Friday, 29 December 2017

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Reasons to stay Alive- Matt Haig 5*

I read this book for two main reasons. One was that I had heard so much about it
along with the excellent reviews and two was that I had a diagnosis a year ago that
shook my world to the core. Whether you suffer from any mental health issue, or
know someone that does, this book is a wonderful insight into the world of sufferers
and what they have to cope with. Matt mainly had depression but as he explains
this is rarely, although occasionally , a sole diagnosis. From feeling at rock bottom to
eventually seeing just a little light at the end of that famous tunnel to people
believing that to“pull yourself together” is all that you need. This is so well
described and it made me realise things that I had thought in the past that
were really not normal that I should have realised that there was an issue
under the surface. Reading was (and is) Matt’s escape from his darkness and
this also resonated. To (sometimes, try and) immerse yourself in  a book can
take your brain to a different plain and gives relief from the trouble that you
see around you. In easy digestible chapters, I would recommend this book to
anyone that has the slightest interest in mental health. Although the curtains
are slowly being opened on this topic there is still much Ignorance and
negativity- as Matt lists he had more “sympathy” when having back ache than
having depression.”You are the observer of your mind not it’s victim”.
 A very worthwhile read.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017







Still me- Jojo Moyes 5*
Lou arrives in New York to take up a position as a lady’s companion/carer.
I read the first chapter as a taster to the book as as ever with books from
Jojo Moyes, the richness and quality of writing is abundant even in a short
extract. The synopsis is intriguing and it is hard to give a rating to an extract
but I can safely say I look forward to reading the whole book as I know that
this will be another page turner and a warmly written read.
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Reality rehab - Lisa Mary London  4*

Gloria was a soap star, until she hit the headlines with her husband in the
wrong way. She is now obese, and jobless when she receives an offer to go
into “Reality rehab”- a show that will help her (and her dog) lose weight.
Little does she know who will also be arriving to provide TV entertainment.
This is a wonderfully written book based on a mix of reality programmes
and will have you smiling all the way. You can picture the scenarios as
“stars” battle for air time whilst trying to sort out their addictions, as only
“stars” addicted to fame and fortune can. A highly enjoyable read with
a smile.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

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Have a wonderful Christnas everyone!
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If you only knew- Cynthia Clark- 5*

Elizabeth is a successful lawyer, however she has a past.
A past that haunts her daily. When at University she was brutally attacked
and raped and she never told anyone about it. Sixteen years on and she is asked
to take a pro-bono case that reminds her of herself. A young woman who has ran
and badly hurt someone and won’t say why. Is the past coming back to haunt
Elizabeth even more? What is Chloe hiding- and why?
This is a very well written piece that alternates between the original incident and
the Chloe case. One that grips you from the start and makes you want to keep
turning as in each chapter you are finding out that little bit more but also find
finding more intrigue along the way. The twists and turns very well placed to keep you guessing as to the outcome.
A very well written highly enjoyable read.

Thursday, 21 December 2017




http://jessicasreadingroom.com/jessicas-top-10-of-2017/

Jessica's top 10 and a competition

Wednesday, 20 December 2017



Murder at Home- Faith Martin-4*
An old lady is found dead by a neighbour who runs errands for her. Her birthday is close
and she is looking forward to both that and Christmas which is just around the corner.
Why would anyone want to kill her especially with  letter knife? DI Hillary Greene and
the team are back to work their magic with a new face on board as Janine is about to
transfer pending her wedding to “mellow” Mallow. Janine however has some unwanted
attention.  Faith always gives the reader a good story based around her main characters
which come to life each and every time. A main thread and always as with all good books
and dramas, a thread belonging to one of the main characters to add that extra interest
and depth. With each new book we learn a little more about them.
This is part of a series (number six)  but would probably stand alone although some
threads wouldn’t make much sense if you hadn’t read the others- and why miss out
on a wonderful series?  An interesting plot and a perpetrator that I didn’t see coming.
As always with Faith’s books, a highly enjoyable, comfortable read.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

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Death on a dirty afternoon- Colin Garrow 4*

Terry is a taxi driver, or was until a few weeks ago.
He arrives home to find his collegue stone cold dead on his kitchen table.
He then finds his former boss dead as well. Having thought that there were intruders
in the house, he picks up a hockey stick that had been left from the previous occupants
and then realises it is the murder weapon and his fingerprints are all over it.
You get the gist. This is a lighthearted read that has a smile on almost every page.
A hapless chap trying to get himself out of the spotlight and getting further and further in.
Set in a seaside town an amatuer detective does his best amongst villains and a friend or two.
The characters often speak Geordie and even I could understand it as it is written so well.
 No gore, no sex (even if Terry would like to try) just a well written, highly enjoyable, different read.
If you want a “detective” book to make you smile then this is it.


