Top bloggers choose a summer #crime read: Raven at Raven Crime Reads @ravencrime


Hello everyone! This is Raven and I blog at Raven Crime Reads  and am delighted to have been asked to share a couple of top summer reads with you. As you can tell from my blog moniker I review crime, but as a reader, and a bookseller, I also read a goodly amount of fiction too, being a lover of contemporary American writing and fiction in translation…

 I have two books that I think will provide some tip top summer reading for you…


 First up is Resurrection Bay by Emma Viscik an Australian thriller set apart by the fact that the main character Caleb Zelic is profoundly deaf, with Viscik providing a subtle and sensitive portrayal of the difficulties he encounters. I was totally immersed in his difficult and dangerous world from the very beginning, and with its resonance of the sharp, snappy hard-boiled essence of American crime fiction, and the refreshingly original main protagonist of Zelic himself, there is much to enjoy here…

 Read Raven’s review of Resurrection Bay here

For my next choice I am going to cheat slightly and recommend Clare Carson’s trilogy comprising of Orkney Twilight, The Salt Marsh and the recently published, The Dark Isle. Although each book can easily be read as a standalone, I would urge you to read all three, with Carson’s pitch perfect plotting, great characterisation and superlative use of location and shifting time lines…

 Raven’s reviews of Orkney Twilight, The Salt Marsh and The Dark Isle can be found  here

 Happy summer reading!

 To buy links

Resurrection Bay is available here on Amazon

Clare Carson’s books can be located here on Amazon

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Top bloggers choose a #crime summer read: Joy at @JoyKluver

I’m Joy Kluver and I blog about crime & thriller novels and book events at

Western Fringes by Amer Anwar



I absolutely loved Western Fringes from the outset. Set in Southall, we’re straight into the action – it’s fast and it’s furious. Lots of kickass fight scenes and after reading this book, you’ll never view lemons and chillies in quite the same way again. The friendship between Zaq and his mate Jags is realistic and great fun. I am slightly biased with this novel as I grew up in the area. I know most of the places mentioned and could picture Zaq driving round the roads, which added to the realism for me.

So if you’re after fast-paced, kickass thriller to add excitement to your summer holiday, you can’t go wrong with Western Fringes by Amer Anwar.

Link for my interview with Amer & review

Western Fringes by Amer Anwar can be purchased on Amazon here

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Did You See Melody? – Sophie Hannah


Did You See Melody? is published on 24 August 2017 by Hodder and Stoughton and is available to buy here

Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.

Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

Also by Sophie Hannah:

A Game For All The Family

The Narrow Bed Book 10

My thoughts

I am always thrilled to read a new Sophie Hannah book. Did You See Melody? is the latest standalone, from the Queen of Psychological thrillers. Quite simply, Sophie Hannah does it with style.

With a plot faintly reminiscent of Agatha Christie, Did You See Melody? takes us to a posh five star spa resort in Arizona, USA. Cara arrives exhausted, after the flight from the UK. She has taken a well needed break from her family. Cara is directed to the wrong room on arrival, by the receptionist. This is the start of her stay at the spa going slightly skewiff. Cara sees in this hotel room, a girl who doesn’t exist. She sees Melody Chapa. Melody was a child infamously murdered by her parents. The case was massive in the States. Everybody knows who Melody Chapa is. Everybody has an opinion. Cara finds that she cannot leave it alone. She needs to work out what she saw. She starts meddling. Looking for answers. Researching.

One of the great aspects of Did You See Melody? is the cultural differences. We see in Cara, a very British and self contained person. She is over-whelmed by the positivity of the Americans. She is hilarious, in the way she deals with it. Sophie Hannah always does create pretty some distinctive characters. Cara is wonderfully cranky. We also see the cultural differences in the legal systems. We follow Cara, as she tries to make sense of the Melody Chapa case. It is new to her. She watches lots of You Tube videos and reads information online. It really was a trial by media. One person in particular who hosts a legal talk show seems to have very strong opinions on the case. Everything about the case is openly discussed on television, prior to the trial. The parents have every aspect of their lives examined. In the UK, there are strict reporting retrictions in place, for cases going to trial.

This is a super story; with a glut of glorious characters, an exotic location and some trademark humour from Sophie Hannah. Who wouldn’t want to be Cara, in a five star spa hotel at the centre of a bizarre and improbable mystery? I would love to be in that situation, lazily sipping cocktails by the pool. A perfect summer mystery. Recommended.






