Beware the Past by Joy Ellis – book review

Joy ellis

Beware the Past by Joy Ellis is a stand alone novel featuring Detective Matt Ballard.

OMG this book was fantastic I absolutely loved it.  I was gripped from the first page but as the tension and suspense mounted throughout the book it just got better and better and that ending, well just WOW!

Words that spring to mind after finishing this book are Stunning, Surprising, Mind Blowing, Captivating and Emotional.  There really was a whole gamut of emotions rolling through me as I read this book.

I would actually love this to be a new series featuring Matt Ballard I found him to be an intriguing character that I would like to see more of.  I liked his team of detectives and the way they all interacted and the relationships between them. When the chips were down they all rallied to protect and support each other.

I think this is one of my top 5 favourite books from 2017, it was excellent.  I highly recommend it and it gets a big fat 5 stars, if I could give it more I would because it was a cracking read.

Joy Ellis is one of my favourite authors so I was really excited to read this book, it didn’t disappoint!

Here is the publishers blurb:


A stunning new standalone crime thriller from #1 best-selling author Joy Ellis.

Detective Matt Ballard is haunted by one traumatic case he never solved. In the 1990s three boys were murdered in the same area, the remote and bleak Gibbet Fen. When the main suspect was killed in a hit-and-run, the killings stopped. But Matt was never satisfied that the real murderer had been caught

25 years later, Matt gets a photo in an unmarked envelope. It’s of the Gibbet Fen crime scene. Taken before the murder.

More photos arrive, relating to the historic murders, and intimate pictures of Matt’s secret relationship.

Another killing takes place, with some of the hallmarks of the old case. Has the killer returned or is this just a sick copycat determined to ruin Matt’s life and reputation?

In an absolutely breathtaking conclusion, Matt and his colleagues, race against time to stop a vicious killer who knows no limits.

The setting

Rural fenland is a strange place, with its never-ending fields, winding tracks, and long straight droves that lead to nowhere. The lonely lanes are flanked either side by deep drainage ditches and are, for a good part of the year, filled with tall, whispering reeds. Closer to the Wash, high seabanks form a barrier between river and marsh, and the richly fertile soil of the drained land. But when the mists come down, as they so often do, perspective is destroyed and all sense of direction lost, and then the fens become a rather frightening place of mystery and danger. Somewhere that you do not want to be at night.


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Last Cry by Anna-Lou Weatherley – Book Review

Last Cry by Anna-Lou Weatherley is book 1 in the Detective Dan Riley Series.

Wow this is easily one of the best books I have read this year.  I feel like I have been inside the head of a psychopath and I now know what makes them tick!

The book was fast paced and engaging and kept me turning pages unable to put the book down.  It was shocking and dark but also had times of bright compassion and empathy.  The balance of dark and light was excellent.

Detective Dan Riley is struggling after the death of his girlfriend, still in mourning and battling his grief he throws himself into this case trying to find a serial killer.  With many twists, turns and surprises this book will keep you on your toes and guessing about what is coming next.

Last Cry is pretty unputdownable (is that even a word! LOL), I thoroughly enjoyed escaping into the story and living it through to the gory end.  This book Is one to read so don’t miss it you won’t regret it.

I am giving Last Cry a bit fat 5 stars, it totally deserves it and I highly recommend it.  Bring on book 2!

Here is the publishers blurb on the book:

There’s a letter on the floor covered with blood next to a heart-shaped box of chocolates. The note says: ‘My beautiful darling, I’m sorry, please forgive me.’

When the body of a wealthy banker is found with his wrists slashed in a London hotel room, it appears at first to be a tragic suicide. But Detective Dan Riley suspects there is more to this case than meets the eye and the pathology report confirms his worst fears – the victim was poisoned and suddenly Dan is dealing with a murder inquiry. 

Still grieving the devastating loss of his girlfriend and unborn child in a car accident two years ago, Dan throws everything he has into the investigation. Then he makes a disturbing discovery, uncovering links between the victim and a woman calling herself Goldilocks on an online dating site. Is she seeking revenge or something more? 

