Tag Archives: Book review

#BloodhoundsChristmasCrackers Those That Remain by Rob Ashman #BookReview @RobAshmanAuthor @bloodhoundbook

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Bloodhound Christmas Crackers blog tour, and I’m re-sharing my review of one of my favourite crimes series Those That Remain by Rob Ashman is the first book in the “Mechanic” series. If  you like a crime series that’s dark and you’re not put off by  gruesome scenes then look no further. The series would make the perfect Christmas too 🎄📚You can read on for my thoughts…..

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The heat of the Florida summer is relentless. Lucas is coasting to retirement in a mundane Florida police precinct. His world falls apart when a brutal serial killer codenamed Mechanic lands on his patch.

Three years ago they thought Mechanic was dead. But Mechanic is very much alive and the savage ritualistic murders continue. No family is safe from the threat of slaughter at this sadistic killer’s hands.

Mechanic is always one step ahead and Lucas is forced to operate outside the law.

Who can he trust?

The shocking truth is more terrifying than Lucas could ever imagine … and he has to put his life on the line to get it.

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I think I have just found myself a new crime thriller author and series that will be going straight on my “must read authors list”. What a gripping book Those That Remain turned out to be. I do love American based crime thrillers they always seem so much darker and twisted. To say I loved this novel is an understatement it’s probably one of the best debut crime thrillers I’ve read in fact. Rob Ashman’s superb writing drew me in from the first chapter and I’m sure I spent much of my time reading this book in stunned silence (not a mean feat, I can tell you!).

I’m a sucker for a well depicted serial killer and the Mechanic certainly fits the bill. Oh my goodness what a character the author has created one of the most intriguing serial killers I’ve read about in a long time, they are one twisted individual and to their motives for the killings, I couldn’t help having a smidgen of sympathy for them. The Chapters from the killer give you insight to this very troubled and damaged character, from these chapters I felt like I was in the Killers head looking into the darkest and most troubled corners of the human mind which made for a blood chilling read and a couple of restless nights sleep. The crimes committed are gruesome but in the authors defence these scenes never felt gratuitous within the context of the story

Those that Remain has so many great characters I especially liked Lucas’s he’s not you typical stereotype detective for a start he’s counting down the days to retirement, so I found his character a refreshing change from the “kick ass” Detectives that are the norm in many a crime thriller. I’m not going to go into plot details as I would hate to give away spoilers, but what I will say is this crime thriller certainly made for a gripping and unpredictable read that will chill you to the bones. In my opinion it’s one of those books you just don’t want to put down as each chapter leaves you desperately wanting more, it moves along at a fast pace with so many twist and turns my head was spinning.

There were so many elements that made this book an exciting read, unique characters, an intricate plot, and a dash of dark humour. I was extremely intrigued by the profiling side of things, who knew there were so many different types of serial killers? I have one question for the author “why, oh why did it take you so darn long to get published?” I just love it when a book leaves you wanting more. If you are looking for a new crime thriller to read then look no further than Those That Remain I promise you won’t be disappointed. I’ve read the whole series now and it’s a “must” read for anyone who loves a cracking crime thriller. Highly recommended.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 303 pages

Publisher: Bloodhound Books (22 Jun. 2017)

Other Books in the series

You can find my reviews for these books here…

Pay The Penance by Rob Ashman #BookReview @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

Those That Remain by Rob Ashman #BookReview @RobAshmanAuthor @bloodhoundbook

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Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

Rob has published Those That Remain, In Your Name and Pay the Penance with Bloodhound Books and has since written Faceless, This Little Piggy and Suspended Retribution which will also be published by Bloodhound.
When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

Follow the rest of the blog tour…..

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#TheKey by Katherine Hughes#BookReview @headlinepg


Today I’m sharing my review for The Key by Katherine Hughes, a book that’s very different to my usual reads, but one I found to a be a breath of fresh air, you can read on for my thoughts, but first the book description….

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1956 

It’s Ellen Crosby’s first day as a student nurse at Ambergate Hospital. When she meets a young woman admitted by her father, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change both their lives for ever…

2006

Sarah is drawn to the now abandoned Ambergate. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who entered Ambergate fifty years earlier. The shocking contents, untouched for half a century, will lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy and lost love, and the chance to make an old wrong right . . .

