blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Dead Drift – Kelly Romo

DeadDrift copy

Welcome to the book tour for Dead Drift by Kelly Romo! The perfect vacation read! Grab yourself a copy and make sure to enter the giveaway at the end!

Dead Drift Cover

Dead Drift (Whitewater Thriller #1)

Publication Date: May 15, 2022

Genre: Thriller/ Serial Killer

Two teenage girls on the run with fake IDs and a beater car…what could go wrong?

Emmy has always been impulsive. She is no longer a minor and has aged out of foster care. When her best friend, Amber, is the target of a perverted uncle who lives in the basement of her group home, they plan her escape.

They head for Canada, where Amber will be safe, and the foster care system can no longer control their lives. When they come across a whitewater rafting brochure, they decide to take a detour for one last adventure before leaving the country. Emmy and Amber have no idea it will be a decision that will forever change their fates.

The rafting town is so far in the middle of nowhere that Emmy’s car radio catches nothing but static. They consider turning around until a truck pulls up, loaded with hot whitewater rafting guides and rubber rafts–just the fun they were looking for. Ignoring every instinct, they turn off the pavement and follow the truck down an isolated dirt road. They end up in Lodell, the town where a girl went missing the previous summer…and she will not be the last.

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HIM

There are five stages of drowning: surprise, involuntary breath-holding, unconsciousness, hypoxic convulsions, and finally, death.

Shawna’s hair spreads out in a halo of jet-black strands lit by the moon and rippling in the current. There is no fear or panic in her. I spared her of that. Her death is beautiful and silent as I hold her in my arms and cradle her beneath the surface. I put my lips to hers and inhale her very last breath before she gasps and draws my water into her lungs. She becomes heavy then seizes like a fish. My blood surges and thunders inside me. I have never felt so alive. Shawna finally relaxes, surrenders, and becomes mine forever. I hold and comfort her through it all. Binding her to me was easier than I thought. I should have done this years ago.

I raise Shawna up. Her nose, lips, and tits break the surface, all slick and shiny in the moonlight. I give her one last kiss, then take her nipple between my lips and flick it with my tongue. I wish I could keep her longer, but she is losing her warmth. I take a clump of her jet-black hair and wind it tight around my finger until the tip of it goes numb. I yank it from her head. It is surprising how easily it comes out and hangs from my hand, as black and shiny as tar. It will be perfect.

Shawna is mine forever, for I am the river, and the river is me. It is the fluid, and I am the flesh.

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Giveaway: Click the link below to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Dead Drift and something creepy and unique from the “killer’s” Etsy shop! Good luck!

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About the Author

Kelly Romo Author Photo

Kelly Romo grew up in California but has lived in Oregon for over twenty-five years. She teaches writing, literature, and social studies. She is the mother of three grown children: Brittany, Brennan, and Ryan. She is an avid outdoorswoman who loves to kayak, hike, and fish.

Kelly has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing (Fiction) and a Master of Arts in Teaching, both from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon USA.

For more information, please visit Kelly’s website at http://www.kellyromo.com

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My thoughts: this was a clever, dark, twisted thriller. Set in a small town where tourists come to ride the rapids every summer and girls seem to go missing every year too. When Emmy and Amber, heading to Canada, stop by to explore the river, they find more than they bargained for. Amber goes missing and Emmy can only vaguely remember the night before – did the girls really hurl their new shoes into the tree? And why would Amber, afraid of the water, risk the river?

As a year goes by, Emmy’s memories remain fuzzy but a new summer brings more tourists and more girls go missing. Can Emmy solve the terrible mysteries and save another girl from Amber’s fate? Can she stop a killer?

I didn’t see the killer at all, all the hints pointed in several directions and the sunny, tourist friendly nature hid a really disturbing dark side – one that needed Emmy’s outsider perspective to finally be revealed and stopped. Very enjoyable.

