A Dead Man’s Grave But a Very Much Alive Talent

‘Dead Man’s Grave’ by Neil Lancaster

For those keen to know more about Neil Lancaster and Dead Man’s Grave, Neil kindly agreed to speak to me about his writing routine and this latest book. You can find the interview here:

This grave can never be opened.
The head of Scotland’s most powerful crime family is brutally murdered, his body dumped inside an ancient grave in a remote cemetery.
 
This murder can never be forgotten.
Detectives Max Craigie and Janie Calder arrive at the scene, a small town where everyone has secrets to hide. They soon realise this murder is part of a blood feud between two Scottish families that stretches back to the 1800s. One thing’s for certain: it might be the latest killing, but it won’t be the last…
 
This killer can never be caught.
As the body count rises, the investigation uncovers large-scale corruption at the heart of the Scottish Police Service. Now Max and Janie must turn against their closest colleagues – to solve a case that could cost them far more than just their lives… (Synopsis courtesy of
https://harpercollins.co.uk/products/dead-mans-grave-ds-max-craigie-scottish-crime-thrillers-book-1-neil-lancaster?variant=39314373050446)

The cover of Neil Lancaster’s latest novel, Dead Man’s Grave

‘“Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore, it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell,”’ she said, dryly, as she got out of the car.

‘Sorry?’ said Max.

‘Doyle?’

‘Eh?’

‘Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you know, Sherlock Holmes. That’s from The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. Have you read it?’

‘I only read books with exploding helicopters on the front cover,’ said Max, shaking his head.”

One of the best compliments I can pay Dead Man’s Grave by Neil Lancaster is that I’m fairly certain that lead detective Max Craigie would not enjoy it. No exploding helicopters, far too little of the Rambo on the run which people might expect from this genre.

Lancaster has made a name for himself as a writer of kick ass thrillers with fast paced plotting and bone crunching action. And his biography does suggest that, more than most writers, he has the experience to back this up.

Armed Forces background, surveillance and undercover work for the Met and now successful thriller writer based in the Highlands. His debut novel featuring, ‘Going Dark’ was part of a trilogy featuring Tom Novak, a man who seemed in capable of not being chased by various Eastern European mafia hoods and corrupt law enforcement officers.

This time out we have Max Craigie, a former soldier struggling with PTSD and recently moved from London to Scotland under a cloud with a fatal shooting on his record.

When a prominent gangster disappears near a creepily titled grave in the Badlands of Caithness, it isn’t long before Craigie and other outsider from the squad, Janie, is sent to get involved.

Lancaster manages to twirl this plot on a sixpence with no warning for the reader and this is a really attractive trait for the reader. Expectations are dashed at every turn and, for readers who have enjoyed the Tom Novak series, whilst there are similarities between Craigie and Novak – both military men, both are or have worked in the Met, both have ties to Scotland – here the character of Craigie is more cerebral, more open to human relationships and more easily likeable than the sociopathic here of the ‘Going…’ series.

The other aspect of this new series of novels which demonstrate the evolution of Lancaster as a master craftsman is the humour. Whilst plot is clearly where this author lives, funny interchanges between Craigie, Janie and their foul mouthed but essentially cheery boss, Ross, are handled with aplomb.

“‘What’s your instinct on this one?’ Ross asked.

‘Honest answer?’

‘No, I want you to bloody lie to me, you daft twat. Stop pissing about.’”

For my money, this is the funniest novel in terms of character relationships outside another crime writer with a Black Isle connection, Ian Rankin.

And, it would appear that I am not alone in my appreciation of the novel. While I was halfway through my advanced copy, it was announced that Dead Man’s Grave had been long listed for the coveted McIlvanney Prize from Bloody Scotland. This puts Lancaster alongside luminaries such as Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart MacBride and Denise Mina which is the right company for any crime writer, I’d have thought!

My only complaint on that score is that I’ve been a reader for that award since the inaugural year and I rarely get a novel as good as this.

In conclusion, Dead Man’s Grave is a fine introduction to a series and packed with plot twists, enjoyable characters and the verisimilitude of the author’s experience make this a fine addition to the Tartan Noir canon.

