#bookreview UNDER THE MARSH by @gr_halliday Published by @vintagebooks July 21st @NetGalley

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SYNOPSIS

SHE NEVER CONFESSED. NOW SHE’S READY TO TALK.

Twelve years ago DI Monica Kennedy caught the notorious serial killer Pauline Tosh, imprisoning her for life.

When Pauline asks Monica to visit her at the remote Highlands Carselang prison, the detective thinks she’s playing games.

But then Pauline hands her a hand-drawn map with a cross marking the desolate marsh lands near Inverness and Monica can’t ignore it – she was always convinced there were more victims out there.

And when a body is discovered it looks like they’ve found a new name from Pauline’s kill list.

But things are never that simple…

MY THOUGHTS

When serial killer Pauline Tosh, whom Monica help put away for life, 12 years ago, requests a visit from the DI, Monica is cautious. Is Pauline playing games? But when she hands Monica a map, possibly marking where a body is buried, Monica knows she must check it out. Another one of Pauline’s victims? Sure enough, buried under the marshlands, is the body of a young girl.

This is the third book in the series featuring DI Monica Kennedy and having read and enjoyed the first 2, I was looking forward to another story featuring this highly likable MC. Monica makes for a great character, reasonable normal and relatable, unlike some other Scottish detectives : ) and along with her mum and young daughter, it was nice to revisit them all in this new highly engaging read.

Full of twists, new leads and misdirection plotted by the author, I was soon captivated and couldn’t wait to continue with the story.

We follow Monica as she investigates the murder and learn, through small flash backs from the victim herself about what possibly happened to her years previously. Via these flash backs and as we follow the teams investigations we are introduced to an array of possible suspects and persons whom could have been involved. Plus also Monica partner, DS Conor Crawford is acting incedingly out of character. Is he hiding something??

Wonderful descriptions of the harsh, remote but beautiful settings of the surrounding areas these books are based is also another plus point to these books. The whole pace of the story, flow of the writing and narration of these books is what makes them so easy to read. Grabbing my attention straight from the start and holding my interest throughout, this new novel always kept the story moving yet at the same time always allowing room to get a feel for what the characters were thinking and the progression of our main regulars.

I thought I had guessed the murderer, then generally thought I hadn’t, only to realise at the end I had!

Another great addition to this thoroughly enjoyable Scottish crime fiction series, and one which I would highly recommend.

Many thanks to the publisher for my digital ARC via NetGalley. Under The Marsh is out on Thursday!

#BookReview The Midas Game by Abi Silver #TheMidasGame @abisilver16 @EyeandLightning @midaspr @amberchoudhary #publicationday

Publisher: Lightning Books

256 pages

E Book pub: 7th June 21

Paperback pub: Today 5th August 2021

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It’s my stop on the blog tour today for Abi Silver’s new Burton and Lamb story The Midas Game.

I’m absolutely delighted to share with you my review of this new novel, today, on it’s paperback publication day!

Many thanks to the publishers Lightning Books and to Amber Choudhary of Midaspr (appropriatly!), for my advance copy.

SYNOPSIS

When eminent psychiatrist Dr Liz Sullivan is found dead in her bed, suspicion falls on local gamer and YouTube celebrity Jaden ‘JD’ Dodds. Did he target her because of her anti-gaming views and the work she undertook to expose the dangers of playing online games? And what was her connection with Valiant, an independent game manufacturer about to hit the big time, and its volatile boss?

Judith Burton and Constance Lamb team up once more to defend JD when no one else is on his side. But just because he makes a living killing people on screen doesn’t mean he’d do it in real life. Or does it?

Another thought-provoking courtroom drama from the acclaimed author of the Burton & Lamb series.

MY THOUGHTS

The Midas Game is the 5th book in the Burton and Lamb Thrillers Series and my 2nd, as I have also read and enjoyed The Pinocchio Brief. Each book can be read as a stand alone and read in any order.

These engaging and informative court room thriller/mystery novels all have a wonderful cast of characters and an of the moment, up to date tech interest to their story lines and this 5th book was no different.