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Perfect Prey by Helen Fields – Blog Tour Guest Post on small screen recommendations and a review of #PerfectPrey


Welcome to my turn on the #PerfectPrey blog tour, which celebrates the second instalment of the wonderful D. I. Callanach series. I have only just discovered this series and I think it is AMAZING. Worth checking out if you like a touch of horror with your crime. I am thrilled to welcome Helen Fields to the blog today, to talk about television programmes that inspire her.


Small Screen Recommendations To Inspire You To Write

When I’m deep in the throws of mid-book writing, I find it hard to read similar genres to my own, and sometimes I’m just too tired of seeing the written word to want to pick up a book. At times like those I turn to the small screen, late at night, and devour box sets. Far from it being wasted time though, I draw much writing inspiration from these series. Some of it works at an emotional level, some of it makes me think about sharpening my own dialogue, and most often the beauty of the imagery is utterly inspiring. Here are a few of my top recommends if you’re writing in the dark, edgy or psychological spectrum, with tips on what to look out for.

Top of the Lake is a New Zealand set crime drama starring Elisabeth Moss as Detective Robin Griffin. It is notable for its quiet intensity and the understated nature of the dialogue, even at the points of highest drama. It feels slow burn at times, but you constantly want to know the secret of the young pregnant girl who tries to commit suicide early on. This is an unusual offering, given that most of the acclaimed crime dramas are either American or Scandi-Noir these days. The beautiful scenery provides a stunning backdrop to the action, and some iconic character roles leave the viewers’ blood running cold. Watch out for the space the writers leave for you to draw your own assumptions about what’s going on. There is little plot hand-holding, no over-writing and no overkill. Top of the Lake may be the ultimate high drama, softly written crime series I’ve seen.

The Wire is an old series now but it bears watching again even if you saw it the first time. Starring Dominic West as an Irish-American cop, flawed but brave, classic anti-hero character, the award-winning writing is sharp and brutal. If you like your crime on the dark side, this will be for you. Exploring drug wars and territorial violence, The Wire is the ultimate real-feel cop drama. Watch out for the older characters, who give depth to the series. These are handled particularly sensitively, and it makes the story feel like a constant transition between shifting generations.

Carnivale, conceived and largely written by Daniel Knauf, is set in the American dust bowl just after World War II. What begins as a tale of a travelling circus becomes an epic struggle of good against evil, fomulated in the most unassuming way. The nature of the subject matter opens the potential for heavily cliched characters, yet the writers have rendered them 3D and gloriously painted. There is an unwilling hero, an icon of good who grows dark before the viewers’ eyes, and a supporting cast who are entirely compelling. In many ways the setting, both in time period and geographical place, were an absolute gift, lending themselves to evocative picture creation. It is a lesson, though, in taking risks with your setting and allowing the sense of time and place to seep into the story. In this case, it allows the cinematography to carry the plot rather than vice versa. In dialogue terms, this is stunning in its sparsity, having long sections with no dialogue at all. There are few long speeches except for those delivered sermon-like by Clancy Brown.

Better Call Saul is the off-shoot series from Breaking Bad, preceding the latter and following the fate of would-be, maybe lawyer Saul Goodman. It’s modern day America but not as most of us know it, taking on the dry heat of Albuquerque and making us all thoroughly uncomfortable as we watch. What’s so great about it? You love people you shouldn’t, and you want them to win at any cost. It’s brilliant shifting-sand writing, where you feel more or less for each character with each decision they make. The key relationship between Saul and his girlfriend is also completely unwritten. You’re never quite sure where they stand, and I loved that about it. Giving yourself the freedom not to define every last detail in your writing is empowering, as long as it doesn’t lead to confusion. This is possibly the cleverest quasi-comedic tragedy/crime writing currently being produced.

Deadwood is another brave, bold period drama. The action happens in the town of the same name, in the Wild West during the American gold rush. I don’t think I have ever read or seen as spectacular and despicable villains in a television series. The language is so well research and constructed that it takes a couple of episodes to really understand it all, but once you’re attuned to the rhythm and dialect, it adds to the setting perfectly. Of course, you can’t get away with writing dialect so boldly in novels without risking alienating your readers, but it’s another example of using an unusual and unique setting to bring atmosphere to writing. Watch out for this. The original antagonist, as terrible and hateful as he is, is turned into a protagonist by virtue of the introduction of a newer, badder, even more horrible villain. It is outstandingly intelligent story design.

