Earthly Remains



Just occasionally one reads or listens to a book and it stays with you for days. One such book that I listened to and finished at the beginning of the week is Earthly Remains by Donna Leon.

I have read several of Ms Leon’s books set in and around Venice. What’s not to like?. She obviously loves this city, its architecture, its history and is concerned about its present-day problems. We learn of the beauty and the despair of the old city, through Brunetti’s eyes, admirably described by Ms Leon.

Her protagonist is Commissario Guido Brunetti. I feel I know him and his team of detectives: I know his wife and two children. But this book is a different read. Brunetti is not trying to solve a murder but instead is spending a sabbatical in a villa on a property owned by a member of his wife’s wealthy family. Here he spends his days rowing on the Laguna with the property’s caretaker, Casati, and his evenings reading Pliny. Such a very different pace and place to his usual life in Venice, and his work at the Questura. Ms Leon is at her best here in describing the peace and tranquillity of the area and the problems of the earth discussed while rowing on the Laguna. Much of this novel focuses on Brunetti’s relationship with Casati who is seeking the reason why his bee colonies are dying.

Then one morning, following a storm, Casati is found to be missing. And so Brunetti gets involved in searching for his friend and then seeking the reason for his death.  We find that an old crime involving deadly chemicals having been dumped into the Laguna has been covered up by payments made to victims. And the dumping is still going on. I leave the joy of the ending for the reader to discover for him/herself

Days after finishing the book I’m still drawn to the descriptions of the place in which the Commissario finds himself. The beauty and the peace all the while hiding a deadly crime.

I recommend this book with the proviso that if you haven’t read any of the other books in the series you will not know Brunetti as I do. But nevertheless, I gave the book 5 stars.


The Legal and the Illicit

A new book by David Carter and I thought this was to be an Inspector Darriteau mystery but in fact, he takes a back seat in this story.

We meet the Ridge family, all three generations of them.

But first, we meet Lisa Greystone, engaged to Midge Ridge the heir to the Ridge fortune. Lisa is on holiday alone prior to her wedding to Midge. On a Greek island she gets involved with Nicoliades Emperikos, bar owner and ladies man and what started as fun turns into rape and then later, after Midge finds out what happened, turns into murder.

The Ridge family live in a mock Tudor mansion with the unlikely name of Misnomer. The Ridge fortune was started in the depression, by the grandfather Norman known as Rocky, who dragged the family from the inner slums of Liverpool. The family is now going from strength to strength with fingers in every pie, both legal and illicit. They will stop at nothing to succeed and make even more money. And along the way, as they sow many seeds of hatred and jealousy, they create lifelong enemies.

This is a fascinating book covering three generations of traders, working both sides of the law. Much is made of Rocky Ridge’s success as a commodity trader and the lifelong rip in his relationship with his only son, Vimy. Vimy sets up his own trading operation with equal or more success than his father’s.

This is an interesting story that follows the Ridge family and their manoeuvres with  Inspector Darriteau trying to work out just what is going on behind all the power and the glamour.

Note – As a member of the author’s Advance Reading Team, I received a copy of the book and I choose to make this review.



Now You See Her


Charlotte and Harriet, two close friends live in a small village, each with small children. Charlotte’s marriage to Tom has come to an end, Harriett’s marriage to Brian is on the surface, one that will last.

The two friends spend time together and trust each other, that is until Harriet leaves Alice, her four-year-old daughter, with Charlotte for the afternoon. Charlotte and her three children together with Alice, attend the school fete. All is going well until Alice disappears. And now Charlotte has to tell her best friend that she has lost her daughter.

The police are called. Another child, a boy, was abducted the year before and has never been found. Could this case be linked to that one?

The story unfolds between the points of view of a guilt-riddled Charlotte and a grief-stricken Harriet. We learn that while Charlotte appears to have everything, large house, plenty of money, loads of friends and an ex-husband who seems to be on call, Harriet has only Brian and a marriage that is so far from perfect.

It is an intriguing premise and one that as mothers,  we can well imagine. How would one cope with the horror of losing a friend’s child while your own three are safe?

Alternating between the written version and the audio, I found myself listening more than reading and I’m glad I did.

The mental violence as written was believable and held my attention. However, the ending was a little trite and somewhat unbelievable bringing into the picture as it does, a father who has long been thought dead,

Heidi Perks paints a picture of friendship, mother love, mental violence, deceit and horror peppered with psychological suspense.  I recommend this book to crime and mystery fans, such as me.





