Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding @LisaSHarding @BloomsburyBooks #BrightBurningThings #NetGalley

Bright Burning Things by [Lisa Harding]


Being Tommy’s mother is too much for Sonya.

Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy’s life is in her hands.

Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O’Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy – forever.


Bright Burning Things


Sonya doesn’t function well these days, and her four-year-old son Tommy isn’t old enough yet to safely fend for himself or the family rescue dog Herbie. At best days are a haze, while others are blank for Sonya. When the story begins, Sonya is still spiralling down, but she isn’t far from rock bottom. The three of them, live on a sparse diet of fish fingers and beans, with Tommy being small for his age and underweight. Sonya gets a wake-up call one day when she realises she has stepped over the line.

Sonya is a complex character whose mind you live in for most of the book. As a reader, you see the world how she sees it, paranoid and impulsive. Sonya is determined to give her son a good childhood but with ideas that make you hold your breath. Tommy is such a sweet child, and like any four-year-old does what his mummy tells him because she is his mum, faithful and obedient like Herbie.

Like so many addicts, Sonya is facing addiction and bringing a child up by herself, as her family have turned their backs on her. It is a gripping story, harrowing and raw that isn’t just seen by people on the outside looking in, but from Sonya, as she sees her life from both sides of the bottle.

Written with heart, this is an exceptional story that may help people see how an addict’s life is from the inside out. Addiction isn’t a choice, it happens to so many people from all walks of life. I hope this story helps people understand a little more.

I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.



The Winter Girls (Agent Tori Hunter Book 2) by Roger Stelljes @RogerStelljes @bookouture #NewRelease #TheWinterGirls #NetGalley

The Winter Girls: A totally gripping crime thriller (Agent Tori Hunter Book 2) by [Roger Stelljes]


Gazing out the cabin window at the raging blizzard, fear suddenly floods through her as she feels a stranger’s hand clamp across her mouth. No one can hear her stifled screams as she is dragged from the couch by the fire out into the snow.

When seventeen-year-old Savannah Devenish vanishes from her family’s remote vacation cabin in Minnesota, FBI Agent Tori Hunter races along treacherous icy roads to be first on the scene. Savannah’s parents are frantic with worry for their beautiful, carefree girl. Haunted by memories of her own missing sister, Tori vows to do whatever it takes to reunite this family.

When the police uncover that Savannah’s father Jacob was having an affair, they suspect his involvement, but Tori is convinced his despair is genuine. Her close relationship with the chief detective means the team won’t listen, so Tori strikes off alone, persuading Savannah’s distraught best friends to share their secrets. It seems this ‘good girl’ was sneaking out to parties to meet up with a mysterious man…

Then another teenager is snatched from the street, snowy footprints and a discarded hot chocolate cup the last trace of her. The girls are the same age, strikingly pale and blonde. Is a twisted collector stealing them away? And what chance is there that they are being kept alive?

With a deadly snowstorm closing in, Tori battles the elements—and her own team—as she follows the trail to an abandoned cabin by a frozen lake. In the basement are bedrooms filled with clothes for teenage girls. Tori was too late to save her own missing sister twenty years ago, but can she find these girls before they disappear forever?

An utterly addictive and twisty crime thriller that will have your eyes glued to the pages and your heart in your mouth. Fans of Kendra Elliot, Robert Dugoni and Tess Gerritsen won’t be able to put this down.


The Winter Girls: A totally gripping crime thriller (Agent Tori Hunter Book 2)


I do have to admit to not reading the first book in this series, but there is enough information given that I didn’t feel left out in the cold with this one. I do like a good book cover, and the title piqued my interest even more. I wasn’t disappointed.

After the conclusion in the first book, Tori Hunter has taken time out from being an FBI agent and is now teaching, but when she and her boyfriend Detective Will Braddock have been out for the evening, he receives a call to attend a crime. A seventeen-year-old girl had been abducted from her home, so Braddock deputises Hunter to help out.

I straight away took to this pairing of minds of Hunter and Braddock. I liked that there was a balance of both the working relationship and the off duty time between them. The story is fast-paced and not a random event when a second young woman is taken. I enjoyed that this didn’t go the way I thought it would. A fabulous storyline and brilliant series to watch out for in the future.

