having confused you all with two Second Monday Crimes, we’re now giving you Fourth Monday Crime on 24th May! (Don’t worry, we’re back to normal for June.) Yes, we’re giving you an extra panel in May with four incredible authors – B.A. Paris (The Therapist), Fiona Cummins (When I Was Ten), Mel McGrath (Two Wrongs) and Laura Shepherd-Robinson (Daughters of Night), with Jake Kerridge asking the questions. We will be on the First Monday Facebook page at 7.30pm BST. Before I re share my review of Daughters of Night, here’s the blurb.


The Blurb

From the pleasure palaces and gin-shops of Covent Garden to the elegant townhouses of Mayfair, Laura Shepherd-RobinsonDaughters of Night follows Caroline Corsham as she seeks justice for a murdered woman whom London society would rather forget . . .

Lucia’s fingers found her own. She gazed at Caro as if from a distance. Her lips parted, her words a whisper: ‘He knows.’

London, 1782. Desperate for her politician husband to return home from France, Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham is already in a state of anxiety when she finds a well-dressed woman mortally wounded in the bowers of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The Bow Street constables are swift to act, until they discover that the deceased woman was a highly paid prostitute, at which point they cease to care entirely. But Caro has motives of her own for wanting to see justice done, and so sets out to solve the crime herself. Enlisting the help of thieftaker Peregrine Child, their inquiry delves into the hidden corners of Georgian society, a world of artifice, deception and secret lives.

But with many gentlemen refusing to speak about their dealings with the dead woman, and Caro’s own reputation under threat, finding the killer will be harder, and more treacherous, than she can know . . .


Daughters of Night

My Review

I loved Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s debut Blood & Sugar and Daughters of Night is even better. Laura’s depth of research comes across well and I felt completely submerged into Georgian London. Just thinking about it now I feel myself pulled back into that world. But if you’re expecting a Jane Austen Georgian view, then think again. Yes, we have the aristocracy and the wealthy but we also have the underbelly of London’s streets. There are three main narrators – Caroline Corsham, wife of Harry Corsham from Blood & Sugar; Peregrine ‘Perry’ Child, former magistrate now turned thieftaker; and Pamela, a young maid who wants more out of life so decides to auction her virtue to the highest bidder. Definitely not Jane Austen!

When Caro discovers the body of a young woman, she’s determined to find the murderer. Her husband is away so she hires Perry Child to help her. Sounds simple enough but when it’s revealed that the young woman was a high-class whore and not the lady Caro thought she was, Caro and Perry find themselves plunged into a very sinister world.

There is so much going on in this novel and I genuinely couldn’t work out who was responsible. Just when I thought I knew, there would be another twist. Even Caro has her own secrets to deal with. This book combines, art, Greek philosophy, the aristocracy, war heroes, whores, taverns, jewellers and banks! And that’s just what I remember!

Caro is a wonderful character. Forget the simpering, modest Georgian wife as Caroline Corsham has a mind of her own and is not afraid to use it. I think I actually prefer her to Harry but I’d love to see them team up together in another book.

This is a truly magnificent novel and deserves to do incredibly well. After reading Daughters of Night, I tried to read a contemporary crime novel but I couldn’t settle to it. Instead I’ve started to read The Mirror and the Light* by Hilary Mantel and quite honestly, that should tell you something about the calibre of Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s writing. I eagerly anticipate her next book.

*I wrote this review in February for Laura’s publication day. I’ve since read The Mirror and the Light and as much as I enjoyed it, I preferred Daughters of Night.

You can buy Daughters of Night here or you can now head out to your nearest bookshop!


The Author

Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Laura Shepherd-Robinson was born in Bristol in 1976. She has a BSc in Politics from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. Laura worked in politics for nearly twenty years before re-entering normal life to complete an MA in Creative Writing at City University. She lives in London with her husband, Adrian.


First Monday Crime May – Book Review #WhatTheyKnew @MarionETodd @canelo_co @1stMondayCrime

We’ve got Second Monday Crime again due to those pesky but much needed bank holidays. Joining us on Monday 10th May at 7.30 pm BST on our Facebook page are Tina Baker (Call Me Mummy), Phoebe Morgan (The Wild Girls), James Delurgy (Vanished) and Marion Todd (What They Knew). William Shaw (The Trawlerman) will be asking the questions. I have a review for Marion’s book but before I give you my thoughts, here’s the blurb.

The Blurb

DI Clare Mackay starts the new year with a death…

It is the stroke of midnight on Hogmanay when Alison Reid admits a caller to her home. When her death is later reported, DI Clare Mackay attends the scene. The initial evidence does not rule out murder, but it’s not possible to say for certain if foul play was involved. Yet when the pathologist informs Clare about a post mortem of a young woman found in the Kinness Burn, and with some similarities to Alison’s case, it seems there’s a strong chance that there’s a killer on the loose in St Andrews.

Clare and her team will have to look past the obvious conclusions and delve deeper into the lives of the victims to get to the truth. But who else risks meeting the same fate while the clock is ticking?

