100+ Female Led Crime Fiction

What an exciting collection this is! We are celebrating National Crime Fiction Month in June, hosted by the Crime Writers’ Association, by offering you some of our favourite female character led crime fiction novels. Ranging from police procedurals to cosy mysteries, from determined private investigations to fiery thrillers, there is a huge range of crime novels here with one thing uniting them all, women sitting centre stage. Some of these books form part of a series, while others are fabulous standalone stories. We love them all!

Crime fiction is one of the biggest selling genres out there, take a look at the best-selling lists and crime novels are usually strutting their way into the top ten. There are a huge number of sub genres, which means there really is something for everyone. Personally I love a good twist and an ending I didn’t see coming, but I think the characters are always the most important link for me. Whether I want to be their friend or run screaming from them, an interesting character makes or breaks a crime novel. 

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Debut Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood is a hugely entertaining absolute romp of a murder mystery novel set in 1940’s New York. Famous private detective Lillian Pentecost and her assistant Willowjean Parker are truly fabulous and engaging characters with more than a few tricks hidden up their sleeves. With a locked-room mystery, diverse characters, and a cracking storyline, this is an absolute dream of a start to a new series and a LoveReading Star Book.

One of my favourite crime series is written by Sarah Hilary, features DI Marnie Rome, and begins with Someone Else’s Skin which won the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year award. Sarah Hilary has a wonderful touch, and reveals information gradually building the intrigue and allowing you to question and probe the evidence alongside the investigating team. She can knock your thoughts off balance and be particularly sneaky about it too. Marnie is a cracking lead character, and acts as a interesting balance to the other characters.

A cleverly unexpected and shout from the rooftops read is Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly, this standalone breathtaking thriller set in the world of ballet is rather special. Ava is at the peak of her ballet career, about to star in her most challenging role, but someone desperately wants her crown. I couldn’t have imagined what was to come when I first opened the pages, the plot is so cunning and smart and builds with such intensity, yet the characters are absolutely on point too. 

Doug Johnstone's The Skelfs Series starts with A Dark Matter, and features three generations of Skelf women in Edinburgh who arrange funerals and handle a little private investigation on the side. The three main characters sit as wonderful foils for each other, and it’s the small but vital details that really matter here, encouraging the most vivid and intense picture to form. Doug Johnstone’s writing feels authentic, it gets under your skin and nudges new thoughts and feelings into being.

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There are books here to make you react in a myriad of ways, they might evoke huge emotions or could creep around inside your head for a goodly while afterwards. So, take a look at the fabulous novels on offer in this female led crime fiction collection, and we are quite sure that you will have plenty of suggestions of your own too.

Fortune Favours the Dead

Fortune Favours the Dead

Author: Stephen Spotswood Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/11/2020

A fabulously entertaining absolute romp of a murder mystery set in 1940’s New York. Famous private detective Lillian Pentecost, and her assistant Willowjean Parker are hired to track down the murderer of a wealthy young widow who was bludgeoned to death with a crystal ball at a seance. This is the debut novel and first in the Pentecost and Parker series from Stephen Spotswood, who is an award-winning playwright, journalist, and theatre educator. He quite obviously knows how to tell one heck of a captivating story, and this sits somewhere between hard-boiled and cosy! The first sentence is a corker, and sets up Willowjean (Will) as the most engaging and one-of-a-kind narrator. This is very much a character-led story, the feeling of the time is created with dialogue, which snaps and crackles with energy. Both Lillian and Will are fascinating characters, with more than a few tricks hidden up their sleeves. With a locked-room mystery, wonderfully diverse central characters, and a cracking storyline, Fortune Favours the Dead is a dream of a read and has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book. 

Star Books
Someone Else's Skin

Someone Else's Skin

Author: Sarah Hilary Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/02/2014

March 2014 Debut of the Month. Do not be fooled into thinking that this will be ‘just another Detective story’; this is clever, shockingly impactive and successfully erases any presuppositions. The author reveals information gradually, building the intrigue and allowing you to question and probe the evidence alongside the investigating team.  The achingly sad picture that starts to emerge, tugs at your heart strings without sentimentality, helping to make the story powerfully arresting. Secrets are set to be shattered, no matter who they belong to. Can it be detrimental or even dangerous to empathise, to imagine the torture that some of the characters have faced? The author has the ability to describe horrifying brutality, without glorifying it. The simple stark descriptions of lives created from fear and violence, lead you to question the path that broken and mutilated minds can take. A penetrating and riveting read, tension continues to intensify before it ultimately and devastatingly snaps. This is an impressive debut novel that will leave you yearning for a sequel.  Books in the D.I. Marnie Rome Series: 1. Someone Else's Skin 2. No Other Darkness 3. Tastes Like Fear 4. Quieter Than Killing 5. Come and Find Me 6. Never Be Broken Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.

eBooks of the Month
Squeeze Me

Squeeze Me

Author: Carl Hiaasen Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/05/2021

An absolute monster of a fabulous read! I smirked and chuckled my way through this thoroughly entertaining and smart comedic crime novel. It’s charity ball season in Palm Beach, when a prominent high-society member of the POTUSSIES (a group of women who support the President) goes missing, the President declares it was the fault of immigrant hordes. However, wildlife wrangler Angie Armstrong has just been tasked to deal with an influx of huge pythons, so the President might just be talking out of his behind. By the way, I am a titchy bit scared of snakes, but this didn’t affect my reading of this novel in any way. The President’s name is never mentioned, but Carl Hiaasen brilliantly lampoons the President that came between Obama and Biden, and I actually snorted with laughter on a number of occasions. I first read Carl Hiaasen’s novels for young adults, including Skink No Surrender but this is my first of his novels for adults. If you’re already a fan then you might just bump into a much loved character in Squeeze Me. This is a book that you can just throw yourself into and trust in the talent of the author. He isn’t just funny, the humour is pointed and makes a point. Squeeze Me is so irreverent, stimulating, and gorgeously readable, I already know that it will be one of my books of the year. Chosen as a Liz Pick and a Star Book, in the middle of dark times this is just what we needed, unless of course you are a fan of a certain someone!

Star Books
Watch Her Fall

Watch Her Fall

Author: Erin Kelly Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2021

A shout from the rooftops type of book, and this is so special, I may be there for some time! Ava is at the peak of her ballet career and about to appear in the most challenging role of her life, but she’s just one small step away from falling from grace, and someone desperately wants her crown. I am always so careful to avoid spoilers, and also wary of stating if there are twists. With this novel though, I feel as though I can proclaim that it is most cleverly unexpected read, without spoiling it in any way! Erin Kelly takes us behind the scenes, to the effort and obsession, to the pain and glory, and sets the most thrilling and intoxicating plot. This novel builds in an intensity that I couldn’t have even imagined when I first opened the pages. It was only as I got further in that my thoughts began to stutter, and then went into free fall. I became absolutely transfixed. The plot is everything, so cunning and smart, yet the characters and descriptions are absolutely on point too. I know this will sit as one of my favourite reads of the year, and along with a standing ovation it also receives a LoveReading Star Book. Breathtaking, sharp, and wonderfully rewarding, Watch Her Fall is an absolute stunner and I proclaim it a must-read.

Star Books
The Postscript Murders

The Postscript Murders

Author: Elly Griffiths Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/04/2021

Both charming (yes I know that is a strange word to describe a crime novel) and stimulating, look forward to the feel of a golden age mystery with a modern twist. The death of a 90 year old murder consultant to authors is investigated by DS Kaur and a diverse group of friends who turn amateur detectives. This is the second novel featuring DS Harbinger Kaur, however you could quite cheerfully step in here and read it as a standalone. Set in West Sussex (with a brief sojourn in Scotland), I can say with some glee that the book world takes centre stage. From literary festivals to publishing offices, if you love all things books then this is the crime mystery for you! Elly Griffiths takes the premise and runs with it, which made me clap my hands with delight. I adore the diversity and quirky nature of the characters, the somewhat gung-ho approach by the amateurs is highly entertaining. The Postscript Murders is a wonderfully readable crime novel to cosy up with and joins my Liz Picks of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
False Witness

False Witness

Author: Karin Slaughter Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/06/2021

A hard-hitting, devastating, wow of a read, Karin Slaughter has hit this standalone thriller out of the park! The past hunts down Defence Attorney Leigh Collier as she takes on a high profile rape case, and it threatens to destroy her. I am still squirming with reading euphoria having finished this novel. It’s no secret that I love Karin Slaughter’s writing and regularly shout about her books, for me, this is her best novel to date. It most definitely isn’t an easy or comfortable read, it travels into the very darkest of places, including violent sexual assault and drug addiction. This is one of the first novels I’ve read that covers Covid 19, it sat in the background, there, but not overtaking the storyline. From the beginning, when the shadows sucked me down into their spiralling depths and understanding hit, I knew this would be a one-sitting read. I didn’t want to put this book down, even when flinching from the pain that transmits from the page. While it packs an overwhelming punch, it also contains Karin’s unmistakable magic touch. She knows exactly when a lighter moment is needed, when a smirk or blurt of laughter will aid the reader. Yes it made me wince, it also made me consider what makes us who we are. False Witness is powerful and provocative, it explores social issues and violence, and is all the more fabulous for doing that. A LoveReading Star Book, this is a novel that’s going to stay with me for some time. Karin Slaughter is our Early Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to learn more.

Audiobooks of the Month
Things in Jars

Things in Jars

Author: Jess Kidd Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/01/2020

Well, this is one seriously addictive and fabulous read. Now that I have finished I feel bereft, exhilarated, and have one humdinger of a book hangover. Set in London, it is 1863 and private detective Bridie Devine is on the case of a stolen child. The prologue hooked me as surely as a fish on a line, I gaped, wondered, and leaned in for more. Descriptions opened with vivid intensity in my mind, creating the most glorious views. There is something about Jess Kidd’s writing that speaks directly to my soul, she knows how to lull, tickle, burn. She created a stinging tension, on a number of occasions leaving me hanging while popping into the past. I have to say that Bridie Devine is one of the most fabulous characters I’ve come across. She has taken up a somewhat boisterous lodging in my mind and she’s more than welcome! Information swirled around, making my thoughts whirl, adding to the torrent that I knew was surely coming. And oh, that ending! Things in Jars is a Victorian detective story with a difference, it crosses genres and set light to my imagination. It has been added to my list of favourite books. Bridie Devine to my list of favourite detectives. Jess Kidd has been confirmed on my list of favourite authors. Things in Jars is LoveReading Star Book, Book of the Month, and Liz Robinson Pick of the Month… Need I say more? Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Star Books
Nine Elms

Nine Elms

Author: Robert Bryndza Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/06/2020

An incredibly dramatic, graphic and gripping start to a new series. This isn’t just an introduction though, it’s a fabulous full serving in its own, very distinctive right. 15 years ago Kate Marshall solved a high profile murder case and very nearly became a victim herself, now, a copycat killer is on the loose, determined to finish the job. The beginning takes us back to 1995, within a few pages there is a real sense of Kate, and the case. Chapter two is incredibly stark, making me flinch before things seriously kicked off. I was glued to the pages, and read the whole book in one sitting. If you are a little squeamish, then be warned, there are some darker than dark, vivid and violent incidents ahead of you. Personally, I didn’t feel it was overly sensational though, as it felt all too real! Robert Bryndza really has set the scene for a fabulous new series. Fierce, startling and incredibly readable, Nine Elms comes as highly recommended from me. The Kate Marshall series: 1. Nine Elms 2. Shadow Sands

Books of the Month
Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery

Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery

Author: Rosalie Knecht Format: Ebook Release Date: 06/04/2021

A wonderfully engaging blended mix of spy turned PI novel set in the USA during the 1960’s. When ex CIA spy Vera’s girlfriend leaves her and on the same day she is sacked, Vera decides to turn private investigator. Her first case involves a lost child and a Caribbean Island under authoritarian rule. I haven’t read the first in the series Who is Vera Kelly, yet felt incredibly comfortable stepping midway into the story. Though I have to say that the various mentions of the first book where she was stranded in Argentina during a coup, ensured I wanted to go back and meet her at the start. Vera is very much the star of this story, she survives on instinct and smarts, her vulnerabilities adding an edge. Rosalie Knecht creates a beautifully balanced story, with go-getter Vera marching through the interesting plot and her life during a time of political upheaval and action for LGBTQ rights. The ending arrived at unexpected speed, leaving me wanting to know more about this private investigator. Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery is a short, smart, rewarding detective novel with real heart.

eBooks of the Month
Critical Incidents

Critical Incidents

Author: Lucie Whitehouse Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/12/2019

Razor-sharp, focused and absolutely fabulous, Critical Incidents is the first in what promises to be a stunning new series by Lucie Whitehouse. Detective Inspector Robin Lyons has been dismissed from the Met, turned down a proposal, and is heading back to her Mum and Dad in Birmingham with her daughter Lennie. Home isn’t necessarily a sanctuary when Robin starts to investigate a shocking crime and violence creeps ever closer. Keep You Close was one of our Books of the Year in 2016, so I had high hopes for Critical Incidents and it certainly lived up to expectations. I sat and read non-stop, just gobbling up the pages. There is an addictive quality to the writing, pithy, witty, stinging sentences walk hand in hand with compassion and emotion. The ending has left me wanting more, so I already can’t wait for the next in the series. Critical Incidents is escapism at its very best, it is also provocative, eloquent and extremely rewarding, earning itself a pick of the month from me.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Blue Night

Blue Night

Author: Simone Buchholz Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/02/2018