Yet just as Dan begins to piece together the clues of this complex case, the body of a woman is found in her bed with identical wounds. Dan is on the trail of a twisted serial killer – and the stakes just got higher: 

The first victim was Daddy Bear. The second Mummy Bear.

Unless Dan can catch the killer, Baby Bear will be next.

An all-consuming and totally unputdownable read that will have you holding your breath to the very last page. Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Robert Bryndza and Karin Slaughter. 

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Burn the Evidence by Keith Nixon – Book Review

Burn the Evidence is book 2 in the Solomon Gray series.

I really enjoyed this book, there were lots of twists and a lot going on but once I sorted out who was who and how they all connected it was fine.

You have to feel sorry for Sol,  he lost his son 10 years ago and it’s constantly on his mind yet still he manages to do his job and do it well. For more on the back story of Sols son you will need to read book 1 Dig Two Graves. 

This story was exciting and suspenseful,  it kept me on the edge of my seat turning pages really wanting to see what was going to happen next.  

This really was a gripping thriller which I enjoyed very much and highly recommend.

I’m going to give this a big well deserved 4 stars.

Here is the publishers blurb on the book:

Mixing business with family can be a murderous affair … 

A body washes up on the beach near Ramsgate in the South of England. For DS Solomon Gray, the case appears cut and dried—a drowning. An immigrant. Another victim to the sea in his desperate attempt to reach the UK. 

As the tidewaters recede, two more corpses surface. One appears to be a refugee, stabbed to death. The other, Gray recognises immediately. Regan Armitage: son of business tycoon Jake Armitage. Gray knows this means trouble. 

A post mortem reveals ligature marks on Regan’s wrists. Drugs in his bloodstream. All signs indicate murder. Armitage swears to track down his son’s killer and avenge his death. 

Gray’s investigation points to a deadly fire ten years prior, and soon Armitage comes under suspicion. But DS Gray knows what it’s like to lose a child and puts aside his distrust of Armitage to help.

How are the dead men connected to each other—and to the infamous fire?

It’s then that Gray gets another tip on the whereabouts of his own missing son, Tom …

BURN THE EVIDENCE is the second book in a series featuring Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray. The crime series is perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

About the Author
Keith Nixon is a British born writer of crime and historical fiction novels. Originally he trained as a chemist, but Keith is now in a senior sales role for a high-tech business. Keith currently lives with his family in the North West of England.

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The Missing Child by Alison James – Book Review

​The Missing Child is book 1 in the new Detective Rachel Prince series written by Alison James.

This book was great I really enjoyed it, it had me captivated from the first page.  To start a new detective series is refreshing and exciting.  

I liked Rachel Prince straight away, she is feisty and is not scared to go with her gut instinct.  She has a great relationship with her DS and together they are a formidable team.  There is lots going on in this book, plenty of twists and turns but it was easy to keep track of the characters and what was happening.

This was a really well written book, I liked the style of writing and the story line.  It was dramatic, stomach wrenching and quite emotional as you would imagine being about a missing child.  I did have an inkling from about half way through who had taken Lola Jade and my suspicions got stronger the more I read so to be honest the ending wasn’t so much of a surprise to me.  Some of the details were shocking but I knew who the bad guy was, but this in no way spoilt the reading experience for me.

This book was an awesome start to a new series, I can’t wait for the next instalment!

I highly recommend this book, I am giving it a really strong 4 stars.

Here is the publisher’s description:-

Are you looking for your next page turning mystery full of stunning twists? Then try the first book in a brand-new detective series… You won’t be able to put it down.


Six-year-old Lola Jade Harper is taken from her bedroom. Her mother is distraught. She is convinced her estranged husband, Gavin Harper, has abducted their daughter.

Detective Rachel Prince is leading the investigation but is soon out of her depth as she searches for the most high-profile missing child in the country. To uncover the truth about Lola’s disappearance, Rachel must untangle the Harper family’s complicated web of secrets and lies.

As the case progresses, the body of a local woman is found. The death at first seems unrelated, until a trail of social media posts lead Rachel to a chilling discovery. 

And then another little girl is taken…

With growing pressure from the public and the appearance of someone from her past she’d rather forget, will Rachel be able to solve the connection between the two missing children and the murder – before it’s too late?

