Blog Tour – The Last Thing I Remember – Deborah Bee

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BLURB: Sarah is in a coma.
Her memory is gone – she doesn’t know how she got there. And she doesn’t know how she might get out.
But then she discovers that her injury wasn’t an accident. And that the assailant hasn’t been caught.
Unable to speak, see or move, Sarah must use every clue that she overhears to piece together her own past.
And work out who it is that keeps coming into her room.
A novel that grips from the very beginning and that will live long in the memory, The Last Thing I Remember is Deborah Bee‘s startling debut thriller.

Another release from Bonnier Publishing’s excellent Twenty7 imprint for debut authors – and this one’s every bit as good as it’s predecessors – well, the ones I’ve read, anyway.

The chapters move between two characters’ perspectives. Firstly, Sarah (a 28-year-old who works in publishing) who’s been the victim of an attack or mugging while out with her husband Adam, who didn’t survive the brutal beating. Sarah’s someone who, at the beginning of the book, has got “locked-in syndrome” – she can see, hear, and feel everything around her, but can’t communicate. No-one knows if she is able to see and hear things, or whether she is brain-dead. Her memory is, initially, non-existent – she doesn’t even know her own name. We get to hear everything Sarah hears – what the nurses, police, her parents and sister say, plus a mysterious late night visitor who says to a nurse he’s Sarah’s brother. When her family reveal she doesn’t have a brother, he says the nurse must have misunderstood – he’s her brother-in-law, Ash, the late Adam’s brother. He only visits late at night, when no-one else is around and the nurses don’t see him entering her room, and is threatening to Sarah, frightening her, knowing she has no way of telling anyone.

The second perspective is that of Kelly, a 14-year-old who lives next door to Sarah with her mother and young brother. Sarah and Kelly had become close friends, after Kelly confides in Sarah about the horrendous bullying that goes on unchecked in her school. Sarah advises her not to stand out, so the bleached hair and short skirts go, so that Kelly can blend into the background. Sarah knows what it’s like to stand out and be picked on for it – she’s stunningly attractive, although that’s something the hospital staff and police don’t see, as she’s heavily bandaged and her face is swollen and multi-coloured with bruising from the attack. Before the attack, Sarah and Kelly had also attended self-esteem classes at the local community centre together – ostensibly for Kelly’s benefit, with Sarah there as company, but Sarah could do with them too – she’s in an abusive relationship with Adam. Kelly knows this, as she’s overheard Adam shouting vile abuse through the walls of the terraced house. The hospital come to realise it when they see some old hospital records of Sarah’s.

The police come to the conclusion that this was a targeted attack, as opposed to a random mugging, because of the sheer amount of violence used. Sarah’s clearly not a suspect, as she’s a victim too, and there’s no way Kelly could overpower a big man like Adam – plus, even if she dislikes Adam, why would she attack her best friend? Adam’s had financial troubles before – which Sarah has always paid off – but perhaps he’s got himself in too deep this time with particularly dangerous people? There’s also the fact that they were attacked near the Rec, where the school bullies – one girl, Kathryn Cowell and five or six boys who are at her beck and call. Could they be responsible? A wrong word or two is all it takes to set gangs like that off, and in these numbers they could easily have overpowered the couple. Not long previously, they’d set fire to a boy’s legs as he wouldn’t give one of the gang his dinner money – but only because he’d already handed it over to another gang member. He (eventually) returns to school in a wheelchair, and one of the school blocks was pretty much destroyed. The police know who was responsible, but are struggling to find proof.

For me, the most impressive thing about Deborah Bee’s writing is the way she captures Kelly’s voice – she sounds exactly like every teenager of that age I know. She’s ballsy and smart, taking in everything around her. People end up forgetting she’s there, or write her off as “just a kid,” when she’s probably as smart as they are. Sarah’s obviously less easy to get to know, given her circumstances, but some memories from her childhood perhaps explain how she ended up in such a dreadful relationship – and not for the first time. Even the peripheral characters – the nurses, Sarah’s father, her mother, her sister, Kelly’s mother, the consultant – are well-developed, with some likeable, others less so.

If this is what Deborah Bee can do with her debut novel, with a twist I thought was incredibly clever, I can’t wait to read more of her work. For someone who’s not the world’s fastest reader, I absolutely flew through this book. An intelligent new talent – and a name to remember.


