Blog tour – Race To The Kill by Helen Cadbury

I am so honoured to be taking part in this blog tour, not just to focus on the book but to remember Helen as well.

Race to the Kill tour poster

The blurb

It is the middle of a long night shift for PC Sean Denton and his partner PC Gavin Wentworth when they are approached by a dishevelled-looking woman desperate that they follow her. She leads them to the old Chasebridge High School where they find the dead body of a Syrian refugee. The investigation which points to the neighbouring greyhound stadium, finds Denton caught up in the world of immigration, drugs and sexual abuse, and one in which his private life becomes increasingly entwined.


My review

I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again – I love Sean Denton. I say this more in a motherly rather than romantic way. He’s the kind of lad, that if I knew him, I’d be so proud. And clearly, Helen Cadbury felt the same. From the first book, To Catch A Rabbit, where Sean is a humble PCSO, this is a young man destined for more. Overcoming dyslexia, we find Sean as a PC in the second book, Bones In The Nest (see my review here). He has a knack for picking up on things that others don’t notice, something which doesn’t go unseen by a senior CID officer. And here, in Race To The Kill, Sean becomes a Detective Constable.

Even though he was the first response officer at the old Chasebridge school, Sean’s new boss, DI Khan, allows him to continue on the investigation of the murder of a Syrian refugee. There’s a strong sense of social justice in all three books. Not surprising really. Helen Cadbury was passionate about these things. But it’s never done in a ‘beat you over the head’ style. It’s always an integral part of the story – a thread that sews together the patchwork squares of the plot.

And this is something that I admire so much in Helen’s writing. She would take what seemed to be two or more disparate stories and slowly link them together. As the readers, we often get to find out the link before Sean does. And then, in true Columbo style, we get to watch as the truth dawns on him.

I don’t want to tell you too much about the story but we don’t just see Sean as an officer. His personal life is explored more fully in this book as well. I don’t think I’m giving away too much by saying that there is some sadness in the story near the end. But, Helen hasn’t left Sean in a desperate place. This is a book that ends with so much hope and possibility.

It was bittersweet to read this novel, knowing it was the last in the series. I loved it so much but I can’t tell Helen. I only met Helen once, very briefly. But we emailed a few times when I was writing a review for Bones In The Nest and she was incredibly generous to her readers. She will be sorely missed.


Thank you to Allison & Busby for the book and Anne Cater for allowing me to be part of the tour. A massive thank you to Helen’s family for allowing the publication to go ahead still. A collection of poetry is due for release in November.

You can find out more about Helen Cadbury and buy her books here.


The author


Helen Cadbury wrote fiction, poetry and plays. She worked as an actor before becoming a teacher and spent five years teaching in prisons. She grew up in Birmingham and Oldham, lived in London for many years, then went north and settled in York with her family. Her debut novel, To Catch A Rabbit, was the winner of the inaugural Northern Crime Competition. Helen passed away in 2017.


Blog Tour for Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech

Maria in the Moon - Blog Tour Poster

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Maria In The Moon. Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour, including my blog partner for the day – Ronnie Turner.

Thanks to Louise, Orenda Books and Anne Cater for letting me take part in the tour.

The blurb

‘Like a cold spider, the memory stirred in my head and spun an icy web about my brain. Someone else crawled in. I remembered.’

Thirty-one-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.

With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a horrifying memory emerges… and changes everything.

Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…


My review

Maria in the Moon cover

Set during the aftermath of the devastating flood of 2007, Maria In The Moon tells the story of Catherine. To say that Catherine is prickly is an understatement. We learn quickly that she holds relationships lightly, that she tends to lash out and hurt others before they can hurt her. Why does she keep everyone at a distance and inflict the most pain on herself? Why is she no longer called Catherine Maria? Any why can’t she remember anything from when she was 9?

This is a beautifully written book. As I’ve met Louise, I could almost hear her voice narrating the book to me in my head. As well as creating the wonderful character of Catherine who I grew to love, there is a great supporting cast in the form of Catherine’s mother, Christopher (who she meets at the Flood Crisis Line) and Fern, her flatmate. I felt that Fern could have a spin-off book of her own.

Thankfully, I’ve not been flooded although we are in a flood risk area. I know people who have been and the chaos that it’s caused. Maria In The Moon highlights the difficulties that people face not just with the practical side of things but the emotional side too. The crisis line in the book allows people to ring in and talk through all those issues. For Catherine, who becomes Katrina on the phone, listening to other people’s problems seems to exorcise her own demons. But some of those demons are proving elusive and that’s the main crux of the book. Although I could guess where the storyline was going, Catherine’s recall of the past was exceptionally moving and well written.

Although the floods and Catherine’s past are the main themes of the book, the power of forgiveness is woven in like a gold thread. Whether it’s with her friend Fern, or with the situation she faced at age 9, Catherine realises that forgiveness is the only thing that will bring her true peace. To hate is easy; to forgive is much harder. A glimmer of gold in the darkness of the flood waters.

This is the first Louise Beech book that I’ve read but I don’t think it will be my last. A truly wonderful book.

You can find out more about Louise Beech and order the Kindle version and pre-order the paperback here.