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Every once in a while I like to pick up a book thats outside my comfort zone, a book that takes me away from serial killers, murders and mayhem, and when I read the book description for The Key I knew it was one I had to read. I’ve always been intrigued by asylums, I put that down to spending so many years working as a psychiatric nurse. When I think of asylums I conjure up images of wrong doings, barbaric treatments and an environment that was definitely not therapeutic to those living within the walls of such a place. Despite this Katherine Hughes has written a book that’s beautifully told, with a moving and thought provoking storyline, it’s one that pulls at the most hardened heart strings.  

The Key has a dual timeline, alternating between the 1950s and present day. Sarah, historian, finds a stash of old suitcases whilst going through the ruins of the old asylum. She is drawn to one suitcase in particular that contains a 50-year-old secret about the tragic life of Amy, a former patient. Katherine Hughes  manages to convey the attitudes of the staff and the treatment of patients in Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum with such conviction that some readers may find this book an uncomfortable and upsetting read at times. There is no doubt  The Key makes for a heartbreaking read, and more so because of the cruelty of such asylums, the author also highlights  the shocking and unbelievable reasons patients found themselves incarcerated.

The author has done a magnificent job in creating characters that are so well drawn that you can’t help but invest in their story, especially Amy’s it’s a tragic one and all the more upsetting because it’s a very believable one. It’s easy to imagine Amy’s confusion, her feeling of helplessness, but mostly you can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of injustice at the way Amy was treated in Ambergate. This could have been a depressing read, but  the author manages to add some heartwarming moments of friendship, hope and love within its pages. 

Katherine Hughes has written a novel that made for a   enthralling read, at times I found myself quite emotional which is a testament to the author’s writing skills, by the time I reached the last page I felt like I had been alongside Amy in her life journey, a path filled with heartbreak, fear and rejection. The Key is a wonderful told story of  pain, loss,  truth, and redemption. A disturbing yet captivating read that I would highly recommend to readers of historical fiction.  

  •  Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (6 Sept. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Footnote: 

The Key was inspired by the real-life discovery of a room filled with suitcases in a derelict asylum in Willard, New York. I visited the Willard Suitcases website to read more, it’s a fascinating website but also extremely sad, but it does make you realise that The Key although a work of fiction is inspired by real people placed in the most awful situations. 

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**Blog Tour** Inside The Whispers by A.J. Waines @AJWaines #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Inside The Whispers by A.J.Waines, the first book in the series featuring Clinical Psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby. Before I share my review here’s the book description to whet your appetite………

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Where the most Dangerous place – is inside your own head…

Following a London Tube disaster, three traumatised survivors turn to clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby, for help – but she’s mystified when their stories don’t add up. Her confusion turns to horror when one by one, instead of recovering, they start committing suicide.

When her partner, Conrad, begins to suffer the same terrifying flashbacks, Sam is desperate to find out what is causing them and a mysterious and chilling crime begins to unravel.

Then the flashbacks begin for Sam…

The first book in the Dr Samantha Willerby Series, INSIDE THE WHISPERS is a tense, haunting Psychological Thriller that will leave your nerves in shreds.

  • Print Length: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (15 Oct. 2018)

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Inside The Whispers book description alone makes for an intriguing premises, and considering I’ve always been fascinated by the workings of the human mind the latest book by A.J. Waines  definitely sounded like my kind of read. This is the first book in a series featuring Dr Samantha Willerby a clinical psychologist who specialises in helping trauma victims, when Sam realises three of her patients are experiencing the same flashbacks and their stories don’t add up, she comes to the conclusion something sinister is happening to her patients.

This is a really hard book to review as I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it’s safe to say A. J. Waines has plotted a tangled web steeped in mystery and intrigue. The authors characters are well developed, but if I’m honest I found it difficult to take to Samantha in my opinion she came across as cold and clinical, but as the story enfolds you learn more about her dysfunctional family, which help to explain her character better. Don’t get me wrong although I couldn’t warm to Samantha this in no way spoilt my enjoyment of this compelling read. If anything I really wanted to learn more about Samantha’s sister Mimi who I found intriguing yet mystifying, suffering from mental health problems she has her own demons to deal with. As this is a first book in the series I’m hoping the author will explore Mimi’s life in more detail as the series develops.

What I found intriguing about Inside The Whispers was the psychological aspects of this book, and its obvious the author has a great understanding of the subject through working as a psychotherapist herself, for me this added credibility to a chilling tale. To add a sense of mystery and unease to the plot there are short chapters narrated by an unknown voice, I found myself questioning their mental state as the narrator seems to become more detached as the plot progresses, this certainly added a sense of unease to the plot.

