Wednesday, 2 December 2020


Bright Lies- A.A Abbott-Psychological thriller                   

Emily now lives with her mother and stepfather David who is wealthy, a far cry

from what they had before. Emily now goes to a private school and David easily

spoils her. Emily is only 14 and when things take a turn for more of a

relationship than she expected from a stepfather, she has to make a decision.

She quickly realises that the only way out is to escape- her mother will think she

has betrayed her and David has threatened her. She grabs a few things and takes

herself away not really knowing where she is going or what to do. Jack has had

a rough life and now finds that he is better to stay on the right side of the law

if he is to survive. The pair meet up and Jack gives Emily a life line- somewhere

to sleep albeit it rough and a job- albeit hard and low paid but they manage

and forge a friendship however Emily knows that David will be after her to

keep things secret. This took me a little while to get into however once I did

and past the trauma Emily was going through I really enjoyed it. There was

something about her and Jack and a tenacity for life that made me stop and

think. Many of us have been through a trauma one way or another which

may affect our daily lives by being in our heads (and bodies). How we face

the future through adversity is our strength. A book of determination and

grit against all odds. 

For more reviews please see my blog

or follow me on Twitter@nickisbookblog

Psychological Thriller 

She’s learned too much, too young. Can she break free?


Emily’s dreams come true when her mother marries wealthy painter, David. Thanks to him, Emily’s artistic talents shine. Then he starts teaching her things a 14-year-old shouldn’t know. While Emily breaks free, she’s forced to sleep in a rat-infested alley.

Bad boy Jack has turned his life around. Working as a DJ with ambitions to open a club, he rescues Emily from the streets when he sees a woman in trouble. He doesn’t know she’s still only 15 - and trapped in a dark web of secrets and lies.

David must find Emily and silence her. As he closes in, Jack faces the hardest choice of all. If he saves Emily, he’ll kiss goodbye to his future...


What would you sacrifice for love?



British crime thriller writer A.A. Abbott (also known as Helen Blenkinsop) loves to escape with an exciting and emotional read, and that’s what she aims to write too. Based in Bristol, she’s also lived and worked in London and Birmingham. All three cities feature in her pacy suspense thrillers. Her latest psychological thriller, ‘Bright Lies’, begins in North Somerset with a posh art exhibition in Bath. Young Emily meets the man who will change her life and cause her to run away to a squat in Birmingham, work in a nightclub and get further entangled in a web of lies.

To write ‘Bright Lies’, Helen has had advice from thirty beta readers on subjects as varied as police procedure, drug abuse, grooming, art, music, DJing and clubbing. She’s grateful to them and to her editor, Katharine D’Souza, for making huge improvements to the story.

Helen’s earlier 5 book Trail series is a lighter read focused on a vodka business. Snow Mountain is a premium vodka made in the former Soviet Union, and its owners have blood on their hands. The saga follows the fortunes of two families running the business and what happens when they fall out with each other and with a London gangster. Glamorous heroine Kat is the girl readers love to hate at the beginning of the series, but by the last book, she has won them over. Book research for the series included prison life, hotel research and vodka. Helen especially enjoyed a tour and tasting with the helpful folk at the Chase Distillery in Herefordshire.

Like 10% of us, many of Helen’s family are dyslexic. While she is not, she wants her books to be enjoyed by readers with dyslexia and visual impairment too. She publishes her thrillers in a Large Print dyslexia-friendly edition as well as the standard paperback and Kindle versions. (You can also adjust the font on your Kindle to suit your needs.) Audiobooks are definitely on the cards – watch this space!

Helen likes speaking to book groups, business networks and social circles, and reading thrillers and short stories at live fiction events and on Zoom. If you're a book blogger, litfest organiser, reviewer or simply adore books, she’d love to hear from you.

Helen is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Bristol Fiction Writers' Group, and Birmingham's New Street Authors.