I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Roger Stelljes

SILENCED GIRLS (Agent Hunter Mystery #1) A Bookclub favorite & bestselling new release! Just when you thought you’d escaped your past… it hunts you down. “Outstanding!! Cannot wait for more of this series!! LOVE, LOVE Stelljes!!” (Melody M)

THE WINTER GIRLS (Agent Hunter Mystery #2) I’m super excited to announce is coming March 4th – pre-order now and get it automatically. No one can hear her stifled screams as she is dragged from the couch by the fire out into the snow. (Book #3 – also coming in 2021)

Twitter: @RogerStelljes

Other books in this series:

Silenced Girls: An absolutely addictive mystery thriller (Agent Tori Hunter Book 1)

The Winter Girls: A totally gripping crime thriller (Agent Tori Hunter Book 2) by [Roger Stelljes]

The Family Friend by C.C. MacDonald @vintagebooks @randomhouse #TheFamilyFriend #NetGalley

The Family Friend by [C. C. MacDonald]


Erin lives an idyllic life by the seaside with her baby boy and handsome Australian fiancée. She’s upbeat and happy – a natural mum. At least that’s what her thousands of followers on Instagram think.
In the real world, Erin is struggling with anxiety and finding it difficult to connect with her screaming son. So when a famous agent offers to make her the biggest instamum out there, she’s over the moon. And when Amanda, a family friend who’s visiting from Australia, says she’ll move in and babysit to help make it happen, it seems like the stars have finally aligned for Erin’s exciting new career.

But when a devastatingly revealing video is posted online by an anonymous troll, Erin’s brought crashing back to earth. As everything she’s worked for starts to slip away, Erin must find out how far she can trust those closest to her.


The Family Friend


So many people post their lives on the various internet platforms these days to get massive numbers of followers for their posts. Erin posted regularly on her Instagram account and was updating all of the time. The number of likes grew too, to the point that she now has full backing from an agent. Erin had grabbed it with both hands, knowing that the life she showed the world of the perfect little family doesn’t reflect her real life, but it would bring in much-needed cash for her. All she had to do was more of the same, loving pictures, tips and advice to other young mums.

Erin gained a troll, who it seemed was determined to ruin her and the relationship with her Fiancée, as pictures were posted online of when she was off guard and not coping. The frightening thing was that someone had got so close to her physically, someone she would know.

The story feels very current with today’s trends, but I loved that the author turned it into the worst possible scenario that could happen. At times it felt uneasy at how quickly people could turn on you.

It is so easy in the story to jump to a conclusion as there was more than one candidate that I could see doing this to her. The story at first seems quite cut and dry but it is much more than that. I thought that the author caught the stress and paranoid reactions perfectly. How can you trust anyone if something like this happens? I liked that ending.


C. C. MacDonald

I’m a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actor. I live in Margate, AKA Shoreditch-on-Sea, with my wife, two small children and a co-dependent cockapoo called Frankie.

The Family Friend by [C. C. MacDonald]

Girl in the Walls by A. J. Gnuse @ajgnuse @4thEstateBooks @WmCollinsBooks #TheGirlInTheWalls #NewRelease #NetGalley #BookReview


She doesn’t exist. She can’t exist.

‘A uniquely gothic tale about grief, belonging and hiding in plain sight’ Jess Kidd, author of Things in Jars

’Those who live in the walls must adjust, must twist themselves around in their home,
stretching themselves until they’re as thin as air. Not everyone can do what they can.
But soon enough, they can’t help themselves. Signs of their presence remain in a house.
Eventually, every hidden thing is found.’

Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the walls. She knows which parts can take her in, hide her away. It’s home, after all. The home her parents made for her. And home is where you stay, no matter what.

Eddie calls the same house his home. Eddie is almost a teenager now. He must no longer believe in the girl he sometimes sees from the corner of his eye. He needs her to disappear. But when his older brother senses her, too, they are faced with a question: how do they get rid of someone they aren’t sure even exists?

And, if they cast her out, what other threats might they invite in?


