Beneath the Surface by Sibel Hodge


Author : Sibel Hodge
Title : Beneath the Surface
Pages : 338
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : July 27, 2017


Dean Hudson didn’t look evil…so what could drive an ordinary boy to kill?

When the teenage son of Holly Gold’s school friend brutally murders his parents before killing himself, her sleepy home town is rocked by the sudden tragedy.

Appalled, Holly investigates. What could have caused the happy-go-lucky boy she remembers to commit such a heinous crime? When another teen commits suicide, she uncovers a horrifying link between the recent deaths and a dark conspiracy to hide the truth.

But someone doesn’t want Holly asking questions and, as she hunts for evidence to prove her theory, she’s dragged into a nightmare that threatens her life and her sanity. Then tragedy strikes again—and this time it’s closer to home.


Golly, this is quite the disturbing storyline and sometimes made for some incredibly uncomfortable reading.

When the son of Holly’s childhood friend kills his parents and then himself, Holly can’t quite wrap her head around these events. Dean wasn’t an evil child so what would make him do something so ghastly? When Holly realises another young person has taken their own life, she sets out to investigate but she quickly puts herself and her family in danger as someone is desperate to hide the truth and nobody can be trusted.

Sibel Hodge effortlessly guides us through the murky world of the pharmaceutical industry and the lengths they will go to to cover things up. It’s a story of greed and corruption with devastating consequences and I may never take any medication again.

This is the third book I’ve read by this author and while I don’t feel it is her best, she sure knows how to spin a tale and keep a reader hooked. The plot is brilliantly executed, as you would expect from this author. The storyline is incredibly gripping and even though I felt some parts were rather predictable and maybe even if a tad far-fetched, it kept my attention from start to finish. If you like Sibel Hodge’s other books, I have no doubt you will enjoy this one too and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Many thanks to the publisher for my advanced copy, which I received via Netgalley and chose to review honestly!

Beneath the Surface will be published on July 27.

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Weekly Wrap-Up (July 22)


Good heavens, did this week drag on or what? Not at all as productive either due to various interruptions, bloody migraines and people messing with my reading time.

Books I read this week :

“Only” six this week. I thought it was more. 😂


Books I bought this week :

Remember my self-imposed book buying ban? Ha! Hahahaha! Ahem. Feel free to count them yourself. I’ll wait.

Let’s all take a minute to blame Emma for the British Library Crime Classics, shall we? 😉

ARC’s received via Netgalley :

Three this week. I have to stop requesting stuff if I want to clear up my backlog before I go on holiday. Anyway, I had requested They All Fall Down ages ago and was convinced my request would be denied. Keep that in mind when you see my book post.


This week’s book post :

Oh, look! There it is again! It’s like a bus. First you can’t get one at all. Then they all come at once. *facepalm* Courtesy of the lovely Inge! 😘

On the blog this past week :

Monday : Reviewed Holy Island by LJ Ross

Tuesday : Shared my publication day review of The Art of Fear

Wednesday : Welcomed back Christine with her review for Digital Velocity

Thursday : Posted my review for The Theseus Paradox

Friday : Joined the blog tour for Nemesister

Saturday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Dying Art

Sunday : Shared my review for Broken Branches


Next week on noveldeelights :

Next week I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the harrowing The Unquiet Dead and I’ll be on two more Bloodhound Books blog tours for Red is the Colour and Till the Dust Settles. As per usual, there will be some stuff in between but I haven’t quite figured out what yet. 😄

Question of the week : With so many bloggers at Harrogate, how can there be anything else to talk about this week? Author and blogger events. Have you been to one? If not, would you like to? Do you have a preference for one?

And that’s a wrap! Wishing you all a wonderful week and lots of happy reading! xx

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee @HideawayFall


Author : M. Jonathan Lee
Title : Broken Branches
Pages : 294
Publisher : Hideaway Fall
Publication date : July 27, 2017


‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.