Find out more and get a free e-book of short stories at

Monday, 30 November 2020


Don’t Tell- Paul Williams- Crime  

Girls are going missing in a small town in Australia and being found mutilated,

trophies having been taken from them. Carrie has accidentally found a single

earring in her husband Steve’s car and he denies all knowledge of where it

could have come from. Her radar is peaked when she then finds condoms in

his drawer- they never use them. She asks him if he is having an affair-

something again he denies all knowledge of. Meanwhile a man is basing

himself on the Marquis de Sade and “120 days of sodom” - Sadism. He has

a young girl captive and is enjoying torturing her. Carrie confides in an off

duty policeman and is persuaded to do a little investigating herself.

I enjoyed this however two things slightly marred it- how terribly naive Carrie

was and who the perpetrator was. That said I found it quite captivating and

page turning to see if I was right (I was). It's a well written book and has

some excellent descriptions. It is quite a gritty crime read in some ways so

may not suit all tastes but that said it comes across well and doesn't linger

on anything unpleasant. Good solid foundations for future books.

One to build on. 

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Thursday, 26 November 2020


BODY LANGUAGE- AK Turner- lifestyle/forensic           


Cassie Raven is a mortuary assistant having turned her life around thanks to a

chance meeting of a former teacher from being on the streets and a drug fueled

life. She is talented and has insights sometimes where the pathologists are stumped-

something some are rather put out by. When a body arrives and it is her old teacher

Mrs E she wants to treat it with the very greatest of respect as she does every

body but she also wonders how Geraldine E got there- she was healthy and not

that elderly. A little digging and she finds that Geraldine had a fiance- someone

neither they or the funeral directors have heard from, only her estranged alcoholic

son. I really enjoyed this to the point of almost racing through it- I say almost as

I was enjoying it so much I wanted to savour it. Despite the subject matter (and

I find pathology/forensic medicine very interesting) it made me smile- Cassie

has a certain “ je ne sais quoi” about her, that certain something in her attitude

to life and death and someone you would want as a friend. This is almost a cozy

crime mystery- there is that warm familiarity and nothing to put you off your

dinner (other than the odd “ brain in formaldehyde ” mention of autopsy type

thing). A wonderful read, an excellent plot, one I thoroughly enjoyed. 

For more reviews please see my blog

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A.K. Turner's first foray into crime fiction was a detective thriller trilogy, written under the pen name Anya Lipska, following the adventures of Janusz Kiszka, a fixer to London's Polish community. All three books won critical acclaim and were twice optioned as a possible TV series. In her other life as a TV producer and writer, A.K. makes documentaries and drama-docs on subjects as diverse as the Mutiny on the Bounty, the sex lives of Neanderthals, and Monty Don's Italian Gardens.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Murder Unjoyful- Anita Waller-  Mystery/crime (cozy)

Fifteen years ago a woman was kidnapped whilst shopping and forced to shoot

someone after being kept naked and without food or water for three days. She was

chosen for her shooting skills and also shot at the scene. She has now come to

Connection -the PI agency run by Kat, Mouse and Doris to try and get closure.

The man who shot her has been released on licence and has fled- she is sure that

he will try and finish what he started all those years ago. Doris pulls in some old

favours and gets rather more than information in a very good way. Meanwhile

the perpetrator is on the loose and causing havoc seemingly slipping under the

radar every time. I really love this series. Despite the subject matter(which

won’t put you off your dinner) this is a wonderful comfortable read. I’ve loved

Doris from the very beginning of the series. This will stand alone but why miss

out on the other 5* reads in the series?  A few smart twists and turns along the

way to keep the grey matter active which I loved. A cleverly crafted plot,

wonderful characters and a smile along the way. What's not to like? 

For more reviews please see my blog

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Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and 

they have three adult children.
With many books to her name, she feels she has finally realised her dream. She writes mainly psychological thrillers, but was commissioned in 2018 to write a cosy mystery series, the Kat and Mouse trilogy. By November 2020 this will have grown to five books, plus a spin-off standalone novel called Epitaph, featuring Doris, one of the characters from the series.

She is now almost seventy-five years of age, happily writing most days and would dearly love to plan a novel, but has accepted that isn't the way of her mind. Every novel starts with a sentence and she waits to see where that sentence will take her, and her characters.

In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins!

Her genre is murder - necessary murder.

The Twins by J.S. Lark -psychological thriller

“From the moment they are born, twins Susan and Sarah are inseparable.

