Blog Tour: Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson

Today, I’m pleased to be hosting the next stop on the blog tour for Whiteout, written by Ragnar Jonasson, translated by Quentin Bates and published by Orenda Books.

The Blurb:

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Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kalfshamarvik. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop?

With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thor Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier…

This is the last instalment in the Dark Icelandic series which for me is bitter-sweet as I’ve adored each and every one of this books.

This novel again features the lovable hero Ari Thor, who is pulled into investigate with his old-partner Tomas in the very north of the Island. But with Christmas merely days away and the imminent birth of his first child, can Ari discover the truth behind the ‘supposed’ suicides in time?

What I say:

 I loved this novel and thought this final instalment was the author’s best story yet. The novel is broken up into three parts: A Prelude to a Death, Lies and Innocence which I thought was a clever device. I don’t want to give the story away but I really enjoyed the passages with Asta, in A Prelude to a Death, who is later found at the bottom of the cliffs as it really set up a brilliant mystery and immediately captured my attention.

Ari Thor is back in this story (yey!) and this time he brings along his pregnant girlfriend, Kristen with him on a journey to the north as he tries to uncover a killer. It was really good to see more of this relationship, especially since Kirsten is pregnant and their relationship is at the heart of Ari’s life and the series as a whole.

This story is a slow burner, very much your classic golden crime novel which slowly builds in tension and slowly draws you deeper into the story which I thought was reminiscent of classic crime story telling.

Again, the author’s ability to bring such an atmospheric and harsh climate really came to life in this book along with a brilliant mystery. The Icelandic landscape, the author’s beautiful descriptions and brilliant way he draws you into a captivating tale really sets this series apart. If you haven’t read the others yet, I would encourage you to do so – as soon as you can!

About the Author:

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Ragnar Jonasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and set up its first overseas chapter in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

Big thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books, and Anne Cater for my ARC.

You can purchase Whiteout from Amazon here or Waterstones here

To find out more about Ragnar Jonasson follow him on Twitter at @ragnarjo.

Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this blog tour!

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Blog Tour Race To The Kill by Helen Cadbury

Today I’m absolutely honoured to be hosting the next stop on the Race To The Kill blog tour, the third crime novel in the Sean Denton series by Helen Cadbury and published by Allison and Busby.

 

51YcjllpUWL._SY346_First up is the blurb:

It is the middle of a long night shift for PC Sean Denton and his partner PC Gavin Wentworth when they are approached by a dishevelled-looking woman desperate that they follow her. She leads them to the old Chasebridge High School where they find the dead body of a refugee. The investigation which points to the neighbouring greyhound stadium finds Denton caught up in a world of immigration, drugs and sexual abuse, and one in which his private life becomes increasingly entwined.

My Review:

PC Sean Denton stumbles across the dead body of a refugee, squatting in the old derelict high school Sean used to go to as a child. After discovering he has passed his interview to join CID he is seconded to the Murder Investigation Team and quickly becomes caught up in the case. But there are sinister goings-on in the newly fashioned Greyhound Stadium nearby where nothing is as it seems.

This is the first novel I have read in this series and I have no idea how I had missed it – I just loved it.

There are so many different things that was great about this novel I’m not sure how to begin. This story gripped me from the very beginning, with a plot which builds in tension and pace at every chapter and a cast of characters who I truly cared about. This story does contain hard hitting themes about the injustices of society with a focus on the working classes or the people in society who are marginalised for their circumstances, which the author does a brilliant job of weaving into the plot without hitting the reader over the head with it.

One of the stand out things is the characters, who really came to life in this novel. I felt like I could understand and empathise with many of them, even if I didn’t agree with their actions. My favourite character has to be PC Sean Denton – he is a PC who notices the little things which makes him such a good policeman but is struggling with his dyslexia as well as dealing coping with his father’s illness. Sean is just your average guy but is such a lovable character because of it and one of those people who you just root for. He’s not your classic archetypal hero, but he is definitely a new love of mine.

This isn’t a high action, all guns blazing police procedural but that’s one of the things I loved about this as it allowed me to be slowly drawn into the character’s lives alongside trying to solve a good mystery.

I thought this novel works very well as a stand-alone as the author does a fantastic job of showcasing Sean’s life and background without getting to bogged down in what happens in the previous novels. Though I will certainly be reading the other two books in the series. I don’t want to spoil it by giving too much away but what I will say is I think it is one of those stand-out novels which really speaks for itself.