Girl in the Walls: A thrilling fiction debut, the Gothic novel of 2021


Can you imagine that your home is your world and going out is squeezing out of the crawl space under the floors into the inner house where people live? Elsie had lived in the house walls ever since her parents had been killed in an accident, it was after all her home. When the new family are asleep, or out, she searches for scraps of food and leftovers, occasionally taking a little more. She takes things she needs to survive.

The creaks, the new family hear when they are home, are put down to the normal noises a house makes when all is quiet. She knows all the dodgy floorboards and steps. She knows her limits so that the family don’t get too curious. The youngest boy who is almost a teenager, has seen her for just a fraction of a second now and again. When his older brother confesses he has seen her too, they decide to do something about it.

Believe me, when you have finished this book, you will hear every creak your house makes. Elsie, the girl in the walls, is intelligent, harmless and lives every day with her fears. Whereas the boys of the house fear what is in the walls, Elsie fears them finding her. She has nowhere else to live. The author makes this a highly emotional read, with nightmare scenarios and unusual friendships. The unknown is what people fear and at times your mind is your worst enemy.

The story never really ventures from those four walls but it is packed with heart-pounding moments which are off the scale. It is a superb debut from this author, definitely one to watch out for in the future.

I wish to thank the publisher and Net Galley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Twitter: @ajgnuse

Madam by Phoebe Wynne @phoebewynne @QuercusBooks #Madam #NewRelease #NetGalley #BookReview


Rebecca meets The Secret History. Gloriously dark, gloriously gothic’ SARA COLLINS, Costa First Novel Award-winning author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton

For 150 years, Caldonbrae Hall has loomed high above the Scottish cliffs as a beacon of excellence in the ancestral castle of Lord William Hope. A boarding school for girls, it promises that its pupils will emerge ‘resilient and ready to serve society’.
Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie, a 26-year-old Classics teacher and new head of department. Rose is overwhelmed by the institution: its arcane traditions, unrivalled prestige, and terrifyingly cool, vindictive students. Her classroom becomes her haven, where the stories of fearless women from ancient Greek and Roman history ignite the curiosity of the girls she teaches and, unknowingly, the suspicions of the powers that be.
But as Rose uncovers the darkness that beats at the very heart of Caldonbrae, the lines between myth and reality grow ever more blurred. It will be up to Rose – and the fierce young women she has come to love – to find a way to escape the fate the school has in store for them, before it is too late.
Perfect for fans of Margaret Atwood and Madeline Miller, Madam is a darkly feminist tale with an electrifying cast of heroines you won’t soon forget.



Rose Christie at 26 years-old had been offered and taken the position of head of her department in the most prestigious school for young ladies. Caldonbrae Hall is a boarding school in Scotland and noted for its excellence and sort after with wealthy families to give their girls high status in society.

Rose is a dedicated teacher, but things are not what they seem to be in the school. Nothing sits right with the pupils with something lurking under the surface that Rose can’t pin down. The girls have a spitefulness about them that never seems to be brought back into line. The school abides by its own rules of pupils always being right. A very frightening prospect as Rose discovers.

It is a compelling story that I haven’t read anything like before. One that you can see becoming a Netflix top series. The horrors mount while the tragedies escalate. A gripping story that will make the most avid reader have to stop to take a cleansing breath.

I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Dog Share by Fiona Gibson @FionaGibson @AvonBooksUK #NewRelease #NetGalley #DogShare

The Dog Share: the new feel-good romantic comedy from the #1 Kindle Best Selling author by [Fiona Gibson]


Suzy Medley is having a bad day…

… when a shabby terrier turns up at her door. Just like Suzy, Scout has been abandoned, although only Suzy has been left with a financial mess and a business in tatters thanks to her ex.

Suzy takes Scout in and her chaotic world changes in unexpected ways: strangers have never been more welcoming and her teenage kids can’t wait to come home to visit.

Then a chance encounter on a windy Hebridean beach makes things more complicated, because Suzy isn’t the only one who needs a friend.

Scout has plenty of love to go round… but does Suzy?