WWW Wednesday

This lateness is becoming a habit! But this week, it was intended to come out on Thursday, as I’m sure you all preferred reading Rachel Abbott’s post on Wednesday – however, I lent a friend in need my laptop as she had an urgent essay to hand in, and hers was – hopefully – going to be repaired. Just to remind everyone, this meme was established by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, and to participate, just answer three questions:

  1. What have you most recently finished reading?
  2. What are you reading now?
  3. What do you plan on reading next?

And here are my answers (as ever, there’s a good chance my answer to no.2 will doubtless be completely different to the answer I gave to no.3 last week!)

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  • Well, I finally finished Lee Child‘s Personal, which is his most recent book out in paperback, although he does have Make Me in hardback – it comes out in paperback on March 24th. I rather enjoyed it – it’s a wee while since I’ve read one of his (to be honest, I haven’t even read that many!) I also raced my way through Pretty Girls and was even in tears at the end which is so uncrimewormlike! I have a rejuvenated love for Karin Slaughter and I think, of her oeuvre, I’ll be reading her ’70s Atlanta-set Cop Town next, before I try and figure out where I am in the series!

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  • At the moment, I’m reading The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee for a Blog Tour – do pop by on Monday for my slot! It’s one of these books where you think you’ve been reading for 20-odd minutes; you look at the clock and it’s been an hour-and-a-half. ‘Nuff said. But I’ll fill you in on my full opinion on Monday – hope to see you there! Another book I started, and ended up as similarly unputdownable, is Elly GriffithsThe Janus Stone, which is no.2 in the series. I’d had some of the series for ages, but just hadn’t got round to it. However, the enthusiasm of Rebecca Bradley at Murder Down To A Tea and Cleo at CleopatraLovesBooks (two of the best blogs around; I’m sure they’re on your radar but if they’re not, check them out) encouraged me to start the series. I know I’m very late to the party, but these books are so wonderfully readable, with a totally normal heroine, which is so refreshing, that I’m sure it won’t take me long to catch up. Pietr The Latvian by Georges Simenon‘s bookmark has therefore moved little this week…I’ll remedy that in the coming week; after all, it is only 162 pages long!

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  • I’m going to dive back into Chris Brookmyre‘s Black Widow, which I’m going to be reviewing for another blog, and I’ll probably start Quentin BatesThin Ice in preparation for his Blog Tour. I’ve got a couple of other Blog Tours shortly after that, and I’ve no idea how long these books will take to read, so they’ll probably be next on the agenda…but that takes us well past next Wednesday. Don’t be surprised if I sneak something totally unexpected in, too – I have a habit of it!

So what have you read/are reading/plan to read? If you’re a blogger, it’d be great if you left a link to your post; if you’re not a blogger, I’d love for you to leave your past/current/future reads in the comments section – and any of them you’d particularly recommend (or not!)



#Giveaway & Guest Post from Rachel Abbott

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Today I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Rachel Abbott to crimeworm, who has a new thriller out, Kill Me Again. Rachel agreed, as a special treat for all us crimewormers, to take over for the day and tell us about her Top Five Fictional Detectives. First of all, though, here are some mind-blowing facts about Rachel Abbott:

She is the UK’s best-selling independent author, and the 14th best-selling novelist of the last five years on Amazon Kindle. Her last novel, Stranger Child, has sold 300,000 copies worldwide (so far!), and it was chosen as one of Amazon’s Top Ten Books Of The Year in 2015. Pretty damn impressive stuff, I think you’ll agree.

So without further ado, here they are. See if you agree with any of her choices:

TOP FIVE DETECTIVES (as chosen by Rachel Abbott)

I would love to be able to include my own detective, Tom Douglas, in this list – because he is my hero! So many detectives in novels are dysfunctional in one way or another, and I was determined not to produce another alcoholic, scruffy cop. Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but I really wanted somebody who would make me feel safe, and who I could be screaming for from the sidelines.

Having said that, the five detectives that I’ve chosen each have their flaws, but they are well written characters who are consistent. That, to me, is part of their charm. Each of them has either been made into a TV series or came into being solely for television – but they stand out in my mind.

-DI Jack Frost – Not since Columbo has such a dishevelled cop done so much good policing. In the books by RD Wingfield, he’s a much gruffer character when he’s not fleshed out by David Jason. I love the fact that he is often dismissed as being useless by his boss, and yet he’s the man that gets the job done.

-Morse – The music, the Jag, Oxford and the blue-eyed, deep thinking, beer-drinking Morse. Every case is a challenge for the rather melancholy Morse but he always gets his man or woman while I get to enjoy the dreaming spires and aspiring middle-class plot twists. I love Morse’s dismissive attitude to Lewis, and while John Thaw did a wonderful job, I do think the books are even better.

