Book Review: The Kompromat Kill @FailsafeQuery @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Book Review: The Kompromat Kill @FailsafeQuery @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

The Kompromat Kill


When a British Diplomat is kidnapped in the heart of London, followed by a brutal double-assassination in Chelsea, MI5 braces for the threat of deep sleeper cells coming alive.

Hiding overseas with a price on his head, Sean Richardson is tasked to lead a deniable operation to hunt down and recruit an international model and spy. Moving across Asia Minor and Europe, Sean embarks on a dangerous journey tracking an Iranian spy ring who hold the keys to a set of consequences the British Intelligence Services would rather not entertain.

As Sean investigates deeper, he uncovers dark secrets from his past and a complex web of espionage spun from the hand of a global master spy. As he inches closer to the truth, the rules of the game change – and the nerve-wracking fate of many lives sits in his hands…

Tense, absorbing, and insightful, The Kompromat Kill is a gripping thriller leaving you breathless at the pace of intrigue, cleverly unravelled in a dramatic finale.

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My Thoughts

I think I have found myself a new hero! While Jake Flannigan ( David videcette’s series) seems to be taking a well earned rest Sean Richardson is barging him out of them way.

Another fantastic read from Michael Jenkins as Sean battles to save the day, but this time it isn’t all as straight forward as it may seem. We may think we know Sean’s checkered past but Michael is here to fill in the details and it’s not all roses and sparkles.

I did wonder during reading this book what his relationship was with Melissa, though she is named checked several times in this book, it left me wondering if she was just an after thought?

One thing Sean and Jake do have in common is the need for sex, drugs and rock and roll to get away from what is going on in front of them!

This book has some amusing moments my favourite is between Sean and Swartz when Sean asks who is it and he replies “there is only one bloke who ever breaks you out of jail”

As I was coming to the end of this book I started to wonder where the author is going next with this. Sean has a son now which will no doubt confuse things but are we about to learn more about Jack’s other operatives.

My review of The Fail Safe can be found HERE

Michael tells us more about himself below:

The Failsafe Query - Author Pic


I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.

I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.

I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.

The Failsafe Query is my debut novel, with The Kompromat Kill, my second.

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Previously I interviewed Michael for my blog, the post can be found HERE


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The Fault by Kitty Sewell #TheFault #KittySewell @honno @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #Q&A

The Fault by Kitty Sewell #TheFault #KittySewell @honno @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #Q&A

The Fault

The Fault - cover

Chilling thriller set on Gibraltar – at the heart of The Rock are secret tunnels, hard to navigate and even harder to escape. Sebastian is a civil engineering prodigy and his latest project is his most ambitious to date: to build a new city on the sheerest face of The Rock.

His fiancee, Eva, a diver, is entranced by the penisula’s hidden depths and concerned that her lover doesn’t push himself beyond human limits in his desire to see his dream realised.

Mimi, still in her teens, is desperate to spread her wings and chafing at the limits placed on her movements by her overprotective older brother. When Mimi gets into a relationship with a neighbour intent on fighting the new development, Sebastian’s precarious mental health spirals out of control putting them all in danger.

When Mimi is lost amidst their twists and turns the race is on to find her before the water rises.


Hi Kitty,

Can you tell us about any research you carried out for The Fault?

All my novels are set in interesting and/or exotic locations. Either I have already lived there (like the Canadian sub-Arctic in Ice Trap) or the place fascinates me and I spend time there to immerse myself in the atmosphere (like Ladakh and Dharamsala in India for Cloud Fever) I find out every little thing about the place, and the really interesting facts and aspects get worked into my writing somehow.

In The Fault, I had to research everything about Gibraltar, the tunnel system, the Neanderthal findings, the diving treasures, the people and their fascinating history, their quirky language, the battles that took place there going back millennia. You have to knock on a few doors and explain you need information for a novel, so you can’t be shy. I had to find out a lot about structural engineering to make Sebastian Luna a credible genius. I can build the darned bridge myself after all that!

