The Scent Of Death By Simon Beckett

I received The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett to review by Damp Pebbles Blog Tours. This is the 6th book in the David Hunter, crime thriller series.

The Scent of Death By Simon Beckett

The Scent of Death

What began as a straightforward case is about to become a twisted nightmare…

Once a busy hospital, St Jude’s now stands derelict awaiting demolition. When a partially mummified corpse is found in the buildings cavernous loft, forensics expert Dr David Hunter is called in to take a look. He can’t say how long the body’s been there, but he is certain it’s that of a young woman. And that she was pregnant.

Then part of the attic floor collapses, revealing another of the hospital’s secrets: a bricked-up chamber with beds inside. And some of them are still occupied.

And it soon becomes clear that St Jude’s hasn’t claimed it’s last victim…

Simon Beckett - Author of The Scent of Death/

Simon Beckett

Simon Beckett is the No.1 international bestselling author of the David Hunter series. These include:

  • The Chemistry of Death
  • Written in Bone
  • Whispers of the Dead
  • The Calling of the Gave
  • The Restless Dead
  • The Scent of Death

His books have been translated into 29 languages, appeared in the Sunday Times top 10 bestseller lists and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. A former freelance journalist, he has written for The Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent on Sunday and Observer. The inspiration for the first David Hunter noel came after a visit to the world-renowned Body Farm in Tennessee introduced him to the work of forensic anthropologists.

Join-winner (with Arne Dahl) of Europe’s largest crime fiction prize – The Ripper Award 2018/19 – he has also won the Raymond Chandler Society’s Marlowe Award and been short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger, CWA Dagger in the Library and Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year awards. He is also the author of several stand-alone novels including Stone Bruises and Where There’s Smoke. Simon Beckett Lives in Sheffield.

My Thoughts

I was instantly hooked with The Scent of Death, it reminds me of Patricia Cornwall’s Kay Scarpetta novels which I love. You just know St Jude’s is going to open up a can of worms and it does just that! The detail when it comes to David Hunter doing the autopsies is incredibly impressive and had me totally sucked in. Beckett covers police procedures perfectly making this a fully believable piece of fiction. I genuinely need to read the other 5 books in this series asap, Simon Beckett is an amazing writer filling the story with macabre details and twists and turns everywhere, interesting characters, and dark secrets, keeping you hanging on to every word.

Justice Gone By N. Lombardi Jr. Blog Tour

I received Justice Gone By N. Lombardi Jr. to review thanks to Damp Pebbles Book Tours.

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.

Justice Gone is a legal thriller and the winner of three awards including:

  • 2019 American Fiction Award
  • National Indie Excellency Award – Best Legal Thriller of 2019
  • Silver Medal Winner 2019 Reader’s Favourites Awards

The book was also chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers.

***Trigger Warning – This book touches on subjects that may be triggering for some. ***

Justice Gone

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counsellor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets of to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

N. Lombardi Jr.

N. Lombardi Jr.

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nichola, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visitibg Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on the The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotion culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net.

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone as inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police. Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

My Thoughts

Justice Gone is everything you want in a legal thriller. It is filled with so much courtroom detail it is honestly astounding! Starting off with a gruesome beating of an innocent war veteran by cops. Lombardi pulls you into a complex story line full of twists and turns.

Lombardi explores the plight of war veterans from homelessness, police brutality, political cover ups and PTSD through Justice Gone. These are very real and serious issues making this novel extremely believable. My favourite character was the rather flamboyant and wise lawyer. Nathaniel Bodine uses his blindness in such a clever way without overdoing it to make his plans work. But can he help Donald escape the lethal injection?

Damp Pebbles Blog Tours

Hire Idiots by Professor I.M. Nemo – Blog Tour

I received Hire Idiots by Professor I.M. Nemo to review as part of the Damp Pebbles blog tour. Hire Idiots is a murder mystery published by Fox Spirit Books.

Hire Idiots Book Cover

Hire Idiots

Academia can be murder…

Prominent professor stabbed to death on the Kingsley College campus.

Untimely death strikes the comfortable college community. Unfortunately, the esteemed academic’s demise may get lost in the confusion of vice presidents, marketers, focus groups, assessors and protesters as the new administration tries to ‘modernise’ the campus. There’s no time for mystery!

