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Blog Tour Review: Silent Winter - Maggie James

Silent WinterSilent Winter by Maggie James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From critically-acclaimed writer Ms James, Silent Winter is the latest standalone work of psychological suspense and blew my other encounters with her thrillers right out of the water. Holly is concerned about her marriage and her husband, Drew, when he doesn't return home after work; she is absolutely convinced he is having an affair. What she doesn't realise is that Drew has been abducted and subjected to horrifying treatment. Chained to the floor like an animal he is held naked in a dark, soundproof room with no chance of anyone hearing his screams. There is nothing around but a few thin blankets and a mattress on which to sleep. Soon both Drew's mental and physical health deteriorate rapidly. Wracking his brains as to who and why he was kidnapped Drew focuses on an incident he kept quiet about from his past. But the identity of the abductor is unlikely to be known unless Drew opens up about his long-held secret as that appears to be the key to it all.

I have read all of Ms James's books and can genuinely say that this is her best and most accomplished to date; I couldn't put it down. It is a dark read which explores family relationships, betrayal, secrets and lies and focused heavily on the effects of Drew's incarceration and particularly solitary confinement with no chance for any interaction. It's a twisty mystery with many puzzle pieces to consider and once you get into the pacey novel it barely gives you a moment to breathe. It is very clear that the author has researched the topics of incarceration, solitary confinement and their impact on a person thoroughly. I loved that in parts of it was more of a slow-burn as they held a lot of atmosphere. We watch as Drew deteriorates; be warned there are rather vivid descriptions of his treatment. A well written and wholly captivating thriller. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.


Blog Tour Review: Ruby - Heather Burnside

Ruby (The Working Girls #2)Ruby by Heather Burnside
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being a Northern girl I love that the usual gangland turf war setting of the East End of London is replaced by the equally seedy, shady and. disreputable parts of Manchester. There is a heavy focus of pimps, prostitutes and their Johns we follow Ruby as she attempts to make a name for herself on the mean streets. But Ruby isn't merely satisfied with earning her dollar and being thankful; she wants more than that but she knows she must carefully consider her next move as closing in on anyone's precious territory is deemed an act worth killing for. Should she put herself and her life in huge danger in the name of ambition or make do as most other ladies in the game have? One thing is for certain if she makes the wrong decision and infuriates the competition she won't be around that much longer to tell the tale. Ruby ducks and dives in and out of the shadows as she eludes an ever-increasing collection of sworn enemies. Can she survive and thrive?

I thoroughly enjoyed Ruby as it's a story full of intense drama, excitement and imminent danger seemingly lurking around every corner. It's a tough street scene for anyone to brave never mind a female and with an endless array of tested loyalties, betrayals, murder, double-crosses, alliances and shifting allegiances and there is a lot of violence and tension as the plot races along barely giving you a moment to breathe; for the majority of the time my heart was simply pounding and I noticed myself turning the pages more and more rapidly and anxiously. I found it impossible not to admire the kick-ass feisty female at the centre of it all. Read about all of the fraternising rogue criminal elements that lie beneath the shiny, sparkling veneer of city life. This is a compulsive, gritty and wildly unpredictable gangland thriller which I highly recommend to those who enjoy the likes of Jessie Keane, Kimberly Chambers and Martina Cole. Highly recommended. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Hunting Ground - L.J. Morris

Hunting GroundHunting Ground by L.J. Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hunting Ground is the second book in the Ali Sinclair Thriller series and it reminded me of the reason why I love reading these types of politically influenced espionage stories. It isn't necessary to have read the first instalment to enjoy this one as the story is self-contained but you'll likely want to pick it up at some point as it's just as thrilling as this and it's becoming increasingly difficult to find good spy fiction. This time we are reacquainted with dynamic duo Ali and Frank McGill as they face another dire and dangerous situation which could bring Europe to its knees. They must uncover the enemy combatant who has infiltrated the Government and is hellbent on destroying as much as possible. McGill's asset must be kept safe and his information trusted and acted upon as there is no other option; that is their best bet if they want to halt the ticking time bomb that is about to explode.

Ali and Frank are memorable and relatable characters, their connection is clear to see and I liked how it evolved over the course of the story. This is a pacey, addictive and totally unputdownable page-turner which builds the tension until it reaches an explosive crescendo. It's a high-stakes cat and mouse game against ruthless enemies who often hide in plain sight and more gripping action than you can shake a stick at. A quick, easy read which flows effortlessly from one page to the next, Hunting Ground is even better than Desperate Ground. If you enjoy action-packed books featuring strong female role models then I urge you to give this a go. I particularly loved that it is a tale ripped from the headlines and explores timely, modern topics with an intense sense of urgency. Highly recommended. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: The Silent Victim - Dana Perry

The Silent Victim (Jessie Tucker Mystery, #1)The Silent Victim by Dana Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Silent Victim is the first instalment in the Jessie Tucker Mystery Series and I was pleased to have discovered a new series with a lot of promise and one that begins with a bang. Crime reporter Jessie Tucker puts her life on the line daily in order to bring the truth to those who seek it through her news articles. But it hasn't always been that way; 12 years ago she was heinously attacked and brutally left for dead with the apparent perpetrator collared, convicted and imprisoned by the local police force. However, another horrific assault has taken place with an almost identical modus operandi but the police reassure her that the assailant responsible for her injuries, both physical and mental/emotional, is still serving hard time. Jessica, though, is painfully not convinced. Yet it is even more crucial that the correct person is identified and reprimanded/punished as this time the victim wasn't so lucky and passed on as a result of the horrendous injuries she sustained.