Neil Lancaster joined the RAF in 1983 and served as a Military Policeman for six years, in the UK, Germany, Cyprus and the Falkland Islands, mostly as a patrol dog handler.

In 1990 he joined the Metropolitan Police where he worked in a number of roles as a Detective investigating the most serious of crimes in the capital and beyond.  He was a covert policing specialist using all sorts of tactics to obtain evidence against murderers, human traffickers, drug dealers and fraudsters.

Since leaving the Met in 2015 he has lived in the Scottish Highlands where he now writes crime and thriller novels alongside work as a broadcaster and commentator on true crime documentaries.    (Biography courtesy of www.neillancastercrime.co.uk)

Blooming Murder? Blooming Marvellous

‘Blooming Murder’ by Simon Whaley

MURDER IS BLOSSOMING IN THE WELSH BORDERS.

Lord Aldermaston’s having a bad day. A falling hanging-basket has killed the town’s mayor, and a second narrowly missed him. His wife wants him to build her new greenhouse in three days, and some nutter is sending him death threats.

This isn’t the quiet life he expected as the new Marquess of Mortiforde.

It’s the annual Borders in Blossom competition, and Mortiforde is battling with Portley Ridge in the final. But this is no parochial flower competition. The mayor’s mishap looks like murder, and there’s another body in the river. Someone desperately wants Portley Ridge to win for the fifteenth successive year.

So when a mysterious group of guerrilla gardeners suddenly carpet bomb Mortiforde with a series of stunning floral delights one night, a chain reaction of floral retaliation ensues.

Can Aldermaston survive long enough to uncover who is trying to kill him, and why? And can he get his wife’s greenhouse built in time?

My god, did I enjoy this novel. I like a cheeky cozy crime at times and I read the synopsis and thought, I have to get myself some of that. But it far exceeded my expectations.

Blooming Murder is, essentially, what would happen if Gardener’s World had an illicit love child by Midsomer Murders via the work of Tom Sharpe. And it’s all the better for it.

Whaley is clearly an accomplished writer and has a strong track record of non-fiction. His first foray into the fantastical has clearly given him licence to run wild. In the afterwards, he notes that there is a version of this nearly 40,000 words longer – he was right to cut and, in future, could potentially prune the buds of his ambition even further.

But this is a minor quibble – local mayors are being dunted on the head by descending hanging baskets, a newly appointed Lord of the Manor is struggling to come to terms with his new position in village life and his wife is chopping up his camouflage netting and disappearing at all times of the day and night.

With bodies dropping like flies, a competitive flower competition and sexually voracious horticultural judges parading around, Blooming Murder skips along reaching a crescendo of exceptionally entertaining mayhem.

I, for one, can’t wait to read any subsequent outings in the Marquess of Mortforde Mystery series as and when they come. If you like your aristocrats eccentric and your cottage cheese in a very unsual serving suggestion, this novel is for you.

Purchase Links.

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blooming-Murder-Marquess-Mortiforde-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B094DCYK9Q/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Blooming-Murder-Marquess-Mortiforde-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B094DCYK9Q/

Author Bio – Simon Whaley is an author, writer and photographer who lives in the hilly bit of Shropshire. Blooming Murder is the first in his Marquess of Mortiforde Mysteries, set in the idyllic Welsh Borders – a place many people struggle to locate on a map (including by some of those who live here). He’s written several non-fiction books, many if which contain his humorous take on the world, including the bestselling One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human and two editions in the hugely popular Bluffer’s Guide series (The Bluffer’s Guide to Dogs and The Bluffer’s Guide to Hiking). His short stories have appeared in Take A Break, Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special, The Weekly News and The People’s Friend. Meanwhile his magazine articles have delighted readers in a variety of publications including BBC Countryfile, The People’s Friend, Coast, The Simple Things and Country Walking.

Simon lives in Shropshire (which just happens to be a Welsh Border county) and, when he gets stuck with his writing, he tramps the Shropshire hills looking for inspiration and something to photograph. Some of his photographs appear on the national and regional BBC weather broadcasts under his BBC WeatherWatcher nickname of Snapper Simon. (For those of you who don’t know, they get a lot of weather in Shropshire.)