This was a dream of a read for me, relatively short, different, beautifully written, and full of jarring, jolting impact. Blue Night is the first in the Chastity Riley series, was a number one bestseller in Germany, and has been fabulously translated by Rachel Ward. After a particularly difficult case (which involved in-house corruption) Chastity Riley, state prosecutor in Hamburg, has been transferred to witness protection. Chastity’s next case propels her straight back into the main ring, she has to throw her guard up and come out fighting. The introduction surprised me, raw and gritty, yet written with a lyrical beauty, it really sets the tone. Simone Buchholz shoots abrupt, short sentences across the page, her writing is sparse and to the point, yet connected deeply within my heart and mind. I adored the sections which freeze-framed the characters in time, they burst with energy and information, almost popping with intensity. It feels as though you are on a collision course with the ending, which exploded in dramatic style. Constantly surprising, Blue Night is an original, firecracker of a read, it will undoubtedly be one of my books of the year, I absolutely loved it.  Books in The Chastity Riley Series: 1. Blue Night 2. Beton Rouge 3. Mexico Street 4. Hotel Cartagena Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.

eBooks of the Month
The Castaways

The Castaways

Author: Lucy Clarke Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/03/2021

Oh my word, as I sank into the pages of this brilliantly addictive psychological thriller I actually forgot that I was reviewing and just read for pure pleasure. Sisters Lori and Erin are travelling to a remote part of Fiji for a holiday, after an argument before the final inter-island flight, only one leaves on the small plane, which then goes missing. Lucy Clarke takes psychological thrillers to a whole new level. I adored You Let Me In, and The Castaways now ensures she is a must-read author for me. Set in two time frames, as the story progresses ‘Then’ inches, then hurtles towards ‘Now’. Each change in time frame felt like a hammer blow before I was immediately gathered up in the story again. The most exquisite tension builds and thrums with increasing intensity. The release of information is so clever, almost teasing, and I balanced on a razor sharp wire of awareness. I felt a deep connection with the sisters, their relationship was wonderfully complex yet tangible. If you love intelligent, yet hugely entertaining psychological thrillers, then put this to the top of your list. Chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, The Castaways really is the most compulsive, enthralling and beautifully written tale, it’s a 2021 sure-fire winner. The LoveReading LitFest invited Lucy Clarke to the festival to talk about The Castaways. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Lucy in conversation with Paul Blezard and watch them talking all about this absolute belter of a psychological thriller. You won't be disappointed!   Check out a preview of the event here    

Star Books
The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

Author: Felicity McLean Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/06/2020

A scorching, provocative, heady hit of a read, that also feels refreshingly unique. The setting is Australia, three girls disappear and years later Tikka looks back at what happened and how the events have affected her life. Felicity McLean sets two time frames in motion, but the story doesn’t flow in a straight line, words meander, get caught in an eddy before rushing onwards again. It took me a few pages to settle into the writing, and that is just because it is so wonderfully and distinctively different. Tikka’s voice is compelling, her childhood evokes bright vivid colour and touchable vibrant feelings which all spill from the page. She didn’t just visit my thoughts, but set up home too. As I read, punches of realisation landed with precision, opening my eyes, making me consider. The Van Apfel Girls are Gone really is the most special debut, it is dark, atmospheric and tragic, yet bright, engaging and satisfying too. Also chosen as a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, this Debut of the Month is one that I can highly recommend.

Star Books
Freedom's Child

Freedom's Child

Author: Jax Miller Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2015

Shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016. A woman sheltered in the Witness Protection Programme for the almost justified murder of her cop husband twenty years ago discovers that one of the children she had to put up for adoption has gone missing, possibly kidnapped. Now a hopeless drunk and a soul with no hope left, she finds her vocation and redemption for past sins in savagely hunting down whoever is responsible, whilst confronting her troubled past. A humdinger of a flawed heroine and a gallery of colourful, imperfect characters spanning every shade from black to grey populate her breakneck quest. A tale of the ties that bind families together in spite of adversity, this is a novel that will tug at the heartstrings while holding you hooked its fast-paced plot. Definitely a keeper. ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... With a hammer hitting hard prologue, this intensely powerful thriller starts, continues and finishes with provocative words and action. Set in the USA, a mother surfaces from a witness protection program and races to find and save her child. Freedom is a truly distinctive and remarkable character, it takes a little while to get to her know her, to ease into step alongside her, her fractured yet defiant soul is announced with every word she speaks. With a strong cast of characters, some positively loathsome, others a well needed determined and steadfast, the author keeps the plot incredibly taut and dynamic. Jax Miller has written a stimulating and excitingly different debut novel, ‘Freedom’s Child’ sets itself firmly apart from the masses and stands brilliantly and defiantly alone. ~ Liz Robinson January 2016 Debut of the Month. One of our Books of the Year 2015.

eBooks of the Month
Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park

Author: Katherine Faulkner Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/04/2021

This smart psychological thriller slowly and intricately builds layers of tension into a wealthy, modern family setting. Alone at antenatal class after being let down by her family, Helen finds herself talking to Rachel. Rachel, unsettling, overly enthusiastic and inquisitive, begins to push her way into Helen’s life learning every little family secret. This is Katherine Faulkner’s debut, she is an award-winning journalist and Joint Head of News at The Times. The first few pages opened up ‘afterwards’, setting the tone of the story and ensuring that knowledge stayed with me throughout. Returning to ‘before’, I discovered a labyrinthine of snippets and tidbits of information as I read. They caught at the edge of my awareness, digging, pointing, creating suspense. I hovered on the edge of relationships, viewing rather than immersing myself in particular personalities. This lead to me wondering and questioning, investing in the storyline. On occasion I was confident that I knew what was happening, but I changed my mind several times! Even if you find that you are right, there are still surprises along the way. This book really does serve as a reminder that from the outside everything can appear perfect, but of course the inside can be an entirely different place. Encouraging you to stay alert and pay attention to the smallest of details, Greenwich Park is an intelligent and stimulating slow-burner of a read.

Debut Books of the Month
Gallowstree Lane

Gallowstree Lane

Author: Kate London Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/01/2020

Just to let you know that I get excitement overload when I read a crime novel that allows me to simply exist in the pages without an ounce of doubt… and Gallowstree Lane, the third ‘Collins and Griffiths Detective Novel’ is a truly fabulous example (so yes I am wanting to shout about this from the rooftops). Author Kate London ended her Metropolitan Police Service career in 2014 working as a detective on a Major Investigation Team. Her knowledge and experience undoubtedly shines through, you are quite simply, in very safe hands. This story about shocking gang violence is not only extraordinarily relevant, it also entirely captivating, meaningful, and memorable. Sarah Collins and Lizzie Griffiths are beautifully written detectives, both completely fascinating, for me though, the real jewel in this particular crown is Ryan, a young gang member who is left reeling and demanding vengeance after the murder of his best friend. Kate London encourages reality, fact and fiction to blend together, and adds so much depth to the characters I felt as though I knew them. I was so in tune with Ryan that my heart truly ached for him. Gallowstree Lane has left a vividly brilliant bruise on my soul, it is wonderfully raw, exquisitely written.

eBooks of the Month
Sweetpea

Sweetpea

Author: C. J. Skuse Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/11/2017

The first adult novel by an acclaimed children's book author, Sweetpea hits all the right buttons. A dark, twisted read about a female serial killer with dollops of humour, sarcasm and a lightweight approach to a serious subject that shouldn't work but does! Rhiannon loves her pet dog and her doll house and works in a menial position at her local newspaper. She also kills people in imaginative ways. None of them are actually innocent; well, maybe one was... Her boyfriend is cheating on her with a friend to his peril. You can't help but smile along with Rhiannon as her diary unfolds, bitchy, sarcastic, lethal. Skuse is clever and maintains just the right balance of immorality, belly laughs, sinister actions and eye-opening commentary on the absurdities and pettiness of everyday life to, keeping you gripped and on the hook, both smiling and squirming. I'm looking forward to her next 'grown-up' book, as this one will be hard to beat! ~ Maxim Jakubowski The LoveReading view... Oooh, this is a truly cringe-inducing, yet addictive, whammy of a read. ‘Sweetpea’ is the diary of a serial killer, Rhiannon may look sweet and innocent, but inside that shell, is a plotting, deviously twisted mind. The first chapter shocked me, in fact every chapter shocked me, I blurted with laughter and then burned with guilt at my reaction as words spilled from Rhiannon’s mind onto the page. If you find the thought of an evil-thinking, murdering psychopath, who tosses imaginative profanities like litter a little off-putting, then do think twice before opening this book. If you do peek, be warned, I found it impossible to put down, this is a psychopath whose words struck a chord and made me wonder at my own propensity for wickedness. This is the first novel for adults from C. J. Skuse, and I think she must have an evil little monster residing in her pen, yet as information was revealed, my thoughts halted, coiled, altered. ‘Sweetpea’ is a wonderfully surprising novel, obvious, a shock-fest, in your face… yet incredibly subtle and thought-provoking too, I loved it, I absolutely loved it. ~ Liz Robinson Books in The Rhiannon Series: 1. Sweetpea 2. In Bloom Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.

eBooks of the Month
Trick of the Dark

Trick of the Dark

Author: Val McDermid Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/02/2011

Shortlisted for the Galaxy Thriller & Crime Novel of the Year Award 2011. A fascinatingly rich and complex mystery lies at the heart of this novel - McDermid's most ambitious and best yet.   Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 4 November 2010.   October 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.   Fans of a good thriller will enjoy Trick Of The Dark by crime writer Val McDermid, in which a shamed psychiatrist find herself drawn into a murder case that has taken place at her old Oxford college.

eBooks of the Month
Good Me Bad Me

Good Me Bad Me

Author: Ali Land Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/08/2017

One of Our Books of the Year 2017 |  September 2017 Book of the Month Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2017. Ooh, this truly is a fabulously captivating and unpredictable tale, and it kept me clinging to the very edge of my seat. Annie’s mother is a serial killer, Annie informs on her mother and we hear her story as she attempts to deal with her new foster family and the approaching trial. Immediately from the start this feels different, my mind flashed onto high alert setting and remained there for the entire story. Annie's name is changed to Milly and she tells her own tale, speaking in short, sharp, powerful sentences. I felt her confusion, loneliness, and wanted to hug her as her thoughts tumbled in limbo. Her feelings wormed their way into my mind, making me think, making me question. Ali Land doesn't hold back, ‘Good Me, Bad Me’ is uncomfortable, powerful, provocative, and an absolute knockout. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Long Bright River

Long Bright River

Author: Liz Moore Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2020

This intelligent, beautifully eloquent and powerful crime novel thoroughly provoked my feelings, and still remains in my thoughts. Mickey Fitzpatrick is a police officer patrolling the area she grew up in. Kensington in Philadelphia is known for drugs and sex workers, when a killer arrives on the streets, Mickey prays that her little sister doesn’t become a victim. The author Liz Moore has an intimate knowledge of the real Kensington, she has interviewed the people drawn there by drugs, written non fiction, and completed community work, she obviously cares a great deal for this neighbourhood and its people. Her novel set in Kensington has been a long time in the coming, she wanted to: “do this world justice”, to: “fairly represent”. As I started to read, the ‘list’ stopped me in my tracks, I read it again, pondered, and then moved on to the first two pages which hit my mind with a wallop and gave it a good shake. Mickey narrates her story, she is so clear, sharp, on point,  and I could see, feel, taste her words. Kensington, Mickey and her family flooded my mind in short, fierce, expressive chapters of ‘then’ and ‘now’. I felt a connection to emotions, to this story, it truly spoke to me. I feel this novel will be one that I regularly return to, and I’ll take away something a little different each time. Long Bright River is a stunning read, it aches with poignant, vivid intensity and I absolutely loved it. There is no other option for me, than to choose it as a LoveReading Star Book.

Star Books
Red Snow

Red Snow

Author: Will Dean Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/10/2019

With a sense of menace that fairly snaps at your heels, this is a truly fabulous read. You could step straight into Red Snow quite happily, but I recommend that you begin with the first in the series, Dark Pines. Here, reporter Tuva Moodyson tracks down a killer just as a blizzard hits the small Swedish town of Gavrik. Tuva is absolutely fabulous, she is a fast talking and thinking, no-nonsense lead, and her thoughts stride across the page. The town of Gavrik just has so much atmosphere, it scowls, simmers and plots in the background, actually, not so much in the background, it sits alongside Tuva as a main character.  Will Dean writes so beautifully you can feel the black Grimberg liquorice scented energy of the place. In my mind, my thoughts, my feelings, I was there! The dark, twisty and somewhat quirky plot kept me on constant alert from start to finish. Red Snow is edgy, intricate, and right up there for me, this is Scandi-noir with brass knobs on! Read our 'Putting Authors in the Picture' Blog for Will Dean here!

Darling

Darling

Author: Rachel Edwards Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/02/2019

Prepare yourself, this is a slicing, clever, wonderfully captivating tale ready to twist thoughts, to skewer feelings. Thomas falls in love with Darling, his 16-year-old daughter Lola is horrified, each woman is determined not to lose Thomas. The intriguing prologue immediately hooked my attention, my eyebrows raised, my eyes opened wide, my mind gasped. We hear from both Darling and Lola, each so different, so vibrantly alive with conviction. Darling’s voice is rich and full of flavour, I could close my eyes and still hear her, while Lola is sharp with a head full of thoughts, brittle, yet flaming, fiery. I found myself reading faster, wanting to gobble up the pages, yet was determined not to miss a single word. By the time awareness started to prickle my consciousness, by the time understanding crashed in around me, I was on a non-stop collision course with the end. Darling is a powerful read, a vibrant, punchy, thoughtful wow of a read, and I loved it. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.

