Tag Archives: Gold Star Award

The book review café’s book of the month **November 2018**

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WOW here we are in December, where did the rest of 2018 go? As it’s the beginning of December it’s time to share my book of the month, now you might just want to sit down for this one *shock,horror* I have finally got ONE book of the month, yes you read that right!

As anyone who follows my blog will know I choose a book  for the previous month, in this case November (and normally fail miserably in narrowing it down to one). It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page. So without further ado here’s my book of the month…….

The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes

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Oh my freaking god! What a fabulous and compelling  read The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes turned out to be.  I must be honest when I read the book description I wasn’t convinced it would be an original read, as I’ve read numerous psychological thrillers where the protagonist wakes up from a coma with no memory,  but what makes this one so different is in the telling of a very twisted and disturbing tale. Read on for my thoughts The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes hayes

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Here are some of the books I read in November I would happily recommend

 

 

Full reviews can be found below…….

**Blog tour** #HushHush by Mel Sherratt @writermels @AvonBooksUk #BookReview

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain #BookReview @D_Chamberlain

#AndSoItBegins by Rachel Abbott #BlogTour @RachelAbbott @annecater

**Blog Tour** #TheHunted by Kerry Barnes #BookReview @KerryBarnes1 @HQDigitalUK

The Coco Pinchard Boxset by Robert Bryndza @RobertBryndza @CocoPinchard – Coco Pinchard’s Must Have Toy Story #BlogTour #bookreview #TeamBryndza #giveaway @BOTBSPublicity

#TheKey by Katherine Hughes#BookReview @headlinepg

Her Last Move by John Marrs #BookReview @johnmarrs1 @AmazonPub

Next month  I will be sharing my top reads of the 20018 which is going to be much easier than I thought. I came up with a plan of sorts which I will reveal next month when I share my post.

Books I’m hoping to read in December

The eagle eyed amongst you may notice some of these books were also on my November pile, which I never got around to reading #EpicFail 😂

 

 

 

The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes @samhayes @Bookouture #BlogBlitz #MustRead

Today I’m thrilled to be on the #BlogBlitz for The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes. I have to say “blog blitz or no blog blitz”  I would still be raving about this book I absolutely loved this twisted tale. You can read on for my thoughts but first the book description……..

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Loving husband? Or total stranger?

When Ella wakes up in a hospital following a hit-and-run incident, she is scared and confused. Close to tears, her eyes fall on a get-well-soon card on the window sill and the nurse reassures her that her loving husband will be back soon…

But Ella has never been married.

In fact, she has lived alone her whole adult life; working hard, rarely socialising, quietly harbouring a terrible secret from her past.

Fear sweeps through Ella when she instantly recognises the man who enters the ward. He is not her husband, but she knows that she must do as he says and play the part of dutiful wife. What choice does she have? He was there the night of the fire, he knows her secret too…

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Oh my freaking god! What a fabulous and compelling  read The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes turned out to be.  I must be honest when I read the book description I wasn’t convinced it would be an original read, as I’ve read numerous psychological thrillers where the protagonist wakes up from a coma with no memory,  but what makes this one so different is in the telling of a very twisted and disturbing tale. I must mention the author has surpassed herself and this is definitely the best book I’ve read by the author YET! As to Hayes imagination it’s twisted and very, very devious, but I absolutely loved this shocker of a book.  

When Ella wakes up in hospital following a hit-and-run incident, her loving and caring husband Jacob is there, eager for her to get well and move into their new home, there’s only one problem Ella has no recollection of marrying Jacob! Who is the man who claims to be married to Ella? And what hold does he have over Ella?  You immediately sense the tension between the the couple, there’s something off about their relationship that raises alarm bells, and I couldn’t wait to read on and find out what secrets this strange couple were hiding.  