Where do the ideas for your plots come from?

Normally my plot ideas come to me at night, in that twilight state of half sleep. Plots need to be developed however, so from an initial idea I do a lot of thinking and trying out the plausibility of the plot strands and its resolution.

Do you have any rules for writing?

My best rule is discipline. Don’t let more than two days go by without sitting down to serious writing. How many hundreds of thousands of novels never get finished due to lack of discipline and perseverance? Don’t join that sad lot.

My second rule is, start your novel with a bang, a passage that will totally capture the reader (including prospective publishers)

Let interested friends and family read your work and really listen to their comments, especially the negative ones. Immersed in your writing you really benefit from outside perspective, bringing glaring inconsistencies to light.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Time for developing something worthwhile is limited, so stop faffing about worrying about appearances, your body shape, getting a tan, getting hooked on TV series, what your buddies are doing when you are not around, etc etc.

Practice that guitar, study, stay fit, meditate, learn a new language, develop your painting and sculpting ….write that novel… In other words: be grateful for your talents and develop them.

Do you have any advice for first time writers?

Start with short, short stories. Go on a course or do a workshop. Buy Robert McGee’s “Story” and Sol Stein’s “Stein on Writing” and read them (you can get them on audio, so you can listen to them all day and get immersed in their wisdom and brilliance).

We’d love to know more about your writing space. What’s it like?

Ha ha… Did you ever see Tracy Emin’s sculpture My Bed? Mine is not quite that bad, nor dirty, but I do a lot of writing propped up on pillows. I don’t recommend this appalling habit. Sometimes I write sitting on my sofa with a view of the incredibly lush botanical bonanza that is my garden, the Mediterranean in the background. Sadly, I cannot write out of doors where I am most happy.

What hurdles have you had to cross?

The hurdles of life certainly inspire my writing. Discovering that my (then) husband had sired a child he  knew nothing about, was personal hurdle in my life and marriage and it inspired my first novel Ice Trap. The fact that I was writing from a deeply personal experience clearly made the story so much more poignant and real, making the novel a bestseller. I think all the hurdles in my life have had their hand in my writing. Escaping a tyrannical and psychopathic father, made it easy to write Mimi in The Fault (in her case a mother). I just had to remember the hurdles I had to cross in my gradual transformation from rebellious and troubled teenager into a thinking and balanced woman.

The best hurdle to tackle in your path to become a writer is to have psychotherapy. Finding out what makes you tick will help you create believable characters with depth.

Can you tell about any movies or music that have inspired your writing and how they inspired you?

I was very inspired by South American music in my youth, a favorite being Atahualpa Yupanqui, who sang his astonishingly beautiful poetry and played wonderful guitar. I had the privilege to once sing and play guitar with Joan Baez, at a workshop during the Toronto Folk Festival. I was totally in love with that era’s music with its meaningful lyrics, some of which actually spoke to your soul. Also very moved by my own country’s (Sweden) balladeers, such as Ulf Lundell and Evert Taube. I am more inspired by art and sculpture where my writing is concerned, the act of sculpting is akin to sculpting prose with words.

Movies rarely inspire my writing.

What are your five favourite novels?

I often read psychological suspense novels, because it is good to see what the competition has to offer. I also learn a bit from plots that surprise me, and certainly what not to write. I blow hot and cold with Ian McEwan’s novels but I was very impressed with Enduring Love, absolutely brilliant! I learned a lot from it about plot. Peter May’s Hebrides trilogy was superb. Couldn’t put them down.  I thought the recent Apple Tree Yard was the best I had read in ages and ages. A book that stayed with me for a long time was Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls. Some say it was badly written. If that is the case, it wins hands down for emotionally connecting me to a work. It inspired and informed my novel Hector’s Talent for Miracles, a story set partly in the Spanish Civil War. Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man was my favorite for many years. I don’t dare to reread it, just in case it disappoints.