Over the Line

Thanks to NetGalley for introducing me to another author. Kelly Irvin is the author of Over the Line.

Oer the line


Gabriella Benoit, ex ADA turned chef, is approached by a stranger, a young man who appears to know her brother, but who dies at her feet without telling her how or what he knows.

Eli Cavazos, San Antonio homicide detective, and ex-fiance of Gabriella has just left the site.  He regularly attends at her restaurant’s closing time watching as she locks up and drives away safely.

Gabriella’s brother, an ATF agent is missing. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since he left his office to meet with an informer. He is being sought by the Laredo PD as a suspect in the murder of his informer. Gabriella cannot reach him and so she decides to go to Laredo to find him. The chances are that he is dead.

Gabriella, Natalie and her children, live in the house in which the sisters and their brother, were raised,

Natalie, a psychiatrist,  paralysed in a car accident that killed her husband, decides to accompany Gabriella. to Laredo.  When their house is invaded by masked and armed men looking for a phone they think the murdered man has passed to Gabriella, a reporter from the local paper is there too. He had been trying to get a story from Natalie. Realising the danger she and her children are now in, he rashly offers to accompany them to Laredo where his aunt and uncle live. 

Confused yet? Yes, there are lots of things going on and lots of characters.

There’s a Laredo police detective who might or might not be on the other side;, a young woman claiming to be Jake Benoit’s fiancee; an arms smuggler who is an uncle of the dead man; Deacon Alder the reporter, getting more involved in the case; his aunt and uncle brought into the case because they are sheltering Gabriella, Natalie, and her children; an ATF agent who is gunned down in broad daylight’; an ex Police chief now retired and running a ranch ,and more. So many characters – I found I had to go back to check on who was who at times.

We are asked to put logical thinking on hold and believe that two women, one a paraplegic, can take on an armed gang and rescue three men held hostage.

There are some Christian beliefs scattered throughout the story but not enough to trouble you if this is not your faith.

That having been said, it’s is a good story, well told, if you can get past the poor proofreading.





He Will Kill You



A couple of days ago, I told you I had received an advance copy of Charlie Gallagher’s latest book. I set out his ‘author’s note’ on that post, so now it’s time for the review.

I have to say that this is not an easy read, dealing as it does quite graphically in domestic violence and the effect this has on the victims.

But first, we are introduced to Christine and Scott Lang, no violence here but two tired very new parents who are close to the end of their tether.  Christine sets off for work with her baby son, Ethan in the back of her car, but as she travels through a tunnel she is caught in a series of explosions and subsequently suffers some bad injuries.

Then we meet DS Maddie Ives and her team, who while not involved in the initial enquiries into the blasts, soon are on the periphery of it.

Then we meet Grace Hughes who lives with her bully of a partner, Craig Dolton and this is where we come into contact with the domestic violence in all its ‘glory’. Craig controls everything Grace does, even to the effect of keeping her father away from her and not allowing her out of the house He has a particularly brutal way of ensuring she does exactly as he wants.

So we have bombs, domestic violence, two brothers who deal in drugs, two other brothers, one a self-made millionaire hoping to become the next IPC (Independent Police Commissioner) and one a bully. We also have DI Harry Blaker just returning to work following a shooting incident that left him badly injured.

Charlie weaves the story seamlessly around these and other characters, until the end.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly and thank Charlie for the opportunity of reading it.

The book will be published on March 15 and meantime, it is available to pre-order on Amazon. Note – there is no benefit accrued to me by telling you this.

This is book No 2 in the Maddie Ives series, and I look forward to reading more in the series.



Death’s Dark Veil

I look forward to a new book by author Patricia Dixon and she never fails to please.

A psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and no way will you put it down until you are finished. I finished it at 2.45 am.

We are introduced to two young women, both have been shamed and sent from their homes to make their own way in the world. One, Georgie has been brought up as a pampered princess, that is until she is discovered literally with her pants down when the ageing theatre manager’s wife and teenage sons popped into his office unexpectedly. Undeterred, Georgie enters her new life with vim and vigour.

The second one, Ivy is disgraced when she becomes pregnant by her stepfather. He is the headmaster of the local school and a pillar in the community, that is until after Ivy has the baby and she writes letters to all and sundry telling of his misdeeds and the result.  Ivy quickly changes her name by deed poll and becomes Sandy, putting her old life behind her. But she vows to find the baby girl who was taken away from her and given to a wealthy couple for adoption.