Following a family tragedy, Ian returns to the cottage where he grew up. Convinced a curse is responsible, he digs deep to unearth various events in his family’s past to create a family tree. But curses don’t exist, do they?

First of all, let me just say how much I liked the fact that the title doesn’t just refer to the humongous Sycamore tree by the cottage but also to the various broken branches of the family that Ian is investigating. One of those I feel could have been explored more as I’d love to have known what happened to ruin the relationship between Ian and his brother. Unless I missed something? It’s totally possible.

I’m not one for anything involving a supernatural element, normally. So I was a little hesitant about picking this one up. However, I quickly found myself enjoying this story and when the supernatural vibe made an appearance, it had me wondering if it wasn’t something else entirely. Ultimately, Broken Branches is about grief and loss, how it affects relationships and how families deal with it.

Some of the story switches to events in the past, which provide a great backstory but I feel those could have been done slightly different, maybe with a header, as it wasn’t always obvious and I sometimes got a bit confused until I read further along the page. Nevertheless, it was really well written and the slower pace worked like a charm. While I had an inkling of where it was going, despite a few twists and turns, the author managed to hold my attention to the very end with the level of intrigue. All in all, and maybe slightly to my surprise, which is always a good thing, I found this to be quite an enjoyable mystery!

Many thanks to Hideaway Fall for my advanced copy, which I chose to review honestly!

Broken Branches will be published on July 27th.

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Dying Art by Malcolm Hollingdrake @MHollingdrake @Bloodhoundbook #blogtour

I’m super pleased to welcome you all on my blog today for my stop on the blog tour for Dying Art by Malcolm Hollingdrake. Many thanks to Sarah at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity! Also make sure you visit my lovely chum Kate at The Quiet Knitter for her post on the tour!


Author : Malcolm Hollingdrake
Title : Dying Art
Series : DCI Bennett
Pages : 255
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : July 17, 2017


Following his recovery from a personal and professional trauma, Detective Chief Inspector Cyril Bennett has been declared medically fit to resume his police duties. He returns to discover a complex case involving the art world.

Soon Bennett unearths a dark side of the industry where greed, ambition and dubious practices thrive and, where there is money to be made, violence and murder are never far away. Working their way through a maze of galleries, museums and the internet, Bennett’s team struggles to make sense of the evidence.

Can Bennett tell the difference between what is real and what is fake?


Dying Art is the fifth book in the DCI Bennett series and by now it definitely feels like catching up with old friends.

Cyril Bennett is still recovering from traumatic events in the previous book and trying to deal with the guilt he feels in not having been able to stop a tragedy. In case it wasn’t clear from that sentence, I think you should really read the other books in the series as you’d miss out on quite a bit of background if you treat this one as a standalone.

As I’ve come to expect from Malcolm Hollingdrake, the case that Bennett’s team is investigating is another intricate one where various people are connected and you hurt your head trying to figure out who, what, where and why. This case touches upon one of Cyril Bennett’s passions, namely art and paintings. But the art world is a more dangerous world than you can possibly imagine. With a lot of money changing hands, it’s sure to attract the wrong sort of people who have no qualms whatsoever to trade in fakes and who will go to extraordinary lengths to keep their shady business safe.

With Bennett unavailable for part of the storyline, it’s Owen who moves more to the forefront again which I thoroughly enjoyed as he fast became a firm favourite of mine throughout the series. Luckily Bennett wasn’t too absent as the books are just not the same without the inside jokes and their banter.

Malcolm Hollingdrake delivers another fantastic addition to this incredibly enjoyable series and I very much luck forward to the next book!

Many thanks to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for my advanced copy and for the opportunity to join the blog tour!

Dying Art was published on July 17th.

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You could say that the writing was clearly written on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.

Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember.

Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories and has four books now available. Presently he is concentrating on a series of crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm has never lost his love for his home county, a passion that is reflected in the settings for all three novels.

Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It’s a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the main character in his latest novel.



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Nemesister by Sophie Jonas-Hill @SophieJonasHill @urbanepub #blogtour

I’m excited to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Nemesister by Sophie Jonas-Hill today. Huge thank you to Abby for the opportunity! I have an extract for you guys and will also be sharing my review but first, here’s a wee something about the book and the brilliant cover.


Author : Sophie Jonas-Hill
Title : Nemesister
Series : Crooked Little Sisters
Pages : 320
Publisher : Urbane Publications
Publication date : July 6, 2017


Psychological mystery where the female protagonist stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. There she meets an apparent stranger, Red, and the two find themselves isolated and under attack from unseen assailants.

Barricaded inside for a sweltering night, cabin fever sets in and brings her flashes of insight which might be memory or vision as the swamp sighs and moans around her.

Exploring in the dark she finds hidden keys that seem to reveal her identity and that of her mysterious host, but which are the more dangerous – the lies he’s told her, or the ones she’s told herself?


Nemesister starts off with a young woman stumbling into a deserted shack in the middle of nowhere. She’s lost her memory, can’t remember why or how she ended up at this remote location and has no idea why she’s holding a gun in her hand. She meets Red and the two of them find themselves isolated as Red’s truck won’t start and the unnamed young woman has severe blisters, can’t walk properly and has also been injured somehow.

Good grief, this is one dark read. It has this insanely creepy and eerie vibe bubbling away under the surface and at times even I, who wasn’t even in the room, felt uncomfortable and threatened. There are numerous questions to be answered. Who is this young woman? How did she get there? Who is Red? What does he want? If anything. And is he friend or foe? All I know is he gave me the heebie-jeebies. Above all, there’s a big mystery that needs to be solved but you’ll have to read the book yourself to know what that’s all about.

Set in the swamps of Louisiana, Nemesister is rich in atmosphere and I loved the setting as the surroundings felt just as oppressive as the shack itself. I must admit I did find some of the early chapters a wee bit confusing at times and I wasn’t sure if this book was going to be for me but then suddenly I found myself gripped nonetheless and eager to find out more. The author manages to leave a trail of breadcrumbs and all the pieces of the puzzle culminate into an exciting ending that I couldn’t have predicted at all.

Many thanks to Abby for the opportunity to join the tour and to Sophie Jonas-Hill and Matthew at Urbane Publications for my advanced copy and for providing me with the extract!

Nemesister was published on July 6th.

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If my review hasn’t convinced you to give Nemesister a go, then maybe this extract will.



THE HOUSE HAD something American Gothic about it, though nothing it was minded to share. Wreathed in bougainvillea, it regarded me with the air of one recognizing an unwelcome visitor. There should have been a rocker on the porch or an old dog with greying muzzle, but they were missing.

I stumbled forward, focusing on my feet in their worn canvas sneakers with the impression of toes ground into the pink fabric. Everything hurt and my head pounded like something inside wanted out. The shadow of the house brought the scent of the blooms and the sighs of a swamp; the first step creaked, the second moaned, then my hand secured the wooden pillar at the top of the stairs. I paused, then pulled myself up. I looked behind me, but there was only the road, a line drawn in the dust against an endless, ochre expanse.

I faced a pair of cobweb-covered boots lolling by the door, and heaved myself in past them, plunging from bright into dark. The boots made no obvious objection.

The room I entered was soaked through with the heat of the day and heavy with the stink of damp canvas. There was no source of light save for the open door, and at first the space was a blur of camouflage colours and indistinct, lumbering shapes rendered anonymous by my sun–blind eyes. I made the middle of the room, walking as if on hot coals and became aware of a chair-huddled table, something that might have been a couch and something that probably wasn’t.

Panic gripped me, thundered in my head, as I groped in the dark of both room and subconscious. I knew everything but understood nothing from the giddying procession of images in my mind: red boots crossing a winter road, a hand on a steering wheel, the view from under a bed across a savannah of green carpet, pearl buttons on blue velvet, a brown dog barking.