What They Knew

My Review

Although this is the fourth book in the DI Clare Mackay series, it’s my first Marion Todd read. As well as writing police procedurals myself, I love reading them too. It’s like slipping into a world that I vaguely know and Marion Todd does not disappoint.

When DI Clare Mackay is called to a suspicious death in early January, she has no idea as to what is about to unfold. Rather than easing back into work after the Christmas break, Mackay and her team are thrown into a murder inquiry that escalates quite dramatically.

What They Knew is set in St. Andrews in Scotland. I got some sense of the town from the descriptions given. In particular, I loved the hairdresser’s shop that claimed to have cut Prince William’s hair – he had a bit more in his student days. As it’s January, there’s also snow and ice to contend with which doesn’t aid DI Mackay in her enquiries.

As mentioned earlier, this is the fourth book in the series but it’s very easy to read and I picked up on the main characters quite quickly. I liked the camaraderie between Clare Mackay and her team, especially her DS – Chris West. They had some great banter going on but it’s clear that Clare is fond of Chris in a sisterly sort of way.

There’s some interesting twists in the plot and I loved the forensic details that proved to be so important to the case. I don’t want to say too much more about the plot as I don’t want to give any spoilers but there are some clever and very subtle clues that I didn’t pick up on straight away.

A great read that kept me guessing until nearly the end.


If you want to buy What They Knew then click here or better still, you can now go to your local bookshop!


Just to give you a little heads up, we have two more panels before taking a break until the autumn. We have an extra May panel on Monday 24th and then our June panel on Monday 7th. We’ll be giving further details soon but put those dates in your diaries!


The Author

Marion Todd

A native of Dundee, Marion studied music and worked for many years as a piano teacher and jobbing accompanist. A spell as a hotel lounge pianist provided rich fodder for her writing and she began experimenting with a variety of genres. Early success saw her winning first prize in the Family Circle Magazine Short Story for Children national competition and she followed this up by writing short stories and articles for her local newspaper.

Marion has also worked as a college lecturer, plantswoman and candle-maker and now is a full-time writer, penning the DI Clare Mackay series of crime fiction novels set in St Andrews. The first of these, SEE THEM RUN, is shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut Novel of the Year 2020.

Marion lives now in North East Fife, overlooking the magnificent River Tay. When she’s not writing she can be found tussling with her with her jungle-like garden and walking her daughter’s unruly but lovable dog. You can find out more about Marion at her website:

Marion is represented by Northbank Talent Management and her crime novels are published by Canelo.

Book Review – When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins @FionaAnnCummins @panmacmillan

Happy publication day to Fiona Cummins for When I Was Ten. I had an early proof copy (pre-covid) as this book was originally due for release last August. I can tell you now though, this book is worth the wait. Before I give you my thoughts, here’s the blurb.


The Blurb

Twenty-one years ago, Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were killed in what has become the most infamous double murder of the modern age.

Their ten year-old daughter – nicknamed the Angel of Death – spent eight years in a children’s secure unit and is living quietly under an assumed name with a family of her own.

Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down her older sister, compelling her to break two decades of silence.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and journalist Brinley Booth, a childhood friend of the Carter sisters, is tasked with covering the news story.

For the first time, the three women are forced to confront what really happened that night – with devastating consequences for them all.

When I Was Ten

My Review

Model parents, Dr Richard Carter and his wife, Pamela, were brutally murdered by one of their young daughters. It shocked the country then and twenty one years on, the public are still fascinated by this macabre murder. A documentary is planned, including an interview with one of the sisters who is finally breaking her silence.

Brinley Booth, a reporter, is tasked by her paper to cover the story. But Brinley has an edge on all the other journalists – she knew the Carter sisters when they were children, growing up together in the same town.

I’ve read all of Fiona’s books and the one thing that links the first three – Rattle, The Collector and The Neighbour – is an incredibly creepy atmosphere. When I Was Ten is different. It’s disturbingly real. If you saw the BBC2 drama, Responsible Child, then you’ll have some idea what to expect. It’s still on iPlayer and well worth a watch.

As per usual, Fiona Cummins’ storytelling is breath-taking. Told in three sections of Who, Why and When, the story unfolds with two timelines and different voices – including one of the sisters and their childhood friend. It’s a tale of secrets, abuse and loyalty.

I actually read When I Was Ten at Christmas 2019 as it was originally due for a 2020 release. I thought I’d written a review at the time but when I checked, I saw I’d only written a couple of paragraphs. I couldn’t understand why I’d done that. So I decided to re-read the book and did so in a day. Then I remembered. I had no words then and little more now. How do I begin to tell you about this incredible book that played out so vividly in my mind? There are of course the excellent twists, the scarily believable plot, characters so real you could almost reach out and touch them. The first time I read this book, I did so slowly, drinking it all in. The second time I was on a deadline so I read quickly. But the impact was still the same. The emotional heft was not lost. I was just as invested the second time of reading as the first, if not more so. And I think that’s what I couldn’t describe over a year ago.