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Murder in the Family by Faith Martin – Book Review

Murder in the Family by Faith Martin is book 5 in the DI Hillary Greene series. (First published as Through a Narrow Door).

This book was great, I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was full of suspense and twists that kept me engaged right the way through the book. I was “into” it right from the first page and had a hard job putting it down.  I thought the story was clever and very interesting, I never would have guessed the bad guy or the twist at the end in a million years.

I have enjoyed all the books in the series so far but I think that each new book gets better and better.  I like the characters, the way that everyone hates Frank and the area that the stories are set in.  It all just seems to work together to create an interesting and intriguing series of books.  

I was kind of disappointed to finish the book because I didn’t have the next one in the series to start!  Can I have the next one please!

I think that this book could be read as a stand-alone novel but I would recommend reading the series in order as you get to know the background of the team of detectives.  They have quite complex relationships with each other which grows and develops with each book.

I don’t hesitate in giving Murder in the Family 5 stars, it was a really entertaining read that I enjoyed very much.

Here is the publishers blurb:

Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery with a feisty female detective? 

Then meet DI HILLARY GREENE, a policewoman struggling to save her career and catch criminals. 

15–year-old Billy Davies is found dead in his father’s shed. A pair of gardening shears thrust brutally into his chest. 

DI Hillary Greene tries to get to the bottom of this baffling crime. 

How had Billy come into contact with such a vicious killer? Who wanted him dead and why? The investigation reveals that the teenager was not such an innocent young man. 

Meanwhile, Hillary’s having a tough time at work. She’s been passed over for promotion, and her reliable constable Tommy Lynch is to be transferred out. But Hillary won’t let distractions get in the way of solving crimes. 

To catch this killer, Hillary will need to dig deep into the dark secrets of a small community. 

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to finish. 

MURDER IN THE FAMILY is the fifth in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire. 


The crime happens in an allotment shed in a small Oxfordshire hamlet. Allotments, or strips of land rented by individuals to grow fruit and vegetables (or flowers for flower shows), have always been popular. During the war years, they were a valuable source of food, and in modern times, their popularity hasn’t waned either, as the growing taste for organic fruit and veg, and ‘getting back to nature’ appeals to a wide range of people. Beekeepers find them very useful too. Waiting lists can be long, as they represent a perfect way to de-stress after a day in the city, and provide a peaceful haven for many people. But in the tiny hamlet of Aston Lea, set in fields of barley, and sheltered from the world and the roads by towering Hawthorne hedges, the allotments are a perfect, secret, quiet place to commit murder. 


DI Hillary Greene 

An attractive woman in her forties, Hillary Greene is a police officer of many years’ experience, and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knows how the system works, and is fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. She is a long-standing friend of her immediate superior officer, ‘Mellow’ Mallow and enjoys a rather enigmatic relationship with the steely Superintendent Marcus Donleavy. Popular with the rank and file for her no-nonsense attitude and competence. 

DCI Philip ‘Mellow’ Mallow 

Mel appreciates Hillary’s first-rate ability to solve her cases, and isn’t happy about her harassment by the officers from York. Known for his sartorial elegance and laid-back manners, he has a sharp mind, and an eye for the ladies. A good friend and ally for Hillary in her recent tribulations, he’s determined to keep his best investigator focused on the problems at hand. 


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Thieves on the Fens by Joy Ellis – Book Review

I swear this series gets better with every book, this was fantastic! This book had me gripped from the first page and I literally couldn’t put it down.

I love where these books are set, it gives it a really atmospheric feel, sometimes even a bit creepy.  Nikki has a close knit team who works well together, she is particularly close to her Sergeant Joseph. Will this be the book where they finally take the next step forward in their relationship?  Read it and find out, you will get no spoilers here! 

There are two stories running side by side which make it an interesting read full of twists and turns. It’s really well written and the two stories meet with each other in a way you would never imagine.

I love this series and Joy Ellis is one of my favourite authors, this is a really good book that will thrill you and keep you on the edge of your seat.  I feel it could be read as a stand alone novel but I recommend you read the books in order to get the background and history of the characters.

I highly recommend this book, it easily gets 5 stars from me.

