Wednesday 17 June 2020

Half Year round up

Greetings all

Long time, no blog it seems. And the reason for that is that I feel I've run out of words to say.....let me expand....

At the beginning of the year I set myself a book reading target of 60 books in 12 months. That's probably peanuts for most of you, but being a total book sloth in terms of reading speed, I though it was quite ambitious but fairly achievable.

Then COVID-19 happened

I found myself stuck at home, nowhere to go, nothing to do. I started this blog. So far, so good! 

Lockdown continued

I began buying more books and reading more books. My TBR list has grown exponentially over the last couple of months and I found myself going from an average one book a week to three. Most of them have been fantastic and I realised that I felt I'd run out of superlatives, adjectives, synonyms, metaphors etc. to be able to review and gush about how wonderful they have all been. It felt like I was saying the same thing every time, especially when I read so many other amazing reviews from more articulate bloggers than me.

Hence why I've not blogged for a while (oh, and also because the day job has been getting in the way a bit more too!)

So, what I thought I'd do, as we approach the half way stage of my book challenge, is bring you up to date on where I am and what I've read along with a brief "three words or less" summary of each book - then you'll realise why I've ground to a halt with reviews when you see my shockingly limited vocabulary!! 

Ok, so as it stands today, with my target of 60 books by the end of the year, I have read....

(Insert drum roll here.....)

37 Books!!! 😮

More than half way to my goal at the "not quite half way point". Pretty chuffed with that.

So....what have I read? In no particular order, thanks to the new Blogger interface which is, quite frankly, rubbish, here we go.......(and just a note....depending on how you're reading this - phone, tablet, computer etc - the comments might not match up with the cover pics, so have fun working out what goes where!!) Damn you Blogger interface!! 

         Life Affirming                    Chillingly Prescient              Violent Fun

     Superbly Shocking           Spooky Brilliance        Action Packed Madness

Authentically Historic Caper   Sadly Disappointing        Twisted Genius

         Empowering                      Superb Debut          Brilliant Dystopian Nightmare

    Twisted Thrill Ride               Aaah....Tilly!!               Gripping Page Turner

       Don't Judge Me!                  Just Excellent              Butt Clenching Thriller

Sick, Twisted Brilliance   Utterly Joyous Bonkersness     Intriguing Thriller

           Fantastic                   Totally Absorbing            Sheer Masterpiece

    Superb Collection         Original and Gripping           Just Loved It!  

             Glorious                        Riveting                        A Good Read

           Shocking                    Heart Warming                  Excellent Debut

Masterful Storytelling        Nail Bitingly Good            Another Page Turner 

Sick, Twisted Brilliance #2

So there you have it!

I feel I should explain myself with one of those selections...can you guess which??

Yes, Olivia Newton-John was my first boyhood crush, at the tender age of just six, singing "Take Me Home Country Roads" on Top of the Pops wearing Hot Pants (not me, Olivia). I was smitten and this was way before Grease with the skin tight pants.......!! She still is a crush to be fair. I still have a signed photo of her too. Stands to reason I had to buy her autobiography then surely? That's my excuse, my blog, my rules and I don't care!

Maybe you've read all of these, some of them, or have gained some ideas of what to read next -  except perhaps one?? 😀 

Either way, it's a been a pretty diverse and brilliant year of reading for me so far, and with an ever expanding TBR list, who knows what the next six months will bring?

Huge thanks to all of these authors who have helped me escape into other worlds and saved my sanity on many occasions. In this current strange and quite frankly depressing world we are living,  books have been an absolute godsend! 

As always, thanks for reading, stay safe, stay well.


Sunday 31 May 2020

Blog Tour - The Guest

Hi all
Something different today as I am happy to present a Spotlight post as part of the current Blog Tour for Cathryn Grant's brand new psychological thriller The Guest.

In these current times of lockdowns and social distancing, I should think many of us are actually looking forward to the days when we can have a guest around - but what if they overstay their welcome? What if their arrival changes the dynamics of your household? And what if you find yourself increasingly attracted to them?

What might that all lead to?

Here's the blurb.....