Ella is a character I found mystifying,  a woman whose mantra is “home,work, sleep” keeps work colleagues at a arms length and appears to have no friends or family,  but Hayes deftly pulls back the layers of this complex character and you realise there maybe a very good reason for her odd behaviour. There are sporadic chapters that delve into Ella’s past and these were the ones I found the most disturbing, Hayes manages to inject a sense of foreboding into each chapter which made this read all the more compelling. As for Jacob, oh how I loathed him, this is a man with not one redeeming feature, he’s cruel, manipulative, he literally made my skin crawl, as for his backstory it’s a shocker and one that left me stunned, as to the why, well you are just going to have to read the book and find out for yourself.

If I had one small niggle it would be the fact that I thought Ella could have done more to save herself from a very dangerous situation  (vague I know but I would hate to give away spoilers) although the author does give a plausible reason for her behaviour so I was happy to push the boundaries of my own imagination. The Liar’s Wife has to be one of the most exciting psychological thrillers I’ve read this year, it incorporates all the elements I love in a read, mystery, suspense horror, and drama. Would I recommend this book? Definitely even if it means you have to beg, steal or borrow it (on second thoughts just buy it you won’t disappointed I promise).

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Liar’s Wife the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and kept me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 361 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (22 Nov. 2018)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US🇺🇸

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Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.

Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003 and her ninth novel, THE REUNION, was published February 2018.  Her novels are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on ‘real life fiction’. She focuses on current issues and sets out to make her readers ask, ‘What if this happened to me or my family?’ 

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING says “We’re big fans of Samantha Hayes. Her believable psychological thrillers are completely gripping…”

To find out more, visit her website www.samanthahayes.co.uk

Or connect with Samantha on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaHayesAuthor

And she’s on Twitter @samhayes

Follow the blog tour……….

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**Book Of The month** for October 2018 chosen by the book review café

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WOW can you believe we’re in November? I’m ready to hibernate, I hate the next few months, particularly the cold, wet, and dark mornings, I’m definitely a summer person, anyway as usual I’m digressing. As it’s the 1st of November it means it’s time for me to choose my book  books of the month, suprise! suprise! yet again I’m torn between two books. I loved both of these books for very different reasons so without further ado here they are in no particular order……

The Murder Of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes

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I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Haynes writing and I love a good crime thriller,  but until now I’ve always shied away from historical crime fiction I much prefer to read books written in the “here and now”. I’m thrilled that I decided to put my concerns to one side and pick up The Murder Of Harriet Monckton, what a fabulous book it turned out to be. You can read my full review HERE

The Lingering by SJI Holliday

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When I pick up a novel I’m always looking for a read that will captivate my imagination, a novel that leaves me breathless, one that will unnerve me and one where I reach the last page I immediately want to read it again, novels that make me feel like this are a rare breed indeed, well up until now that is. I’m not going to beat about the bush I loved The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it was the perfect read for me, I found it to be creepy, and very, very dark. You can read my full review HERE

Highly Recommended

 

You can find full reviews here…….

#BookReview: After He Died by Michael J. Malone (@michaelJmalone1) @OrendaBooks #AfterHeDied

#Resin by Ane Riel @AuthorAneRiel @alisonbarrow @TransworldBooks #MustReads

#TheBirthday by Carol Wyer #BookReview @carolewyer @Bookouture

**Blog tour** Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner #MustReads @Ronnie_Turner @HQDigitalUK

#BlogBlitz One Dark Night by Tom Bale @t0mbale @Bookouture #BookReview

#FatalPromise by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture #MustReads

Books I’m hoping to read in November

I only have two more book blog tour book to read and that’s it for this year’s tours, at this point in time I’m even considering giving them up completely in 2019 and concentrating on the books I really want to read. This month I’m hoping to read some fab books that are going to be published in 2019 and I can’t wait to make a start on them.