Do you have any quirky approaches to writing (for example, I know of one writer who, in her first draft of her first novel, hadn’t decided if her main character was going to be male or female so used ambiguous names such as Sam, Alex, Charlie etc).

I do occasionally talk to my characters to see if they like me and if we could have a friendship or relationship (that can be disappointing). Sometimes I pretend I am one of the characters, usually female but not always.

Houses are very important to me, and every one of my novels have an unusual house, or as in The Fault, an apartment. These dwellings become like a characters in themselves with a history and a personality.

Modesty aside, I think my ability to create very atmospheric setting has a lot to do with my relative success as an author.

Thank you Kitty

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Published in paperback and ebook formats by Honno Press on 18th July 2019.


kitty sewell


Kitty Sewell was born in Sweden, and has had four successive nationalities, living in the Canary Islands, Central and South America, Canada, England, Wales and Spain where she now lives in the mountains of Andalucía. She is a successful sculptor, and bestselling author. Her books have been translated into 15 languages and she has been short-listed for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award, the Wales Book of the Year, Winner of the “People’s Choice” BBC Radio Wales Prize, and the Bertelsmann Book Clubs International Book of the Month. She also writes as Kitty Harri. With Honno she has published Ice Trap (2005, later bought by Simon & Schuster) and Hector’s Talent for Miracles (2007) as Kitty Harri.


Book Review: Appetite For Risk @jackleavers @damppebbles #launchweekend

Book Review: Appetite For Risk @jackleavers @damppebbles #launchweekend

Appetite For Risk


A fast-paced action thriller inspired by real events in the aftermath of the Iraq War.

With Saddam Hussein deposed and an entire country in need of rebuilding, former Royal Marine John Pierce hears the siren call of adventure and opportunity. His fledgling UK business is struggling to support his young family and he has connections in the Iraqi capital – fate seems to point one way.

In early 2004, Pierce rolls the dice when he jumps into a taxi in Jordan and heads for the turmoil of postwar Baghdad to grab a share of the reconstruction gold rush. But when Iraq spirals into the hell of a full-blown insurgency, he must rely on his wits and his local friends if he’s to evade the rampant bloodshed.

As the action rolls across the blood-stained Iraqi landscape and embraces London’s seedy underbelly, Pierce tangles with the authorities at home and finds himself thrust into the heart of British and American covert operations against Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Having set out with little more than ambitious goals and an appetite for risk, can a determined ex-bootneck survive the mounting chaos unscathed and succeed in hitting the jackpot?

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading this book, though I felt was part autobiographical and part fiction.

The descriptions of the Iraq landscapes made me want to visit, almost like it was a tourist destination. Though I know from news reports that it is anything but.

Pierce is chasing his next big jackpot and Iraq seems like the ideal place to explore leaving his loving wife and children at home while he chases a pipe dream. Managing to get himself tangled up in a terrorist plot, that he has no choice but to help the secret service catch there man.

One bit that I think summed up Pierce’s life style completely is at the end, when he is like right my job here is done, I need to get to a meeting.

With Jack’s background and knowledge of the forces and their landscape I am sure he still has plenty more stories to tell, and I look forward to reading / hearing more.

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There is even a cool video promo on YouTube for the book, see it HERE

jack leavers

Jack Leavers is a former Royal Marine with over thirty-years’ experience working in the military, private security, corporate investigations, maritime counter-piracy, and risk management. His varied career has included numerous deployments to conflict zones around the world such as Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, trouble spots in Africa, and the Somali pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean.




Book Review: Kill for Me @RebeccaJBradley @DampPebbles #KillForMe #DIHannahRobbins #damppebblesblogtours

Book Review: Kill for Me @RebeccaJBradley @DampPebbles  #KillForMe #DIHannahRobbins #damppebblesblogtours

Kill For Me



A deadly game. An unstoppable killer. The perfect alibi.