Star Books
The Riviera Express

The Riviera Express

Author: T. P. Fielden Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/06/2017

A snappy, vibrant, romp of a read, set in a 1950’s Devonshire seaside town. Miss Judy Dimont (in her forties), the shrewd and very able journalist for The Riviera Express, investigates the suspicious deaths of two men. The author T. P. Fielden is a journalist, and has set an according tone, it almost feels as though there is a narrator, perhaps the newspaper itself, as pithy observations fly across the page. Information is gradually revealed, though there is enough left unsaid about Judy, to leave me wanting more, good thing this is the start of a new series! With interesting town folk and silver screen stars, there was plenty to occupy my thoughts as I attempted to solve this intruiging whodunit. ‘The Riviera Express’, with a thoroughly modern heroine, is an entertaining, spirited, murder mystery set in a bygone era.  Books in The Miss Dimont Mystery Series: 1. The Riviera Express 2. Resort to Murder 3. A Quarter Past Dead 4. Died and Gone to Devon Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.

The Nothing Man

The Nothing Man

Author: Catherine Ryan Howard Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/05/2021

Razor-sharp tightrope time with this belter of a read, it is as dramatic and different as it is fabulous. Discover two books in one novel as true crime is enveloped by breathtaking storytelling. Read Eve Black’s memoir as she searches for the man who murdered the rest of her family 20 years ago. Sitting by its side is the story of the killer Jim Doyle as he reads the book and fears he will be unmasked. This has such a clever premise, Catherine Ryan Howard ensures that this is one of the few instances where knowing the identity of the killer actually adds to the intensity and drama. The change from one book to the other doesn’t jar in the slightest, each embraces and calls to the other and the transition is seamless. The tension increases until it is fairly reverberating through the pages. I let myself be carried away in the story, and don’t forget, this is a story, and it works because there is no sneaking a peek at the end! The Nothing Man is a blast of pure reading entertainment, and has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book. Have a look at our Ambassador Book Buzz for The Nothing Man.

Star Books
The Butterfly Girl

The Butterfly Girl

Author: Rene Denfeld Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/07/2020

A thoughtful, emotionally challenging yet beautifully readable novel. Naomi Cottle is a talented investigator and finder of missing children, here she searches for her own sister who has been missing since they were both children. Rene Denfeld is a must-read author for me. Her debut The Enchanted (one of our Books of the Year in 2014) is still lodged in my heart and my mind, and a book I often recommend. This is the second in the Naomi Cottle series, however can easily be read as a standalone. I personally though, would make the obvious decision of starting with The Child Finder. Rene Denfeld’s working experience means that she has a knowledge of horrific crime that the majority of people won’t ever, and shouldn’t ever know. She champions the hidden, the shunned, and makes them human and relatable. Celia, the 12 year old street child, really did creep into my heart, and the social aspects of the novel hit home hard. The dramatic feeling of tension that Rene Denfeld created, remained throughout, and I really had no idea as to how this novel would end. The Butterfly Girl prods and provokes, yet is wonderfully descriptive and eloquently written and I just had to choose this as one of my Liz Robinson picks of the month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Deadland

Deadland

Author: William Shaw Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/02/2020

In what is promising to be an assured series, Deadland sits as a gripping, fabulous read in its own right. Two 17 year old lads end up in a whole heap of trouble when they steal a mobile phone, meanwhile DS Alexandra Cupidi returns to investigate a severed limb, but without the rest of the body is there actually a murder to investigate? The first in this DS Alexandra Cupidi Investigation series by William Shaw is Salt Lane, with the standalone The Birdwatcher taking place before, but also linking to the series. So there are a couple of recommended stops to make before potentially embarking on Deadland. I just slipped straight into the storyline, I immediately felt at home, there was a fresh feeling of reality and I didn’t question, just read. DS Cupidi is a really strong lead, the relationship with her daughter adding a contrasting note of tension. There is a wonderful balance between the investigations taking place, and the story of Benjamin and Joseph, the links starting to tighten as the story progresses. Dungeness thrusts itself into the story, the social aspects substantial and compelling. Deadland is an absolutely fascinating read, one that I highly recommend and I have chosen it as one of my Liz Robinson picks of the month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Favour

The Favour

Author: Laura Vaughan Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/03/2021

This is a book that will keep you wonderfully off balance, it feels as though you are being trusted with an unsettling and dangerous secret. When Ada Howell turns 18 her wealthy godmother presents her with a gift that could allow her access to the world she she craves. The shocking aftermath of a sudden death appears to pave the way for her dreams, but the route she takes comes at a cost. Ada narrates, opening a disquieting window to her world and looking at herself without sentimentality. I felt that any feelings of compassion I had for Ada would have been slapped away and yet they remained. The nostalgic recollections and empathy she does have channel themselves into the house she grew up in and lost. Laura Vaughn has previously written for children and young adults, this is her first novel for adults. She writes with an understated eloquence, slowly allowing the intrigue and tension to build piece by delicate piece. There are a number of characters, each perfectly placed and adding to the feeling of claustrophobia that haunted the pages. I felt a shiver of foreboding as the ending began to slide into place, followed by satisfaction as I closed the last page. A well-written and rewarding read The Favour slips into shadowy thoughts and finds the darkness that dwells there. 

Debut Books of the Month
Sleep Tight

Sleep Tight

Author: C S Green Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/03/2021

An addictive, thrilling, supernatural crime novel and the first in what promises to be a fabulous new series. The death of a woman is classed as murder, the policing team can’t work out how the killer entered the room, and a sinister element suggests the supernatural is at work. This, the first in the Rose Gifford series really does pack a punch, as well as introducing us to Rose and the UCIT (a secret police department), it also sits as a cracking story in its own right. With a spooky first chapter C.S. Green then introduces the policing team. Creepy layers build on creepy layers, yet it isn’t overplayed and all feels plausible. I was hooked enough, bearing in mind the tag of: “Even in your dreams, he’ll find you,” to continue reading right through into the night. You’ll discover that Rose has her own problems to deal with, she feels as relatable as can be, and I was firmly on and by her side as I read. I want to learn more about the UCIT and can’t wait for the next in the series. Sleep Tight is a satisfyingly enthralling read, and stimulating as heck, it just had to be included as one of my Liz Picks of the Month

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Jazz Files

The Jazz Files

Author: Fiona Veitch Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/09/2015

An entertaining historical mystery supplying oodles of 1920’s fizz and fun, alongside a firm foundation from the suffragette movement and scars of the First World War. It’s the summer of 1920 and as Poppy arrives in London she discovers the enticing world of journalism and a mystery that has been desperately waiting to be solved since 1913. In the historical notes Fiona Veitch Smith reveals that she has played (just a little) with the timeline of the 20’s, however the vivacious story just zips along due to the excitement of the theatre and jazz clubs and menace of a dastardly foe. This is the first in the ‘Poppy Denby Investigates’ series and introduces the fast paced world of journalism with flair, making for an engaging read. ~ Liz Robinson   A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher... The Jazz Files is a gloriously fun read – it's fast-paced, clever, and extremely likeable. The first book in The Poppy Denby Investigates series, The Jazz Files introduces a host of brilliantly drawn characters who bring the roaring 20s to life. A book that will embroil you in the lives of the Suffragettes and draw you into an investigation full of intriguing twists and turns! ~ Jess Tinker, Editor, Lion Hudson Books in the Poppy Denby Investigates Series: 1. The Jazz Files 2. The Kill Fee  3. The Death Beat 4. The Cairo Brief 5. The Art Fiasco Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.

eBooks of the Month
Mirrorland

Mirrorland

Author: Carole Johnstone Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2021

Carole Johnstone's Mirrorland is a creepingly compelling psychological thriller of the highest order - a dark, suspenseful debut with haunting atmosphere and pitch-perfect pacing as thirty-something Cat returns to her childhood home after a twelve-year absence when her twin sister El is reported missing at sea. As children, the sisters spent most of their time in Mirrorland, an imaginary world located beneath the pantry stairs. The girls also grew up with their mother telling them they were special identical twins. The egg separated late, “which meant we were more than just two halves of the same whole.” To Cal, this also meant El was “my exact opposite. My reflection. My Mirror Twin.” While the police and El’s husband Ross are certain El is dead, Cal is sure she’s still alive - who else would be leading her on a treasure hunt around Mirrorland? The trail of clues draws Cal back to their childhood with tremendous edge-of-seat tension, back to Clown Café, Princess Tower and Kakadu Jungle, where she and El used to encounter Mouse, the Witch, the Tooth Fairy and Bluebeard. Where they dreamed of meeting their imagined pirate king father in an imagined future. Following this trail forces Cal to peel back - and confront - layers of trauma from the past, to remember that “bad things happened in this house… but that was a lot easier to forget when I was an ocean away from its walls." Chillingly atmospheric, this un-put-down-able page-turner is perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Erin Kelly, with the magic realist elements created by the sisters’ fantasy world giving it extra edge.

Star Books
The Fatal Tree

The Fatal Tree

Author: Jake Arnott Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/09/2017

Powerful and expressive, this is an extraordinary tale, based in reality, set in the London underworld of the 1720’s. Edgeworth Bess is in Newgate, as she tells her story via a third party, more than one person’s life is revealed in all its sordid, beautiful wonder. Jake Arnott has the ability to create a living, punchy, violent world, it feels real, it feels as though the events are taking place now. The language of the time is startling, at first I delved into the glossary at the back, in a very short time though, I didn't need to refer to it, I lived, breathed and felt the words. There are a number of real people at large here, their stories are, to be honest, quite gobsmacking, yet in this fictional setting, with this gloriously assured writing, they felt even more substantial and undeniably physical. ‘The Fatal Tree’ is a vibrantly striking tale, it is, quite simply, a cracking read and I highly recommend it. ~ Liz Robinson Click here to read a Q&A with Jake Arnott.

eBooks of the Month
Block 46

Block 46

Author: Johana Gustawsson Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/05/2017

A truly stunning debut both powerful and disturbing by a UK-based French author, set in London, the West Coast of Sweden and, worryingly, during WW2 in the Buchenwald concentration camp. The use of such a harrowing location and era might in other less-skillful hands smack of exploitation, but here it just anchors an already scary serial killer investigation in reality with a series of heart-jumping twists you never see coming. When similar mutilations appear in the murder of a female Swedish jewellery designer in Falkenberg and the discovery of young children's bodies on Hampstead Heath, Scotland Yard call on the services of seconded Canadian profiler Emily Roy, and true crime author Alexis Castells who knew the initial victim and feels compelled to become involved. The contrasting couple's investigation alongside both police forces slowly uncovers layers of horror and surprises. The first in a series, winner of several awards in its native France, this heralds the English language debut of a major new talent and will have people talking (DISCLAIMER: I am the translator of this book, which I was pleased to bring to the attention of its British publishers). ~ Maxim Jakubowski The LoveReading view... As the start to a new series, this is a truly menacing, striking and powerful read. Profiler Emily Roy, and Alexis Castells a true crime writer, join forces as mutilated bodies are discovered in Sweden and London. The tale begins in 2013, as a body is hidden and thoughts are revealed in chilling focus. Roy and Castells make a fascinating duo, each adding their own distinct style. Short chapters provoke interest, and set feelings whirling, before moving swiftly on. Buchenwald concentration camp squats with loathing intensity in 1944, breaking into the middle of the story, just how do the atrocities committed there link to the investigation? Maxim Jakobowski ensures a seamless translation as Johana Gustawsson releases evil behind a stark and deceptively simple writing style. ‘Block 46’ left me shuddering as it reached a dramatic conclusion, and yet I couldn’t turn away, oh what a clever and very shocking tale this is! ~ Liz Robinson A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher... As sometimes happens, Block 46 was recommended to me by a number of authors and reviewers, whose opinion I trust, and I was very excited to meet with Johana’s French publisher at the London Book Fair last year. My eldest son read it in the original French, as did an outside reader, and both come back with stars in their eyes, and a You MUST publish this book message! Maxim Jakubowski was already a fan, and we hired him to translate Block 46. Six months on and I still hadn’t read it. I flew through the first draft of the translation in less than a day, and knew exactly why everyone was raving – exactly why this book has won so many awards in Johana’s native France. This is a stunning piece of crime fiction, with a plot that twists and turns and leaves the reader both breathless and gasping for more. At its heart is a study of the nature of evil that is eye-opening and also terrifying, and the two main protagonists are fresh, never stereotypical, and hugely engaging. I am thrilled and honoured to be publishing such a fabulous series, with its sweeping plot and timelines. In all honesty, it is probably the best Noir to come out of France for a decade, by a young writer with a massive future ahead of her. ~ Karen Sullivan, Orenda Books Click here to read a Q&A with the author. Books in The Roy & Castells Series: 1. Block 46 2. Keeper 3. Blood Song Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.

eBooks of the Month
The Last Snow

The Last Snow

Author: Stina Jackson Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/02/2021

A beautifully written, smart yet dark novel novel of suspense and tension. A family from a small nearly abandoned village in northern Sweden find themselves a target when rumours suggest that they own a fortune. I absolutely raved about Stina Jackson’s award-winning debut, The Silver Road, and this her second novel hits the just the right notes too. She has the ability to inject moments of light and hope within the darkness that holds the story in its grasp. Translated by Susan Beard, I could feel all the differences of Sweden yet felt entirely at home within the words. The background tale from 1998 begins to fill in the gaps in the present. A real sense of menace is created, and something unforgivable lurks, waiting to be found. The characters are as deep as the tone is dark, and I read with bated breath. The Last Snow cements Stina Jackson as an author to watch, this is a story that just thrums with foreboding atmosphere and demands to be read, highly recommended.