In this new story we meet gamer and YouTube celebrity Jaden ‘JD’ Dodds, as Constance first meets him to interview him, after he has been held in custardy in connection with the death of a neighbour of his Dr Liz Sullivan.

With evidence linking him to the scene and Dr Sullivan’s long time work looking at gaming addiction the police consider him a prime suspect but as Constance begins her investigation she is sure there is much more to this than the police seem to want to consider.

Once again she teams up with Judith and as they set up their case to defend JD in the court hearing we also read chapters about a young game developer called Luke, who works at a small but determined company called Valiant as he introduces his new idea to his boss Eric.

Once again Abi Silver writes an enjoyable and believable court room mystery which kept me guessing till the end, with some brilliantly thought out twists and red herrings. This book covers the topic of on-line gaming, gaming addiction and the gaming industry as a whole, which I found very interesting. You do not need to be a gamer or indeed have knowledge of gaming to enjoy this book, but as a mother of two, now grown, boys I found the factual elements of the industries and potential problems gaming can have very thought provoking and I felt it was extremely well researched.

With social media sites like You Tube and Twitch becoming ever more popular and gamers having a celebrity like status to their followers, it is indeed an important and interesting topic but the author makes it very readable, as she incorporates it into this easy to follow and engaging novel. I was gripped right from the very start as we follow Constance as she gathers information, unearthing more and more details on the work of the victim.

I will definitely read more books in this series and even as I have already mentioned, these stories can be read as standalones, after reading two books now, I really want to feel more for the main two characters and the connection they have with each other, so will go back to book 2 and I can’t wait to find out more.

Many thanks to Amber, Midas pr and Lightning Books for my advance copy of the book and invite onto the blog tour, which continues until August 19th, so do check out the other posts and reviews.

The Midas game is released in paperback today!

#bookreview #blogtour #ebookextract MURDER AT THE GORGE by Frances Evesham @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources @FrancesEvesham

It’s my stop on the blog tour today for Frances Evesham’s new book in the Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries series, Murder at the Gorge. Thanks so much to the publisher BoldWood Books and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my digital copy and spot on the tour. Not only do I have a review but also an extract from the e book for you to read……Enjoy!

EBOOK EXTRACT

Sand blew fiercely across Exham on Sea beach, slicing into any intrepid walker brave enough to venture out. Max Ramshore shivered, despite the padded jacket he’d zipped right up to his chin. The late-November wind from the sea always found the slightest chink in his clothing. He pulled his beanie lower over his forehead and made a mental note to buy a warmer scarf.

In summer, the eight miles of sand were a delight, the air tangy with ozone and fish and chips, and the beach dotted with cheerful holidaymakers eating ice cream, balancing small children on obliging, mild-tempered donkeys, and helping to build sandcastles.

In winter, the seafront belonged once more to the locals.

Max and Libby were determined, today, to reach the wooden Low Lighthouse. ‘I have mixed feelings when I walk here,’ Libby said. She pointed. ‘Look, that’s where I found the first body, lying against one of the wooden legs. It still sends shivers down my spine to remember poor Susie, slumped there like a sack of coal. At least her murder brought us together.’

‘Ramshore and Forest, detectives extraordinaire,’ Max teased.

‘Forest and Ramshore,’ Libby insisted, as she always did. No wonder they’d never agreed on a letterhead or logo for their private investigation business, even though it now took up almost as much time as producing her famous cakes and chocolates.

Libby stood by Max’s side, watching the two dogs cavorting in the sand. She had a smile on her lips. That smile was almost constant, these days.

Max forgot the cold seeping into his neck, and counted his blessings.

In almost two weeks, they’d be married.

Bear, Max’s huge, now rather elderly, Carpathian sheepdog decided an interesting morsel lay just beneath the sand under the lighthouse and dug furiously with giant paws, sand flying in every direction.

‘Watch out,’ Max shouted, too late, as sand hit him squarely in the left eye. Blinking furiously, trying not to rub the eye, he staggered upwind of Bear just as Shipley, his springer spaniel, dropped a stick twice his own size at Max’s feet.

