Playing With Fire Kerry Wilkinson






Seven years ago, a young lad, Alfie, has too much to drink and staggers home. He’s lost his wallet and can’t get a lift. Stopping at a derelict pub he decides to shelter from the weather and sleep inside for the night.

Unfortunately for him Martin Chadwick decides to burn the pub down that night, killing Alfie.

Martin is tried and convicted for manslaughter, and now he is being released from prison.

There have been threats against Chadwick so his release from prison is supervised by DS Jessica Daniel. In an unorthodox passage from prison Jess talks to Chadwick and finds him strangely humble.

At the same time, Private Detective Andrew Hunter is hired to find out who got a rich man’s daughter pregnant.

What follows is a series of arson attacks and some teenage suicides, but are they all connected, and if so, who is the connection.

During the investigation, Jess Daniels crosses paths with journalists and must rely on help from unexpected allies. At the same time she is dealing with issues in her private life.

The main thread of this story rotates around the arson attacks and the possible connections between them, and maybe the suicides.

Those of you who have read my bio will know that I spent 30 years in the Fire Service with 12 years as a Fire Scene Investigator.

There is a scene in this book which is the best I have ever read when describing events inside a fire.

This is reflective of the whole book, it’s a great story, well researched well written.

There is a great blend between the investigations and the private life of the main character. Jess Daniel has had a turbulent career. For those of you who haven’t read the other books in the series I would highly recommend that you put them straight to the top of your to-read-list.

Right I’m off to read more Kerry Wilkinson.

Everything but the Truth Gillian McAllistar


Everything but the truth    Gillian McAllister


This is one of those books that has you shouting at the main protagonist, Rachel, at the top of your voice.

Just like watching a film when the young girl enters the dark lodge, in the middle of the woods, then decides to explore the basement, without a torch.

It’s been a long time since I got so immersed in a story that I shouted out loud, but I did, more than once, in this one.

Rachel is an ex-doctor who is now working as a researcher. She is pregnant and living with the man of her dreams, Jack, the big, bearded, Rugby player from the wilds of Scotland.

She hasn’t known Jack that long but moved in with him after becoming pregnant.

Is Jack too god to be true, Hmmm.

Rachel also suffers from memories, not quite the dreaded flashbacks of many recent books, about a young lad who she diagnosed and treated for cancer. The memories haunt her and she suffers silently as this part of the story unfolds whilst it intertwines with the main thread.

The main thread is one for the psychological thriller fan.

Rachel and Jack are living in Newcastle, where Jack is a journalist. All is going well until one morning Jacks IPad lights up in the middle of the night. Rachel picks it up and reads the message as its displayed on the lock screen. That’s when things begin to change.

Rachel has never visited Jacks Scottish home till this point, but she’s about to.

When she arrives, she realises that she doesn’t really know that much about Jack.

Why do his friends appear to be keeping a secret?

Why does Jack seem to have a nickname which occasionally slips out, but then everybody denies or makes up a bad excuse for?

As Rachel spends more time in the Scottish village the more warry she becomes, what is the secret, or is it just Baby-brain paranoia, because it wouldn’t be the first-time Rachel has fixated on a boyfriend and become paranoid about his behaviour and fidelity.

When in Scotland Rachel and Jack stay with his family, and they’re strange. In fact, everything about Jacks life in Scotland starts to look strange to Rachel.

Starting this book I was looking for reasons as to why Rachel would behave like she does, could she really be that naïve.

Then I went through a stage when I thought, it’s everybody else that’s normal and Rachel is just being paranoid and it’s her with something to hide.

These swings went on all the way to the end. Are we reading through the eyes of a victim, listening to her legitimate worries, or are we reading through the eyes of a paranoid young lady who is being protected from herself by people who care for her?

Is it Jack with the secret, or is it Rachel, or could it be both?

You’ll have to read this book to find out.

Some books can be a bit of bubble-gum for the brain. Some can take your brain for a ride in a tumble drier.

This one will take you for a spin.