-Luther – There is no crime too complex for Idris Elba’s detective. He’s so intelligent that an entire police department hangs on his every word. He is conflicted, and a troubled relationship with his father is sketched in. I like the fact that all his strength is in his intellect, you never see John Luther strong-arming suspects.

-DCI Jane Tennison – This woman is stronger and more dedicated to the job than a lot of her male colleagues. She is respected by them all. The writer, Lynda La Plante, shows us how she sacrifices her personal life to the ruthless pursuit of villains again and again. But the character retains her femininity even as she eats, sleeps and breathes the job to stay ahead. Beautifully played by Helen Mirren in the TV series, too.

-DSI Stella Gibson – Gillian Anderson plays this cool, groomed, sophisticated, confident police woman perfectly in The Fall as she strides through Belfast and all its just-buried tensions in pursuit of the terrifying serial killer, Paul Spector. We see her succeed at work, choose her lovers, walk away from them. But we never get to know her. She is elusive and only shows her true self for a second after Spector has stolen her diary.

So what do you make of Rachel’s choices? Who would be your favourite fictional detective? The winner will receive a copy of Rachel’s new paperback, Kill Me Again, and an exclusive T-shirt. To enter, either leave your answer in the comments section below, or tweet me, @crimeworm1, and name your favourite fictional detective – from book or tv, even film – using #killmeagain – apologies but winners will be restricted to UK and Ireland, but feel free to give us your thoughts wherever you are. And I should’ve mentioned – we’ll run this until next Monday so those who only get a chance to blog-surf at weekends can join in!

Friday Finds

Stacking the shelves

Yep, late as ever – it was actually written yesterday, I just haven’t had time to add the images until now!

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The Faithful Couple by A.D. Miller and Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller were both won in competitions – they’re books I really wanted to read, but Jax Miller was archived on NetGalley by the time everybody was raving about Freedom’s Child. I read Snowdrops by A.D. Miller, his debut, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and absolutely adored it, even though what happens in the story is really mercenary and, ultimately, heartbreaking. It’s set in Moscow, and quite a slim book, so if you see it at the library or in a charity shop, grab it. If “Booker Prize shortlist” puts you off, don’t worry – this is from the year where the judging panel scandalized the literary establishment by saying said they were looking for a good story that zipped along. (Personally, that’s what I’m looking for every time I open a book, although of course there has to be more to it than that, obviously.) And Snowdrops is that. The Faithful Couple appears to be a totally different animal, but on the author’s past performance, I was dying to read it.

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Exposure by Helen Dunmore and Inside Enemy by Alan Judd are two books I specifically requested from a publicist – I don’t make a habit of this, unless I’m really, really dying to read something – and they – Simon & Schuster – were generous enough to send me two lovely hardbacks immediately. I’d read great reviews of the Helen Dunmore on various blogs recently. It’s set in 1960, at the height of the Cold War, and doing a seemingly innocuous favour for a friend lands a man in trouble with MI5. Apparently it’s not an out-and-out spy novel, but more subtle than that. I haven’t had much chance to read even a few pages of it yet, though, as I went to read “a few pages” of the Alan Judd and was still reading at 2 am this morning. I haven’t read him before, but his name has came up so many times in recommendations of the best spy writers that I knew I had to try him out – and so far, the accolades seem well deserved. Regular readers will know I’m on a bit of a spy novel binge at the moment. The thing is, I’d read plenty le Carré, and some of the older writers, like Len Deighton, and books, like Gorky Park, and The Eagle Has Landed, but knew nothing about the new generation of spy writers, barring Stella Rimington and Charles Cumming (who’s rather good). So I’m on a quest to discover who’s worth reading in spy novels now (as well as dipping into the past, no doubt!)

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The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh is a book I’m really excited about. Falling was so close to making my Top Ten last year, and she’s definitely on my list of writers to watch – I’m sure many bloggers would agree with me there. I’ve been “saving” Hidden, but now I’ve a new Emma Kavanagh I’ll be reading it asap. She writes totally differently to any other writer I’ve come across, but I’m not well-educated enough to explain exactly what I mean – I’ll just stick with the tried-and-tested “bloody brilliant” when describing her books.