She told him to make himself at home. He did. 
Life has been good to Ellie – she owns a successful art gallery, is deeply in love with her husband, Seth, and has two beautiful children, Brandon and Simone.   
But not everything is perfect…

Lately, Seth seems to have something on his mind and has become cold and distant. And things don’t improve when he invites mysterious stranger Ace to stay in their home.

Ace is charming, but Ellie can’t help feeling there’s more to him than meets the eye, that he has some kind of agenda. She’s also aware that she is dangerously attracted to him.

Then a girl at Brandon’s school is murdered, and Ellie is beyond devastated when the police tell her they think her son might be involved.

Ellie knows in her heart that Brandon is innocent and she feels certain that Ace is somehow connected to the disturbing things that are happening. She starts to dig for the truth and uncovers the terrible secret that will change her life in ways she can’t imagine…

The stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of K. L. Slater, Teresa Driscoll, and Andrew Hart.

The Guest is Published by Inkubator Books and released today, 31st May 2020 in digital format

About the author

Cathryn Grant is a new author to me so how about we find out some more about her...

Cathryn Grant writes psychological thrillers, psychological suspense, and ghost stories. She’s the author of twenty-three novels; two psychological thrillers, seven suburban noir novels, the Alexandra Mallory series, Haunted Ship trilogy, Madison Keith Ghost Story series as well as short fiction.
She’s loved crime fiction all her life and is endlessly fascinated by the twists and turns, and the dark corners of the human mind.

When she’s not writing, Cathryn reads fiction, eavesdrops, and tries to play golf without hitting her ball into the sand or the water. She lives on the Central California coast with her husband and two cats.

Cathryn is the author of The Good Neighbor and many other crime thrillers.  Her fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines as well as several anthologies. THE GUEST will be her third novel published with Inkubator Books

Cathryn can be contacted via the following platforms:

Social Media:
To purchase your copy of The Guest just click on the links below:

Purchase Links:

Amazon US:

And don't forget there's still time to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour which are all detailed below:

Saturday 9 May 2020

I Am Dust

As the lights in the auditorium faded, the excited mutterings of the attending crowd diminished to an occasional stolen whisper. A single spotlight illuminated the stage as a bearded man strode confidently towards it from the wings, taking up his position. As he turned to face the crowd, his eyes gave away his nervousness.

“Ladies and gentlemen”, he enunciated to the back row, the clipped tones struggling to hide his common south-east London vernacular; “thank you for coming. May I remind you to remain seated following our feature presentation for an additional bonus performance.” He paused for dramatic effect.

“And now, without furth…….” he halted mid-sentence and stooped to pick up a medium sized black dog which had wandered on stage to steal the limelight. Forgetting the microphone was still on, the man whispered in the dogs’ ear; “Buckley, I told you I will take you for a walk as soon as I finish this blog post. You can’t keep interrupting me.” He coughed, remembering where he was and with Buckley tucked under his arm he continued.

“Without further ado, I am proud to present the Barking Mad Book Bloggers review of………….”

I’m no stranger to treading the boards. As a teenager I spent every Saturday at the Croydon Warehouse Theatre attending their Youth Theatre Group in the day, then working front of house for the main events in the evenings, taking tickets and selling ice creams in the interval – never understood why stem ginger and acacia honey was always a sell-out………in Croydon!

A few years later, I became involved in Amateur Dramatics and spent several years performing in numerous productions. I was even lucky enough to perform on Broadway two years running! (Lewisham Theatre, Catford Broadway – Annie Get Your Gun in 1992 and My Fair Lady in 1993)

Then, three years after giving up the grease paint I had a very successful tenure as drummer and backing vocalist for Kent’s top Rock covers band (possibly) Contraband, which continued for eleven years.
I present the following as photographic evidence m ’lord....

(I think given this last photo we should have stuck to the original band name idea.....Betty & The Swallox!)