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June 27th

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Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

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June 30th

@my_books_and_coffee (Review) https://www.instagram.com/my_books_and_coffee

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@jacleomik33 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/jacleomik33/

@ofmoviesandbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ofmoviesandbooks/

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

@mysticforestcrafts (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mysticforestcrafts/

July 1st

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

@2manybooks2littletime (Review) https://www.instagram.com/2manybooks2littletime/

@what.kerry.reads (Review) https://www.instagram.com/what.kerry.reads/

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Apartment Upstairs – Lesley Kara

Scarlett’s aunt lived – and was brutally murdered – in the apartment upstairs. But Scarlett is determined that life should return to some kind of normal, even if that means living with just a ceiling between her and the scene of such a devastating crime. 

After all, this is her home. She’s safe here. Isn’t she?

Dee is busy balancing her job as a funeral director with organising an event to mark the disappearance of her best friend, ten years ago. She’s got enough on her plate without worrying about the threatening messages that are appearing on her company’s Facebook page.

When Scarlett approaches Dee about planning her aunt’s funeral, an unexpected link emerges between them. Together, the two women could uncover secrets that have long been buried. Even while someone wants to stop them digging . . . 

LESLEY KARA is the author of Sunday Times bestsellers The Rumour and Who Did You Tell? Her debut, The Rumour, was also a Kindle No.1 bestseller. She is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She lives on the North Essex coast. You can follow Lesley on Twitter @LesleyKara or visit her website at www.lesleykara.com

My thoughts: this was a clever, gripping story that twisted and turned, leading you on a strange journey into the case of a missing woman and a murder-suicide that might not be so clear cut.

Scarlett’s aunt Rebecca was murdered by her partner, who then killed himself, and Scarlett has returned to her flat in the house the two women shared. Her aunt lived upstairs and to allow Scarlett to better manage her ME, she lived downstairs. But a chance discovery of a card from a missing woman – Gina, sparks an investigation that could have dire consequences.

Dee runs an ethical funeral business with her best friend Lindsay, their other best friend was Gina. When Scarlett hires them to bury her aunt, they don’t realise the connection. Once they do, questions arise.

At times I couldn’t figure out where this was all going – was Scarlett’s brother Ollie responsible for Gina’s disappearance? Why was he so agitated about the summer house? Would Scarlett be ok? What about Dee? But as the answers were revealed and the truth brought to light, the cleverness of the plotting was also laid out.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Watchers – John Reid

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Welcome to the book tour for John Reid’s latest mystery, The Watchers! Read on for more info!

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The Watchers

Publication Date: January 27, 2022

Genre: Mystery/ Suspense/ Crime Fiction/ Police Procedural

Sometimes it isn’t just good police work that catches criminals. Sometimes you just have to watch them. This is the strategy DCI Steve Burt uses when presented with two different and equally baffling cases.

The DCI takes on a case unofficially as a favour to an ex-colleague that involves the disappearance of an official of the Bank of England and the theft of gold bullion from the bank. The other is a baffling case involving multiple murders at the country home of a peer of the realm.

Steve and his team must navigate a trail of misleading clues and blind alleys involving suspected terrorism, kidnapping, conspiracy and international intrigue, as they strive to solve both cases. His boss becomes increasingly annoyed with Steve’s unconventional approach to police work, but the DCI knows he has to put his career on the line in order to solve these two very different and difficult cases.

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About the Author

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John Reid is the creator of the DCI Steve Burt series of thriller and suspense crime fiction at its very best.

Retirement has given John the time to fulfil his passion for writing, creating the mystery series through his unique creative process. Each main character is fully developed at the beginning of the writing process, with the part they play in each journey evolving organically within the confines of the underlying plot line. This freedom and flexibility creates inventive and compelling story telling that keeps the reader intrigued throughout.

John was born in Scotland and, after serving in the Army, embarked on a career in industry. He has worked in several different sectors in senior roles and was latterly CEO of a large international data capture company. He retired for the first time in 1995 to take on a consultancy designed to help new businesses become established. In 2018 he finally retired from business life to become a full-time author. John lives in Scotland and Portugal with his wife, and they have two grown-up sons.

