You Were Gone – Tim Weaver (David Raker #9)



You Were Gone is published on 17 May 2018 by Penguin and is available to buy here

Three days after Christmas, a woman walks into a police station. She has no phone and no ID, just a piece of paper with the name of investigator David Raker on it. She tells officers that Raker is her husband.


When he turns up at the station, Raker is stunned. The woman looks exactly like his wife. She knows all about their marriage, their history, even private conversations the two of them had. There’s just one problem: Raker’s wife has been dead for eight years.


The woman tells the police that Raker had a breakdown. A respected doctor backs up her account. Items are missing that prove Raker’s side of the story – and, worst of all, he soon becomes the prime suspect in a disappearance.


Could Raker have imagined their whole marriage? Is he delusional? Is this really the woman he loved and grieved for? Hunted by the police, Raker will have to find out the truth before it costs him everything – his memories, his sanity, his life . .

Also by Tim Weaver

Review of I am Missing – Book 8

My thoughts

There are some crime authors who give their protagonists a little bit of background horror. A spot of childhood trauma. A psychotic sibling. An inability to connect to others. A paper cut or two. They suffer. Tim Weaver takes it all to a whole new level. He doesn’t just make David Raker suffer. He turns him inside out, upside down and psychologically smacks him in the mouth. Pure agony. Well done, Mr Weaver.

You Were Gone marks the ninth instalment, in this intelligent psychological missing persons series. We now have ten years of David Raker, our heroic fighter for the truth. What an achievement for Tim Weaver. Every single story has been of a very high standard and utterly bewitching. This is one of the best series out there.

This story takes us to the heart of Raker and his demons. Raker is a widower. His wife died from cancer, eight years ago. This has had a lasting effect on Raker. It has left him emotionally drained and alone. One day, a woman walks into a police station. She identifies herself as Derryn Raker. She has no identification on her. Raker ends up at the police station, staring at a woman he thought was long since deceased. This is the start of a nightmare for Raker, in which his love for his wife is tested to its limits and his sanity is questioned. To the police, Raker is a suspect. Raker just wants answers. Who is she? And how can Raker trace a woman who no longer exists?

What an emotional roller-coaster, for the reader and for Raker. No one suffers more. We feel for Raker and his inner anguish. He starts to doubt himself. We doubt him. We worry for him. Can no one help Raker? Weaver cleverly manipulates everything, as the story twists and turns. He turns up the mental torture, again and again. What a joy to read. I cannot praise this story enough.

Strong. Emotional. Powerful. Every word is perfection. Do not miss David Raker’s last traumatic adventure. Counselling recommended afterwards.

Totally and utterly recommended.


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A Darker State – David Young (Karin Muller #3)


A Darker State is published on 1 Feb 2018 by Zaffre and is available to buy here

FOR THE STASI, IT’S NOT JUST THE TRUTH THAT GETS BURIED . . . A gripping thriller set in 1970s East Germany, perfect for fans of Child 44, Phillip Kerr and Martin Cruz Smith.

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.

Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.

Can she navigate this complex political web and find the missing boy, before it’s too late?

Previously in the series

Stasi Child by David Young

Stasi Wolf by David Young


My thoughts

David Young’s award winning Eastern German historical series returns with a very welcome, brand new instalment. For anyone who does not remember the cold war years, this is your chance to get behind the iron curtain and to discover a different era. 1976 communist Eastern Germany. This was when Germany was divided and half of it was enclosed behind a wall. Young has made this era his own.

Karin Muller returns in A Darker State (which follows on beautifully from Stasi Child and Stasi Wolf).

The story begins with an unexpected promotion for Muller. Muller returns from maternity leave to a new job as Major within the People’s Police. Her old deputy, Werner Tilner follows her. A promotion should mean that Muller has more power and self determination in the police. However we are in Eastern Germany and it’s 1976. This means her every breath is watched by the Stasi, the official state security for the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Big Brother is watching, taking note and is ready to pounce. A cold war surveillance state. Brutal and terrifying. Your neighbour could be reporting you. Your family could be spying on you.

Muller and her small murder squad team of Tilner and Schmidt, get a brand new case to focus on. The body of a teenage boy is discovered, who appears to have been asphyxiated. Very quickly, there is pressure from the Stasi to stop investigating and to cover up the murder. Within Muller’s team, Schmidt is struggling with the disappearance of his eighteen year old son. It appears that these two cases are connected. Will Muller manage to piece the clues together to trace Schmidt’s son? Will the Stasi allow her to get to the truth?

Once again, I am full of admiration for David Young and the world he creates in A Darker State. It feels very real and exciting. From the vans watching Muller to the hidden microphones in her flat, we really understand this is a dangerous time, Careless talk costs lives. Muller is happy to live in this system. She sees the flaws, as well as the positive side. The country is as corrupt as any other. She pays the price for independent thinking and for not following the rules. The Stasi do not trust her. In this system, trust is in short supply.

