Thursday, 31 October 2019

A Window Breaks by C.M. Ewan

A Window Breaks
By C.M. Ewan
Published by Pan (31 October 2019)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley

Publisher's description
If your family was targeted in the middle of the night, what would you do?
You are asleep. A noise wakes you.
You stir, unsure why, and turn to your wife.
Then you hear it.
Glass. Crunching underfoot.
Your worst fears are about to be realized.
Someone is inside your home.
Your choices are limited.
You can run. Or stay and fight. 
What would you do?

My verdict
I was hooked from the outset. If it hadn't been for sleep and work, I would have read A Window Breaks in one sitting - instead, it took two sittings. My first sitting involved reading until 1.15 am. My second sitting involved ditching work for an hour after lunch (just as well I work for myself so my time is my own).

The book is split into two parts. There's the present, as Tom and Rachel try to keep their 13-year-old daughter safe from the armed intruders. And then there's the past, following the story of their 16-year-old son, Michael, who was killed in a car crash nine months earlier. Events are cleverly revealed by going backwards in time, with snippets of what really happened that night and how Tom has struggled to come to terms with Michael's death.

I read this book so quickly - I barely took a breath and could feel my heart pounding throughout. I had to force myself to slow down. I often worry with these fast-paced thrillers that everything will be unbelievable. But this all felt so real - from the characters to the setting and even the plot. It all seemed plausible too, nothing so outlandish that I sat there shaking my head. I could feel the tension, every moment of fear. I could picture it all. I felt as though I was there.

This is likely to be one of my books of the year.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The Whisper Man by Alex North - panellist at First Monday Crime

The Whisper Man
By Alex North
Published by Michael Joseph (Ebook and Hardbook - out now; Paperback - 12 December 2019)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley

Publisher's description
You'll hear the whispers. And then you'll hear the screams...
Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start.
But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as 'The Whisper Man'.
Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.
He says he hears a whispering at his window...

My verdict
The Whisper Man is atmospheric creepy crime fiction in a small town setting, mixing supernatural with a serial killer on the loose.

This was a one-sitting read for me, gripping from the start and clever plotted with well-drawn characters. I enjoyed reading the story from the points of view of different characters, especially young Jake. The writing is great - emotive and highly visual. I could see everything as it happened, and felt it too. It takes a lot to freak me out, but the book was certainly unsettling in places.

The Whisper Man is more than just another police procedural with a missing child at its heart. This is a book about father-son relationships, grief and loss, providing an emotional core that's not always found in crime novels.


First Monday Crime
First Monday Crime is on Monday 4th November at City University, London.

The panellists are Alex North, Louise Candlish, Abir Mukherjee and Victoria Selman, kept in line by moderator Sophie Goodfellow.

You can reserve your free ticket here.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen

Little Siberia
By Antti Tuomainen
Published by Orenda Books (17 October 2019)
I received an advance reader copy from the publisher

Publisher's description
A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.
But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant. Unfortunately Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his. As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation, and discover who the father of the baby really is.

My verdict
Little Siberia is great fun to read  and now my favourite Antti Tuomainen book. 

Who knew that a piece of rock could cause so much trouble? A valuable meteorite crashing through the roof of a car driven by a drunken driver. Dodgy Russian gangsters and other dubious characters trying to steal it. Chase scenes through snowdrifts and deserted museums, along frozen lakes and rocky terrain. The setting is as chilling as the plot, with its icy landscape and close-knit claustrophobic community.

All of this has been packaged into a quirky crime novel. Yet this is far more than just your ‘ordinary’ museum heist, as all manner of local secrets drift out into the open during the book's rollercoaster journey. While crime is at the heart of Little Siberia, this is also very much a book about people and humanity with its scenes of contemplation, questioning faith and belief, right versus wrong and the meaning of life. There’s a veteran-turned-priest deep in a personal crisis, with a 'miraculous' pregnancy surrounded by the mystery of fatherhood.

The book has been translated well by David Hackston, retaining the author's dark Finnish humour, cheeky charm and sharp dialogue and narrative.

With Antti Tuomainen, you never know what’s coming next. And I can’t wait to see what that will be!

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Friday, 11 October 2019

Extra special bumper cover reveal(!!) with Steph Broadribb & Orenda Books

Today, I'm so excited to be hosting an extra special cover reveal for Orenda Books. Why is it extra special? Because this isn't just a cover reveal - it's a reveal of a brand new look for the Lori Andersen series by Steph Broadribb AND details of her next book! Deep Dark Night is being published by Orenda Books as an ebook in January 2020 and as a paperback in March 2020. 