If you work out the finish before you get there, well done, I didn’t

Ashes to Ashes PaulFinch





I have to say I have never read any of Paul’s previous books, and I really don’t know why I’ve never come across him before. A quick look at Amazon told me this was the 6th book to feature DS Mark Heckenburg; but I must say reading this as a stand-alone, or out of sequence, book didn’t detract from my enjoyment of it.

I had only read the first 5% when I sent a tweet out saying WOW what a start to a book. The next 95% did not let me down either. Its fast paced, and intriguing.

It’s one of those books where you keep looking for a point where you can put it down and get on with what you should be doing. In the end, I gave up and just read it straight through.

Detective Sergeant Mark Heckenberg, Heck, works in the Serious Crime Unit, a national resource based in London. It has to be said he is the typical “doesn’t work to the rules” “always in trouble with his bosses-who secretly like him” type of character. A cross between a British Cop and Jack Reacher. Not my preferred type of protagonist but I really did enjoy this book.

His latest investigation is taking him home to Manchester.

A torturer-for-hire has moved from the Capital to Manchester and the SCU team follow him.

Once they’re there another crime crosses their investigation. Somebody is using a flame thrower to kill people associated some of Manchester’s gangs. Very unoriginally the press give this killer the name of “The Incinerator”.

Meanwhile, as The Incinerator piles up victim after victim it appears that The Torturer is also working within the Manchester  Gang Scene.

The race is on to find both killers, who they are associated with, and why they are carrying out the killings.


Vic Ship is the head of a established gang and he has started introducing Russian Thugs into his team to enforce his law.

Lee Shaughnessy is a young man, the head of a breakaway gang. Both have a history of drugs, prostitution and violence. Both want to run Manchester, but is either of them capable of the atrocities that are taking place, or is somebody else trying to disturb the food chain.

The story runs at a very, very fast pace. Every page is a new breathless experience, and maybe, just maybe that could be the only thing wrong with it.

If you like your Lee Child you will love this.

If you prefer a more sedate, and dare I say it, more realistic read then this book won’t be for you.

I have said in previous blogs, and my Bio, I don’t do suspended reality. Yes we have violent crime on the Streets, and yes it is getting worse, but this for me was just a step too far.

However would I read the next one, yes definitely, and not only that I’m going to read the first 5 as soon as I’ve got a chance.

I think I’ve just found my guilty pleasure amongst my usually keep-it-reel reading list.

He Said She Said Erin Kelly





Another book which uses flash backs to a previous crime. Is it me or are these becoming more and more common.

The story centres around Laura and Kit, and their family and “friends”.

Kit is a bit of a strange character, introverted when younger, and not much of a change when he is older. But he has one unique quality, he is an Eclipse chaser. Whenever a total eclipse of the sun occurs, wherever it happens in the world, Kit must be there.

In the present-day Laura is his wife, and she’s pregnant. This wouldn’t normally be a problem but there is an eclipse due and it means Kit is going to travel to the Faroe Isles, not a trip suitable for his wife.

This will be their first time apart for some time, but worst of all, it will mean that both are isolated from each other since the incident they refer to as The Lizard.

The Lizard was an incident that happened during the total eclipse of the sun in 1999. An eclipse that Kit and Laura witnessed in Cornwall at the Lizard.

The flashback crime happens during the festival which marked the 1999 eclipse. Laura witness a vicious attack and becomes a key witness.

Ramifications of her actions ripple out to start to affect the couple in 2015.

The isolation of the Faroe Islands would be an ideal place to get to Kit on his own. Laura is more isolated than she thinks at home, and somebody is out for revenge.

This story is very original, at times for me it’s a bit rambling, but it is worth persevering with for the twists and turns in the plot.

It will keep you guessing till the end, and may even have you a little bit frustrated that you didn’t see the outcome earlier, but that’s never a bad thing.

This is the type of book I like to read on holiday when I have time to luxuriate in deep descriptions and dead-end sub-plots.

However, right now, I found myself skimming through chunks of it that were all a bit unnecessary.