If I’m honest I love a book that is relentless in pace, I wouldn’t consider Inside The Whispers to be fast paced by any means, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, it’s just a slower pace than what I’m used to. What the author does well is build on the mystery and intrigue, almost drip feeding the reader the threads of the plot, and then brings them all together for the shocking and unexpected conclusion. Although I did guess the person involved in events fairly early in the book I would never in a million years have guessed their motives. Inside The Whispers is one I would happily recommend to those who enjoy a slow burning psychological thriller.

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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AJ Waines is a number one bestselling author, topping the entire UK and Australian Kindle Charts in two consecutive years, with Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, the author is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in UK, France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and Canada (audio books).

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and has been ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband. Find her books here and visit her website and blog, or join her on Twitter, Facebook or on her Newsletter.

Her next thriller, Lost in the Lake, will be re-released by Bloodhound Books on 24 October 2018.

Author Social Media Links:

Find AJ Waines books at: http://viewauthor.at/AJWaines

Find AJ Waines books at: http://viewauthor.at/AJWaines

Website               www.ajwaines.co.uk

Newsletter         http://eepurl.com/bamGuL

Blog:                      www.awaines.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook:           www.facebook.com/AJWaines

Twitter:                 www.twitter.com/AJWaines  @AJWaines

Goodreads:        www.goodreads.com/AJWaines

Instagram:           www.instagram.com/ajwaines

All books are standalones and can be read in any order. Inside the Whispers (Bk 1) and Lost in the Lake (Bk 2) also form part of a series, featuring Clinical Psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

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**Blog blitz** #BeforeIMetHim by John Nicholl @Nicholl06 @Bloodhoundbook

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Today I’m thrilled to share my review of Before I Met Him by John Nicholl as part of the blog blitz. If you’re a fan of dark, gritty crime thrillers then look no further they don’t come much darker than this one.  I mean just look at the cover it’s enough to give you nightmares,  but what a fab cover. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description……

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Every once in a while the hunters become the hunted…
When Rebecca’s childhood abuser avoids prosecution, it sets her on a path to revenge and soon she is handing out retribution on any man who preys on the innocent.
The twenty-three-year-old poses as a child online and sets her trap, luring one predatory sex offender after another to their deaths.
When a severed head is found washed up on a windswept estuary beach, DI Gravel and his team are called in to investigate.
In what might be his toughest case yet, DI Gravel finds himself asking if vigilante justice is ever justified…
Read this chilling new psychological thriller and decide for yourself.

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John Nicholl isn’t afraid to write stories that challenge and shock, he pushes the boundaries of what we expect, if anything Before I Met Him is his most shocking and disturbing book yet. This book deals with a very tough subject child abuse, and for that reason I’m not sure this book will be to everyone’s taste, it’s definitely not one for the faint-hearted as they are some pretty detailed scenes that are grim and very violent. Rebecca’s childhood is left in shatters when her abuser escapes justice. Fast forward seventeen years and Rebecca wants her revenge what follows is a dark and very disturbing tale.

Before I Met Him is a book about vengeance and getting revenge on the worse kind of people, that commit the most abhorrent crimes. It’s very clear from John Nicholl’s writing that he is extremely knowledgeable in both police matters and child abuse, so although Before I Met Him makes for a grim read, it also unfortunately makes for a very credible one in parts. The author gives an ugly insight into the minds of the predators who carry out the most heinous crimes, as a reader you can only hope these men get “their just deserts”.

Before I Met Him is a very dark psychological thriller there no doubt about that, but it’s also fraught with tension and the sense of evil radiating from the pages is palatable. Before I Met Him shows that nothing is black and white, sometimes the lines between become blurred, what happens when the justice system fails the very people it’s there to protect? Is it ever acceptable for someone to take the law into their own hands to seek justice? these were questions I found myself thinking about as I read this book, it’s a controversial story that I’m sure will raise many a debate amongst it’s readers. This novel is definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste It’s shocking and makes for a disconcerting read, so would I recommend it? Yes but only to those with a strong disposition.

Buying links:  add links

About the author

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John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon # 1 bestseller. John is happily married, lives in rural west Wales, and has three adult children and one grandchild, with a second expected in August 2018. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.

John is represented by Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.