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/simonwhaley

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SimonWhaleyAuthor

What a tangled web we weave…

‘The Web They Wove’ by Catherine Yaffe

Also featuring ‘The Web They Wove’ today is The Magic of Wor(l)ds and A Crime Reader’s Blog

Not all killers are who they first seem…

The mutilated body of a young female is found in a popular recreation ground in Leeds city centre. DI Ziggy Thornes and his team are at once assigned to close the case.

With little to no forensic evidence left at the scene at first Ziggy struggles to put the pieces together. When a second body turns up in the same place, Ziggy starts to feel the pressure from his bosses and the media as fear spreads through the city.

Realising that victims have been held captive prior to their deaths, Ziggy delves deeper and relentlessly chases down every lead, taking him close to breaking point.

When the investigation leads him dangerously close to home, will time run out before the tangled web of evil he’s uncovered destroys everything he holds dear?

Catherine Yaffe’s debut, ‘The Lie She Told’ was reviewed on the blog in October last year. Indeed, I was honoured to host an exclusive extract at that time too.

I called the novel one in which “few people…are quite what they seem and motivations are as grey and murky as an autumn day in Gairloch… A psychological thriller which manages the powerful balance of nipping along at pace but also lingering in the reader’s minds…a psychologically complicated novel which doesn’t shy away from the pain that violence and its consequences causes.”

Which sounds about as verbose as I normally am.

The follow up, ‘The Web They Wove’ is both a standalone work perfectly capable of standing on its own merits, as well as expanding on the character of DI Ziggy Thornes, a comparatively peripheral character from the first book.

Here Thornes is on home turf in Leeds, leading an investigation which gets first professionally, and then, potentially, personally dangerous.

Yaffe is a talented writer who really does manage to produce prose which flows and moves the story along at the same time. She is clearly making moves to support other up and coming writers too and this branching out in police procedural novels promises more is going to be heard from the emerging psychological thriller writer.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Web-They-Wove-Tangled-Book-ebook/dp/B0937K58PF/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Web-They-Wove-Tangled-Book-ebook/dp/B0937K58PF/

Author Bio – Catherine Yaffe is a full-time writer of crime novels, based in the North of England. ‘The Web They Wove’ is Catherine’s second novel and continues the theme of questioning how well we know those around us. Her debut novel ‘The Lie She Told’ in October ‘20 was received with widespread acclaim, and so far, has gained over 50 five star reviews across Goodreads and Amazon. 

Social Media Links –
@catherineyaffe

https://www.facebook.com/CatherineYaffeAuthor

A blade and dudgeon gouts of blood… It is the bloody business

‘Bad Blood’ by Heather Atkinson

Also featuring on ‘Bad Blood’ on their blogs today are Donna’s Book Blog and Baker’s Not So Secret Blog

If you can’t trust your family, who can you trust…?

Glasgow gangster Jamie Gray and his fellow Blood Brothers rule the Gallowburn Estate with an iron fist. No one messes around on their turf without consequences. 

But when Jamie’s erstwhile dad, Jason Gray, reappears after many years away – some of them spent behind bars – the Blood Brothers are drawn into the murky and dangerous world of the toughest gangster of them all – The Queen of Glasgow, Toni McVay.  

Toni is the head of the most powerful organised crime family in Scotland and, as the psychotic leader enjoys scooping out the eyeballs of those who displease her, Jamie has no option but to do her bidding.
 
With the love of his life Allegra still missing, his enemies closing in, and his family’s safety at risk, Jamie Gray faces the battle of his life.  But with his father’s bad blood running through his veins, and the bravery and brains he has inherited from his mother Jackie, Jamie has all the tools he needs to survive.

When I wrote about Heather Atkinson’s first instalment in the Gallowburn series, ‘Blood Brothers’, last year, I pointed out that Scotland is “a country of contrasts.”

I felt that Atkinson displayed “an unpatronising affection for her street level protagonists. The characters are rendered as fully rounded humans with clear motivations and driving ambitions.”

It is my contention that these strengths continue in the sequel, ‘Bad Blood’. Here, from the opening assault of the first page – literally for some unruly locals, metaphorically for the reader – this is a visceral Scotland, with knee cappings, chains to the face and screwdriver-wielding toughs.