I willed breath into my lungs and, as stars cleared from my vision, the room snuck into focus.

‘Whoa, hey!’ the man silhouetted against the yellow-white rectangle of the open door froze as I whipped round to face him. ‘Keep back,’ I demanded as the world spun out of focus again.

‘Okay … whatever you say …’ he said as his shadowed form sharpened into detail. ‘Let’s not be hasty now.’ He made no move toward me but remained in the doorway.

I swallowed, my tongue swollen to a stone in my mouth. ‘Okay, you stay … stay back.’

‘I’m staying back,’ he said. ‘It’s okay, I ain’t gonna hurt you … no need to fret none.’ He eased himself a step further into the room.

‘I mean it, stop right there!’

‘Okay … all right, darlin’.’ To my surprise he obeyed and raised his hands, gently patting the air between us. ‘But you sure you wanna…’ As I stepped back, pain spiked through my side and the shock of it had me panting. I blinked as a black, glittering tide threatened to engulf my vision.

‘I ain’t comin’ near you, all right?’ the man moved slowly, purposefully; took two steps to his left and reached for one of the wooden chairs by the table.

‘I’m just gonna take a pew here…’ He sat down and brushed at his knees before he settled back. Tears burned down my cheeks but my vision cleared and his taut, hard features converged into a face. He ran his hand through his hair, a little of which sprang up at his temples.

‘So … what we gonna do now?’

‘What’s your name?’ I asked, risking a step to my left and paying for it.

‘You wanna ask me that, now?’ he said, then smiled. ‘ Them that knows me …’ He coughed into his fist. ‘ Them that knows me, they call me Red. You know, you don’t look so good.’

‘Shut up.’

He raised his eyebrow. ‘Maybe you wanna calm down a little here?’

I stepped backwards and my foot found the end of the couch. I pressed my shins against it, praying it would help me stand just a little longer.

‘You sure you know how to use that thing?’ I saw his eyes flick down. A gun – I was holding a gun, and had been for so long that it seemed fused to my hand, my fingers knotted round it. As I stared down, my arm began shaking treacherously; I gripped my left hand over my right, my pulse hammering in my head.

‘You wanna find out?’ I asked, staring at him but seeing only the gun.

‘I’m happy to take your word on it, only…’ He leaned a little to his right. ‘Only looks to me as if you’ve been shot already, so I’m not convinced that you do.’

‘Shut up, I mean it, shut …’ My breath was coming faster, harder, lungs heaving. Trying to keep the gun trained on him, I risked a glance at my side. In the second I looked, Red lunged forward.

He’d grabbed my wrists and yanked my arms up above my head before I’d even thought about screaming. He ripped the gun from my hand, turned me about and clamped his arms round me. Pain lit me up, blazed through my ribs and punched the breath from my body. I went limp and dropped to the floor but he went with me and broke my fall. I heard the gun impact seconds before I did.

‘Get the fuck off me,’ I said, trying to twist from under him.

‘Just you hold on.’ He had me on my back and twisted my hands together, pinning them above my head. ‘You need to hold still,’ he demanded, his face inches from mine, knees either side of me. ‘You come in here wavin’ that gun, what d’you expect? Jesus, darlin’, you gotta remember who’s you shootin’ at.’

‘Who the hell’s that?’ I asked.

He huffed a dry laugh. ‘You’re a piece of work and no mistake. Now look …’ He shifted position. ‘I’m gonna let you go now, so take it easy.’ He grinned. ‘You look fit to faint anyhow –you’s in a mess, girl.’

He let go. I struggled to get a grip on the floor, my hands scrabbling against damp boards for purchase, but pushing against the floor hurt like hell.

‘Get away from me!’ I managed to get up on my elbows, dragging, willing myself away from him. He grabbed at me and I inched sideways but he let me go at once.