The Cleaner Elisabeth Herrmann




What I love about e-books is that they allow me to find Authors from around the world and read their stories. Stories I would never have heard of, or had just been lucky to come across in an Airport bookshop.

The Cleaner by Elisabeth Herrmann came up as a book suggestion following another book I had read. A quick look at Amazon, and Herrmann’s own website, revealed that she is a well published novelist in Germany with many German Edition copies of her books available in the UK, but I think this is the first English copy.

That must change.

This is the story of a child victim of the Cold War, and the adult she became fighting to find out the truth.

1985 and a child is taken to a government run children’s home in East Germany, quickly swallowed by the system she suffers years of institutional abuse, which she extends into her private life as she gets older.

Her name is Judith Kepler, and after struggling with drugs, and self-harming, she gradually gets herself together and becomes a cleaner in the reunified Germany. Her specialism is cleaning crime scenes, moving in after the police and forensic teams have finished an investigation and making the building habitable again.

One such scene see’s Judith cleaning up after the murder of a woman, but she realises that she has a link with this woman and wants to know more.

Her investigations lead her into contact with agents working for the German Security forces, old and new. There is a secret out there that somebody doesn’t want discovering. Old allies are now on different sides, and old allegiances have changed, but this secret has to remain buried.

Who is the woman that was killed in the flat, the investigation leads Judith across Germany and Sweden. Judith’s life is put into danger but it only makes her put more effort into finding the truth.


Because until she finds out the truth, she won’t know who she is, why she was abandoned in the children’s home. One thing is for sure, what she knows now is false.

The book starts in 1985 and stays there for just the first chapter, moving on to the modern day the reader follows Judith’s actions as she fights to find out the truth. An ordinary woman battling against the power of agents from agencies with a profound interest in keeping the secret in the past.

As she digs deeper she begins to uncover a story of treason and double cross. She needs to know what would have set the wheels in motion that left her in the home; and what was worth so much, that so much subterfuge was used to hide the past

The characters in this book are good, and believable. Judith is one of us, and acting like one of us. She has no secret skills, she is no super hero, she is just getting on with life when things take a vicious turn. You will love her.

People who have read Marnie Riches’ the Girl Who……… series will love this book.

People who have read Ludlum at his best will love this book.

People who are looking for a new thriller author in the UK, this is your woman.

Most of all, anybody who likes a good story, will love this book.


The Promise Casey Kelleher




Modern day Brixton, with all the drugs and prostitution you expect from it.

Washed out old hags working the streets to feed habits, that are slowly eating them alive.

Attractive young girls, looking to be the next WAG and getting tricked into being High Class Escorts, to feed their addiction to the modern scourge of materialism.

Pimps feeding off addictions and fantasies.

Drug dealers feeding the addictions.

Families that get caught in the mess made by it all.

This story has it all.

Josie, the single mother of two girls, Georgie, 12 and Marnie 5. Living in a stinking flat with no food or clean clothes the girls hear their mother, “earning” money for her next fix.

Josie used to be a good earner, until her looks were ravished by the substances she was putting in her veins. Her dealer has been given a beating once by her pimp, but he keeps coming back and Josie keeps buying.

Delray Anderton is Josie’s pimp. He started running whores like Josie but has moved up in the world and now runs a high end escort agency, but he still looks after his old girls.

So when Josie disgraces herself with a client Delray comes to sort it out but then cuts Josie free. She can’t work within 20 miles of home, that’s his patch.

In desperation for money Josie gets herself into more trouble which ends with her being convicted of murder.

Her Girls are taken into care and that’s when their troubles really start.

Running away they end up under Delrays wing, but he is only interested in one thing. He has a client who likes young teenage girls, and Georgie is perfect.

The girls must escape, or at least try, but do they? can they?


This is a good story and Casey Kelleher does a great job of describing the world we all know exists but try to ignore. The book can be uncomfortable reading at times, but it’s gritty, so maybe its not supposed to be an easy read.