When preparing this post, I had a 'huge' dilemma. How do I reveal not just one cover, but FOUR covers while also telling you about the books? Well I've decided to show you the new cover first, but do scroll down to see ALL of the covers as they're fabulous.

Before I show you the cover of Deep Dark Night though, you must read the blurb. 

*drum roll*

Deep Dark Night: Read the blurb

Fearless Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson travels to Chicago to trap the head of a notorious crime family, in a high-stakes, nail-biting mission that sees her trapped in one of the city’s tallest buildings during a blackout…

A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces, one by one. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

Sounds brilliant, doesn't it?! 
I can't wait to read it - I LOVE this series!   

AND NOW ... *drum roll*

Are you ready????

Deep Dark Night : View the cover

Isn't this amazing? There are more amazing reveals to come ... Keeping scrolling down to see all of the other fantastic books in the series with their NEW covers!

Deep Down Dead

Shortlisted for:
**The Kathy Reichs Award for Fearless Female Character**
**The Cat Amongst the Pigeons Award for Most Exceptional Debut**

Part-time Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson isn’t a superhero … she’s a single mum with a lot on her plate. But when her family is threatened, she’ll stop at nothing to seek justice, and keep them safe…

Six states. Three days. One chance to save her child…

Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong.

The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past. Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest amusement parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.

Breathtakingly fast-paced, both hard-boiled and heart-breaking, Deep Down Dead is a simply stunning debut from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

Deep Blue Trouble

With her lover, JT, behind bars and heading for death row, single-mother Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson takes on an off-the-books job that could threaten everything…

A web of lies. A killer on the run. An impossible choice…

Single-mother Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson’s got an ocean of trouble on her hands. Her daughter Dakota is safe, but the little girl’s cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT – Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything – alive and kicking. Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row.

Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson ‘The Fish’ Fletcher, and JT walks free.This is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything…

Breathlessly paced, and bursting with high-voltage action and edge-of-your-seat jeopardy, Deep Blue Trouble is the unmissable next instalment of the Lori Anderson series, featuring one of the most memorable and fearless female characters in crime fiction.

Deep Dirty Truth

Single-mother Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson returns in another nail-biting, high-voltage read. When Lori is kidnapped, and her family threatened, she has 48 hours to save them … or lose everything…

A price on her head. A secret worth dying for. 48 hours to expose the truth…

Single-mother bounty-hunter Lori Anderson finally has her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.

With North due in court in 48 hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined.

In this race only the winner gets out alive…

The Lori Anderson series: Read about author Steph Broadribb

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. She is also a member of the crime-themed girl band The Splice Girls. Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California, which inspired her Lori Anderson thrillers. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, was a finalist in the ITW Awards, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts. The sequels, Deep Blue Trouble and Deep Dirty Truth soon followed suit. My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland, was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.

Find Steph Broadribb via her website, through her Facebook page and on Twitter - @crimethrillgirl

For ALL of your Orenda news, visit the Orenda website and follow @OrendaBooks on Twitter.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir

By Lilja Sigurdardottir
Published by Orenda Books (E-book - 17 August 2019); Paperback - 17 October 2019)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher

Publisher's description
Drugs, smuggling, big money and political intrigue in Iceland rally with love, passion, murder and betrayal until the winner takes all … in the masterful, explosive conclusion to the award-winning Reykjavík Noir trilogy…
The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.
As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis, María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed.
Ruthless drug baron Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home.
At the same time, a deadly threat to Sonya and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive.
With a shocking crescendo, the lives of these characters collide, as drugs, smuggling, big money and political intrigue rally with love, passion, murder and betrayal until the winner takes all … in the masterful, explosive conclusion to the award-winning Reykjavík Noir trilogy.

My verdict
I've been following this Reykjavik Noir trilogy - Snare, then Trap and now Cage. And each time, the book has offered a slightly different 'reading experience' focusing on the background of the characters' lives.

Cage is a fairly short book, but there's so much packed within its pages: a journalist's search for the truth, political conspiracies, a teenage boy with an axe to grind, Agla's adjustment to life outside prison and Sonja's natural instinct to protect her son. All of these threads weave together to create a multilayered plot that culminates in a dramatic ending.

This book provides a real game changer, focusing more on Agla than Sonja. It does what few books manage to do successfully - evolving a character so much that the reader's view of them changes drastically. The author also manages successfully to create a sense of fear, with rising tension and violence. The Icelandic has been well translated into English and provides a sharp sense of place. 

I would advise reading all three books in order to allow the characters to grow - and to grow on you.

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