‘Just hold on … look – we don’t need this shit, now–’ He snatched up my gun, and when he was sure I’d seen he was holding the barrel between thumb and forefinger, he clicked open the chamber. His face registered surprise. ‘Goddamn it, you were bluffing all along!’ He laughed, then with deft movements he disassembled the weapon and tossed it aside. ‘Whatever, see, I ain’t aiming to hurt you none, okay? Let’s just calm down now, shall we?’

I propped myself up, the last dregs of my adrenaline burning through my limbs and stealing sensation from my fingers.

‘What is this place?’ I asked and swallowed hard. ‘ This? Just a fishing lodge.’
‘Is it your place?’
He shrugged. ‘Sure, it’s mine.’
‘It is?’

He bent over me again. ‘Look, you gotta let me take a look at you. What in the hell you done to your face?’

‘Don’t touch me!’ I jerked right, and the throbbing in my head turned vindictive in revenge for the sudden movement. I slumped back against the floor, screwed my eyes shut and forced my mouth to bite back a scream.

‘Hey!’ I felt him move closer, felt him get hold of me and turn my face to his. ‘Hey, you still with me?’ I looked once I had the scream under control, pressing my back against the floor and pushing against the pain. ‘Don’t you pass out on me here.’ He adjusted position to look into my eyes. Desperate not to meet his gaze, I clamped my jaw shut again and tried to thrash free of his grasp. The effort overwhelmed me; my head fell back into his hands and I let my eyes roll shut.

‘Hey, you ain’t checking out on me, not yet. Focus, ya hear, focus. Now, tell me your name, come on, say your name, say your name!’ I laughed, the sound breaking free involuntarily. Anything, he could have asked me anything, but the last thing I could have told him was my name.

‘My name …’ My mouth stretched into a grin despite everything, my lips dragging on my teeth. Barking dog, under the bed, little pearl buttons.

‘Your name … shit, count for me … count for me!’
‘One, two, three, that do you?’
‘Good, so what’s your name … what the hell’s your name?’
‘I don’t know my name!’

‘Mercy …’ he said as the darkness seeped back into my vision. ‘What on God’s green earth … you expect me to believe that?’ He tilted his head, one eyebrow arched as he frowned. ‘What you saying … you got no memory of your name?’

‘No name, no rank, no number, sir!’ I laughed and he let my head fall gently back to the floor. We looked at each other, and for one, desperate, joyful moment, I really thought he might tell me who I was.

‘How … unfortunate.’ He shook his head. ‘Well, darlin’, whatever the hell’s you about …’ He chuckled, but the sound fractured before it reached me. He seemed to be moving away, taking the world right along with him. ‘ that must have been one hell of a bump on your head.’

‘Please,’ I said, my hands inching against the floor. I tried to sit up again, but I could barely lift my head. It seemed I’d nothing left but to rely on the kindness of strangers. ‘I’ve got to get out, I’ve got … I’ve got to go, please!’ Dark brown and heavy, fatigue slunk through my limbs as my strength bled out from my fingers into the swamp, sucking and snatching at me from beneath the floorboards. When Red spoke again, his voice was indistinct, no more than the murmur of the dank earth below.

‘You ain’t going nowhere. Seems to me you oughta close up them pretty eyes now, get yourself some sleep.’ But I’d already closed my eyes, pretty or otherwise. As a sucking, glittering blackness pulled me into the quicksand of the day, I tried one last time to surface, but my mouth filled with dust-dry words which choked me.

‘You just lie back there, I’ll look out for you. Seein’ he never did.’’

Before I could ask, unconsciousness embraced me and his voice spiralled into darkness.

I had to get to … Paris. Paris? I had to get to … Paris?


You know you want to read this! Here are the handy-dandy links again.

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And be sure to check out the rest of the awesome bloggers on the tour!