In fact, so tough is the environment, I kept expecting them to break out in Macbeth quotes, “But I am faint, my gashes cry for help,” said the ned as Jamie told the interlopers to fuck off.

“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood/Clean from my hand?” said Logan as he paused to scoop up the baseball bat studded with nails.

“Out, damned spot! Out, I say! . . . who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him,” said Digger as he wrestled with his conscience before returning to mock Jamie for being in love with a vicar.

Now, there’s a mash up I’d love to see!

Until then I shall continue to the enjoy the safe pair of hands which is Heather Atkinson with her fast paced plotting, exciting action sequences and realistically rendered locations.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3bT43dH

Author Bio:

Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre.  Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland.   Her new gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow began with Blood Brothers in December 2020.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/booksofheatheratkinson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherAtkinso1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heathercrimeauthor/

Newsletter Sign Up Link: http://bit.ly/HeatherAtkinsonNewsletter

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-atkinson

And Then There Were Five Trapped on a Creepy Island

‘Buried For Good’ by Alex Coombs

On a remote island, everyone is a suspect…

When Private Investigator Hanlon is hired to protect famous yoga instructor Camille Anderson on her Scottish island retreat, she thinks this may be her simplest job yet.


But when an attack on Camille’s life goes wrong, it soon becomes clear that there is a murderer on the island – and Hanlon will stop at nothing to track them down.

With only a small group of guests the suspects are clear, but as the body count rises Hanlon must step up to find out who the killer is before it’s too late…

A tense, atmospheric page-turner from Alex Coombs. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Lisa Regan.

Last year, I wrote that Alex Coombs’ first outing in the Hanlon series, ‘Missing for Good’ was “a rattling good read, sprinting along with enjoyable gusto and building to a satisfying crescendo.”

I liked the eye for detail that Coombs displayed and those tensions between areas – Hanlon’s Argyll base contrasting with the pretentions of Edinburgh’s art world and Glasgow’s rougher edges.

In ‘Buried for Good’ Hanlon is back in fine form. Some of the clunkier aspects of the dialogue are absent here (although all writers should immediately exorcise the phrase “as you know” from their work forthwith – you hear me Mercurio?)

Here Hanlon is on a mission to protect a yoga teacher-cum-social media influencer who has been receiving threatening messages and our fearless detective must join a retreat on a remote Scottish island.

So far, so Agatha Christie – remote, cut off location? Check. Limited cast of characters, to whom bad things are going to happen? Check. Storm clouds – literal and metaphorical – gathering? Check and double check.

It is not a sophisticated formula, but it is certainly an effective one. Coombs is a writer who moves things along making the readers cheer on our emotionally fragile heroine as she scraps away at the darker sides of life.

This is another fast, paced engaging read from a seriously talented storyteller. Once the elements are all lined up, Coombs lets the spiralling mayhem rip in accomplished fashion. Another highly recommended outing for Hanlon, PI.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3jQVGBS

Author Bio –

Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He is the author of the highly acclaimed DCI Hanlon series.

Social Media Links –

Newsletter sign up: http://bit.ly/AlexCoombsNewsletter

Website – http://www.alexcoombs.co.uk/

Twitter https://twitter.com/AlexCoombsCrime

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlexCoombsCrime

Stormy Weather – Placid Read

‘After The Storm‘ by Isabella Muir

See what others made of ‘After the Storm’ today in Louise’s Reading Corner http://louisesreadingcorner.com/

When a violent storm blasts England’s south coast, it’s up to retired Italian detective Giuseppe Bianchi to sift through the devastation and piece together the tragic events left behind in the storm’s wake.

Giuseppe Bianchi’s brief visit to Bexhill-on-Sea has become an extended stay. He is loath to return to his home in Rome because of the haunting images that made him leave in the first place.

During his morning walks along the seafront with Beagle, Max, he meets Edward Swain, who becomes Giuseppe’s walking companion. They form a friendship of sorts and find they have a similar outlook on life.

