#Review of Force of Hate By Graham Bartlett @gbpoliceadvisor @AllisonandBusby #BlogTour

Force of Hate
By Graham Bartlett

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Force of Hate is an excellent, timely crime fiction book you don’t want to miss! I am delighted and excited to be on the blog tour, organised by the publisher – Allison and Busby. Check out more in the blurb and my review below.


When a firebomb attack at a Brighton travellers’ site kills women and children, Chief Superintendent Jo Howe has strong reason to believe the new, dubiously elected, far-right council leader is behind the murders.

Against the direct orders of her chief constable, Jo digs deeper into the killings. She uncovers a criminal ring of human trafficking and euthanasia all leading to a devastating plot which threatens thousands of lives and from which the murderous politician looks sure to walk away scot-free.


Force of hate is a searingly compelling portrayal of the darker sides of life. Superintendent Jo Howe has her work cut out what becomes increasingly twisted crimes that she reckons all points to the far right. It is twisty with euthanasia and human-trafficking amongst the crimes.  

The tension tightly builds as you read more in what is a fast-paced read. It’s easy to get hooked into pretty quickly, even with some of the darkest of subject matters. I think it is great, however, that human-trafficking is portrayed in books. It keeps such an important matter highlighted. The book truly shows the extremities of behaviours and ideals, as well as creating a meaty story with lots for the police to get stuck into.

Amongst all the crimes, Graham Bartlett allows the readers to get to know the characters he writes, such as what they do, their personalities, their banter and so forth. It’s a team that’s well-written and for readers to feel involved in.

Graham Bartlett has served in the police force for many years and now writing novels as authentic as they get as a result of his years of knowledge and experience. It’s an important story he tells in a highly engaging, plausible manner.

Thanks to the publisher Allison and Busby for inviting me onto the blog tour and for the book to review from, as well as a copy of Bad for Good (which I will also review). that all arrived packaged up in a police bag.

About the Author

Graham Bartlett rose to become chief superintendent and the divisional commander of Brighton and Hove police. His first non-fiction book Death Comes Knocking was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, which he then followed with Babes in the Wood. He co-wrote these books with bestselling author, Peter James. Bartlett is also a police procedural and crime advisor helping scores of authors and TV writers inject authenticity into their work.




#Celebrating #Author Joanne Harris @Joannechocolat @BHHillustration @orionbooks @Gollancz @Leanne_Oliver1 @alexxlayt #CelebratingAuthorsSeries

Celebrating Joanne Harris

As part of my blog in 2023, until it reaches 5 years old in September, I will be celebrating an author or publisher every so often. Join me as I celebrate works of Joanne Harris. Here, after a little about her, are some links to some reviews of books I’ve read whilst writing a blog.

Joanne Harris has written over 25 books, features in many anthologies, has audiobooks, game scripts, the libretti for two short operas, several screenplays, a stage musical, attends book festivals and comic cons, judges competition, holds doctorates to universities, is a member of The Storytime Band and is the current Chair of Society of Authors. She has a great website you can browse here: Website

I have been reading books by Joanne Harris across 2 decades and always been impressed by the calibre of writing and ability to tell so many stories in different genres. She also gives author talks at book festivals, which are always fascinating and it is always an absolute pleasure to meet her.
Below is a photo of the books I own. It’s a mixture of books I have bought, been given as a present from family members and those gifted by her publishers – Orion Books and Gollancz. Also, discover what her new book at the end of this blog post… I have not got it yet, but it’s exciting to see that cover…

Joanne Harris has something for everyone. The genres span across cookery books, gothic contemporary fiction, romantic fiction, historical fiction psychological thrillers, short stories, folklore/fantasy each with compelling plots with human nature, community and issues of the day in many universal themes. The range in-which she writes in is impressive and admirable to say the least, each with much to explore in setting, characterisation and plot in general. There is that je-ne-sais-quoi in every single book that makes them compelling and terribly hard to put down, once opened, from the first to the last page.

Her stories don’t only stop at book or audiobook form, she also writes some short stories on her Twitter account (where she also talks about her shed in the most imaginative ways possible, a series of ten things that often consists of useful tips and advice on writing etc, amongst other things). She formed a band called the Storytime Band. I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing the Storytime band, but it sounds great and another medium of her telling stories. The band consists of Paul Marshall: Keyboards, guitar, vocals, Kevin Harris: Drums, percussion, vocals. Duncan Parsons : Bass, effects, Joanne Harris: Flute,  vocals.

As you meander down, I have included links to some reviews I wrote on my blog, they are by no means all the books I’ve ever read by Joanne Harris, but those I read and reviewed from the time I began my blog to the time of writing this blog post. 