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The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette @DavidVidecette


Author : David Videcette
Title : The Theseus Paradox
Series : DI Jake Flannagan #1
Pages : 438
Publisher : Videcette Limited
Publication date : November 19, 2015


July 2005: in the midst of Operation Theseus, the largest police investigation that the UK has ever known, Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan begins to ask difficult questions that lead to the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend and his sudden suspension from the Metropolitan Police.

Who masterminded London’s summer of terror?
Why can’t Flannagan make headway in the sprawling investigation?
Is Jake’s absent girlfriend really who she claims to be?

While hunting for the answers to the most complex case in British history, one man will uncover the greatest criminal deception of our time.

Terror, extremism and fear of the unknown … Sometimes the answer is much closer to home.


“I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story.”

And what an absolutely mind-blowing story it is too! I knew I was in for a fantastic read after just a few pages and this book is going straight onto my list of books of the year! Days after finishing it, I’m still reeling and trying to come up with words that will convince you to pick this up straight away!

Inspired by actual events of the terrorist attacks on July 7th, 2005 in London, The Theseus Paradox takes you on a wild ride with DI Jake Flannagan who works for the Anti-Terrorist Branch.

The Theseus Paradox is one gripping, fast-paced and tense read. Mr Videcette offers an incredibly believable theory as to the events of 7/7 that is still occupying a huge piece of my brain. It’s quite obvious the author knows very well what he’s talking about as DI Flannagan is blocked by red tape, suffering the aftermath of the bombings and becoming frustrated with the slow pace of the investigation causing him to throw the rule book out of the window on multiple occasions.

I was glued to the pages from the start and terribly annoyed when I was forced to abandon this book around the 80% mark because of a dinner obligation. This is the kind of book that is so incredibly riveting that I would normally read it in one sitting and so to have that taken away from me … let’s just say I could have quite easily hurt someone 😉.

With an intricate plot and a flawed, yet likeable, main character, this story will mess with your head in the best way possible. I can’t recommend this one enough! This is an absolute must-read and David Videcette moves right up onto my list of authors to keep an eye on! I can’t wait to read his next book, The Detriment!

The Theseus Paradox is available now!

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This Week in Books (July 19)


Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading :


A young girl has been taken. Abducted, never to be seen again.

Joe and Hannah, her traumatized parents, are consumed by grief. But all is not as it seems behind the curtains of their suburban home.

Loretta, the Family Liaison Officer, is sure Hannah is hiding something – a dark and twisted secret from deep in her past.

This terrible memory could be the key to the murder of another girl fifteen years ago. And as links between the two victims emerge, Joe and Hannah learn that in a family built on lies, the truth can destroy everything.

The book I’m currently reading :


She knows there’s a killer on the loose.
But no-one believes her.
Will she be next?

Hannah had a normal life – a loving husband, a good job. Until she did something shocking.

Now she’s in a psychiatric clinic. It should be a safe place. But patients keep dying.

The doctors say it’s suicide. Hannah knows they’re lying.

Can she make anyone believe her before the killer strikes again?

What I’m reading next :


When a body is found hanging in the remains of a dock-side warehouse, Detective Kate Matthews is called to the scene. Recently transferred following the death of a colleague, Kate is yet to see a successful prosecution over the line. But this won’t be an easy win…

Someone is watching her: leaving her clues in her home, taunting her to throw the case and threatening the life of her little girl.

As more bodies begin to surface and Kate’s stalker closes in, her instincts tell her that there is a link hidden among the victims’ missing pieces. This is a killer with a message and Kate must race against the clock to solve his twisted riddle.

But at the end of this impossible puzzle lies an impossible choice.


Watching You is huuuuuuuge “maybe”. As soon as Karin Slaughter’s The Good Daughter finally (!!!!!) arrives on my doorstep, I’ll be dropping everything!

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Digital Velocity by Reily Garrett #guestreview

We’re diversifying on the blog today as I welcome back my wonderful guest reviewer Christine with her thoughts on this romantic suspense.