So there we are, a few hours of your evenings accounted for. You won’t regret it. Every one of these series is unique and inventive. Soak up the atmosphere and let your own writing be just as free.

Helen Fields

July 2017



Perfect Prey – what is it all about?

Welcome to Edinburgh. Murder capital of Europe.

In the middle of a rock festival, a charity worker is sliced across the stomach. He dies minutes later. In a crowd of thousands, no one saw his attacker.

The following week, the body of a primary school teacher is found in a dumpster in an Edinburgh alley, strangled with her own woollen scarf.

D.I. Ava Turner and D.I. Luc Callanach have no leads and no motive – until around the city, graffitied on buildings, words appear describing each victim.

It’s only when they realise the words are being written before rather than after the murders, that they understand the killer is announcing his next victim…and the more innocent the better.

Just in case you missed my review of Perfect Prey….

After reading Perfect Remains and falling in love with D. I. Luc Callanach, I was keen to get stuck into Perfect PreyPerfect Prey is the second in the  Scottish crime series by Helen Fields. Reading Fields reminds me so much of Chris Carter and Karin Slaughter. There is this wonderful vein of gorgeous explicit darkness running through it, combined with such humanity. Seriously this is the best new series I have come across in ages! I urge you all to discover what I mean!

The first book set the scene and introduced us to the duo French D. I. Luc Callanach and rather posh D. I. Ava Turner. Callanagh and Turner find a sudden dark crime wave has hit Edinburgh. A man is slaughtered in cold blood at a music festival. A woman is found crushed beneath furniture, in what looks like a deliberate act of suffocation. Another body is found in a skip. Callanagh and Turner are under increasing pressure by their boss to get results yesterday. There seems to be little in the way of real clues. The victims seem to be good upstanding citizens, with no enemies. The murder count is rising. There is a growing climate of fear in the city. Who will be next victim to die? Will Callanagh and Turner be able to get their friendship back on an even keel and work out who is responsible?

Although this is a very different case for Callanagh and Turner, the key elements that I adored in Perfect Remains were still there. The lovely French man Callanagh with his psychological wounds and dedication to duty. Turner and her addiction to old movies and in depth crime chat is there. We see the tiny hint of a romantic relationship brewing between Callanagh and Turner, in a sort of Mulder and Scully way. There is sexual tension there, in spite of Turner’s engagement to her old flame. The least said about that character the better. We have realistic and brutal crimes, designed to shock and disturb. I do appreciate that. Not many writers can make me shudder! There are enough twists to satisfy anyone, with a pace that will have you holding your breath. And Callanagh gets a couple of male friends to bond with in Ben and Lance. All in all everything that I love about crime is here!

In Perfect Remains, they were up against a psychopath. In Perfect Prey, the city of Edinburgh has turned into a blood bath. I wonder what Helen Fields will come up with next. I cannot wait! Recommended for all fans of brilliant crime!


Helen Fields is on Twitter

Buy your own copy of Perfect Prey on Amazon and fall in love with the series

The rest of the #PerfectPrey blog tour >>>>>

PP blog tour


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Top bloggers choose a #crime summer read: Kate at The Quiet Knitter @TheQuietKnitter

My name is Kate and I blog at The Quiet Knitter.  I mainly review crime and thrillers, but I do enjoy reading other genres (occasionally).


My #crime summer read is A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride.  For me this is the perfect summer read. It’s packed with MacBride’s trademark dark humour and wit, immensely funny dialogue perfectly matched to the dark and twisty plot and some of the most innovative thinking from a killer that I’ve seen in a long time!

The link to the full review is here

To buy your own copy of A Dark So Deadly >>> 

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The Last Resort : A Lori Anderson short story – Steph Broadribb


The Last Resort was published on 1 August 2017 by Orenda Books and is available to buy here

Done with a life of exploitation and violence, Lori Anderson is training to be a bounty hunter. Holed up in the Georgia Mountains with her reclusive mentor, JT, Lori is determined to put her new skills into practice. Behind JT’s back, she breaks his rules and grabs the chance she’s looking for. Will her gamble pay off, or will she have to learn the hard way?