The author

Louise Beech picture 2

Louise Beech has been writing since she could physically hold a pen. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting twice for the Bridport Prize. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. Her debut novel, How to be Brave, was a number one bestseller on Kindle in the UK and Australia, and a Guardian Readers’ Pick in 2015. The Mountain in my Shoe was longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize.









First Monday Crime is back!

The leaves are turning and there’s a definite nip in the air. Autumn is well and truly here. And after an extended summer break, First Monday Crime is back a week today on the 2nd October at 6.30pm. But there are some very important things that you need to know.

Firstly – venue. First Monday has moved back to its roots at City University, St John Street, London EC1R 0JD (nearest Tube station is Angel).

Secondly – it’s now free! Thanks to City, the event is now sponsored by them and so there’s nothing to pay. But this doesn’t mean that you can just turn up. It would really help the First Monday team if you sign up at and then they’ll know how many seats are needed for the event.

Thirdly – book sales will be done by Big Green Bookshop. Now, you may be thinking that name sounds familiar. Let’s just say Piers Morgan and Harry Potter. Enough said. You can check them out here.

Fourthly – I’m sure there’s something else I’m meant to tell you…. oh, yes, the authors! And what a selection!


Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves

Sunday Times Top Five bestseller, Ann Cleeves, is 2017’s recipient of the Crime Writer’s Association Diamond Dagger, the highest honour in British crime writing. The award recognises authors whose crime writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre.

Cleeves has written 31 novels and is translated into as many languages. Before her writing career took off, Ann worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard.

In 2015, Cleeves chaired the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, during which Vera was voted the UK’s favourite fictional detective.

Also in 2015, Thin Air, was nominated for the Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and Cleeves was shortlisted for the prestigious Crime Writers Association Dagger in the Library award. In 2006, Cleeves’ novel, Raven Black, was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger (CWA Gold Dagger) for Best Crime Novel, and in 2012, she was inducted into the CWA Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame.

As well as fiction Ann has written a non-fiction title about Shetland and, in November 2015, she hosted the inaugural Shetland Noir festival on the Shetland Islands.

Cleeves lives in Northumberland with her husband.

Her latest Vera book is The Seagull.


Cleeves’ bestselling and acclaimed Vera series is famously set in the wild and beautiful county of Northumberland – sweeping across the rural villages to the rugged coastline with its post-industrial backdrop.

 The Seagull, the eighth novel in the Vera Stanhope series, is partly set in Cleeves’ beloved home town of Whitley Bay and focuses on police corruption deep in the heart of a community, and on fragile, and fracturing family relationships.

A cold case takes Vera back in time and very close to home – forcing her to dig deeper into her late father, Hector’s, murky reputation. Vera must confront her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth, as the past begins to collide dangerously with the present . . .

A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper – and Vera played a part in his downfall.


Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which terrifying things happen to ordinary people. He is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell and Linwood Barclay.

His first solo novel, The Magpies (2013), reached the No.1 spot on the Amazon UK Kindle bestseller list, as did his third novel Because She Loves Me (2014), and Follow Me Home (2015). His last novel, The Devil’s Work (2016), was also published to great critical acclaim and commercial success. He has also co-written various crime novels with Louise Voss such as Killing Cupid (2011) and The Blissfully Dead (2015). His titles with Amazon Publishing have reached over a million readers.

Mark grew up on the south coast of England and started writing in his twenties while working in a number of dead-end jobs. He lived in Tokyo for a year before returning to the UK and starting a career in marketing, and is a great admirer of Japanese writers and horror films. Mark lives in the West Midlands, England, with his wife, their three children and a ginger cat.

His new novel is The Lucky Ones.

The Lucky Ones

When a woman’s body is found in the grounds of a ruined priory, Detective Imogen Evans realises she is dealing with a serial killer – a killer of both men and woman, whose victims appear to die in a state of bliss, eyes open, smiles forever frozen on their faces. Imogen is under intense pressure from all sides as she desperately tries to discern not only the killer’s identity but also their motive, before it’s too late.

A few miles away, single dad Ben Hofland is back living in the sleepy village where he grew up, his career and marriage in tatters. But Ben feels his fortunes might finally be on the up as he miraculously finds the job of his dreams. What’s more, the bullies who have been terrorising his son, Ollie, disappear overnight. For the first time in months, Ben feels lucky. But he is unware that someone is watching him and his family. Someone who wants nothing but happiness for Ben. Happiness… and death.

Set near the author’s home, in Shropshire – ‘the nearest earthly approach to paradise’ as PG Wodehouse described it – Mark Edwards’ new novel explores our ideas about sense of place, of dark events in idyllic locations, and touches on issues of online safety, grooming and bullying.


Caz Frear


Caz Frear grew up in Coventry and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the writing dream finally came true.

She has a first-class degree in History & Politics, which she’s put to enormous use over the years by working as a waitress, shop assistant, retail merchandiser and, for the past twelve years, a headhunter.

When she’s not agonising over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at the TV when Arsenal are playing or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about.

Her book, Sweet Little Lies, was the winner of the Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller competition.

