Christmas Crackers 2017 – a Festive Reading Miscellany


As this proved to be my most popular post in 2016 I’d be daft not to do it again. Sadly due to circumstances a bit later than last year, but still time to get stocked up and there are plenty of books to choose from.

For anyone looking for a bargain e-read here’s my selection of Christmas reads. There is nothing costing more than 99p and nothing less than 150 pages (as many Christmas reads are short stories). I’m sure there are some I’ve missed and I’m making no endorsement of the choices other than they met my selection criteria and on the face of it look like something I might choose for someone wanting a Christmas read.

So grab yourself a cuppa and enjoy but please remember that Kindle prices can change at any time so double-check before you buy.



Christmas Freebies


Winter’s Fairytale with Maxine Morrey

From Paris with Love at Christmas by Jules Wake


Currently 99p


Christmas at the Little Clock House Green by Eve Devon

A Christmas Wish by Erin Green

A Little Christmas Faith by Kathryn Freeman


Winter at West Sands Guest House by Maggie Conway

A Song for St Nicholas by Jo Bartlett

Christmas at Conwenna Cove


Christmas Secrets in Snowflake Cove by Emily Harvale

Christmas at the Lucky Parrot Garden Centre by Beth Good with Viki Meadows

A Little Bit of Christmas Magic by Kirsty Ferry


The Best Little Christmas Shop by Maxine Morrey

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley

The Cosy Cottage Cafe by Rachel Griffiths


Snowflakes on Christmas Street by Ivy Pembroke

Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market by Heidi Swain

There’s Something about Christmas by Debbie Macomber


Saving Mr Scrooge by Sharon Booth

One Day in December by Shari Low

That Christmas Feeling by Debbie Macomber


Christmas at the Dancing Duck by Daisy James

Jo & Clara’s Christmas Countdown by Katey Lovell

Jessica’s Christmas Kiss by Alison May


The Little Village Christmas by Sue Moorcroft

Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage by Linn B Halton

The Beachside Christmas by Karen Clarke


Home for Winter by Rebecca Boxall

A Proper Family Christmas by Jane Gordon-Cumming

The Canal Boat Cafe Christmas by Cressida McLaughlin


The Cosy Christmas Shop by Caroline Roberts

Christmas at the second Chance Chocolate Shop by Kellie Hailes

The Christmas Project by Maxine Morrey


A Fairy Tale for Christmas by Chrissie Manby

The Winter Baby by Sheila Newberry

I Won’t be Home for Christmas by Amanda Prowse


Christmas for One by Amanda Prowse

After the Snow by Susannah Constantine

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn


The Winter Collection by Emma Hannigan

A Christmas Cracker by Trisha Ashley

How to Stuff up Christmas by Rosie Blake


The Little Christmas Kitchen by Jenny Oliver

A Winter Affair by Minna Howard

What Happens at Christmas by T A Williams


The Christmas Cake Cafe by Sue Watson

Make a Christmas Wish by Julia Williams

My Big Fat Christmas Wedding by Samantha Tonge


Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller

The Cardiff Christmas Club by Nick Frampton

The Silver Bells Christmas Pantomime by Lynsey James


The Christmas Collection by Victoria Connelly

The Finch Family Christmas Holiday by Maureen Reil

Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson


Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Farm by Heidi Swain

Christmas at Mistletoe Cottage by Lucy Daniels

Christmas at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples

Christmas at the Vicarage by Rebecca Boxall

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

The Frozen Lake by Elizabeth Edmondson



That’s all folks – Happy Christmas Reading!!
































Book Haul – week ended 2 Dec 2017

Well a much shorter list than last week and hopefully back on track with a weekly catch up.

Kindle Purchases


Rupee MillionairesRupee Millionaires by Frank Kusy

It is 1990, the heyday of Thatcher’s Britain, and a new decade is dawning. As London’s banks and stock-markets start filling up with young entrepreneurs called “yuppies”, a completely different type of wheeler-dealer – the world traveller merchant adventurer – is emerging on the other side of the world, in India.
Meet Frank and Spud, two such maverick tycoons, with one dream in common – to become rupee millionaires and to change the face of hippy-dippy fashion in the West forever.
First friends, then partners, then deadly enemies, this is the hilarious, true-to-life story of their eight-year roller-coaster ride from the bustling markets of London to the colorful bazaars of Delhi and Rajasthan. Only one of them will prevail. Who will it be?


Living on a RainbowLiving on a Rainbow by Calvin Wade

‘Living On A Rainbow’ is a story about mental health, bullying, growing up, battling against adversity but most of all it is a story about love. The love between a man and a woman. The love between a boy and his best friend. The love between a mother and her son and the love between a boy and his father.

Harry ‘H’ McCoy is not an ordinary boy and his life is not an ordinary life.



Falling for FlamencoFalling for Flamenco by Barry O’Leary

Can love exist between two young foreigners?
Flamenco dancer Mercedes craves to find a romantic guy who will treat her right. She’s sick of Sevillanos putting their mothers before her. She has always had a fascination with British guys, but she never expects one to show up while she is performing in a tablao, and turn her life upside down.

Genius guitarist Charlie isn’t planning on falling in love with a flamenco dancer. In fact, he wants to steer clear of girls, so he can focus on his dream of becoming a flamenco guitarist in Seville, Spain.

But love always comes along when you least expect it.

Will Charlie rise to the challenge of becoming a flamenco guitarist and win the heart of Mercedes?

Will Mercedes go against her father’s wishes and risk breaking up her family?


Hand of Strange ChildrenThe Hand of Strange Children by Robert Richardson

On the morning of 27 December, newspapers around the country recieve the following Press Association Report: Police investigating the discovery of two bodies in Hertfordshire house.

Details trickle in: the house belongs to wealthy merchant banker Charles Stansfield; present are well-known news editor Richard Barlow and members of his family.

But the victims identities are withheld. Who are they? Why has a family gathering exploded into violence and death? Through their individual voices the lives of Richard, Tim and Naomi Barlow and their mother, Florence, unfold and a shocking crime comes to light – one that has gone undetected and unpunished, culminating in a double-killing a quarter of a century later.


Extraordinary Life of Frank Derrick age 81The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Aged 81 by J B Morrison

Frank Derrick is eighty-one. And he’s just been run over by a milk float.

It was tough enough to fill the hours of the day when he was active. But now he’s broken his arm and fractured his foot, it looks set to be a very long few weeks ahead. Frank lives with his cat Bill (which made more sense before Ben died) in the typically British town of Fullwind-on-Sea. He watches DVDs, spends his money frivolously at the local charity shop and desperately tries to avoid cold callers continually knocking on his door.

Then a breath of fresh air comes into his life in the form of Kelly Christmas, home help. With her little blue car and appalling parking, her cheerful resilience and ability to laugh at his jokes, Kelly changes Frank’s extra ordinary life. She reminds him that there is a world beyond the four walls of his flat and that adventures, however small, come to people of all ages.