Beware the Past- Joy Ellis- Joffe 5*

Twenty five years ago DC Matt Ballard found a body whilst staking out a drugs drop.
Two more bodies were found shortly afterwards, all three were eleven year old boy
whom no one would miss. The perpetrator was thought to have been found dead
but several investigating the case didn’t believe it was quite that simple.
Fast forward to now and Matt is now a DCI, just a few short months away from
retirement. His past has been jaded and then he receives, via one of his colleagues ,
a photograph. He is the only remaining link to the original case and only he knows
that the picture was taken before the crime was committed. Joy has done it again-
made me turn the pages and love the characters. She has a talent for giving
them a background that you can relate to in one way or another and although this has the
odd gory scene, I could see this as a TV drama. Another brilliant piece of writing, a stunning read.

Monday, 18 December 2017

How I Lost You


How I lost you- Jenny Blackhurst 5*

Gripping from the very start and not “just another child missing” novel.
Six years ago, Susan fell asleep in the same room as her son. When she woke up she was in
hospital having hit her head and accused of smothering him to death. She remembers
absolutely nothing about it. Diagnosed with Puerperal depression she is taken to a secure
hospital and makes a recovery. On her release she adopts a new identity but is receiving
strange messages and packages addressed in her old name. Could it be her ex-husband
holding a grudge? Who else could possibly know so much about her and why are they
doing this? This is one of those books that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go.
Each chapter giving a little more details but at the same time a little more intrigue to
add to the mystery. I thought I had guessed the perpetrator -wrong!!. A very well
written novel to keep you on your toes. Excellent characters and story-telling.
A highly recommended read.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

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Fifty Years of Fear- Ross Greenwood 5** **MY AUTHOR OF THE YEAR 2017*****

There are writers, good writers and ones that have the power of words to captivate
you in an instant. Ross has this in spades. Fifty years of fear tells the story of Vincent
from when he is 14 and his brother Frank who is a couple of years older. From his
father having a stroke and how the family rallies round to sort things out to his first
holiday on his own. Vincent ends up in prison and to start with he really believes
his innocence despite having eventually pleaded guilty to save his victim the
anxiety of going to court. The story tells of his thoughts and how he changes
along the way and finds out some of his past that he never realised. Ross gives his
characters life from their descriptions and actions in such a way that you feel you almost
know them. This is an incredibly powerful book that I was thinking about long after
I had finished it.
I read around 240+ books per year. Less than 10% are awarded my own 5** rating.
This is truly one of them and my author of the year for 2017.
I can’t recommend this highly enough

Wednesday, 13 December 2017




Truth or Dead- TJ Brearton- 3*  
A woman receives a call on her way to work- deliver a package to the prison where she works or her two daughters get hurt. They know what they are wearing and where they are. She can also be seen. Shortly afterwards the man in prison dies and Heather is about to turn herself in. Special Agent Tom Lange has a feeling that this traves back to a known felon but can’t prove it- yet. I am not usually into American cop thrillers but this one was quite a page turner. I did feel that some of the acronyms could have done with explaining for those of us on this side of the pond who are not so familiar with them as we are with British ones. You felt for Heather being put in this position and Tom is doing his best to sort things out for her as is her attorney, Robert who she knows through her now deceased husband. An interesting complex case written with a little humour and characters that have a little background which I always like.
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Justice at Christmas- M.A Comley 5* Free on Kindle

Brilliant! An uplifting seasonal read that will make you smile . A taste of the team in the Justice series which are all highly recommended reading. Lorne and Pete take on the Santa's. Read and enjoy by a cozy fireside.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017


Cry From The Grave A Thrilling Psychological Crime Mystery (Harry Briscombe Book 1)

Cry from the Grave- Carolyn Mahony 4*

Six years ago Hannah lived with her violent boyfriend and their baby.
One day he forced her to put the baby out in the garden and she was never seen again.
Today Adam is digging a site for a barbeque area and unearths some bones.
His wife Natasha is of rather a nervous disposition and they are not getting on so well after he
found that she was having an affair.
Is the skeleton that of Hannah’s baby Sophie and if so how did she end up in a garden several miles
from home? What is behind Natasha’s rather odd character and what is she hiding?
A brilliantly written book that although I could see what was coming still kept me turning
the pages. A highly enjoyable read.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

   

                           My top ten TBC author reads of 2017

As in all good awards(!!) these are in "no particular order".
All have received my "extra" * award- 5**

(as I write this I notice a recurring word in my reviews- hope- maybe my word of the year)

Full reviews of these are on the blog.