The Strawberry Thief is part of the Chocolat series. The order of which is: Chocolat, The Lollipop Shoes, Peaches for Monsieur Le Curè, The Strawberry Thief.
A series set in rural France, follows Vianne and her daughter, Anouk and later her other daughter Rosette. The series is a feast to the senses and a delightful look into society. It shows certain traditions and attitudes to newcomers, new ideas, different perspectives. There’s a traditional small community feel, friendships forged and naysayers gained and much to win over. The series sees the family’s journey evolve when they go to Paris in The Lollipop Shoes and eventually they return to small town life in Lansquenette-Sous-Tannes in The Strawberry Thief. There’s much imagery in the series. There’s a sense of certain things staying the same , such as Roux staying on his boat, where readers meet him in Chocolat and it is lent again, but there is also change in the air. People mellow and also grow up. There is now Rosette, who is known as Vianne’s “special child”, who is now one of the main focuses in what is another delightful book.
I have my full review of The Strawberry Thief, which I remember racing to buy, including the blurb in the link: The Strawberry Thief

A Narrow Door is part of her Psychological Thriller series – BlueEyedBoy, Gentlemen and Players, Different Class, A Narrow Door.

The series follow the characters in an all boys grammar school – St. Oswalds, in England. Every book is immersive and twisty. They all give great insight into the world of a boys grammar school. BlueEyed Boy also has music you can look up to accompany each chapter. As well as school life, it also shows the online world. Gentlemen and Players and Different Class takes you further into St. Oswalds, Roy Straitley and the pupils. As you delve further, you reveal more about the personalities of the characters and how everyone has a story to tell or is part of a story. A Narrow Door however shows a changing of times. A new headmaster – Rebecca Buckfast, but some of the staff such as Mr Straitley is the same and he has his followers in who are dubbed as “The Brodie Boys”. It is a powerful book of strong female character and it tackles patriarchy, but also within this comes a wonderfully sinister, complex and twisty psychological thriller.
Each of the books in the series are beautifully written.
Find out the blurb and my full review in the link: A Narrow Door
Joanne Harris also appeared at Bloody Scotland as part of her book tour with A Narrow Door. Here is the link to the blog tour I took part in for Bloody Scotland championing her: Bloody Scotland

The Blue Salt Road is a modern fairy story and yet also takes on The Child Ballads. Although there are a few – A Pocketful of Crows, The. Blue Salt Road, Orfeia, Honeycomb they are standalone. She writes these as Joanne M. Harris. They are mythical and fantastical with strong themes and storytelling.
The Blue Salt Road tells the story a Selkie, The Folk (humans) and the Kraken. There is however, 1 named human.
It is thought provoking about the natural world. It is emotional, romanticises nothing. There are gorgeous illustrations by Bonnie M. Hawkins.The drawings are expressive in this and Orfeia and perfectly illustrate and add to the mystique and emotions of the intriguing books that certainly piqued my curiosity and then grabbed me.
Check out the blurb and my full review in the link: Blue Salt Road

ORFEIA takes on another Child Ballad. It tackles grief and incredibly well. Queen of May had fallen in love with a man from the Folk and sacrificed a lot, so the tale goes. The grief of the loss of a child hits right to your soul. There is also the intriguing character of The Shadow Man. There are also atmosphere changes as there are jovial moments. It’s a richly, tightly woven story that also brings hope. It is again with more marvellous and dark drawings from Bonnie M. Hawkins. Find out the blurb and full review in the link: ORFEIA

Honeycomb is just one of the short story books Joanne Harris has written. Jigs and Reels and A Cat, A Hat, A Piece of String are others with some humorous tales to tell as well as emotional and rather serious ones. There are a couple of witty recurring characters.
Honeycomb – for this particular copy has a rather beautiful tactile material cover. It is enchanting book of 100 short stories. They are full of betrayal, gifts, magic, love, beautiful illustrations, this time by Charles Vess.
The book invites you listen to the tales of the bees, each one loosely interconnecting and overarching. Readers have a treat in relatable stories and with characters such as the Honeycomb Queen and the Lacewing King, a Chancellor, a Teacher, the Slightless Folk and the Silken Folk, Death and more…

The book is compelling as well as well as thought-provoking. They may be mythical fairytales, but each makes relatable points and doesn’t steer too far away from the world as we know it as it’s a very grounded book.
Discover the blurb and full review in the link: Honeycomb

Coming in May 2023
Broken Light

#Review of Fatal Dose By Brian Price #BrianPrice @HobeckBooks #DCMelCotton #Thriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour

Fatal Dose
By Brian Price

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I am on the Hobeck Books blog tour for Fatal Dose. This is a DC Mel Cotton Thriller and one that is very striking, mixing a favoured poison from the past and gritty current times. This particular book is dedicated to the NHS. Find out more in the blurb and then my thoughts in the review and also discover the music in this police procedural book.


