Category Archives: Mystery

Chase: The Hunt for a King by Thomas Dellenbusch – Review

Title – Chase: The Hunt for a King (Chase (EE) Book 2)
Author – Thomas Dellenbusch , Richard Urmston (Translator)
Genre – Crime, Thriller, Mystery
Length – 118 Pages
Publication – Feb 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Translated Version from the popular German book series of Movie-Length-Theatre-Of-The-Mind-Stories

Scotland on the brink of independence: the government is planning its own Scottish monarchy. But when a member of the close-knit planning group reveals the identity of the candidate for the throne, suddenly people appear who want to prevent this royal ascension at all costs – including murder. When CHASE is called in to assist, Jérome and Chen Lu travel to Glasgow. Together with the Scotsman James Campbell, they hunt for his father’s murderer. A secretive wax seal leads them into a maze of ancient legends and lost manuscripts. Can they solve the mystery and save the king – or will old ruins become their grave?

Review

This is the second book in the CHASE series. If you didn’t catch my review of book one then click here –  The Hunt for the Mute Poetess.

On to book two…. This time the author lets other members of the CHASE team shine and this meant the story was not only enjoyable but fresh. This added some depth to the team which we were introduced to in the previous book and it’s this kind of slow but steady build-up that makes me invest in a series.

The CHASE team have a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and they’re thrust into a life or death situation as a friend of Jérome’s life hangs in the balance.. it’s all linked to the death of his father and ties to the past and the Scottish monarchy itself.

There’s plenty of twists to this tale and exciting revelations to keep the reader hooked. Fast paced scenes keep the action flowing but there are also points in the book where you and the characters can reflect on events. For me this reminded of TV character Columbo, a real mystery to be solved and it takes the CHASE team to figure things out.

A real joy to read I must admit and both the author and the translator have got this book spot on. I really wouldn’t have guessed this book was translated from German to English at all and the story works well. It especially fits at the moment with Brexit and the question of Scotland’s independence being discussed.

A super quick, easy and fun read. I’d go so far as to say it would be impossible not to enjoy the book.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Miss Christie Regrets by Guy Fraser-Sampson – Review

Title – Miss Christie Regrets
Author – Guy Fraser-Sampson
Genre – Mystery/Crime
Length – 320 Pages
Publication – Jan 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The second in the Hampstead Murders series opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley. It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link. As with its bestselling predecessor, Death in Profile, the book develops the lives and loves of the team at ‘Hampstead Nick’. While the next phase of a complicated love triangle plays itself out, the protagonists, struggling to crack not one but two apparently insoluble murders, face issues of national security in working alongside Special Branch. On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed ‘a love letter to the detective novel’.

Review

This book is the 2nd book in the Hampstead Murders series. I read the first book in the series Death in Profile recently and loved it so much I jumped at the opportunity to read this one.

The book starts of slowly but with a clear purpose as the author reminds us about the characters from the previous book, building on them but also giving enough information that you could read this book as a standalone.

So the tale itself is a brilliant whodunit. After a body is found the suspects are interviewed nothing concrete can be found. As more evidence comes to light the attention moves from one suspect to another and then for good measure a few twists are thrown in along the way to really put you off the scent.

One of the twists has links to the past and the very well-known Agatha Christie and this just added to the already intriguing tale.

What I really enjoyed about this tale is that until all the evidence is laid out the real killer could have been anyone, motives aplenty and no solid alibi’s leave you guessing.. then bang..the author has teased you long enough and finally fills in the blanks. The last twist I must admit I loved. I understood the motive but really didn’t see it coming.

The author’s style of storytelling is what really makes a good read, easy following, sharp informative chapters keep you gripped as little by little things are pieced together.

I also really liked that the author made this book much more than just a police procedural book, he gives the characters depth. Their own lives feature heavily in the story and this influences the way they tackle the case at times. This gave realness to the tale and really does make me hope the series continues as I’m invested in the team.

A special mention has to go to the cover on this one. This is the kind of cover that would make me buy the book regardless of the subject. It’s just looks so damn good in my opinion.

