Now or Not at All by Peter Rowlands

Now or Not at All by Peter Rowlands

2nd August 2022.

In the fifth book of this excellent series, part time journalist Mike Stanhope is hired to help find out what happened to Kirsty Thornhill. The determined and outspoken environmentalist vanished without a trace three years ago. Is she dead or is she in hiding?

While Mike ponders the question and travels around the country to find out more about her life, he takes on an urgent writing job, aware that one of the companies he has to interview used to employ Kirsty. His girlfriend Samantha seems unhappy with his interest in Kirsty, adding more doubt to his uncertain love life. As all the pressures bear down on him, he has to juggle and calls in favours to avoid letting anyone down.

As he’s drawn deeper into the mystery of Kirsty’s disappearance, it becomes clear he’s not the only one interested in her. Darker, more dangerous forces are at work, following his every move. Mike begins to question who he can trust and what he’s got into. But Mike’s no quitter and he battles on through more twists and unexpected discoveries, despite the pressures and dangers he faces.

While this novel works as a standalone, it’s much more satisfying if you’ve read his previous four outings. You’ll understand Mike and his whimsical love life better. You’ll appreciate what turns this fairly ordinary guy into a bulldog of an investigator. And you’ll enjoy the densely plotted mysteries he has to weave his way through.

Filled with intriguing characters, twisting, multi-stranded plots, conflict and drama, the Mike Stanhope novels bring something refreshingly different and engaging to the murder mystery genre. You never quite know what’s going to happen, but you can’t wait to find out.


Is Kirsty Thornhill alive or dead? Did she choose to disappear three years ago, and if so, why? Or was she abducted and murdered? Journalist Mike Stanhope turns reluctant detective when he’s asked to find out what happened to her – but the job proves far more challenging than he anticipated.

The pressure mounts when he takes on a writing job in parallel with the investigation. Soon he’s beating a breathless trail round the north of England, juggling the two tasks but fearing he’ll fail at both.

Gradually he builds up a picture of Kirsty – a strong-willed woman with equal ability to attract and annoy – and despite his resolve to remain objective, he becomes immersed in the pursuit. His girlfriend Sam tries to help, but worries that for Mike the case is becoming an obsession.

This is mystery drama at its most compelling: intricate plotting, a succession of unexpected developments, a pervading sense of urgency, and the gradual emergence of something bigger than anyone imagined. Add to that a set of likeable central characters, a vivid feel for place, and the author’s crystal-clear prose, and you have an irresistible mix.

Now or Not at All by Peter Rowlands

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