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My thoughts: taking on a missing person’s case for an old colleague leads in unexpected directions for DCI Burt and his team. The missing man works for the Bank of England and a huge shipment of gold bullion is due to be sent at the end of the week.

Complicating matters is the murder of a government minister and his wife at a country house. The murderer has to be one of the guests or the hosts, but why would someone kill them?

Torn between the two cases, trying to keep his superiors off his back and somehow get some sleep, Burt and his tiny team pull in all the additional resources they can, sending officers off to be the watchers of the title – keeping all the suspects under constant surveillance as the DCI tries to work out the plan and the motives of both crimes. Time is of the essence.

Rattling along at a pace, the plot is clever and the characters interesting, although I really wasn’t interested in the murderer’s incredibly overinflated sense of his own importance and intelligence. I know some incredibly bright people who can’t always remember to put socks on in the morning, being a member of Mensa doesn’t actually mean you’re any more intelligent than anyone else. So he was very annoying.

Especially as Burt was a lot smarter and cleverly worked out both the bullion heist and the murders with the evidence available to him and the assistance of his colleagues. All he really needed was some confessions and then it’s the lawyers’ problem!

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June 27th

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Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Bad For Good – Graham Bartlett

How far would you go?

The murder of a promising footballer, son of Brighton’s highest-ranking police officer, means Detective Superintendent Jo Howe has a complicated and sensitive case on her hands. The situation becomes yet more desperate following devastating blackmail threats.

Howe can trust no one as she tracks the brutal killer in a city balanced on a knife edge of vigilante action and a police force riven with corruption.

GRAHAM BARTLETT was a police officer for thirty years and is now a bestselling writer. He rose to become chief superintendent of the Brighton and Hove force as well as its police commander. He entered the Sunday Times Top Ten with
his first non-fiction book, Death Comes Knocking – Policing Roy Grace’s Brighton in 2016. He followed that up in 2020 with
another non-fiction book, Babes in the Wood, the harrowing 32-year fight to bring a double child killer to justice. Both these
books he co-wrote with international best seller, Peter James.
As well as writing, Bartlett is a police procedural and crime advisor helping scores of authors and TV writers (including Peter James, Mark Billingham, Elly Griffiths, Anthony Horowitz, Ruth Ware, Claire McGowan and Dorothy Koomson) achieve authenticity in their drama.

My thoughts: this was a really interesting police procedural written by a former cop turned advisor to writers of crime fiction. So he knows what he’s talking about.

Politics, budgeting and police cuts all play into the chaos of Sussex’s force trying to solve murders, prevent further deaths, deal with a rise in vigilantes and try to find out why so many missing persons are suspects in various crimes around Brighton and Hove.

Jo Howe is left trying to keep things together and stay on top of this extra crime wave, with about four officers to handle everything, and even then some of them can’t be trusted. Her former lover, and boss, Phil, quits after his son is murdered, making Jo’s life just that bit more complicated.

Then there’s this odd civilian security force that seems to have come from nowhere, getting awarded a huge contract to “help” the police, but are they connected to the vigilante behaviour?

This is a really clever, twisting book, just when you think you’ve got things figured out, there’s another twist or red herring in the way. The plot unfolds at near breakneck speed, speeding up as events start to collide and spin out of control. As characters start to crack under pressure and shocking new information comes to light, Jo and Phil head into a final confrontation with long reaching repercussions. Highly enjoyable.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own

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Blog Tour: A Fatal End – Faith Martin

Oxford, 1963
In a backstreet club, people dance the night away to their favourite band. But behind the scenes there is trouble afoot. An argument is brewing between bandmembers, two possessive girlfriends have plans for their partners, the club manager is creaming off profits – and a tragic accident leaves the lead singer dead.