 

 

 

 

#TheLingering by SJI Holliday @OrendaBooks @SJIHolliday #MustReads #BookReview

 

Today I’m sharing my review for The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it’s a book that’s full of suprises and a book that’s certainly going to be on my top reads of 2018 list. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……  

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Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

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When I pick up a novel I’m always looking for a read that will captivate my imagination, a novel that leaves me breathless, one that will unnerve me and one where I reach the last page I immediately want to read it again, novels that make me feel like this are a rare breed indeed, well up until now that is. I’m not going to beat about the bush I loved The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it was the perfect read for me, I found it to be creepy, and very, very dark. Part ghost story, part domestic thriller, the author  tantalises the reader with the mystery surrounding Rosalind House and its occupants, when you add to the mix odd occurrences and strange sightings well let’s just say “this novel made for a disquieting, but oh so thrilling read”.

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardner are seeking a fresh start and decide to move to  Rosalind House a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, but what dark secrets are the couple hiding? Once they arrive it’s not long before the couple experience ghostly happenings, and that’s when this novel gets bone chillingly creepy.  Rosalind House, an abandoned asylum is the perfect setting for this novel, it hides a tragic past, where secrets and passed misdoings are hidden in the very fabric of the building. It’s a building steeped in myths and legends where bad things happened, and as the author slowly reveals its dark and deadly secrets I found myself becoming more fearful at each turn of the page.    

The characters in The Lingering are fabulously depicted, rich in personality, and complex. Jack and Ali Gardner what a couple, their relationship is one based on coercion and control, a relationship that’s shrouded in lies and deceit. You know from the beginning the couple are hiding something BIG, and that alone adds an over whelming sense of uneasiness that intensifies as the Gardner’s dark secrets are slowly revealed.

I guess the spooky supernatural element might not suit all crime fiction fans, but if like me you read The Lingering with an open mind I’m sure you will end up loving it as much as I did. The Lingering explores the nature of true evil, the psychological aspect of this novel is dark in tone as the author delves into the minds of a very disturbed couple. This novel is exceptionally well plotted, original, creepy and very disturbing and yet it is one of the most compelling novels I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time, and definitely a contender for my “book of the year”. Highly, highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Lingering  the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (30 Sept. 2018)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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**Blog tour** The Murder Of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes @Elizjhaynes @MyriadEditions #HarrietMonckton #MustReads

Today I’m over the moon to be on The Murder Of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes blog tour. From the award-winning and bestselling author of Into the Darkest Corner comes a delicious Victorian crime novel based on a true story that shocked and fascinated the nation. Before I share my review here’s the book description to pique your interest…..

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On 7th November 1843, Harriet Monckton, 23 years old and a woman of respectable parentage and religious habits, is found murdered in the privy behind the chapel she regularly attended in Bromley, Kent.

The community is appalled by her death, apparently as a result of swallowing a fatal dose of prussic acid, and even more so when the surgeon reports that Harriet was around six months pregnant.

Drawing on the coroner’s reports and witness testimonies, Elizabeth Haynes builds a compelling picture of Harriet’s final hours through the eyes of those closest to her and the last people to see her alive. Her fellow teacher and companion, her would-be fiancé, her seducer, her former lover—all are suspects; each has a reason to want her dead.

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I’m convinced I have just read a book that’s definitely going to be on my list of “top reads of 2018”of the year. I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Haynes writing and I love a good crime thriller,  but until now I’ve always shied away from historical crime fiction I much prefer to read books written in the “here and now”. I’m thrilled that I decided to put my concerns to one side and pick up The Murder Of Harriet Monckton, what a fabulous book it turned out to be. I will never forget Harriet Monckton’s story as it’s based on fact. This novel is not only fascinating and beautifully written, it’s also one of the most compelling books I’ve read EVER.

Harriet was murdered in 1843 in Bromley, England. Elizabeth Haynes stumbled across some documents whilst researching another novel and this is Harriet’s enthralling story. I must applaud Elizabeth Haynes on her meticulous research into Harriet Monckton and Bromley as it was in 1843, as the reader you not only get a sense of time and place, but the claustrophobic feel of a town that has its fair share of narrow minded bigots.