Lucy Anderson is late collecting her daughter from nursery. A mistake that could prove fatal.
Her daughter is gone and there is only one way Lucy can get her back. The ransom is simple, she has to kill someone…

And this is just the beginning. A deadly game with a domino effect has started as the real killer forces others to do his bidding.

Can detective inspector Hannah Robbins find the killer’s next puppet before they’re forced to strike or will this be the case where her opponent has found the perfect way to kill?

Pick up Kill For Me for impossible choices and moral dilemmas and see where you would fall.

For fans of Peter James and Angela Marsons

My Thoughts:

I love Rebecca Bradley’s books, I love her characters especially Hannah. I know when i read one of her books they will be full of detail of what really happens at a crime scene and the policing. I’ve also lived in Nottingham all my life so I know of many of the locations well.  With Rebecca being a retired police officer you know she knows her stuff you can see and feel the locations in the novel.

I love how she has found away to give her novels a new theme’s with Martin’s Asperger’s diagnoses. It has given the character more depth and something different to your every day police officer. This novel seems to also focus on how people can miss understand the signs of the illness as laziness or lack of interest at the task in hand. As Martin starts to have issues with a senior officer who is miss understanding the signs.

Rebecca is one of the authors I always recommend and look to for crime fiction readers.


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Published in ebook and audio formats on 14th February 2019


Rebecca Bradley - photo


Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective. She lives in the UK with her family and her two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.

She writes the DI Hannah Robbins police procedural series and has also released a standalone novel, Dead Blind, about a cop who acquires prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness.

To receive a free novella sign up to her readers’ club and you will be able to download the prequel to Hannah Robbins series. Find it on the blog at You’ll also be provided exclusive content and giveaways.

Rebecca also has a blog which is full of useful policing resources which you will find through the above link.


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Author Page


My Review of Dead Blind by Rebecca Bradley.








Book Review: The Controller @MattBrollyUK @damppebbles #TheController #LynchandRose #damppebblesblogtours

Book Review: The Controller @MattBrollyUK @damppebbles  #TheController #LynchandRose #damppebblesblogtours

The Controller




From the bestselling author of the acclaimed DCI Lambert series comes The Controller, a gripping serial killer thriller introducing Sam Lynch and Special Agent Sandra Rose. 

It is six years since special agent Samuel Lynch left the FBI following the disappearance of his son, Daniel. Lynch believes an underground organisation known as The Railroad is responsible and has never stopped searching.

When Special Agent Sandra Rose investigates a house invasion gone wrong, she discovers the assailant has the legendary, and infamous, Railroad tattoo carved onto his back and he claims to know Daniel’s whereabouts.

Rose draws Lynch in to her case, and together they become embroiled in an unparalleled world of violence and evil.

It seems that to see his son again, Lynch will have to confront his greatest fear and face the ultimate test: an encounter with the Railroad’s enigmatic and deadly leader, The Controller.

My Thoughts:


I really enjoyed reading this book and at times find it hard to put it down. Though it was unnecessary long in places I think it was to demonstrate that this story isn’t action packed over a week its a long slog for everyone involved.

I like all the characters and though Rose’s use of sex made me wonder what her intentions were. The pain of Lynch and his ex-wife Sally were obvious and clear through-out the novel. But Lynch’s determination to find his son when all others had stopped caring made me wonder if I’d be the same?

What lies ahead for Lynch and Rose and is there a way back for Lynch and his ex-wife. I suspect the controller will feature in future books as Lynch now has a new focus. Serial killer- Esque maybe?

A good start to a new series that I hope to be able to read more of in the future.