But I digress. The point I am making is that Louise Beech’s I Am Dust is dripping with so much atmosphere and authenticity that it immediately brought all my thespian memories flooding back to centre stage. If ever there was a prime example of the adage “write about what you know”, then Louise has done this to the max, with brass knobs on! You can almost feel the buzz of a busy backstage and the contrasting eeriness of when a theatre ‘goes dark’ throughout the book, as Louise expertly draws on her own knowledge of the arts to bring us a gloriously rich and evocative tale of teenage angst, unrequited love, spine chilling paranormal activity, betrayal and murder. I Am Dust has got it all, and I loved every single page of this superb novel.
But what is it about, I hear a cry from the cheap seats! Well, twenty years after the musical ‘Dust’ was abandoned following the murder of its leading actress in her dressing room, Chloe finds herself working at the same theatre as an Usher. The events from two decades ago has resulted in the theatre gaining a notoriety for being haunted and the star dressing room, where the murder took place, is somewhere that Chloe can’t bring herself to enter. There are certainly some incredibly chilling scenes right from the outset which set the tone and pace of the story and immediately draw the reader into Chloe’s world and the ominous surroundings she finds herself in. Then, news comes that ‘Dust’ the musical is to be revived to celebrate its twentieth anniversary, and is returning to the very same theatre. As a huge fan of the original production, Chloe is excited by this prospect, however as the weeks countdown to opening night, events start to trigger dark memories of her teenage years which are all intertwined with that fatal night many years ago. As the spirits grow increasingly restless, and flashbacks from her past become manifest, Chloe finds herself caught between two worlds; determined to solve the ‘whodunit’ mystery from twenty years past and making sure that history does not repeat itself.
A little tip before you dive into this book – don’t start reading it late at night before bedtime! It can lend itself to some pretty vivid dreams resulting in shouting yourself awake and glaring warily into the shadows…. I…er…. *cough*…. imagine. I Am Dust is a seriously creepy book with some very visual scenes of ghostly goings on. The tension and pace of the story does not wander at any point; if anything, it gets increasingly claustrophobic and more terrifying as it builds to its heart stopping climax.
Louise’s writing has always had lyrical and poetic undertones, and I Am Dust is no exception. Incorporating lines from the musical’s songs within the pages adds a lot of depth to the narrative as it brings to life the passion and tone of the play that made Chloe fall in love with so much – a bit like Les Misérables does for me – and you begin to understand how obsessive and entrancing the world of the theatre can be. Chloe is a troubled protagonist but incredibly likeable and you will find yourself completely consumed by her journey. Louise has also assembled a superb cast of supporting characters, including the brilliantly comic Chester who provides some light relief to contrast what is essentially a dark and disturbing tale. Yet at its heart, I Am Dust is a story of love and friendship and the importance of not letting anything get in the way of that as they are the fundamental aspects of how we live our lives. It even bought a lump to the throat of this grizzled old blogger!
I absolutely loved I Am Dust, which for me has claimed the book of the year title so far. Louise is such a versatile author with a passion for storytelling and an expertise in drawing the reader into her vivid imagination. I can’t wait to see what she brings us next.

Now, if you were paying attention I mentioned a “bonus performance” at the top of the page? Well, as I’m on a bit of a "Louise Love-In", I thought it would be nice to copy my pre-blog review of her previous novel Call Me Star Girl here which I originally posted on Amazon. It’s not as wafflely as my blog posts you’ll be pleased to know!!

Call Me Star Girl showcases the talent of a writer at the top of her game. Although Louise's first thriller novel, this is essentially a story about love and passion and the intense emotions that surface as a result of giving yourself completely and utterly to one person. Louise skilfully intertwines this with an atmospheric and highly charged whodunit relating to the murder of a young woman and a mysterious caller who keeps phoning into our protagonist Stella McKeever's late-night radio show claiming he saw what happened.

The scenes set within the radio station are incredibly tense and claustrophobic, with a creeping paranoia that intensifies as Stella becomes increasingly drawn into the mysterious callers' world. Turn the page and the reader is drawn into a passionate and, at times, incredibly sexy love affair that's almost voyeuristic to read. The story twists and turns until both worlds collide with shocking results.