The Truth About Julia by Anna Schaffner is described as a debut psychological thriller – the word “psychological” in a description always makes me prick up my ears; that’s me and thousands more which is why it’s in the blurb of so many books you pick up at the moment! This one’s hugely different though: “In June 2014, Julia White – a beautiful and intelligent young woman – blows up a coffee shop in central London, killing twenty-four people before turning herself in to the police. Apart from publishing a potentially ironic manifesto, she refuses to explain the reasons for her actions. Clare Hardenberg, an investigative journalist, has been commissioned to write a biography of Julia but at the start of the novel she is on her way to prison herself. What has brought her to this point? Had Julia been seduced and corrupted by someone? Was she simply evil? Had her character been spoiled and damaged by bad parenting? Or was there a cold, perhaps even sociopathic streak in her personality? The truth about Julia will make you question everything…” This book reminds me I’ve a digital ARC of One Of Us by Åsne Seierstad, about Anders Behring Breivik and the bombings and subsequent shooting of young people at a political camp on an island off Norway. I haven’t read or reviewed it yet, but I wonder if his actions inspired this novel? Anyway, it certainly sounds intriguing, and I’m sure I’ll be reading it soon, in order to review it around its release date of April 7th.

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She Died Young by Elizabeth Wilson – a new name to me, but this is her fourth novel – only arrived this morning, and, reading the press release now, it’s as if someone knows exactly what I’m looking to read at the moment (spooky! Maybe GCHQ are monitoring me!) Quoting from some of the blurb: “Set in 1956, the title refers to a woman found with a broken neck in an hotel in King’s Cross, having fallen down some stairs. Journalist Gerry Blackstone thinks there could be more to it than accidental death. A Special Branch officer, McGovern wants help from Blackstone with what he’s been tasked with – finding bent cops, so in return Blackstone asks him for help looking into the girl’s death. Meanwhile, Oxford is filling with Hungarians fleeing the failed revolution. With Burgess and Maclean’s defections still relatively recent, there are concerns that Soviet spies could be amongst them, and McGovern is asked to go there to keep an eye out. As they carry out their parallel investigations, clues start to emerge that their investigations could be linked. As they look deeper, shady characters complicate the picture: the well-to-do madam; the Classics professor; the East London crime boss; the Oxford doctoral student; the fiery Hungarian immigrant; the government minister…does it all lead back to the dead girl? And if so, is something even more sinister going on?”

Straight Into Darkness by Faye Kellerman came straight from the charity shop, £1 as it’s a hardback, but still ludicrously cheap. To be honest, if I’d known my Friday Finds list would end up so long, I’d have probably just left it, but this was on Saturday – I always pop in when putting on Mr C’ s weekly £4 at the bookies, as it’s opposite, with the books calling to me…! It’s not one of her Peter Decker & Rina Lazarus series though – it’s from 2005, and, I think, a standalone. It’s set in Munich, in the late 1920s, as the Nazis are rising to power. Inspector Axel Berg investigates murders, mostly routine deaths. But when investigating the grisly murder of a young society wife, he is thrown into a web of dangerous intrigue, with senior colleagues taking an unprecedented interest in his work, and there are rumours that the death, like everything in Munich, is linked to a political conspiracy. Then two more corpses are discovered, and the city is thrown into confusion and panic. Is Berg searching for a lone lunatic, or a calculating assassin with a more sinister agenda? With few to trust, even among his closest colleagues, Berg has to judge who’s more dangerous: The killer who hunts in the darkness, or the faceless enemy who could be anyone…Actually, it sounds rather good – quite Bernie Gunther-like…I take back what I said about not buying it!

Shatter The Bones by Stuart MacBride was also a charity shop find from the same day – 50p – as I’m picking up any of the older ones I see about the place to fill in my gaps in his series, as I enjoyed In The Cold Dark Ground so much. My enthusiasm for Logan (and DCI Roberta Steel, who’s the real star of the show!) has been renewed!

So, what do you think – do any of these sound like they’d be up your street? I’m sure some of my fellow bloggers received some of the same books – are any going to head straight to the top of your TBR pile?


Okay, well at least it’s on a Wednesday this week, if somewhat late in the day! This is what I’ve been reading this week:

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This book – Direct Hit (Blitz Detective 1) by Mike Hollow – was a tad slow for me, and could have done with a second minor storyline to beef it up a bit. However, I would still give the second book in the series a chance. Maybe I’m just too used to more high-octane stuff? I’ll not say any more than that, as I plan to review this one. It came from LoveReading.