Here is the publisher’s blurb:

Do you love gripping detective mysteries? Then try this book by a #1 best-selling author now. You won’t be able to put it down. By an author everyone’s talking about.

DI Nikki Galena gets a series of anonymous calls. She is told the place, time, and who will die.

But the messages are in a secret language used only by villains. Nikki and her team must decode the riddles and work out where the threats are coming from.

Meanwhile, the Fens have been hit by a series of “designer burglaries.” It appears that a new gang of thieves are stealing to order.

And things get very close to home when a friend of Nikki’s mother dies suddenly and perhaps suspiciously.

Do any of these events relate, and can Nikki stop the thieves on the fens, before anyone else dies?

Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the heart-stopping ending.

The complex cases will come to a head in one of the most complex and absorbing books yet in the series. This is book 8 of the international best-selling books featuring Nikki Galena.


DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she’s seen a girl die in her arms and her own family destroyed. She’s tough on criminals but fiercely loyal to her team.


DS Joseph Easter is the squeaky-clean member of the team. But his nickname “Holy Joe” belies his former life as a soldier. He has a daughter and an ex-wife who wants his attention.

The Lincolnshire Fens: great open skies brood over marshes, farmland, and nature reserves. It is not easy terrain for the Fenland Constabulary to police, due to the distances between some of the remote Fen villages, the dangerous and often misty lanes, and the poor telephone coverage. There are still villages where the oldest residents have never set foot outside their own farmland and a visit to the nearest town is a major event. But it has a strange airy beauty to it, and above it all are the biggest skies you’ve ever seen.


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Evil Crimes by Michael Hambling – Book Review

Evil Crimes by Michael Hambling is book 6 in the DI Sophie Allen Series.

I love this series and was very excited to read this new book, thanks to Joffe Books and NetGalley for this ARC.  

I had a feeling of great anticipation starting this book I really wanted to love it as much as the rest of the series and I wasn’t disappointed; it had me gripped right from the first page.  Each book in this series seems to get better and better. 

The story-line was interesting, there was plenty of suspense and twists in the plot and I love it when I don’t guess who the bad guy is!  This book has plenty going for it, it is dark and moody, and it keeps you on your toes because you really don’t know what’s coming next.  I enjoyed this book so much I was kind of disappointed when I reached the end. Now that is the sign of a really good book.

I think that you could read this as a stand-alone novel but I do recommend that you read the series in order so that you can get background information on the team of detectives as there is some diversity in the team.  It’s nice to get to know the characters anyway then when you read the next book it’s like meeting up with old friends.

I really enjoyed this book; it gets a very well deserved 5 stars from me.  I highly recommend this series of books; it’s a really good entertaining read.

Here is the publishers blurb on the book:

Looking for a gripping mystery by a best-selling author?

Full of twists and turns, this crime thriller will keep you turning the pages until the stunning conclusion.

A young man’s body is spotted in the stormy sea off Dancing Ledge in Dorset.

Did he lose his footing in the gale force winds and fall in? Or is there a more sinister cause of death?

Detective Sophie Allen’s team discover some curious links to a suicide that happened six months earlier. A strikingly attractive female student connects the cases. Alarming facts slowly come to light as the team probes more deeply.

Is the young woman as evil as she seems or is someone else manipulating her?

DCI Sophie Allen races against time to uncover the tragic secrets behind the crimes and stop any more deaths.

If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Colin Dexter, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will be gripped by this exciting new crime fiction writer.

EVIL CRIMES is book six of a new series of crime thrillers featuring DCI Sophie Allen, head of the Violent Crime Unit in Dorset.


DCI Sophie Allen is Dorset’s acknowledged expert on murder and violent crime. She is 42 as the series starts, and lives with her husband and younger daughter in Wareham. Her elder daughter is studying in London. Sophie has a law degree and a master’s in criminal psychology. Her brilliant mind conceals some dark secrets from her past. 

DS Barry Marsh is based at Swanage police station. He’s quiet, methodical and dedicated, the perfect foil for Sophie’s hidden fragility.


Dorset. A beautiful English county which includes a stunning section of the coastline, but whose beauty belies darkness beneath the surface.









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