LifewallaLifewall by Nina Joshi Ramsey

Dilkhush returns to the hometown where a gas disaster killed thousands. Those in charge at the time are back. She is sent there to give and get forgiveness, but vengeance surfaces. From the moment she gets off the bus, the past rushes in, and a mysterious chain of events unravels. Allies emerge, including a wise old owl, a master of bargains, a disaster entrepreneur, and an enigmatic supporter. But a powerful nemesis also appears. Dilkhush scours the depths of her soul for answers. How is she to know that the present would rush at her with startling revelations and brutal secrets? Yet, these could also liberate her for a rebirth.

Lifewalla is an unforgettable portrait of loss and pain. It is a deeply moving story of the humanity that could be experienced in a family of strangers. A story of the instinct to grapple for a child’s survival, with indestructible hope.


Travels with MaggieTravels with Maggie by Pat Bean

Travels with Maggie by Pat Bean is a book about one woman’s fulfillment of a dream that began when she was 10 years old. It chronicles a 7,000-mile RV journey, mostly on backroads, through 23 states and Canada. The odyssey begins in May of 2006 from a daughter’s home in Arkansas, and ends in time for Thanksgiving at another daughter’s home in Texas. Bean’s writing brings a much-needed feminine voice to the world of such travel writer greats as John Steinbeck, William Least Heat Moon, Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson and Charles Kuralt. Travels with Maggie is also the story of a woman’s relationship with her canine companion, and it’s a story about chasing birds across America by a fledgling birdwatcher. The book is written in such a way that readers can follow the author’s adventures on a map – or in their own vehicle. While a realist who sees the changes that have taken place across America, the author prefers to look for their silver lining. “Change is change, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but mostly a combination.” Calling herself a wondering-wanderer, Bean asks many questions as she travels. Sometimes there are no answers, but always there is enlightenment.


Woman at 72 Derry LaneThe Woman at 72 Derry Lane by Carmel Harrington

On a leafy suburban street in Dublin, beautiful, poised Stella Greene lives with her successful husband, Matt. The perfect couple in every way, Stella appears to have it all. Next door, at number 72 however, lives Rea Brady. Gruff, bad-tempered and rarely seen besides the twitching of her net curtains, rumour has it she’s lost it all…including her marbles if you believe the neighbourhood gossip.

But appearances can be deceiving and when Stella and Rea’s worlds collide they realise they have much in common. Both are trapped in a prison of their own making.

Has help been next door without them realising it?


Christmas at the Little Clock House on the GreenChristmas at the Little Clock House on the Green by Eve Devon

Welcome back to the village of Whispers Wood where Christmas magic is in the air…

After giving his heart last year only to have it given away the very next day, Jake Knightley is opting out of Christmas—permanently! But then a beautiful new village arrival sets mayhem in motion, upsetting all his carefully laid plans.

Emma Danes has said goodbye to Hollywood and will do anything to help make the clock house a success, even working closely with the tempting Mr Knightley.

Now, as snow starts to fall and romance starts to bloom, Emma and Jake may just find themselves repeating Whispers Wood history beneath the mistletoe…


Ghost FieldsThe Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths (Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 7)

When DCI Harry Nelson calls Ruth Galloway in to investigate a body found inside a buried fighter plane, she quickly realizes that the skeleton couldn’t possibly be the pilot. DNA tests identify the man as Fred Blackstock, a local aristocrat who had been reported dead at sea.

Events are further complicated by a TV company that wants to make a film about Norfolk’s deserted air force bases, the so-called Ghost Fields, which have been partially converted into a pig farm run by one of the younger remaining Blackstocks.

Then human bones are found on the farm and, as the greatest storm Norfolk has seen for decades brews in the distance, another Blackstock is attacked. Can the team outrace the rising flood to find the killer?


Did you find anything to tempt you? If so Happy Reading x


Five on Friday with David Videcette @DavidVidecette

Hi Res - David_Videcette_Charlie_FB_040(1).JPG

Today I’m delighted to feature one of my favourite thriller writers David Videcette. His books, based on true events, are perfect for readers who like their crime fiction as close to real crime as it gets. I’ve reviewed both The Theseus Paradox and The Detriment and can’t recommend them highly enough.

Author Bio:

As a Scotland Yard detective in specialist operations, David has worked on a wealth of infamous cases.  He’s placed bugs on scores of vehicles, searched hundreds of properties, chased numerous dangerous criminals and interviewed thousands of witnesses.

David was a lead detective on the 7/7 London bombings investigation and is the author of the Detective Jake Flannagan thrillers, based on real events.

David regularly comments on matters surrounding crime, policing and terrorism for international news and media outlets.

His catchphrase is “I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story…”


Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?music-score-notes.jpg


Madness ‘House of Fun’ is a song about a boy on his 16th birthday attempting to buy condoms at a chemist and being misunderstood.  As a consultant in the security industry, I spend a lot of my time people-watching, trying to second guess what members of the public are going to do before they do it, based on their speech and body language patterns. Misunderstanding someone’s motives and moves is something I never want to happen!

The Pierces’ ‘Secret’ is the theme tune to Pretty Little Liars. It’s all about keeping secrets and how sometimes we have to tell. Having worked on keeping secrets with the intelligence services for decades, this song has a particular resonance for me.

Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’ because of its repeated line, ‘we found love in a hopeless place’. I write about a tough, no-nonsense detective in my novels called Jake Flannagan. He is very much based on me. He, like me, often falls in love with the wrong people, and it always ends in disaster.

Kings of Leon’s ‘Cold Guilt’ is about how we carry the burden of guilt around with us all the time. It strikes a chord with me for a number of reasons. I often wonder what life would be like if we could change the decisions we made in the past, and try an alternative route. How different would our worlds be? The song means something to me both personally and on a professional level.

Cheryl Cole ‘Fight for this love’ – This song is about not giving up on a relationship, about sticking with it, and finding a way through whatever is causing problems. It’s something that I see as very important, now, having learned the hard way that good people don’t grow on trees.


Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.


Writing books and working in security mean that I am away from home for long periods of time. When I do get back there’s very little time to cook anything, so when I’m struggling, the microwave is the most used appliance in my kitchen, I couldn’t live without it!

I work a lot with the media, commentating on terrorism, crime and policing. I have to be up date with pretty much everything that is going on, 24-hours a day. I am hugely reliant on my iPhone and iPad so that I can speak to journalists and get on top of the latest developments in the news, so they are the next two.

The internet. Where would we be without that? I am on it in one way or another all the time. Looking at maps, researching, talking to people and most importantly – tracking people down using their unique data footprints – which I need for my books and my security work.