My thanks to the author and Urbane Publications for a copy of this book.
To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Guillaume by Prue Batten – Review

Title – Guillaume (The Triptych Chronicle Book 2)
Author – Prue Batten
Genre – Historical Fiction
Publication – 10th Dec 2016
Pages – 314
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The Church – powerful and moneyed.
The Heretics – zealous and poor.
Lyon – a city that might claim to cast the seeds of reformed thinking upon the world.
Guillaume of Anjou, formerly an archer fighting with other Angevins in the Third Crusade, is now the manager of a successful merchant house. In his new position, he unwittingly steps into and out of the shadowed world of trade and secrets in Lyon.
Guillaume carries the weight of a book in his hands – a book that may well light the flame of the greatest philosophical and spiritual change Europe will experience so that word and sword will cut a swathe through the fabric of life in Lyon.
But he has also made an enemy who wants nothing more than revenge.
He will fight for his life…

“With her customary elegant use of language, Prue Batten plunges us effortlessly into the mercantile houses, twisted alleys and secret shadowy tunnels of medieval Europe. Guillaume is a riveting tale of twelfth century trade, treachery and intrigue.” Matthew Harffy, bestselling author of The Bernicia Chronicles.

“This is for readers who love the historical fiction of writers such as Wendy Dunn, but yearn for the adventure of an earlier period and the excitement and mystery of ordinary people tangled in dangerous politics.” Gillian Polack, bestselling author of The Middle Ages Unlocked

Review

This is my first venture into the work of Prue Batten and I can safely say I was impressed!

The book follows a man named Guillaume who helps run a merchant house. I can’t lie, I loved him.

His life is about to change very quickly. As we go through the tale you can tell he likes to give out a calm impression but underneath he’s exhausted.

From the start of the book you can tell someone is either out to get Guillaume or destroy the business he helps run but you are kept guessing as to which and the motive behind it. I really enjoyed the mystery in the book, the author keeps you hooked until she is ready to reveal all.

Character development is the thing I look for most in a book. I need to find them believable and Prue Batten has put together an ensemble that ticks all the right boxes for me.  Not only was Guillaume a great character but the story also had a great supporting cast to the tale. The relationships, motivations and personas all felt right, they developed naturally rather than being forced.

This book is full of treachery, murder, mystery and intrigue. Shadows form the past return and it’s all woven together in a wonderful plot that was gripping from start to finish. This book really was a treat to read.

I also really enjoyed the descriptiveness used by the author. Prue gives you a background to the trade Guillaume is part of and this only added to the story which made it feel more real.

I can’t spoil the plot for you but can I can say this, there’s multiple players involved in this story and until the last few chapters you don’t have all the pieces so it a real buzz when things start to click together.

A special mention must go out for the ending of this book. Again I can’t spoil it but it suited the story perfectly and left me with that empty feeling..Hold on, that’s a good thing! I mean I was left with that “oh wow” moment and was left wanting.. needing more. I can’t wait to read more of the authors work.

Guillaume is a well written tale with great characters and a perfectly paced plot.. There’s nothing about this story I didn’t love!

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work. I’ll certainly be watching out for more 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Blog Tour – The Eden Tree by Peter Worthington – Review

1Title – The Eden Tree
Author – Peter Worthington
Genre – Mystery/Contemporary Fiction
Length –    280 Pages
Publication Date – 19th July 2016
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis                 

Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” John James Morgan knew the day he was born. Two days before his sixty-first birthday he found out why. John is a happily married businessman, father and grandfather, living in Cheshire, in the heart of England. Happy, that is, until his family face a crisis. A terminal one. At the local market, a flower-seller tells John a story that changes his life. Assured his destiny is in his own hands, John crosses the globe in pursuit of a religious artefact which has remained hidden for two thousand years. Presented with an antique box containing maps, parchments and a bag of leaves, John returns to the UK and witnesses a miracle. With the box in his possession, John and his family find new friends and enemies; lives are threatened and people die, although some will be healed. With the help of many different people, from all walks of life, John’s journey will finally lead him to the discovery of an extraordinary and mysterious tree. But what will this Eden tree mean to John, his family, their faith and their future? The Eden Tree is author Peter Worthington’s first novel; a fictional account based on his own experiences with his son, John Wesley, who underwent treatment for cancer but sadly passed away shortly after his seventh birthday. The Eden Tree has allowed Peter to give his much-loved son “a happier ending.”