Max’s curse was lost in Shipley’s excited barking and Libby’s shout of laughter. She retrieved the stick and threw it for Shipley to chase.

‘Come here,’ she told Max, ‘let me wash the sand out of your eye.’

His back to the wind, Max let her dribble bottled water from her rucksack into his eye and scrub around it with a tissue. She’d never make a nurse, but he decided the embrace that followed was worth the pain.

‘I shall enjoy married life if you look after me like that,’ he murmured. ‘You’re a useful person to have around.’

‘For the first aid or the cooking?’

‘Both. I’m expecting to sample every single one of the cake recipes in your “Baking at the Beach” books.’

Libby pulled back a little to look into his face, ducking as the breeze hurled more sand their way. ‘Baking at the Beach is a great title, but not a sensible activity in November,’ she admitted.

‘You can call book three, Baking in a nice warm kitchen.’

She laughed. How he loved that sound; a proper, deep chortle. His ex-wife had laughed with an affected noise designed, he was sure, to sound like tinkling bells.

He took Libby’s arm, whistling for the dogs. Shipley, who’d recently undergone strict retraining, returned at once, but Bear went on digging.

‘Do you think he’s getting deaf?’ Libby asked. ‘He used to come when I called, but lately he’s been ignoring me.’

Max studied Bear. ‘Hard to say. He’s not as young as he used to be and I’ve noticed he limps a little. Rheumatism, maybe.’

Libby was frowning. ‘I know twelve is old for a Carpathian, but I can’t imagine life without him. Maybe he needs a visit to the vet? To be checked out?’

‘I’ll take him, if you’ll please agree we can go home now and get out of this wind?’

‘Wimp.’

The wind blew them back to Max’s Land Rover, parked near the jetty, in half the time it had taken them to reach the lighthouse.

Synopsis

Murder at the Gorge

A joke? A prank? Or something more sinister?


When the Exham-on-Sea residents are targeted by anonymous emails containing apparently harmless nursery rhymes, no one knows whether to laugh or shudder until an unexplained death touches the town.

Libby Forest, baker, chocolatier and Exham’s very own resident private investigator, alongside her partner Max Ramshore, set out to solve the puzzle before more people die. But when Max’s ex-wife arrives on the scene, ahead of Max and Libby’s long-awaited nuptials, things go from bad to worse.

With the town and their relationship under threat, Max and Libby need the help of the Exham History Society if they’re going to find the nursery rhyme killer in time.

Murder at the Gorge is the seventh in a series of Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set at the small English seaside town full of quirky characters, sea air, and gossip.

If you love Agatha Christie-style mysteries, cosy crime, clever dogs and cake, then you’ll love these intriguing whodunnits.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3cnJN1F

MY REVIEW

When several people in the village receive e mails containing nursery rhymes, everyone just thinks it’s spam or a prank. But when Max & Libby find out the two cases they have started to look into also received them, it’s not looking so innocent after all!

But with the opening of a new cafe and their upcoming wedding to organise, things become strained and stress starts to build.

This was a lovely quick read with some delightful characters. Max and Libby are wonderfully described and I adored the inclusion of Max’s two dogs Shipley and Bear. This is a village mystery type read but with Max’s expertise in fraud and computers, and their contacts to the local police force, there is also a modern, more practical story running through it. I also liked the way the novel addresses Libby and Max’s relationship and the ups and downs of what is a second marriage in later years for both of them.

The many references to Libby’s chocolate making and baking, I must admit, had me reaching for the biscuit barrel a number of times whilst reading this book! Oh well, another few pounds added to the ever growing lockdown weight gain.

A lovely village crime story with a modern twist. I look forward to ‘munching’ my way through the other six now!

AUTHOR BIO

Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. In her spare time, she collects poison recipes and other ways of dispatching her unfortunate victims. She likes to cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other, her head full of murder―fictional only.

Social Media Links –

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http://bookbub.com/authors/frances-evesham

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