The Prisoner by B.A. Paris

Blog tour: 20 October to 18 November 2022


Amelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London. As she builds a career for herself in the magazine industry, she meets, and agrees to marry, Ned Hawthorne.

Amelie wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is. Why has she been taken? Who are her mysterious captors? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband Ned?

In true B.A. Paris style, The Prisoner is a gripping survival story, a twisted love story and at its dark heart a thriller to keep you up all night.

My review

I’m a big fan of B.A. Paris’ books and this was another gripping, twisty and cleverly plotted read! The Prisoner tells the story of Amelie Lamont, who is left all alone in the world following the death of her father from cancer when she’s only 16 years old. Her mother died when Amelie was seven. She bravely moves to London to find waitressing work and save money to go to law college. After a rough start, she finds a job with a lady called Carolyn who she meets in a cafe and the two become firm friends and then Amelie later moves to a role as an assistant on Exclusives magazine.

This story is told in the past and the present and opens with a terrifying current day scene in which Amelie has been kidnapped – her wrists are bound and a hood is thrown over her head and she’s dragged out of the house, thrown into the back seats of a car and whisked away to an unknown location and held captive in a dark room. A disturbing start and Amelie herself is confused about what’s going on, especially as her new husband, Ned Hawthorne, owner of Exclusives and the son of a billionaire philanthropist, is in the boot!

Right from the start, Amelie was very brave and resilient and handled situations well without crumbling. Admittedly, she was rather daft to get herself involved with the very unpleasant Ned, especially as she had no idea what type of man he was, but she was young and naïve.

Ned Hawthorne was a nasty character and used to getting his own way in his glamorous, privileged life. Some of the people he associated with were really shady too and definitely not to be trusted or crossed!

The storyline was rather unusual; a little far fetched but very intriguing and unpredictable with a dark sinister side. I liked the contrast between Amelie’s more humble beginnings and the completely different affluent world that Ned belonged to and which she later found herself a part of.

As the story unfolded, I had lots of theories as I tried to work out how Amelie had ended up in her current situation and who was responsible for her kidnapping and why! The kidnappers were treating her well but I was confused about what they wanted with her and Ned, especially as his father, Jethro, seemed reluctant to pay a ransom! It was fascinating to try and figure it all out and the reveals at the end were nicely done!

Overall, this was a fast-paced read with lots of twists and turns! Just when I thought I’d got things sussed out, there was another surprise! It was tense, entertaining and definitely a page turner with its short chapters, which I love in a book!

Buy the book

The Prisoner by B.A. Paris is released on Thursday 3 November and can be preordered from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

© Philippe Matsas

B.A. Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, Bring Me Back, The Dilemma and The Therapist. Having sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide, she is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller as well as a number one bestseller on Amazon and iBooks. Her novels have been translated into 40 languages, and film and TV rights to Behind Closed Doors have been optioned. She is currently based in the UK.

Twitter: @baparisauthor
Facebook: @baparisauthor
Instagram: @baparisauthor

Blog tour

Thanks to Steven Cooper for my copy of The Prisoner and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.


The Invisible by Peter Papathanasiou

Blog tour/social media splash: 5 September 2022


Burnt-out from policework, Detective Sergeant George Manolis flies from Australia to Greece for a holiday. Recently divorced and mourning the death of his father, who emigrated from the turbulent Prespes region which straddles the borders of Greece, Albania and North Macedonia, Manolis hopes to reconnect with his roots and heritage.

On arrival, Manolis learns of the disappearance of an ‘invisible’ – a local man who lives without a scrap of paperwork. The police and some locals believe the man’s disappearance was pre-planned, while others suspect foul play. Reluctantly, Manolis agrees to work undercover to find the invisible, and must navigate the complicated relationships of a tiny village where grudges run deep.

It soon becomes clear to Manolis that he may never locate a man who, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t exist. And with the clock ticking, the ghosts of the past continue to haunt the events of today as Manolis’s investigation leads him to uncover a dark and long-forgotten practice.