A big thank you to Anne Cater and Allison and Busby for my ARC and allowing me to be a part of this blog tour. A massive thank you as well to Helen’s family for allowing this novel to be published.

I would definitely recommend this novel which is out now and can be purchased on Amazon here.

Or Waterstones here.

My thoughts:

I was saddened to hear about Helen passing. Being a relative newcomer to the crime fiction writing world, I had seen Helen Cadbury at writing events but it wasn’t until I went to Iceland Noir last November that I managed to meet her properly. Immediately, she made me feel welcome and while chatting to her I remember thinking how warm, friendly and funny she was. I’m sad I didn’t get to meet her again but I hope her voice lives on in her writing.

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Helen Cadbury on a panel at Iceland Noir 2016

About the Author:

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Helen Cadbury wrote fiction, poetry and plays. She worked as an actor before becoming a teacher and recently spent five years teaching in prisons. She had an MA in Writing from Sheffield Hallam University. Her debut novel, To Catch a Rabbit, was the winner of the inaugural Northern Crime Competition. Helen passed away in June 2017.

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Blog Tour – Good Friday by Lynda La Plante

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting the next stop on Lynda La Plante’s Good Friday blog tour which is published by Bonnier Zaffre Books. As part of the tour I have an interview with the author herself (which I was so excited about). As always don’t forget to check out the other great stops on this tour.

First up the blurb for Good Friday:

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BEFORE PRIME SUSPECT THERE WAS TENNISON.

Every legend has a beginning . . . 

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not. 

Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation. 

‘Good Friday’ is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target. As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can she convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London’s entire detective force?

Now for the interview with LYNDA LA PLANTE

Welcome to the CKT Blog, Lynda I’m so pleased you have kindly agreed to answer some questions for my blog.

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To start off with, could you tell us a little bit about your new novel Good Friday and how you came up with the idea for it?

This is the third novel in the Tennison series where I’ve taken Jane Tennison back to her early career. The first book ‘Tennison’ was set in 1973 so after ‘Hidden Killers’, the date time line for ‘Good Friday’ was the year after the Belcombe Street siege, so I wanted to incorporate what was then happening in London.

Good Friday is the third novel which explores Jane Tennison’s early years. Did you find it easy to delve into Jane’s past and write from an earlier point in her career? Did you find any of this a challenge?

To begin with I found it quite constricting to realise that there were no mobile phones, no DNA, but then I started to enjoy using the problems – especially the DNA. We have come to expect such fast results and to realise that computers were only just being introduced was another interesting level to work from. So no data finger printing; fingers prints were matched by eye and magnifying glass!

Good Friday is set during the 1970s when the IRA bombings were becoming a regular occurrence in London. As this is a period of time which was within our lifetime, did you do a lot of research for this? And if so, did you find anything you didn’t know about or new and fascinating about this period which you had to include in your novel?

I was a student at this time and so I was very aware of the bombings but I found it odd that I had no clear memory of ever being fearful. I had to do a lot of research into the bomb disposal sections and I found it fascinating and my respect for the Bomb disposal squad has deepened. There is so much scientific expertise now with drones etc – back then it was down to steely nerves and training.

What books would you recommend for the devoted crime reader?

Please read Patricia Cornwall’ s brilliant research and detail in the hunt for Jack the Ripper.

And finally, just for fun, if you could have a dinner party for three select guests, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Marlon Brando because I was such a fan of his. I would also ask if Napoleon was available, simply because he holds such fascination. There is a silent movie about him from the 1920s that is five hours long and every minute is stunning and Abel Ganse a brilliant director. Lastly, I would like Greta Garbo to join us as she is such an iconic beauty. With the other two guests I doubt she would get a word in edgewise, but I would just like to see her in the flesh.

A huge thanks again to Lynda for answering my questions.

Good Friday by Lynda La Plante is out now – published by Bonnier Zaffre price £18.99 hardback

Good Friday can be purchased via Amazon here.

Or Waterstones here.

To find out more about Lynda La Plante follow her on Twitter at @LaPlanteLynda.

 

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My Adventures at Crime Fest 2017

In May, I went to Crime Fest with a lot of other fellow bloggers, crime authors, aspiring writers and avid readers. This was my second time attending Crime Fest and it didn’t disappoint. I spent a fabulous four whole days in Bristol and even went down a little earlier on the Wednesday evening and goes what? I found myself walking into Waterstones and purchasing a new book before the main event.