Books of the Month
Cover Your Tracks

Cover Your Tracks

Author: Claire Askew Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2021

A smart, thoughtful, intriguing crime novel. DI Helen Birch starts to dig into what should be a simple case, but finds far more than she bargained for. I absolutely adore this series, for me it contains one of the more realistic characters in the modern book world of policing. The first novel in the series All The Hidden Truths, was shortlisted for the 2019 Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger and won the McIlvanney Debut Prize. Here we are at the third book in, and see DI Helen Birch in all her glory, flaws and all, but she doesn’t become a caricature, when I’m reading, she exists. Edinburgh sings, and the investigation sits nicely alongside Helen’s personal life, with certain parts crowding and affecting her thoughts. Claire Askew gets inside the small things, makes them count, she also handles the more difficult subjects contained here with compassion and empathy. The ending is a corker, and slides nicely into place. Cover Your Tracks continues a great crime series, and it’s one I can wholeheartedly recommend.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay

Author: Douglas Skelton Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/03/2019

A thrilling and compelling tale that sits in the centre of a community bound by time and common purpose. Reporter Rebecca Connolly chases a 15-year-old story of murder to an island full of secrets and closed whispered ways. The prologue really hit me with hammer hard precision, full of power and emotion, it released questions buzzing into my mind. Douglas Skelton sets a host of characters, and therefore suspects into play and yet it is easy to get to know the islanders, to feel the effects of the close-knit community. While the murder squats brooding, waiting to be solved, the island life continues and fills the pages with purpose and intent, consequently, this story just feels so incredibly real. I sank into the tale and while drama is never too far away, the authenticity of the sea, the landscape, and the ways of the island surrounded me. Although this is a fictional island, I still want to visit, and that is due to the effect of the descriptive writing on display. Thunder Bay is a dynamic read, full of the wild and loaded with secrets, it is a fabulously gripping story.

The Dark Room

The Dark Room

Author: Sam Blake Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/01/2021

If you want to escape reality for a while you can just throw yourself into this diverting mystery. Two women find themselves at Hare’s Landing in West Cork for very different reasons and join forces to investigate some strange links to the house, including two suspicious deaths and a missing persons case. A number of plot lines all rather gleefully twist together and once the main characters are together in Ireland the story really comes together. Sam Blake writes short intense chapters, encouraging thoughts to whip and spin. Rachel and Caroline investigate with determination, though I have to admit that Jasper the dog was my particular favourite! The hint of ghostly goings-on play with the atmosphere, but it is very much the humans in this tale that you need to keep an eye on. Entertaining and twisty, The Dark Room slots together to a satisfying end.

eBooks of the Month
The Night Swim

The Night Swim

Author: Megan Goldin Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/01/2021

A powerful, provocative and thought-provoking mystery. Rachel’s next true-crime podcast season focuses on a live rape trial in a North Carolina coastal town, while en route she receives an anonymous plea to help solve an old case. At times a difficult and uncomfortable read due to the content, it deals with the subject of consent with consideration. Megan Goldin writes with sharp clarity, she covers the difficulties faced when bringing rape cases to court, in particular for the victim. She used to work as a journalist and has covered war zones, the credibility of her writing shines through here. The two time frames sit 25 years apart but cling to each other. There are enough hints and suggestions to have some idea of where the story is going, yet there is so much more to discover. I really am hoping there is more to come, could this be the start to a new series? Fiercely intense and incredibly readable, The Night Swim is a biting compelling read.

eBooks of the Month
Eeny Meeny

Eeny Meeny

Author: M. J. Arlidge Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/05/2014

Introducing DI Helen Grace of the Southampton Constabulary, a woman with a past and a strange fetish which is interesting. The cases presented to her are psychologically terrifying.  Couples romantically involved, related or work colleagues, it seems to matter not which, are kidnapped, dumped in an isolated place, given a mobile phone with a message on it, no credit and a gun. To escape one must kill the other. This is ingenious stuff, truly frightening, compulsive and very good indeed. Highly recommended.  My only criticism is that this impressive DI bears the same surname as another famous detective, Roy Grace of the Brighton Police and a brilliant creation of Peter James. I think the publishers should have alerted Mr Arlidge to this fact. Books in The Detective Inspector Helen Grace Series: 1. Eeny Meeny 2. Pop Goes the Weasel 3. The Doll's House 4. Liar Liar 5. Little Boy Blue 6. Hide and Seek 7. Love Me Not 8. Down to the Woods Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.

eBooks of the Month
The Source

The Source

Author: Sarah Sultoon Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/04/2021

A powerful, intense whammy of a debut that is both uncomfortable and exhilarating to read. Set in two time frames, we see 13 year old schoolgirl Carly as she tries to look after her mother and baby sister, and ten years later, journalist Marie as she investigates sex traffickers and allegations of sex abuse at an army base years before. Author Sarah Sultoon is an award-winning former CNN international news executive, and it shows. Chapter one throws you in the deep end, and I re-read it to fully comprehend what was happening. The subject matter is devastating yet thoughtfully handled even as it makes you flinch. Pacy and provocative I felt as though I was racing to keep up in both timelines. The words were sharp edged little missiles that fired into my thoughts and made them scatter. As information began to piece together, as 1996 hurtled towards 2006, I felt the hope that slipped almost silently through the years. Thought-provoking, tense, and expressive The Source is an utterly compelling debut that I can highly recommend.   

Star Books
The Hit List

The Hit List

Author: Holly Seddon Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/04/2021

Oooh, this is one heck of a feisty, dramatic, and addictive tale! On the anniversary of her husband’s death, Marianne stumbles across the dark web and an assassin’s hit list with her name on it. This is a seemingly simple premise, however an intricate plot, two time frames, and a sturdy cast of characters ensures a powerful read. I entered the dark web alongside Marianne as a complete novice, and found what awaited was utterly chilling. Holly Seddon has the ability to really bring a character to life, the words transfer from the page into feelings, thoughts, and actions. These are people who sit on the edge of right and wrong, which way will they topple? Some realisations sneaked into my head, while others arrived with a sledge hammer. The stakes are high, the tension increases and waits ready to trip you up until the ending hits. Provocative and stimulating, The Hit List is a wonderfully unexpected story that I can highly recommend.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Deep State

Deep State

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/07/2020

A booky health warning should be stamped on this cover… once you start you won’t want to stop! I read right through to 03:30am, until I had devoured every single and absolutely wonderful last drop. Hayley Chill, ex-military and champion boxer, is a new West Wing intern in the White House. When she finds the body of the Chief of Staff, she also finds a clue that it wasn’t the reported heart attack, and everything now points to an assassination plot on the president. The first few pages really sum up Hayley Chill, she is courageous, honourable, and can kick some serious ass. In other words, she is someone you would most definitely want on your side. Chris Hauty has the ability to highlight a life in just a few sentences, adding to the vivid overall picture in my mind. Deep State is a fast-moving, full-on adrenaline hit. Please, please tell me that this is the start of a new series, because I want more! Chosen as a Liz Robinson pick of the month and LoveReading Star Book, because Deep State really is that addictive. Find out more in our Q&A with Chris Hauty!

Star Books
The Creak on the Stairs

The Creak on the Stairs

Author: Eva Björg Ægisdottir Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2020

Set in Iceland, this novel introduces a new policing team in a tense and unsettling crime novel. Winner of Iceland’s Blackbird Award and translated by prizewinning Victoria Cribb The Creak on the Stairs marks the beginning of a new series. The prologue provokes a sense of unease, which lies in wait through the rest of the tale. Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir gradually introduces more characters, adding more layers of information and increasing the intrigue. We are allowed to see into the past, childhoods torn apart, still affecting the present. The policing team are an interesting bunch, with their outside lives altering their investigating ability. The setting in Iceland is fascinating, the descriptions creating a vivid picture of the reality of living in a small town. The Creak on the Stairs is a captivating tale with plenty of tension and a plot to really get your teeth into.

eBooks of the Month
Clean Hands

Clean Hands

Author: Patrick Hoffman Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/08/2020

Punchy, sharp, and strong, this is a thriller that delivers in spades. A New York law firm comes under attack when secret documents from a prominent fraud case are lost. Corporate lawyer Elizabeth Carlyle hires ex-CIA officer Valencia Walker to discretely solve the case. Author Patrick Hoffman keeps you on your toes, I was launched straight in, and found that I hit the ground running. Snippets of juicy information are released, and it’s up to you to catch them. The fast moving plot introduces a host of interesting characters and problems that need to be solved. Questions are raised early on and I found myself wondering just who could be trusted. A few deliberate holes and trip wires are left in wait for the unwary, ensuring my mind was sifting through the puzzles as I read. This is one heck of a fascinating, murky and intricate world. The ending came as a shock, and I personally enjoyed the few enticing strands that tempted my thoughts to continue. Clean Hands is an action-packed treat of a read and LoveReading book of the month.

Books of the Month
A Conspiracy of Bones

A Conspiracy of Bones

Author: Kathy Reichs Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/10/2020

Fast and furious yet complex and intricate, discover a faceless, handless corpse, and a missing child case in this twisty and fascinating investigation. It’s always good to find a new series isn’t it, but if you weren’t aware, this is actually the 19th Temperance Brennan novel. And yet, and yet… I truly do think you can start here, I was completely comfortable stepping in without the back story, and while you may choose to read it as a standalone, believe me, you will probably want to go and hunt down the first 18 after you’ve finished! Author Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist, the TV series Bones is based on her work and novels. She obviously knows her stuff, and that comes through in spades, this feels like a proper investigation, with all the leg work that involves. Temperance is fabulous, thoughts spill from her, fast, yet to the point. The plot spins from intrigue to conspiracy, it’s oh so smart and I simply revelled in the story. A Conspiracy of Bones whips into thoughts, forthright and sharp, this is an entertaining and rewarding read.

eBooks of the Month
A Dark Matter

A Dark Matter

Author: Doug Johnstone Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/01/2020

Piercing, wonderfully real and so very readable, this is another cracking novel from Doug Johnstone. Set in and around a funeral home in Edinburgh, three generations of Skelf women arrange funerals and handle a little private investigation on the side. I love Doug Johnstone’s writing, it feels so authentic, yet he has the ability to get under the skin and nudge new thoughts and feelings into being. Dorothy, Jenny, and Hannah are simply wonderful, and Edinburgh itself sits brooding in the background. It’s the small detail that really matters here, encouraging the most vivid and intense picture to form. As I came to the end I realised I wanted to hear more about these women, and later learned there is to be a series, so, so pleased! A Dark Matter, sitting as it does in death, crime, and wrong-doing, still felt like a breath of fresh air, it really is a fabulous read and I loved it!

eBooks of the Month
Saturday Requiem

Saturday Requiem

Author: Nicci French Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/03/2017

Oh my word, ‘Saturday Requiem’ is another stunning, provocative and captivating addition to the ‘Frieda Klein’ series. Frieda Klein is asked to assess a woman who was found guilty and imprisoned for the murder of her family. As Frieda investigates the tragedy, she stirs up trouble, in more ways than one. Danger hovers in the background, it never truly goes away and haunts the steps of Frieda. The author combination behind Nicci French works brilliantly, there are no seams to trip over, instead their writing blends into a tension-filled pit of wonderful. I have absolutely loved this series, the fact that each of the six novels so far, all highlight a sequential day of the week suggests that the next title, on the last day, Sunday, is going to be an absolute belter! 

eBooks of the Month
Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts

Author: Jennifer Hillier Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/07/2019

Gosh, what a striking and chillingly provocative tale this is. Geo’s best friend disappeared when they were 16, 14 years later a body is found, a serial killer is suspected, Geo knows the truth, has always known the truth, but then the murders start again. This has such a clever premise, the choices Geo made at 16 continue to play havoc, I questioned her, and my own thoughts and feelings about her as I read. I was wholly consumed by the writing, Jennifer Hillier has created a world that feels entirely real, I was taken inside the words, to think and feel and ponder. This isn’t about good and evil, or even whether monsters are born or created, it felt to me as though it was about decisions, choices, hearts and minds, in very, very human bodies. The climax sent a shockwave through me, when I reached the end I was left feeling unsettled, in the best possible way. Jar of Hearts is an observant, penetrating read, one that grabs and shakes you, and leaves you thinking about the characters for a goodly while afterwards. Highly recommended. 

eBooks of the Month
Tenacity

Tenacity

Author: J. S. Law Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/04/2016

A fascinating and captivating start to the new ‘Lieutenant Danielle Lewis series’ by a debut author who introduces in ‘Tenacity’, the stimulating and challenging world of a nuclear submarine. The feisty prologue introduces Dan who works in the Crimes Involving Loss of Life division, previous events have marked her as a loner, she is astute yet stubborn, and is brought in to investigate the crew of a submarine after a possible suicide on board. As I learnt more about Dan, my initial frustration with some of her decisions were washed away and left far behind. J.S. Law was in the Royal Navy and has worked on submarines, I immediately felt I was in reliable hands as I was transported into the working guts of the submarine. The enclosed, restricted space creates a tension that continues to tighten as the storyline pulses with gripping intensity. This is an exciting start to a series, and the ending most definitely leaves you wanting more! May 2016 Debut of the Month.

Debut Books of the Month
Mr Nobody

Mr Nobody

Author: Catherine Steadman Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/01/2020

An intriguing and altogether thrilling tale that played games in my mind and twisted my thoughts. A man with no memory is found on a Norfolk beach, neuropsychiatrist Dr Emma Lewis is asked to assess him. Emma, however, has secrets… and Norfolk is the very last place that she wants to be. The prologue focussed my attention and stayed with me throughout. As chapter one and day one started, followed by chapter two and day six, I realised that an unsettled feeling would also be keeping me company. Time slides forwards from each of these two chapters, the jagged sequence leaving my emotions hanging as the following chapter sped away again. Catherine Steadman allowed me to see, feel, and experience, her descriptions vivid in their intensity. As suggestions whispered and cajoled, the story eventually overtook and whipped them into shape. If you like to be kept on your reading toes then Mr Nobody could just be the very book for you.