My review

After reading The Stoning, the author’s first book about DS George Manolis, last year, I was keen to read the next book in the series and I sped through it in a couple of days last week!

It was published on Thursday 1 September by MacLehose Press and is available in eBook, hardback and audiobook formats.

Look out for my blog tour review later!

Buy the book

The Invisible by Peter Papathanasiou can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

Peter Papathanasiou was born in northern Greece and adopted as a baby to an Australian family. His writing has been published internationally by The New York Times, Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, Daily Telegraph, The ABC, SBS, Huffington Post. He also holds an MA in Creative Writing from City University, London, and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the Australian National University. His first book, a memoir, Son of Mine, was published in 2019 by Salt.

Twitter: @peteplastic
Facebook: @PeterPapathanasiouWriter
Instagram: @petepapathanasiou

Blog tour

Thanks to Corinna Zifko at MacLehose Press (Quercus Books) for my copy of The Invisible and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

Once a Killer by Murray Bailey

Blog tour: 31 August to 16 September 2022


He changed his identity.
He moved to Hong Kong.
He changed his life.
But can he change who he really is?

Charles Balcombe, sophisticated, risk-taking lothario was a special investigator. He thinks that taking a PI job to find a missing boy will distract him from is urges. But once a killer …

My review

In this new series from Murray Bailey, set in Hong Kong in mid-December 1953, we meet Charles Balcombe (not his real name!) also known as the mysterious BlackJack, who has featured in the Ash Carter thriller series. It’s fascinating to get to know Balcombe, especially having read other books in which he played an intriguing role!

He moved to Hong Kong three months ago to escape his past, change his name and his life. He’s only 24 and a bit of a player and thinks nothing of seducing the local, older, married women and having regular liaisons with them in various locations! He enjoys gambling on the horses, is addicted to taking risks and has murderous urges that he struggles to control.

Balcombe tells his special ladies that he’s working undercover for the British government and also used to be a detective but pretends to others that he’s a successful investor on the stock market. In fact, he was a member of the elite Special Investigations Branch of the Royal Military Police and when he’s approached by Grace Toogood, who asks him to find her missing 20-year-old stepson, Roger, he reluctantly agrees to help search for the banker.

Balcombe is a nasty violent killer but also has a more caring side, as shown by his actions when confronted with a business selling young women, and he becomes friendly with a rickshaw driver called Albert, who he enlists to ferry him around.

Alongside Balcombe’s story, we also follow 40-year-old recently promoted Detective Inspector ‘Babyface’ Munro, who faces a tough start to his new role with lots of paperwork after some very suspicious deaths: a woman who was found dead in a pig cold-store room and a body in a laundry with the victim experiencing an unusual method of killing.

These two strands are separate but as various clues and elements are revealed, with red herrings and some clever misdirection along the way, we learn exactly how everything is linked as we come to the conclusion of the story. With a Murray Bailey book, you know it’s going to be a cleverly plotted ending that catches you by surprise!

Overall, Once a Killer is a well-written, action-packed and gripping read! It’s fast paced with lots of action, lots of tension and some terrifying twists and turns. There are startling revelations and some shocking and disturbing scenes, but all in keeping with the story. The characters are well drawn and both main protagonists are intelligent but also rather reckless at times, which adds to the excitement as you never know what they’re going to do next!

I enjoyed meeting Balcombe, in particular, and seeing the other side to his BlackJack character. There was definitely more to him than meets the eye!

As with other books from the author, the story is set in a rather tense and volatile time period and area. Various gangs add a sense of menace and danger and there are also military and police tensions and elements of corruption and abuse. It’s a clear case of trust no one and I was suspicious of all as I was reading – everyone seems to have their own agenda and is looking out for themselves and can’t be trusted.

Hong Kong, its culture and its various suburbs and areas are richly described and I could really picture the location and the contrast between the richer and poorer areas.

I really enjoyed the original Ash Carter thrillers and this follow-on series is gripping and entertaining but also a slightly different style to the others. It’s an excellent addition to the author’s list and I look forward to another book soon!