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This one, Pretty Girls, is one of Karin Slaughter‘s standalones, and is her most recent book, and is absolutely fantastic. Shocks and horror and a real rollercoaster of a read, it’s really tough to put down! Hopefully I’ll finish it tonight. I got in rather a faff with all the books in her series, and where I am in the series, and where the books are about the house, so decided her latest was the best option. God, I’ve missed your writing, Karin! Ditto with Personal by Lee Child – nearly done. I’ve taken ages to read it, and it’s great, but am almost there.

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Therefore I intend to continue with Georges Simenon‘s Pietr The Latvian, and hope to start Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre – well, in truth I’ve already read the start, and it’s pretty bloody good. I’ll try again to squeeze Jonathan Freedland‘s The 3rd Woman in as well, time permitting.

What’s on your bedside table this week? And do any of these pique your interest – or have you already read them?

Coffin Road – Peter May

This review was previously published on

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If you had killed someone you would remember. Wouldn’t you?

In his latest novel, which it goes without saying will be absolutely huge, his legion of fans will be delighted to see Peter May return to the Outer Hebrides, the setting which made him a huge star with the Lewis Trilogy. However, this one is not, I’m afraid, a police procedural featuring Finn Macleod and Marsaili – but please don’t let that put you off. Coffin Road is just as gripping a novel as any of his other works, far more ambitious and with a wider scope than the previous Lewis novels. It’s a book which will eventually bring together three seemingly unconnected people…and see their lives put at risk.

It opens with a man waking on a beach on Harris, wearing a lifejacket, not knowing who he is or what he’s doing there. Investigations in what is his nearby home (he’s helped there by a concerned neighbour) reveal his name is Neal Maclean. Neighbours arrive who he’s seemingly invited for a drink – Jon and Sally – and Sally rapidly makes it clear that Neal and she are having an affair behind Jon’s back. They ask how the book is coming along – Neal was apparently writing a book about the Flannan Isles mystery, which saw three lighthouse keepers disappear without a trace in 1900. Feigning tiredness, Neal gets rid of his visitors, and checks his computer. There are indeed pages and chapter headings for a book – but absolutely no text. What is Neal really doing in Harris? Turning the house upside down, he finds a well-used map marking a nearby path called the Coffin Road. It is the only clue he has to why he is on Harris, and decides to investigate it, along with Sally. But I’m not going to reveal what they discover there…That night Neal is attacked in his house by a man with a knife who seems intent on killing him. However, a second intruder intervenes and saves his life, but both are gone before Neal can figure out who they are or what their respective agendas are. What exactly is Neal involved in that puts his life in danger?

He decides to hire a RIB – his own boat having been lost when he washed up on the shore at the start – to go out to the Flannan Isles, as according to Jon and Sally he had made a number of trips there. While there, he discovers a brutally murdered man in the chapel below the lighthouse, and, terrified he could have been responsible, leaves the Isles immediately. Unfortunately, some tourists arriving shortly after him see him leave in a hurry, and the boat owner knows Neal.

Given the job of investigating the Flannan Isles murder is DS George Gunn (who briefly appeared in The Black House.) Is the man he knows as Neal MacLean, who has been living on the island for the past 18 months, writing, and going back and forwards to the Flannan Isles regularly, a murderer? If not, why do both he and the murder victim have bee stings on their hands?

Simultaneously, down in Edinburgh, a 17-year-old, Karen Fleming, is lost and rebellious since her scientist father’s suicide two years earlier. But she is given solid evidence by her godfather that he faked his death – but why would an apparently doting father do that? So Karen leaves home, searching for answers that will hopefully lead her to him. Her journey takes her to London, Glasgow, and eventually the Highlands, putting her in danger. Is her father really alive? If so, why the cloak-and-dagger disappearance if he loved her as much as he claimed to?

This book takes us places we really don’t expect – into the realms of big business and big money, biology and huge research grants where the findings are expected to be what the company want them to be. There are spies and conspiracies, and people who will do anything – even kill – to keep anyone who knows too much quiet. It’s a murder investigation, and it’s  And, throughout, May’s love of the Outer Hebrides shines through – the weather, the sea, the flora and fauna. It makes for a gripping thriller, with a nail-biter of a climax that will guarantee you’re unable to put it down. This one’s definitely not to be missed, but that goes without saying – it is a Peter May, after all!



Friday Finds

…On A Saturday. Yes, I know I’m all topsy-turvy this week, but my parents were over and this laptop’s been misbehaving (i.e. I’ve done something wrong!) Back to normal service next week, I hope.

Okay, bit less of a pile in this week, although still not insubstantial! I balanced the books (‘scuse the pun!) by sending my daughter off with some, including a Nicci French and Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, which I think she’ll enjoy, although I don’t know if that’s the correct term for that particular book…anyway she just texted me to say she likes it, so one satisfied customer!