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Published by Oblong Books in ebook format on 24th May 2019

matt brolly


Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University.
He is the bestselling author of the DCI Lambert crime novels, Dead Eyed, Dead Lucky and Dead Embers. The fourth in the series, Dead Time, was released by Canelo in May 2018 and a prequel, Dead Water, will be published in September 2019. In 2020 the first of a new crime series set in the West Country of the UK will be released by Thomas and Mercer (Amazon Publishing).

The Controller, released in May 2019, is the first of a new thriller series set in Texas.

Matt also writes children’s books as M.J. Brolly. His first children’s book, The Sleeping Bug, was released by Oblong Books in December 2018.

Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

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Book Review: Death at the Dakota @GraffMarni @damppebbles #TrudyGenovaMysteries #damppebblesblogtours

Book Review: Death at the Dakota @GraffMarni @damppebbles #TrudyGenovaMysteries #damppebblesblogtours

Death at the Dakota


Dakota_cover reveal_FINAL


Nurse Trudy Genova is making plans to take her relationship to NYPD detective Ned O’Malley to the next level, when she lands a gig as medical consultant on a film shoot at the famed Dakota apartment building in Manhattan, which John Lennon once called home. Then star Monica Kiley goes missing, a cast member turns up dead, and it appears Trudy might be next.

Meanwhile Ned tackles a mysterious murder case in which the victim is burned beyond recognition. When his investigations lead him back to the Dakota, Trudy finds herself wondering: how can she fall in love if she can’t even survive?

Readers of Death Unscripted, the first book in the Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery series, will find the same pleasures in this sequel: fast pacing, engaging characters, twists and turns on the way to a satisfying close. From the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries, this second series is a winner. Once again M.K. Graff reveals her talents in crafting this delightful mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural.

My Thoughts:

With not being sure what to expect from this novel, I really enjoyed this book and the characters especially Trudy and the relationship she has with the different characters in the book. Though she is there to keep her eye on Monica and her pregnancy she forms a friendship with her and they become close. Like she does with the other main players in the novel. There is a lot of money at stake in this story and it’s not only the cost of production of the film, the novel also looks at the insecurities of two people who come from different backgrounds and what would the future in laws think when one comes from money and the other doesn’t.

Though the author has never been inside the Dakota her descriptions of the layout of the building are second to none. The author often reminds us of the prestige of the building by the mentions of those she meets and sees in the lift Yoko and Michael J Fox to name a few.

This book could have been written at any time period and I often needed to remind myself that it was set in present day. This is due to the authors writing style and the nods to Agatha Christie.

Though there has been a murder, the are lots of light hearted moments in this book, the one I most enjoyed was when Trudy and Ned were planning to move their relationship to the next level. Though everything doesn’t go to plan and leads to plenty of laugh out loud moments.

I will be looking out for future Trudy Genova books especially when there was a big clue of what the next one will be about.

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Published in paperback by Bridle Path Press on 1st April 2019.



Marni Graff writes The Nora Tierney English Mysteries, featuring an American writer living in England with a nose for murder, and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries, based on Graff’s real work as a medical consultant for a movie studio. She is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press, a member of Sisters in Crime, the NC Writers Network, and The International Association of Crime Writers, and writes crime book reviews at Auntie M Writes,


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Book Review: Death before Coffee @RealDesmondRyan @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #MikeOShea

Book Review: Death before Coffee @RealDesmondRyan @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #MikeOShea

Death Before Coffee


By 2:27 on a Thursday afternoon, the one-legged man from Room 8 at 147 Loxitor Avenue has been beaten to death with a lead pipe. Twenty-eight minutes later, Detective Mike O’Shea is testifying in a stuffy courtroom, unaware that, within an hour, he will be standing in an alleyway littered with beer cans and condoms while his new partner—the man who saved his life thirteen years ago—flicks bugs off of a battered corpse with a ballpoint pen.

When a rogue undercover copper prematurely hauls in the prime suspect, Mike blows a fuse, resulting in an unlikely rapport developing between him and the lead homicide detective sergeant, a woman known for her stilettos and razor sharp investigative skills. At the end of his seventy-two-hour shift, three men are dead and Mike O’Shea is floating in and out of consciousness in an emergency room hallway, two women by his side.