In January, I reviewed another book and said I had a dilemma. It was very early in the year to be using the ‘E’ word, not least because I had already read another novel that was worthy of it. And here it is. So, my top ten reads will look a little different this year because I have to use this word for When I Was Ten. Extraordinary.

You can buy When I Was Ten here. Or if you would like a signed copy then click here to see if copies are still available.


The Author


Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. Rattle, her debut novel, has been translated into several languages and received widespread critical acclaim from authors including Val McDermid, Lee Child and Martina Cole. Marcel Berlins wrote in The Times: ‘Amid the outpouring of crime novels, Rattle is up there with the best of them.’
Fiona was selected for McDermid’s prestigious New Blood panel at the 2017 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, where her novel was nominated for a Dead Good Reader Award for Most Exceptional Debut. A sequel, The Collector, was published in February 2018 and David Baldacci described it as ‘A crime novel of the very first order’. Rattle and The Collector are now being adapted into a TV series by the Tiger Aspect, the producers of Peaky Blinders.
Her third novel – standalone thriller The Neighbour – was published in April 2019. Ian Rankin described it as ‘creepy as hell’. Her fourth novel When I Was Ten will be published in April 2021.
When Fiona is not writing, she can be found on Twitter, eating biscuits or walking her dogs. She lives in Essex with her family.

Book Review – #TrustMe by @TMLoganAuthor @ZaffreBooks

Happy publication day to T.M. Logan for Trust Me. Thank you to Zaffre Books for allowing me to read an early copy via NetGalley. Before I give you my review, here’s the blurb.

The Blurb


Ellen was just trying to help a stranger. That was how it started: giving a few minutes respite to a flustered young mother sitting opposite her on the train. A few minutes holding her baby while the mother makes an urgent call. The weight of the child in her arms making Ellen’s heart ache for what she can never have.

Five minutes pass.

The train pulls into a station and Ellen is stunned to see the mother hurrying away down the platform, without looking back. Leaving her baby behind. Ellen is about to raise the alarm when she discovers a note in the baby’s bag, three desperate lines scrawled hastily on a piece of paper:

Please protect Mia
Don’t trust the police
Don’t trust anyone

Why would a mother abandon her child to a stranger? Ellen is about to discover that the baby in her arms might hold the key to an unspeakable crime. And doing the right thing might just cost her everything . . .

Trust Me

My Review

This is the third T.M. Logan book I’ve read and I think it’s my favourite one so far. Ellen Devlin is on a train back to London after being told the devastating news that she can not have children. It’s almost too much to bear when a young woman sits opposite her with a gorgeous baby girl. Despite her pain, Ellen can’t resist the smiley baby and when the young woman asks Ellen to hold her while she takes a phone call, Ellen is more than willing to help. But when Ellen sees the young woman get off at the next station, she wonders just what has she agreed to.

I loved this book mainly because I couldn’t work out what was going on! There is clearly something special about baby Mia because quite a few people seem to be after her. Is she a clone (seriously, I did consider this) or important in another scientific way, like gene therapy (I also thought this)? Or is there an angry, deranged father who wants to hurt her? T.M. Logan throws up so many ideas that it’s hard to know which one to catch.

The writing is superb and the tension remains strong throughout. Ellen is a great character. She used to be in the Royal Navy so she can definitely handle herself. And just as well. There are quite a few action scenes.

Although Ellen is the main narrator, we do hear from others in the story. But which narrator do we believe? Who can we trust? More importantly, who can Ellen trust?

Trust Me is a fast-paced, intriguing story that will keep you guessing until the end.

You can buy Trust Me here. Or check out your nearest independent bookshop.

The Author

T.M. Logan

TM Logan’s thrillers have sold more than a million copies in the UK and are published in 19 countries around the world including the USA, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Greece and the Netherlands.

Tim’s brand new thriller, TRUST ME, begins when a woman is asked to look after a stranger’s baby on a train – only for the mother to vanish. When she looks in the baby’s things, she finds a note that says: ‘Please protect Mia. Don’t trust the police. Don’t trust anyone.’ TRUST ME will be published in the UK on 18th March, 2021.

His previous novel, THE CATCH, is about a father who becomes convinced his daughter is about to marry a man with terrible secrets. Terrified that his cherished only child is about to marry a man who is not what he seems, Ed sets out to uncover the truth – before it’s too late…

His thriller THE HOLIDAY was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and spent ten weeks in the Sunday Times paperback top ten. THE HOLIDAY takes place over a sweltering summer week in the south of France, as four best friends see the holiday of a lifetime turn into a nightmare of suspicion, betrayal and murder. Tim’s debut LIES was one of Amazon’s biggest selling e-books of 2017 and was followed by 29 SECONDS in 2018.

Tim was a national newspaper journalist before turning to novel-writing full time. He lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children, and writes in a cabin at the bottom of his garden.

For exclusive writing, new releases and a FREE deleted scene from Tim, sign up to the Readers’ Club: You can also follow him on Twitter @TMLoganAuthor, find him on Facebook at /TMLoganAuthor, on Instagram @TMLoganAuthor or on his website at