Young gives us a story with a fascinating modern twist. It echoes back to the darker side of German history. This is a murder mystery, in a dark land of fear. This is the third story for Muller. The writing is as powerful as ever. The atmosphere, as intriguing and chilling, as you could imagine. The authenticity shines through, from the author’s intricate research and attention to detail. This series goes from strength to strength.

Tremendous, thrilling and ever so moreish.

Highly recommended.




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Come and Find Me – Sarah Hilary (Marnie Rome #5)



Come and Find Me is published on 22 March 2018 by Headline and is available to buy here

Gripping, tense, twisty and full of emotional insight, COME AND FIND ME is Sarah Hilary’s Marnie Rome 5 book, for fans of Mick Herron or Clare Mackintosh.

‘Hilary belts out a corker of a story, all wrapped up in her vivid, effortless prose. If you’re not reading this series of London-set police procedurals then you need to start right away’ Observer

On the surface, Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull have nothing in common, other than their infatuation with Michael Vokey. Each is writing to a sadistic inmate, sharing her secrets, whispering her worst fears, craving his attention.

DI Marnie Rome understands obsession. She’s finding it hard to give up her own addiction to a dangerous man: her foster brother, Stephen Keele. She wasn’t able to save her parents from Stephen. She lives with that guilt every day.

As the hunt for Vokey gathers pace, Marnie fears one of the women may have found him – and is about to pay the ultimate price.

Previously in the series

Quieter Than Killing – book 4

My thoughts

Sarah Hilary’s Marnie Rome series has reached book five. It really does not seem that long since we first met Marnie and her sidekick, Noah Jake. Come and Find Me lets Hilary get her teeth into the prison break trope.

In Quieter Than Killing, we started to sense that the Stephen Keele question would soon be resolved. Stephen is Marnie’s foster brother. He was responsible for the deaths of Marnie’s parents. Why did he do it? What made a teenage boy slaughter his new parent? In Come and Find Me, we see Marnie is still struggling with the past and her guilt. We get answers.

Come and Find Me starts on a high, with a full blown riot. There is a major incident at the prison holding Stephen. HMP Cloverton is falling into chaos; with multiple deaths, serious assaults and prisoners ending up on life support. Stephen becomes hospitalised, with an anxious Marnie waiting for news. Another prisoner, Micheal Vokey, appears to have vanished into thin air. He appears to have the skills of Houdini. Vokey has a reputation for manipulation and nastiness. He seems to have a band of followers, who are willing to do anything for him. He writes to two of his devoted fans, Laura and Ruth. Marnie and her team are charged with the hunt for this escapee.

One of the delights of the book was the insight into the UK prison system. We get a real understanding from Hilary about the pettiness, the regimes, the kind of atmosphere that leads to riots and the daily lives of the men behind bars. It’s not very Orange is the New Black. It is clear that Sarah Hilary is commenting on a system on its knees, with budget cuts. The prison scenes feel very authentic and worrying. One small point, the prison in Leeds is in Armley. We all know it as Armley Nick. It seemed odd to hear it called by its official name HMP Leeds.

Come and Find Me is calling out to be found, with its emphasis on a cunning prison break. Prepare to be thrown out of your comfort zone. Expect some prison shenanigans to knock your socks off. This is definitely one of my favourites in this series.






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The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjahlian


The Flight Attendant was published by Doubleday Books on 13 March 2018 and is available to buy here

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room, a powerful story about the ways an entire life can change in one night: A flight attendant wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man – and no idea what happened.

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police – she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home – Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.

My thoughts

There seems to be a theme running through psychological fiction, of late. That of the drunken and unreliable protagonist. We saw it in the undeservedly popular, The Girl on a Train. Now we have the very flawed air hostess; a woman with a hidden addiction problem and a tendency to lie and steal. She gets herself into a spot of trouble, in a foreign land.

Chris Bohjalian’s The Flight Attendant is all about Cassie Bowden. One event leads to Cassie’s life spiralling out of control. Cassie is an American flight attendant, flying across Europe and Asia. She is now in her 30s, working hard and partying hard. Cassie has alcohol dependency issues, which do not impact her job much. Her free time is spent with one night stands and getting so drunk she blacks out. During one of these sessions, Cassie spends the night with an American hedge fund manager in Dubai. She wakes up the next day to find him dead, apparently murdered. Cassie has very little in the way of a memory of the events, of the night. We follow Cassie, as she copes with panic, self loathing and increasing fear. What happened in that hotel room? Is Cassie now in danger?