Review

This book was a bit of a surprise to me I must admit. When I first picked it up I had no idea how much love had clearly been put into the book and the story behind it..that came as soon as i opened the book and read the dedication and the acknowledgements and I was immediately touched that the author plans to help Great Ormond Street Hospital through this book.

Even before chapter one I had a warm fuzzy feeling tingling within me.. the anticipation

The story follows John, his world starts to fall apart. Wesley is terminally ill and there seems no hope.

Little does he know many years ago a box was found that contained the leaves of the Eden Tree. This box has been kept safe under strict instructions it’s only to be given to one man.. the man who bares the symbol and asks for help.. Without knowing what is about to happen John is whisked away on an adventure where a cure exists.

I must admit I’m not religious but I have the utmost respect for anyone who does… I wasn’t sure at first if this book would be for me with its religious undertone but  it’s done in such a way that if anything I found it intriguing, it was very well written so even someone like myself could enjoy the tale

It’s a fast paced book and I felt a couple of the relationships that formed happened a bit quickly but I can see why the author did this.. there was such much to cram in this book.. so much story to tell and quite a few characters but it all worked well.

The characters themselves were great, lots of them, each with a different personality. Sometimes with so many characters it’s hard to remember who is who but not with this book,   the author clearly defines each character and their place in the tale

It a nice, well written story that’s heart-warming but at the same time has the added buzz of adventure

One thing I did think early on with the story is if you got these magic leaves..how could you only help one person..if you don’t, how do you choose who to save..whilst also trying to keep this cure safe as anything like this would clearly be exploited. It was good to see the author tackle this towards the end of the book where the family discuss life and death.. it would be good to see this explored more but I imagine that would be a very difficult tale to write if it was possible.

This book is a labour of love and you can tell just how much the author has put into this tale. Every time I read a chapter I thought of the real Wesley and how the author has wrote this for him and it gives the book that extra something in my opinion

I liked this one.. a lot.

My thanks go to the author and Authoright for the chance to read/review the book and take part in the blog tour

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

The author has kindly wrote a piece on the process he went through with The Eden Tree, I hope you enjoy the insight as much as I do –


 

How I Got to the Finished Product. – Peter Worthington

I have been writing for a number of years. Some of my articles, short stories and flash fiction have been published. But the novel ‘the Eden Tree’ has occupied my time for a decade, with the actual writing and editing process over the past four years.

In 1980 when my wife and I were told that our toddler had cancer we were plunged into another existence. Wesley at three and a half years old endured his treatments with heroism and a smile. Sadly, after a short remission, his cancer returned and he passed away two weeks after his seventh birthday in 1984.

I have wanted since to write a novel about his life. Initially I was imagining non-fiction. But as a Christian pastor I was drawn to the miracles of the Bible. The idea came which gave me an alternative Wesley story. One with a happier ending.

From the idea – some years ago- of healing leaves from the Eden tree I began to use an A4 folder in 2012. I divided it for Characters, Chapters, Research and Resources. I had a page for each chapter and scribbled as ideas came and also inserted some notes in a clear folder.

Once I had enough of a storyline I started to type chapter one in Word. Initially I had John Morgan’s arrival in Tel Aviv as the prologue but after a few months I realised that needed to change as it did not seem to fit. So after some tries I inserted a new prologue as the two brothers discovering the box. A website I use for reviews gave me a clear thumb up.

I found the writing very enjoyable and often woke in the night with new ideas to insert in a chapter. My storyline was clear after the first year and once I had a timeline for characters, events and scenes that worked my novel took shape.

I had three drafts before I finally found an editor. I knew as a debut novel the Eden Tree needed a full structural edit so in November 2015 I sent her a few chapters to see what she would do. I was so pleased with her suggestions that I commissioned her for the full edit later that month. It is amazing with the technology that enables an editor in New Zealand edit and send back her suggestions using Word’s edit function. After three edits and my editor patiently explained her amendments along the way we finally reached the finished manuscript. The 85,000 words had been honed to a leaner 75,000. The novel had less meandering, clearer focus and made a much better read.