Through good and bad, the girls will always be together…forever.” 

Sarah and Susan were very close as children until something happened

in their early teen years. Twenty five years later Sarah is married to

Jonny who when children was the love of both of the girls. We go back

in time in alternate chapters and it is a young Susan who is seeing

Jonny. Present day Sarah and Jonny run a cafe and have an adult daughter

Lucy having not seen or talked about Susan for all that time. One day

Susan arrives on the doorstep having found them both and so sets off

memories forgotten and things that neither Lucy or Jonny were aware

of.  The book begins with a car crash with Lucy and Susan in it. I

enjoyed this however my one criticism of this is that the chapters were

not labelled as to whose perspective we were about to get or which

timeline which at times made it a little confusing. I had to work out

who was telling the story and it would have been easier

to have a timeline and person's name at the beginning of each chapter

which would have made things clearer. That said it was a good read,

well written and kept the grey matter active.

A very clever concept that really made me think and an excellent plot line which

kept me within the pages. A mind thinking read!

For more reviews please see my blog

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The Twins

If you liked Blood Orange you will love this!

From the moment they are born, twins Susan and Sarah are inseparable. 

Through good and bad, the girls will always be together…forever.

  Until they meet Jonny.   Older, charming and handsome, Jonny offers the girls the much-needed

love and attention they crave.  But he can only choose one and for the

first time in their lives the girls find themselves split apart – the invisible

thread that binds them severed. Set-free from her twin, Sarah builds a

new life for herself, marries, has a daughter.  But Susan’s life spirals

further and further out of control.And now Susan is back.  And she’s

determined to reclaim everything she feels Sarah has taken from her. 

Her home, her husband…her life? Purchase Links UK - US -

Author Bio – Jane is a coffee, chocolate and red wine lover, and a late-night writer

of compelling, passionate, and emotionally charged fiction.

Jane's books may contain love, hate, violence, death, passion, a little

swearing, and an ending you are never going to forget.

Social Media Links – Website: Facebook: Twitter: @JaneLark Instagram: @Jane.Lark BookBub: Sign up for Jane’s New Letter:

Friday, 20 November 2020

 Forgive Me by Susan Lewis

Forgive Me by Susan Lewis -womens psychological fiction

A very interesting informative, inspirational  read. Claudia and her daughter

Jasmine along with Claudia's mother Marcy have escaped. Escaped from

their past life- they have changed their names and moved to another part of

the country making up a new history for themselves. Behind them is an

abusive husband who is now in prison for insider information and money

laundering but they fear recriminations as they have some important

documents which could infer others in the case. After a while and

beginning to make new friends and lives for themselves Claudia and

Marcy independently tell the police as there is a search on for them

as missing persons. They know that they have nothing to do with

the case but are aware that there may be repercussions. I enjoyed

this- its a well crafted and cleverly thought out plot. I liked Claudia

and shuddered at her hearing the abusive voice from her past.

This is about restorative justice- something I only partly knew

about. Wow! What a powerful and interesting way to put this across.

For those not in the know this is where, in the right circumstances

(very much analyzed before hand), the victim(s) of crime meet

the perpetrator with the end goal being that there is benefit and closure for

both parties- a controversial topic of conversation Im sure- but this story does

show how it can very much be used for the good and from personal

experience I can see that it would, for me, have brought some closure and

possibly healing. This made me smile and it made me cry.

One of my 5** reads- about 10% of what I read in a year ( about 220 books )

only earnt by the very special ones and this one deserves it in spades. Loved it .  

For more reviews please see my blog

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Susan Lewis Forgive Me 12th November 2020 | Hardback| £12.99 An emotionally gripping story about love, family and restorative justice from the Sunday Times bestselling author Susan Lewis. ‘A master storyteller’- Dianne Chamberlain ‘Full of drama, intrigue with so many twists and turns, I promise you'll be surprised and captivated right to the end!' Carmel Harrington ‘Instantly engaging characters and a thrilling denouement’ Lisa Ballantyne Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including One Minute Later and Home Truths and My Lies, Your Lies. Susan’s novels have sold nearly three million copies in the UK alone. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Susan has previously worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. She’s lived in Hollywood and the South of France, but now resides in Gloucestershire with husband James, two stepsons and dogs.