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Devil’s Bridge by Linda Fairstein – I used to absolutely adore the Alex Cooper series, but I felt they lost their way at about book 8 or 9. Of course, I kept buying them (although I still haven’t read them…!), apart from the last couple, then I was offered her latest to review. Strangely the downward turn in the quality of her books coincided with her retiral from the Manhattan DA Sex Crimes Unit, which she led. (Law And Order: Special Victims Unit is loosely inspired by the Unit’s work.) It’ll be interesting to see how I find her writing now, particularly after reading a much larger variety of crime, and other, fiction.

Fever City by Tim Baker – This book seems to be everywhere, with a lot of positive feedback, so I was chuffed to get a review copy.

This is what the blurb says: Nick Alston, a Los Angeles private investigator, is hired to find the kidnapped son of America’s richest and most hated man. Hastings, a mob hitman in search of redemption, is also on the trail. But both men soon become ensnared by a sinister cabal that spreads from the White House all the way to Dealey Plaza. Decades later in Dallas, Alston’s son stumbles across evidence from JFK conspiracy buffs that just might link his father to the shot heard round the world. Violent, vivid, visceral: FEVER CITY is a high–octane, nightmare journey through a Mad Men-era America of dark powers, corruption and conspiracy.

I love conspiracy theories, and JFK is the biggest of them all, so this’ll be getting opened as soon as I can squeeze it in!

The House Of Smoke by Sam Christer – This is one of these what I call “Sherlock Holmes fan fiction” books, but the blurb sounds quite intriguing: Big Ben chimes in the first seconds of the first day of 1900, the start of a fresh century. Inside London’s oldest gaol, preparations are afoot to hang Victorian England’s deadliest assassin, a man wanted for two decades’ worth of murders.

Cold-blooded killer Simeon Lynch has lived a brutal and glorious life in the employ of the House of Moriarty – the most feared criminal enterprise in the world. Now, as he faces the noose, Simeon learns dark truths about his master, about Sherlock Holmes and about his own past. Truths that make him determined to escape and kill again…

Follow Simeon’s bloody footsteps through the capital’s cobbled alleyways, wretched workhouses and flash taverns as he crosses swords with Sherlock Holmes and the villainous characters of Victorian London.

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Hunt For The Enemy by Rob Sinclair – The third – and final – book in Rob Sinclair’s The Enemy trilogy, which he kindly sent me. I had the pleasure of meeting him briefly at Bloody Scotland, where he gave me the first two (I hope Mrs Sinclair won’t take offence if I say he’s very easy on the eye…) Rave reviews suggest it’s about time I got started on the first in the series, Dance With The Enemy.

The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee (Twenty7) – Now this is a Twenty7 publication which bodes well! There’s no cover image available as yet, but the blurb tells us: Sarah is in a coma. Her memory is gone – she doesn’t know how she got there. And she doesn’t know how she might get out. But then she discovers that her injury wasn’t an accident. And that the assailant hasn’t been caught. Unable to speak, see or move, Sarah must use every clue that she overhears to piece together her own past. And work out who it is that keeps coming into her room.
A novel that grips from the very beginning and that will live long in the memory, The Last Thing I Remember is Deborah Bee‘s startling debut thriller.

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker – Here’s the blurb for this one: You can erase the memory. But you cannot erase the crime. Jenny’s wounds have healed. An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack. She is moving on with her life. That was the plan. Except it’s not working out.
Something has gone. The light in the eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can’t stop touching.
And she’s getting worse. Not to mention the fact that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial. It may be that the only way to uncover what’s wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack. And that could destroy as much as it heals.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – I treated myself to this when it was 99p as part of the Kindle Daily Deal. I only downloaded the pesky ((lethal) sample, but by the time I was halfway through that I knew I’d end up buying it…I think many of you have probably read it, so I won’t bore you with the blurb!


On A Thursday…

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, which I think originated with Miz B at her blog which is now called A Daily Rhythm. So, as part of my effort to post more frequently, I thought I’d tell you what was on the crimeworm bedside table this week. And yes, I’m aware I’m a day late. There’s a reason for it – this book….

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I’ve been glued to most of Stuart McBride‘s In The Cold Dark Ground. This is the first of his I’ve read for a while – one in particular was a bit too gruesome for me, and there’s also the “too many series to keep up with” problem we all face. But this was fantastic…Lots of changes in Sergeant Logan McRae‘s  life, which I’d caught up on by about halfway through. He’s definitely one of the finest writers of police procedurals around at the moment – which means I’ll now be on the hunt for the missing volumes in my collection! I’ll review this one shortly, before I forget all the cracking one-liners!