It’s very easy to get writer’s block. Which can be a real problem when you’ve got a deadline to keep to. I find that my mind is a bit like a sponge. When it’s empty, I need to fill it with something. So, I have an unlimited cinema membership, I take myself off to the cinema and watch whatever film is showing next. Often it’s some dire film that I’d never have gone to see normally. But I always gain something from it, which helps me break my writer’s block.

David Videcette - Cannot do without my cinema membership


Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?


I’m very critical of myself. I think this comes from my younger days. I’d like to say to myself: don’t be too hard on yourself; you need to prove very little to anyone.

I’ve learned to trust my gut instincts now, they are almost always right. I’d like to have learned this earlier.

I’m working hard down the gym trying to get back into shape and watching what I eat. If I could meet the younger me, I’d advise myself to stay away from the drink, and get back on the running track for my athletics club.

My youngest daughter was born the month before the 2005 bombings in London. The event had a huge impact on me and prevented me from spending much time with her. If I could meet me in 2004, the year before the bombings, I’d tell my younger self how to stop the attack, fifty-six people would still be alive and I could watch her grow up.


I wrote blogs and articles for magazines for many years, but I didn’t have the confidence to write anything longer. Having now written two novels which been fantastically well received and sold incredibly well, I realise that this nervousness was misplaced. I’d tell the younger me to get drafting that book as soon as possible.

David Videcette - Tell my younger self to write that book


Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.


I really don’t like maggots at all. I think this stems from a life spent as a police detective and having seen too many dead bodies over the years. To me, maggots equal death.

As a detective, I had BBC cameras follow me every day for a year for a TV documentary series about the police. The producers would call me up and tell me what to wear each day so that the continuity was right on screen!

I’m very superstitious. I went through a lengthy stage of not wearing matching socks as I thought it brought me bad luck and I can’t make a cup of tea until I’ve thrown the teabag into the cup from a distance.

David Videcette - Nobody knows I cannot wear matching socks

I’ve memorised the entire script from the film, ‘The Great Escape’ thanks to watching it obsessively as a child.

I once tracked down a 7/7 bomb factory.


What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?


I still haven’t sky dived and parachuted, which I must do.

I’d really love to spend several months or a year riding a motorbike from London to Singapore.

David Videcette - Bucket list motorcycling

I’d love to live on a large boat, perhaps even do some sailing in it too…

I want to solve some of the infamous unsolved murders from the past and write a factual book about them. I’m currently in talks with various parties about one very famous unsolved case and potentially making a TV documentary about the whole process.

Thanks for sharing with us David, I’m with you on maggots, though thankfully not for the same reasons. Given some of the things you must have seen and had to deal with, I reckon you deserve to get working on those bucket list items.

o – 0 – o


David’s Books


TTP Jills Book Cafe review quote on blueThe Theseus Paradox


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.


Jills Book Cafe TD quote

The Detriment

The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…

June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.

Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.

We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…


David loves to interact with crime fiction fans. Readers can chat to him on Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram. For the chance to win a signed copy of David’s latest thriller, pop in your email address here.

Book Haul – 3 weeks ended 25 Nov 2017

Kindle Purchases


Scared to DeathScared to Death by Rachel Amphlett

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong. 

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.

With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

For the killer, the game has only just begun…


ExposeExposé by Paul Ilett

Gossip columnist Valerie Pierce loves red wine, cigarettes and exposing celebrity secrets. Influential, successful and connected, Valerie can make or break careers with just a few choice words.

But actor Adam Jaymes has a lifetime of grudges against Valerie and her colleagues at The Daily Ear newspaper, and decides it’s time they had a taste of their own medicine.

After all, reporters have secrets too.

Valerie is about to find her own scandalous private life splashed across the front pages as she is forced into a very public reunion with faces from her past.

Touching on dozens of real-life scandals, EXPOSÉ is a hilarious page-turner that will keep you guessing who at The Daily Ear is on Adam Jaymes’ hit list and what deep, dark secrets is he going to expose.


Covent Garden in the SnowCovent Garden in the Snow by Jules Wake

Tilly Hunter has fabulous friends, her dream job as a make-up artist with a prestigious opera company and Felix, her kind and caring husband to be. It looks set to be the most perfect Christmas yet!

But when a monumental blunder forces her to work closely with new IT director Marcus Walker, it’s not only the roast chestnut stalls on the cobbles of her beloved Covent Garden that cause sparks to fly…

Super serious and brooding, Marcus hasn’t got a creative bone in his sharp-suited body. For technophobe Tilly, it’s a match made in hell.

And yet, when Tilly discovers her fiancé isn’t at all what he seems, it’s Marcus who’s there for her with a hot chocolate and a surprisingly strong shoulder to cry on … He might just be the best Christmas present she’s ever had.


In the Time of the ButterfliesIn the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

In 1994, Dedé Mirabal lives in the house where her three sisters used to live. The dead sisters are known as the “butterflies,” and they are martyrs and national heroes. In 1994 Dedé talks to an interviewer about her sisters, and her narrative is interrupted with memories.Story goes between the four sisters from 1943 to their deaths in 1960:Dedé’s memories, Minerva’s point of view, Patria’s point of view, and entries from María Teresa’s diaries.Dedé Mirabal, the last surviving Mirabal sister, tells the story of how her sisters grew up to be martyrs and national heroes in the Dominican Republic. She recounts how her sisters first came to political awareness during the reign of dictator Rafael Trujillo.


Going UndergroundGoing Underground by Michael Leese

Jonathan Roper is a new type of detective; young, gifted and autistic. 
He’s a wonderful analyst but not so good with people. Many of his Scotland Yard colleagues were delighted after he was suspended for misconduct. Now those people are going to be disappointed because he’s being brought back by the bosses of his elite unit. Not that Roper is concerned with office politics. He’s got a case to solve and that’s all that matters. In this compelling thriller Roper uncovers a dark conspiracy leading to murder and human trafficking. As good as he is, the stakes are so high he needs the support of veteran Met detective Brian Hooley: soon the pair discover they are in the firing line.


Alphabet SistersThe Alphabet Sisters by Monica McInerney

Once as close-knit as sisters can be, Anna, Bett and Carrie haven’t spoken in three years. They are still feeling the effects of the fight which tore them apart – but a summons to their grandmother’s birthday party forces them out of their silence.

Lola, the big-hearted, strong-willed grandmother who first nicknamed them the Alphabet Sisters, has a plan to reunite them. And while none of the women is eager to confront the past, each has a new reason to long for their sisters’ support.

But just as they find their way back to one another, the sisters are rocked by a greater challenge than ever before – one that will teach them the true value of family. . .


Staying PutStaying Put by J J Birtwell

Jack Birtwell, a sprightly sixty-year-old from Accrington, Lancashire, is due to retire in 2019 and hopes that his poor pension prospects won’t force him to sell his beloved house in Spain and return to England to live out his days.

When Brian, his friend and employer, is forced to lay him off from his part-time building job his dilemma becomes even more acute.