Professor Clarence Van Dyke finds himself bewildered by the changes to the institution but determined to get to the bottom of things. He wants his friend rest in peace—or perhaps he just wants to spend more time with the attractive Detective Riordan. But isn’t he the prime suspect?

My Thoughts

Hire Idiots is a great read if you love a murder mystery mixed in with a bit of politics. With a lot of changes, a murder and the campus theatre being occupied by someone with a private security firm standing guard, and a budding romance, this book has a little bit of everything.

Usually a murder mysteries main focus would of course be on the murder however Professor I.M Nemo really shakes this up. With a good chunk of the book focused on the university politics it’s a fantastic but different style of murder mystery.

I really enjoyed Professor Professor Clarence Van-Dyke’s sense of humour, it is quite dark and rather satirical throughout the book.

If you love a murder mystery with a difference, then this is definitely the book for you!

Magnificent Women And Their Revolutionary Machines

I received Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines by Henrietta Heald to review. The lost story of Britain’s, trailblazing, boundary-breaking women engineers starting in the 1800’s. Published in time to mark the centenary of the Women’s Engineering society, this really is a must read!

Magnificent Women and their Revolutionary Machines

Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines

In 1919, in the wake of the First World War, a group of extraordinary women came together to create the Women s Engineering Society. They were trailblazers, pioneers and boundary breakers, but many of their stories have been lost to history. To mark the centenary of the society’s creation, Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines brings them back to life.

Their leaders were Katharine and Rachel Parsons, wife and daughter of the engineering genius Charles Parsons, and Caroline Haslett, a self-taught electrical engineer who campaigned to free women from domestic drudgery and became the most powerful professional woman of her age. Also featured are Eleanor Shelley-Rolls, sister of car magnate Charles Rolls; Viscountess Rhondda, a director of thirty-three companies who founded and edited the revolutionary Time and Tide magazine; and Laura Willson, a suffragette and labour rights activist from Halifax, who was twice imprisoned for her political activities.

This is not just the story of the women themselves, but also the era in which they lived. Beginning at the moment when women in Britain were allowed to vote for the first time, and to stand for Parliament and when several professions were opened up to them Magnificent Women charts the changing attitudes towards women in society and in the workplace.

Henrietta Heald Author Photo

Henrietta Heald

Henrietta is the author of William Armstrong: Magician of the North, which was shortlisted for the H, W. Fisher Best First Biography Prize and the Portico Prize for non-fiction. She was chief editor of Chronicle of Britain and Ireland and Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Britain’s Coast. Her other books include Coastal Living, La Vie est Belle, and a National Trust guide to Cragside, Northumberland.

My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Magnificent Women and their Revolutionary Machines, it truly is an eye-opener! Henrietta Heald gives a fantastic account of the achievements from these magnificent women from the Women’s Engineering Society, alongside the social pressures they faced. The collection of photographs throughout the book really help you picture these women as you read about their extraordinary lives.

Do you know much about the Women’s Engineering Society and it’s members?

Little Explorers: Goodnight Ocean – Children’s Book Review

Izzy received Little Explorers: Goodnight Ocean to review from Little Tiger. Written by Becky Davies and illustrated by Carmen Saldaña. This board book with layered die-cuts are perfect for ages 1 to 6 years. Your little one will enjoy watching sea creatures take a rest as they drift off to sleep themselves.

Little Explorers: Goodnight Oean

Little Explorers: Goodnight Ocean

Dive into the depths of the ocean and say goodnight to the sea creatures take their rest as they swim over carpets of coral to the deepest depths of the ocean.

Goodnight Ocean

The intricate peep-through scenes and facts on every page will engage children as they discover different habitats under the sea. The gentle rhyming text will slowly lull your little one to sleep making this beautiful book perfect for bedtime.

Becky Davies blends the lyrical and the factual to make learning fun. With additional facts on every page and a twinkling, foiled final spread, little explorers will love this book. Beautifully illustrated by the popular Carmen Saldaña, illustrator of the award shortlisted The only way is Badger, little ones will immersed into the depths of the ocean.

Final spread of Goodnight Ocean

Carmen Saldaña

Carmen lives in Gijon, a rainy city in the north of spain. After studying Arts, she worked as a graphic designer in advertising agencies before becoming a freelance illustrator focusing on children’s books, the field she enjoys the most. Carmen Loves furry animals, birds, bugs and everything related to nature, her main source of inspiration.