Call Me Star Girl is a highly addictive read which further reinforces Louise Beech as one of the best authors to have emerged over the last few years. Her ability to effortlessly cross genres from her incredibly emotive and personal previous novels such as How to be Brave and The Mountain in my Shoe, to this dark and disturbing mystery reflects a highly skilled writer and one whom I believe has only just begun to show us what she has to offer despite an already incredible back catalogue of work.

Both books are published by the fabulous Orenda books and you can purchase them now by clicking here 

 As always, thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

Wednesday 29 April 2020


The door squealed noisily back on its hinges as I entered the room. The semi-circle of faces within all turned to me with accusing eyes as I nervously made my way to the one unoccupied chair. As I sat, with my head sheepishly gazing at my feet, I heard a voice say, “okay, I think we’re all here now, so as is customary, shall we start with our newest attendee?”

I looked up to see everyone staring eagerly at me.

With legs wobbling like a day-old blancmange, I nervously nodded and rose to my feet.

“H…. hello everyone,” I stuttered. The silence was palpable. I looked down at the floor again.

“Take your time,” said the bodiless voice.

I cleared my throat and with a sudden surge of bravado I blurted it out.

“Hello everyone, my name is Brian and I am a Doctor Who fan”

The applause was deafening………………………………………….


Yes folks, confession time. I AM a Doctor Who fan. There. I’ve said it now. Luckily, I’ve made this statement on my own blog, so no-one will read it anyway!

I think it’s fair to say that back in the late 70s and early 80s, and certainly during my school days, such a confession would have got me beaten up in the playground. There is still a stigma attached to “being a fan” of Doctor Who, and for other genre shows too, to be honest, however, I think that the reboot of the show in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston and the subsequent brilliant regeneration into the excellent David Tennant did bring it some credibility in the modern world. And Jodie Whittaker is just “fantastic”, as number 9 would say (little in joke for any whovians that may have stumbled on here by mistake!)

But back to the 70s. It was around 73/74 when this then 6-year-old boy gained his first female crush…. The Doctor’s assistant Jo Grant, a.k.a Katy Manning. Jon Pertwee was the Doctor and I was immediately hooked on his famous Venusian Aikido moves, flamboyant character, Bessie his car, and the Whomobile. This weird man with white hair and velvet jackets, with his gorgeous blonde sidekick, fighting monsters and aliens and supported by a secret division of the British Army – what’s not to love?

Then along came Tom Baker. Tom Baker IS the Doctor in my opinion. He is the template by which, for me, all subsequent Doctors’ need to defer to. His incarnation/regeneration cemented my love of the show which continues to this day. I’m not the obsessive I was back then, (although I still have a Tom Baker/Who Action figure, Target Novels, back issues of Doctor Who Weekly, poster of Jo Grant posing naked with a Dalek……ahem!) but I still enjoy watching it and have fond memories of my childhood attached to it.

So….it was inevitable that when Tom wrote a novel based on his abandoned Doctor Who film proposal, surely it was a given that it was a book I just had to buy, right? Too right….

Back in the 70s, Tom and his co-star Ian Marter, who played one of his companions Harry Sullivan, developed a script for a potential big screen Doctor Who adventure. Sadly, the project never got off the ground and the script became lost until 2006 when it was discovered by the British Film Institute. Cutting a long story short, we (time) jump to 2019 and Tom, along with writer James Goss has adapted the script into a novel, thus Doctor Who: Scratchman is re-born (should have said re-generated, damnit!!)

Let me say from the start that Scratchman is utterly bonkers. It is so audaciously 70s in atmosphere and tone, and 100% Tom Baker through and through. Unusually for a Doctor Who novel it is written in the first person, which is where it gets a bit weird. This is Tom Baker, writing as Doctor Who, but sounding just like Tom Baker. He also flits between first person and third person, implying that the Doctor knows what other characters are doing, saying and thinking without him actually being in that particular scene at that time. Probably not an award winning literary style, but hey, it’s Tom so he can get away with it. And to be fair, he does.