Death Before Coffee, the second book in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, weaves a homicide investigation through the life of an inner-city police detective intent on balancing his responsibilities as a son, brother, and newly single father with his sworn oath of duty. When faced with death, Mike is forced to make decisions that stir up old memories, compelling him to confront his demons while fighting the good fight.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book, especially the characterisations

The portrayal of the character of Amanda Blacks who is in a high ranking role in a Male dominated world. How she has to appear harder than she is and not show any signs of weakness or they’d eat her alive. Also the amount of sexist abuse she suffers from those who work for her. But also members of the public.
I also liked the character of Ron Mike’s new partner. Who at times provides comic relief. Because this would never happen in traffic.

Buy Death before Coffee below:



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For almost thirty years, Desmond P. Ryan worked as a cop in the back alleys, poorly-lit laneways, and forgotten neighbourhoods in Toronto, the city where he grew up. Murder often most unkind, assaults on a level that defied humanity, and sexual violations intended to demean, shame, and haunt the victims were all in a day’s work. Days, evenings, midnights–all the same. Crime knows no time.

Whether as a beat cop or a plainclothes detective, Desmond dealt with good people who did bad things and bad people who followed their instincts. And now, as a retired detective, he writes crime fiction.

Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction.

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Book Review: Presumed Guilty by @JaneIsaacAuthor @damppebbles DC Beth Chamberlain #2 #PresumedGuilty #damppebblesblogtours #review

Book Review: Presumed Guilty by @JaneIsaacAuthor @damppebbles DC Beth Chamberlain #2 #PresumedGuilty #damppebblesblogtours #review

presumed guilty cover

Accident or murder?

The first victim – a prominent local councillor, killed in a hit and run ‒ could be either, but the next bodies leave no doubt. A twisted killer is at large. And he’s not finished yet.

DC Beth Chamberlain, Family Liaison Officer, has to support the victims’ families, but before she can solve the crimes in the present, Beth needs to uncover the secrets of the past.

Meanwhile, the killer has her in his sights…

The latest electrifying whodunnit from the bestselling author of After He’s Gone. If you’re a fan of Angela Marsons, Nicci French and Rachel Abbott, you won’t want to miss Presumed Guilty.

My Thoughts

Presumed Guilty!

This review has had me lying in bed at night wondering what to write! As you all know by now I am a fan of crime fiction but with so much competition in that market with the likes of Angela Marson and Robert  Bryndza I was interested to know what corner of the independent female leads Jane Issacs occupied and I was pleasantly surprised! Because DC Beth Chamberlain is not only a detective, she is also a family liaison officer adding a new dimension to female lead crime fiction.

This story was told more in-depth about what the family of the victims were feeling and saying through Beth’s eyes and her colleague. I particularly liked how Beth went out of her way to check on other family members and offer her support to those who weren’t directly effected by the death. I liked Beth’s insecurities about her former secret boyfriend (a colleague) and the reasons why she ended it and her worries that he is now dating the DI who Beth doesn’t particularly like, and even though she is over him she still harbors feelings for him and like all exs only wants the best for them. Which I personally can totally relate!

As the story progresses Jane writes her characters and particularly Beth in away that you know why she is sat next to some of the greats (in my opinion)

This book can most certainly be read as a standalone, I myself hadn’t read the previous outing so I was glad that I could pick this book up and fail into the story without thinking I had missed something.

I will most certainly be on the look out for Beth Chamberlain 3 due out in 2019.

I would like to thanks Jane Issac and Emma from Damppebbles for giving me the chance to review this book and give my honest opinion.



