And So It Began (Delaney #1) by Owen Mullen

And So It Began by Owen Mullen
And So It Began (Delaney #1)
by Owen Mullen (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: ‘It was good to feel apart from the herd. Different from the masses. What could be worse than being just another walking number on the earth? Thank God that wasn’t the way of it. Society saw it otherwise of course, that was to be expected. Closed minds.

A woman passed with a child dressed in top hat and tails. Fred Astaire? The kid was bawling something impossible to make out, its small face distorted in an anguish that would cease the second the mother relented and let it have its way. When children acted like that they were almost as unattractive as the adults who spawned them. Well, the mother could relax, her whining offspring was safe; repulsively secure.

No matter, there were plenty more.

Lots and lots and lots more.

Where to begin? The biggest question. The answer would dictate how the rest of the day would go. The trick was not to wait too long. That was dangerous. Anxiety about missing out produced poor-quality decisions. Risk was all very well so long as the thrill allowed for escape.

It was all about timing.

A lost looking girl came close. Pretty, but pretty wasn’t enough. There were many here who outscored her on that, boys as well as girls, it didn’t matter.

Cute. Cute. Cute. Nothing but cute.

‘Darlene! Darlene, honey!’

A woman bent to scoop up her daughter.

Mother and child reunion.

Time to make a move. But what was the rush? There was a whole day ahead.

All day. All day, every day if need be.

THE BLURB: PI Vincent Delaney thought he was done with the NOPD until a string of seemingly unrelated child murders brings an unexpected invitation from the FBI, and his old boss.

A serial killer is roaming the South, preying on children appearing in pageants, and the police want him to go undercover using his own family. Accepting would mean lying to people he loves and maybe even putting them in harm’s way.

In Baton Rouge, a violent criminal has escaped and is seeking revenge for the brother Delaney shot dead. But Delaney isn’t going anywhere. He has unfinished business.

Meanwhile, north of the French Quarter, shopkeepers are being extorted and ask for Delaney’s help. Extortion is a matter for the police.

But what do you do when those responsible are the police?

Delaney has his work cut out and he’ll be lucky if he makes it out of this alive…

MY THOUGHTS: Owen Mullen knows how to write.

I rank him right up there with Mr King. Different genres, but there is something in the writing style that just sucks me right in. Cocoons me from the outside world. Has me snarling at anyone that would dare try interrupt my reading.

I fell in love with Charlie Cameron, Mullen’s Glaswegian PI in his first series. Now we have Delaney in New Orleans. And I’m in love all over again.

Delaney has a past. But that doesn’t guarantee he has a future. Delaney is dedicated. When he is on a case, all else is pushed to the side. I would hate to be in a relationship with this man. He is unfailingly loyal. He is stubborn. And tenacious. He reminds me of my very favorite chocolates, strong and hard on the outside, liquid inside. This is a man who will go to any lengths to protect those he loves.

And he is a man with old scores to settle.

And So It Began by Owen Mullen is a breathtaking read. There is nothing ordinary or mediocre about this book. It grips from page one and never lets go.

Crime fiction has a new master.

Thank you to author Owen Mullen for providing an ARC of And So It Began. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

The Coven by Graham Masterton

The Coven by Graham Masterton
The Coven
by Graham Masterton

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: ‘Some of these girls are veritable savages when we first take them in. They are used to drinking gin and smoking and their everyday language would make Satan shrivel. They have been used by men ever since they can remember, sometimes by their own fathers and brothers, so they think nothing of virtue or virginity. In some cases, their own mothers have sold their maidenheads to the highest bidder to make ends meet…..A fair number learn to be thankful, I’ll grant you. But some regard us as pious busy bodies and cannot wait to return to their life on the streets. They relish the flattery they are given by licentious men, and the money. They enjoy the orgies, and the drink. They have never been used to discipline or decorum, and they cannot understand that they are not only destroying themselves here on earth but abnegating any chance they might have had of going to heaven. ‘

THE BLURB: London, 1758. Beatrice Scarlet has returned to London and found work at St. Mary Magdalene’s Refuse for fallen women. Beatrice enjoys the work and her apothecary skills are much needed. The home cooperates with a network of wealthy factory owners across London, finding their charges steady work and hopes of rehabilitation. But when 12 girls sent to a factory in Clerkenwell disappear, Beatrice is uneasy. Their would-be benefactor claims they were witches, sacrificed by Satan for his demonic misdeeds. But Beatrice is sure something much darker than witchcraft is at play.