Chris Bohjalian takes us into the sad inner world of Cassie. At no point do we feel that Bohjalian is moralising about Cassie and her self-destructive lifestyle. We get an understanding and an awareness of her daily coping mechanisms. Cassie is a functioning alcoholic. Cassie’s father had issues with alcohol. Her sister does not drink. Alcohol dependency seems to be something that the family do not talk about. Cassie is clearly not able to address her addiction, which is interesting in itself.

The action takes us to New York, Dubai and Rome. Yet we experience them like Cassie, as interchangeable places. The pace never lets up. The tension escalates. Like Cassie, we need answers. Unfortunately Cassie’s life descends into chaos, with her name being trashed in the media. The FBI are on her back. Her lawyer is on speed dial. She is craving another drink. Bohjalian hits the right notes deftly, in this exciting thriller.

You will never look at a flight attendant the same again. Especially after the peeing into a sick-bag incident and the dead passenger story. The tales we are told just reek of realism. They are masses of fun! Very glam indeed.

This is a gorgeously entertaining noir; with a satisfying twisted solution and an engaging and sad lead in Cassie.





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Hangman – Daniel Cole (Ragdoll #2)


Hangman is published by Trapeze on 22 March 2018 and is available to buy here

A detective with no one to trust. A killer with nothing to lose.

18 months after the ‘Ragdoll’ murders, a body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, the word ‘BAIT’ carved into the chest.

In London a copycat killer strikes, branded with the word ‘PUPPET’, forcing DCI Emily Baxter into an uneasy partnership with the detectives on the case, Special Agents Rouche and Curtis.

Each time they trace a suspect, the killer is one step ahead. With the body count rising on both sides of the Atlantic, can they learn to trust each other and identify who is holding the strings before it is too late?

Review of Ragdoll

My thoughts

Having loved Ragdoll last year, I had high expectations of the follow up Hangman. Daniel Cole resurrects his winning formula of black humour, with gory crimes to churn your stomach.

The story focuses on Emily Baxter this time, with the heroic William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes only getting the occasional mention. Baxter has been promoted to DCI, for her work on the infamous case. A man has been found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge with a carving on his chest ‘bait’. This is the start of a deliberate campaign, with staged nasty deaths found both in the UK and the US. Someone sinister is manipulating the media and, creating theatre out of staged deaths across the world. Baxter is once again joined by a band of merry men; Rouche from the CIA, Curtis from the FBI and her former colleague, Alex Edmunds. Will they trace the master manipulator in time to stop more brutal killings?

The book suffers for concentrating on Emily Baxter. We still get the cinematic evil wrapped in a pile of mounting bodies, shades of Seven. It all just doesn’t work as well as the original story. Without Wolf, we get a very pale imitation of the superior Ragdoll. Baxter is rather annoying. She is still coming to terms with the trauma, from Ragdoll. She is a mess, who hides it behind sarcasm and bossiness. She keeps her long suffering boyfriend on a short leash and tries to act tough with her work colleagues. She is not a strong enough or interesting enough of a character to carry the show. In Ragdoll, we had Wolf to complement her and balance the extreme action. This time, Baxter and her merry band of men with their quips and in-jokes do not quite hit the mark. Even the gory scenes seem a little muted this time. They could have done with an injection of something special. More spine tingling horrors. More shocking crimes. More something. Rouche cannot match Wolf, even when his secrets are revealed and we get a sense of his tragic past.

Hangman is a good effort by Daniel Cole, to match the wonders and winning formula of Ragdoll. It was entertaining. It just lacked the passion, the horrors and the fabulous pace of the original. Emily Baxter was not big enough of a character to carry the weight of the drama. We are promised the return of Wolf, in the next book. Very welcome, indeed. Baxter seemed lost without Wolf.




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Paper Ghosts – Julia Heaberlin


Paper Ghosts is published on 19 April 2018 by Penguin and is available to buy here

Carl Louis Feldman is an old man who was once a celebrated photographer.

That was before he was tried for the murder of a young woman and acquitted.

Before his admission to a care home for dementia.

Now his daughter has come to see him, to take him on a trip.

Only she’s not his daughter and, if she has her way, he’s not coming back . . .

Because Carl’s past has finally caught up with him. The young woman driving the car is convinced her passenger is guilty, and that he’s killed other young women. Including her sister Rachel.

Now they’re following the trail of his photographs, his clues, his alleged crimes. To see if he remembers any of it. Confesses to any of it. To discover what really happened to Rachel.

Has Carl truly forgotten what he did or is he just pretending? Perhaps he’s guilty of nothing and she’s the liar.

Either way in driving him into the Texan wilderness she’s taking a terrible risk.

For if Carl really is a serial killer, she’s alone in the most dangerous place of all . . .