Drawing on coroner’s reports and witness testimonies, the novel unfolds from the viewpoints of each of the main characters. The Murder Of Harriett Monckton has a rich array of characters, that all draw suspicion, you have Harriet’s fellow teacher and companion, her would-be fiancé, her seducer, her former lover, each one appears to have a very good reason for wanting her dead. Many are seen as upstanding pillars of the community but each and everyone comes under close scrutiny, vividly described by the author each character is brought to life. I found this novel fascinating especially the coroners investigation into Harriet’s death, everything about the investigation felt primitive but incredibly authentic.   

Harriet’s story made for an emotive read, here was a young girl naive in many ways who just happened to be led by her heart and the events that followed shaped her short and tragic life. Once I reached the afterword by the author I find myself becoming very emotional (ok I cried ugly tears), I had become so invested in Harriet’s story like Elizabeth Haynes I too wanted justice for her. To this day Harriet’s murder might remain unsolved, but the author’s gives a satisfying and entirely plausible explanation to her death.

Without a shadow of a doubt The Murder Of Harriet Monckton is a must read, the writing is sublime, the characters are wonderfully depicted, I’m sure Harriet’s story is one that will stay with me for a long time, it’s haunting and moving, and I would like to think Harriet is pleased her story has been told with such passion. In case you haven’t guessed I simply loved this book and I really can not recommend this novel highly enough.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Murder Of Harriet Monckton the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 437 pages
  • Publisher: Myriad Editions (28 Sept. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Elizabeth Haynes worked for many years as a police analyst. Her debut novel, Into the Darkest Corner, won Amazon’s Book of the Year in 2011 and Amazon’s Rising Star Award for debut novels.

Elizabeth grew up in Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University. She is currently taking a career break having worked for the past seven years as a police intelligence analyst. Elizabeth now lives in Kent with her husband and son, and writes in coffee shops and a shed-office which takes up most of the garden. She is a regular participant in, and a Municipal Liaison for, National Novel Writing Month – an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

If my review hasn’t convinced you to buy the book, you may want to read my fellow book bloggers fabulous reviews….

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Book of the month **August and September 2018** chosen by the book review café

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WOW I can’t believe I’m sat here choosing my book of the month for September, where’s the year gone? I didn’t read as many books as I would have liked in September, but there was ONE book that stood out for me, yes you read that right. Anyone who follows my blog will know I always struggle to choose one book for the book of the month and have been known to have two or even three books included.

As I was on holiday at the beginning of September I never got around to posting my book of the month for August, so I’m including these in my post, and normal service resumes and there were two books I loved for my August book of the month 😂🙈. So without further ……

Book of the month **August**

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Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell

There are so many police procedure crime thrillers on the market, so for me personally to commit  to a new crime series it’s got to grab me by the throat,  with an interesting protagonist, gripping story line and plenty of heart thumping moments that leave me desperate to read more and guess what? Truth And Lies ticks every box and more.  You can read my full review here……#TruthAndLies by Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_Writes #MustReads #NewCrimeSeries

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Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan

Oh, what a tangled web Jack Jordan weaves when first he practice to deceive” and boy does he deceive in the best possible way, what a gripping and compelling read Before Her Eyes turned out to be,  this book rattles along like a express train, giving the reader no time to breathe. Full of misdirection and unreliable characters I can honestly say “this is definitely the authors best book yet”. Perhaps a **word of warning** from the wise (cough!) clear your schedule, lock the doors, it’s one of those books that the slightest irritation will bug the life out of you. Full review here …….**Blog tour** #BeforeHerEyes by Jack Jordan @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks #Must Reads2018

Book Of The month **September**

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The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood

OMG what a book The Hangman’s Hold turned out to be, this is one of my all time favourite crime procedure series, so I knew I was in for a thrilling read but Michael Wood has taken this brilliant series to a whole new level. It’s a shocker, brutal, dark and fabulously twisted in the best possible way. It’s not often when I finish a book I’m lost for words but I must admit I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and then re-read the last few chapters just to process what I was reading.  Michael Wood is a gifted story teller and deserves high praise indeed as this is definitely the best book in the series so far.  Although this book could easily be read as a standalone I would urge you to start at the beginning just because you are missing out on a “must read” series. Full review here….**Blog tour** The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood @MichaelHWood @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK #CrimeFiction  

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**Blog Tour** #SuspendedRetribution by Rob Ashman @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

**Blog Blitz** #TheForgotten by Casey Kelleher @CaseyKelleher @Bookouture

**Blog tour** #DoNoHarm by L V Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks @annecater

**Blog tour** The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood @MichaelHWood @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK #CrimeFiction

 

After a much needed extended break the book review cafe is back. My first review is for a crime series that just happens to be one of my favourites, so I’m over the moon to be taking part in the blog tour for The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018 as I’m a huge fan of the Matilda Darke series, did it live up to my expectations? Read on for my thoughts…..

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Your life is in his hands.

In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields.

There’s a killer in your house.

The Hangman waits in the darkness of your living room. As soon as you get home, he will kill you – hang you by the neck – and make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.

He knows your darkest secrets.

The police are running out of time. DCI Matilda Darke is facing her worst nightmare: a serial killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice, whose campaign of violence is spreading fear throughout the city.

And he is closer than you think.

As the body count rises, Matilda is personally targeted and even her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

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OMG what a book The Hangman’s Hold turned out to be, this is one of my all time favourite crime procedure series, so I knew I was in for a thrilling read but Michael Wood has taken this brilliant series to a whole new level. It’s a shocker, brutal, dark and fabulously twisted in the best possible way. It’s not often when I finish a book I’m lost for words but I must admit I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and then re-read the last few chapters just to process what I was reading.  Michael Wood is a gifted story teller and deserves high praise indeed as this is definitely the best book in the series so far.  Although this book could easily be read as a standalone I would urge you to start at the beginning just because you are missing out on a “must read” series. 

Matilda Darke is one of my favourite fictional Detectives the author has incorporated traits into her character that make her relatable to readers, as a Detective she’s confident, resourceful and determined but you also have a woman who is still grieving for her husband alongside the guilt she feels about a crime she was unable to solve, which makes her character vulnerable but at the same time far more likeable. Just as you think the author is going to bring some happiness into Matilda’s life things go down hill rapidly.  Matilda is targeted by the serial killer and things take a creepy and sinister turn, one that will make her question the loyalty of her own team.

A vigilante turned serial killer isn’t an original plot but Michael Wood puts his own unique spin on the subject and has written a story that’s gripping, fast paced with some real shockers hidden within the pages.  Now normally this type of serial killer would make me question the rights and wrongs of what they were doing, but not this one, he seems to relish what he’s doing (no spoiler here as the sex of the killer is in the book description), and there’s definitely more behind his motives but to what my lips are tightly sealed.  There are few scenes that some may find upsetting but they are paramount to the plot and aren’t to explicit. 

The Hangman’s Hold is rife with tension, the author throws in plenty of red herrings to misdirect the reader and thus maintaining the suspense to the heart stopping conclusion. I definitely can’t wait for the next book in the series after Michael Wood left a clue to the subject of the next book. In my humble opinion The Hangman’s Hold is a dark and engrossing tale that any crime thriller will enjoy. Highly recommended. 

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Hangman’s Hold the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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Paperback: 450 pages

Publisher: Killer Reads (20 Sept. 2018)

Links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US🇺🇸

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Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He is the author of the DCI Matilda Darke series set in Sheffield.

For Reasons Unknown was Michael Wood’s debut novel, which was published in 2015. Harper Collins published the second instalment, Outside Looking In 2016 and A Room Full Of Killers in 2017 

Other books in the series

 

Link to buy further books in the series Matilda Darke series

Follow the rest of the blog tour…..

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