MY THOUGHTS: I have to admit that I almost dnf’d this a couple of times in the earlier part of the book. I really only kept reading because I wanted to know if Noah was ever going to be found. I got the answer to my question, but if you want to know you can read the book for yourself.

The Coven is definitely not my favourite Masterton book. It is the second book in a series of, so far, two. I had not read the first, but The Coven can stand on its own. There is enough background information given so that the relevant events of the first in the series are explained.

My first quibble is with the title, The Coven. If you read this book you will see the relevance, which I still feel is rather tenuous anyway. The Coven gives the impression that the book is about witchcraft. It isn’t. Not even remotely. Which is not why I chose to read it anyway, but people with reading interests which lie in that field would be disappointed. This book could definitely have been better titled.

Masterton’s writing does get, somewhat uncharacteristically, laborious in parts. Although just occasionally his quirky sense of humour shines through, and again,occasionally, there are passages of his trademark beautiful prose.

Overall, I am glad I read The Coven. I liked it more than not, but only just. But probably not enough to bother with reading any more of the series, although Beatrice’s future does look rather more interesting. I will leave the jury out on that decision.

WARNING: The Coven contains graphic violence and sexual content.

Thank you to Head of Zeus via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Coven for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my

This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber
This Side of Murder (Verity Kent, #1)
by Anna Lee Huber (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

AN EXCERPT: ‘You might question whether this is all a ruse, whether I truly have anything to reveal. But I know what kind of work you really did during the war. I know the secrets you hide. Why shouldn’t I also know your husband’s?’

THE BLURB: The Great War is over, but in this captivating new series from award-winning author Anna Lee Huber, one young widow discovers the real intrigue has only just begun . . .

An Unpardonable Sin?

England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.

Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception . . .

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Who of us really knows what’s coming? Or what secrets will come back to haunt us in the end? The war might be over, but it still echoed through our lives like an endless roll of thunder. ‘
This Side of Murder is an excellent beginning to a new series, Verity Kent, by Daphne Award winning author Anna Lee Huber. I must rather shamefully admit that I had never heard of her prior to reading this book. I intend to remedy that, and sooner rather than later. She has two other series available, The Lady Darby Mysteries and Gothic Myths. Both sound equally appealing.

Huber had me hooked from the beginning. Set in post WWI England, Huber has written an absorbing and thrilling tale of spies, murder, treason and a little romance with a strong young female lead. The plot is complex, but not confusing, and the characters are magnificently portrayed. Like Verity, I never even came close to suspecting who was pulling the strings until all was finally revealed.

Full of action and suspense, This Side of Murder is an excellent read on many levels. It is both humorous and poignantly sad in places. It reveals the toll of the war from both sides; those left at home – ‘ I had dreaded those letters. Each one seemed to relay news of another death, another tragedy. ‘; and those away fighting for their country – ‘they’d had no clue how dreadful the conditions were at the front, or the horrors their men had faced almost daily. The press never told the truth; propaganda at its finest. And the men didn’t want their loved ones back home to know it anyway, even though it caused countless divides and misunderstandings. They didn’t want the terrors they’d confronted to touch those they’d loved and gone to war to protect and preserve. ‘

This Side of Murder is both a touching and thrilling read.

Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on This review and others are also published on my page.

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti
The Blackbird Season
by Kate Moretti (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: ‘He felt sick. No matter what happened now, everything had just gotten worse. All the pieces he’d been clinging to had flown apart, scattering what was left of his life in a million directions. He was in trouble, he’d been in trouble, but now he was more than in trouble, he was as dead as a person could be while still being alive. In one heartbeat, he envisioned Alecia and Gabe huddled together on the couch, himself in prison, a 20/20 special. ….He had no way of knowing that this moment would become the linchpin, the moment that all the moments after would hinge upon. The papers would call him a murderer; the police would come to him; his ex-friends, his gym buddies, the guys who knew him for God’s sake; and say, Nate was the last one to see her alive, right? The last one is always the guilty one.’

THE BLURB: “Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…

Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”

In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

MY COMMENTS: I struggled somewhat to become involved with this book. I didn’t particularly relate to any of the characters, which is not necessarily a problem. But I was just over 40% into the story before I began to feel any kind of real interest, a spark, and that didn’t last long.