But was it an accident at all? Coroner Clement Ryder is suspicious, and WPC Trudy Loveday knows there’s only one thing for it. She’s going undercover, deep into the seedy underbelly of Oxford nightlife.

Meanwhile Clement’s own secret is becoming increasingly difficult to keep hidden, and discovering the singer’s murderer might not be the only shock in store for Trudy…

My thoughts: another pleasing outing for Dr Ryder and PC Loveday, as they investigate the death of a pop singer on the rise. His death looks like an accident at first but his injuries are a little off for a tumble down the stairs in a nightclub. Something else is definitely going on. With several suspects and not many willing witnesses, the duo could be struggling to get some answers.

Then there’s also Ryder’s declining health, his Parkinson’s disease is progressing and he knows it’s time to hang up his coroner’s robes. My great-uncle, a lovely man, died of Parkinson ‘s, so I know it can be a truly horrible condition and slowly robs you of your ability to do things. In the 1960s, when the book is set less was known about it than now, so it must have been terrifying. It adds an element of sadness to the story – this could be the pair’s last case.

As always I really enjoyed this book, the writing is so good. I always root for Loveday to get one over on her sexist boss, making her do the filing and make tea just because she’s a woman, and having the brass acknowledge her skills and successes is always good.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Wake – Shelley Burr

For fans of Jane Harper’s The Dry or Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, a searing debut crime novel set in the Australian outback, where the grief and guilt surrounding an unsolved disappearance still haunt a small farming community…and will ultimately lead to a reckoning.

The tiny outback town of Nannine lies in the harsh red interior of Australia. Once a thriving center of stockyards and sheep stations, years of punishing drought have petrified the land and Nannine has been whittled down to no more than a stoplight, a couple bars, and a police station. And it has another, more sinister claim to fame: the still-unsolved disappearance of young Evelyn McCreery nineteen years ago.

Mina McCreery’s life has been defined by the intense public interest in her sister’s case—which is still a hot topic in true-crime chat rooms and on social media. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, Mina lives alone on her family’s sunbaked destocked sheep farm.

Enter Lane Holland, a young private investigator who dropped out of the police academy to earn a living cracking cold cases. Before she died, Mina’s mother funded a million-dollar reward for anyone who could explain how Evelyn vanished from her bed in the family’s farmhouse. The lure of cash has only increased public obsession with Evelyn and Mina—but yielded no answers.

Lane wins Mina’s trust when some of his more unconventional methods show promise. But Lane also has darker motivations, and his obsession with the search will ultimately risk both their lives—and yield shocking results.

Compulsively readable, with an unforgettable setting and cast of characters, WAKE is a powerful, unsparing story of how trauma ripples outward when people’s private tragedies become public property, and how it’s never too late for the truth to come out.

My thoughts: this story unfolds slowly, both Lane and Mina have kept things secret, things that help build up the truth about what really happened to Evelyn. It’s only when they start being honest, with each other and the police, that answers surface.

The stark landscape of Mina’s family farm, the small town that she’s stayed in despite her isolation, the world she’s built for herself, letting no one in, isolates her. Lane has also isolated himself – only his sister in his life.

The story is intense and insidious, layer after layer of secrets, lies and finally the truth is peeled open. Clever and compelling, it’s not hard to see why this won the Debut Dagger at the CWAs.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: A Harvest Murder – Frances Evesham

One unexplained disappearance is strange, but two are sinister.
In Lower Hembrow, an idyllic village nestled beneath Ham Hill in Somerset, the villagers are preparing to enjoy the autumn traditions of the rural English countryside until Joe Trevillion, a
curmudgeonly local farmer and the father of six children, vanishes.
When Adam Hennessy, the ex-detective proprietor of The Plough, the village’s popular Inn, investigates, he finds ominous undercurrents beneath apparently harmless rumour and gossip.
Meanwhile, a vicious campaign of vindictiveness forces Adam and his three amateur sleuth friends to dig deep into the secret lives of their neighbours to expose the source of a cruel vendetta and prevent another death.
As they uncover the disturbing truth, the friends learn they must also lay their own past lives to rest before they can hope to make their dreams for the future come true.
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Frances Evesham is the bestselling author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea murder mysteries set in her home county of Somerset, and the Ham-Hill cosy crime series set in South Somerset.

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My thoughts: even the most picturesque villages hide dark deeds and not very nice people. Somerset village Ham Hill apparently hosts a few unpleasant and murderous souls. Also a donkey kidnapper (the donkey is fine).

Someone seems to have it out for artist Dan, after a series of cruel sabotages, could they be blaming him for a tragic accident years before? And where’s Joe gone? His wife and six children need him home, as do the cows, they won’t milk themselves after all.

Luckily Adam and his friends are on hand to dig into both these cases and assist the local police. Joe isn’t as blameless as he seems and Dan needs to deal with the past before he and his son can move on.

Highly enjoyable as always and there’s a rather fiendish murder to solve – a very Agatha Christie sort of death. Though I think I’ll skip Somerset on my next visit to the West Country.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Sister Agatha – Domhnall O’Donaghue

Sister Agatha is 118 years of age, whose vim and vigour would put the most robust athletes to shame. However, during a routine check-up, her doctor claims that she has just a week to live – inconvenient, seeing as the beloved sister once made an improbable vow: to be the oldest person in
the world. At last count, she was the fifth.
Never one to admit defeat, Sister Agatha concocts a bold Plan B. Using her final days, she intends on travelling the world to meet the only four people whose birthday cakes boast more candles than hers.
And then, one by one, she will kill them.

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Hailing from Navan in the royal county of Meath, Domhnall is a graduate of the Bachelor in Acting Studies Programme, Trinity College Dublin, later completing a Master’s in Screenwriting at Dún Laoghaire IADT.
He now works as an actor and a journalist, dividing his time between Galway, where he films TG4’s award-winning series, Ros na Rún, Dublin and Venice, where he and his Italian lover continuously promise their well-worn livers that they will refrain from quaffing so much Prosecco. (Unfortunately, it seems some vows, just like nearby Rome, were not built in a day.)
Wine-drinking aside, for more than four years, Domhnall has also enjoyed the responsibility of being Assistant Editor at Irish Tatler Man, a title whose various awards includes Consumer Magazine of the Year. Thanks to this role, he interviewed a host of high-profile names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Chris Pine, Kevin Spacey, David Gandy, and Jacques Villeneuve.
Domhnall has written for the majority of Ireland’s leading newspapers and magazines, including the Irish Independent, The Irish Times and RTE. He also writes a monthly column in Woman’s Way, the country’s biggest-selling weekly magazine.
His first novel, Sister Agatha: the World’s Oldest Serial Killer, was released in 2016 to critical acclaim (Tirgearr Publishing). His second and third books, Colin and the Concubine and Crazy for You were
published by Mercier Press, Ireland’s oldest publishing house.

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My thoughts: this is a very funny book about a very determined 118 year old nun, who despite her vows and religious belief is about to break a commandment and commit several murders – so she can die safe in the knowledge that she was the oldest living person. But along the way various things happen and her adventures touch the lives of others – for good or bad. She also gets quite lucky at times and the sisters back home in the convent have no idea what she’s up to. There’s some very silly moments, like hiding in a big crate of apples in Warsaw, or hijacking a camel ride in Morocco, but Sister Agatha is going to get her name in the history books, one way or another!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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The Boyfriend – Kerry Wilkinson

He went missing when you were sixteen. Was it all your fault?

Trembling with shock, Jodie picks up the old T-shirt. She hasn’t seen it for twenty years. Her boyfriend had been wearing it – her Ben – the day he went missing. The last time anyone saw him alive.

After her dad’s funeral, all Jodie wants is to clear out her childhood home as quickly as possible and get back to life with her son. But a terrifying discovery changes everything she knew about her kind, loving father.

Her boyfriend Ben went missing when they were just teenagers. His parents still stare out the window desperately waiting for him to come home. So how did the T-shirt he was wearing when Jodie saw him walk away from their last date end up in her father’s attic?

The search for answers leads Jodie to an old family friend who knows all her father’s secrets. She can’t shake his questions about her older brother, and the real reason their dad left everything to Jodie, not him. But when a stranger begins to follow her around their little town, and a deadly fire breaks out in her home, it’s clear someone will do anything to stop Jodie finding the truth about Ben’s disappearance. Has Jodie unknowingly put her own son in terrible danger?

An absolutely addictive psychological thriller with a heart-stopping twist, about how even the people we love can hide the darkest secrets. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, I Am Watching You and Shari Lapena.

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Kerry Wilkinson is from the English county of Somerset but has spent far too long living in the north. It’s there that he’s picked up possibly made-up regional words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’. He pretends to know what they mean.

He’s also been busy since turning thirty: his Jessica Daniel crime series has sold more than a million copies in the UK; he has written a fantasy-adventure trilogy for young adults; a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter and the standalone thriller, Down Among The Dead Men.

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My thoughts: how well do we really know our parents? When Jodie finds her dead teenage boyfriend’s t-shirt in her late father’s attic, hidden away, she’s forced to confront events from years ago. Did her dad kill Ben? Or was he protecting someone else? Suddenly her world is upside down and she doesn’t know who to turn to. Then there’s her teenage son, in trouble at school and lying to her.

The man imprisoned for Ben’s death is out and living back in the same town – a brave move or perhaps foolhardy. Everything’s on a collision course and Jodie doesn’t know it yet. Clever, tense and gripping stuff.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Cat and Mouse – M.J. Arlidge

When you think you’re safe,
When you think you’re all alone,
That’s when he’ll come for you…

A silent killer stalks the city, targeting those home alone at night – killing without pity or remorse.

As panic spreads, Detective Inspector Helen Grace leads the investigation, but is herself a hunted woman, her every step dogged by a ruthless killer bent on revenge.

As she tracks the murderer, Grace begins to suspect there is a truly shocking home truth that connects these brutal crimes…

Check the windows, lock the doors – this is a twisted page-turner that will prey on your darkest fears, in the way only M.J. Arlidge can.

Matthew (MJ) Arlidge has worked in television for the last twenty years, specialising in high-end drama production, including prime-time crime serials Silent Witness, Torn, The Little House and, most recently, the hit TV show Innocent. His debut thriller, Eeny Meeny, was the UK’s bestselling crime debut of 2014 and has been followed by nine more DI Helen Grace bestsellers including the latest, All Fall Down. In 2015, his audiobook exclusive Six Degrees of Assassination was a number-one bestseller.

My thoughts: this was very good, nice and suspenseful. The title implies one cat and one mouse, but there are really several. There’s DI Helen Grace and the various individuals after her – from annoying reported Emilia Garanita, to ex-colleague (and lover) Barton, as well as deranged psychopathic psychologist Alex Blythe and his proxy. Then there’s the murderer the police are hunting and DI Helen Grace and the MIT team looking for him. Also the murderer and his victims. Lots of cats, lots of mice, and some mice are also cats. I think my analogy may have lost the plot somewhere there …

However the plot in the book, thankfully, makes a lot more sense and hooked me right in. I have read previous books in this series so I knew it would be good, and pleasingly it was. There seems to be no connection between the victims – a recent mother, a teenage boy, then another woman dies. And the police start to look a bit closer – not just at the victims but also at their families.

Grace is in danger, both from Blythe and his machinations from a distance, but also in danger of losing her job as her boss is trying to find a way to get rid of her – and he just might get it.

Despite the distractions however, Grace and her team are putting the case together and chasing suspects – sometimes quite literally. A cracking read.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.