By that time in December 2015 I had also discovered after sending samples to various agents – nearly having my fingers burned by one – that Authoright would be a great fit as publisher, printer and publicist. The CEO phoned me personally to talk me through the process. I commissioned them in November/ December 2015 and was kept informed throughout and found it easy to negotiate. They sent several design suggestions for front cover and the one that I chose is ideal. I have found the team professional and courteous.

The momentous day arrived when twenty copies of the Eden Tree were delivered to my home in May 2016. I felt I was dreaming as I lifted the novel and I’m sure my face was beaming. Since then I have spoken to groups and used social media and my website to spread the news. My novel will be released for sale on July 19th. If I can do it anyone can!

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Dark Heart, Heavy Soul by Keith Nixon – Review

Title – Dark Heart, Heavy Soul
Author – Keith Nixon
Genre – Mystery & Crime
Length –    226 Pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis                 

An adversary from the past asks Konstantin Boryakov for a favour – break into a facility designed to protect £200 million in cash and steal an item far more valuable. Theft, murder, mayhem and a sprinkling of deception await him…

Read the novels Ken Bruen loves!

All Konstantin Boryakov wants is a quiet life. In Margate. But someone is looking for him, someone who’ll do whatever they can to get the ex-KGB agent’s attention. Enter Violet, a woman with a penchant for throwing people who upset her out of windows. And Campari.

Reluctantly, Konstantin finds himself building a team to pull off a heist – breaking into a high security cash deposit facility with a hot line to the police. But he’s not to take money, what he’s after is a case, containing something apparently even more precious than the £200 million in notes that’s held behind razor wire defences.

The first member of Konstantin’s team is testosterone loaded prison officer David Lockwood, a man with debts to pay, and not to society. The pair break Sticky Mickey, a data mining expert, out of prison. With the arrival of strong man Lawson the team is seemingly complete, but when Lawson winds up dead, the result of an inconvenient accident, Konstantin is wary, even more so when Lawson’s void is filled by the volatile Violet.

Getting into the facility was the easy step and Lawson just the first to die. Everyone connected with the heist, it seems, is a target and Konstantin must go back to the beginning to find out who’s behind it all before he winds up with a bullet in the heart.

Konstantin Boryakov is done with the past, but seemingly, it’s not done with him…

Review

So today I’m reviewing book 4 in Keith Nixon’s Konstantin series. If you follow my reviews you’ll know I’ve read and enjoyed Keith’s work before and this certainly didn’t let me down.

Konstantin is a brilliant character, with snip bits of information about his past being dropped throughout the book.. This made him a very intriguing character and likeable. His inner monologue had me smiling, he’s got this great sense of humour which I loved and as a reader I felt privileged to read his inner thoughts.

The author describes Konstantin as an enigma.. which I totally agree with. I can really see this series having the legs for further tales as Keith builds on the story…..it just leaves me wondering what can happen next and what else about Konstantin we will learn

Very enjoyable read, and once the action starts its pace is pretty fast. I loved the plot line but probably would have liked the break-in scene drawn out a little more.. that’s personal preference though I must admit

There was another character I particularly enjoyed.. Mr Lamb.. like Konstantin (or indeed any other character in the book) you don’t get to know too much about them.. the suspense this brings was great.. wondering what each characters motives truly were.

My honest opinion of this book is that while the plot is good what really gave this book the extra wow factor was the characters and the mystery behind them. You are given tit bits to keep you happy but just enough so you want to read the next instalments without giving too much away in one go

At just over 200 pages it’s not an epic read either and the story flows easily so for me it was another excellent and fascinating book from Keith. I can’t rate his storytelling enough if I’m honest. Good plots, great characters and exciting plots that develop throughout

Take a look, let me know if you agree?