Over the weekend I didn’t sleep very much as I was too busy talking to lots of new and old friends at the bar as well as attending quite a few of the panels and live tweeted along with my fellow bloggers Joy Kluver, Victoria Goldman, Jen Lucas and Sharon Wilden.

So I’m going to give you all a snapshot of what went on over the four days I was there.

Day One:

I attended the Forensic Crime Scene Excursion which I had been looking forward to for weeks. This was held at The University of the West of England in a special crime scene house which is used to train Forensic science students and police officers.

When we arrived the scene was set – all we had to do was solve the murder which had been committed upstairs.

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This is not a real person – although it did look very lifelike!

A Forensic technician was on hand to answer any questions we had and helped us to work how the murder was committed – I learnt a lot about blood splatter and how different substances are tested at a crime scene which was just brilliant.

After spending a lot of time in the two ‘crime rooms’ upstairs we then spent some time in the ‘lab’ and was shown how to test for blood, saliva and finger marks among other things.

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After the crime scene we travelled back to the hotel in time for the first panels of the day to kick off, I attended the first Debut Panel

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Debut Panel with Mary Torjussen, Steph Broadribb, David Coubrough, Lucy V Hay and Karen Robinson

As well as a session on Keeping Secrets and Telling Lies with Andrea Carter, Rod Reynolds, Lucy Dawson and Julia Crouch.

 

I spent the remainder of the evening catching up with people in the bar and crashed out at about midnight.

Day Two:

This was a day filled with so many great panels, I managed five in total which were all brilliant!

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The appeal of Serial Killers Panel with Helen Fields, James Carol, Paul Finch, Leigh Russell and Mark Roberts

This panel discussed how obsessed and fascinated as readers we have become with serial killers as we are fascinated with the darker side of ourselves. Of course I had to buy some of these books!

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Partners in Crime Panel with Sarah Ward, Luca Veste, Sarah Hilary, Ann Randall and Stav Sherez

I really enjoyed this panel and learnt a lot about series characters and the modern police duo.

I then went to a spotlight session with Sam Carrington who discussed how working in a prison with a mixture of different offenders inspired her writing.

After lunch I went to panel which debating whether we need happy endings in crime fiction.

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Happy endings do we need them? With Caro Ramsey, Kati Hiekkapelto, Kjell Ola Dahl, Steve Mosby and Kevin Wignall.

 

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Parenting 101: Protagonists with commitments with Quentin Bates, Steph Broadribb, J.M Gulvin, Mary-Jane Riley and Sanjida Kay

At the CWA awards ceremony I was super pleased as two of my fellow colleagues, from the City University course I’m studying, was long listed for the CWA Debut Daggers competition so it was celebrations all round!

Day Three:

This was a tough day for me and a few of my fellow bloggers – exhaustion was starting to set in and I only managed three panels this day as well as a nap. I think all the late nights was catching up with me.

 

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The modern police procedural with Elizabeth Haynes, Fergus McNeill, Alison Bruce, Valentina Giambanco and Sharon Bolton

My first panel of this day was hilarious, the moderator Alison Bruce asked ‘ice-breaker’ questions to the rest of the panel like have you ever committed a crime? Or if they’ve ever been in any fights.

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Good vs Bad in Crime Fiction with Kevin Wignall, Torkil Damhaug, M.R.Hall, Martin Edwards and Chris Ewan.

There were laughs a plenty at this panel, if you’ve ever heard Kevin Wignall moderate a panel you know he will ask random children questions to the other panel members along the way. I think my favourite was ‘if you could only time travel once would you go backwards or forwards?’ Food for thought…

I then listened to Barry Forshaw interview Anthony Horowitz which was just fascinating!

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I then went for some birthday celebrations for Fran Dorricott with my lovely friends before chatting in the bar until the early evening and trying out some of Vicki Goldman’s Toffee Vodka.

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I was even part of the bar selfie in the evening although I have no idea why I’m leaning?!

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Day Four:

I went home quite early but still managed to squeeze in a great panel in the morning before setting off home for London laden with lots of new books!!

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London as Location with Jane Casey, Tara Moore, Christopher Fowler, Alison Joseph and Shelia Bugler

 

I loved Crime Fest and next year they celebrate their 10th Anniversary – I will definitely be heading back for this.