Author : Reily Garrett
Title : Digital Velocity
Series : McAllister Justice #1
Pages : 272
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : July 10, 2017


The deadliest weapons are the ones we never see.

Keyboard prodigy, Lexi Donovan has risen from teenage orphan of the streets to complete independence with little help along the way. When a friend is threatened, Lexi’s anonymous message sends police into a firefight, leading to a wounded cop.

Detective Ethan McAllister’s well-ordered life turned upside down the day an obscure text message led to a sexual predator’s identity. Since then, Callouston PD’s finest can’t trace the elusive hacker. The latest tip leads him to a brutal mutilation and a riddle indicating the identity of the next murder victim.

The dark net houses a playground for the morally depleted and criminally insane. When Lexi discovers the killer’s digital betting arena, she finds herself centered in a cyber stalker’s crosshairs bearing equal talent.

Street life strengthened Lexi while toughening her protective shell, but nothing could shield her from the shrewd detective forging a path to her heart.


Well, it was time to go outside the box again, and for this go around I selected a romantic suspense novel, Digital Velocity, which is book #1 in the new McAllister Justice series. It is also a police procedural, my favorite genre of all, so, OK, I cheated a bit. In any event, I had a good time with Digital Velocity.

Just prior to digging into this one, I read the prequel novella to the series, Tender Echoes. The prequel introduces us to hacker extraordinaire Lexi, who plays a big role in book #1, and briefly introduces us to the five McAllister brothers. Four are members of the police, and one is a PI. There is also a sister who is an attorney. The McAllister brothers are tightly knit and love to banter and kiddingly insult each other. Ethan McAllister, a police detective and fourth brother, takes center stage in Digital Velocity, along with Lexi.

I really liked these characters. The brotherly ribbing is on the corny side, but that’s OK. Ethan’s partner Larrick, a bit of a cowboy type, is a good add to the mix. We get to know Ethan, and especially Lexi, really well, which is a big plus in my book. Both Ethan and Lexi have dogs, Diego and Hoover.

The plot is a good one, though pretty straightforward in that there are not a lot of threads to resolve. Lexi is anonymously feeding cybertips to Ethan in hopes that he can use the info to crack the case of a repeat killer. Eventually, necessity brings Lexi and Ethan together. At that point we get a slow buildup to a highly suspenseful and thrilling climax. In fact, the whole last half of the book had me on needles. The characters at a late point in the story were in such a predicament I saw no way out; that kept the pages turning pretty darn fast!

Ms. Garrett obviously put a lot of time into researching cutting edge technology and the dark web, which are heavily featured here (in a very readable way). As an aside, as I was reading this story, it struck me how technology has partnered with evil to create a much more frightening and violent world than just a few decades ago. A very sad state of affairs in my opinion. It makes one wonder if the marvels of technology are really worth it.

There are two areas where I am in disagreement with most of the readers who have already posted reviews. The majority loved the descriptive passages and Ms. Garrett’s writing style. To me there is a little too much description, and the flow suffers on occasion from cumbersome phraseology. On the other hand, several readers found the first half of the book too slow. I actually really enjoyed the build up of the plot and the time taken to develop the two main characters.

I thought the romance arc was exceptionally well done (though I don’t have much to compare it with other than the one erotica book I read) with the emphasis on the feelings between Ethan and Lexi rather than pure lust. The sex scenes sizzle in an emotional way.

Overall, I enjoyed my foray into romantic suspense. I highly recommend that Tender Echoes, a fast read, be read prior to Digital Velocity as it provides an excellent introduction to Lexi and her cyber connection with Ethan.  I’m very curious to see where Ms. Garrett goes with the next story—perhaps she will feature one of the other McAllister cops?

I recommend Digital Velocity for all fans of romantic suspense.

Digital Velocity was published on July 17.