About Forgive Me: I can’t forgive myself. Not after what I did. Could you? This is Claudia Winters’s last chance for a fresh start. Changing her name and leaving her old life behind, she has fled to the small town of Kesterly with her mother and daughter. Here, she hopes they can be safe for the first time in years. But the past can’t stay hidden forever. And even as Claudia makes new friends and builds a new life, she can’t help feeling it’s all about to catch up with her… Until one disastrous night changes everything forever.

Thursday, 19 November 2020


The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper by Spencer Brown - humorous literary fiction  

A truly laugh out loud read. It’s the beginning of lockdown and single parent

Tom now has his “ single digit aged two children '' Carrie and Arthur at

home to cope with as well as his job as an advertising executive. I wasn’t

sure how I would take to this as we all remember the anxiety and panic

many of us went through in the early days and I hoped that it would

make me smile- I wasn't disappointed- it made me laugh so many

times. Tom buying hair dye when everyone else wanted pasta and

then wondering how many loo rolls a day him and the kids would get

through. ( A day??) . Fending off competition from a neighbour for

rainbow support for the NHS posters and dealing with the idiots in

the supermarket. To look back even now and realise that others saw

the world the same during lockdown (idiots and madness) is not only

reassuring but done in a humorous way perhaps brings it all down to

earth that little bit more. A wonderful read that I highly recommend

and one we will look back on in a few years to remind

ourselves what it was like and how we reacted. A brilliant read. 

For more reviews please see my blog

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THE LOCKDOWN DIARY OF TOM COOPER by Spencer Brown Publishing date: 5th November2020 ISBN: 978-1-9161526-5-6 £7.99 FICTION – HUMOUR ‘So very funny’ Jenny Colgan, ‘A joy-seeking missile’ Richard Ayoade One man vs the coronavirus 2020 was supposed to be a great year. Unfortunately, Tom Cooper, like the rest of the world, has found himself stuck in the middle of a pandemic. He’s going to be spending the next few months trapped inside a small flat with sole responsibility for his two singledigit children. Separated from his girlfriend (and any possibility of help with childcare), Tom is plunged into a world of home schooling, awkward Zoom calls, supermarket feuds, al fresco workout sessions, cashstrapped tooth fairies, aging parents who won’t stay home and competitive clapping for the NHS. Not to mention the problem of trying to fulfill his girlfriend’s request for an erotic selfie of his rapidly deteriorating body… Join Tom as he navigates the lockdown in the stand-alone sequel to last year’s hilarious The Rebuilding of Tom Cooper. Laugh-out-loud with real heart. Lockdown has never been so entertaining.


‘A gloriously self-aware, satirical romp through the terrors of relationships, family life and survival. Philip Roth meets Cold Feet!’ Helen Lederer (Absolutely Fabulous, Losing It (P.G.Wodehouse Award nominee)) ‘An aspirational figure for the men of today’ Omid Djalili (Live at the Apollo, The Infidel) ‘Hilarious and heart-warming’ Andi Osho (Live at the Apollo, Curfew) Spencer Brown began performing comedy with the Cambridge Footlights alongside John Oliver (HBO’s This Week Tonight) and Matthew Holness (Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace), before becoming an internationally acclaimed stand up. He has performed everywhere from London’s The Comedy Store to Mumbai and the USA, TV credits including Nathan Barley (Channel 4), Edinburgh Comedy (BBC 2), Last Comic Standing (NBC), his own special on Swedish television. As a TV presenter, he fronted ITV’s Lip Service alongside Holly Willoughby and Five’s The Sexy Ads Show. He is also the writer-director of the multi-award-winning film The Boy with a Camera for a Face. The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper is his second novel. SALES: Signature Book Ltd Tel: 0845 862 1730 Email: DISTRIBUTION: Central Books Tel: 0845458 9911 Email: orders@centralbooks

The Note

The Note- Andrew Barrett- 5* A short story written in the first person by CSI Eddie Collins. Eddie is the sort of bloke who calls a s...