Jessica has more than a vested interest in pinning these crimes on the criminal responsible whereas the crime-fighting forces' primary concern appears to be a solution, any solution in order to "solve" the terrifying incidents as rapidly as humanly possible. I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable, original and impossible to put down debut from Mr Perry and it is clear we are in the presence of a gifted storyteller who can not only provide us with the thrills we crime connoisseurs ceaselessly demand but also the rarities of subtle sophistication and a story packed with substance as well as style; Perry is the real deal. I particularly loved that the main plot hits close to home for our protagonist Jessica as she tries to bring justice to her own case as well as that of the victim who is deceased. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Bookouture for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Tears of Fire - Gordon Bickerstaff

Tears of Fire (A Lambeth Group Thriller)Tears of Fire by Gordon Bickerstaff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tears of Fire is the fabulous sixth instalment in The Lambeth Group series and makes a refreshing change to merely reading the usual, ubiquitous thrillers complete with tropes. Zoe Tampsin, our no-bull central protagonist, shows her worth in a world so much more used to men in positions of power; she is a kickass heroine for the feminist age. It features the dynamic team of Lambeth employees Biochemist Professor Gavin Shawlens and Special Forces Soldier Zoe Tampsin. Zoe has been sentenced to death by a secretive council for her role in murdering three members of the affluent Silsden family. On the other hand, Gavin is tasked with investigating a bout of shady insurance fraud, however, he doesn't realise exactly who he is dealing with and their criminality runs much deeper than expected. Elsewhere, a pair of Korean serial killers seek revenge for their parent's slaying and will stop at nothing to get it. Whilst another plot thread involves a nursing home bumping off residents whose families appear to not want them around any longer.

I am blown away by how accomplished and utterly gripping this was; I can't see anyone being able to pick this up and put it down at any other point than after its conclusion. It's written in a completely captivating, easy style and is a rip-roaring, action-packed political thriller. It's going to be incredibly difficult to write a review that does it justice but I implore you if you enjoy a fast-paced, potent mix of thriller, crime, politics, terrorism and intrigue this is not a book you do not want to miss. Although part of a series each one works perfectly as a standalone. What sets these books apart from the rest is the intricate detail and masterful plotting but also the fact that they remain on the right side of believable makes the threats faced credible and all the more terrifying. I can't help but thinking that Mr Bickerstaff has inside knowledge of the inner workings of institutions such as MI5 as it seems far too realistic to have come from mere research, but who knows.

I was hooked from first page to last and the explosive climax was satisfying and astonishing in equal measure. A cracking page-turner. I can't wait to read more. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Left For Dead - Paul J. Teague

Left For Dead (Morecambe Bay Trilogy Book 1)Left For Dead by Paul J. Teague
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Left For Dead is the first instalment in the Morecambe Bay trilogy and is a very enjoyable introduction to a new crime series set amongst the wreck and ruin of a once buzzing part of the world. The story revolves around domestic drama with married couple Charlotte and Will having upped sticks and moved to live their dream of owning and running a guest house by the sea in the place they met many years ago. At the time they were both having the time of their lives working at a holiday camp but something happened there one evening which Charlotte has kept a secret all these years. When they arrive in Morecambe ready to live their best life with their two children she receives an ominous text message alluding to the past event. But who knows that they are back in town and why after all these years are they bothering about something that happened almost a lifetime ago?

I have to start by saying that I chose to read this because of the significance of Morecambe to both me and my wider family; we vacationed there for many years when it was full of tourists and hustle and bustle and we saw it as a less chaotic, more understated Blackpool. The settings described made me feel nostalgic and I could almost smell and hear the sea and the waves crashing onto the beach. The characters are also superbly drawn with attention paid to peripheral characters as well as those at the centre of the story. The moral of the story is that you must communicate with your partner and not hide things as they will eventually come to the surface. This is a captivating and gripping mystery read, and I will certainly be looking to pick up the second instalment once it hits the shelves. Many thanks to BOTBS Publicity for an ARC.

#CoverReveal: Hunting Ground - LJ Morris




Book Description:

Freed from prison and back in Europe, Ali Sinclair has one job… find Frank McGill.
The information he has is vital if they are to end the conspiracy that threatens to bring down the Government and push NATO to the brink of war.
With terrorist attacks increasing and a mole at the top of the establishment, Sinclair and McGill will need to use all their skills to follow the clues across the continent in a deadly treasure hunt that drags them back towards London. But when you’re being hunted by assassins and the authorities… going home isn’t always the safest option.

Author Bio:



L J Morris is an author with a lifelong love of books and storytelling that he developed as a child. He spent most of the 80s and 90s serving in the Royal Navy as a Weapons Engineer and now lives in Cumbria, with his family. He currently works within the defence industry and continues to write at every opportunity.
His short stories have appeared in several anthologies including Volumes 1 & 2 of Best-selling author Matt Hilton’s anthology series ‘ACTION: Pulse Pounding Tales’.
Other anthologies he has appeared in include ‘Happily Never After’, ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’, and ‘Liminal Time, Liminal Space’ where one reader described his tale ‘True Colours’ as “Riveting and powerful
His first novel ‘Desperate Ground’ was published in May 2018 and attracted good reviews.

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