A wonderfully funny and uplifting story about friendship and second chances (and whisky!), perfect for fans of Gill Sims and Jill Mansell


The Dog Share


This is a cute read with a good feel factor. Now the title had caught my eye when I had seen it, but it wasn’t quite the story that I thought it was going to be. From the title, I had it more in mind of a couple breaking up and sharing visiting rights for the dog. What I got was more of a ‘Mary Poppins’ story but in dog form.

Suzy Medley’s life had turned upside down, and she had felt at rock bottom when a stray dog turned up to make her it’s new owner. As she was actually on a small Scottish isle, it had been easy enough to ask around to see who the dog belonged to, but no-one seemed to know anything about him. As there was nowhere to leave him on the island, she decided to take him with her to the mainland, they took her details, and she took the newly named Scout’ with her.

I loved the sound of the small Hebridean island, with its unpredictable weather and hard-working people. Suzy and her ex-husband had put tremendous pressure on the folks that lived there, and now she was determined to right the damage they had caused. The little dog seemed to attract people that needed help.

It is a slow-paced read, but where it was set suited it somehow. Scout seemed more to bring people together than being a ‘dog share’, but it is a story that brought a smile to me even if it was somewhat predictable.

I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Fiona Gibson

Fiona Gibson is the author of 15 romantic comedy novels, including the best-selling The Mum Who Got Her Life Back (Avon), which celebrates the empty nester years. Under the name of Ellen Berry, she also writes the heartwarming Rosemary Lane series (Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane is out in January 2020).

Fiona grew up in West Yorkshire, before working on Jackie and Just Seventeen magazines – in those heady pre-internet days when it was thrilling to get a free plastic mirror taped to the front of your magazine. She went on to edit More! magazine, where she introduced the infamous Position of the Fortnight. After having twin sons and a daughter, Fiona started to write novels, usually at night with the house full of toddlers and builders. She was sleep deprived anyway so it really didn’t make any difference.

She also loves to draw, paint and run – by some miracle she managed to finish the London Marathon 2019. With the kids all grown up now, she and her husband Jimmy live in Glasgow with their collie cross, Jack.

Twitter: @FionaGibson

The Dog Share: the new feel-good romantic comedy from the #1 Kindle Best Selling author by [Fiona Gibson]

Fatal Intent by Tammy Euliano @Teuliano @AnnaSacca @FSBAssociates #OceanviewPublishing #FatalIntent #NetGalley #NewRelease #MedicalSuspense

Thanks to Anna Sacca of FSB Associates for inviting me to read and review this book

Fatal Intent by [Tammy Euliano]


End-of-life care—or assisted death

When her elderly patients start dying at home days after minor surgery, anesthesiologist Dr. Kate Downey wants to know why. The surgeon, not so much. “Old people die, that’s what they do,” is his response. When Kate presses, surgeon Charles Ricken places the blame squarely on her shoulders. Kate is currently on probation and the chief of staff sides with the surgeon, leaving Kate to prove her innocence and save her own career. With her husband in a prolonged coma, it’s all she has left.

Aided by her eccentric Great Aunt Irm, a precocious medical student, and the lawyer son of a victim, Kate launches her own unorthodox investigation of these unexpected deaths. As she comes closer to exposing the culprit’s identity, she faces professional intimidation, threats to her life, a home invasion, and, tragically, the suspicious death of her student. The stakes escalate to the breaking point when Kate, under violent duress, is forced to choose which of her loved ones to save—and which must be sacrificed.

Perfect for fans of Kathy Reichs and Tess Gerritsen


Fatal Intent


Oh my, this will raise some book club debates. What a tremendous. impact story this is. When patients with underlining health problems have routine surgery at the hospital, they are dying. unexpectedly, within days of discharge.

Dr Kate Downey, an anesthesiologist, has to put her career on the line to find out why so many patients are dying as she seems to be involved in a lot of these surgeries. The more she pushes for answers, the more danger she is putting herself in.

I enjoyed this medical thriller which made me think of the quality of life of a patient. Do we selfishly sometimes keep a loved one alive for our own need rather than for the good of them? It brings up my ethical thoughts and makes you stop and think.

I liked Kate, who has a husband that is reliant on medical intervention to be kept alive. It lets you see both sides of the picture and opens your mind to what you think the right thing would be to do. It is so different looking into a situation rather than living it.