The Last Resort is the first in the Rookie Bounty Hunter series of short stories, marking the nail-biting start to a high-octane series of thrillers featuring one of the most unforgettable and fearless female protagonists in crime fiction.

Includes a FREE extract of Steph Broadribb’s critically acclaimed thriller, Deep Down Dead, book one in the Lori Anderson Series.

My review of Deep Down Dead can be found here

My thoughts

You know when you love a book. Really LOVE a book. Well I absolutely went crazy over Deep Down Dead earlier this year. It is easily one of my favourite crime books for 2017. A female bounty hunter. Ohhhhh yes please! Well Lori Anderson is back. Steph Broadribb has answered our pleas for more. The Last Resort is a short story, designed to bring out the summer sunshine and make us love Lori even more.

Rewind. The story takes us back to Lori’s early days. She is training in the heat to be a bounty hunter. She is being put through her gruelling paces by JT. It is tough work. No wimps allowed. A bounty hunter needs to be able to be strong enough to deal with anything. To cuff a criminal. To Taser a suspect. To fight back.

Lori left alone. JT is out chasing a bounty. Although she is not fully trained, she answers a call. A request to pick up some low life spotted at a petrol station. She needs to do it. To practise her skills. To get a real live one. So what does our impetuous trainee bounty hunter do? A/ Rest B/ A little more training C/ Grab her coat and go get some bounty hunter action…. Soon Lori is chasing a fugitive, with a reputation for being violent. She knows she isn’t quite ready. But hey no man can tell her what to do, right? Lori knows she can kick ass and prove she is up to the challenge. This is risky. Lori can do it. Fight her fears. Be the best bounty hunter, she can be.

What a start to the day! We all need a bit of Lori Anderson’s courage and determination. Although I’m not sure bruises are really my colour! A fabulous short story. More please, Steph Broadribb! I’m desperate for more tales of life with Lori. Recommended.




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Top Crime Bloggers choose a #crime summer read: Christine at #Northern #Crime @northernlass73

I’m Christine and you have reached my blog I know a fabulous crime read when I see it.

I want to point readers in the direction of two books. They are #mustreads for the summer. They sizzle and they rock. They are worth buying and hanging out with. Or just relaxing with …

My first choice is Girl Zero by A. A. Dhand.


As a girl born and brought up in Bradford, I lived through the years of the Yorkshire Ripper. I remember the fear. I left before the riots. I saw the prostitutes lurking near the university. I’ve always thought Bradford would be a superb setting for some seriously dark crime. Luckily for me, A. A. Dhand came along. Girl Zero is the second in the series featuring Detective Inspector Harry Virdee. It was published on 13 July 2017 by Transworld.

Well how can I make you all fall in love with this series? I have to mention the realism. Dhand paints a Bradford, that is bleak, multicultural and tough. We see through Virdee’s eyes and he is part of the Asian community. However Virdee is an outsider, having married a Muslim woman. Then we get a dollop of dark, dirty crime … from the drugs trade to child exploitation and trafficking to ugly murder. Thrown into this mix is a copper, who is treading a fine line. Virdee is your maverick, ready to break a few rules to achieve his goals. All in all, this is superb crime from a bright new voice. Guaranteed to make you shiver.

This is exactly what fans of dark gritty urban crime should be reading.

My review is posted here: Girl Zero – A. A. Dhand (Harry Virdee #2)

My second choice is Pendulum by Adam Hamdy.


Pendulum was published back on 3 November 2016 by Headline. The follow up to Pendulum is Freefall and will be published later on this year.

Go for a great quality summer read to get your heart racing fast…

As a keen fan of thrillers, I was totally in love with Pendulum from the first word. We get the most amazing introduction to a hero ever. John Wallace has been strung up with a noose around his neck. A killer is lurking in his flat. Wallace is forced to go on the run to find answers. This is the start of the most exciting cat and mouse chase, that becomes international. Wallace isn’t the only one targeted by this killer. This is a killer with an agenda. Wallace gets a great sidekick, in FBI agent Christine Ash. Love that name.

Read it by the pool, with a large glass of something alcoholic and time will fly!


My review is posted herePendulum by Adam Hamdy

Read something amazing this summer. I dare you!


Buying links >>>

Girl Zero can be purchased here on Amazon

Pendulum can be purchased here on Amazon


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