Sweet Little Lies

In 1998, Maryanne Doyle disappeared and Dad knew something about it?
Maryanne Doyle was never seen again.

In 1998, Dad lied about knowing Maryanne Doyle.
Alice Lapaine has been found strangled near Dad’s pub.
Dad was in the local area for both Maryanne Doyle’s disappearance and Alice Lapaine’s murder – FACT

Trust cuts both ways . . . what do you do when it’s gone?


Lilja Sigurdardóttir


Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Her book is Snare.


After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies.Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath the Icelandic financial crash.

Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

So that is the panel for October! Rod Reynolds will be attempting to keep some kind of order.

_MG_4669 [216820]

If you like the sound of this, then don’t forget to sign up at

I’ll be there (please don’t let that put you off) and I may bring cookies… (can’t guarantee cookies for everyone though – sorry!)







Blog Tour – Lost In The Lake by AJ Waines

Lost in the Lake BlogTour

In July I was honoured to take part in the cover reveal for Lost in the Lake by AJ Waines. It’s my turn today to tell you more about this brilliant book for the blog tour.

The Blurb

She came at first for answers…now she’s back for you

Amateur viola player Rosie Chandler is the sole survivor of a crash which sends members of a string quartet plunging into a lake. Convinced the ‘accident’ was deliberate, but unable to recall what happened, she is determined to recover her lost memories and seeks out clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

But Rosie is hiding something…

Sam is immediately drawn to the tragic Rosie and as she helps her piece the fragments together, the police find disturbing new evidence which raises further questions. Why is Rosie so desperate to recover her worthless viola? And what happened to the violin lost in the crash, worth over £2m?

When Rosie insists they return to the lake to relive the fatal incident, the truth about Rosie finally creeps up on Sam – but by now, she’s seriously out of her depth…

The second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series, Lost in the Lake is a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat Psychological Thriller that will leave you glancing over your shoulder.


My review


I have read a few of AJ Waines’ novels. She has a lovely style of writing which makes her books so easy to read. I know when I start one of her novels that I’m in for an excellent story. Lost In The Lake is the second in the Dr Samantha Willerby series. I have to admit that I haven’t read the first book – Inside The Whispers – but I don’t think this matters. I felt I had a good grasp of Sam fairly quickly. However, if you do want to read Inside The Whispers, I suggest you read that first. There are a few spoilers in the second book.

Sam is used to difficult patients but Rosie is going to test her more. She’s been through a severe trauma but isn’t behaving the way that Sam would expect. I love the way that we swap between narrators and see the situation from two different perspectives. Although it’s fairly obvious who the unreliable narrator is, Waines has still given enough twists and turns to surprise the reader. As a former psychologist, AJ Waines’ knowledge brings great depth and realism.

Just as Sam is drawn more into Rosie’s life, I was drawn into the story until it became compelling reading. The tension escalates well and we sense Sam’s impending paranoia. And just when you think you’ve reached the peak, Waines takes it to a whole new level.

A gripping story that had me opening my Kindle at any opportunity to read more. I look forward to the next Dr Samantha Willerby book.

Thank you Alison, for the copy of the book and for asking me to take part in the blog tour.

You can buy Lost In The Lake here for the UK and here  for the US.


The author


AJ Waines has sold over 400,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and USA (audiobooks).

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband. Visit her website, blog, on Twitter, Facebook or sign up for her Newsletter.









Back to work!

So my house is finally quiet. I now have a few hours each day where ‘Mum’ isn’t being shouted every five minutes. I find it pretty much impossible to write with the constant interruptions so the six week summer holiday becomes an enforced writing break for me. But I do think a lot and an idea for book 3 has been brewing over the last few weeks. Of course, there’s still book 2 to finish editing and I may make some changes to book 1 as well. So, quite busy with my own writing.

All of this means that I’ve made a decision about how much time I can commit to book blogging, and in particular, blog tours. Unlike most bloggers who seem to have a super human ability to read several books in a week, I’m much slower! So finding time to read a blog tour book is becoming harder.

Now, having written this, I’ve got three blog tours this month – ‘Lost in the Lake’ by A.J. Waines, ‘Maria in the Moon’ by Louise Beech and ‘Race to the Kill’ by Helen Cadbury. All are reviews. From October though, I’m far more likely to have author content e.g. a Q&A with the author or an extract. If I have time to read and review then I’ll do so.


By doing this, I’ll be freed up to read the mountain of books I have at home on my book shelves and my Kindle. I’ll still review those novels. Currently, I’m massively behind on my personal reviewing. I’ll endeavour to catch up with that. I’ve got some fab books to tell you about including David Young’s Stasi series – ‘Stasi Child’ and ‘Stasi Wolf’ – plus Marnie Riches’ ‘Born Bad’. I also read ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman over the summer and it’s a gorgeous book – very different from my normal crime read.

Books to read
Just a few of the books I need to catch up on!


So, that’s me, working to a new timetable this year. No doubt, you’ll still find me procrastinating on Twitter, but just as I’m encouraging my son to ‘step up’ now he’s in year 11, I feel I need to do the same with my own writing. Maybe one day, I’ll have some good news to tell you.