Stolen Children by Michael Wood

16th October 2020.

In DCI Matilda Darke’s sixth outing, she faces yet another intense, emotional investigation when a young girl goes missing. It brings back memories of Carl Meagan, a child who was kidnapped years before. His disappearance has haunted her ever since.

But something isn’t quite right about the latest kidnap and it isn’t long before Darke and her team are on the right track.

The emotional stress of a missing child is vividly portrayed and dominates the first part of the story. Once the truth is uncovered, the story changes direction and gathers momentum. All the elements from the previous stories are here – the mix of personal and professional relationships, the characters in the team, references to past cases, and all the usual problems of public spending cuts and restrictions. There’s even room for a few social and political comments along the way.

Stolen Children maintains the themes, characters and relationships of the previous books in the series, which should keep fans happy and keen for the next instalment.


Some cases won’t die.
A young boy walks into a police station in France. He claims to be Carl Meagan – a missing child from Sheffield whose name is still whispered as a warning to kids who stay out after dark.

Some children won’t be found.
On her way home from the supermarket, nine-year-old Keeley Armitage vanishes without trace. Her family is overcome with shock and DCI Matilda Darke can’t help but focus on memories of the Carl Meagan case that almost ruined her career.

Some killers won’t be stopped.
As Matilda investigates, she peels back the layers of grief and sadness that surround Keeley’s family. Until she is left with an unimaginable choice: betray those closest to her or let a violent killer walk free…

Stolen Children by Michael Wood

Smoke and Mirrors by Cheryl Bradshaw

11th October 2020.   5 stars.

In her eighth adventure private eye Sloane Monroe finds herself in Australia, working for a senator whose sister has been murdered, as has her partner. She’s left behind a daughter with Downs Syndrome, who the senator is determined to protect.

The killer, however, has his own agenda. He doesn’t like to be misrepresented and takes action to punish anyone who lies or speculates wrongly about what he did.

It’s all set for another pulsating case where Sloane disregards her own safety to track down and apprehend the killer.

As this is one my favourite private eye series, I wondered whether moving the story to Australia would make any difference. Not at all. Sloane’s her usual tenacious self, risking life and limb, putting herself in danger and disregarding those who try to get in her way. It means this is another pulsating, edge of seat investigation, filled with suspense, danger and a few more insights into her troubled past.

While you could read this as a standalone, like any series, you’ll miss much of the character development and some great investigations along the way.

Highly recommended.


Grace Ashby wakes to the sound of a horrifying scream.

She races down the hallway and finds her mother’s lifeless body on the floor in a pool of blood. Who is the intruder lurking inside the house? And why has he murdered her mother?

As revelations about Caroline Ashby’s secret life unfold, private detective Sloane Monroe takes the case, but it won’t take long to find the killer. He’s been watching, carefully tracking her every move. And now Sloane’s own life is in grave danger.

Smoke and Mirrors by Cheryl Bradshaw

Murder at the University by Faith Martin

10th October 2020.    4 stars.

The second DI Hilary Greene novel starts with the mysterious death of a French university student in Oxford. It takes a while to uncover the secret life she was leading, giving the investigation new impetus.

Meanwhile, Hilary has her own battles to fight, thanks to her husband’s corruption, which has cast a shadow over her career and blighted her life since his death. An animal rights charity is suing her, determined to take the marital home from her. And then there’s her non-existent love life and the attentions of two fellow officers.

The author cleverly weaves the personal lives of Hilary and her colleagues into the murder investigation, which has repercussions in several areas, leading to a good crop of suspects and motives. The pace is gentle, the characters well drawn and engaging, and there’s a delicious sense of fun about Hilary that adds another dimension to the story.

The characters and relationships feel more rounded in this second outing, providing this cosy mystery/police procedural with a solid, entertaining backbone.


A pretty French student is found dead in her room at an exclusive Oxford college. Everyone thinks it is another tragic case of accidental drug overdose.

But Detective Hillary Greene has a nose for the truth. She quickly discovers that the student was involved in some very unusual activities.

With a shocking cause of death found, the case becomes a high-profile murder investigation.

Adding to the pressure, Hillary’s nemesis is transferred to work with her at the station.

Can Hillary keep her cool and get justice for the unfortunate student?

Murder at the University by Faith Martin

Dark Crimes by Michael Hambling

6th October 2020.   4 stars.

I love it when a book surprises me. In this case it was the character of DCI Sophie Allen, who was fresh, original, charismatic and fun. How refreshing it was to have a lead detective who lacked the trademark traumas that plague police procedurals these days.