And my Crime Fest blog post wouldn’t be complete without adding in this hilarious picture of Rod Reynolds trying to make myself, Amanda Jennings and Karen Sullivan look serious!

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Big thanks to everyone I chatted to and hung out with at Crime Fest – you made it one of the best yet! If you ever get a chance to go to Crime Fest I would really recommend it.

 

Blog Tour: The Search by Howard Linskey

For today’s post I’m super excited to host the next stop on The Search blog tour, penned by Howard Linskey and published by Michael Joseph, Penguin. As always don’t forget to check out all the other fab books on this tour!

First up it’s the Blurb:

9780718180362Someone knows where the bodies are buried…

Little Susan Verity went missing during the heatwave of 1976. An unprecedented amount of police resource went into finding her, but to no avail. Until now.

Convicted serial killer Adrian Wicklow was always the prime suspect. In the past, he’s repeatedly lied to the police about where Susan’s body is buried – playing a sick game from behind bars. 

But this time, he says, he’ll tell the truth. Because Adrian Wicklow is dying.

Detective Ian Bradshaw works with investigative journalists Helen Norton and Tom Carney to find the body. However, this is Wicklow’s life’s work. Would a murderer on death’s door give up his last secret so easily…?

This is a story which centres around the investigation into the disappearance of a child in 1976. In 1976, six children went out to play but only five returned, little Susan Verity disappeared without a trace. Andrew Winklow, the prime suspect and convicted child killer who originally confused to her murder later retracted his confession. Now on the 20th anniversary of her disappearance, DS Ian Bradshaw is tasked with her case to try to uncover what really happened, because Adrian Winklow is dying and time is running out to discover the truth once and for all.

Wow! This story just grabbed my attention from the very beginning which opened with the creepy words of Adrian Winklow, and as the narrative unfolded kept me glued to the page.

This story is set in both the past, 1976, and the present day which in this case is 1996. The author does a fantastic job of interweaving both of these timelines into the main plot with both timelines revealing little clues along the way while still keeping up the pace and mystery.

What I really liked about this novel was the fact that the main narrative focused on an interesting cold case which managed to retain the strong sense of a life and death situation and fast-paced action which comes from novels with a ‘present day’ serial killer.

I adored the creepy, disturbing character of Adrian who even when he is at death’s door still manages to plays games with everyone. I’m not sure what really says about me but I do love a good villain!

I also really liked the main characters of DS Ian Bradshaw and journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton who he turns to for help, to try and unpick the truth from a serial killer’s twisted and clever mind. I was also interested in their dynamic relationships which are just at the heart of this novel and I suspect the series. The author’s writing style just made me feel very invested in these characters and sympathetic – I really cared about what happened to them.

I have never read any of Howard Linskey’s previous books but I will certainly be picking them up now after reading The Search because this was such a fascinating and brilliant read.

This is a fabulous fast-paced and twisty page-turner which is a must for the avid crime-reader.

Big thanks to Jenny Platt and Michael Joseph Books for my advanced review copy.

You can purchase this book from Amazon here.

Or from Waterstones here.

To find out more about Howard Linskey follow him on Twitter at @HowardLinskey.

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*Blog Tour* The Special Girls by Isabelle Grey

Today I’m delighted to host the next stop on the #BlogTour for The Special Girls written by Isabelle Grey and published by Quercus. Don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous stop on this tour!

The Blurb:

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They are called the ‘special girls’. How are they special and why were they chosen? Historical child sex abuse is linked to the murder of a young doctor.

A doctor is found beaten to death in woods close to a summer camp for young women with eating disorders. The camp is run by the charismatic Professor Chesham. DI Grace Fisher is called in, but is quickly pulled from the investigation – to head up a cold case inquiry involving Chesham himself.

Some years earlier, one of Chesham’s patients made allegations that he sexually assaulted her.

As Grace uncovers the lies that led to the doctor’s murder, she discovers the full extent of the damage done to the special girls – and the danger they are still in.

This is the third novel in the DI Grace Fisher series which sees Grace investigating the murder of Tim Merrick who was beaten to death, he was a psychiatrist who worked with Professor Ned Chesham  with vulnerable teenage girls who suffer with eating disorders. As Grace starts to delve she finds no clues to the culprit but before she can get too comfy she is pulled from the case to look into an old police enquiry which looked into an allegation of child sex abuse against Professor Chesham.