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Next up is a book called Direct Hit, by Mike Hollow, which is no.1 in a new series (just what I need!) called The Blitz Detective. Having read a couple of books set during WWII, and the blackouts specifically (Without The Moon by Cathi Unsworth, my Book Of 2015 – review coming! – and Crooked Hearts by Lissa Evans – ditto, as well as Sarah Waters’ The Night Watch some time previously), and really enjoying reading about the nefarious goings-on in the streets when all was dark, this seemed like just the ticket as a follow on read. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m also reading the first Maigret novel, Pietr The Latvian. Like all Georges Simenon‘s Maigret books, it’s a slimline novel. I’ve had it for a while, but was inspired to read it by Annabel’s House Of Books, who enjoyed something of a Maigret binge last year!

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Next up – this is the question that I inevitably struggle with, as I answer it, then of course change my mind. For once I’ve no blog tours next week, so I might start Jonathan Freedland‘s The Third Woman, which sounds rather good. I’ve also got Alan Furst‘s The Spies Of Warsaw out, as I fancy something historical and/or a spy novel, and it fits the bill perfectly as both. Plus, despite him being one of our most admired spy novelists, I haven’t read any of his. (Irritatingly, it’s no.10 in a series. I’ve a few more of his, so I might try and find one earlier than no.10!) I also really need to work on finishing all the books I’ve started and are still on my GoodReads list of what I’m reading, guilt-tripping me whenever I look at them. I’ve not had a DNF since I started blogging, although some of these books have been waiting to be read for so long I’ll have to speedread the part already read, just to get me up to speed. It’s the same situation with the backlog of books I have to review, and I plan on starting re-reading those – well, the ones I don’t have copious notes on – and be a tad more organised in 2016. Hey, you at the back, stop sniggering!!

American Housewife – Helen Ellis


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BLURB: Meet the women of American Housewife…
They smoke their eyes and paint their lips. They channel Beyoncé while doing household chores. They drown their sorrows with Chanel No. 5 and host book clubs where chardonnay trumps Charles Dickens. They redecorate. And they are quietly capable of kidnapping, breaking and entering, and murder.
These women know the rules of a well-lived life: replace your tights every winter, listen to erotic audio books while you scrub the bathroom floor, serve what you want to eat at your dinner parties, and accept it: you’re too old to have more than one drink and sleep through the night.
Vicious, fresh and darkly hilarious, American Housewife is a collection of stories for anyone who has ever wondered what really goes on behind the façades of the housewives of America…

This slim collection of a dozen stories by American novelist and short story writer Helen Ellis is something of a wee gem. With stories ranging from two pages to thirty-eight, they are darkly humorous, very arch, and highly sardonic, some dealing with the most bizarre and random subjects you could possibly think of. There are also some great quotes, which will give you a flavour of Ellis’s uniquely witty worldview.

The first, and shortest story, What I Do All Day, is about exactly that. It’s also a night she and her husband are having a party. “I study long-married-couples and decide that wives are like bras: sometimes the most matronly are the most supportive.” And, post-party, (I love this), “I fix myself a hot chocolate because it is a gateway drug to reading.”

The next story, The Wainscoting War, is a story comprising entirely of e-mails between two new neighbours who share a hallway. One of them wants to completely revamp their shared hallway. The new neighbour declares, “Just because life-size oil paintings of Biblical slaughter are framed in gold doesn’t mean they’re in good taste. Our hallway looks like a room at the Met that makes schoolchildren cry.” It results in all-out war: broken marriages and (I’m sorry!) dead cats. And only one resident remains, to welcome a new neighbour – by e-mail, of course…!