Superb!’ Graham Bartlett
‘Another highly intelligent cop thriller from Price. Written with huge authority and deeply compelling.’ Paul Finch

Death stalks Mexton
When a spate of poisonings hits the town of Mexton, DC Mel Cotton and her colleagues are left perplexed. All the deaths seem to be ingeniously planned and the police cannot see anything obvious to connect the victims.

Is a vigilante at work?
Jenny Pike, reporter for the Mexton Messenger, seems to think there’s a link and she’s not afraid to publish her controversial theories. All the victims seem to have got away with harming people in some way. Is that the connection?

Fear from the East
Already stretched to the limit, Mel and her colleagues also face another huge challenge. A ruthless Albanian gang has launched a crime wave in the area and someone has murdered a notorious blackmailer.

How will the team cope? With a serial poisoner at large, is anyone safe?

Fatal Dose is the thrilling sequel to the critically-acclaimed Fatal Trade and Fatal Hate by the brilliant Brian Price


Gritty, compelling, lightning pace and great surprises await readers in Fatal Dose.

There is a mix of blackmailing, murder and politics all at play in Mexton that puts both DC Karen Groves and DC Mel Cotton in jeopardy.

What is striking from as soon as you hit the prologue is the you enter a little into the worlds of Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie, both, the author has acknowledged, had a fascination with poisons, especially of the ultimate poison -Arsenic and then there are the poisoners such as the Borgias. It sets the scene with a bang! There is some surprising humour though and I especially appreciated the mention of Poisoning Pigeon’s in the Park by Tom Lehrer and Danse Macabre.
These music titles add dark humour and sinister, compelling atmosphere.

The book is tightly written and you see what goes on each day the investigation goes on. The book is cleverly written in the way it harks back to the past and old traditional poisons, now under lock and key and no longer so readily available like they used to be, especially the poison of choice – arsenic and the modern times it is set in, with a serial poisoner on the loose.

The ticking down of the days in short sharp chapters create much suspense and ups the ante in the tension stakes as the gang of ruthless Albanians show their brute force. Then there’s also Jenny Pike, a journalist from The Mexton Messenger to contend with, and she does not mince her words.

This is the third in the series, but like most police procedural books, can also be read as a stand-alone. I recommend setting aside some time for this fantastically sharp series. 

#Review By Lou of Cut and Shut By Jonathan Peace #JonathanPeace @HobeckBooks #CrimeFiction #PoliceProcedural #Thriller #BlogTour

Cut and Shut
By Jonathan Peace

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Cut and Shut is book 3 of the Louise Miller Crime Series, but can also be read as a standalone. It’s been a great and gritty series so far. Discover the blurb and review below. Thanks to Hobeck Books for inviting me onto the blog tour in exchange of an honest review.


June, 1989

Tensions are high – tempers short 
Following a stupid, drunken car theft, the tragic deaths of three local lads uncovers a powder keg of racial intolerance and bigotry.

A vicious attack
When two Muslim brothers are violently attacked, WDC Louise Miller sees her hometown with jaded eyes, shocked that so many of her colleagues are reluctant to get involved or help in any way those they once called neighbours.

A terrible truth
As she investigates, Louise, accompanied by WDC Hines and psychologist Karla Hayes, discovers links between the car theft and the assault but worse; the racial tensions that now threaten to tear the community apart, have masked an even darker crime – one that has gone long undiscovered, but will have devastating consequences.


Set in Yorkshire, WDC Louise Miller is a strong character as she stands up for justice whoever the victims and readily. The crime is another deep one to contend with, this time 2 Muslim brothers are violently attacked. The series is set in the 1980’s and Close and Shut is another gritty, twisty book. As the investigation gets underway for a car theft leaving people dead, racial tensions, bigotry and secrets are exposed. It gets darker, still, as there are links between the local garage, a pub landlord and a sinister political party. The book is set in the 1980’s and Jonathan Peace takes readers into the darker side of the decade and certain parts that linger, such as bigotry and racism in certain quarters. 

In the mix, there’s also something more to be revealed about Miller, Hines and Hayes in their personal lives like relationship issues. I like this in police procedurals as it gives characters rounded lives and Jonathan Peace writes it as well as the investigation itself.

It’s a fast-paced read that can be read as part of a series and standalone. It was a book that says this series is certainly well-underway into further growth and feels established and memorable already. 

#Review By Lou of Murders At The Montgomery Hall Hotel By Gina Kirkham @GinaJeeJay @Bloodhoundbook @LoveBooksGroup #BlogTour

Murders At The Montgomery Hall Hotel
By Gina Kirkham

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A cosy mystery with quirks and entertainment where a murder mystery game has more than anyone bargained for. Thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation and book, in return for an honest review, which you can find below, as well as the blurb.