You cannot read Scratchman without doing so in Toms’ gloriously rich tone. This is a true 1970s Doctor Who adventure, including the wonderful Sarah Jane Smith and hapless Harry Sullivan joining him as his companions. The crew land on a remote Scottish island which quickly becomes over-run by murderous scarecrows. After facing them through a series of typical Who style and “terribly British” set pieces, it soon becomes evident that the scarecrows are the least of the Doctors problems, as part two of the book then descends into what can only be described as sheer, unadulterated, drug-induced hokum, as the Doctor comes face to face with Scratchman, a Devil incarnate who throws him and his companions into a range of mind-bogglingly and completely off the wall situations which could only come from the mind of Mr Baker himself. Seriously, if Tom was not drunk, high on medication or sniffing something when he wrote this, then he should start bottling his brain cells for posterity or start marketing his DNA – it’s psychedelic stuff!

Aside from this however, there is a genuine love and warmth for the character and the show radiating from every page. Die-hard fans will love the nods that Tom gives to past and present incarnations of the Doctor, as well as some of his adversaries. The characters of Sarah Jane and Harry are lovingly and accurately portrayed, and the inclusion of anecdotal interviews with Tom and Ian about the original Scratchman concept may bring a lump to the throat.

Whilst its appeal to long term Who fans is apparent, there is still enough in Scratchman to also cater to those with a passing interest in the series, and for any science fiction fan overall. There is a hint of the madcap 1970s sci-fi of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and The New Avengers and even the outlandishness of The Goodies about it, along with a touch of the slightly more modern Red Dwarf. It is gloriously ridiculous, terribly British and truly reflective of the national treasure that is Mr Tom Baker.  Scratchman will help you escape this current “Groundhog Day” world we currently live in and transport you to somewhere you would never even begin to imagine. Or would probably want to!

Scratchman is published by BBC Books and available in all formats. The audiobook is read by Tom Baker himself so I should imagine that being an immersive and somewhat hallucinatory experience!

Friday 24 April 2020

King of the Crows

Greetings peeps
How are you all bearing up in this Groundhog Day world we are currently living in? It's all a bit weird innit??!!

Thank God for books then eh? There's so many great new releases around at the moment, and superb deals on e-books and paperbacks, especially from indie bookshops and publishers - a veritable pick 'n' mix of literary treats and I have certainly been filling my, ahem, sack with plenty of selections over the last few weeks.

If you follow me on Twitter (and if not, why not?) 😏, and/or if you read my previous review for the excellent Slow Bear in my Double Whammy Weekend review post, then you'll be aware of my love for the awesome publishers Fahrenheit Press, and the gibbering anticipation I have had for their forthcoming blockbuster King of the Crows by Russell Day. Well, the day of release is nearly upon us, with publication due on 1st May and if you're very quick and get your pre-order in soon, like, NOW, Fahrenheit have indicated a mysterious announcement to be made which may be of benefit - no idea what it may be but look - you can go to the Fahrenheit Press site Using this link and pre-order your copy now, along with any other of their superb titles, and I'll wait for you to come back before I continue. Go.....


Need a bit more time?



So.......what can you expect from King of the Crows? Well, I and a select few other bloggers have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to read it so without further ado may I present.........

I don’t even know how to start reviewing Russell Day’s King of the Crows to be honest, and even this review took several drafts, believe it or not! I think it is fair to say that it is probably one of the most unique books I have read in terms of its style, structure and content. This is no ordinary novel; its intricate plot threads and set pieces deserve some attention so it’s not a book to read lightly. Although that might just be me, who knows!

Looking at recent entries on Twitter, there appear to be some fledgling authors seemingly trying to “cash in” on the current Covid-19 outbreak by submitting works based on current events, causing some agents to denounce them and refuse to look at them. I agree that this is wholly inappropriate and definitely not something that I think many people would want to read at this time. Taking this into consideration, I can totally understand why publishers Fahrenheit Press were in two minds whether to go ahead with the release of King of the Crows. It is after all a novel about a pandemic that hits Europe and the UK and the resulting impact this has on the global economic and political infrastructure, not to mention the social and health implications for the public.  