Buy the book

Once a Killer by Murray Bailey is available on Kindle and can also be bought in paperback and hardback from Amazon. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

Murray Bailey got his first taste of success when he was published in The Times at 18 and in his local newspaper. Although he went on to pursue a different career, he continued to write and edit and became the editor of an international magazine and editor of four technical books.

I Dare You was the first of his books to be published in 2016. It was followed by Map of the Dead, the first of the series based on his interest in Egyptology. His main series, however, is the Ash Carter thrillers, inspired by his father’s experience in the Royal Military Police in Singapore in the early 1950s.

Murray was born in Greater Manchester, England and has been moving south ever since. He now lives on the beautiful Dorset coast with his wife and family.

Twitter: @MurrayBaileybks
Facebook: @MurrayBaileyAuthor
Instagram: @murraybaileyauthor

Blog tour

Thanks to Murray Bailey for my digital copy of Once a Killer and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

Blog tour: 4 to 19 August 2022


Everyone wanted her life
Someone wanted her dead

It was Hannah who found April’s body ten years ago.
It was Hannah who didn’t question what she saw that day.
Did her testimony put an innocent man in prison?

She needs to know the truth.

Even if it means questioning her own friends.
Even if it means putting her own life at risk.

Because if the killer wasn’t a stranger, it’s someone she knows …

My review

The It Girl tells the story of Hannah Jones and April Clarke-Cliveden, who met at Pelham College at Oxford University where they shared a sitting room (‘set’). Despite being complete opposites from vastly different backgrounds, the pair become firm friends.

In a horrific turn of events, Hannah discovers her roommate dead in their room one evening in the last week of term. April has been murdered and Hannah is a key witness in the subsequent murder trial.

The story is told in ‘Before’ chapters as Hannah starts at university in Oxford and meets the people (April, Emily, Hugh, Ryan and Will) who become her close friends. And ‘After’ chapters, set around 10 years later, in which Hannah is now married to Will de Chastaigne, living in Edinburgh, working in a bookshop, and expecting their first child. She has just discovered that the university porter, John Neville, who was convicted of April’s murder, has died of a heart attack in hospital.

Over the years, various reporters and investigators have approached Hannah to ask her to comment about April’s death but she has ignored them all. It’s only when a friend of Ryan’s, a reporter called Geraint Williams, gets in touch that Hannah starts to contemplate what happened and begins to wonder whether someone other than Neville was responsible for April’s death and a murderer is still walking free.

As long-repressed memories start to return and Hannah gets in touch with friends from the past, her husband, Will, gets more and more upset and concerned for their baby.

Overall, this was a well-written and gripping read and I was frantically turning the pages as the conclusion reached its dramatic end! There are lots of twists and turns and I hadn’t predicted how it would finish at all, despite the various clues scattered throughout the novel!

The story unfolded well and the setting of Oxford University was atmospheric and richly described and I could really feel its history and picture the fictitious Pelham College with its various quirks and traditions. I really enjoy a thriller in an academic setting and this was certainly an absorbing and intriguing tale.

The characters were well described and a good mix of personalities and flaws, which made for fascinating reading. The build up to the conclusion was steady but intense and the pacing worked well to keep me invested and unable to put the book down!

I’ve already enjoyed several of Ruth Ware’s books and she’s definitely a favourite author of mine. I haven’t read One by One yet so I must remedy that soon!

Buy the book

The It Girl by Ruth Ware can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers, In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10The Lying Game, The Death of Mrs Westaway, The Turn of the Key and One by One, have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including The Sunday Times and The New York Times. Her books have been optioned for both film and TV, and she is published in more than 40 languages. Ruth lives near Brighton with her family.

Twitter: @RuthWareWriter
Facebook: @ruthwarewriter
Instagram: @ruthwarewriter

Blog tour

Thanks to Tracy Fenton for my digital copy of The It Girl and for my place on Anne Cater‘s Random Things Tours blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

Murder by the Sea by David Howard and Robin Jarossi

Blog tour: 11 to 22 July 2022


A beach read like no other.