Audiobooks of the Month
Overkill

Overkill

Author: Vanda Symon Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/09/2018

A rawly realistic, enthralling and thoroughly entertaining crime novel set in a small New Zealand town. Police officer Sam Shephard responds to reports of a missing person, when a body is found she discovers there is far more behind the apparent suicide than would first appear. The prologue is absolutely riveting, the first few sentences fell like a sledge hammer, nailing my concentration to the page. Sam is as fabulous as a main character could be, gutsy, down-to-earth, likeable, I could reach out and touch her feelings, empathise with her. Vanda Symon writes with a beautiful simplicity, not once overplaying her hand, she took me completely and entirely into the storyline. The Sam Shephard series has been on the New Zealand best seller list and shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel and I can see why. I highly recommend Overkill, it is powerful, cooly assured, and an absolute belter of a read. Books in The Sam Shephard Series: 1. Overkill 2. The Ringmaster 3. Containment 4. Bound Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.

eBooks of the Month
A Double Life

A Double Life

Author: Charlotte Philby Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/04/2021

Crossing a number of genres, this is a read that both challenges and provokes thoughts. Gabriela works in the Foreign Office, Isobel is a journalist, both women have a drive to succeed that will ultimately put them in danger. This novel links to Part of the Family, and I would suggest starting there as though the main characters are different, there are connections that are needed in order to fully appreciate the plot. Charlotte Philby has created two women that aren’t particularly likeable, but you don’t have to become friends with them in order to experience the story. The focus here is family life, with an investigation sitting brooding and waiting with menaces. The prologue, so short, has huge impact and left questions buzzing around in my mind spoiling for a fight. The two women and two different time frames remain separate until information slowly bleeds into and connects each story. The ending arrived in an unexpected way, and leaves the story wide open for more. With hovering suspense and intrigue, A Double Life is a provocative and stimulating novel.

eBooks of the Month
The Devil's Dice

The Devil's Dice

Author: Roz Watkins Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/03/2018

March 2018 Debut of the Month The first in the ‘DI Meg Dalton Thriller’ series is an addictive, absolute treat of a read. Meg recently moved forces and is now based in Derbyshire, she is thrown in the deep end when a lawyer is found dead in a cave and a sinister game of cat and mouse is initiated. ‘The Devil’s Dice’ was shortlisted for the 2016 Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award (for unpublished writers), so my expectations were high, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The first few pages set my thoughts fluttering, and throughout this tale a ghostly shadow hovers over the pages. Roz Watkins allows humour to enter at just the right moments, and has created a fabulous main lead. While Meg does have her fair share of problems, and a certain vulnerability too, she really grew on me. As I read, I set my mind free, to delve into the pages, to ponder, to speculate. The Devil’s Dice’ is just so readable, this is a thoroughly modern tale with a teasing strange connection to the past, and a towering cliff hanger of an ending… hopefully there will be many more stories to come.

eBooks of the Month
Strangers

Strangers

Author: Paul Finch Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/09/2016

Whoohee, this is a fierce, adrenaline rush of a read, and it packs a huge punch of attitude. PC Lucy Clayburn is desperate to get onto CID, she finds herself undercover and in danger when she joins the Serious Crime Division as they attempt to stop a female serial killer. The prologue, four years before the main story, launches this action-packed blast of a tale, it’s full on from the get go and doesn't let up. Paul Finch is a former police officer and journalist, the mix ensures a fascinating read. He keeps the tension as taut as barbed wire, and has the ability to set every scene blazing in your mind's eye. ‘Strangers’ is highly entertaining, exciting, and I gobbled this up in one thrilling charge of a read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Moscow Sleepers

The Moscow Sleepers

Author: Stella Rimington Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/09/2018

What? You haven’t read a Stella Rimington novel! Don’t worry, nor had I… and even better The Moscow Sleepers can easily be read as a standalone novel. If you are now feeling rather smug as you are already well on board this particular series then I trust you won’t be disappointed. I now plan to start at the beginning and read the first ten in the ‘Liz Carlyle’ novels as I trust they will be just as addictive. Liz Carlyle becomes embroiled in a case that appears to be fractured and confusing, gradually however the pieces begin to slide, one by one into deadly place. As you’d expect, Stella Rimington writes with a commanding pen, I felt in safe and secure hands as I sank below the surface into the dangerous world of international intelligence. An intricate web with a number of characters weaved together in the most utterly believable way. The Moscow Sleepers isn’t sexy, fickle, excitable fantasy, instead I felt as though I was in a completely plausible world, one that particularly at the moment, feels all too heart in mouth real - highly recommended.

eBooks of the Month
The Dark Lake

The Dark Lake

Author: Sarah Bailey Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2018

March 2018 Debut of the Month Told over a period of three weeks, with forays into the past, this thrilling debut gathers tension into a knotted tangled ball, before hurling it sky high. Set in Australia, a teacher is found murdered in the town lake with roses scattered in the water above her. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock ignores connections to the past in order to pursue the case, yet years old secrets start to push forward and batter at her mind. Sarah Bailey allows Gemma her own voice, she speaks with a simple intensity, her words have a gritty almost dispassionate feel, yet passion is clearly simmering in the background, edging ever closer to the forefront. Other characters are occasionally allowed voice, giving further insight into Gemma. As information is slowly revealed, and the policing team struggle to place all the pieces, I felt the links closing in. The Dark Lake simmers with tension, infatuation, secrets, and lies, ensuring an absorbing, provocative read ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Turn a Blind Eye

Turn a Blind Eye

Author: Vicky Newham Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/04/2018

An absorbing, fresh, and ultimately incredibly satisfying police procedural and start to a new series. DI Maya Rahman and DS Dan Maguire investigate the murder of a Head Teacher at an East London School, another murder plunges the investigators into a race against time before the killer strikes again and the already tense community lose all faith. Short snappy chapters and rapid moves between time frames and characters kept me vigilant and alert to changes. I found the chapter headings helpful, and at no time was I left floundering, the writing kept me firmly in touch with the storyline. Vicky Newham is a psychologist and has taught in East London, her connection to the social issues in the novel feel authentic and tangible, I could feel the emotion, the confusion, the fear. Snippets of information, both about the case and Maya and Dan are gradually released, and the story emerges fully realised, strong, and bursting with energy. ‘Turn a Blind Eye’ is a cracking debut, with a bold sharp edge, and I look forward to the next in the series.

eBooks of the Month
The Craftsman

The Craftsman

Author: Sharon Bolton Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/05/2018

May 2018 Book of the Month Deliciously and thrillingly creepy, The Craftsman is an intensely gripping, superb read. Thirty years ago Larry Glassbrook confessed and was imprisoned for a series of child murders. Florence Lovelady was at the beginning of her career when she was involved in the case, now Larry is dead, however hauntingly similar events start to surface. The first chapter has huge impact, a mystifying and unexpected blast hit me full on, and then gently faded into the background. Set in two time frames, with thirty years between them, the story is brisk, and I loved the fact that you are expected to keep up. Sharon Bolton balances the knife edge between reality and extraordinary with a beautiful subtlety. This is just so, so readable, once in, I didn’t want to stop, and found myself reading into the small hours, be warned though, reading at night doubles the chill factor. As I raced through the final few chapters, I almost didn’t want the journey to end, yet the last few words sent the most delightful icy goosebumps snaking down my arms. I highly recommend stepping inside the pages, just give yourself up to the glory of the The Craftsman... this I have no doubt, will be one of my favourite reads of the year.

Star Books
The Unquiet Dead

The Unquiet Dead

Author: Ausma Zehanat Khan Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/07/2017

August 2017 Debut of the Month Provocative and stimulating, this debut crime thriller set in Canada, slams with impact. Two detectives begin an investigation into the death of a man who may have been involved in the Srebrenica massacre during the Bosnian war in 1995. Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a PhD in International Human Rights Law with a research specialisation in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans, her experience and knowledge sets the tone of the novel as she takes fact and blends in fiction. It did take me a little time to settle into the story, and I appreciated the setting of the background of the Canadian police unit and politics. Each chapter is headed by a compelling, sometimes heartbreaking quotation which is explained in the notes. The story slowly grows and gathers pace, creating an intricate, intriguing moving jigsaw of pieces. The most striking part of the story for me, was when the past began to speak, I found myself flinching and yet I couldn't turn away. ‘The Unquiet Dead’ is quite simply, as fascinating as it is a challenging read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
England Expects

England Expects

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2016

A classically arresting mystery, overflowing with good old fashioned pluck, courage and perseverance. The third in the Mirabelle Bevan mysteries, this can also be read as a vintage standalone novel. In a bygone era, Mirabelle and her feisty cohort Vesta often outpace their male companions and are far ahead of their time. This is such an authentic read, Brighton in the early 50’s is as much a character in the book as the investigators themselves. The author acknowledges how frustrating research and inquiries can be with the last piece of the jigsaw often remaining just out of sight.  With some formidable detective work as well as some particularly perilous moments, this is a first rate read. ~ Liz Robinson  

eBooks of the Month
Welcome to Meantime

Welcome to Meantime

Author: Murray Davies Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/08/2014

August 2014 eBook of the Month. This is a book to make real coppers and crime sleuths smile, the first chapter slaps your interest then compels you to sit up and take note. The two main investigators have real substance and personality; DCI Chalke a monied maverick who is prepared to use the Ways and Means Act, and DS Leyden a smart, principled, street-wise fighter. There's also an extensive range of fascinating characters you will definitely need to keep tabs on as Greenwich sits centre stage, inviting us to witness the hidden, the corrupt, the illicit. It feels as though the author really understands these people, in this place, at the business end of things. Davies' has the ability to uncover the humour in the darker side of life and to set you in the middle of the action; it feels so real you could be there, adding your notes to the investigation. As in life, a few loose ends flap indolently around, teasing you, leaving you yearning a sequel so you can learn more about these characters and the world they inhabit. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Let the Dead Speak

Let the Dead Speak

Author: Jane Casey Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/08/2017

An absolute belter of a crime novel, and the seventh in the ‘Maeve Kerrigan’ series. 18 year old Chloe returns home to find her mum missing and the house drenched in blood, Maeve, in her new role as a DS, investigates. The first chapter set my senses on high alert, and I remained that way, evaluating, questioning, yet almost inhaling the action. Jane Casey writes with an assured hand, the investigators feel authentic, the investigation covers the painstaking research undertaken, the relationships between the team, as well as the riveting drama. I can’t believe that this is my first foray into this series, I’m going to have to hunt down the first six now! ‘Let The Dead Speak’ is unpredictable, fast moving, and action-packed, it’s a thrilling swaggering story and I highly recommend it. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Teacher

The Teacher

Author: Katerina Diamond Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/03/2016

One of our Books of the Year 2016. Longlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016. A couple of Exeter cops attempt to solve the mystery of a hanged teacher which was locally followed by a whole series of gruesome deaths in this clever psychological thriller which somehow brings a new perspective to a familiar plot by illuminating the story through the eyes of several initially disparate characters. A wonderful example of the crime thriller as a jigsaw where the author always remains that one step ahead of the reader. Splendidly engineered and a compulsive page turner which introduces a likeable set of investigators faced with a succession of rather horrible conumdrums, and thus not for the fainthearted, although assiduous readers of Thomas Harris and Patricia Cornwell will not blanch at the explicitness involved in several of the doomed protagonists' demise. ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... Oooh, this is disturbingly good! Two detectives with their own fair share of problems find themselves in the middle of an explosion of murders, as the macabre and gruesomely graphic deaths start to mount, whose side will you find yourself on? Katerina Diamond transports you from murder, to investigation, to inside different minds with ease, each time settling you so completely into that moment, that it comes as a shock when you move on again. If you are a little squeamish, then on occasion you might need to read between your fingers, but once you start, it’s utterly compelling and I found it impossible to put down. This is such a striking novel, it makes you consider, and ponder the meaning of justice. Deliciously thrilling and menacing, ‘The Teacher’ is a crime thriller with biting, provocative attitude and I absolutely adored it. ~ Liz Robinson March 2016 Debut of the Month.

eBooks of the Month
Solitude Creek

Solitude Creek

Author: Jeffery Deaver Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/02/2016

Feel the fear of the victims and witnesses, hear the thoughts of the cunning and extremely intimidating perpetrator, turn the final page and find yourself wanting to read it all over again… this is an explosive and riveting novel. You don't have to have previously read any other ‘Kathryn Dance’ thrillers, although this will certainly encourage you to. The author is more than capable of running rings around your imagination and thought processes, remember, if you work something out, it’s only because you've been allowed to. There are some wonderfully clever moments where expected action is suspended and anticipated outcomes transformed. Occasionally a chapter will leave you hanging, you want to race ahead, to find out what has just happened, while at the same time consume every word to ensure absolutely nothing is missed. Deaver creates a stimulating and challenging world for Kathryn Dance to manoeuvre through and dares you to keep up in this fabulously intense thriller of a read.~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Fire Damage