The story builds and becomes tenser in the last few chapters. It is a book to make you think. I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book.


Tammy Euliano

Tammy EulianoMD, is a practicing anesthesiologist and tenured professor at the University of Florida. In addition to a prolific list of academic publications, YouTube teaching videos, and numerous teaching awards, she has also written award-winning short fiction. Fatal Intent is her debut novel. Tammy lives in Gainesville, FL, with her husband. –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Twitter: @Teuliano

Fatal Intent by [Tammy Euliano]

Daria’s Daughter by Linda Huber @LindaHuber19 @HobeckBooks #NewRelease #Suspense #BookReview #KindleUnlimted #DomesticNoir

Firstly I wish to thank Rebecca Collins of Hobeck Books for inviting me to read and review this book .

Daria's Daughter by [Linda Huber]


A mother and daughter torn apart

An explosive accident on the way to Glasgow airport leaves Daria hurt, bereaved and confused. Her daughter has vanished without a trace and nobody is telling her what happened. Evie’s gone. That’s all. Gone. What does Daria have left to live for?

A mother and daughter reunited

Margie can’t believe it. Bridie is hurt. Bridie needs her. They manage to escape the smoke, the noise and the confusion. They are together, that’s all that matters. Everything will be better in the morning, Margie tells Bridie. And it will.

The bonds that never break

Will Daria ever be able to put the pieces of her tattered life back together after the loss of her daughter? Is it possible that things aren’t quite as they seem? Can the unimaginable turn out to be the truth?

Linda Huber’s brilliant novel is a compelling and moving tale of motherly love, loss and redemption which you won’t be able to put down.


Daria’s Daughter


I have read books by Linda Huber before, but this has taken her into another league! Just get ready to have the stuffing knocked out of you on every page of this book as a series of events throw three women onto tangled paths that alter each of their lives. The story revolves around Evie, Daria’s daughter, who is only four-years-old.

There are some fabulous characters in this story, and although your heart breaks for Daria, Evie and their family, I couldn’t feel angry about what happened. Margie probably saved Evie’s life, but she didn’t see everything else around her. Not the chaos or the fire, she just saw Brodie, her young daughter, and she needed to get her home because she was hurt. Evie went with her because she was so young and was looking for her mummy.

I was already in pieces at just a few chapters into this story that’s followed by heartbreaking scenes. Harsh words and judgement can’t ever be taken back. People hit out at the ones they love, and blame has to be put on someone, it is what we do. There is so much overwhelming grief of loss, guilt and not being able to say goodbye.

The story follows Daria, Margie and Lianne, who has recently moved into the neighbourhood with her daughter Frith. It is full of tender moments, beautifully stories, and so much love, besides the grief. A fabulous story that I read with tears and smiles as I connected with every single character in this story.

I wish to thank the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Linda Huber

Linda Huber is an ex-physiotherapist who grew up in Glasgow but has lived over half her life in Switzerland, where she writes psychological suspense novels as Linda Huber as well as feel-good novellas under her pen name Melinda Huber.

The inspiration for her books comes from everyday life – a family member’s struggle with dementia, the discovery that a child in her extended family drowned in the 1940s, and more.

The Runaway is Linda’s ninth suspense novel, and tells the story of a Nicola, who relocates to Cornwall with her husband and daughter – but the future they’re all looking for isn’t the one they find…

She is currently working on another suspense novel and enjoying life on the banks of lovely Lake Constance.


Twitter: @LindaHuber19

Daria's Daughter by [Linda Huber]

Not Having it All by Jennie Ensor @Jennie_Ensor #ReLaunch #PrizeDraw

Not Having It All: A wickedly funny, feel-good novel about love, lies and middle age by [Jennie Ensor]


“I read most of the book with a smile on my face; a fabulous bit of feel-good fiction” – The Book Magnet

This is the story of four middle-aged people who are definitely NOT having it all. Meet Bea, Kurt, Maddie and Colin.

Senior lecturer Bea Hudson juggles her job at the ‘Psycho Lab’ with looking after her demanding five-year-old daughter, badly-behaved dog and next-to-useless au pair. When her chief exec husband is sent overseas and she’s left without childcare, Bea turns to best friend Maddie for help.