My thoughts

Paper Ghosts is slightly odd. This makes it rather memorable. Julia Heaberlin gives us a slow moving relationship drama. This is a road trip, with a suspected serial killer.

This story takes us into the life of Grace, a woman who is desperate for answers about her missing elder sister. Grace was a twelve year old child, when her sister went missing. This lead to her becoming totally obsessed with the case. She is prepared to conquer her fears and face a monster. She worked out that a photographer, Carl Louis Feldman, was responsible for the murder. He was a prime suspect in the case. Grace has worked out, that he killed more than once. Carl is now living with dementia, in a care home. His memories are slowly being eradicated by illness. Grace believes that by taking him to his various crime scenes, that she can lift a lid on what happened and Carl will admit to his criminal past. Will Grace get to the truth? Will Carl’s memory recover enough to give Grace the answers she needs? Is Carl faking his illness?

With Paper Ghosts, Heaberlin presents a man living with dementia.  It is fairly convincing. He is a prisoner of his mind. We see frustration tipping over into anger and violence. We get a sense of the loss he has to live with and the impact on his identity. We see the man. It is a credit to the author, that we see humanity in Carl, through the dementia. He is not just an illness. He is multi-layered. Carl was a photographer. He has a history. He potentially is a killer. He is an enigma.

Carl and Grace are two unusual people. We see some marked similarities, between the two characters. Both seem to be lost. We don’t really trust either of them, in terms of their reliability. Grace is lost in the past, missing her sister. She thinks she has all of the answers. Carl is a victim of the dementia, taking away his past piece by piece. Grace finds Carl difficult to deal with, due to his illness and her suspicions about his nature. We see some moving scenes, as Grace has to adjust to living with Carl and his mindset.

Fascinating. Moving. Thought-provoking, as we get to know Carl and Grace. Julia Heaberlin makes the road trip genre her own.





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Perfect Death by Helen Fields #blogtour #exclusive extract


I am really chuffed to be part of the #PerfectDeath blog tour. This is such a top crime series, that I have completely fallen in love with. This is seriously dark, gorgeously addictive crime. I am lucky to have a fabulous exclusive extract from Perfect Death, which will have you hitting the buy button on Amazon.

Check out my recent glowing review of Perfect Death >>> Perfect Death – Helen Fields (@Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK)

Perfect Death is published on 25 January 2018 by Avon and is available to buy here


What’s Perfect Death all about?

There’s no easy way to die…

Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible – engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it’s too late.

But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows? A killer whose pleasure comes from watching pain from afar? Faced with their most difficult case yet, Callanach and Turner soon realise they face a seemingly impossible task…

**** Exclusive Extract****

Extract Fifteen: Chapter 17, pp.118-119

With the fire between them, he’d played at arranging a circle of rocks to keep the flames within, watching Lily do as he’d instructed. Her fingers had grown clumsy by then, he remembered, her actions slowing with each passing minute, but she had been admirably unafraid. Lily had become a woman in that moment. It would have been an exquisite maturation had she not faltered at the last. Her lingerie – white with cornflowers scattered decoratively about – remained on.

‘Those too,’ he’d said.

‘I thought you’d do that,’ she’d replied, a shiver claiming her as she spoke. He’d moved around the fire, taking a knee at her side and pulling at her knickers with his still-gloved hands, knowing he couldn’t afford to transfer treacherous DNA to her skin.

‘Won’t you take your gloves off?’ she’d asked. That was the first moment he recalled feeling frustrated with her. He wasn’t proud of it, but he’d imagined it all happening a certain way, the atmosphere charged with nothing but the mournful onset of grief. It was supposed to have been beautiful.

He’d instructed her, firmly, making clear that the time for idle flirtation was over, to take off her underwear and stay where she was.

‘This isn’t how I’d imagined it,’ she’d said. ‘I feel strange. Something’s not right. I need to go . . . dizzy, not good.’

To his amazement, Lily had stood up. He’d thought her wellbeyond the point where she would be able to stand unaided but that was the Lily he’d spent months coming to respect. She’d wavered left, then right, hands out like a blindfolded child playing a party game, seeking an object to hold for balance. Guiding her back towards the sleeping bag in spite of her increasingly loud and annoying protests, he had briskly removed her underwear before lowering her to the floor. Her hands had fluttered uselessly, swatting him with feeble resignation as he held her down on the ground. The cold had been seeping into her by then, but still he’d needed to hold her until she could no longer fight the urge to drowse. Wrapping the sleeping bag around her body, arms and all, he’d held her still with his weight as she’d tried – and failed – to escape. It had been like wrestling a feather. When at last the cannabis oil did its job, Lily had moaned a little as she fell asleep, tears rolling golden reflections of firelight down her cheeks. He hadn’t touched them. They were too beautiful to destroy.

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