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti is told from four points of view, that of Alecia, Nate, Lucia and Bridget, which also  wasn’t a problem.

The characters are well portrayed and rounded out. Nate’s life revolves around his baseball team and his students, with his wife Alecia and autistic son Gabe trailing somewhere behind in his priorities. He is not a bad man. He is very involved in the lives of his students, who both like and trust him. As do their parents. If he has a fault, it is that he is naive and can be arrogant.

Alecia’s life is consumed by Gabe, their five year old autistic son. She is totally focused on finding a ‘cure’ for him, so that he can live a ‘normal’ life; so that she can live a normal life, so that she can be a soccer mum and one of the mums in the cliques at the school gate. She resents that she is stuck in the house every day while Nate is out there ‘cavorting with his students’ and monitoring their every move on social media. She resents that he seems to care more for them, than for his own wife and child.

There is a recipe for trouble to start with. Add in Bridget Harris, Nate’s coworker and colleague, who is still depressed following the death of her husband, struggling with her job and who has always had a bit of a thing for Nate. And Lucia, trashy, blonde, abused and considered wierd Lucia who is randomly accepted and discarded by her classmates on a whim, and who has only ever had one true friend, Taylor. But even that is changing.

I so wanted to be captivated by the ‘haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns’, but I wasn’t. I regret to say that I didn’t find it any of these things. Instead of suspense filled, I got angst filled. Disappointing? Yes, but if the book had been depicted more accurately, my expectations may not have been so high.

Thank you to Atria Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Therefore if you enjoyed the excerpt above, please go ahead and read this book. For an explanation of my ratings, please visit my profile page on or my ‘about’ page on

This review and others are also published on my blog

Friday Favorites

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I have long been a fan of Susan Hill, especially her Simon Serrailler series, which she began in 2004. Working in and around Lafferton, a fictional cathedral town somewhere in the south of England, Serrailler is the Chief Inspector for the region. He is portrayed as an aloof loner who has not much luck with his love life, and is closest to his sister Cat, a physician who lives with her husband and children in a sprawling farmhouse, which Simon uses as a bolthole when he feels the need to retreat. Even with his family, his relationships tend to be rather one sided. His parents, also physicians, live locally and although he has a reasonably good relationship with his mother, he believes his father has never quite forgiven him for not following in the family footsteps  career wise.

Hill’s writing is both intelligent and intricate. I hope she never stops writing this series.

It might seemrather odd to start by reviewing the seventh book in the series, but that is the one freshest in my mind. …

A Question of Identity by Susan Hill
A Question of Identity
by Susan Hill

Reviewed by
EXCERPT: ‘It seems like your brain’s bursting. It doesn’t happen all at once, it builds up. And then your brain’s going to burst until you do something about it. You do it. You have to do it. Then it’s all right again for a bit, ’til it starts again.’
THE BLURB: A particularly unpleasant murder, that of a very old woman in a housing project, rocks the town of Lafferton. The murderer has left a distinctive “sign” on the body and at the scene of crime. A couple of weeks later, a similar murder occurs, and a month or so later, so does another.

Initial investigations discover that the mysterious “sign” left on the body was the calling card of a suspect who was charged with several murders in the northwest of the country, tried but acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence. All indications suggest that this person has simply vanished. Or is he right under their noses? Simon Serrailler is obliged to make delve deeper and scratch out answers, in this addictive mystery of surpassing darkness by the bestselling Susan Hill.

MY COMMENTS: As always, Susan Hill held me captive throughout this, the seventh Simon Serrailler book.

No one in their right mind would break into the bedrooms of frail old ladies who are alone at night and terrify them, drag them out of their beds, shove them down in a chair in front of a mirror so they could see themselves, see the killer standing behind them, watch him get out the electrical flex, watch him uncoil it and raise his hands to loop it around their necks, watch while he starts to tighten it, watch themselves fight for breath, turn blue, start to choke. …

Yet this is precisely what is happening. But it’s not the first time. It had happened ten years earlier. A man was arrested and charged and subsequently acquitted. So where is he now? They can find no trace of him, no record that he ever existed. So just how do you find a killer who doesn’t exist?

Another edge of your seat crime thriller/ police procedural from Susan Hill.



Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza

Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza


EXCERPT: ‘The fingers poking through the hole in the brown material were swollen, with blackened fingernails. Moss gently worked the sand away from the seams, and exposed the rusted zipper. It took Erika several gentle tugs, but it yielded, and the suitcase sagged open as she unzipped. Moss moved to help, and they slowly lifted it open. A little water spilled out, and the naked body of a man was crammed inside. Moss stepped backwards, putting her arm up to her nose. The smell of rotting flesh and stagnant water hit the back of their throats. Erika closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them. The limbs were white and muscular. The flesh had the appearance of raw suet and was starting to flake away, in places exposing the bone. Erika gently lifted the torso. Tucked underneath was a head, with black wispy hair.’

THE BLURB: She fell in love with a killer, now she’s one too.

The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would find inside…

When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before.

As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago.

Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack.

But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery…there’s more than one killer.

MY COMMENTS: The question begs to be asked – how could a young girl with so much promise stumble down such a dark path?

#5 in Robert Bryndza’s Detective Erika Foster series, Cold Blood is based on a vulnerable young woman’s need to be loved. Her Dad has died, her Mum has a new man in her life, her friends have all gone off to university, while Nina is working a dead end job in a fish and chip shop because she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. Nina is isolated by her own circumstances and Max spots her vulnerability and uses it to his own advantage. And we all know from experience that the nice but needy girl falling under the spell of the bad boy story is never going to end well. And this one certainly doesn’t. But even I certainly didn’t predict just how badly it was all going to end.

I have read all of this series, and to be honest, this is the least favorite installment. It just doesn’t seem to flow like the previous books did. It didn’t leave me breathless with anticipation. It actually took me four days to read it. I’m not saying it is a bad read, because it definitely isn’t. It is a good read, as evidenced by my 4☆ rating, just not as good as the rest of the series, which for me have all been 5☆ Am I looking forward to the next installment? Hell yes! Get writing Rob!

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page for an explanation of my ratings. This review and others are also published on my page

The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes

The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes
reviewed by

EXCERPT: ‘As she moved along, stately but sure, like the Lusitania departing from Liverpool, she thought she recognized a figure out of the corner of her eye. It gave Florence a start. Did he know she would be at Victoria? The man was slight, angular and frayed at the edges – a wooden life raft to her ocean liner. His back was half turned away and his hat was pulled down low so that she couldn’t be sure if he had seen her. Florence picked up the pace, her heart quickening. She spotted her Porter up ahead, waiting patiently by her bags, and she calmed herself. She had only to get on the train; in less than twenty minutes she’d be on her way. ….It was not long before the guard blew his final whistle. The train moved off, slowly at first, then gathered momentum steadily until, by the time it reached the first tunnel, it was rolling down the line at full speed. That was the last time anyone saw Florence Nightingale Shore alive. ..’

THE BLURB: It’s 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle.

Louisa’s salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nurserymaid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy – an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories.

But then a nurse – Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake – is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret . . . ‘

MY VIEWS: I didn’t realize, when I began The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes, that it is based on a real murder. It was not until I reached the end of the book and read the author’s historical note, that I discovered Florence Nightingale Shore actually existed, that she was god-daughter of the famous woman herself, and that she was indeed attacked on the Brighton line Monday 12 January, 1920 and died a few days later of her injuries. Nobody was ever found guilty of her murder.

The Mitford Murders is a captivating blend of fact and fiction. Newspaper reports of the interviews conducted with the witnesses at the Inquest have been used to recreate the events. People, including Florence’s friend Mabel, the Mitford family and their servants, also have their roots in reality, although some things have been changed for the benefit of the novel.

Fellowes has captured the atmosphere of the early 1920s splendidly. The war is over, but nothing has quite returned to normal. There is a shortage of men; many physically and psychologically wounded soldiers have returned home to nothing, wondering what it was all for. Life is nothing like we know it. The British class system is still very evident. Poverty is a way of life for the lower classes where survival is all, violence and intimidation a way of life . But then again, perhaps nothing has really changed after all, only fashion and technology.

The Mitford Murders is a captivating read. Fellowes, perhaps best known for her Downtown Abbey books, is very good at what she does. This is, apparently, the first book of a new series,one I am looking forward to reading.

Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page for an explanation of my ratings. This review and others can also be viewed at

Friday Favorites

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

OWEN MULLEN’S debut novel Games People Play has been long-listed for Bloody Scotland McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year 2017. It is the first in the Charlie Cameron Glasgow PI  series of three  (so far).

This book just totally blew me away when I first read it, and continued to do so on each subsequent reading. I have read it a total of four times so far and recommend it to everyone I know. And just because I don’t ‘know’ you, dear follower, doesn’t mean I want you to miss out on what could possibly be your read of the year.

THE BLURB: Thirteen-month-old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland while her parents are just yards away.

Three days later the distraught father turns up at private investigator Charlie Cameron’s office. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has stolen his daughter. And why.

Against his better judgment Charlie gets involved in the case and when more bodies are discovered the awful truth dawns: there is a serial killer whose work has gone undetected for decades.

Is baby Lily the latest victim of a madman?

For Charlie it’s too late, he can’t let go.

His demons won’t let him.


Games People Play by Owen Mullen
reviewed by Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones

I love this book! It is breath-taking. It is unputdownable. There is not one dull or mediocre moment in this book. Quite simply – it is brilliant!

The characters captivate and entrance. I felt their pain, their indecision, their joy. Secrets, lies and infidelity abound.

“Four and a half weeks after they walked on the sand swinging their child between them, the family was damaged beyond repair, destroyed by guilt and betrayal. ”

Mark and Jen Hamilton’s decision to take 13 month old daughter Lily to Ayr Beach for the day was one they would live to regret. Jen’s decision to take one final swim in the cold waters was one that would almost kill her – more then once. For while Mark races into the water to save his wife from drowning, then resuscitates her – someone abducts their daughter, left sitting in her pushchair on the sand.

When the distraught father turns up at Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron’s office and begs him to help, Charlie gets involved against his better judgement. Finding missing people is what Charlie does. But not kids. Never kids. But Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has stolen his daughter. And why. And he is desperate for someone to help him.

A child’s body is discovered on Fenwick Moor, then another in St Andrews. Neither is Lily. There is a child killer on the loose. Is Lily another victim?

I honestly can’t believe this is a first novel. Both the quality of the writing and the plot are outstanding. More please Mr Mullen!

Thank you to Owen Mullen for an ARC of Games People Play in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

P.S. I have never done this before (well not so soon anyway!)….but I am reading this book again. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I have picked it up and am re-reading it….slowly this time, and savouring every lovely moment! Going back and re-reading passages, rolling the writing around in my mind and really appreciating it. First read through I just had to know what happened! This is appreciation time. Am I enjoying it any less because I know the outcome? NO! In fact, if I could, I would award it 6 stars this time around.

Wow! This has just made the best-seller list. well done Owen Mullen!

Enjoy your weekend read. And please let me know what you think of Charlie Cameron PI, and Owen Mullen’s debut novel. Over the coming months, I will also review the second and third books in the series, Old Friends and New Enemies, and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

But don’t feel you have to wait on my reviews to read his other books. You can check out the author and his books on


Have a great weekend, and happy reading!


Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

Every Dead Thing by John Connolly
reviewed by

EXCERPT: The patrol car arrived first on the night they died, shedding red light into the darkness. Two patrolmen entered the house, quickly yet cautiously, aware that they were responding to a call from one of their own, a policeman who had become a victim instead of the resort of victims.
I sat in the hallway with my head in my hands as they entered the kitchen of our Brooklyn home and glimpsed the remains of my wife and child. I watched as one conducted a brief search of the upstairs rooms while the other checked the living room, the dining room, all the time the kitchen calling them back, demanding that they bear witness.
I listened as they radioed for the Major Crime Scene Unit, informing them of a probable double homicide. I could hear the shock in their voices, yet they tried to communicate what they had seen as dispassionately as they could, like good cops should. Maybe, even then, they suspected me. They were policemen and they, more than anyone else, knew what people were capable of doing, even one of their own.

THE BLURB: Hailed internationally as a page-turner in a league with the fiction of Thomas Harris, this lyrical and terrifying bestseller is the stunning achievement of an “extravagantly gifted” (Kirkus Reviews) new novelist. John Connolly superbly taps into the tortured mind and gritty world of former NYPD detective Charlie “Bird” Parker, tormented by the brutal, unsolved murders of his wife and young daughter. Driven by visions of the dead, Parker tracks a serial killer from New York City to the American South, and finds his buried instincts — for love, survival, and, ultimately, for killing — awakening as he confronts a monster beyond imagining…

MY COMMENTS: When I closed this book on the final page, I went and lay down in a darkened room. I was spent, drained, depleted, amazed, stunned and awed. I needed to let the characters take their leave, to leave me in peace. Every Dead Thing is not an easy book to cast from ones mind. Like Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, I could sense them there, shadows in the room wanting to be heard, as I read.