Becky Davies

Becky is a children’s book editor and sometimes author from the South West of England. Her favourite things are animals, books about magic, and anything sparkly. In a parallel universe she lives in Hawaii, where she works in a dog sanctuary and surfs until the sun sets beyond the horizon.

Do you know a little one who would love exploring the Ocean at night too?

Plusnet Modern Day Fairy Tales – Rapunzel Rewritten

Plusnet have teamed up with Larry Lamb to re-imagine a trilogy of classic fairy tales for the digital generation. Recent research suggests infrequent readers are on the rise between 6-16 years. Giving these classic’s a modern day twist will appeal to children under 10 and give them a positive way to use technology. 

We were asked by Plusnet to re-imagine our own fairy tale favourite and received a box of supplies to help us. As a family, reading is very important to us and a main topic on our blog. Some classics are rather outdated for our modern day technologically advanced world. 25% of parents today admit to changing the story lines of classic tales to fit modern day values and we were excited to rewrite a classic ourselves.

Plusnet - Jack and the Beanstalk

Using the Amazon Fire HD10 we watched the Plusnet trilogy to give us ideas. The trilogy includes Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. 

With the books, pens, pencils and stickers, the girls set to work deciding which story to rewrite. In the end they decided on Rapunzel, and wanted kindness to save her instead of a Prince. 

Rapunzel Rewritten

Once upon a modern time, a young Rapunzel sat on her bed, daydreaming. Rapunzel had been locked up in her tower by an evil witch, Mother Gothel, who was jealous of her beauty and long, magical hair.

Plusnet Once upon a time online

As Rapunzel sat daydreaming, an idea suddenly came to her.
“Perhaps if she booked a pampering spa day, Mother Gothel may feel happier and beautiful and set me free.”

Rapunzel uses her smartphone to begin searching for spa days and books Mother Gothel in at a luxurious spa, offering full day packages.

Rapunzel pages 2 to 3

Now Rapunzel just had to find a way for Mother Gothel to get there without knowing about the surprise.

Rapunzel realises the next day, Mother Gothel would take an Uber shopping to buy supplies for Rapunzel. She changes the booking just in time the next morning.

Mother Gothel is surprised when her Uber pulls up at a luxurious Spa retreat. Before she can say a word, a member of staff whisks Mother Gothel through to the spa, handing her a fresh bathrobe and fresh youth smoothie. Mother Gothel relaxes, allows her hair to be dyed and enjoys her pampering session at the spa.

When Mother Gothel returned, she thanked Rapunzel for planning her surprise spa day. “Thank you, Rapunzel. I feel amazing now and I see that keeping you here is wrong. Sorry Rapunzel, you are free to leave, the Uber is outside waiting for you.

The end.

What do you think of the girls ‘Rapunzel Rewritten’

An Echo Of Scandal By Laura Madeleine Blog Tour

I received An Echo of Scandal by Laura Madeleine, a historical fiction full of mystery. Slipping between eras, piece by piece the story unfolds as you lose yourself to its pages.

An Echo of Scandal

An Echo of Scandal

In the dead of night, with blood on her hands, she made her escape.

Accused of murder, Alejandra flees her home, escaping to the southern edge of Spain, where she faces a life of poverty and destitution.

Seduced by the power of the rich and the anonymity that waits across the water in Tangier, Ale makes a bid for a new start. But it will come at a cost: a life of deception. Because Ale’s new friends want to know what she is running from, they want to know who she is and whether they can trust her.

Fifty years later, a young American writer wanders the streets of Tangier, searching for inspiration. When he stumbles across a trace of Ale’s life, he finds himself tangled in a story of scandal, love and danger that has not yet reached its end.

Laura Madeleine

After a childhood spent acting professionally an training at a theatre school, Laura Madeleine changed her mind, and went to study English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge.

Laura Madeleine

She now writes fiction as well as recipes, an was formerly the resident cake baker for Domestic Sluttery. She lives in Bristol, but can often be found visiting her family in Devon, eating cheese and getting up to mischief with her sister, fantasy author Lucy Hounsom.

My Thoughts

I felt fully absorbed in Sam’s life in Tangier mixed with it’s mysterious past and characters within it. You find yourself so wrapped up in the story as Sam digs deeper and more is revealed about Ale’s past. Laura Madeleine writes beautifully, I really didn’t want to stop reading with this book. I will definitely be adding Medeleine to my list of favourite authors and seeking out her other novels. I thoroughly enjoyed An Echo of Scandal, historical fiction fans will fall in love with this beautifully written novel.