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Games People Play by Owen Mullen – Review

Title – Games People Play (Charlie Cameron #1)
Author – Owen Mullen
Genre –  Crime Fiction/Mystery
Length –    405 Pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

On a warm summer’s evening thirteen month old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland, taken while her parents are yards away. Three days later, the distraught father turns up at Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron’s office and begs him to help. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has stolen his daughter. And why.
Against his better judgement Charlie gets involved in a case he would be better off without. But when a child’s body is discovered on Fenwick Moor, then another in St Andrews, the awful truth dawns: there is a serial killer out there whose work has gone undetected for decades. Baby Lily may be the latest victim of a madman.
For Charlie it’s too late, he can’t let go. His demons won’t let him.

The stunning first novel featuring Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron. Games People Play will have the reader guessing to the very last page.

Review

This book starts with a bang.. I literally felt compelled to keep reading just so I could find out the truth about what happened.

Charlie is a PI who’s tasked to find a missing person, he knows he should take this case since it’s too close to an ongoing police investigation but he just can’t help himself.

Along the way we find out more about the PI’s own past and his motivations which gave him some depth and made him likable, he’s flawed but you want things to go his way.

The book has two stories playing side by side, one being the investigation and the other Charlies own complicated life. This brought a freshness to the story.. with each turn of the page the story would shift focus seamlessly kept me engaged and interested in what was happening

The story was well written and planed out. I must admit I did not see the ending coming until the author put all the pieces together.. it really had a wow finish for me..the hand over mouth moment when you finally see what Charlie has figured out.

Suspense is the word that best describes this book.. it’s all about the build-up and Owen Mullen did this really well. Some books just make the suspense plane boring but not this book!

The characters were great and I really loved the development throughout of the main character Charlie as you slowly learn more about him

For me this definitely is one of the best Crime Fiction novels I’ve read, not only does it have the investigation side you’d expect but with the underlying story behind Charlie I couldn’t help but be hooked in.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series

My thanks go to the author for the opportunity to read/review their work

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Murder In-Absentia by Assaph Mehr – Review

Title – Murder In-Absentia
Author – Assaph Mehr
Genre – Fantasy
Length – 306 Pages, Print Length
Publication – Oct 2015
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

A young man is found dead in his bed, with a look of extreme agony on his face and strange tattoos all over his body. His distraught senator father suspects foul play, and knows who to call on.

Enter Felix, a professional investigator. In the business of ferreting out dark information for his clients, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Drawing on his experience of dealing with the shady elements of society and his aborted education in the magical arts, Felix dons his toga and sets out to discover the young man’s killers.

Murder in absentia is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world

This is a story of Togas, Daggers and Magic – it will appeal to lovers of urban fantasy, detective murder mysteries and ancient Rome.

Review

I thought this book was brilliant; it’s a murder/mystery book in a pure fantasy world drawing on themes from Roman culture and i have to thank the author for the chance to read/review the story.

I won’t lie.. I wasn’t sure if setting a murder mystery in a more historical time point would work.. but it did.

We follow Felix, he’s a private detective of sorts.. has his hands in a lot of things.. knows a lot of people.

His help has been requested to help find out what happened to a young boy who is found dead in some rather strange circumstances.

One of the best things about the book is that since it’s a fantasy novel the author has been able to had some magic into the mix.. so it’s not a clear cut murder as you might expect.

Throughout the book the author gives great insight into the character for Felix, how he knows what he does and why he’s involved in the business he is. The development of the main character definitely has me interested in future stories.

I won’t give away the plot but it’s well written and planned out. Lots of twists to keep you engaged and interested.

I’m a big fantasy fan and this book but a nice twist on the genre I’m used to reading and it was a very refreshing read that I must certainly want to follow up on.

Any fan of murder mysteries or detective novels should enjoy the historical twist on the usual tales.

Credit to the author, he’s left me with a need.. and he happily fills this need in his notes at the end of the book where he points out some other authors and tales a reader might be interested in reading. I will certainly be looking up these authors and will be adding Assaph Mehr to my “to watch” list.. eagerly awaiting the next Felix story.

Overall I couldn’t fault this book in any way, nothing felt wrong or out of place. The story flowed well and was highly intoxicating.. I was compelled to finish the story.. I had to find out how things played out.
The good news is that it looks like more tales are planned and being set in a fantasy world it leaves the door open to so many possibilities for stories… can’t wait.

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com