Fire Damage

Author: Kate Medina Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/03/2016

April 2016 Debut of the Month. Captivating from the outset, this is the first in the ‘Jessie Flynn Investigation’ series, and what a fabulously readable and dramatic story it is too. 29 year old Dr Jessie Flynn works for the Defence Psychology Unit, she teams up with Captain Ben Callan from the Military Police Special Investigation Branch in an investigation that walks a knotty tightrope of emotions. While there is a whisper of romance, it is the case in hand that dominates the story and Kate Medina keeps the tension ramped up high. The subject matter is not only bang up to date, it is also perfectly judged and when you read into Kate Medina’s background, it all makes sense. With characters full of contradictions and vulnerabilities, a seriously puzzling yet poignant mystery and a fascinating backdrop, I’m really looking forward to the next in the series.

eBooks of the Month
Fool Me Once

Fool Me Once

Author: Harlan Coben Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/06/2016

An outrageously stunning read, that takes a tight hold from the outset and continues to squeeze until the shockingly intense end. Maya, a former Army Captain, finds herself caught up in a nightmare scenario after her husband is gunned down and events start to spiral out of control. Harlan Coben writes with a masterly hand, descriptions shot straight into my minds eye and the tale continued to twist and writhe with intrigue. Powerful and addictive, clever and memorable, ‘Fool Me Once’ is a brilliantly escapist read, the story whips along, and I just had to read it in one sitting.

eBooks of the Month
Dead Gorgeous

Dead Gorgeous

Author: Elizabeth Flynn Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/10/2014

A winning design of a murder mystery that takes a peek into the darker side of the world of fashion. This is the second in the ‘Mystery for DI Costello’ series leading on from ‘Game, Set and Murder’. DI Angela Costello is likeable, reliable and most definitely someone you would want on your side. There are suspects a plenty as the victim seems to have been clawing her way up both the career and society ladder. The clues are there but some remain at large until some way into the book, the investigation is thorough and it’s interesting to see DI Costello’s bloodhound nose at work. This is the perfect read if you don’t want anything too taxing and enjoy trying to solve a murder from the comfort of your sofa. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Deep Down Dead

Deep Down Dead

Author: Steph Broadribb Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/01/2017

A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Yet another assured British thriller debut, again set overseas, this time in deepest America where Lori Anderson, a young woman with a tumultuous past and a young child suffering from leukemia and in dire need of medical care, now operates as a fearless bounty hunter. Desperately in need of money, she manages to convince her employers to hand her a case which will involved bringing in the man she once loved and who also mentored her in her dangerous new profession. Tough, damaged, and ready for anything, Lori has the allure of a kick ass feminine Jack Reacher but with a heart that bleeds and will enchant not just female readers in the way she navigates between emotions, bloody action and mixed loyalties in tale full of colourful villains, fast cars, blood, guts, guns and more. A frenzied Florida ride with a memorable heroine. More please! ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... An edgy, raw and captivating debut novel. Bounty hunter Lori Anderson has had to learn some hard lessons in her life, yet the hardest of all, armed to the teeth with hostility, is waiting her arrival. Set over three days, Lori confronts her past, the mob, and a child exploitation racket. The prologue hooked my interest, and set me firmly in the storyline. Steph Broadribb has trained as a bounty hunter, she knows her stuff, and gives Lori a decisive and compelling voice. Lori tells her own story in short, sharp sentences, her voice is so clear, yet there are hidden depths, information waiting to be revealed. I gobbled this book up in one sitting, if you want an adrenaline rush of escapism, look no further. ‘Deep Down Dead’ is an explosive, gun-slinging, fast paced read that left me wanting more, there’s surely unfinished business waiting for Lori Anderson! ~ Liz Robinson Click here to read a Q&A with Steph Broadribb about this book. January 2017 Debut of the Month. A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher... I knew Steph well, as her alter ego ‘Crime Thriller Girl’, and was intrigued when I heard that she had written her debut thriller. I was slightly worried that it wouldn’t be right for the list, which could affect our friendship; however, from the first page of this startlingly mature debut, I was captivated. Deep Down Dead is, with no exaggeration, one of the best action thrillers I’ve read in years, with a beautiful sense of place, wonderfully vivid and authentically drawn characters, non-stop action, a high-octane, twisty-turny plot, and a memorable and moving love story at the heart. Lori Anderson is an unforgettable protagonist, and there is a real femininity to this book … she’s not a ‘bloke in nylons’, but a flesh-and-blood woman, and she’ll have you cheering for her from first page to last. The best news is that this is a series, so there is plenty more to come and I, for one, cannot wait. Steph has a fresh, unique, sophisticated and wholly authentic voice, and this is one book that you are unlikely to put down or forget in a hurry. In a word, Deep Down Dead is, quite simply, wow! ~ Karen Sullivan, Orenda Books

eBooks of the Month
The Ice Princess

The Ice Princess

Author: Camilla Lackberg Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2011

Returning to her hometown after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning....The psychological thriller debut of No.1 bestselling Swedish crime sensation Camilla Lackberg.

eBooks of the Month
The Killer on the Wall

The Killer on the Wall

Author: Emma Kavanagh Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/04/2017

May 2017 Book of the Month. What a fabulously thrilling and penetrating tale this is. In 1996 Isla Bell found the bodies on the wall, now in 2016, she is a forensic psychologist studying the brains of serial killers, however her life begins to spin apart when dead bodies again appear, positioned with utmost care, leaning against Hadrian’s Wall. This is clever, breathtaking writing, heavy with portent as the past exists in the present, constantly prodding and provoking. Three characters sit centre stage, yet all very much have their part to play, as unexpected hits of information made my mind race around in fevered action as I tested theories. Emma Kavanagh’s background, as a police and military psychologist, is clear to see and feel, there were times when shivers raced down my arms, connecting to the words on the page. With a shocking and quite stunning conclusion, ‘The Killer on the Wall’ is a killer of a must read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Killing Ways

Killing Ways

Author: Alex Barclay Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/12/2015

December 2015 Book of the Month. Oh my word! This is a wonderfully bone chilling and mind biting book, it’s quite simply a stunner. ‘Killing Ways’ is Alex Barclay’s seventh novel and fifth FBI Special Agent Ren Bryce novel. If you've read the author's previous titles, I have no doubt you will find yourself on a different, possibly even more intense path than the first timer. This was my first foray into the world of Ren and at the start I wasn't sure if I was going to like her, but I quickly found myself completely consumed by the storyline and her character. The brutal serial killer is stomach churningly repellent whilst Ren is on the edge of stability and feels invincible. This is dynamic, snappy writing, at times it’s so fast paced my mind had a thrilling and serious workout to keep up. With harsh shocks, sickening murders and a team of detectives with issues and problems of their own, this is a powerfully penetrating, absolute firecracker of a read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
To The Lions

To The Lions

Author: Holly Watt Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/01/2020

This debut held me in thrall, it feels so different, and promises much as the start to a new series. Investigative reporter Casey Benedict is always looking for the next big story, an overheard conversation in a nightclub leads her straight into the jaws of hell. Author Holly Watt is an award-winning investigative journalist which adds to the overall feeling of credibility. The intruiging prologue and continued moments of reflection left questions flaring free, ready to claim my awareness. It took me a little while to get used to the style, which on occasion felt clipped, even a little awkward, which in fact adds to the originality of the tale. The devastating story Casey is chasing is slow to build, the painstaking piecing together of information feels completely authentic. When the story really takes off, it threw my thoughts into turmoil, I could all too easily imagine this happening in reality. To The Lions is an intelligent, provocative thriller and the much deserved winner of the 2019 Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Ice Child

The Ice Child

Author: Camilla Lackberg Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/03/2016

A startling, clever and intensely dark tale set in a small Swedish town. This is the ninth novel with Detective Patrik Hedstrom and his crime writing wife Erica at the helm. Although you could read this as a standalone, it really is best to start at the beginning of the series with The Ice Princess. In ‘The Ice Child’ a number of girls have gone missing, one suddenly reappears with horrific injuries, Patrik and his team try to piece together the scant information they have. Right from the offset Camilla Lackberg allows insidious whispers and suggestions to creep into your mind, to set you thinking and considering possibilities. The writing is matter of fact, yet feelings and thoughts sit on the surface, to be tasted and explored. This feels like a jigsaw puzzle with the last piece sitting within sight but just out of reach. With cunning writing waiting to trip you up, ‘The Ice Child’ is a dramatic, sinister and enthralling tale.

eBooks of the Month
The 3rd Woman

The 3rd Woman

Author: Jonathan Freedland Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/02/2016

A discerning, penetrating novel with a difference; there is the double edged substantial plot of a murder investigation, sitting alongside a political thriller. Originally writing under the pseudonym of Sam Bourne, the author Jonathan Freedland is an award-winning journalist. The first chapter simply and immediately sets the scene of a financially downtrodden USA answerable to the People’s Republic of China, while Madison, a brilliant, determined, insomniac of a journalist starts to investigate her own sister's murder...this clever concept works. The author has the ability to tightly tie the two strands together and add many more layers of intrigue and corruption, without ever losing a realistic and believable tone. ‘The 3rd Woman’ has a number of surprises in store, making an already steely and intelligent novel, an impressively stimulating read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Temple House Vanishing

The Temple House Vanishing

Author: Rachel Donohue Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2020

Burning with an intense, provocative fire, this is a debut that doesn’t flinch from the troubled world it creates. 25 years ago, a 16 year old school girl and her teacher disappeared, now a journalist investigates the mystery at the heart of the boarding school. The prologue intrigues, answering a question while bursting open many more. I felt a seductive unsettling call and settled in. Three women sit centre stage in this story, the missing Louisa, her friend Victoria, and the journalist. I gained access to the school and sank into the heady highs and lows of teenage years. A veil of mystery covers Temple House, the school sits in both time periods, a chilling constant between the two. It is as much about the unsaid, the unseen, as it is what is revealed, and Rachel Donohue handles the balance with surety. The ending really spoke to me, it opened my thoughts and encouraged them to travel. I have no doubt that The Temple House Vanishing will stay with me for some time to come, it is an assured and compelling debut.

Debut Books of the Month
The Poison Garden

The Poison Garden

Author: Alex Marwood Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/01/2020

Different, provocative and a very special read indeed, The Poison Garden has taken root in my thoughts and will stay with me for some time. Romy grew up in a cult in Wales, having lost all the people who meant so much to her, she now has to learn to survive. Alex Marwood is an award winning author and former journalist, and she succeeded in bringing an almost unimaginable scenario to vivid, incredibly intense life. Romy is one of the most intruiging characters I’ve met, and I say met, as I feel as though I know her intimately. As I read, Romy became me, or I became her, she touched my heart, and still sits in my thoughts. The Poison Garden is completely fascinating, the more I read, the more involved and consumed I became. I read this fabulous novel in one sitting with my senses on full alert, once finished I sat in a booky stupor. Highly recommended and chosen as one of our LoveReading Star Books, and a book of the month, this is a book that we really want to shout about.   

Star Books
Blood Orange

Blood Orange

Author: Harriet Tyce Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/12/2019

Hands up if you love a confident, penetrating, darkly brilliant psychological thriller, if you do then do step this way, as ‘Blood Orange’ is a stunner! Alison is defending her first murder case, all while having an affair, drinking too much, staying out too late and neglecting her husband and daughter… her life is about to get seriously complicated. Alison tells her own story, no holds barred we hear it as it is, and sometimes it isn’t pretty.  I have to say that at times Alison wasn’t on the top of my list of favourite people which gives the story real attitude. I was completely drawn into Alison’s world, hovering over her shoulder, watching, and yes I admit it, sometimes judging. Harriet Tyce allows the story to open up in front of you, all the information is there, consequently, I found myself tugging at tendrils and picking at tantalising frayed edges as I read. This is one seriously addictive book, I read it in one sitting, so do set aside plenty of reading time. ‘Blood Orange’ thrilled me, it is just so readable, yet also feels clever, raw and real - so it comes as highly recommended from me.

The Exiled

The Exiled

Author: Kati Hiekkapelto Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/10/2016

A compelling, assured and gutsy crime thriller set in Serbia among the refugee crisis. Anna returns to the borders of Hungary and Serbia for a holiday, there she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous investigation with chilling links to her own family. Kati Hiekkapelto allows information to wait, just out of sight, and then releases it to swirl, linger and provoke. Each new surprise ensured my opinion of Anna altered as I read, my attention was ensnared further, and I became completely absorbed by this tension filled read. With red herrings slipping through the story line, and an absolutely fascinating location, ‘The Exiled’ is a gripping and stimulating read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars

Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars

Author: Miranda Emmerson Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/07/2017

An enjoyable yet penetrating read, one that can lull you into a false sense of security before it jabs and stings at your awareness. A mystery sits centre stage, yet there is much more on offer here than may first appear. Set in the 60’s, the fabulous descriptive detailing ensures you are set firmly not only in the place, but also the time. This story feels like a tapestry of different threads that are slowly twisting together to create one intense and vibrant picture. There is a subtlety at play here, the story can float in different directions before it blasts your thoughts aside in a hit of raw, flinch-inducing reality. I loved the echoes of disappointment and hope that brought ‘Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars’ to life, this really is a rather lovely and engaging read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Beautiful Dead

The Beautiful Dead

Author: Belinda Bauer Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/03/2017

Oh my, this is a clever, chilling, and penetrating read. 29 year old TV crime reporter Eve Singer looks for murder and mayhem, but she needs to watch out, as one particular killer is staring right back at her. The very first page made me stop, think, and look at death from a different perspective…then chapter one slammed into my consciousness. As Belinda Bauer introduces a new character, she injects a momentary pause in proceedings as we are given detailed access to their memories and thoughts. An instant and very intimate connection is created, which actually ensures the action constantly moves forwards and is kept incredibly and powerfully taut. As the coiled shocking noose of death wound ever tighter around the story I simply couldn’t put it down. With sharply spiked claws that hook into your mind and don't let go, ’The Beautiful Dead’ is a heart pounding and captivating read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Old You

The Old You

Author: Louise Voss Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/05/2018

May 2018 Book of the Month A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller in which nothing is as it seems, every truth might be a lie, and the past looms ever larger over the present, The Old You is a nail-bitingly modern slice of domestic noir.   The Old You by Louise Voss  A clever, gripping and thrilling tale that just demands to be read in one sitting. Lynn’s husband Ed has been diagnosed with Pick’s disease, a rare form of progressive dementia. As their world is turned upside down, odd things start to happen, and the past begins to cause waves in the present, causing Lynn to question her life and the man she married. Louise Voss writes with a cunning pen, snippets or huge wallops of information are slowly revealed, encouraging suspicion and turning thoughts on their head. I found my mind constantly ticking over and questioning everything. Lynn tells her own story, creating an immediate connection, yet it takes a while to get to know her, to understand her. ‘The Old You’ is a surprising, stimulating read, just be careful that it doesn’t lull you into false sense of security!

eBooks of the Month
The Hourglass Factory

The Hourglass Factory

Author: Lucy Ribchester Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/01/2015

Longlisted for the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown Award Longlist 2016. A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A splendid debut for a new Scottish author until now best known for her short stories, this is a bracing tale of teeming 1912 London set in the world of hardy, angry suffragettes and the colours of the circus, with an atmosphere that sits aside the best of Angela Carter and Sarah Waters. Troublemaking ersatz feminist and trapeze artist Ebony Diamond vanishes and her trail is taken up by tyro reporter and tomboy Frankie George. Historical pulp of the first order, with villains, corset fetishists and a bubbling vat of colourful crazies, thriving with life in a Dickensian version of London, this is bawdy, gripping but more importantly fun and brings the past to life with vivaciousness and pinpoint detail. Rather exhilarating.   The Lovereading view... Prepare yourself, as once you dive on board, this riveting historical mystery demands that you keep up and hold on tight. 1912 London is not only brought to life, all of your senses are drawn in, you can feel the noise, taste the dirt, experience the pain and the resolute, relentless… sometimes fanaticism of the suffragette movement. The beginning, focusing separately on a would be journalist and a detective, can often feel as though you are in two divided worlds, however as the tension escalates they start to twist and writhe together building towards an explosive climax. Intrigue and suspense marches brazenly hand in hand with the vivid descriptive detailing and it is easy to lose yourself completely in the storytelling. This is an excitingly different read, combining a fascinating period in history with a stimulating mystery, fabulous stuff! - Liz Robinson Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

eBooks of the Month
Local Girl Missing

Local Girl Missing

Author: Claire Douglas Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/08/2016

A twisty, multiple layered thriller where the past and present clash in a maze of suspense. Best friends Francesca and Sophie tell their tales with nearly 20 years separating them. In 1997 Sophie disappeared, she was 21 with plenty to live for, in 2016 Francesca returns to the seaside town when she learns a body has been found. Claire Douglas gives the the two women a conversational, realistic voice, and as more and more layers are revealed, my feelings and thoughts about Francesca and Sophie bounced inside my mind and altered. With corkscrews of secrets and hidden thoughts being slowly released, it made me ponder just how clean and true our memories actually are. With an ending drenched in drama, ’Local Girl Missing’ is a suspense filled read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Watching You

Watching You

Author: Lisa Jewell Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/01/2019

An electrifying and riveting tale, my thoughts and feelings were captured from the moment I opened ‘Watching You’. Joey returns home to Bristol, she soon becomes rather obsessed with an older man, however doesn’t realise that while she is watching him, someone else is watching her. I was absolutely thrilled to hear I would be reviewing Lisa Jewell (sharp elbows and pushing to the front of the queue may have been involved), as her books have the ability to really get under my skin. Intrigue and suspicion smiled slyly as they settled over the first page and prologue. I adored the way this book opened out in front of me, tight fast moving chapters created a throbbing energy which played havoc with my emotions. I met each character with a certain amount of uncertainty, weighing, judging, evaluating as I got to know them. Information is steadily and exquisitely revealed, a beautiful balance is maintained, keeping thoughts on a knife edge. ‘Watching You’ is a completely wonderful, intensely satisfying tale. I can highly recommend just letting go and sinking into the pages, be warned though, I didn’t want to come up for air and it was a one-sitting read for me. 

Audiobooks of the Month
The Guilty Wife

The Guilty Wife

Author: Elle Croft Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/01/2018

February 2018 Debut of the Month. A debut to make you question everyone and trust no one. Bethany isn’t an innocent, in fact, you could say she is far from that, yet after murder tears her life apart, she has to find the killer in order to prove her innocence. The prologue snared my attention, the story then took off, throwing foreboding, suspicion and doubt in my way. Elle Croft hasn’t created a loveable, sugary sweet main character, you may find yourself wanting to shake Bethany on occasion, to question her motives, her actions, and of course that adds to the energy and tension. This is so entertaining and easy to read, the story just gallops along towards an ending that thunders with intensity. The Guilty Wife is an exciting, and fast paced read, the ending keeps beckoning and demanding your attention, will the last few pages shock you, or confirm your suspicions? ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Try Not to Breathe Shocking. Page-Turning. A Breath-Taking Psychological Thriller

Try Not to Breathe Shocking. Page-Turning. A Breath-Taking Psychological Thriller

Author: Holly Seddon Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/07/2016

One of our Books of the Year 2016. July 2016 Debut of the Month Penetrating and intense, ‘Try Not to Breathe’ is a chokingly dark debut thriller. Amy and Alex are the same age, Alex is divorced and drinking herself to an early grave, while Amy is trapped inside her own teenage mind in a hospital bed, 15 years after a brutal attack. Alex begins to investigate the assault, at the same time as she struggles to deal with her own demons. Fast moving chapters are headed with characters names and dates, and slide around in time from 1995 to 2011. Holly Seddon writes with a sharp intensity, casting at times a desperately sad shadow, yet there is still an element of hope that struggles for survival. There is more than one jigsaw with missing pieces here, which creates a balance to the storyline. Enough information is given to allow suspicions to grow, and flourish. As each piece slots into the jigsaw, and a clearer picture starts to emerge, the writing begins to feel lighter, just as the story moves on with a harsh and bleak intensity, ensuring this is a thought provoking and riveting read. Click here to read an interview with Holly Seddon about this book.

Debut Books of the Month
A Game for All the Family

A Game for All the Family

Author: Sophie Hannah Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2015

January 2016 Book of the Month. Ticktock, ticktock, this is a psychological mystery that encourages reading well past bed time and keeps minds ticking over and searching for rational (and perhaps not so rational answers). A Game For All The Family is a standalone novel and the perfect place to start if you haven't yet read anything by Sophie Hannah. The chills start as a family make their way to their new home, Justine tells the tale, then daughter Ellen writes a story that sets off an alarming chain of events. There’s a subtle sense of normality to the words, to the situation, that some seriously twisted deeds attempt to hide behind. The mystery within a mystery whispers possible explanations, incites overthinking and plots some devious trips and falls. This is a book where you may well find yourself searching for questions as well as answers, so enjoy the mental workout and ponder, just how far would you go to protect your family… ~ Liz Robinson Click here to read an interview with Sophie Hannah about the story behind her novels A Game for all the Family and The Narrow Bed.

eBooks of the Month
Subject 375

Subject 375

Author: Nikki Owen Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/06/2016

A powerful, penetrating and intensely different read that seizes your attention from the very first page. Nikki Owen cleverly writes in the first person narrative in two different time frames, Maria has Asperger syndrome and we are held on the edge of a connection and understanding, yet allowed intimate access to her anxiety, fear and torment. As Maria questions her memory, her thoughts, her grasp on the present and past, a creeping sense of foreboding and fear settles across the pages. For much of the novel you are kept in the dark alongside Maria, which provokes and agitates your interest, suggestions are made then ripped away, suspicions are roused and then extinguished. This fascinating premise works, it leaves you wanting more; just who can be trusted and what is the truth? 'Subject 375' was previously titled 'The Spider in the Corner of the Room' and is the first in the 'The Project Trilogy', the new cover is captivating and perfectly announces this original thriller.  ~

eBooks of the Month
The Honeymoon

The Honeymoon

Author: Tina Seskis Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2017

Oh my, this is intense, shocking, and an absolute winner. Jemma is on an island in the Maldives, her husband of just one week is missing, is he alive, or has the unthinkable happened? Tina Seskis encourages an almost unbearable tension to strum across the pages. I found myself questioning everything, suspecting everyone. Jemma tells her story in the present, while the background of the last seven years is gradually revealed. Provocative, yet subtle, the balance between compassion and misgiving is kept on a razor sharp edge. I found myself completely ensnared, wanting to read faster and faster, yet not wanting the story to end. I will admit to moments of smugness, before the story slapped me quite severely, for being so sure of myself. Thrilling and entertaining ‘The Honeymoon’ is a jaw-dropping, truly fabulous read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Good Daughter

The Good Daughter

Author: Karin Slaughter Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/05/2018

Gosh, what a story this is, dramatic, powerful, and so incredibly addictive. The Good Daughter is a standalone novel from Karin Slaughter. 28 years ago, as murder tore apart their family in a small town in North Georgia, one girl fled while the other stayed behind; in 2017 another act of violence threatens the family once more. From the very first page my whole attention was captured and kept prisoner until I had reached the end, and even now my thoughts still pop and burn. We start in 1989, and within a short time I found my body tensing, I was almost in fight or flight mode myself. I couldn't stop reading, each sentence branded my minds eye, and I could clearly see the drama as it unfolded in front of me. This really is clever writing, dots start to join up, creating a sinuous, convincing storyline. Even if thoughts of suspicion are already present, the impact of what is to come still breaks with intensity. The Good Daughter is a breathtaking whammy of a read, pure escapism at its best, and I can highly recommend it!   

eBooks of the Month
Sometimes I Lie

Sometimes I Lie

Author: Alice Feeney Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/03/2017

A novel to meddle with your reasoning and taunt your gut instincts… Amber is in hospital in a coma, her thoughts are knocking at the door of her awareness as she attempts to remember what has happened to her. The story switches between Alice’s thoughts in the present, revisiting the week prior to her admittance to hospital, and diary entries from the early nineties. Alice Feeney has the ability to see inside the hidden sections of the human soul and express our innermost fears. At times I felt disorientated, as the lies and truths warp and twisted around each other, the ending had me revisiting my conclusions and feelings. ‘Sometimes I Lie’, on occasion uncomfortable and challenging, walks a razor sharp edge of belief and understanding, will you discover the truth? ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Quicksand

Quicksand

Author: Malin Persson Giolito Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/04/2017

April 2017 Debut of the Month. Provocative and compelling, this mind and heart-breaking tale really shouldn't be missed. After a school shooting, 18 year old Maja is finally in court, will she be found innocent or guilty, is she willing offender or naive victim, just what is the truth? Translated from Swedish, this was a huge bestseller in its native country. The words hit with hammer hard intensity from the outset. Maja tells her own tale, from day one in the courtroom, through to events leading up to the shooting, her thoughts and emotions veered from her head, straight into mine. Malin Persson Giolito occasionally allows light and hope to flicker in from beyond the dark, aching intensity. This really is very clever writing indeed, I felt as though my thoughts and feelings were trapped behind a caged door, constantly testing and searching for a way out. ‘Quicksand’ is a challenging, stirring, absolutely cracking read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Dead Ex

The Dead Ex

Author: Jane Corry Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/06/2018

With enough twists and turns to set heads spinning, this is an enthralling read, stuffed full of intrigue and drama. Vicki finds the police on her doorstep asking questions about her ex-husband who has disappeared. She has suffered times of forgetfulness since being diagnosed with epilepsy, will she be able to convince them of her innocence? The women shine brightly in this tale, their heartfelt sincerity sets fire to the page, and yet, and yet… Jane Corry lays bait for your mind and ambushes feelings, and I found myself doubting, suspicious. Slowly and with infinite care and patience, information is revealed, though not necessarily answers, adding to the questions, adding to the suspense. I read this in one sitting, powering my way towards an understanding, and oh how my eyes gleamed at that ending! ‘The Dead Ex’ tampers with thoughts and feelings creating a thoroughly entertaining and satisfying read.

eBooks of the Month
What Remains of Me

What Remains of Me

Author: A. L. Gaylin Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/12/2016

December 2016 Book of the Month. A clever, thrilling tale full of impact and drama set in the heart of Hollywood. In 1980 17 year old Kelly is convicted of murder, 30 years later and five years after her release, she finds herself once again in the spotlight. Another murder hits the headlines, everyone has already made their decision, but is Kelly guilty or innocent? My attention was snared from the get go, the tale spins between 1980 and 2010, each time change surprising my thoughts as I was so deeply immersed in the story. A. L. Gaylin plays, toys and teases with your reasoning as a number of possibilities open up before you. Kelly is an enigma, other peoples thoughts, reports and articles kept my judgement of her in limbo. There are surprises aplenty, and even when you're expecting them, they are written in such a way, and at such a moment in the story, that they still have the ability to disconcert. ‘What Remains Of Me’ is a riveting corkscrewing rollercoaster of a read, I recommend letting go of reality, throwing your arms up in the air, and just enjoying the ride. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Madam

The Madam

Author: Jaime Raven Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/05/2016

June 2016 Debut of the Month. A fierce and provocative read, where a young woman released from prison is hellbent on revenge. 27 year old Lizzie was framed for a murder she didn't commit, in prison she found love, and now free, she begins to unravel the plot behind her incarceration. Love and family matter, but revenge becomes an all consuming passion. Impetuous, volatile and headstrong Lizzie tells her own story as she rushes headlong into scrapes. Jaime Raven writes with short, snappy sentences, bringing Lizzie vibrantly to life. The matter of fact writing is very easy to read, and I galloped through the pages. Bold and punchy, ’The Madam’ dives headlong into a world of corruption and violence, and doesn’t come up for air until the very end.