Skull Scarf – Free Crochet Pattern

I’ve altered a Skull Scarf free crochet pattern that I found by Nadelwork on Ravelry. The original narrow skull scarf pattern is beautiful, however, it wasn’t eating enough yarn.

Skull Scarf - Free Pattern 
Purple to grey crocheted skull scarf. Each side has 3 skulls broken up with blocks of double croche

I have a beautiful purple to grey Ice yarn, my lovely friend, Sarah bought me last year that I wanted to use up fully. I decided to make some simple alterations which make it more of yarn eating scarf.

Skull Scarf Free Crochet Pattern

This pattern is lovely and simple, mostly using chains, single crochet (SC) and double crochet (DC) stitches. The scarf is worked in two halves and sewn together at the end.

Skull Scarf - Free Pattern

I chose 3 skulls at the bottom of each half as these will be on display when worn, with a simple block of DC between them to break the pattern up but you can decide how many you would prefer to add.

(Make 2)

Chain 46

Row 1: Chain 2, DC in 3rd chain from hook, DC to the end of the row.

Row 2 – 10: Turn, Chain 2, DC to the end of the row.

(From the original pattern)

Row 11: Chain 4, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 9, skip one space, 4 DC in the next space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, Chain 2, DC.

Row 12: Chain 2, 3DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 6, 4 SC around the chain, chain 6, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in space, Chain 2, 4 DC in space.

Row 13: Chain 4, 4 DC in space, chain 2, 4 DC in space, chain 6. (worked on the 4 SC from the previous row to make the teeth) 1 DC, chain 1, 1 DC, chain 1, 1 DC, chain 1, 1 DC, chain 6, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 1 DC.

Row 14: Chain 2, 3 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 8, 11 SC in the skull. (2 around the chain, 1 in the DC, 1 around the chain, 1 in the DC, 1 around the chain, 1 in the DC, 1 around the chain, 1 in the DC, 2 around the chain) Chain 8, 4 DC in the space, Chain 2, 4 DC in the space.

Row 15: Chain 4, 4 DC in space, chain 10, 4 SC (On the last 4 SC of the 11 SC from previous row), chain 5 (This will be the nose). Skip 3 stitches, 4 SC (On the first 4 SC from the 11 SC from the previous row). Turn now Chain 10, 1 SC around the chain 5, chain 10 and slip stitch in the very first SC of this row. (You just made the arches of the eyes!) Turn again, 10 SC around each arch (20 in total), slip stitch into the 8th SC in this row. Chain 10, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 1 DC.

Row 16: Chain 2, 3 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 10, 16 slip stitches on the eyes of the skull. (Count 8 from the middle to balance your stitches). Chain 8, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space.

Row 17: Chain 4, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 6 12 SC on skull (again count 6 from the middle), chain 6, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 1 DC.

Row 18: Chain 2, 3 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 6, 8 SC on on the skull, chain 6, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space.

Row 19: Chain 4, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 6, 6 SC on the skull, chain 6, 4DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 1 DC.

Row 20: Chain 2, 3 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 6, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space.

Row 21: Chain 4, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 4 DC in the space, chain 2, 1 DC.

Rows 22-32: Turn, Chain 2, DC to the end of the row.

Repeat Rows 11- 32 for a second skull and continue this repeat until you have the amount of skulls you are happy with. (I chose 3 each side).

I then continued with 46 rows of DC to use up my ICE yarn, leaving just enough to sew the two halves together. Add as many rows as you feel is necessary for the correct length.

This is a really fun pattern and the added rows of DC help speed it along and eat more yarn. With autumn just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to crochet a beautiful skull scarf.

This pattern is free to use, you may sell finished items but please do credit myself and Nadelwork (on Ravelry) and do not sell the pattern on.

If you’ve used the pattern feel free to tag me in your photo’s.

Dynamic Entry By Fiona Morgan

I bought Dynamic Entry by Fiona Morgan when it was published last month. Fiona writes thriller romance novels and I was excited to read Dynamic Entry having enjoyed What’s Mine and Free.

Dynamic Entry by Fiona Morgan

Dynamic Entry

Sophie Peterson is a fiercely independent undercover policewoman who refuses to let any man stand in her way. Love is not in her vocabulary. Her fiercely guarded heart… and her life, is threatened by a chance meeting while on a date with her target, the head of an extensive criminal enterprise.