This is the third novel in the DI Grace Fisher series which sees Grace investigating the murder of Tim Merrick who has been beaten to death, he was a psychiatrist who worked with Professor Ned Chesham helping vulnerable teenage girls who suffer with eating disorders. As Grace starts to delve into the case she finds no clues to the culprit but before she can get too comfy, she is pulled from the case to look into an old police enquiry which looked into an allegation of child sex abuse against Professor Chesham.

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I really enjoyed this novel which has a solid and compelling narrative with very believable characters.

First of, I loved the setting of Wryford Hall, an old stately home with a big wooded area where the summer camp is held yearly and where Tim Merrick is found murdered in the opening passages; it is remote and just downright creepy.

I also liked characters in this novel which were all well-rounded who I cared about causing me to read on. I especially loved the main protagonist, Grace Fisher a courageous DI who will do everything in her power to uncover the truth.

There is not much violence in this novel but it does tackle some very dark, controversial themes of historic child sex abuse cases where abusers are figures with political or celebrity status and police cover ups, which are in fact very contemporary issues at the moment and made for a gripping and refreshing read. The content is very emotive and at times just harrowing which the author does a fantastic job of sustaining sympathy for the victims in this case and keeping that emotion at the forefront for the reader.

In this novel it really showed how much the author had done her research into police procedures and forensics which trickled throughout the narrative, giving it a very authentic and believable feel. I thought the writing style was very easy and the story just gripped me from the very start. The investigation has a solid narrative which picked up pace and ramped up the tension with Grace’s career in jeopardy.

If you like police procedurals with a sensitive subject, which I thought the author handled very well, than this is definitely one for you!

Big thanks to Quercus books for my advanced review copy.

This novel isn’t published until 6th April but the good news is you can preorder this from Amazon now just click here.

To preorder this from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Isabelle Grey follow her on Twitter at  @IsabelleGrey ‏.

 

Killer Review: Blood Tide by Claire McGowan

The Blurb:

Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire returns in BLOOD TIDE, the fifth novel in Claire McGowan’s series.

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Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren’t welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.

With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in…

This is the fifth instalment in the Paula Maguire series which sees Paula being asked for her expertise to investigate the disappearance of Matt and Fiona, a couple from London who recently moved to Bone Island. As Paula starts to delve deeper Paula realises there’s something more sinister going on in the Island – a storm is setting in where the inhabitants are acting strangely, the blood tide is coming and a killer is lurking in their midsts, one that is watching her every move.

Nail-biting! I have so far enjoyed the other books in the series and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s been nearly three years since Paula had a daughter, Maggie, but her personal life is as confusing and compelling as ever. With her personal life in tatters Paula finds her life in danger, without any back-up, on a treacherous Island where everything and everyone seems to be out to get her. It was great to see the familiar cast of characters back with more heartache and complicated personal lives – will Paula ever get her happy ending? Probably not, its crime fiction, but it doesn’t stop me hoping.

One of the best things about this novel is the creepy and harsh setting of Bone Island, with its beautiful sands and charming wildlife – it  just made the events on this island and its inhabitants even more chilling. I also loved the vivid descriptions and the treacherous storm which just made me feel plain terrified. It was good to see Paula out on a limb without being on familiar territory seeing her pushed to her limits and cut off from everything and everyone. It really brought out more of Paula’s character and I couldn’t stop reading.

The novel also features Sergeant Bob Hamilton’s viewpoint of past events where it seems he may know more than he’s been telling about Paula’s missing mother, Margaret Maguire. I loved finding out more about her mother’s past which ran alongside the present day action and just when I thought I had it figured out the author reveals a massive bombshell – and now I have to wait until the next instalment to find out what happened.

Again the author does a fantastic job of describing the Troubles in Ireland and highlighting a period of history which I was too young to properly understand at the time. I loved the new setting of Bone Island the author sets the story in which created an atmosphere of fear for the characters and a chilling narrative, while still tantalising me as the reader with new information about Paula’s missing mother whose story threads throughout the series.

I think this is the best novel in the series so far and would highly recommend this book for any avid crime reader! If you haven’t already done so should I would recommend reading the other books in the series.

I would like to say a big thanks to Millie Seaward and Headline Publishers for my advanced review copy.

This novel isn’t out until 23rd March but the good news is you can preorder this book from Amazon just click here

Or to preorder this book from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Claire McGowan follow her on Twitter at @inkstainsclaire or check out her website here.