1. Over My shoulder-  Patricia Dixon

Product Details


A story of hope, of positivity against all odds, of fighting for yourself in every way possible, and that domestic abuse doesn't have to be the end. A truly magnificent read.
2. The Boy Inside- Ross Greenwood
The Boy Inside (Dark Lives Book 2) by [Greenwood, Ross]
This is a very different “crime” novel, in fact it could belong in a different genre. .There is hope against hope, love, laughter and trauma- all as part of one young man’s life. Can he make it through and see the light? A brilliant captivating read.
3. Trust me- Gemma Metcalfe
Trust Me: The thrilling suspense that will have you hooked in 2017! by [Metcalfe, Gemma]

A story of hope, of people who care. Of the traumas of life and that there is help out there whatever the situation.  Twists and turns that you really don’t  see coming. A tale to remember, a tale to make you think and shed a tear.
4. The Escape- CL Taylor
Product Details

A book that grabs you from the outset and makes you not want to put it down until the end. Short punchy chapters keep the pace flowing, ever enticing you to read “just one more” (that never is just one!).
5. The One- John Marrs
Product Details
4 lives, 4 stories, 4 matches. Each one told alternating with the others and every short chapter so well written you just want to know more. A book you can’t put down, a book you want to devour.
6. When you disappeared- John Marrs

Product Details

John has a talent. A talent for grabbing his reader, captivating them and not letting go. A cleverly thought out brilliantly told tale that you won’t want to put down.

7. Living on a Rainbow- Calvin Wade

Product Details

You can’t help but love Calvin’s characters and I am sure like me many will be reminded of those we have loved and lost. Written with such warmth that just occasionally a tear was brought to my eye. The depth to the characters oozes through the pages and you could imagine them as a friend or neighbour, so vivid are the pictures painted.
8. Just One Time- KS Hunter
Just One Time: A Gripping and Steamy Psychological Thriller with a Shocking Twist by [Hunter, K.S.]
Sit on the edge of your seat and prepare for the ride! This is a slightly disturbing tale that makes you rather uneasy. This is so well written you feel that it could happen to anyone- couldn’t it?
9. The End of Lies- Andrew Barrett
Product Details
Do not read this book…… unless you want to be gripped from the go, spun around a few times and thrown completely off course. Think of one of those rides, say at a well known American theme park (see ch16) . You sit in a comfortable seat, feel relaxed and then wonder what on earth happened when you finally come back down to earth. Wow!
10 Lucy's Book Club for the Lost and Found- Emma Davies
Lucy's Book Club for the Lost and Found: A heartwarming feel good romance novel

This is an engaging cast of characters and some serious themes are addressed along the way. Somehow through skillful writing you end up caring for the characters and share with their emotions both up and down. This is so much more than “just another lighthearted read”. It made me laugh , it made me cry, and it made me think.  A book with a smile and a message of hope and positivity. A treasure of a book that rarely comes along.






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The End of Lies- Andrew Barratt- 5** Out TODAY*************
Do not read this book…… unless you want to be gripped from the go, spun around a few times and thrown completely off course. Think of one of those rides, say at a well known American theme park (see ch16) . You sit in a comfortable seat, feel relaxed and then wonder what on earth happened when you finally come back down to earth. Wow! Becky comes home to find her husband Chris dead and intruders upstairs. she eventually flees but not before a few things have happened. The thing is , her and Chris had planned “an escape”, a plot, a get rich quick scheme and were due to go to Italy in a few days. What did Chris get himself involved with and who are these people? How will Becky stay out of their grasp?. Andy has ( I think for the first time)  written from a female perspective and I am not saying it is realistic but welcome to the sisterhood girlfriend! .  Becky’s character immediately comes alive and you warm to her. The chapters alternate between “then” and “now” until they come together which means it is easy to deal with in your head. One gripping story and a very well told one with descriptions that you can see in your mind’s eye. This would make a brilliant one-off drama- however I might have to peek from behind the sofa at times- the baddies really do sound hard nuts. and the escapades would make brilliant screen- play. The descriptions are brilliant both scenic and emotional - the one about grief stopped me in my tracks. A brilliantly told tale to put you in a spin. I rarely award 5**- out of 250 books read per year less than 10% make this rating. One of my top reads of the year. Truly stunning.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Winter's Fairytale