Kurt, downing whiskies in his hotel room as he imagines what his wife is up to, is convinced that Bea is becoming a little too friendly with Maddie. With characteristic obsession he enlists his neighbour’s help in a secret surveillance operation.

Found-object artist Maddie longs for a child of her own with a man she can trust – and he must love cats.

Divorced, risk-averse Colin is a senior manager at ‘the nation’s number one pussy insurer’. When he meets Maddie in a lift he’s smitten, and resolves to displace Maddie’s feline companions on her sofa. But he starts to fear that Maddie sees him only as ‘a handy stud with a fat wallet’.

Can Bea and Kurt find happiness again? Can Maddie and Colin risk falling in love?

A story about love, relationships and second chances, perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Jojo Moyes, and anyone who loved Bridget Jones’ Diary or Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. If you enjoy novels with depth, heart and laugh-out-loud humour, you’ll love this razor-sharp romantic comedy like no other.


Not Having It All: A wickedly funny, feel-good novel about love, lies and middle age 


I missed this book on its first publication so very happy that I have caught it this time. At first, I wasn’t sure if the way that the dialogue was set out and frequent exchange of e-mails would work for me but it did and I became absorbed in the story.

The story centres around Neuroscientist Bea Hudson, and her relationships with her obsessively jealous husband Kurt, her four-year-old daughter Fran and her best friend Madeleine. When Kurt has to go away to work, he takes drastic action to keep his eye on his wife. Madeleine sees an opportunity to spend more time with Fran, who she fantasies about being her daughter. It seems that all three of the grown-ups are having mid-life crises issues to deal with.

Jenny Ensor, the author, has this way of bringing these characters to life in my head, including their distinctive voices. I particularly liked Katya, or Katie as the family call her. Katie is Polish, and a sort of Aupair with extras’ that include walking the dog. This character has been cast to perfection, including the accent. I can still hear her in my mind! Combined with this accent and the situations that she gets into, they had me laughing so much.

The supporting characters are just as memorable, from the nosy neighbour, that turns full-on PI, to the crazy psychiatrist, it is a page-turning pleasure to read. It catches all the crazy things that people do when they hit a mid-life crisis. The uncertainties and the panic, when they realise that changes in them, mean that some doors in the past are now firmly closing.

Each of the characters faces their insane grab at youth or putting to rights something while they have the chance. Such clever stories and brilliant execution. I cringe when I think of that era relating to myself! A fabulous book!


Jennie Ensor: Biography

A Londoner with Irish heritage, Jennie Ensor began her writing career as a journalist, obtaining a Masters in Journalism (winning two awards) and covering topics from forced marriage to accidents in the mining industry. She isn’t afraid to tackle controversial issues in her novels, either: Islamic terrorism, Russian gangsters and war crimes in her debut BLIND SIDE (a psychological mystery blended with a love story), domestic abuse and sexual exploitation in her second, THE GIRL IN HIS EYES.

Her third novel NOT HAVING IT ALL, a relationship comedy, is an excursion to the brighter side of life. A new edition was published in January 2021.

Ms Ensor’s poetry has appeared in many publications including Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink Sweat and Tears. Her poem ‘Lost Connection’ placed second in the Breakout Prose category of the Fish Lockdown Prize in 2020.

In her spare time (?) she reads, walks and attempts twice-weekly yoga. She regularly cycles the punishing hills of north London and at the end of the day enjoys collapsing with a bar of chocolate/glass of strong alcohol in front of a TV crime drama.

Author links

Author website: Author Facebook page:



Amazon author page:



Giveaway: A prize draw to celebrate the relaunch will be held at 6pm on 23 February on my FB page (the giveaway post is pinned to the page).