However, Russell Day wrote and developed King of the Crows back in 2016 which in itself is scarily prescient and uncanny; add to this he is currently working on the frontline in the NHS helping to fight Covid-19.  Whilst the timing may seem unfortunate, this is not a novel based on actual events as they currently stand, albeit there are some unnerving parallels that could be interpreted as such, like an inept U.S President and a UK Government that seemingly favours power and patting themselves on the back over helping the struggling majority in a time of crisis. To that extent, it does reflect a somewhat damning indictment of the world we are currently living in. But I agree that Fahrenheit Press made the right decision to release it, after delaying it for some time. Whilst comparisons could be made, King of the Crows is an utterly absorbing and addictive read, and outrageously funny in parts as well. To that end, I think it’s exactly the right time to lose yourself within its pages.

King of the Crows reads like a masterclass in creative writing, in that Russell presents the story using a range of assorted styles and perspectives across an eight-year timespan yet still manages to maintain a tight storyline filled with chilling imagery, darkly black humour and scarily accurate portrayals of modern society in the grip of madness. Incorporating passages from main character Colin Robertson’s memoir; pages from the big budget Hollywood screenplay of his life (hilariously highlighting the skewed “artistic licence” for portraying accuracy that such films have); internet forum chatrooms; chapters from academic research and papers, as well as army records, a police procedural investigation, interviews, eye witness accounts and the third person perspective of the main story narrative itself, King of the Crows is a huge literary jigsaw puzzle with every piece slotting together to form a stylish and compelling novel of chaos and corruption. Oh……and zombies!

Yes, zombies for want of another word. Although these guys aren’t the lumbering, flesh eating, walking dead we’ve all come to know and love throughout the movies. If the virus doesn’t kill its victims, it continues to cause brain lesions resulting in their increasingly psychotic behaviour, leading to random acts of violence and a developing horde mentality that Robertson and his “band of merry men” must contend with, whilst plotting the mother of all heists against the backdrop of a ruined London financial sector. Yes, despite the apparent apocalyptic demise of Europe as we know it, the lure of being rich is still enough to risk life and limb it seems.

The tagline for King of the Crows is “Ocean’s Eleven meets 28 Days Later” and that’s a pretty fair summary. But for me, add elements of The Dirty Dozen, World War Z, The Walking Dead and even The Italian Job and The Long Good Friday into the mix and this gives you an idea of what awaits you within the pages of this glorious novel. It’s a superb mix of action, horror, social commentary and pure escapism, albeit terrifyingly realised against the world as we currently know it.
Do yourselves a favour, scroll back to the top of the review, click on the link and pre-order your copy now. If you haven't already guessed it, I can't recommend it highly enough.
Huge thanks to Fahrenheit Press for the opportunity to read it and I can clarify that there was no obligation to write a review - I just wanted to!
As always, thanks to you all for reading.

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Dead Wrong/Dead Inside

Greetings peeps - how are we all doing? I have lots planned for the Easter weekend......not! Thinking of doing a bar crawl and leaving various bottles of alcohol in different rooms of the house just for a change of scenery! The gutting thing is I would have been flying off to Santorini this weekend - will just have to eat Greek food in the garden instead and smash a few plates, although my wife would say that's nothing different to how I normally do the washing up!

Anyway, back to business and my review of Noelle Holten's gripping new thriller Dead Wrong. I have also reproduced my original review of her first book in the series Dead Inside - I say reproduced, I mean copy and pasted it! 😄

Dead Wrong is the second book in a series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson, however it is also a great ensemble piece, giving the reader further insights into the characters of psychologist Dr Kate Maloney; Maggie’s boss DI Rutherford and her colleague Nathan Wright, all of whom share some of the spotlight throughout the story. Although a direct follow up to Noelle’s debut in the series, Dead Inside (see my review below), there is enough background info here to allow it to be read as a stand-alone novel.
Plot wise, Dead Wrong is a page turning cat and mouse thriller with Maggie Jamieson going head to head with not only convicted serial killer Bill Raven, but also her boss and colleagues as she battles to ensure he is not released on bail pending his appeal against conviction. The difficulty being that the body of one of the victims that he confessed to killing three years previously has just been found, and the pathology report shows she could only have been killed within the last two days. Maggie is convinced that Raven is guilty; the trouble is she is walking a fine line between convincing her boss that she is acting professionally and not holding a personal vendetta against him. The plot, as they say, thickens – and in this case, it not only thickens but twists, turns and gets darker on every page.