You can find out more about John and his books at: http://www.johnnicholl.com

Links:

Facebook
 

 

You can follow the rest of the tour and see what my fellow partners in crime (excuse the pun) have to say about Before I Met Him in the tour poster below……

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Gallery Of The Dead by Chris Carter #BookReview & #Giveaway @simonschusterUK

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Today I’m not only sharing my review for the latest book in the Robert Hunter series Gallery Of The Dead  by Chris Carter, but thanks to the lovely people at Simon & Schuster who sent me a hardback copy to review (I bought a copy in between this one arriving so now have two copies ) I’m giving you the chance to win a copy of the Gallery Of The Dead, it’s one of the best crime series on the market. Details on how to enter can be found after my  review

Book description

‘Thirty-seven years in the force, and if I was allowed to choose just one thing to erase from my mind, what’s inside that room would be it.’

That’s what a LAPD Lieutenant tells Detectives Hunter and Garcia of the Ultra Violent Crimes Unit as they arrive at one of the most shocking crime scenes they have ever attended.

In a completely unexpected turn of events, the detectives find themselves joining forces with the FBI to track down a serial killer whose hunting ground sees no borders; a psychopath who loves what he does because to him murder is much more than just killing – it’s an art form.

Welcome to The Gallery of the Dead.

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I have long been a fan of Chris Carter’s “Robert Hunter” crime series since I picked up The Crucifix Killer the first book in the series way back in 2009! I always look forward to reading his latest offering. If like me you are a fan of the darker crime thriller, the more gruesome the murder the better(I know I need professional help!) then you really need to buy a copy of Galley Of The Dead. If you haven’t read any of his books don’t be put off by the fact it’s the ninth book in the series because it can easily be read as a standalone without knowing the backstory.

Robert Hunter is one of my favourite fictional crime Detectives, he’s a complex character, but there’s no fictional crime detective or profiler who can read a crime scene or get inside the mind of a killer like Hunter can. Hunter’s partner Garcia has come into his own in this book and his humour adds some light relief to this dark and disturbing read. I did think Chris Carter had made a big mistake by making this book a dual investigation with the FBI, as each character tried to take centre stage I was worried Hunter and Garcia would feature less but my worries were unfounded I’m glad to say, in fact the shift in dynamics within the team actually added to the overall tension.

Chris Carter has an unique way of adding incredible detail to his descriptions of police procedures, crime scenes and profiling that it feels like you are very much part of the team, privy to all the clues, assisting in joining all the dots together to capture a psychopath before they kill again. The author is known for his graphic crime scenes and the ones in Gallery Of The Dead are no different, each murder is unique in concept and very gory, this is one author’s imagination that knows no bounds, he’s happy to tread where other authors daren’t so this a book I wouldn’t recommend to the faint hearted or the squeamish amongst you.

Gallery Of The Dead is definitely a page turner with a very intriguing serial killer at it’s heart but If I’m honest although I really enjoyed this book it’s not my favourite in the series, I think the personal dynamics within the team coupled with the time spent deciphering the clues left by the killer into feasible theories actually gave this book a different feel to others in the series. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a worthy addition to a cracking albeit gruesome crime series and well worth a read. After reading the last chapter of the book I’m excited to see what happens to Hunter in the next book as Chris Carter leaves the reader with a humdinger of a teaser.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧                    Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 512 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (8 Feb. 2018)

Books in series order

The Crucifix Killer
(2009)

The Executioner
(2010)

The Night Stalker
(2011)

The Death Sculptor
(2012)

The Hunter
(2013)

One by One
(2013)

An Evil Mind
(2014)

I Am Death
(2015)

The Caller
(2017)

The Gallery of the Dead

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First the boring stuff sorry this competition is open to UK residents only, the winner must be following my blog via Twitter, Facebook or my actual blog. The winner will be notified within 24 hours of the competition closing which will be midnight 23rd February 2017. Once you have sent me your postal address one hardback copy of Gallery Of The Dead will be winging its way to you all you need to do to enter is click on this link…….Click to enter Gallery Of The Dead #Giveaway

 

 

The Reunion by Samantha Hayes #BookReview @Bookouture @samhayes

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Book description

They were all there the day your sister went missing… 
Who is lying? Who is next?

THEN – In charge of her little sister at the beach, Claire allowed Eleanor to walk to the shop alone to buy an ice cream. Placing a coin into her hand, Claire told her to be quick, knowing how much she wanted the freedom.

Eleanor never came back.

NOW – The time has finally come to sell the family farm and Claire is organising a reunion of her dearest friends, the same friends who were present the day her sister went missing.

When another girl disappears, long-buried secrets begin to surface. One of the group hides the darkest secret of them all…

If you love Sue Fortin, Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train, this psychological thriller packed full of twists and turns will be impossible to put down.