But the devastating events of a single night lead Giuseppe to question the truth about Edward Swain. Teaming up with young journalist, Christina Rossi – his cousin’s daughter – Giuseppe learns about the brutal reality lurking behind the day-to-day life of families in the local community. And as the story unravels Giuseppe is reminded how anger and revenge can lead to the most dreadful of crimes.

‘After the Storm’ is the second novel in the Giuseppe Bianchi mystery series – the much awaited sequel to Crossing the Line.

Grab your copy today and enjoy the intrigue of traditional English mystery, cleverly combined with a continental twist.

I’m beginning to think of Isabella Muir as some sort of old friend. I have previously reviewed both The Invisible Case, set in fictional Sussex town, Tamarisk Bay, https://pajnewman.com/2021/02/09/aunty-and-niece-on-the-case/ as well as Crossing the Line, the first of a new series of Sussex Crimes, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi based in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, a novel I enjoyed even more than the doings of young librarian sleuth Janie Juke. https://pajnewman.com/2021/03/08/the-line-is-a-dot-to-you/

Here Bianchi is still in Sussex and now investigating the dark hearts of Sussex’s inhabitants, all the while that a brutal storm surges across the South Coast.

Muirhas a lovely protagonist in Bianchi. A conflicted man with a troubled past, his uneasy relationship with his brother, the charming interaction with his reporter niece all make him a charming companion as he works through his latest investigation.

Isabella Muir conjures the period setting of Sussex and it’s movement towards modernity with clarity and poise and – for anyone who likes Dorothy L Sawyer and Agatha Christie – or even more modern writers such as Donna Leon – they will not be disappointed.

Purchase Links

UK –  https://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Storm-Giuseppe-Bianchi-mystery-ebook/dp/B08P534Y2K 

US –  https://www.amazon.com/After-Storm-Giuseppe-Bianchi-mystery-ebook/dp/B08P534Y2K

Author Bio –

Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of the 1960s. Researching all aspects of family life back then formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. Isabella rediscovered her love of writing fiction during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing and since then she has gone on to publish six novels, three novellas and two short story collections.

Her latest novel, After the Storm, is the second novel in a new series of Sussex Crimes, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.

Her first Sussex Crime Mystery series features young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. As well as three novels, there are three novellas in the series, which explore some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.

Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.

Social Media Links

https://isabellamuir.com

https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMuirAuthor

Blood Loss is the Reader’s Gain

Blood Loss by Kerena Swan

See what others think about ‘Blood Loss’ over at http://www.bforbookreview.worpress.com and https://www.instagram.com/karenandherbooks

Sarah

With one eye on the rear view mirror and the other on the road ahead, Sarah is desperate to get as far away from the remote Scottish cabin as she can without attracting attention. But being inconspicuous isn’t easy with a black eye and clothes soaked in blood…

… and now the fuel tank is empty.

DI Paton

When a body is discovered in a remote cabin in Scotland, DI Paton feels a pang of guilt as he wonders if this is the career break he has been waiting for. But the victim is unidentifiable and the killer has left few clues.

Jenna

With the death of her father and her mother’s failing health, Jenna accepts her future plans must change but nothing can prepare her for the trauma yet to come.

Fleeing south to rebuild her life Sarah uncovers long-hidden family secrets. Determined to get back what she believes is rightfully hers, Sarah thinks her future looks brighter. But Paton is still pursuing her…

… and he’s getting closer.

Kerena Swan’s brilliant novel explores how honest mistakes and human frailty can have terrifying and long-reaching consequences. It’s a tale of family ties and loyalty, revenge and redemption that you won’t want to put down.

Kerena Swan’s novel, ‘Blood Loss’ is something of a strange beast. To be honest, it sort of shouldn’t work.

It has a narrative split between Sarah, a woman from a difficult background fleeing a traumatic incident, Jenna, a trustafarian with a ghastly sister and DI Paton, a man who has more on his plate than most – a son with Downs Syndrome, a wife with cripplingly depression rendering her a ghost-like figure and an extreme aversion to blood which would make Inspector Morse blush.

That narrative is further fragmented as it jumps in time as well as perspective – the sort of trick which can make reviewers gnash their teeth – you have to have a bloody good reason to ask a reader to want to leap between people, place and time as it can leave your head spinning.