Be prepared for a journey from where the land meets the sea, to where life meets death.

There is something sinister about a British seaside town. On the surface, they’re all funfairs and breezy promenades. Yet dig a little deeper in the sand and you soon uncover an underworld of murder, madness and mayhem …

This official companion book to the long-running true-crime documentary series on CBS Reality dives into some of the most extraordinary murder cases in Britain’s seaside towns.

Featuring 10 of the series’ most powerful and shocking cases, including extensive interviews with detectives, forensic psychologists, witnesses and relatives, as well as exclusive additional material and insights that could not be included in the original TV episodes.

My review

Based on the CBS Reality series, Murder by the Sea, this official companion book of the same name is an intriguing insight into a selection of the TV documentary episodes. It’s a fascinating read about 10 real-life murder cases in seaside resorts around England and Wales. The book contains additional information that wasn’t included in the original episodes of the series.

Murder by the Sea is well written and engaging and I found the cases very interesting and varied. They’re from 1953 to 2014 and the majority of the killers are male. The murders took place in Anglesey, Barry, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Isle of Man, Pembrokeshire, Southport and St Brides.

All the cases make for harrowing and disturbing reading but they’re also rather perplexing at times and it was interesting to read exclusive insights and analysis from detectives, forensic psychologists, witnesses and relatives, as they tried to figure out the motives behind the killings, some of which seemed incredibly senseless and tragic.

Real-life true-crime books can often be rather dry and dull but Murder by the Sea kept my interest throughout, with its variety of shocking murders, and I was gripped and couldn’t put it down, reading it in a couple of days. I do wish I hadn’t been reading case six, about the murder of poor 90-year-old Mabel Leyshon, while eating my lunch though! So awful.

I liked the format of the book with a map of the murders at the front and then each chapter/case had an image of the murderer with details of who they killed, when and where. There were also smaller images throughout the book of key people involved in the cases. It would have been good to see images of the victims though, as these weren’t always included.

I hadn’t heard of the true crime documentary series on which this book is based but will definitely be checking it out now! It sounds like I’ve got lots of catching up to do as the series was launched in 2018 and has been commissioned twice a year since then. The brand new series 7 launches in September 2022 with another in January 2023.

I thoroughly enjoyed (if that’s the right word!) Murder by the Sea and found it gripping and very compelling reading. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of true crime stories. I hope there will be a volume two of this book very soon!

Buy the book

Murder by the Sea by David Howard and Robin Jarossi can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle, in paperback and audiobook. See also, Hive, Waterstones and Ethical Book Search.

About the author

Robin Jarossi

David Howard is a documentary film maker and founder of the television production company Monster Films. A recipient of the Royal Television Society Award for journalism, his award-winning films include Interview with a Murderer (Channel 4) and Dark Son (BBC). He is the creator and director of the series Murder by the Sea. This is his first book.

Robin Jarossi is a freelance journalist and the author of The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper. He is also an on-air contributor to true-crime documentaries on the BBC and CBS Reality, including Murder by the Sea.

Twitter: @RobinJarossi

Blog tour

Thanks to Mel Sambells at Mardle Books for my paperback copy of Murder by the Sea and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

Cold Grave by Jenny O’Brien

Blog tour: 16 to 20 May 2022


It’s every parent’s worst nightmare …

Seventeen-year-old Bryony Lloyd’s father drops her off at a friend’s house to study – but when he returns to pick her up there’s no sign of her, and the woman who lives in the house swears she lives alone. Bryony has vanished into thin air, and her ‘friend’ doesn’t seem to exist.

DI Gaby Darin immediately sees similarities with another missing-persons case: seventeen-year-old Christy Taylor, who vanished without warning several months earlier. There’s nothing in the girls’ personal lives to suggest trouble at home – could someone have taken them both?

After a third case is linked, Gaby knows time is running out if she’s going to find Bryony and Christy alive. After going missing over a year ago, this girl’s just been found dead.