eBooks of the Month
Little Deaths

Little Deaths

Author: Emma Flint Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/08/2017

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2017. A thoroughly perturbing, provocative, yet riveting read. Single parent Ruth wakes one morning to find her two children missing, almost immediately she is surrounding by judgement and condemnation. The first few pages set you in a time, a situation that allows understanding to settle, before you are thrust into 1965 and Ruth’s life just before her children disappear. Emma Flint allows us to see beyond the obvious, gradually peeling away layer after layer, slowly encouraging truth to creep out from where it is hidden. I wanted to throw preconception out of the window, to stamp and howl at assumptions, and yet questions hovered at the back of my mind. ‘Little Deaths’ isn't an easy comfortable read, it jolts and jars at your senses as it takes hold and doesn't let go. Poignant and immensely sad, this well written novel is a truly captivating read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
All the Little Pieces

All the Little Pieces

Author: Jilliane Hoffman Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/07/2016

All the Little Pieces should come with a warning label: this is not a light easy read, it’s disturbing, sad, unsettling and… addictive. You are launched straight into the terrified thoughts of a young woman scrambling, crawling and battling for her life, then with a startling change of direction you find yourself sitting in a car with Faith as she drives herself and her four year old daughter home through a storm. You feel the beginning of this novel has set the stage for an inevitable journey, however the road taken by the author leads to unexpected stops and diversions. Hoffman maintains a bitingly taut tension through out, there is a harsh rawness and a feeling of sad reality that lingers as you turn the pages. If you believe in fairytales and everyone living happily ever after, perhaps best not to read this different and breathtakingly chilling book. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
All the Missing Girls

All the Missing Girls

Author: Megan Miranda Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/08/2017

August 2017 Book of the Month A clever, suspense-filled story told in reverse, from day 15 through to day 1, and boy does the premise work! Nicolette returns home after a letter from her dementia-ravaged father suggests an answer to the disappearance of her best friend ten years before. A second girl goes missing while Nicolette is home, and as the story twists backwards through time, how on earth it didn't trip over itself I really don't know. Megan Miranda, in her first novel for adults, skilfully handles the tour through time, I felt completely absorbed and focused as each new tidbit of information changed my feelings and sent my thoughts spinning. As the story increased in intensity and neared the climax, I almost couldn't turn the pages quickly enough. ‘All the Missing Girls’ hooked me from the get-go, it pushed all of my thoughts into one big pot of edgy, stimulating tension, ensuring a great, great read. ~ Liz Robinson

Debut Books of the Month
The Cantaloupe Thief

The Cantaloupe Thief

Author: Deb Richardson-Moore Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/04/2016

A striking and stimulating mystery, introducing a new series of novels set in Georgia, USA. Take a trip to the Deep South, to a town called Grambling, where the folk drink iced tea, celebrate the 4th July in style, and where a ten year old unsolved murder sits brooding… waiting. 41 year old reporter Branigan Powers starts to investigate, she delves into the past with the help of a homeless man and the local pastor. Grambling the town, with the mix of old and new South, sits alongside Branigan as a main character, I got to know the streets, the stores and restaurants, as well as the people. Occasionally Deb Richardson-Moore allows the story to slide back in time to the day before the murder, on a countdown, introducing new aspects, raising suspicions. There are several surprises waiting in store and the tension increases as the past and the present start to merge. ‘The Cantaloupe Thief’ is an intriguing mix of old and new, past and present, charm and menace, it all adds up to very absorbing and entertaining read. The A Branigan Mystery series: 1. The Cantaloupe Thief 2. The Cover Story 3. Death of a Jester

eBooks of the Month
A Talent for Murder

A Talent for Murder

Author: Andrew Wilson Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/05/2017

June 2017 Book of the Month. A fascinating foray into the past, and the intriguing missing period of time so well documented, yet little known about in Agatha Christie’s life. I’ve visited the Silent Pool and Newlands Corner where Agatha Christie went missing, so for me this was a must read. Andrew Wilson seamlessly blends fact and fiction, and has obviously thoroughly researched this period in Christie’s life. The Editor’s Note cleverly sets the scene, and then chapter one begins, Agatha Christie, speaking in the first person, oh my word! Andrew Wilson effectively took me back in time to 1926, creating an engaging, readable, and oh so colourful story. This is most definitely not a whodunit, rather it’s an imagined how and why did she do it. ‘A Talent for Murder’ is wonderful escapism, and a worthwhile, thoroughly enjoyable read. ~ Liz Robinson

Books of the Month
Give Me the Child

Give Me the Child

Author: Melanie McGrath Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/07/2017

August 2017 Debut of the Month A provocative tale that creeps over skin and worms its way into thoughts. A knock at the door one night reveals Cat’s husband has an 11 year old daughter Cat knew nothing about, then Ruby moves in, and Cat finds her hackles and suspicions rising. Cat tells her own tale, revealing intimate snapshots of history, of thoughts, of feelings. Mel McGrath sets events in motion that encouraged my mind to flinch with uncertainty, I wondered, I doubted, I suspected. I was sucked in whole, and simply didn't want to stop reading as the story span to an all consuming end. ‘Give Me The Child’ is a stimulating, powerful, entirely captivating and deliciously entertaining read. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Missing

The Missing

Author: C. L. Taylor Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2016

April 2016 Book of the Month. An intriguing and stirring tale, overflowing with family drama. Claire tells her story, which is set six months after her son Billy went missing. Claire’s thoughts begin to fracture as she slowly uncovers secrets held by her family and friends. Interspersed throughout the story are electronic conversations between two people, dated as taking place before Billy went missing, these may be short, however they create a biting tension, which, as the story unfolds, absolutely skyrockets. C.L. Taylor allows you to feel Claire’s anguish and uncertainty while at the same time, the electronic messages push your thoughts in different directions. The writing effectively tears at you, and even if your suspicions start to screech and point, you'll find yourself questioning them! ‘The Missing’ is a fabulously rolling, coiling, twisting tale, if you can’t trust your family, who can you trust?

eBooks of the Month
The Loving Husband

The Loving Husband

Author: Christobel Kent Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2016

A darkly mesmerising tale exploring trust, love and deeply hidden secrets. Fran’s life is thrown into turmoil, causing her to question her husband, her love and herself, just what is the truth? The prologue emits chills of disquiet, certain words pricked at my awareness, setting unease loose in my mind. Christobel Kent maintains a distance between the reader and Fran, she encourages feelings to flicker backwards and forwards. The Fens skulk in the background, unnerving and intimidating. Constantly moving around in time, never settling, keeping feelings on the edge of uncertainty, ensures a feeling of foreboding envelops ‘The Loving Husband’ and makes for an intriguing and arresting read. ~ Liz Robinson Click here to read a Q&A with Christobel Kent.

eBooks of the Month
Mind of Winter

Mind of Winter

Author: Laura Kasischke Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/01/2015

Clever, persuasive writing where the ending has you reaching for the beginning. The first few sentences grab your attention and from then on, you find yourself analysing, speculating, wondering. This story plays with your mind, encouraging it to turn one way, then another, continuing to fill you with uncertainty as a prickle of alarm flits across your consciousness. There is, somehow a feeling of inevitability, of sorrow and heartache that ripples across the pages and permeates your thoughts. The most important thing, is not to race ahead, to not flick through the final few pages, because one glimpse of the last page would completely spoil the unexpectedly startling close to a memorable little book. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Second Sister

The Second Sister

Author: Claire Kendal Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/05/2017

A sublimely intense, and heart-pumping psychological thriller. Ten years on from the disappearance of her older sister, Ella begins to uncover some potential leads, yet she feels that someone is watching her, waiting. The story is set over 20 days, I was immediately captivated as my mind started to try to piece together the information alongside Ella. Claire Kendal keeps the tension at an almost unbearable level, yet she writes with such beautiful compassion. The family story is as powerful as the fast paced action, and my brain was working on several levels as I evaluated the various strands. I found myself on high alert throughout, as I devoured the words, I quite simply suspected everyone and almost tied myself in knots! ‘The Second Sister’ is a clever and dramatic read, provoking minds into fevered action and striking at the very centre of your heart, highly recommended… ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
Little Lies

Little Lies

Author: Liane Moriarty Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2015

Fabulously different and remarkably clever, this page-turner of an intimate yet scandalous tale keeps you guessing right up to the very end. Having been told that something awful has happened at the school Quiz Night, you are then whisked back in time to the beginning of the school year, where friendships are forged, tantrums thrown and bullying takes it’s first sneaky tormenting steps (and that’s just the parents). The author is adept at taking an everyday situation and adding little pops of difficult and uncomfortable. Nobody’s life is quite as it would outwardly seem and as you peek around the curtain of conformity you are drawn into the twisted web of rumours, facts and lies.  As Trivia Night looms, you are kept quite literally on the edge of your seat, squirming with anticipation and fear for these wonderfully complete and complicated characters. This is quite simply, a deliciously entertaining read. ~ Liz Robinson   One of our Books of the Year 2014.   A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... ‘Liane Moriarty was THE success story of 2013 and we are absolutely thrilled to be following up on the phenomenal The Husband's Secret with a novel which packs, if it’s possible, an even more powerful punch. Little Lies is the story of three very different woman brought together by a cataclysmic event in the small Sydney suburb in which they live. Set in the present day and the recent past, we are invited into the lives of Maddie, Jane and Celeste in between hearing testimony and interviews with the police who, it appears, are investigating a murder. But who’s dead, who did it and why? I don’t know if I can put into words how completely brilliant this novel is. I’m blown away and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I finished it. The characters are incredibly well drawn and the plot takes us into such unexpected directions – Liane Moriarty really is a first-class writer, almost a magician as she conjures up twist and turn galore at the same time as developing real flesh and blood characters who make the same mistakes we do. A wonderful, genius, funny, dark, heartbreaking read.' - Maxine Hitchcock, Publishing Director, Penguin Group

eBooks of the Month
Mine

Mine

Author: JL Butler Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/06/2018

‘Mine’ is a sharply focused, edgy, wonderfully compelling read, where the tension tightens into a lightning ball before powerfully exploding. Lawyer Francine Day begins an affair with client Martin Joy after taking on his divorce, when his wife goes missing danger edges ever closer. The prologue, particularly the first sentence hit me with a whammy, I was instantly hooked. There is a lot of information to take on board, yet I felt alert and energised as I read. My feelings for Fran tossed and turned, the more I learned, the closer I became, and the more real she felt to me. J. L. Butler is a former lawyer and journalist, the credibility of the writing can be felt through every word. Just as a little aside, this particular author also writes under another name (whose bestselling books I adore), I wouldn’t have recognised the writing style as it is so completely different, yet equally as enthralling. As the suspense multiplied, transferring from the page into my mind, I tested my suspicion against the characters, yet still didn’t expect the ending as it hurtled towards me. ‘Mine’ is a delicious serving of fiery drama and chilling darkness, it was a breath-taking non-stop read for me and I can whole-heartedly recommend it.

eBooks of the Month
The Child

The Child

Author: Fiona Barton Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/06/2017

Distant threads spin ever closer to create a compelling, emotional, and dramatic story. Set in 2012, with links to the 1970’s and 80’s, several women, for very different reasons find revisiting a tragedy from the past may alter the very fabric of their existence. Journalist Kate Waters from Fiona Barton’s debut novel ‘The Widow’ returns, yet this establishes itself defiantly as a striking standalone tale. Fiona Barton doesn’t hide information, she sets it out in front of you, allowing you to suspect, giving you an insight some time before the main characters. The women in this story feel touchable, real, and as frustration gathers, empathy settles and understanding grows. The tension increases and I felt myself flinching as the jigsaw pieces gathered and started to slot into place. ‘The Child’ is such a readable tale, it isn’t about finding answers, instead the story encourages thought and provokes emotions before reaching a powerful conclusion. ~ Liz Robinson July 2017 Book of the Month.

eBooks of the Month
Disclaimer

Disclaimer

Author: Renee Knight Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2015

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016. An absolutely stunning tale, one that walks a tightrope of tension, is at times uncomfortable, yet impossible to put down. A novel appears in the life of someone who never expected to read her own tale between the pages. Two stories are told, one is removed, never completely in touch, sometimes even awkward, while the other is so personal and impassioned, the thoughts and feelings drive up and out from the page. This concept highlights the differences between the two tales, yet the connection between them burns with intensity. Renee Knight writes with empathy, yet penetrating sharpness, the clever writing keeps hitting you with the unexpected, tripping up your understanding and stamping over any speculation. My compassion danced one way and then the other, and it took until the very end for it to settle. ’Disclaimer’ is a debut with attitude and I highly recommend it.

eBooks of the Month
House of Correction

House of Correction

Author: Nicci French Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

LONGLISTED FOR THE CWA GOLD DAGGER AWARD She's a murderer. Everyone knows she killed Stuart Rees - why else would his dead body be found in her shed? So now Tabitha is in prison, awaiting trial. Coming back to the remote coastal village where she grew up was a mistake. She didn't fit in then, and she doesn't fit in now. That day is such a blur, she can't remember clearly what happened. There is something she is missing, something important... She only knows one thing. She is not capable of murder. And the only one she can trust to help her out of this situation is herself. So she must fight. Against the odds. For her life. Beautifully written about prejudice, loneliness and fighting spirit, this new book by Nicci French is shocking, twisty and utterly compelling.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month

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