Quarter to Midnight by Karen Rose – a review BLOG TOUR


I’ve been lucky enough to be invited onto some fantastic blog tours recently and the latest for the new novel by Karen Rose is no exception.

Quarter to Midnight by Karen Rose is the start of a brand new series featuring a band of private investigators led by Burke Broussard. Rocky Herbert has seemingly killed himself, however his son Gabe is certain that his dad wouldn’t do that and has a private autopsy done before hiring the Broussard agency. PI Molly Sutton soon realises that ex policeman Rocky was working on his own investigation. An investigation that threatens to expose corruption within the police force and bring down some high ranking individuals. A phonecall leads them to Xavier, a young lad who is the key witness to the case. Unfortunately they are not the only people who know that Xavier is the key and soon they are all running for their lives.

This is a great start to a cracking new series that was full of action and twists from the start. The series is set in New Orleans which is a fascinating city that Karen Rose managed to portray all sides of, from the terrible devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina to the diverse musical heritage the place is known for to the amazing sounding food and drink.

I enjoyed this story although it was not a quick read at over 600 pages and for me it did seem to drag on a bit in the middle but that’s probably because I was impatient to find out what was going to happen.

There were a lot of characters to keep track of but I found the story was so engrossing that it’s simple to keep everyone straight. I really enjoyed the characters of Xavier’s Mum and her friend Willa Mae. Their light hearted banter in the midst of some dark scenes was a real highlight.

As with a lot of the author’s stories this has a romance element and the budding relationship between PI Molly and her charge Gabe is interesting, although as I was keen to get back to the thriller element. The mix of thriller, romance and old fashioned adventure story was a mix that worked really well and creates a riveting read.

I have always been a big fan of Karen Rose, and despite it’s length this is a great start to a new series and I would definitely be looking out for the next in the series.

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The Dark Remains by Ian Rankin and William McIlvanney – a review BLOG TOUR


I am a big fan of Ian Rankin and was once lucky enough to join him for a whisky (ok so I was with all the other people who had bought tickets but I was in the same room as him!) so when I was asked to join the blog tour for his latest The Dark Remains of course I said yes.

The Dark Remains is actually a joint venture between Rankin and the late William McIlvanney. Rankin took the notes McIlvanney had written and turned them into a fully fledged story. This novel is a prequel to the original trilogy and introduces us to a young DC Laidlaw, who has a great policing sense but isn’t always very good at following orders. When Bobby Carter, a lawyer who works for some dubious but powerful families, is found dead, Laidlaw has to find out what happened before the gang rivalry becomes all out war.

I enjoyed this story alot. I’ve read the McIlvanney books and I’ve read Rankin so was interested to see how this mix would work. For me it takes the best of both and mixes it into an immensely enjoyable read. There is the humour of an Ian Rankin Rebus story overlaid with the grit of the Laidlaw background. The story is set in a Glasgow of the 70’s and I felt that this was portrayed well. The quality of the writing shows in that you are instantly transported to the city at that time and don’t need to be constantly reminded in words. It was enjoyable to read a detective story set in a time before mobile phones, and modern day forensics.

The story itself is what you would expect of a Rebus book, lots of gangsters and Glasgow slang but with characters that are also full of warmth and personality. It was interesting to find out about Laidlaw’s family and I enjoyed this glimpse into how the man became who he was.

The one thing I would say is read this with an open mind. It isn’t an Ian Rankin, and it isn’t a William McIlvanney, what it is, is a very good story!

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Murder by the Sea by David Howard and Robin Jarossi – a review


Having spent part of my childhood living near the seaside town of Cromer I have always had a bit of a fascination with coastal places, especially the disconnect between the holiday sunny ideal and the reality of seasonal living. Therefore when I was asked to review a true crime book focusing on murders in seaside towns I jumped at the chance.

Murder by the Sea is a companion to the CBS Reality true crime documentary series of the same name, and features 10 of the series stories with extra material that couldn’t be in the show, including interviews with detectives and witnesses.

This was a fascinating book with 10 hideous crimes all set in British Seaside Towns. Some of the stories you may know, for example that of John Cooper who was portrayed in the TV drama series The Pembrokeshire Murders. There are also others that I hadn’t heard of such as Mathew Hardman who killed Mabel Leyshon in Anglsey, or Malcom Green who murdered Gleys Johnson and Clive Tully nearly twenty years apart.

Murder By The Sea gives an interesting insight into the crimes and both the murderers as well as the victims but it also paints a picture of the coastal towns that goes against the postcard pictures usually seen. I really enjoyed the way this book was written. Each of the ten stories are well researched and have enough details to keep you interested but equally each chapter is relatively short so it keeps you reading.

A must for fans of true crime and a good read whether or not you have seen the TV series.

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The Daves Next Door by Will Carver – a review BLOG TOUR

One of the few good things about flying (apart from getting to the destination of course) is the hours of uninterrupted reading it provides, so I always make sure I take a book I think I’m going to love with me. Therefore when The Daves Next Door landed on my doormat I knew it would be the perfect book for my weekend away.

The Daves Next Door tells the story of a hotpotch of characters. There is the uncaring nurse, the old man being cared for by angels, a sportsman with a life changing injury and two men called Dave with an identical brain tumour. All with separate lives potentially destined to collide, or so the narrator tells us, but can we believe a potential suicide bomber or is he in fact God?

There are some books that once you read them you continue to think about for days afterwards, and this was one of those books. It is hard to really describe the story as it doesn’t fit into any standard category. There is crime but there is so much more. Its a study of character as well as a comment on everyday life.

I really don’t want to give anything away with this, so it’s going to be tricky to review. However I want to say enough that you will go and buy a copy. I personally think that Will Carver is one of the most original and outstanding novelists currently going. In The Daves Next Door he provides us with a cast of characters where nothing is what it seems, yet everything is just as it seems.

The story is written with short sharp chapters that absolutely zip along. There is a narrator that is not just unreliable but is almost ghost like as he watches the others on the train, and gives us insight to the world. The chapters from him are the ones that really stick in your mind. A series of questions within the narrative almost slip by as you read them, then suddenly it makes you think ‘Has anybody ever drawn a perfect circle, freehand?’ ‘Would you eat less lamb if it was labelled ‘baby sheep’?’ Within the questions is a commentary from the narrator on the tube which is frankly chilling.

I’ll confess that it took me a little while to get into this, the short chapters mean you flit from one to another quickly and it takes a while to get all the ducks in a row in your head, but it’s absolutely worth it. I loved the sense of unknown that came through when you read it. The characters are all vividly written and how they come together at the end is fitting.

I’ve read alot of Will Carver’s previous books, Psychopaths Anonymous and Nothing Important Happened Today are two of the best novels I’ve ever read and The Daves Next Door is no exception. A highly original read that will stay with you long after you finish it.

Find out what others thought of The Daves Next Door by visiting the other stop on the blog tour:

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