When a tragic accident means Gaby loses a vital member of her team, she distracts herself from her grief by throwing herself into finding the missing girls. Even if it means putting her whole career on the line …

My review

Cold Grave is the sixth book in the Detective Gaby Darin series and after enjoying others in the series (I haven’t got to the third one yet!), I was really keen to read this for the blog tour.

When Dr Lewis Lloyd goes to collect his 17-year-old daughter, Bryony, from her friend’s house in Mold, he’s horrified to discover that she was never there, especially as he’d dropped her off at the house for a study session only a few hours earlier. The homeowner phones the police after Dr Lloyd forces his way in, not believing her protestations that his daughter isn’t in the house and has never been inside.

DI Gaby Darin is put in charge of the case and she immediately sees similarities with another missing persons case; that of A-level student Christy Taylor, who went missing from a café in Llandudno five months before. The girls are studious and come from similar backgrounds and their disappearances are unexplained and totally out of character.

When a third missing woman is linked, Darin has her work cut out as there appear to be no direct similarities between the cases and no clues that could help solve the cases or locate all the teenagers, dead or alive.

Gaby Darin’s senior pathologist boyfriend, Rusty Mulholland, and his 12-year-old son, Conor, have recently moved into her house and things have become rather strained between them as they try to get used to living together. The couple also seem to have different views on a few issues within their relationship and this causes much friction.

Everything seems to be conspiring against Gaby in this book and she lurches from one traumatic event to another as she desperately tries to concentrate on the missing women and focus on her job.

I really enjoy this police procedural series – it’s well-written and cleverly plotted, with a good pace, and I raced through it in a couple of days, desperate to find out what happened next. The book was tense and emotional at times and the scenes involving the missing women were chilling and disturbing.

Cold Grave is a gripping and intriguing read and I was really shocked by some of the plot twists and unexpected events that the author had woven into this compelling novel. I even gasped out loud in disbelief a couple of times at the twists and turns!

The Detective Gaby Darin books can be read as standalones but there are a few passing mentions of previous cases and events so it’s probably best to read the series in order to get the full experience and learn more about Gaby and her life.

This was another entertaining and engaging read from Jenny O’Brien and I’m already looking forward to her next book!

Buy the book

Cold Grave by Jenny O’Brien can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle now (and is released on 21 July 2022 in paperback), and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

Born in Dublin, Jenny O’Brien moved to Wales and then Guernsey, where she tries to find time to write in between working as a nurse and ferrying around three teenagers.

She’s an avid reader and book blogger, in addition to being a previous Romantic Novel Awards (RoNA) judge.

In her spare time, she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering The Great British Bake Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer.

Twitter: @ScribblerJB
Facebook: @JennyOBrienWriter
Instagram: @scribblerjb

Blog tour

Thanks to Alliya Bouyis at HQ Stories for my digital copy of Cold Grave and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

The Last to Disappear by Jo Spain

Blog blast: Thursday 12 May 2022


A luxury resort. Three missing women. One body.

When young London professional Alex Evans is informed that his sister’s body has been pulled from an icy lake in Northern Lapland, he assumes his irresponsible sister accidentally drowned. He travels to the wealthy winter resort where Vicky worked as a tour-guide and meets Agatha Koskinen, the detective in charge. Agatha is a no-nonsense single mother of three who already thinks there’s more to Vicky’s case than meets the eye.

As the two form an unlikely alliance, Alex also begins to suspect the small town where his sister lived and died is harbouring secrets. It’s not long before he learns that three other women have gone missing from the area in the past and that his sister may have left him a message.

On the surface, Koppe, Lapland is a winter wonderland. But in this remote, frozen place, death seems only ever a heartbeat away.

Buy the book

The Last to Disappear by Jo Spain can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

Jo Spain is the author of the bestselling Tom Reynolds detective series and several number one bestselling standalone thrillers. She began writing full-time when her first book, top 10 bestseller With Our Blessing, was chosen as one of seven finalists in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition.