The Direction of Murder (David Knight series) by John Nightingale @johnnightingal4 #BookReview #TheDirectionOfMurder


David Knight returns… Crime writer David Knight finds himself a little out of his comfort zone when asked to develop the script for a film of one of his novels. And yet a week in a moated country house with A-list stars is too good to miss, even if the director is notorious for playing with the emotions of his actors, and everyone else. It is only when he discovers that his detective is being portrayed by a method actor, who appears to believe he actually is Tom Travis, that David becomes seriously uneasy. Nor does it help that he has caught the eye of the director’s glamorous, and very rich, wife. But that is only the start. David finds himself at the centre of events that not only involve unusual murder weapons and locked rooms, but sudden death. Can David find a way of keeping fiction and reality apart? PRAISE FOR THE APPEARANCE OF MURDER THE FIRST NOVEL IN THE DAVID KNIGHT SERIES ‘I’ve asked for it to be placed in my Christmas stocking.’ IAN RANKIN ‘The most teasingly pleasurable crime mystery I’ve come across this year.’ JOHN SUTHERLAND The Times, Books of the Year 2015 ‘In this witty and entertaining story…there is a good deal to relish.’ JESSICA MANN Literary Review ‘The best of existential crime.’ GUY FRASER-SAMPSON Author of the Hampstead Murders series ‘Uber-clever crime fiction.’ ASK MEN UK 10 best books of 2015‘It’s a brilliant crime novel full of typically British characters…If you like Tom Sharpe you’ll love this book.’ Goodreads Review


The Direction Of Murder (David Knight series)


This is the second book in the David Knight series, set in the very traditional British murder mystery style. I had been blown away with the first book, The Appearance of Murder, and this hit that spot again! David Knight, an author with a string of successful murder mystery book publications behind him, is offered a substantial amount of money to oversee the making of a film. The money is too good to turn down. Jerry, the technical and fact advisor to David’s books, has also come along, to offer his opinion and meet the cast. The cast of players is all staying in a large country house surrounded by a moat that is only accessible to cross at certain times. The scenes will be filmed at the country house, which will work perfectly for special effects scenes.

I was already trying to guess who would be ‘the unexpected death(s)’ and who would be the killer. There is a real mixed bunch of filmmakers and stars, all obsessed with their importance. The very gruesome method of killing the first victim has been copied from David’s book, but that isn’t the end of this mystery, there is yet another murder that sets the bar even higher. Houdini would have been proud of this killer and the skill used. But will the intrepid duo of book detectives be able to come up with the answers before the real detectives lock them up for murder?

It has been a joy to read this new addition to this series. The characters are engaging both through humour and following them during the investigation of the murders. There are red herrings in the plot, which threw me a bit. but I liked working out the technical side of the story of how? I was surprised about why. I hope to see more of this pair. A brilliant story that I became enthralled by. This is a fabulous series.


John Nightingale is the author of The Sky Blue Parcelthe first in the Jane Charles series and The Appearance of Murder – listed as a book of the year for 2015 in The Times and as one of 10 Best Books of 2015 on AskMen UK.

Before becoming a full-time novelist, he worked as a civil servant in a number of different roles.  He was, among other things, in charge of national alcohol misuse policy (“previous experience not required and may even be a disadvantage”); and an expert on pensions and pensions education, playing a leading role in sorting out the Maxwell pension scandal.

He studied English at Cambridge and lives and writes in London and Suffolk.  In 1990 he married Caroline Slocock, who also worked as a civil servant for many years, including as the first woman Private Secretary in No 10 and as a senior civil servant at the Treasury. They have two daughters.

His civil service career provided the background to The Sky Blue Parcel, where he worked closely with Ministers, for example on the Department of Work and Pensions’ anti-fraud strategy. Jane’s branch in Her Majesty’s Treasury dealing with large scale organized financial crime is an invention but perhaps overdue.

Another source of inspiration for his writing came through no talent of his own but through marriage. He got, for a time, to be the additional man at that banquet at No 10 or that reception at Chequers, where he suddenly found himself in conversation with Dame Vera Lynn, Jimmy Greaves and Clive Lloyd. There was also the opportunity and time to observe events and people which  is precious for any novelist, thriller writer or otherwise. On another occasion he sat next to the very charming wife of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury who told him that she had been in a bookshop earlier in the day and picked up a thriller which had the opening line “The wife of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury…”

A sense of the surreal and the difficulty of determining where precisely reality lies is a key element in John’s thrillers, The Appearance of Murder and The Direction of Murder, both featuring David Knight.

Twitter: @johnnightingal4


The Appearance of Murder