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jane isaac Jane Isaac lives with her detective husband (very helpful for research!) and her daughter in rural Northamptonshire, UK where she can often be found trudging over the fields with her Labrador, Bollo. Her debut, An Unfamiliar Murder, was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’ The follow up, The Truth Will Out, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by

Presumed Guilty is Jane’s seventh novel and the second in her DC Beth Chamberlain (Family Liaison Officer) series. The third DC Beth Chamberlain novel will be released early 2019.

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Crack Apple & Pop by Saira Viola @sairaviola @F13Noir @fahrenheitpress @damppebbles #crackappleandpop #damppebblesblogtours

Crack Apple & Pop by Saira Viola @sairaviola @F13Noir @fahrenheitpress  @damppebbles #crackappleandpop #damppebblesblogtours

Crack Apple & Pop

crack apple and pop

Tony is a handsome young boxer forced into a life of crime after suffering a vicious blow in the ring.

Seduced by the glitz and glamour of London and mentored by charismatic gang lord Don March he rises rapidly up the crime ladder until he spies an opportunity to start a semi-legit Natural Highs business.

Bankrolled by an eccentric British dandy and accompanied by a cast of starry misfits including a 3ft tall blue-haired money man, an Etonian drug mule, two dominatrix debt collectors, a dodgy lawyer and a host of demi-celebs, Tony carves out a roll for himself in a city where money creates its’ own morality.

All seems to be going well until in the shadows, a Bollywood mobster threatens to derail their plans.

Chaos ensues, of course it does – wonderful, beautiful, visceral chaos.

The deft wit of Hammett meets the vivid poetics of Chandler: Crack Apple and Pop is slick smart and razor sharp. A gritty and sometimes metafictive slice of London noir.

A city of artful dodgers, yardie gangsters, kinky aristos, cocaine dusted starlets and social thrill seekers where everyone’s hustling and everyone’s getting high.

Whether it’s law, finance, the music biz, or the boxing ring: money is king. And only the ones prepared to risk everything will survive…

Author Q&A

Saira Viola

Excited by the sound of this novel I contacted Saira and asked her some burning questions:


Thank you for inviting me to your blog:


Q1) What inspired you to write Crack Apple and Pop?

The comic strip criminality of London’s drug culture proved irresistible. There is a cartoonish quality to crime in its motley mix of social misfits, its dandies, and thugs, its exaggerated characters and crackpot schemes that I wanted to draw out in my fiction, so I added a bit of comic dash and caricature to what was already a wild scene. And aside from the comic absurdities you find there I wanted to address the raging racial ,and class conflict that slices through British society. Interestingly, the thread that binds all these communities together was the rampant use of drugs; cocaine was a democratizing feature of the club and tabloid culture that dominated London life, it permeated every sector of British society, and I wanted to explore that.

Q2) Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv/film?

Freddie Highmore would be excellent as Richard, the sleazy -coked up Cristal popping lawyer / fixer. Peter Dinklage as Bernie, the blue Mohawked Mensa Genius /four flushing bookkeeper and Michael B Jordan, the charismatic, promising young boxer forced into a life of crime.

Q3) How many rejections did you get before a publishing deal?

I didn’t keep count but over 20, probably close to 30 at least.

Q4) Which authors inspired you to write?

When I was a child I used to enjoy escaping into far off worlds through fairy tales. Riquet a la Houppe (Riquet with the Tuft) was a story that stuck with me, a French fairy tale about a Prince who bestows wisdom on a beautiful but dim-witted princess. Later, I discovered Charles Dickens and was inspired by his ability to create stories that ultimately led to social and political reform. Music, poetry art and movies have all been integral in inspiring me to write. From Baudelaire to James Brown via Basquiat.

Q5) What are your writing routines?

The three W’s: Whatever, whenever, wherever. I write what I can, where I can, whenever I can.

Q6) If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

Possibly a nerdy, big mouthed slow- talking, shoe -gazing rapper.

Q7) Tell me Something About Yourself Your Readers Might Not Know?