One of my favourites was Dumpster Diving With The Stars, which is a week-long Bargain Hunt-type show featuring “The Author”, who’s had one book published – 15 years previously – and her highly successful author friend, Amy Madeline. Amy’s books “are pastel with shoes or purses on the cover.” “The Author” is also on the show with a Playboy Playmate (“Her breasts sit on her torso like an old-fashioned alarm clock”), a Scientolologist couple (there to quash the gay rumours circling about him), a female tennis player who always wears stilettoes, and John Lithgow, amongst others. On the show, determined to win and disgusted by some of the show’s tactics, she goes all out for victory, and realises that, along the way, her writing muse may just have returned…

Southern Lady Code is two hilarious pages of what people really mean when they say certain things. Hello! Welcome To Book Club is about a book club where the priority is most definitely not reading books. The Fitter is about a Southern man who has inherited the male trait in his family of being able to tell a woman’s bra size by looking. He runs an in demand, well-known and lucrative shop from home with his wife, which is getting busier and busier, as his wife – and business partner – has cancer and The Fitter is “a catch.” But what can she do? How To Be A Grown-Ass Lady gives exactly that advice – like, “Accept it: you’re too old to drink more than one drink and sleep through the night.” Similarly with How To Be A Patron Of The Arts, which is deliciously snarky about women who use their husband’s money to buy whatever they’re persuaded is fashionable in the art world.

The four best stories are left until last. Dead Doormen is definitely my favourite, a black comedy about a wife with a unique and efficient way of dealing with problem doormen in her apartment building. Pageant Protection is another great offering, also blackly funny, about a service which relocates pretty trailer-park pageant queens with rich families in New York – apparently at their own request! I read Take It From Cats without reading the story’s title; when I went back and re-read it, it made perfect sense – some advice from our feline friends. Finally, My Novel Is Brought To You By The Good People At Tampax made me imagine a futuristic world where all novels are an advertising tool – rather like the way product placement has snuck into films and TV. This was a really frightening concept!

Witty and original, Helen Ellis’s short stories will hopefully make their mark in what is traditionally a difficult area in publishing. They’ve done well in the US, and there’s been quite a buzz about them here, so I hope they find the right fan-base – they definitely won’t be disappointed.

This review first appeared on If you haven’t subscribed by now – what are you waiting for?! With fiction to non-fiction; reprints to children’s books, you’ll find something on there that will please everyone – whether you’re treating yourself, or looking to treat someone else and want some guidance. You can also keep up with them on Facebook – Shiny New Books – and on Twitter @shinynewbooks.


Friday Finds

Stacking the shelves

This is the post where you display your week’s wares – that is, what books have arrived in your household in the last week, by whatever means. This week it’s been one of these weeks where I’m convinced my postman hates me, as lots of exciting proofs arrived, many for future blog tours.

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This is the latest Arnaldur Indridason, who is a favourite ScandiNoir author of mine. Now that leads us very nicely onto Quentin Bates who is, right now at least, best known in the UK as the translator of Ragnar Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series. However, his novel, Thin Ice, is out now, and I’ll be participating in a Blog Tour for it, as I suspect some of you reading may also be doing. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m dying to get into it. The third book above is the third in the Malmo series by Torquil MacLeod, the first two being Meet Me In Malmo and Murder In Malmo. Murder In Malmo was so good this is another I’ll also be looking forward to!

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Now spy novels have long been a real pleasure of mine, partly from being brought up on a diet of James Bond movies, and also from listening to my father talk about the Fleming family, whose shooting lodge was close to the farm we had previously, and who he knew well. Back then Peter Fleming was regarded as the real writer in the family, and he was also married to Celia Johnson, the film star probably best known for Brief Encounter. Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels were regarded as pretty much pulp by the literary establishment, until Sean Connery was cast as 007, and the films became a huge success. Anyway, I heard fantastic things about Adam Brookes’ debut, Night Heron, which I bought, and I’ll be taking part in the Spy Games Blog Tour with pleasure. The British Lion is a book I saw a review of in a blog – I’m sorry, the name escapes me but I’ll do my best to find it so I can credit you – and I thought that sounded like it was just my thing – more skullduggery! On request, the publisher, William Morrow, were generous enough to send me a copy. It’s the second in a series, following on from The Darkest Hour. The third book above comes courtesy of LoveReading, and is first in a series about The Blitz Detective. I’ve read a few utterly superb books about the Blitz recently (Cathi Unsworth’s wonderful Without The Moon, My Book Of The Year for 2015; Lissa Evans’ excellent Crooked Heart – both which I will review!) so I felt I’d carry on and read more about that horrendous period in London’s history. If anyone can recommend a good non-fiction book, I’d be really grateful.

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On a lighter note, David F. Ross follows on from The Last Days Of Disco with The Rise And Fall Of The Marvellous Vespas. This should provide a much-needed lighter note than the books pictured above! And there’s even a 7″ single to accompany it, which I will sample next time I’m at my parents.

So, any thoughts? Is there anything here to tickle your fancy? As always, all comments are most welcome – I love hearing from my fellow bookworms. It reminds you that you’re not the only one sitting there with a book for company until all hours!