Jo is a full-time screenwriter. Her first show, critically-acclaimed crime series ‘Taken Down’, aired in 2018. In 2021, she co-wrote ‘Harry Wild’, starring Jane Seymour, with its creator, Emmy-award winning David Logan (to air 2022). She is currently working on several international productions, including adaptations of her own novels.

A graduate of Trinity College, Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and four children.

Twitter: @SpainJoanne
Facebook: @JoSpainAuthor

Blog tour

Thanks to Milly Reid at Quercus Books for my place on the blog blast.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

Last Seen Alive by Jane Bettany

Blog tour: 15 to 19 April 2022


When Anna Matheson fails to collect her son from the babysitter after a works party, the police are swiftly called. Anna is a stickler for time and a good mother – she would never abandon her baby. Her disappearance is totally out of character and DI Isabel Blood and her team soon suspect foul play.

CCTV footage shows Anna was last seen at precisely 11.11pm, as she collected her coat to leave the party. But the cameras outside the venue have failed to pick up her exit from the car park – how could she have vanished in plain sight?

Rumour has it that Anna was set to make big changes in the workplace, and Isabel can’t help but think someone wanted her out of the way.

Everyone at the party is a suspect, and all the clues point to murder…

My review

Last Seen Alive is the third instalment in the Detective Inspector (DI) Isabel Blood series and, after really enjoying the other two books, I couldn’t wait to get started on this one!

The series is set in the fictional Derbyshire town of Bainbridge and the novel’s main protagonist is DI Isabel Blood, wife of Nathan and mum to Kate (who lives in nearby Wirksworth), Ellie and son, Bailey.

When marketing manager, Anna Matheson, 36, is late to collect her five-month-old son, Benedict, after attending a 60th anniversary party at the sweet factory, Allwood Confectionary, where she works, her best friend and babysitter, Lauren Talbot, is very concerned and phones the police at 1am.

Anna is a single mum and drove to the work do as she doesn’t drink. She’s reliable and never late. She was due home at half 11 but there’s no sign of her anywhere and she hasn’t called and her mobile phone is switched off.

As the police investigate Anna’s private life and question her mum, friends and work colleagues, there’s still no sign of her and it’s beginning to look like the worst has happened. There are some interesting connections amongst the work force at Allwood and Anna is hiding some secrets herself.

This was another gripping and well-paced police procedural from the author and I really enjoyed the way the cleverly plotted investigation slowly unfolded, with its dead ends and confusing elements, before things eventually came together and the case was solved. It’s an engaging and satisfying read and I raced through it in a few hours.

The story was very entertaining, with some intriguing revelations and surprising twists and turns. I had several theories about what had happened, as we met various suspects and learnt more about their relationships to others, but didn’t predict how it would all turn out.

I really like Isabel Blood – she’s dedicated to her job, methodical and thorough, and seems quite normal for a police detective, with a lovely husband and children. She has an interesting past, which adds another dimension to her character’s story.

Overall, I’m really enjoying this series with its good old-fashioned police work and I hope it won’t be too long before there’s another case in Bainbridge to solve! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next and how things develop with the main characters.

Buy the book

Last Seen Alive by Jane Bettany can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle now and in paperback on 23 June 2022, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

Jane Bettany is the author of In Cold Blood, a crime novel featuring DI Isabel Blood and set in the fictional Derbyshire town of Bainbridge. The book won the 2019 Gransnet and HQ writing competition, which was for women writers over the age of 40 who had written a novel with a protagonist in the same age range.

In Cold Blood and Without a Trace were her first two novels, but she has been writing short stories and non-fiction articles for over 20 years, many of which have appeared in women’s magazines, literary magazines, newspapers and online.

She lives in Derby and has an MA in Creative Writing.

Twitter: @JaneBettany
Facebook: @JaneBettanyAuthor
Instagram: @bettanyjane

Blog tour

Thanks to Alliya Bouyis at HQ Stories for my digital copy of Last Seen Alive and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

The Other Side of Fear by Eoghan Egan

Blog tour: 29 March to 5 April 2022


Nothing will ever be the same again.