And that ending. …..but I get ahead of myself.

Connolly’s writing is described as ‘lyrical’. It is all of that and more. He writes with beautiful words and phrases that resound in my mind, that I return to and read again, that I roll around in my mouth and my mind like a fine wine. Beautiful words and phrases that are far removed from the dark acts they describe; and because of their beauty, words that make those acts even more starkly horrifying.

He uses devices, tactics in his writing that, with other authors, have me gnashing my teeth. But Connolly makes them work to his advantage and had me eagerly turning the pages. The man is a master at his art.

And the ending? With all the twists, turns, subplots, reminiscences and meanderings down country lanes throughout the book, I NEVER SAW THAT COMING!

I have randomly read a number of the books in the Charlie Parker series over the years, but never this, the first in the series. Now I am motivated to read them all again, in order this time.

Thank you to Atria Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Every Dead Thing by John Connolly for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page for an explanation of my ratings.

You can also see this review and others at

Concerning Blackshirt by Roderic Jeffries

Concerning Blackshirt by Roderic Jeffries
Concerning Blackshirt
by Roderic Jeffries


This is the third book by Roderic Jeffries that I have read, but the first of the Blackshirt series and, liking-wise, it falls right in the middle with a 3.5☆ rating.

AN EXTRACT:  ‘ “Dead! How? ”
“He had an accident late last night. He was unfortunate enough to fall in the river, which as you know runs past his garden. He must have fallen, knocked himself unconscious, then have rolled in the river and drowned. He was inclined to be a little careless.”
It was all too obvious that these men did not stand for the slightest incompetence. If one of their members failed, then he was eliminated. It wasa ruthlessness foreign to the English mentality.
“Who killed him?” asked Verrall.
“The Coroner will bring in a verdict of accidental death. ”
“That’s not what I asked. ”
“Mr Verrall, you do not seem to realize your position. You appear to treat the matter as though it were a bit of a lark – something to break the monotony of ordinary existence. At the moment, you are alive. I assure you, an accident can quite easily be arranged.”‘

THE BLURB: Richard Verrell is looking forward to a quiet weekend in Kent.

It certainly starts out that way – that is until he wanders across his host’s fields for a spot of rough-shooting.

Coming across a little garden shed, he’s amazed to find an immense ‘blower four and a half’ Bentley inside.

Arriving back at the house, he convinces himself that something isn’t right and returns to the shed accompanied by his host.

To their horror, they find themselves under heavy gunfire before the Bentley roars to a hurried getaway.

Unhurt, they manage to scurry to safety to another nearby shed – where Verrell trips over the body of a dead man.

Would any man ask for a better incentive to rush headlong into an affair that does not in the least concern him? Certainly Blackshirt would not.

But then Blackshirt is … Blackshirt.

Chasing women, money, revolvers and dangerous secrets, Blackshirt sets out to get to the bottom of his gruesome discovery…

MY VIEWS: If you like a fast paced spy thriller set post WWII complete with wonderful cars, car chases and lots of action and subterfuge, then Concerning Blackshirt is a must on your reading list. I salivated over the Bentley and the description of its performance, although my personal dream car is the 1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Mille Miglia Spyder.

There were numerous things that I liked about this book, which more than compensated for my general dislike of spy novels. Of course there were the cars, of which the author spends quite a bit of time describing both the appearance and the performance. I learned a new word-  bolide ‘, which when taken in the context of the Bentley, means ‘missile ‘. There is also the era in which it is set, which I gather is the late 1940’s, perhaps early 1950’s. There is the absolute ‘Englishness’ of it, the language, the attitudes, the class system, still very much in evidence, though obviously on the decline in this book. And the characterisation, which is superb.

Verrall, the central character, is a best-selling author by day with the alter-ego of Blackshirt, a daring and most wanted criminal by night. He is described as having the mischievous nature of a man who has never grown up, and admits that he is happiest when faced with danger. It is not enough for him to merely write about crime and spies, he must live it.

Thank you to Endeavour Press for providing a digital copy of Concerning Blackshirt for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page for an explanation of my ratings.

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