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The Art of Fear by Pamela Crane


Author : Pamela Crane
Title : The Art of Fear
Series : The Little Things That Kill
Pages : 237
Publisher : Tabella House
Publication date : July 18, 2017


Ari Wilburn’s life ended long ago—the day she watched her little sister die in a tragic accident and did nothing to stop it. Crippled with self-blame and resented by her parents, she stumbles through life … and onto an unexpected clue that casts doubt on whether the death was accidental.

Now a psychological wreck, Ari joins a suicide support group where she meets Tina, a sex-enslaved escapee who finds her long-lost father dead. Suicide, police ruled it. But Tina suspects foul play. As a bond develops between the women in their shared loss, they’re dragged into playing a dangerous game with a killer.

Faced with a murderous wake-up call and two possibly linked deaths, Ari’s investigation puts her next on the killer’s list. But she’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Needing closure, Ari must face her demons and the killer behind them or lose everything she loves.


Well, talk about reeling a reader in! Barely a few pages in and Pamela Crane had me hook, line and sinker!

Ari Wilburn hasn’t had an easy life. At a young age, she watched as her sister died in an accident. Blaming herself and being resented by her parents, she struggles to live her life and joins a suicide support group. Here she meets Tina, who used to be a sex slave. Tina’s father just died. The police claim it was suicide but Tina isn’t convinced. Together, these two women will dig deep and try to figure out the truth about their pasts.

This is one dark and disturbing read. From child trafficking to suicide, it’s at times rather uncomfortable to read. Both Ari’s and Tina’s parents have made some incredibly horrible decisions in the past that have influenced their children’s lives and not in a good way! If you sometimes get the feeling that some people should never had had children, here’s the proof. I don’t always find it easy to connect to characters who are clearly miserable but in this case, I was rooting for them all the way and was every bit as desperate as they were to find the truth and maybe some justice.

I felt the the ending left me hanging and slightly disappointed. Until I realised there’s a sequel coming. I should really pay attention to these things. So in that respect, the end of this part of the story was brilliantly done as the cliffhanger will truly leave you wanting and needing more! Apologies if this review is a tad vague but I really don’t want to give anything away. There are so many connections and secrets and twists. You should just get your own copy and learn about the art of fear yourself.

Many thanks to Noelle Holten for my advanced copy, which I chose to review honestly!

The Art of Fear is available now!

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Holy Island by LJ Ross


Author : LJ Ross
Title : Holy Island
Series : DCI Ryan Mysteries
Pages : 421
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : January 1, 2015


Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory.

When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight, while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation.


When I’m in doubt as to what to read next, since I apparently have way too many options available to me, I start a new series. I tell you, Dee-Logic will rule the world some day! 😉

Hence my first foray into the DCI Ryan Mysteries by LJ Ross. I’d seen the latest book in the series go around the internet but I didn’t know anything about it. Holy Island is the first book in what seems to be quite a popular series.

DCI Ryan was forced to take a sabbatical after events from a previous case and chose Holy Island to escape to. When the body of a young woman is found a few days before Christmas, his peaceful life on the island comes to an end. But the murder also happened on the eve of Solstice so could it be ritualistic? Enter Doctor Anna Taylor. She used to live on the island but left and has now returned to act as a consultant on the case.

Since the island is cut off at high tide because the causeway floods, the killer can only be a resident. I absolutely loved that secluded setting as it presents numerous problems like not having a police station or an appropriate place to hold a potential suspect and having to conduct an entire investigation in someone’s living room.

However, I tend to prefer my crime fiction without romance. And so, for me, I found the attraction between Ryan and Anna incredibly distracting. I also felt that despite the author’s valiant efforts to create a complex plot, there was always going to be an element of predictability. I thought the story was a bit choppy; it didn’t really flow for me, nor did it truly grab me. All in all, this wasn’t the book for me but don’t let that stop you from giving it a go as I’m quite clearly in the minority. It happens!

Holy Island was published in 2015.

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