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What a little cracker The Reunion turned out to be, when I first started reading this book I admit I had some reservations, there seems to be an abundance of children going missing crime/psychological thrillers on the market at the moment, and the pessimist in me wasn’t convinced that author Samantha Hayes would be able to put an original spin on a well used subject, but somehow she does.

The book begins with the disappearance of teenager Eleanor, whilst spending the day at the beach with her brother, sister and their friends. Fast forward twenty one years and her family are still no closer to knowing what happened to her all those years ago. Dad, Patrick is now suffering from Alzheimers, and daughter Claire decides that a reunion of friends and family could help her dad with his memory issues. As the group of friends are reunited they find themselves plunged into a further nightmare as shocking secrets are slowly revealed.

If I’m honest I thought the first half of the book was very slow, the time is spent introducing the reader to the array of characters and building on the mystery and suspense surrounding Eleanor’s disappearance. I can’t say I was a fan of any of the characters, some of them appeared shallow, others were just downright unlikable, and I did find myself questioning their behaviour and some of the choices they made at times, the only character I could summon up any sympathy for was Eleanor, but that said it did not stop me enjoying this book. The author manages to ramp up the tension by creating characters that are almost impossible to trust.

The Reunion has some great twists and red herrings to make this an intense and a heart pounding  read, yes I pretty much guessed one of the major twist early on in the book, but I would never have guessed the motive or some of the other devious sub plots, and I did have a couple of “OMG” moments towards the end where the author surprised me which always enhances my enjoyment of a book. If I had to say one thing it would be that a few things were left unanswered by the time I reached the end of The Reunion but never the less it still made for an intriguing read.

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 410 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (9 Feb. 2018

 

 

The Crime Writer’s CaseBook by StephenWade and Stuart Gibbon #Bookreview #StraightforwardPublishing

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Book description

A Straightforward Guide to The Crime Writer’s Casebook is an essential research companion for all writers of crime fiction and non-fiction. The Crime Writer’s Casebook is unique in that it presents first-hand explanations by Stuart Gibbon, a seasoned London Metropolitan Police detective with over 30 years’ experience on the force, with additional commentary from Stephen Wade, a crime historian who has published more than 60 books. The authors work as consultants for crime writers and writing groups.

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Let me assure you before I begin my review “no” I won’t be writing or even attempting to write a crime thriller any time soon, I have neither the patience or the imagination! But as a huge crime thriller lover of both fact and fiction this book piqued my interest. The Crime Writer’s Casebook contains fourteen very interesting chapters examples being The Murder Victim And Crime Scenes, Murder Or Manslaughter? and Forensic Pathology to name but a few. The glossaries also provides an abundance of useful material for both fiction and non-fiction authors and readers, including police ranks, legal terms, and a history of modern police work.

The Crime Writer’s Casebook is unique in that it presents first-hand explanations by Stuart Gibbon, a seasoned London Metropolitan Police detective with additional commentary from Stephen Wade, a crime historian. Each chapter gives you an explanation, for instance The Murder Investigation explains how evidence is collected, where it is stored and numerous other intriguing facts, alongside relevant case studies from real crimes. The chapters also go into the history of policing, techniques and the changes in the law, so this book really does have a little bit of everything. This book is idea research material especially if you are looking to write a book based on a crime committed in the UK.

The Crime Writer’s Casebook is ideal for dipping in to as you can check the A-Z index and find the subject you want to read more on, without trawling through copious chapters. For such a short book a 160 pages to be precise the authors manage to pack an abundance of useful and informative information,It’s written in a straight forward and easy to understand manner, and although I’m not an author it made for a very intriguing read never the less. If I was an author this would be definitely a book I would have sat alongside whilst I was writing to check facts or just to add detail to my novel.

My thanks to Straightforward Publishing for my copy of The Crime Writer’s Casebook. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧Print Length: 160 pages

Publisher: Straightforward Publishing (10 Dec. 2017)

About the authors

Stuart Gibbon is a former Metropolitan Police detective with 30 years experience in crime investigation. As a DCI he was in charge of murder cases and was an SIO on the East Midlands Special Operations Unit. He is now a writing consultant advising authors on police procedures.

Stephen Wade is the author of over 60 non-fiction books, many of them on crime history. His most recent works have included The Justice Women, No More Soldiering and The Girl who Lived on Air, all mainly concerned with legal issues in history. His book, Murder in Mind, was featured at the Ilkley Literature festival in 2017. Stuart and Stephen give talks to writing groups on crime past and present.