Also, Swan does not do the usual crime writer thing of making the place a character. She has a detective based in Perth – a heartbreakingly pretty, oft-overlooked gem of a small city – and doesn’t really describe the location surrounding it at all: except to say it’s in the highlands. Which it isn’t.

Another writer might have had fun contrasting this semi-rural gem with one of the other locations which is also famous for how it looks… Milton Keynes. Swan does not.

But, do you know what? In a novel as well written as this, it just doesn’t matter. Swan’s goal is to sweep you along and make you want to find out more – how will the murder be solved? Can the relationship between the sisters be healed? Will Sarah be able to make different choices from her Mum rather than be doomed to repeat the cycle?

All of which she does with aplomb. Crime fiction can be leaden with poor dialogue and this is a noteable exception. The characters have individual voices, clear motivations and emotionally resonant wants and needs.

‘Blood Loss’ is a pacey read, skilfully handled by a writer of real breadth, ambition and talent and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Loss-Paton-Investigates-Book-ebook/dp/B08ZLPV615/

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Loss-Paton-Investigates-Book-ebook/dp/B08ZLPV615/

Blood Loss will be just  99p for a limited time only!

About Kerena Swan

We are thrilled to be introducing DI Dave Paton and his son Tommy, the stars of the first novel in Kerena Swan’s new series, to the world. Before coming to Hobeck, Kerena had published three novels, Dying To See YouScared to Breathe and Who’s There? and has built a solid fan base around her writing career thus far. She is a juggler extraordinaire: driving forward a successful care business she runs with her husband yet finding time to write. She loves to write, here and there and everywhere when she’s not working. We don’t know how she does it but we are glad that she does! Kerena talks about her writing, her influences and how she came to Hobeck in this video.

Social Media Links

Website: https://kerenaswan.wordpress.com/   

 Twitter: @kerenaswan

Facebook : @kerenaswan  · Author

Some Vivid Colours and Intriguing New Cases

Old Cases, New Colours (A Dudley Green Investigation) by Madalyn Morgan

Sick of working in a world of spies and bureaucracy, Ena Green, nee Dudley, leaves the Home Office and starts her own investigating agency.

Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to turn down.

While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.

A lovely little novel for anyone interested in the murky world of London before it began to swing, Madalyn Morgan’s Old Cases, New Colours is positively rooted in its setting.

London here is greys and browns and people not delivering the new office furniture in time. It is a city where people keep petty cash in biscuit tins under the sink and have to cash in both their money and their husband’s to open a detective agency.

Morgan peppers her cast with the sort of bounders, dolly girls and loyal young men from GCHQ which one might expect in a novel of this sort and the plot bounces along pleasingly.

If you were a fan of Channel 4’s television programme Traitors, you like your crime on the hard edged side of cozy and a nice soupcon of espionage mixed into the broth, then you should definitely be uncovering some Old Cases, New Colours.

Purchase Links

UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cases-Colours-Dudley-Investigation-Sisters-ebook/dp/B08Y9887QM/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Cases-Colours-Dudley-Investigation-Sisters-ebook/dp/B08Y9887QM/

Author Bio

I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the first time around. However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.

      In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.

    In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written nine novels. The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My current novel, Old Cases, New Colours, is a thriller/detective story set in 1960. I am writing Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.

Social Media Links –

Madalyn Morgan’s books- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Madalyn-Morgan/e/B00J7VO9I2

Blog – https://madalynmorgan.wordpress.com/

Facebook – www.facebook.com/madalyn.morgan1

Twitter – www.twitter.com/ActScribblerDJ

Pinterest – www.pinterest.co.uk/madalynmorgan

Instagram – www.instagram.co.uk/madalynmorgan1

No Sleep for the Frantic Nighthawks

‘Nighthawks’ by Lambert Nagle

When art, money and power collide…
A Mafia boss addicted to beautiful art. A Catholic priest who knows too much. A modern-day Jay Gatsby. And a woman on the run.


Disgraced London detective Stephen Connor is given an ultimatum: take a transfer to Rome or kiss his career goodbye.
With his love life in tatters and his confidence at an all-time low, can Stephen find the world’s most valuable painting before it disappears forever?