After racking his brains and those of his closest friends for money-making ideas, he thinks he has come up with a solution. It will put paid to his increasingly solitary lifestyle and force him back into the social milieu of the village, but the thought of having to leave his house and land spur him into action.

Certain people, however, have other plans for his home and a conspiracy is soon afoot to buy him out and send him packing, making the life of this quiet man yet more complicated…


Last HillwalkerThe Last Hillwalker by John D Burns

This book takes you on a journey of discovery from early beginnings, as a school boy in the Lake District, John travelled on to make an early walk along the Pennine Way only a handful of years after this long-distance path was opened. From there he began exploring the hills in winter and journeyed north to the Scottish Highlands where he discovered a new world to explore.
There are encounters with ferocious ice climbs on the north face of Ben Nevis. There is an ascent of the highest mountain in Europe and accounts of his time in the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue team. There are also hilarious accounts of New Year’s Eve riotous celebrations in Highland villages where time ceased to have any meaning.
Now John travels the remotest parts of the Highlands where he enjoys the tranquillity of bothies in the wildest areas of Britain. This book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the outdoors. It is the history of a whole generation’s exploration of the hills.


Beyond ImaginationBeyond Imagination by Craig Briggs

Craig Briggs’s bestselling Journey to a Dream told the true-life story of his dream move to Spain with wife Melanie and their dog Jazz. Not for them the tourist-packed Costas of the Mediterranean or the hills of Andalucia; they chose Galicia, an unspoilt paradise in the northwest corner of Spain. 

In Beyond Imagination Craig and Melanie begin to realise their dream as they finally move in to their new home – El Sueño. Transforming their barren plot into a garden oasis tests both his resolve and physique, and an eye for a bargain sends them on a quest to secure a national treasure. As the adventures unfold new challenges appear. 

Village neighbours are quick to introduce themselves and eager to assist when a communications oversight jeopardises their future, but even they are powerless to help when planning officialdom threatens to shatter their dream.

Stroll hand in hand with Craig and Melanie as they settle in to their new surroundings, and journey with them as they embark on a life Beyond Imagination.


Last GAspThe Last Gasp by Robert F Barker

The last time DCI Jamie Carver involved a would-be victim in his hunt for a serial killer, it ended badly Now they want him to do it again, only this time the ‘victim’ is a Dominatrix.
As if he hasn’t enough on his plate.

  • a brutal killer poised to strike again
  • shadows of the past that still haunt his dreams
  • an investigation under mounting pressure to succeed
  • a beautiful woman whose bizzare lifestyle may be the key to finding the killer

And that’s not counting the young girl whose life he’s trying to save from ruin, OR the ambitious colleague scheming to bring him down. As the kill-count mounts signs point to a link with Carver’s first serial killer case – the notorious Escort Killer, Edmund Hart. But Hart is now dead, having hung himself in prison, so how can that be? This is just one of the mysteries Carver must solve in this gripping first outing for the detective who knows his reputation as, “The UK’s Foremost Serial Sex Crime Investigator” is built on sand. And when the killer strikes at the heart of the investigation, he knows that to protect those closest, he must confront what he most fears – his own failings.


House of Five FortunesThe House of Five Fortunes by Amanda Hughes

While Xiu peddled pipe dreams, a nightmare was waiting. 
Sensual and exotic, San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1870’s was filled with temptation and greed. Raised in this quagmire of vice, Xiu Jung caters to wealthy thrill-seekers with her elegant opium den, The House of Five Fortunes. With the help of Madison Hayes, the illustrious actor, she makes it the most fashionable salon on the West Coast. But a string of murders is sweeping the city, coming closer and closer to Xiu. Madison said he would protect her, but could this mysterious outsider be trusted? 
From Chinatown to Deadwood, Amanda Hughes once again takes you on a page-turning adventure of a lifetime.


Someone Like MeSomeone Like Me by Pam Francis

Women’s romantic fiction which tells the story of chef Lottie Gilbert who falls in love with a celebrity…and a married one at that! Lottie, 39, chef at the vintage cafe The Loft, is resigned to singledom in a sleepy Hertfordshire village with just Colin her cat for company. When superstar Daniel French drops into The Loft for lunch, everything changes as Lottie discovers that a life lived in the spotlight of fame is a more dangerous and painful path to happiness and love than she could ever have imagined.



Hyyge HolidayThe Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake

It’s autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It’s cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street – an adorable little toy shop – has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.

Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother’s shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?

Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life – naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?


BeverlyBeverly by Fiona Pearse

Beverly sidesteps the need to interact with co-workers by working from home. When she must venture outside, she wears earphones so no one will bother her. Social niceties are designated to her best friend and flatmate, Ella. 

Beverly would be jealous of Ella’s gregarious charm and high-life, if she didn’t have the security of her long-term boyfriend, Roland, who spared Beverly from the dating scene and gave her a future. Beverly won’t speak for herself because she has a stutter. This is how she carefully arranges her life, until Roland and Ella make plans of their own. 


Deadly FriendshipDeadly Friendship by Tara Lyons

Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is dragged into a gruesome murder investigation, while on annual leave in Lake Windermere. A handwritten note, with a woman’s name, is found inside the corpse.

When a direct link to London is identified, Hamilton must race against the clock to make the connection before the body count rises. 

Meanwhile, four friends with strained relationships, are reunited. What past event do they want to keep buried and is there something linking them to the murders?

Then, when a person from Hamilton’s past returns, he must ask himself: how well do we really know our friends?


Lucy's Book Club of the Lost and FoundLucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found by Emma Davies

Sometimes you’ve got to run away to find yourself… 

Twenty-four-year-old Lucy needs a fresh start. Forever single and frustrated with her studies she gives up everything to run a little library in the leafy village of Tilley Moreton. 

Lucy loves reading almost as much as she loves fixing other people’s problems, so starting a book club seems like the perfect opportunity to do both. As she meets her new members, it’s clear she’s going to have her work cut out for her. Handsome but silent Callum is the biggest puzzle of them all… 

But Lucy’s meddling begins to cause more problems than it solves, and no one is more surprised than Lucy when Callum steps in to help. Could there be more to him than people think? 

As Callum and Lucy start working together to fix the broken hearts of the library’s most loyal customers, the first sparks of romance begin to fly.

Can they right all the trouble Lucy has created, and might there be a chance for a happy ending of their own?


Cry from the GraveCry from the Grave by Carolyn Mahony

After a heartbreaking tragedy six years ago, Hannah Walker is struggling to pick up the pieces of her life – until a chance discovery tips her whole world upside down again. 
Now her fragile existence is threatened by the unfolding mystery that seems to have everyone, including the police, clawing to understand it. But this time she won’t give up until the truth surrounding her daughter is revealed.
Natasha Campbell’s unhappy childhood has haunted her throughout her life. Her marriage to Adam was the one good decision she made, but now, even that is crumbling around her – and she will do whatever it takes to keep him.
But secrets can’t stay buried forever … and when they’re exposed, the truth can be devastating. 
Three people drawn together by a crime; three lives torn apart by the chilling consequences. What is the mystery that haunts them all?


Then She was GoneThen She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. 
She had her whole life ahead of her. 
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter.

Because his daughter is the image of Ellie.

Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?


If Onl You KnewIf You Only Knew by Cynthia Clark

A wife, a mother, a killer.

One wrong decision, one terrifying night, leaves student Elizabeth with a stark choice – kill or be killed. And the consequences of that choice will shape her whole life.

Now a wife, a mother, and a lawyer, she must find a way to out run her past, protect her family and live with her secret. But is it really possible to live a happy life with such a huge shadow cast by the past? And as it becomes clear that someone else knows her secret and is hunting her down, time is running out for Elizabeth to keep her family safe.

In the bestselling tradition of Clare Mackintosh and Jenny Blackhurst, Cynthia Clark has written a heart-stopping story about the choices we make and how far we’d go to protect our families. Even if it means deceiving the people we love most…


Two MariasThe Two Marias by Jonathan Kis-Lev

FROM THE PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR OF MY QUEST FOR PEACE ● WINNER OF THE BAMAHANE PRIZE ● Inspired by the lives of two World War II heroines, this remarkable debut novel reveals the incredible power of two women who changed history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances.
In their early teens, two girls were forced to sit next to each other in school. Although they were complete opposites − one a social butterfly and the other a withdrawn bookworm − they soon realized that they shared similar experiences, hopes and dreams. Over time, they became best friends, against all expectations. 
Until the war broke out. 
Now, each was thrown into opposite sides of the conflict.  And mistakes were made − unforgivable mistakes, that would shape both their futures. 
How could their friendship possibly endure?


Sea of CloudsSea of Clouds by Jeanette Ringel

One day something happened and John vanished. He left me. It was autumn, 1982. “But is that a fact?” asked Zhang. “I don’t know,” I said, opening the palms of my hands. When I met John, he was twenty-six years old and I was twenty. A few months later we got married. I thought we were happily married but one evening, all of a sudden, he said that he had to go. Why or where? He didn’t say. I wanted to go with him but he said, “No.” I asked, “But don’t you love me?” He said, “I do love you, and I was happy with you. That’s why I came to say goodbye” – and he left. Shortly after his thirty-first birthday, he was found dead in Guangzhou, China. I was there. I saw the body but, at that time, I didn’t give it too much thought.


We Were HereWe Were Here by Daisy Prescott

In the 90’s, sex was dangerous, music was life, and love was something no one had ever felt like we did. 

We met in college, completely free for the first time in our lives and determined to enjoy every minute of it. For four years, we gossiped and flirted, partied and road-tripped. We were inseparable. 

Each of us has our own story of falling in or out of love. Of finding out who we are. Of growing up. 

We thought we knew everything. We knew nothing. 

We Were Here is where the Modern Love Stories begins, in a standalone that perfectly captures the humor, angst, and sheer chaos of college.


Moments of JoyMoments of Joy by Ysa Arcangel

With her family history of Alzheimer’s and at great risk of acquiring the disease, Brandy Curtis always plays safe. She had always avoided commitments like the plague. 

However, everything changed when she met Ivo, a gorgeous doctor with irresistible charm. He was just supposed to be another hookup, but he quickly became so much more. 

It started as a one night stand which was followed by another, and another. The more nights they spent together, the more Brandy felt that life had given her something to live for.

The timing couldn’t be worse. As her heart gets closer to Ivo, her memories begin to fade.

Will Brandy be able to actually have moments of joy with Ivo against the odds of losing herself into the recesses of her tangled brain? 


Seven Days of UsSeven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

It’s Christmas, and the Birch family is gathering for the first time in years.

Emma is elated at having everybody under one roof, but her oldest child, Olivia, is only home because she has nowhere else to go. She’s just returned from treating an epidemic abroad and must stay in quarantine for a week – and so, too should her family.

For the next seven days, no one can leave the house and no one can enter.

It doesn’t sound too hard. But a week with your nearest and dearest can feel like an eternity, especially when they’re all harbouring secrets.

One of whom is about to come knocking at their door…


Good Thief's Guide to AmsterdamThe Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan

Charlie Howard doesn’t just write books about a career thief, he also happens to be one.

In Amsterdam working on his latest novel, Charlie is approached by a mysterious American who asks him to steal two apparently worthless monkey figurines from two separate addresses on the same night. At first he says no. Then he changes his mind. Only later, kidnapped and bound to a chair, the American very dead and a spell in police custody behind him, does Charlie begin to realise how costly a mistake he might have made.

The police think he killed the American. Others think he knows the whereabouts of the elusive third monkey. But for Charlie only three things matter: Can he clear his name? Can he get away with the haul of a lifetime? And can he solve the briefcase-shaped plot-hole in his latest novel?


Tuscan RootsTuscan Roots by Angela Petch

1943, occupied Italy 

Ines Santini lived an idyllic and sheltered existence in the Tuscan hills until WWII reached her quiet town. She meets Norman, an escaped British POW, and their lives become entangled in a struggle against the larger forces of the war.

Years later, Anna, their daughter, sets out to unravel the mystery of her parents’ fate. All she has to go on are a handful of old letters and photographs left to her after her mother’s death. Anna travels to the beautiful Tuscan Apennines, where the story unfolds. In researching her parents’ past, she will discover secrets about them, the war, and herself, which will change her life forever…


Hanging of Margaret DicksonThe Hanging of Margaret Dickson by Alison J Butler

In an age when women are expected to know their place, be submissive, dutiful and chaste, Maggie Dickson, a Musselburgh fishwife, is often in trouble. She’s outspoken, promiscuous and vituperative. While her husband’s at sea, she sells her fish, sleeps with men for pleasure or money and looks after her two children. In time, her husband abandons her. Maggie quits Musselburgh and heads for Newcastle to stay with relatives.

During the winter of 1723, a fisherman finds the dead, naked body of a baby boy. Fingers are soon pointing in the direction of a stranger working in a local tavern, a woman recently estranged from her mariner husband. It is rumoured that she’s been having a passionate affair with the innkeeper’s young son, William Bell, and that he is the father of the dead child.

Maggie is arrested and taken to Edinburgh tollbooth to await trial, is found guilty and is sentenced to death. The news spreads like wildfire and, as Maggie languishes in jail, the whole city speculates whether or not she killed her child. Will she take her secret to her grave?


killing BarnThe Killing Barn by Jake Howard

When tragic circumstances force him to break the picket line in the 1984 national miner’s strike, murder and police corruption change the course of eighteen year old Baz Hawkes’ life in ways he could never imagine. Thirty years later an unexpected meeting with a solicitor reveals devastating secrets from his past, secrets Baz feels compelled to deal with. When a dismembered body is discovered on the outskirts of Durham City, Baz quickly becomes the prime suspect. DI Storm Buchannan is convinced Baz is the murderer…but can he prove it?


Winter's FairytaleWinter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

Step into a winter wonderland and fall in love in the snow this Christmas…

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

A few weeks before Christmas and a sudden blanketing of snow has closed the roads and brought public transport grinding to a halt, stranding Izzy miles from home and in desperate need of rescuing.

That doesn’t mean she’s looking to bump into Rob and spend a cosy weekend holed up in his swanky flat watching London become a winter wonderland! Because Izzy and Rob have history…

Six months ago, they were standing in the vestry of a beautiful country church, while best man Rob delivered the news that every bride dreads on their big day.

But at the time of year when anything is possible, can Rob and Izzy let go of the past and let Christmas work its magic? Or will this be one holiday wish that Izzy lets walk right out of her life…


Hard copy purchases, book wins and gifts

I was introduced to Persephone Books by a friend and was taken by their ethos. They reprint neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly) women writers. All of their 125 books are intelligent, thought-provoking and beautifully written and are chosen to appeal to busy people wanting titles that are neither too literary nor too commercial. They publish novels, short stories, diaries, memoirs and cookery books; each has an elegant grey jacket, a ‘fabric’ endpaper with matching bookmark, and a preface by writers such as Jilly Cooper, David Kynaston and Elaine Showalter. Consequently I was tempted and my first purchase was Greengates by RC Sherriff (one of the male writers in their catalogue).

greengates_thumbnailGreengates by RC Sherriff

Houses, architecture, living space, where the domestic happens: this is a strong theme at Persephone Books and RC Sherriff’s Greengates (1936), Persephone Book No. 113, is one of the novels that sums it up. The plot is timeless and simple: a man retires from his job but finds that never were truer words said than ‘for better, for worse but not for lunch’. His boredom, his wife’s (suppressed and confused) dismay at the quiet orderliness of her life being destroyed, their growing tension with each other, is beautifully and kindly described. Then one day they do something they used to do more often – leave St John’s Wood and go out into the countryside for the day. And that walk changes their lives forever: they see a house for sale, decide to move there, and the nub of the book is a description of their leaving London, the move, and the new life they create for themselves.


I was lucky to win several books this weeks and my first delivery was from Jo at My Chestnut Reading Tree and comprised a book win of Beneath the Skin with the added goodie of Sing Unburied Sing.

Beneath the SkinBeneath the Skin by Caroline England

Three women. Three secrets.

Antonia is beautiful and happily married. Her life is perfect. So why does she hurt herself when nobody’s watching?

Sophie is witty, smart and married to the best-looking man in town. She likes a drink, but who doesn’t?

Olivia is pretending to be a happy wife and mother. But her secret could tear her family apart.

Their lies start small, they always do. But if they don’t watch out, the consequences will be deadly.

Sing Unburied SkinSing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power – and limitations – of family bonds. 

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. 

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love. 


I received a lovely parcel from one of my blogging buddies Caryl at Mrs Bloggs’ Books  via My Chronicle Book Box.

Chronicle Box

It contained lots of goodies which included the following books.

Did You See MelodyDid You see Melody by Sophie Hannah

Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.

Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody?

And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?


Murder on the Orient ExpressMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again.


Last but not least I won a book from my wishlist courtesy of Wordery via a Twitter competition. I was delighted they elected to send me Basque, which I’ve had my eye on for a while.

BasqueBasque by José Pizarro

If you visit the Basque Country, you will undoubtedly fall in love. Located on the Spanish-French border in Northern Spain, it is home to some of the world’s finest restaurants, spectacular modern architecture and dramatic scenery.

In Basque, José Pizarro will take readers on a journey around this magical place, taking inspiration from traditional dishes and local ingredients, and adding his own unique twist. From the delicious bite-sized morsels known as pintxos Basque-style tapas to more hearty main meals and sumptuous desserts, José will show you how easy it is to prepare Spanish food at home. The cuisine of this region is wonderful to share with family and friends but it’s also about informality and not being a slave to your stove.

Set to the backdrop of the stunning views of San Sebastián and the rest of the Basque Country, Basque is a culinary jaunt around one of Spain’s most colourful and exciting destinations.

Another bumper book haul, and some very gratefully received hard copies to brighten up the past week.




#ThrowbackThursday – A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale – 4*s #bookreview @PNovelistGale

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. Throwback Thursday was designed as an opportunity to share old favorites as well as older books in our TBR. As I started reviewing on Goodreads long before I started my blog, it seemed a great way of sharing my earlier reviews (which I hope have improved since the early days).

So this week I’m revisiting  A Place Callled Winter by Patrick Gale – first reviewed in March 2015.

Place Called Winter

To find yourself, sometimes you must lose everything.

A shy but privileged elder son, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence – until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest force him to abandon his wife and child and sign up for emigration to Canada.

Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war and madness that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.

My Review

This is an emotional and at times heartbreaking story made all the more poignant by the fact that is loosely based around the story of Patrick Gale’s grandfather.

“A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence – until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything.”

We first meet Harry in an asylum, before he is moved to an experimental community for individuals with mental illness. From here the story alternates between Harry’s time at Bethel and the events which caused him to be there. The catalyst was his “crime” of being guilty of the “love that dare not speak its name”. A sin compounded by the fact that he was also married with a young daughter. Despite this he falls madly in love with his speech therapist and makes the mistake of leaving him an explicit message which is discovered. This discovery results in his either facing blackmail and/or arrest unless he exiles himself. Consequently he leaves for Canada as a homesteader and finds himself endeavouring to make a new life in a place called Winter.

His life is one of struggle and loneliness, that improves when he is befriended by his nearest neighbours, a brother and sister. Their friendship is both his making and ultimately his undoing.

The story is exceptionally well written and for some one who has never had any interest in Canada or the taming of the land by homesteaders I was totally absorbed and fascinated. This book is a social history as much as a veiled biography. The characters are all well drawn and it is impossible not to be moved by the sadnesses that Harry is faced with (no spoilers).

It is a book dealing with secrets and sexuality in a time much less enlightened and forgiving than today. It is story of loss and heartbreak, but it is also a story about love and friendship and survival. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

October/November’s Urbane Book Club unwrapped (@urbanebooks)

Despite an illness induced reading slump, my capacity to acquire and receive books remains undiminished. I was therefore delighted when this brilliant and varied parcel of books hit my postbox this week. With something for everyone, they’re guaranteed to while away the impending winter night’s. So grab a cuppa and let’s see what we’ve got.

Future Can't Wait

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The Future Can’t Wait by Angelena Boden

Kendra Blackmore is trying to be a good mother and a good wife, as well as pursuing her pressurised teaching career. Then Kendra’s half-Iranian daughter Ariana (Rani) undergoes an identity crisis which results in her running away from home and cutting off all contact with her family.