Sharona Waters is determined to dig into loan shark Dessie Dolan’s business and see him brought to justice. But when a young woman she’s only briefly met goes missing, a much darker story emerges.

Pulled into the ruthless world of people trafficking – a world built on violent brutality and sudden death – Sharona finds herself caught between crime and conscience, pursued by powerful and ruthless criminals, and just one bad decision away from having her whole world crash down.

Sometimes, the only way forward is to risk everything, no matter the cost.

My review

This is the second book in the Ganestown trilogy and I haven’t read the first book, Hiding in Plain Sight, yet but will be remedying this soon! It’s currently only 99p on Kindle.

Right from the start, The Other Side of Fear is a powerful, shocking read and we’re thrown straight into a violent scene featuring loan shark, Dessie Dolan, and his minions as they torture and dispatch a man called Tommy Mellon.

Set in the Irish Midlands, in the fictional Ganestown, there are several threads to the story and it’s fascinating to try and work out how they all link together.

We meet 23-year-old Sharona Waters and her boyfriend, Ronan Lambe, who are trying to figure out why Dolan is running modelling competitions at his nightclub, Whispers. While there, Sharona meets a young woman called Rebecca Greenfield, who plays a key part in the story later on.

Investigative reporter Sharona is recovering after a recent incident in the previous book in which a man called Adam Styne, general manager of Hattinger’s Furniture, Fine Art and Antiques, abducted her after she uncovered his multi-million Euro art scam. Hugh Fallon and Ruth Lamero, a nurse, came to her rescue and Styne was sent to a local mental health hospital for assessment.

Boxing enthusiast Ferdia Hardiman, a sales manager and former colleague of Fallon, is brother-in-law to Charlie McGuire, owner of a local hardware store, who is mourning the death of his daughter, Ciara. She was murdered and Charlie suffered a minor stroke afterwards. Her brother, Malcolm, a gambler, is also in Dolan’s debt.

Hugh was made redundant from his regional manager job at Pharma-Continental and Hardiman helped him get a part-time job at the hardware store. Hugh is a carer for his mum, Kathleen, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and he’s struggling to cope as her condition is rapidly changing and he feels helpless, resentful, guilty and irritable.

We’re introduced to lots of different people and I had to concentrate to remember who they all were but things became clearer quickly. There are some really intriguing, strong and nasty characters, who are all well drawn, and it was fascinating as the story unfolded and we learnt more about them all. I particularly liked Sharona and Rebecca who are both brave and courageous women.

Overall, I really enjoyed this gripping, disturbing and well-plotted novel, which was uncomfortable and difficult reading at times, with its themes of gang violence, loan sharks, drugs, human trafficking, dementia and more. It was a tense, terrifying and fast-paced read and I was frantically turning the pages and really rooting for various characters and hoping they’d survive as their lives flashed before their eyes! It’s a chilling and engaging read – I was thoroughly immersed in the story and could vividly picture some of the more horrible scenes.

There are lots of twists and turns and startling revelations, as well as some clever subplots that really added to the story too. I was desperately trying to put all the strands together to try and figure out how it would all be resolved and was shocked by what transpired at times!

When writing this review, I was surprised to look back and see that the story was set over the course of nine days as so much happened and it was all very intense and action packed! I’d definitely recommend this entertaining crime thriller if you’re looking for something a bit grittier and darker than your average read.

Buy the book

The Other Side of Fear by Eoghan Egan can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback and paperback, and as an eBook from Kobo and Google Books. Purchase the hardback, paperback and eBook directly from the Red Dog Press online shop.

About the author

A native of Co. Roscommon, Ireland, Eoghan wrote his first story aged nine. At college, he studied computer programming, and he now works in sales management and marketing, but his passion for reading and writing remain.

Eoghan’s stories were shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Short Story Prize, and Listowel’s 2019 Bryan McMahon Short Story Award Competition. Others have been published in various anthologies. He has also completed two crime fiction novels in a planned trilogy set in the Irish Midlands, and has started work on the third.