A sleuthing librarian and her friends spend a weekend at a generations-old estate where they discover murder runs in the family . . .

Prunella Pearce, Bree, and the other ladies of the Winterbottom Women’s Institute are planning to visit Montgomery Hall Hotel for the murder-mystery weekend—just as the historic venue’s past comes back to haunt it.

The hotel is now in the incapable hands of Tarragon Montgomery, with its faltering finances overseen by elderly matriarch Cecily.

Meanwhile, the local actress hired to play Psychic Selma for the weekend has been replaced by an impostor. But who is she, and what is her agenda?

Pru and Bree have some experience solving mysteries, but as Montgomery Hall is engulfed by a storm and the bodies start piling up, they may need a little assistance from Pru’s delectable detective, Andy Barnes, in order to crack the case .


The idea of a sleuthing librarian appealed a lot. Librarians, after all, see and know lots, and I should know, having worked and now volunteer lead in a library. There are plenty of secrets for the sleuthing librarian, Prunella (Pru) to uncover at Montgomery Hall, with best friend Bree in tow, A place, it seems, not only perfect to hold a Murder Mystery Game Weekend, but also for a murder to happen for real. It certainly turns the WI activity into something very different from what they were expecting. There is also much humour, that is well written. It’s a mix of dark humour and innuendo humour. You just see the characters having fun.
The mystery itself is interesting as secrets spill out as drinks flow, which makes things in the building that is in desperate need of repair.

Overall, it’s an entertaining read to easily settle down to and, even though this is book 2 in the series, it can also be read, just as well as a standalone.

#BookReview of Killer Story By Matt Witten @MattZWitten A #Thriller about #crime and #podcasts

Killer Story
By Matt Witten

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Killer Story is a fast-paced, thriller that , interestingly explores the world of podcasts and unsolved murders. Matt Witten has worked on tv shows such as House MD and CSI. He has also written stand-alone thrillers previously, including The Necklace. Find out more below.
Thanks first to Matt Witten to getting in touch to ask for an honest review.



How far will she go to catch the killer—and make her podcast a hit?

Talented and idealistic young reporter Petra Kovach is on the brink of being laid off from her third failing newspaper in a row. To save her job, she pitches the launch of a true crime podcast about a sensational, unsolved murder.

Years earlier, an alt-right YouTuber was killed in her Harvard dorm room, and the case went cold. Petra knew the victim—she was once her camp counselor and loved her like a little sister, despite their political differences.

Petra’s investigation gets off to a rocky start, as her promising leads quickly shrivel up. In her passionate quest for justice—and clicks—Petra burns sources and breaks laws, ultimately putting her own life on the line. Even as her star rises, she worries it could all come crashing down at any moment if her actions are exposed.

When her machinations start to backfire, there’s only one way to fix everything and solve the murder—even though it may cost her everything she loves.

Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Harlan Coben


Are you into crime podcasts, in particular true crime podcasts? This lures you into this world, in a fictional way of course, but where there’s fiction, there’s often an element of realism too… This book is sure to excite fans of crime fiction and podcasts and You Tube alike.
It is a hard-hitting, riveting novel at the height of true crime podcasts. 

She was a normal teenage girl who liked Taylor Swift and bootcamps… and then, this girl, Olivia or Livvy for short, is murdered and 2 years later, her killer is still at large. Killer Story is chilling to the bone and a look into the modern times we live in. Witten gives readers a glimpse into social media, especially YouTube and how seemingly little innocent videos, some about life in general, some about political views can turn into the end of your life.

Petra Kovach has much more than a passing interest in this unsolved murder case. Readers see her embark on her own investigation and she takes it seriously, pouring over the evidence, the life threads she’s left behind, the past suspects. It is of course much more complicated that this. Her stepdad was involved in politics and the circles surrounding them, the people targeting Olivia weren’t for putting political differences aside as Petra was. It’s deeply dark and twisty with what gets uncovered about Olivia’s life as she pours over YouTube videos she made. Petra finds herself in rather deep water as the book becomes increasingly tense as she starts to act on her hunches.
She also has her personal issues left with her from losing jobs and almost being fired  from her current one. Then along comes an opportunity to do a podcast. This provides an interesting look into the collision of the world of journalism and podcasts.
It is also the job of Detective O’Keefe to hear Petra out about what she thinks happened. This doesn’t stop Petra from investigating further. There are many twists and turns in not just what is uncovered with the murder, but also about podcasts and her own desire to do anything she can, no matter what the cost and whose feet she treads on or what she discloses in her podcast. 

It’s a riveting read from start to finish in a tightly written story, making it very tense as it delves into some of the most modern forms of media. It is, at times enlightening as well as gripping and a book I highly recommend.