Sick with worry and desperate to understand why her home-loving daughter would do this, Kendra becomes increasingly desperate for answers – and to find any way possible to discover the truth and bring her estranged daughter home…

The Future Can’t Wait is a gripping story of a mother’s love, and the lengths we would all go to in order to know our children are safe. Can Kendra discover the truth of her daughter’s disappearance?



Buy from Amazon or Urbane

Javelin by Roger Pearce

Two explosions in Victoria mark the beginning of a bombing campaign against banking institutions in London. The attacks bear the hallmarks of Irish republican dissidents but are disowned by IRA volunteers and politicians in Belfast.

Kerr believes the bombs are the work of the extremist group Anti-Capitalist Insurrection, with attacks in London the first stage of a devastatingly deadly campaign across Europe…can Kerr stop them in time?

The perfect read for fans of Stella Rimington, Adam Brookes and Andy McNab.


Our food our future

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Our Food Our Future by Alan Watkins & Matt Simister

The third book in the critically acclaimed Wicked & Wise series offers a compelling analysis of the issue of food on an international scale. From nutrition to world hunger to GM farming, what are the impacts of food and food issues on regional, political, cultural, business and social priorities?

With 2 billion obese and 2 billion hungry, food is a key issue in the future development of the world’s population and its health. As with every wicked and wise issue, it throws up significant moral, political and economic concerns when tackling how we will keep the world’s population nourished in decades to come.

A Death in the Night

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A Death in the Night by Guy Fraser-Sampson

When a woman identified as the wife of a prominent lawyer dies at an exclusive women’s club, the team from Hampstead police station find themselves thrown into a baffling investigation with very little evidence to offer any guidance.

By coincidence, Metcalfe, Collins and Willis were all attending a vintage dinner dance at the club at the estimated time of death. Can they remember anything between them which might indicate a solution?

Set against a background of professors, barristers, and serial adultery, the fourth in the Hampstead Murders series continues the pattern set by its predecessors: strong, character-driven contemporary narrative written in the spirit of the Golden Age of detective writing. Praised by leading crime-writers, and garnering rave reviews from book bloggers, the books have been described as elegant, intelligent, quirky and ‘a love letter to the detective novel’. All agree they are very ‘different’ from the standard fare of modern crime fiction.


Blood Rites

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Blood Rites by David Stuart Davies

1980s Yorkshire. DI Paul Snow has a personal demon. He is a homosexual but is desperate to keep it secret, knowing it would finish his career in the intolerant police force. As this personal drama unfolds, he is involved in investigating a series of violent murders in the town. All the victims appear to be chosen at random and appear to have no connection with each other. After the fourth murder, he is removed from the case for not finding the killer but continues investigating the matter privately.

Gradually, Paul manages to determine a link between the murder victims, but this places his own life in great danger. Can Paul unmask the killer as he wrestles with his own demons?


Dead Lands

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Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis


When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen.



all the colours in between

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All the Colours in Between by Eva Jordan

Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And, although Connor, Lizzie’s sulky, surly teenage son, is now on his own tormented passage to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her. Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem… A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband plus a new man in her life who quite simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made. Gritty but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory. A story of mothers and sons, of fathers and daughters, of brothers and sisters, and friends. A tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals, and coming of age. Nobody said it would be easy and as Lizzie knows only too well, life is never straightforward when you see all the colours in between.


With a face value of £64.93 for these books alone why would you not want to consider joining for a year?



A full year of Urbane books – hot off the press!

From fiction to biography, politics to childrens, you’ll have a unique collection of books and more.

As an Urbane Book Club member you’ll receive a print and ebook edition of every new Urbane title published from the date you join for an entire year. Urbane currently publishes around 5 books a month

You’ll receive a 75% discount on any further purchases of Urbane titles through the Urbane website, including the entire backlist – all with free p&p in the UK

You’ll receive exclusive invitations to Urbane events and author signings

Each member will have the chance to receive pre-publication scripts of forthcoming titles

Every member will be able to book exclusive one-to-one writing and publishing sessions at a significant discount

All for the ridiculously low price of £99.99!


Five on Friday with David Evans @DavidEwriter


Today I’m delighted to introduce David Evans, one of the several crime writers I met while at The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate this summer. Thankfully I obviously didn’t blot my copy book, or appear too stalkerish as he’s kindly agreed to take part this in this weeks Five on Friday.

Author Bio:

David had a successful career as a professional in the construction industry until he decided to concentrate on writing in 2012. His writing has generated strong acclaim having had a stage play shortlisted in the Essex Playwrights Festival in 2001 and gaining Commended and Highly Commended awards at Writers’ Conferences in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 for his crime writing and in 2016 in ‘Pitching A TV Drama’.

In 2013, his novel, Torment, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger.  His work is also exampled in How to Write a Chiller Thriller by Sally Spedding, published in April 2014.

In 2016, He signed a three-book deal with publishers Bloodhound Books for his critically acclaimed Wakefield Series, consisting of Trophies, Torment and Talisman.

In June 2017, the three-book eboxset of the Wakefield Series became an International Best Seller, reaching no 2 in Canada, no 3 in Australia and no 19 here in the UK.

David is married with one daughter and lives in rural Essex.

Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?



I suppose the first piece would have to be Perry Como’s MAGIC MOMENTS. This was one of the first songs I remember as a small child, learning the words after I’d heard it on the radio and being able to sing it.

Ray Davies is one of my all-time favourites and amongst a huge catalogue of wonderful songs there is one which I think is his absolute best. The Kinks CELLULOID HEROES, about our aspirations and dreams is Ray at his lyrical best.

I discovered Eva Cassidy (as did most in this country) through Terry Wogan’s producer, the late Paul Walters. This was a posthumous discovery by Paul and I always feel moved when I hear her sing, such a sad loss and so much unfulfilled promise. I would have to choose FIELDS OF GOLD – her rendition is flawless and always fills me with emotion. This is one good example of where a cover version is much better than the original (The same could be said of her version of Over The Rainbow too, of course.)

Paul Rodgers still has an amazing rock voice and I was delighted to see him earlier this year. I loved all the bands he’s featured in, from Free, Bad Company, The Law and I even saw him when he was guest singer with Queen a few years back. But it would have to be Free and ALL RIGHT NOW which would be in my five.

Rod Stewart’s MAGGIE MAY.  That means so much to me for reasons I can’t make public. When I was at Uni, one of the guys I shared a flat with brought in his grandfather’s flatback mandolin. Our challenge one term was to be able to play the mandolin solo from Maggie May. I did manage it (in a fashion) and it always makes me mad when it’s played on the radio and they cut it off just as that part starts – aaarrghhh!


Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.


I suppose beer would be too much to do without. Not that I drink an awful lot but I do like a nice pint of ale. I often say I like my beer like my tea – Tetleys, but I do love all of the Adnams range and other similar smaller brewery’s beers.

Countryside. I couldn’t bear it if I couldn’t get out and about in the fresh air and enjoy what this great island has to offer, from the west coast of Scotland, the border country, the Pennines, Suffolk and the west country, as well as Wales and all places in between.

Humour. This is a fundamental part of human nature in my view. For me, the reason Coronation Street scores over Eastenders every time is because it has that underplayed northern humour weaving through other more serious storylines. It’s vitally important in my writing too, to provide the all-important balance of light and shade that reflects true life.

Friends. Another vital part of my life are the true friends I have made over the years. I lost a good one to cancer earlier this year and it brought home to my just how important they are. You don’t have to be in contact every day or every week but just knowing they are there to call if you need to talk and obviously the same is true in reverse.

Good health. Without your health, enjoying much else would be so difficult, if not impossible.


Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?


My dad died when I was 17, just as I was beginning to know him as an adult. I wish I’d started talking to him sooner about his life and all sorts of other things a father and son should discuss.

One other regret I think about now and again is that when I was a student in Manchester in 1973, season 1973/4 was the last to feature Best, Law and Charlton in the Manchester United team. I never went to see a game there and I wish I could go back and see them play.

I wish I’d begun writing earlier in life. I know people say you need experience of life to be able to write but I wish I’d started sooner. When I finally decided to devote my time to the activity, I said I didn’t want to be ten years older then wish I’d taken that decision ten years ago.

In complete contrast to the last three points, look forward, don’t look back too much and always try to have some sort of plan.

Enjoy the moment. Grasp your opportunities. Don’t waste time on irrelevant things. Life is too short.



Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.


One claim to fame is that I have taken a film star for a walk. When I was around ten, my dad asked if I could amuse this dog for a while as it was a bit yappy and its owner had to present prizes at an athletics meeting. The owner was the Chief Constable of Edinburgh & Lothians Police and the dog had appeared in a starring role in the Disney film of Greyfriars Bobby.

I played football to a reasonable standard in younger life. I was a goalkeeper and harboured dreams of becoming a professional but it wasn’t to be.

I worked for a year in Benghazi in Libya on a hospital construction project when Gaddafi was in power. One day I saw him in a motorcade as it swept past the site – not in the blacked-out limo where you’d expect, but driving a Range Rover about three vehicles behind. Interesting times.

I was arrested in Poland in 1984. My wife and I were on a train travelling from Szczecin on the Baltic back to Poznan where we would connect with a train to Hook of Holland. Accompanying us was a Polish friend we’d met whilst working in Libya. My wife was in the compartment with him, jotting down some personal details so we could invite him to come to Britain. I was in the corridor taking photographs of the steam engines still in daily use back then. A guard saw this and became suspicious and so the train made an unscheduled stop at Wronki where, unbeknown to us was a notorious prison. We managed to sort things out and, after a mad taxi ride to Poznan, made our connection to Holland.

When I left school, for a summer job I worked for a local ice-cream company. As well as some time in the factory, I used to drive one of their ice-cream vans around the area. One lunchtime, I wandered in to one of the outbuildings at the rear of the premises and spotted a shape under a tarpaulin. When I lifted it, there was the company’s original van – a converted Rolls Royce. Years later, I discovered it has been restored to full working order.


What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?


My dad was a mechanic in the RAF in the war with 614 Squadron, County of Glamorgan  who were based for a while in Macmerry, East Lothian. That’s where he met my mum. I would dearly love to fly in a Spitfire in memory of him.

I’ve always been fascinated by railways from being very small. I would love to drive a main-line steam locomotive. I feel they are living, breathing things. Definitely art in motion.

I’d love to meet Ray Davies (see music section above) and give him a poem I wrote about him some twenty years ago.

As a writer, I would love to be able to go into a mainstream bookshop and see my books on the shelf. It has happened in my local independent shop but it would be great to see them more widely available.

I’d like to travel to more places. Although I’ve been fairly fortunate to see a lot of countries, there is still an awful lot more to see.


Great answers David, Rod Stewart would always be in my top five as well, are you really sure you can’t tell all as to why it means so much – we won’t tell – honest!  Tough miss with Best, Law and Charlton, especially with your footballing past, that produced a collective groan in this household. Never mind, plenty more adventures to make up for it since. 


o – 0 – o

David’s Publications

The Wakefield Series is a crime fiction series set primarily in Yorkshire, consisting of TROPHIES, TORMENT, which was shortlisted in the prestigious Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger in 2013, and TALISMAN. They are all currently available in paperback or ebook formats.

When DI Colin Strong interviews a suspect on suspicion of handling stolen goods he’s convinced he’s heard their voice before. Nearly 25 years ago the tape of Wearside Jack taunted West Yorkshire Police and his suspect fits the profile.

Then the body of a known burglar shows up and a mysterious metal case is discovered at the scene.

Strong turns to his close friend, journalist Bob Souter, and embarks on an awkward alliance to probe areas he is unable to explore.

As the murder suspects start to disappear Strong must discover just who the shadowy figure inciting fear and panic amongst those he encounters is.

Strong wants to bring a murderer to justice and Souter is hungry for a story.

Who will get to the truth first and can their friendship remain intact?



Buy from Amazon

A message left in error on a young woman’s answerphone is the catalyst for uncovering some dark deeds.

Three young women are missing; luxury cars are being stolen; and just what did happen to two young schoolgirls, missing since the 1980’s?

DI Strong and journalist, Bob Souter are drawn into murky and dangerous worlds.




Following a fire in a terraced house, the body of a prominent lawyer, Charles Chamberlain, is found naked and shackled to a bed frame.

Six weeks earlier, DI Colin Strong is investigating the sudden death of a transsexual, left undiscovered in the bath for over a year. Initially, it appears to be a tragic death but one mysterious item, a card for the Talisman Club, is found in the bedroom.

Meanwhile, Bob Souter, journalist and close friend of DI Strong, is probing connections between a developer and the council leader in respect of a controversial project when massive European funding is announced. Souter smells a rat and delves further into the scheme.

Is there a link between the bodies and the business deal?

Will Souter or DI Strong crack the case first?  And what exactly is the Talisman Club?


If your appetite has been whetted or you’ve already read these and are looking for more, then 2018 offers some exciting news.

Complete and scheduled to publish early next year is the first in a completely new series.

DISPOSAL is set in North Essex towards the end of the long hot summer of 1976. Uniformed police sergeant Cyril Claydon, contemplating retirement within months, is drawn into a temporary CID role after making a grim discovery when he witnesses a light aircraft crash into the sea. Shocked and disappointed at the working practices and attitude of his new boss, DI ‘Dick’ Barton, he sets out to solve the crimes he is faced with.

The second in this series, DISTRESSED, is under way

Also in hand is a 4th in the Wakefield Series. TAINTED should be ready for publication next year too.

You can catch up with David via:-

His website