A graduate of Maynooth University’s creative writing curriculum and Curtis Brown’s Edit and Pitch Your Novel course, Eoghan divides his time between Roscommon and Dublin.

Eoghan constantly explores ways to increase his knowledge in the art of writing. He enjoys attending literary festivals and is excited about the prospect of getting back to face-to-face discussions with readers and writers. He’s also a heavy metal fan and, post Covid, can’t wait to headbang at a rock gig.

Twitter: @eoghanegan
Facebook: @eoghaneganwriter
Instagram: @eoghanegan

Blog tour

Thanks to Sean Coleman for my digital copy of The Other Side of Fear and for my place on the blog tour.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Blog tour: 3 to 25 March 2022


Welcome to No.12 Rue des Amants: a beautiful old apartment block, far from the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower and the bustling banks of the Seine.

Where nothing goes unseen, and everyone has a story to unlock.

The watchful concierge
The scorned lover
The prying journalist
The naïve student
The unwanted guest

Something terrible happened here last night. A mystery lies behind the door of apartment three. Only you – and the killer – hold the key …

My review

It’s the end of October and, after losing her job at a bar in Brighton, Jess decides to visit her half-brother, Ben Daniels, in Paris, but she’s surprised to find no sign of him when she arrives. The block of apartments is located in the back streets of Montmartre and Ben has been living in a third floor apartment after an old friend from university offered him a place to stay. She’d only spoken to Ben the previous day to sort arrangements so he was expecting her but now he seems to have completely disappeared, leaving all his belongings behind.

The apartment building is very mysterious and contains a right mix of occupants. There’s Sophie and Jacques Meunier who live in the penthouse, flatmates Mimi and Camille (4th floor), Nick (2nd floor), Antoine and Dominique (ground floor), and a curious concierge who lives in the loge and spies on everyone and seems to knows everything that’s going on.

The characters are all hiding lots of secrets, even Jess and Ben. The story is told from the viewpoints of several of them and we get to know more about who they are and what’s going on. They’re a rather dysfunctional and flawed group of people.

The old apartment block itself is very atmospheric and creepy and seems to have a life of its own and be watching its residents – it’s old and has many hidden levels and areas. I was particularly fascinated by the dumbwaiter, a concept that always rather freaks me out as you never know what you’re going to be greeted with when you open it!

Jess is determined to discover what’s happened to Ben, who is an investigative journalist, but struggles with the language barrier and isn’t sure who she can trust. At times, I was really worried for her safety as she found herself in tight spots and had no idea what she was getting herself involved in!

The Paris Apartment is a gripping and tense read and there are some intriguing scenes as we discover what the occupants of 12 Rue des Amants are hiding. I had no idea what the connections between the characters were going to be and was shocked by the twists and turns and the various revelations.

The short and snappy chapters really help to move the story along and I was frantically turning the pages, desperate to find out how it was all going to reach its compelling conclusion and learn more about what happened to Ben.

This is the third thriller from the author that I’ve read and it was another entertaining and intriguing read. I must check out her other books now!

Buy the book

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

© Philippa Gedge

Lucy Foley is a number one Sunday Times bestselling author. Her contemporary murder mystery thrillers, The Hunting Party and The Guest List, have sold over a million copies worldwide and also hit the New York Times and Irish Times bestseller lists. The Guest List was a Waterstones Thriller of the Month selection, a Reese’s Book Club pick, it was chosen as one of The Times and Sunday Times Crime Books of the Year, and it won the Goodreads Choice Award for best mystery/thriller.

Lucy’s novels have been translated into multiple languages and her journalism has appeared in publications such as Sunday Times Style, Grazia, ES Magazine, Vogue US, Elle, Tatler and Marie Claire. Lucy lives in Brussels with her husband and their baby son.

Twitter: @lucyfoleytweets
Facebook: @LucyFoleyAuthor
Instagram: @lucyfoleyauthor

Blog tour

Thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my lovely hardback copy of The Paris Apartment and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.