Winter’s Fairytale- Maxine Morrey 4*

Izzy has been left at the altar and punched the best man in the process. The slightly ironic thing is that she makes wedding dresses for a living but didn’t get to enjoy her own. She throws herself into work and decides that it might not have worked out after all. The best man makes a re-appearance and Izzy feels very guilty. This is one of those books that if you need a lift and a smile then sit back, relax, grab a coffee and enjoy the read. A well written, very enjoyable seasonal story to enjoy by a cozy fire. This is my second Maie Morrey book and it won’t be my last.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Sunday, 3 December 2017


MURDER IN THE FAMILY by Faith Martin

Murder in the family- Faith Martin-4*

A teenagers body is discovered in a shed at the family allotment. He doesn’t appear to be in any sort of trouble so who on earth would murder him in this backwoods of the Oxfordshire countryside? DI Green is back on the case with her respected crew. Hillary is a likeable character and Faith gives us a little more of her background in each read along with others in the team. These are always a pleasurable read with nothing too gory, just a good detective plot with characters  that you can relate to. A cleverly thought out plot with a few twists and turns which always makes for an interesting read. This is the fifth in the series and each will stand alone however the get the background and camaraderie of the main characters the series is better read in order to make sense of certain things, and why miss out on some excellent reads? An Intriguing read with an ending that I didn’t see coming. Happily looking forward to the next one.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

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Falling for you - Giselle Green 4*

Lawrence is in Sri Lanka as an aid worker. He has taken to 9 year old Sunny who has a badly injured foot from his house falling down and anyone close to him cannot be found in the refugee camp of 200,000 people. Lawrence finds that Sunny’s foot may be able to be saved rather than amputated if only he can find antiseptic care for Sunny for several weeks after the operation which means finding a sponsor abroad. Lawrence has his own past to deal with and going home is the last thing he wants to do. Meanwhile in a remote village in England,  Rose is awaiting her University acceptance after delaying things for a while. Her father needs 24 hour care after an incident in the village and she suspects who this might be- at least which family. she desperately wants to get away but does not want to leave her father in a care home so she is trying to find alternatives. The snow may bring its own answers. This is a well written book and you take to Rose from the outset.A highly enjoyable read.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

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Evil Crimes- Michael Hambling- 4*  
Two apparent suicides- a man fallen over a cliff from a possible slippery path and a woman who hanged herself. The only possible klink being “H”- a young woman with red curly hair who was seen near both victims a short time beforehand. Sophie, Rae and Barry do their best to find and link the missing pieces of the puzzle. This is a well written book that sits comfortably (in the reading stance) from the start. Characters that come alive and you take to (or not in some cases!) with enough background to give their persona depth and an understanding of their actions and viewpoints. An easy enjoyable read.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased
The Birthday Girl


The Birthday Girl-Sue Fortin-5*  
Joanne has planned a weekend away for herself and her three closest friends. A weekend away like no other. Her invite says “a mystery and surprises”. Even the journey there is shrouded in secrecy. The three friends are intrigued and as the weekend progresses they realise each has secrets they thought no-one knew about- until now. Oh My! This is one of those books that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. What a ride, what a read! I really couldn’t put this one down- I just had to find out what was happening next. From one drama to another, one reveal to another. Of times past and present grudges and secrets. All the skeletons in the cupboard come out to play and more. Brilliant characters and descriptions- this would make an excellent TV drama. This is a truly magnificent read that I can’t recommend highly enough. Wow, just wow.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

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When the Phoenix Rises- Nesly Clerge 4*
Starks is still in prison, his wife Kayla is dying and his children need him. He has to get out. He is recruiting his crew as his opponents could turn on him at any time and he has to stay alive. This is the third part of a trilogy and the other two books need to be read in order to understand the circumstances. In part one (When the Serpent Bites) Starks in sentenced to 15 years in prison. He is a rich man and soon has some clout amongst the prisoners and finds a few he can trust. In book two (When the Dragon roars) Starks is at an all time low having tried to take his own life a couple of times, until suddenly he finds his long lost son, who is then killed shortly afterwards. In this book three Starks is trying to find justice and to keep his wife alive as much as he can from being incarcerated. A man who has to change within the limits of prison and of his mind behind bars.  A well written,descriptive read.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased
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Mustn't grumble- Terry Wogan

An interesting read as you would expect from the "Togmeister". Much of it you can "hear" Terry with his wonderful lilt and his fits of giggles. From his humble background through to the Janet and John stories this book gives a little of his life. He was a unique talent and a man of the people, who felt through both radio and television that they "knew" him. Many of us grew up with him and I can't help but remember the day he finished his radio show with the immortal words  " Thank you, thank you for being my friend" because that was the type of man he was- your friend, his "other listener". He made it personal to each and every one of his listeners. A rare talent indeed.