The lack of personal traumas took nothing away from an entertaining and exciting story that ticked and twisted along at a good pace and kept me guessing right up to an exciting and satisfying climax.

There were a couple of inaccuracies in police procedure, but they didn’t spoil my enjoyment and I’m looking forward to reading the second story in the series.

I would happily recommend this novel to anyone who likes police procedurals that are not too gritty or violent in their delivery.


A young woman’s body is discovered on a deserted footpath in a Dorset seaside town late on a cold November night. She has been stabbed through the heart.

It seems like a simple crime for DCI Sophie Allen and her team to solve. But not when the victim’s mother is found strangled the next morning. The case grows more complex as DCI Sophie Allen discovers that the victims had secret histories, involving violence and intimidation. There’s an obvious suspect but Detective Allen isn’t convinced. Could someone else be lurking in the shadows, someone savagely violent, looking for a warped revenge?

Dark Crimes by Michael Hambling

He weaves a mystery that can match any of our best thriller writers

In another wonderful review for No Love Lost, Colin Garrow says

Robert Crouch manages to create a delightfully complex plot with twists and turns galore and more suspects than you can shake a doggy snack at. The plot is his best yet and kept me enthralled from start to finish. With a writing style that includes witty one-liners and precise plotting, he weaves a mystery that can match any of our best thriller writers.



Such a brilliant series, so well written

In her review of No Love Lost, Lesley from The Bookwormery says

Kent is a marvellously complex, likeable character with an engaging humour and slight eccentricity about him. The plot has twists, turns and some shocks and heartbreaking moments too. It really has it all. Such a brilliant series, so well written it is completely engrossing from start to finish.

No Love Lost Launch

The plot is absolutely fantastic

In her review of No Love Lost, Chelle from Curled Up With A Good Book says,

Each time I read a new Kent Fisher mystery I think it’s my favourite, and then the next one trumps it! I love the series so much, adore Kent (the complex character that he is) and the other characters, love the mystery and intrigue and enjoy the writing style so much.

No Love Lost Launch

An addictive mystery series

Yvonne at Me and My Books believes No Love Lost is part of an addictive mystery series. Brilliant from start to finish.

The author really has woven a wonderful tale of mystery, revenge, deceit and also a tragedy. It was a brilliant book and I think it may be my favourite so far and also the one that shocked me the most with events. It draws things from the past and the present and they have been twisted and turned into such an addictive read.

No Love Lost Launch

A cracking television series

Karen Cole of Hair Past A Freckle believes the Kent Fisher mysteries would make a cracking television series.

The superb characterisation, evocative landscape descriptions and the witty dialogue all perfectly complement the intriguing cases that Kent attempts to solve – and as always, Columbo the Westie steals every scene he is in!

No Love Lost is the most emotionally affecting story so far.

No Love Lost Launch

Murder Plot by Kevin McCarthy

24th September 2020.   3.5 stars.

I found this entertaining cosy mystery buried among the books on my Kindle. The story’s set in 1975. GP, Lance Elliott, becomes involved in a murder investigation when members of the nearby allotment start dying in suspicious circumstances. Being a local GP, most of the victims and suspects are known to him, though this doesn’t seem to help him much as he grapples with the investigation.

The story is told from Lance’s viewpoint in a gentle, humorous way as if he constantly doubts what’s happening to him. While he’s an almost reluctant investigator, his father, a retired GP, has no self-doubts, throwing himself into the fray with gusto. The scenes between the two of them are among the  most amusing and memorable in the story.

With the help of the local police and the usual red herrings and secrets, the story almost strolls along until the final stages when the momentum builds to an exciting climax and reveal.

If you enjoy a gentle cosy mystery with a good puzzle at its heart, and no bad language or unnecessary violence, then this story is worth a look.


It’s 1975, Lord Lucan has been named as the murderer of Sandra Rivett, and in a quietly anonymous London suburb, it seems that murder is most certainly in the air…

Retired hard-man Charlie Daniels dies on his allotment. Verdict: death by natural causes. But Dr Lance Elliot isn’t so sure – especially when more local residents start dying!

With the caustic Inspector Masson looking over his shoulder, he is soon uncovering the murky secrets of the Thornton Heath Horticulture and Allotment Association in his hunt for the killer. And even Lance himself will discover that the past can never stay buried forever…

Murder Plot by Kevin McCarthy