Now, split between her undercover job in the dangerous would of protection rackets, drugs, and guns, and her blossoming love life, Sophie is forced to choose between bringing down the gang, or saving the man she loves.

Can she bring the criminal cartel down once and for all?

Will he forgive her for her lies?

Or was she right all along with keeping her heat hiden?

Dynamic Entry is a thriller romance novel based in Glasgow and deals with love, deception and revenge.

My Thoughts

Once again Fiona Morgan has written a fantastic romance thriller novel that will have you hooked from the start. Sophie Peterson’s job pushes her into a tricky situation, just as she finally meets a man she likes, forcing her to go back undercover.

Due to Sophies own past, lying to her new boyfriend about her surname and job has her really torn. To make matters worse, the criminal she thought she’d had locked up is determined to make her his. Can she finally free herself of her past, allow herself to love and take down this nasty criminal once and for all?

Fiona has an amazing talent when it comes to showing the depth of emotion and mental struggles of her characters, making it hard to tear yourself away from her books and Dynamic Entry is certainly no exception!

Thriller Romance Novels By Fiona Morgan

I honestly couldn’t recommend Dynamic Entry, What’s Mine and Free more. They are all fantastic reads and I’ll be harassing Fiona for updates on her fourth book!

Fiona Morgan - Author of Dynamic Entry, Free and What's Mine

Fiona Morgan

Fiona started writing as a way to fight depression. She enjoys writing about strong female characters who find their inner strength. In her day job she works as a British Sign Language Facilitator and a Deaf blind Communicator, having learned BSL after the birth of her second daughter. She lives in Airdrie, a small town near Glasgow, Scotland, with her husband and two daughters. Her ambition is to be a full-time author, writing and attending writing festivals and book signings.

Do you enjoy thriller romance novels?

A River Of Bodies By Kevin Doyle

I received A River of Bodies by Kevin Doyle, the second book in his Solidarity Books Trilogy, to review. I also received his first book To Keep a Bird Singing.

The Gripping Sequel To Keep A Bird Singing

A River Of Bodies

Noelle Sullivan, disaffected ex-punk and grassroots activist, has every reason to be afraid. His investigation into Danesfort Industrial School and the boys who went missing from it is attracting attention. Special Branch want him to disappear and he’s made enemies of the powerful Walsh and Donnelly families.

A River of Bodies

But Noelie is determined to get to the truth. He walk away. At least that’s what he tells himself until his friends and family start paying the price.

My Thoughts

Noelie’s investigation continues into the dark world of the Donnelly family. The clock is ticking with Albery Donnelly onto Noelie and his friends. This really is a fantastic political thriller, written in such a way that you won’t be able to stop yourself reading it in one sitting. Noelie is so determined to uncover all the dirty secrets regarding the Donnelly family and their associations with the Catholic church and the security forces.

I’m looking forward to the third book of the trilogy being published and finding out how Noelie and his friends manage to uncover!

To Keep A Bird Singing

To Keep A Bird Singing

When Noelie Sullivan finds his stolen punk records for sale in a charity shop in Cork it seems like a lucky break. But Noelie has just made himself and those closest to him a target.

Hidden among the records is a statement alleging that missing man, Jim Dalton, was murdered by the security services twenty years ago to protect a high-ranking informer in the IRA.

In spite of himself, Noelie gets drawn into the story of Dalton’s disappearance and uncovers a link between the missing man and a powerful family of brothers, who have ties to a former industrial school.

Noelie’s every move takes him deeper into danger. What price will he pay for the truth?

My Thoughts

Right from the start you feel compelled to keep reading and discover more about Albert Donnelly, his family and the detailed statement Noelie finds in his stolen records. Noelie’s sheer determination to uncover the truth pushes him and his friends into danger in this political, you can’t help but want to dig deeper with him. A brilliant start to the Solidarity Books Trilogy.

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle is from Cork and works as a writer and creative writing teacher. He has been published in many literary journals, including Stinging Fly, The Cork Review, Southwords and the Cúirt Journal. He is the winner of a string of awards, including the Tipperary Short Story Award (1998) – first; Over The Edge New Writer Of The Year – Shortlist; Hennessy Literary Awards (2011) – Shortlist; Seán Ó Faoláin Prize (2013) – Runner up; Michael McLaverty Short Story Award (2016) – Winner. In 2018 he published his first novel.