As the body count rises, so does Raven’s chances of release. With mounting pressure from DI Rutherford and a baying press hungry to scapegoat Maggie for convicting an innocent man, the clock is ticking down to Raven’s appeal, however Maggie is determined that will only happen over her dead body – but is that what Raven wants? Add to this a creepy sub plot involving Dr Kate Maloney and you have a compulsive and highly entertaining police procedural in your hands.
There is a real Hannibal Lecter/Clarice Starling element to the exchanges between Raven and Maggie as she reluctantly engages with him to “assist” with her enquiries. He is clearly a manipulative and calculating psychopath, playing games with Maggie and the Justice System to get what he wants. I can’t help but think that Noelle has drawn some elements of his character from similar individuals she would have come across in her previous career. Her years of experience in the Probation Service have been utilised to great effect throughout, highlighting the multi-agency approach to public protection and the important work that the Probation Service does that pretty much goes unnoticed.

Dead Wrong is dead brilliant – a slick, well written and highly absorbing thriller, great characterisation, meticulously researched with an authentic and intricately woven plot - and one hell of an ending! The third in the series, Dead Perfect is released later this year and I have already pre-ordered it. Definitely recommended.

Dead Wrong is published by Harper Collins and available on all formats now

I have nothing but huge admiration for anyone who can write a book. It's something I would love to do but quite frankly I haven't got the slightest beginnings of an original idea for a storyline or the patience to write one so I'll just stick to reading. One thing that is always said when embarking on writing a novel is for the author to "write what you know". Dead Inside is the perfect embodiment of someone writing about a subject matter they clearly have a wealth of experience of. The fact that it is a debut novel and the subject is domestic abuse and the impact of this upon all those it affects really raises the bar further.

Noelle is a former Probation Officer and has clearly drawn on her years of experience to accurately reflect and highlight exactly how difficult this role can be through one of the main characters also being a Probation Officer. It's a refreshing change to see this other side of the criminal justice system being depicted within a crime novel and I hope it goes some way to really show the complexities of the job to members of the public as it is definitely one of those roles you only tend to hear about if anything goes wrong (and I speak with eighteen years’ experience myself).

Dead Inside is a serial killer thriller with a difference. The difference for me was that I was on the killer's side. Noelle has not shied away from frighteningly realistic depictions of the horror of domestic abuse and the life changing physical and emotional scars it leaves on its' survivors. The brutal acts of power and control acted out by the abusive perpetrators made for some very uncomfortable reading, so when such characters get their well-deserved comeuppance, you can't help but punch the air and cheer. Despite my own professionalism, it is hard not to be affected by such crimes and quite frankly makes you ashamed to be a man sometimes. Thankfully, these so called "men" are a minority, but I digress....

Dead Inside is a fast moving, harrowing and very realistic psychological crime thriller and the start of what looks to be a fantastic new series from Noelle. A very confident, no holds barred debut not afraid to tackle an extremely emotive subject with equal amounts of personal knowledge, experience, objectivity, respect and understanding. Had me completely hooked from the opening chapter. Highly recommended.

So there you have it - two fantastic books to see you through the Easter weekend if you have not already read them.
Just want to also take this opportunity to thank all of you for taking the time to read my silly little blog. I do it for fun, and to share my love of reading. I am in awe of the hundreds of bloggers out there who are prolific and highly professional with their reviews. You might not think it from reading them, but it takes me a while to write a review without resorting to "I really liked this book" every time or sounding like Trump (it's a big book, very big, lots of words, big words and big chapters, also some numbers, some small and some big, bigly big......) and keeping it as original and "spoiler free" as possible. It's just nice to have the freedom to write a review without some of the restrictions of that other site with the jungle river name!!
Have a fantastic Easter folks, stay safe and well - see you in the next chapter!