Ivy and Georgie at first seem like very different women. But as I read further into the book I realised that not only did they each have troubled pasts but were each determined to get what they wanted and to do whatever it took to achieve that.

Both women, through different paths, find themselves in an old unhappy house that appears to be haunted by what went before.

I really recommend this book. As I said, I sat up through the night to read it to the end. And the end was totally unexpected. No way did I guess who the evil person in the house was. I’m giving this book 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads.

My thanks to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read this advance copy. The book is available to purchase on Amazon.



Book Blurb:

Secrets, lies and evil lie in wait.

Ivy and Georgie have secrets and pasts riddled with shame and betrayal. On a cold February day, both women leave home hoping to rebuild their lives, not knowing their worlds will soon collide.

When fate eventually brings them to Tenley House, the home of a bitter, domineering matriarch who controls her fickle son and terrorises her adoptive granddaughter, the women find themselves in danger. Behind the facade of propriety, amidst secrets and lies, the truth will unfold when evil is awakened…

Hiding in plain sight and sworn to avenge the wrongs of the past, something stalks the corridors of Tenley. It listens and waits patiently, lurking in shadows, tormenting its prey and when the time is right, begins to strike down the occupants of Tenley, one by one…

Deceptively dark with a creeping sense of menace, this is the tale of two young women drawn together by circumstance and heartbreak.


About the author:


Patricia Dixon was born in Manchester where she still lives with her husband. They have two grown-up children and one grandson.

Ignoring her high school reports and possibly sound advice from teachers, Patricia shunned the world of academia and instead, stubbornly pursued a career in fashion. Once the sparkle of London life wore off she returned north and embarked on a new adventure, that of motherhood.

Now, almost thirty years later she has acquiesced to the wise words of her elders and turned her hand to writing. Patricia has written a total of eight novels, the latest is due for release in March 2019.











He Will Kill You

Today I received the advance copy of Charlie Gallagher’s latest book –
He Will Kill You.

I haven’t started to read it, but with Charlie’s agreement, I am posting his author’s note here.

“There is a strong theme of domestic violence throughout this book. Some scenes describe actions that are brutal, inexcusable and shocking, and may be harrowing or traumatic to read.

They are based on unequivocal fact. Two out of three murder victims in the UK are killed by an intimate partner. Most victims of domestic violence take years to seek help, if at all.

This book carries a message; if you recognise even a small part of your situation or yourself in these pages, any part of it, then know that you don’t have to suffer it; you don’t have to live it. You’re worth so much more.

Tell someone. Tell the police or a mate or one of the many domestic violence charities that can be found on the internet, or whoever you can.

Get yourself safe.”

Look out for my review in the next couple of days.



A new book by another favourite author – Winterman by Alex Walters. Have you seen my earlier reviews of his books – Candles and Roses and Their Final Act?

Well, this time we are in the Fens district in East Anglia, England. Set in the period immediately following the end of the Second World War when food and fuel are still restricted by rationing. Enter DI Ivan Winterman straight from the Met who finds himself back in his hometown and  in the small local police station manned by his colleagues  DC Hoxton, DC Marsh, PC Brain and the indomitable  Mrs  Sherringham and her part-time assistant Mary.

Almost immediately the body of a young girl is found and very soon two others are discovered and then two murders are committed. What’s happening in this quiet little backwater?

It’s in the middle of the coldest winter on  record  and the deep snow hampers the team’s efforts as they try to unravel/discover the motives for all these deaths.

There are twists and turns aplenty in this book. The blurb (see below) attracted me immediately and I felt compelled to keep reading once started.

The characters are well drawn and believable The author’s writing skills are descriptive and moody and I felt drawn back to post war Britain where I grew up amid the chaos and the questions as to how we got there – didn’t we win the war?

The ending was totally unexpected and disturbing. I recommend this book to all lovers of thrillers. I give it five stars and thank Bloodhound Books for the chance to read the advance copy and to review this book.

Book Blurb:

DI Ivan Winterman is a man with a troubled past. The Blitz has left his young son dead and his wife seriously injured. He has made enemies in high places and, with his career going nowhere, he returns to his home town in East Anglia, seeking to rebuild his life in a country gripped by post-war austerity and the coldest winter on record.

As the first snow begins to fall, a drunken ex-clergyman stumbles on the semi-mummified body of a small child concealed in a ruined cottage. Days later, a second similar child’s body is found in a Fenland dyke. Both bodies have been dead for several years, preserved in the Fens, the cause of death unknown.