How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say
How to speak chicken- Melissa Caughey 4*
This would make a perfect gift for anyone with hens or an interest in them. The pages are wonderfully colourful, each one having a background of either feathers or claw prints. The photographs are a treasure and the narrative interesting (I speak as a long time OCD= obsessive chicken disorder). I knew hens had a language but not quite what. I may even have my own name my flock have given me! I think that this book would also be  suitable for children who have hens at home and so can learn more about them and their wonderful ways. It gives a history, lifecycle, needs, intelligence, eyesight, key skills etc etc. Whether you are a newbie to hens or a long time keeper you should find this book interesting. there are also some wonderful quotes: “All who wander are not lost”- J. R.R Tolkien. ” Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies”- Aristotle.  A perfect Christmas gift.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Monday, 27 November 2017

Just One Time


Just one time- KS Hunter 5*  Out 7th December***
Sit on the edge of your seat and prepare for the ride! David had an affair two years ago and although he and his wife are still together- just- she has never forgiven him and makes his life as difficult as possible. When he goes to the theatre alone and speaks to the woman next to him, she assists when he loses his phone and for some reason he gives her a false name. He then gets messages that he believes are from the same woman- only she knows his real name. Who is she and how does she know his name? This is a slightly disturbing tale that makes you rather uneasy. This is so well written you feel that it could happen to anyone- couldn’t it?At the beginning you start to feel for David however his actions mean he only has himself to blame. KS Hunter is the pseudonym of a “well known” author. Whoever you are- Wow! One totally stunning read.   

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Thieves On The Fens (DI Nikki Galena, #8)

Thieves on the fens- Joy Ellis-5*  
The team are together again. I love the fens series- always a comfortable read with a smile. DI Nikki Galena, Joseph, Cat and Ben. Joy has the talent of bringing them alive each and every time. Each of her books starts with a little intrigue but also something of the lives of her team. A little of their love, their life, their dislikes and their family. Not too much to be off putting and detract from the main storyline but a taste to whet the appetite so the reader quickly feels that they “know” the person. Some strange calls to the station speaking an almost lost language and a spate of burglaries keep our team busy in a way in which they appreciate to start with. A complex case with two main storylines interwoven, brilliantly written. My favourite of the fen books to date.  A thoroughly enjoyable read.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Friday, 24 November 2017

Lucy's Book Club for the Lost and Found: A heartwarming feel good romance novel


Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found- Emma Davies 5**
Lucy had dreams of being a teacher as her father was before her. Somehow the glitter dropped off the dream and she found work at the local library whilst she decided what to do. She decided to start a book club to entice more people into the library and perhaps make some friends along the way. Enter Hattie- a single mum who is a dab hand at dressmaking, Lia who is a full time carer for her mother who has Alzheimer's, Callum who should have a job but hasn’t the confidence and Oscar the elderly but sprightly bow tie man who comes in several times a week so as not be on his own. This is an engaging cast of characters and some serious themes are addressed along the way. Somehow through skillful writing you end up caring for the characters and share with their emotions both up and down. This is so much more than “just another lighthearted read”. It made me laugh , it made me cry, and it made me think.  A book with a smile and a message of hope and positivity. A treasure of a book that rarely comes along. One of my 5** reads of the year(out of 250+ book- less than 10% achieve this). A wonderful read, a perfect present.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased
The Haunting of Hattie Hastings (Part One)


The Haunting OF Hattie Hastings- Audrey Davis  4*
Hattie’s husband is tragically killed by  a drunk driver one night as he is putting the bins out. She is flabbergasted when a few days later he materialises as a type of ghost and can speak to her. He can vanish as dramatically as he can reappear- but something for now that is out of his control. This leaves Hattie in a state of disbelief wondering how she can tell someone so that she will know that she is not going mad. Very well written this is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Hattie is a larger than life character as are many of those around her. This is part one of three, my only disappointment is that is  short and I wanted the two other parts to be able to continue the story. I look forward to the next instalments.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Thursday, 23 November 2017


Our Jilly: Someone Else's Life's Shocking Prequel by [Chambers, Bradd]


Our Jilly- Bradd Chambers 3*  
A young girl is found murdered in a back alley that only the council and the houses have access to. Her parents are rather off the rails, although the mother is doing her best in the circumstances. The father is a drunk, known to the police and abusive- just his best points. DI Dawson investigates and realises that the family are removed cousins of his. He couldn’t be less pleased. Through the mire of investigations in a place where many have much to hide from the police for one reason or another. The police team are split in their suspicions which doesn’t help move things along. An interesting read however I would have liked a little more background to the main police players so we can see what their stance is in various situations (just my preference). If you enjoy a different criminal read then this book could be for you.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

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...