I once appeared at my school assembly in a lime green two-piece bikini and flip flops. It was the middle of winter. I was aged about seven or eight years old. I had smuggled my beachwear into school because I didn’t like wearing the starchy school uniform, and I had only recently arrived in England after living in Africa.  I genuinely believed if I wore the swimsuit I would get to go back to the beach.  I remember feeling incredibly free as well as hugely relieved when I removed my school tie. Suffice to say, my stiff-suited headmistress did not share my enthusiasm, and I was severely reprimanded.

Thank you Saira, X

Saira Viola is an acclaimed novelist, poet, and song lyricist. From her early poetic experimentation with language, image and sound (a technique she has dubbed sonic scatterscript) to her novelistic ventures into the dark, absurd world of contemporary crime fiction, Viola’s work pulses with iconoclastic brio that mischievously blasts the golden calves of our times. Literary Heavyweight Benjamin Zephaniah, has praised her ‘twisted beautiful imagination,’ and polymathic genius, Heathcote Williams (RIP) her ‘hypnotic explosive’, writing style. Twice Nominated for Best of The Net 2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee 2017 Rascal Magazine. Viola’s poetry collection Flowers of War debuted at the New York Poetry Festival and published by UB Press. Novels Jukebox (Fahrenheit Press) Crack Apple and Pop (Fahrenheit Press) Viola is a regular contributor to counterculture magazines Gonzo Today and International Times.

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Blog Tour: Dead in the Water @SimonBowerBooks @MiddleFarmPress @damppebbles

Blog Tour: Dead in the Water @SimonBowerBooks @MiddleFarmPress @damppebbles

Dead in the Water

dead in the water cover

Was it murder, suicide or an accident? Who will be next to die?

Six international friends all appear to be successful, albeit to different levels. A human rights’ lawyer, an IT geek, a businessman, a waitress, a phone guy and a physiotherapist. None of them are known to the police.

One of them must know what happened that fateful night on the catamaran.

Agent Georges Fournier is assigned the case in the French resort town near Antibes. He’s short on time, with a growing health problem and a District Attorney who just wants the case closed as accidental. But he’s not letting go.

Chrissie is a single mother and respected flight attendant in New York. When she finds out who her father is, she’s ecstatic and wants to meet him.

But within a week she’d wish she’d never known.

My Thoughts

Dead in the water starts with a bang, with a character floating in the Mediterranean and we read her last dying thoughts until she sinks to the bottom. We then zip five months back and we are introduced to the story through the character Charlie who seems to be telling the story. The chapters then go on to introduce the other characters Chrissie, Ana, Scot, Len, Mia and Agent Fournier.

The story jumps around a bit between the characters, locations and where we are in the timeline of the story. I found the beginning of the book a bit confusing as I struggled to grasp what was going on and who was who. Once I worked out what the formula of the book was I began to enjoy it more and tore through the pages.

The story is told in 1st person through Charlie’s eyes and 3rd person for the other character’s. Simon has carefully woven a novel out of seven different strands, seven character’s stories and their views on the what happened and why they did what they did. Simon has more or less written seven different stories and then spent time weaving them into a novel. Simon makes you feel that you were there with the character’s and at every location in the story.

This book involves some time invested in the beginning but once you get used to this unique and different way of story telling you’ll be flying through the book. I am very interested and keen to see what Simon does next.


SIMONBOWERSimon Bower is a British and Canadian author born in Berkshire in 1973. Since 1998, he’s adopted a global lifestyle, setting up home at times in Europe, Africa and North America.

In 2016 Simon turned to writing full time, which led to his first published work, Dead in the Water, being released in paperback and eBook by Middle Farm Press in 2018.

Simon currently lives in France, near the Swiss border, where his young family, mountains, acrylic paint and sharpened skis keep him in regular mischief.



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My Thanks to Emma at Damppebbles and Simon Bower for giving me the chance to read Dead in the Water.