You know, the only hybrid writing partnership I am aware of having read up to now are the stellar Swedish series of detective novels featuring glum policeman Martin Beck by Maj Sjöwall and ‎Per Wahlöö.

However, based upon ‘Nighthawks’ by Alison Ripley Cubitt and Sean Cubitt this is a model not to be discounted.

A country hopping, international thriller in the style of Daniel Silva, Nagle continent hop from Australia to Rome to… Well, you get the idea.

Cinematic in scope, ambition and execution, ‘Nighthawks’ zips along at a breakneck pace. This is a novel for those who like their action packed and their scenery ever changing.

Purchase Link

https://books2read.com/u/4NXA1W

Author Bio –

Lambert Nagle is the pen-name for Alison Ripley Cubitt and Sean Cubitt, co-writers of international thrillers, mystery and crime. Alison is a former television production executive who worked for Walt Disney and the BBC before pivoting to become a multi-genre author and screenwriter. Her short film drama Waves (with Maciek Pisarek) won the Special Jury Prize, Worldfest, Houston. Sean’s day job is Professor of Film and Television, University of Melbourne, Australia. He writes about film and media for leading academic publishers.

Other titles by Lambert Nagle include Revolution Earth (featuring detective Stephen Connor) and Contained in Capital Crimes, a short story collection from members of ITW (International Thriller Writers) with a foreword by Peter James.

With six passports between them, they set their books in the far-away places they live and work.

Social Media Links –

Website: http://www.lambertnagle.com

Author: Instagram:@alisonripleycubitt

Author page Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonripleycubittwriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lambertnagle

The Line is a Dot to You

‘Crossing The Line’ by Isabella Muir

Tragic accident or cold-blooded murder?

Retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, travels to England to escape one tragic death, when he comes face-to-face with another. When the body of a teenager is found on a Sussex beach, Giuseppe is drawn to the case – a case with no witnesses, and a case about which no one is prepared to talk.

National news reports of a missing 12-year-old in Manchester spark fear across the nation. The phrase “stranger-danger” filters into public consciousness. Local reporter, Christina Rossi, already has concerns about her local community. Families are not as close-knit as they first appear.

As the sea mist drifts in and darkness descends, can Giuseppe and Christina discover the truth and prevent another tragedy?

‘Crossing the Line’ is the perfect listen for everyone who loves Agatha Christie style twists and turns, with a Mediterranean flavour. Imagine the charismatic Italian police series, Montalbano, combined with those TV favourites set in the 1960s – ‘Endeavour’, George Gently, and ‘Call the Midwife’. 

Purchase Link  – http://viewbook.at/CrossingtheLineaudio

I only came across the work of Isabella Muir fairly recently. I wrote positively of the third Sussex Crime Mystery series features young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay. https://pajnewman.com/2021/02/09/aunty-and-niece-on-the-case

However, I have to say, that I think I enjoy this departure, Crossing the Line, the first of a new series of Sussex Crimes, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi based in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, even more than the doings of young Janie Juke.

It may be because I used to live in Hastings and, therefore, know Bexhill-on-Sea quite well. Never discount nostalgia as a reason for liking something (although the sixties had been over for a while before I moved there).

It maybe because Charles Johnston does such a fine job narrating this twisty audiobook, imbuing encounters with a quiet menace and capturing that Agatha Christie-like undercurrents that Isabella Muir writes so well.

Or it might be because, in Giuseppe Bianchi, Muir has created a well-intentioned, quietly dignified and rather charming detective who carries his heavy emotional burden while investigating the shocking death on the seafront.

It might be all three. Whatever, Muir has created a scenario to test her fish out of water detective to the core and this taut tale will engage all readers who like historical fiction, the Golden Age writers and fans of the south east.

I’m already looking forward to the second instalment.

Author Bio

Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of the 1960s. Researching all aspects of family life back then formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. Isabella rediscovered her love of writing fiction during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing and since then she has gone on to publish six novels, three novellas and two short story collections.

Her latest novel, Crossing the Line, is the first of a new series of Sussex Crimes, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.

Her first Sussex Crime Mystery series features young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. As well as three novels, there are three novellas in the series, which explore some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.

Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMuirAuthor