Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Politician by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #4) [BLOG TOUR]

The Politician by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #4) [BLOG TOUR]

Huge thank you to the team at Head of Zeus, for the opportunity to participate on the blog tours for “The Patient” and “The Politician” by Tim Sullivan. Reading both books has been an absolute pleasure and I would recommend them both.

The Politician by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #4) [BLOG TOUR]

About The Book:

The Politician by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #4) [BLOG TOUR]


Pages: 400

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Format I read it in: Hardcover

Rating: ★★★★/★

Synopsis:

A ransacked room. A dead politician. A burglary gone wrong – or a staged murder?

THE DETECTIVE

DS George Cross loves puzzles – he’s good at them – and he immediately spots one when he begins investigating the death of former mayor Peggy Frampton. It looks like a burglary that went horribly wrong to most but George can see what others can’t – that this was murder.

THE PUZZLE

After her political career ended, Peggy became a controversial blogger whose forthright opinions attracted a battalion of online trolls. And then there’s her family: an unfaithful husband and a gambling-addicted son. With yet more enemies in her past, the potential suspects are unending.

THE SUSPECTS

Cross must unpick the never-ending list of seedy connections to find her killer – but the sheer number of suspects is clouding his usually impeccable logic. He’s a relentlessly methodical detective, but no case can last forever. And politics can be a dangerous game – especially for people who don’t know the rules…

My Thoughts:

With “The Politician”, I enjoyed the book from the first chapter until the very last. The gathering of the evidence at the beginning was intriguing, making us aware of everything that is found at the scene and creating a certain scenario. I loved the abundance of suspects that this book had. With the suspect being a retired politician and a social media figure with a lot of following, it opened up a can of worms when it came to suspects. I also loved the involvement of other people in this case, and seeing some new faces at the police station. 

DS Cross was the star of the book again, unsurprisingly. I just love his method of gathering evidence and eliminating suspects. The case was quite twisted with a lot going on, and he managed to stay on top of it, with Ottey always there to support. I enjoyed Carsons’s downfall too – it was funny how he always does the wrong thing. Maybe he learns something this time around and changes in the next book. Family relationships were a big topic in this book and it was interesting to see different family dynamics. Even DS Cross had his own family mystery to unravel. 

“For someone who struggled to make relationships with the living, he had no such problems doing so with the dead.”

The pacing of the book wasn’t always great, but there was new evidence frequently enough to keep me going. I feel that involving a bit of a mafia family from Albania was a bit cliche, but being born in Macedonia and having seen some things in my life, the description wasn’t too far off. 

I wasn’t surprised by the reveal – I could spot the signs from the second interaction.

However, there wasn’t only one mystery to unravel this time. As we keep reading, and clues are being discovered, there are multiple things that require DS Cross’s attention and I was here for it. “The Politician” kept me entertained, and I never thought I would say that sentence in my life. But it did, I really enjoyed it, and same as “The Patient” I warmly recommend it. It’s not always that you have a DS on the spectrum that warms up to you as a reader as DS Cross did to me. His personality adds a uniqueness to a mystery book, and his methods are so amazing to read. Now I will have to get the first two books of the The DS Cross Mysteries series to complete my collection and eagerly wait to read about DS Cross’s next case.

About The Author:

The Politician by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #4) [BLOG TOUR]

Tim Sullivan is a crime writer, screenwriter and director, whose film credits include A Handful of Dust, Jack and Sarah, and Cold Feet. His crime series featuring the socially awkward but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross has topped the book charts and been widely acclaimed. Tim lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy Award-winning producer of The Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Patient by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #3) [BLOG TOUR]

The Patient by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #3) [BLOG TOUR]

I am so happy to be joining a wonderful group of book bloggers on the blog tours for “The Patient” and “The Politician” by Tim Sullivan. Thank you very much to the team at Head of Zeus, for allowing me to be a part of it and introducing me to the amazing work of Tim.

The Patient by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #3) [BLOG TOUR]

About The Book:

The Patient by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #3) [BLOG TOUR]


Pages: 407

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★/★

Synopsis:

No fingerprints. No weapon. And no witnesses. Can DS Cross prove it was murder?
THE DETECTIVE
DS George Cross doesn’t rely on guesswork and he has no time for false assumptions. He is a detective who goes off the evidence in front of him, not ‘hunches’ or ‘gut feelings’. He does not know what these are.
THE CLOSED CASE
When a young woman is found dead, the Bristol Crime Unit is quick to rule it a suicide as the woman had a long history of drug abuse. But her mother is convinced it was murder, saying that her daughter had been clean for years and had been making strides in a new therapy programme.
THE ANSWER
As an outsider himself, DS Cross is drawn to cases involving the voiceless and dispossessed and, here, the evidence states that this woman was murdered – Cross just has to prove it. But under pressure from his boss to shut down the case, and with numerous potential suspects, time is rapidly running out to get the answers that this grieving family deserve.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed “The Patient” very much, and it pleasantly surprised me on numerous occasions. Before I start, I should note that this book can easily be a standalone. I didn’t read the first 2 books of the DS Cross Mysteries series, and didn’t feel like anything was missing. 

DS George Cross is a character that I warmed up to instantly. We need more characters on the spectrum in books. His personality shined through the pages and that only serves to prove the amazing writing skills of Tim Sullivan. 

For a 400 page book, the pace is quite fast, although I struggled a bit around the middle.

The pace at the end was incredible and I couldn’t put the book down. In regards to the investigation, I was intrigued by the unorthodox method of eliminating the suspects. Usually, we have a lot of suspects and near the end, they are still around as possibilities. However, in this book we don’t go by the rules. The suspects were eliminated one by one, which narrowed down the suspect list significantly as we were getting closer to the end of the book. I found this refreshing and welcomed it, although it did make me expect more plot twists. 

At the very end, that last clue that was somewhat crucial to the case – I think it was very coincidentally discovered. And knowing DS Cross, it doesn’t seem like him to not explore that avenue much earlier. But aside from that, I really loved the case, the investigation, the interviews and the resolution. The book touches on some very sensitive topics on drug addiction, suicide, euthanasia, grief and therapy. I learnt a lot whilst reading the book and I always cherish that when it happens. “The Patient” was a clever adventure with a brutal twist and a thriller I enjoyed devouring. This one will keep me tinkering over it for quite some time. 

About The Author:

Tim Sullivan is a crime writer, screenwriter and director, whose film credits include A Handful of Dust, Jack and Sarah, and Cold Feet. His crime series featuring the socially awkward but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross has topped the book charts and been widely acclaimed. Tim lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy Award-winning producer of The Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman.

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Book Review · Books

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden [BOOK REVIEW]

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden [BOOK REVIEW]

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden captured my attention from the very beginning. The errieness of the forbidden part of the house made for a spooky atmosphere. It’s the perfect read for Halloween!

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 388

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Penguin Michael Joseph

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Paperback

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

Margaret Lennox is a young widow and she’s offered a position as governess at Hartwood Hall. She is eager to start, hoping that this new place and work will bring her a healthy distraction from her reality. It’s 1852 and references are extremely important to secure a job. Although Margaret is afraid her hearing loss will prevent her from getting this job, she is soon proven wrong. Mrs. Eversham gives her the job to teach her son, Louis.

Despite Louis being a great pupil, Margaret feels quite uneasy in the house. There are strange figures in the dark and a forbidden east wing of the house. Also, the servants keep whispering and Margaret feels like they are keeping things from her. The town doesn’t trust Mrs. Eversham and they think the house is haunted and cursed. Margaret also starts a forbidden affair with Paul, the gardener, and inevitably starts to tangle herself in a lot of situations. As her past is trying to catch up with her, she now has current secrets also to try and keep.

I quite enjoyed reading this book!

It was so easy to keep the pages turning and dive into Margaret’s life. As we learn more about her, I admired her search for freedom, despite the curveballs that life has thrown at her. Her marriage was not one from love and she was being owned by a man who claimed to know what’s best for her. Imagine not being allowed to work if you wished so, to not be allowed to read your preferred genre, to engage with your friends. When Margaret becomes a widow, she’s rightfully excited to start teaching again.

On the other side of the story, we have Hartwood Hall and its residents.

Mrs. Eversham is a lady that keeps to herself and often travels away. Louis is a boy that doesn’t say much, but is hiding a big pain in his heart. Everyone is hiding something in this house, even the servants, especially the servants. The house screams of secrets and eeriness. On top of this, spooky things do happen, especially during the night. Food missing from the cupboards, footsteps that keep erasing themselves, candles placed in odd places and being moved… The servants don’t seem to know how to mind their own business, and Margaret ends up getting herself in the middle of a blackmail situationship.

“Of course I did not believe the house was cursed – but when people feared a place, there was usually a reason.”

The ending was somewhat unexpected, but not as exciting.

It explained everything and tied up the story very neatly, leaving nothing unresolved. I just didn’t feel that wow factor when closing the book in the end. However, despite that, this book really impressed me. It was the battle for freedom, in a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable to do so that did it for me in the end. In the search for true happiness and standing up for love, for friendship, for loyalty. When a loss can cause us heartbreak, even though we know it’s the best thing for us. And when a loss can also ultimately secure our freedom and give us the relief we needed to be happy again.

The Secret of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden is coming out in March 2023 and I strongly recommend you give it a chance.

About The Author:

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden [BOOK REVIEW]

Katie Lumsden is a twenty-eight-year-old novelist and short story writer from London. She has been reading Victorian literature avidly since she was thirteen years old, and it is her love of literature and history that inspires her to write. After a degree in English literature and history, she studied for an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University, before embarking on a career in the publishing industry. Her short stories have been shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize and the Bridport Prize, and have been published in various literary magazines, including Litro and Brittle Star.

Katie has a Youtube channel, Books and Things, where she reviews and recommends books, focusing on classics and historical fiction.

Her first novel, The Secrets of Hartwood Hall, will be published by Michael Joseph in March 2023.

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Book Review · Books

The Guilty Wife by Nina Manning [BOOK REVIEW]

The Guilty Wife by Nina Manning [BOOK REVIEW]

The Guilty Wife (also known as Her Darkest Fear) by Nina Manning was an interesting and mysterious read. I just feel that it didn’t do quite enough to really impress me.

The Guilty Wife by Nina Manning [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 334

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

Frankie Keegan lost her brother 20 years ago. And every year around that date, the memories start creeping into her life. Her life at home with her husband and kids is on the rocks and she’s trying to be successful in her new job. And as if that isn’t enough, it appears that someone else also remembers the date, and they will make sure to let Frankie know this…

Even though the Guilty Wife kept me intrigued whilst reading it, I never felt that heart-stopping, wow moment. It’s quite hard to choose between 3 and 4 stars, but I’m going with a 3-star rating for a couple of reasons. There were a lot of things that remained a mystery and never got revealed, unless I missed the reveal somehow. Nothing was said about the nanny’s weird behaviour. Also, there was a certain number being mentioned throughout the book that held some meaning, but we never understand the meaning. The last 20 pages were where the big reveal happened. And to me, these pages were an info dump of everything that happened in the past. As soon as I started reading it, I knew exactly what person was involved. But at the same time, I couldn’t have guessed it because not enough clues were revealed before the reveal. 

And finally, I couldn’t agree with Frankie’s decisions in the end. I personally didn’t enjoy the epilogue stages of the book.

Aside from the negatives, The Guilty Wife kept me intrigued from the very first page until the very end. I enjoyed the mystery and the constant change of potential culprits, until it got ruined by the reveal. I would still recommend this book if you want to go on a journey of grief, friendships, old loves lost and a sprinkle of mystery!

About The Author:

Nina Manning began her career in the catering industry. She has worked as a private chef cooking for royalty and TV personalities.

She has a degree in Psychology and has three books published with Boldwood: The Daughter In Law, The Guilty Wife and The House Mate.
Her fourth Psychological thriller is published in Spring 2021.

Nina is a voracious reader of many genres, is the founding member of a long standing book club and the founder and co-host of a book podcast called Sniffing The Pages.

She is a mother to three young children so when she is not writing or reading she can usually be found scaling a soft play tower or romping in the woods with the family and her chocolate Labrador.

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Book Review · Books

This Book Kills by Ravena Guron [BOOK REVIEW]

This Book Kills by Ravena Guron [BOOK REVIEW]

I could not recommend it enough! “This Book Kills” deserves all the hype in the world!

About The Book:

This Book Kills by Ravena Guron [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 394

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Usborne YA

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof / Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

I can’t remember the last time I was so immersed in a book, that I spent a full all-nighter finishing it, gasped at every hint and literally jumped (all the while dropping the book in excitement) when I correctly guessed who’d done it! 

The most popular and rich kid in Heybuckle School, Hugh Henry Van Boren, has been found dead. And as soon as the news arrive, the student body is very keen to find the murderer. Our main character, Jess, is a student in this school. Not being rich, she is working hard to keep her grades good and her record clean so she doesn’t lose her scholarship. 

However, she finds herself at the centre of the investigation when it’s revealed that Hugh died in the exact same way as a character in a short story that she wrote. On top of this, Jess receives an anonymous tip, thanking her for the inspiration, and sending a threat her way.

Jess needs to solve this murder urgently, as time is running out. She may not only lose her scholarship, but she may end up also losing her life!

I greatly enjoyed “This Book Kills” and rooted for Jess from the very beginning.

We are instantly introduced to this posh high-school, where Jess feels an instant disadvantage being “the scholarship girl”. We can feel this through her interactions with the other students and teachers. 

It also doesn’t help that the school has an anonymous secret club called the Regia Club, where students are asked to pull dangerous pranks on each other. And the adults know this is happening and yet decide to not act upon it, due to reputation. 

“Just because things are easy for you, doesn’t mean they’re easy. Just because people are good to you, doesn’t mean they’re good. You can’t close your eyes and then claim ignorance – people who let bad stuff happen are just as bad as the people who do bad stuff.”

I wouldn’t say this is the deadliest thriller of 2023, but it’s for sure the most intriguing YA thriller I have read so far. It kept me on the edge of my seat; the clues, the drama, the plot twists just kept coming. I ended up predicting the culprit, but I don’t think it was very predictable. I loved the fact that the book stops at a certain point and tells you to make a prediction, because a reveal is about to happen. As soon as I got the reveal, I was beyond happy that I guessed it right. This interaction with the book made me completely forget whether my prediction was predictable or not. 

I am certain that this book will take the reader community by storm in the new year. Jess is a heroine that we will want to be friends with, although we’d rather not be in her shoes. If you’re about to pick any YA thriller in the new year, let it be this one. As This Book Kills. 

About The Author:

This Book Kills by Ravena Guron [BOOK REVIEW]

A born and bred Londoner, Ravena writes MG and YA, usually featuring antiheroines or snarky narrators. Growing up she always read the last page of books first, but discovering Agatha Christie in her early teens stopped that habit, igniting a love of twisty murder-mysteries with jaw-dropping endings the reader never saw coming. Ravena is a lawyer with a degree in biochemistry, and hopes to use the knowledge gained from her experiences to plot the perfect murder (for a book, of course!).

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