Winterman, supported by a small team of assorted misfits, finds himself leading the investigation, uncovering a web of connections and secrets in the small rural community.  When a further murder victim is discovered, Winterman discovers that the secrets are darker and the threat far more immediate than he’d ever envisaged.

And, as the snow finally begins to thaw over the Fens, Winterman realises that his worst nightmares are about to come true…

Blog Blitz:


About the author:



Winterman is Alex Walters’s first historical crime novel. He is the author of Candles and Roses,Death Parts Us and Their Final Act, all featuring DI Alec McKay and set in and around the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. He has also written five books set in and around Manchester – Trust No-One and Nowhere to Hide featuring the undercover officer, Marie Donovan, and Late Checkout, Dark Corners andSnow Fallen, featuring DCI Kenny Murrain – and three crime novels set in modern-day Mongolia, The Shadow WalkerThe Adversary and The Outcast.  Alex has previously worked in the oil industry, broadcasting and banking and as a consultant working mainly in the criminal justice sector. He now runs the Solus Or Writing Retreat in the Black Isle with his wife, occasional sons and some cats.



Website –

Facebook –

Twitter – @mikewalters60

Bad Seed

Another book from Bloodhound Books in their Blogblitz series.



The story opens with the gruesome discovery of a young woman’s body and it looks as if the killer has attempted to perform a c-section on her. Soon a second body is found, with the same cut to the abdomen, so DI Kate Fletcher and her team realise they are hunting one murderer of both women.

So begins a complex investigation, with many twists and turns. The only connection between the murdered women is the desire to have a child. But can this be the root of the murders? And what is the connection between these murdered women and a woman from four years earlier, who only just survived?

And what about the biological mother of one of Fletcher’s team and the impact on that team member and the rest of the team?

We are introduced into the world of forensic medicine and the morgue with some fairly detailed descriptions. The police procedural is well written. All the characters are well rounded and believable. Kate’s relationships with her immediate superior and her team are well described and left me feeling that I knew these people; a definite art in fiction writing.

The team is soon fairly certain who the murderer is and we follow the team in its efforts to nail him.

Ms Hammersley is an established writer. I understand that this is No 3 in the Kate Fletcher series and I would highly recommend it if crime and police procedural/work the are subjects where you find your reading thrills.




About the Author:


Heleyne Hammersley is a British writer based in Cumbria. She writes psychological suspense thrillers and crime novels.

Heleyne has been writing since junior school – her first work was a collection of poems called ‘Give Them the Works’ when she was ten years old. The poems were carefully handwritten on plain paper and tied together with knitting wool.

When she’s not writing, Heleyne can often be found wandering on the fells or in the local park with her dog.


Social Media Links:


Facebook: Heleyne Hammersley author

Twitter: @hhammersley66








The Secret Wife

Secret Wif

This is Gill Paul at her best. This time she focuses on one of the Grand Duchesses of the Romanov Dynasty and a cavalry officer.

The story of the Russian royal family in the early 20th Century is well known. After being moved from pillar to post, and with the expected help from their English relatives not materialising, their life became one of misery.  The world was at war and Revolution was building in Russia. Their execution is a matter of record.  However, theories persist that one or more of the Grand Duchesses survived.

Gill Paul weaves a story around the theory that Tatiana survived.  And so..

While nursing in a makeshift hospital Tatiana meets cavalry officer Dimitri Yakovlevich Malama and they forge a friendship that survives their rare meetings as he comes and goes to and from the war fronts. With the uncertainty of war raging around them, they marry in secret before his departure on yet another mission.

News of the execution of the Romanovs reaches him at the front, and he is distraught. When the war ends, he leaves Moscow and moves to Berlin where he meets Rosa and forms a relationship with her.  When Rosa discovers she is pregnant they move in together although she knows he will never marry her as he still in love with Tatiana and considers himself still married to her.

Fast forward to 2016 when we meet Kitty Fisher. Kitty has just found out that her husband is cheating on her and she leaves London on a whim and travels to Lake Akanabee and a cabin left to her by her great-grandfather.  While fixing up the cabin she begins to research this great-grandfather of whom she was totally unaware. Both her mother and grandmother have died and there is nobody left to answer her questions.

Ms Paul has once again, produced a book that seamlessly mingles historical facts and figures with her fictional characters.  It is a rare book and a rare author who can do this and Ms Paul is one such.

I listened to the story on an audiobook but have no doubt it would be an exciting book to read. If asked I would give this five stars.