Kate Hamblin Series: Book 6 – Death on the Levels #Bookreview #crimefiction #detective #detectiveseries @joffebooks

Day 6 and the final day of my Detective Kate Hamblin blogs and today it is Book 6: DEATH ON THE LEVELS

DISCOVER A BREATH-TAKING SERIES OF MYSTERIES THAT YOU WON’T WANT TO PUT DOWN

Death on the Levels (Kate Hamblin #5)

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A PSYCHOTIC SERIAL KILLER TARGETING OLDER WOMEN: THE AUNTIE KILLER.

An eccentric letter arrives at the police station from a man threatening to kill his aunts. Detective Kate and her colleagues don’t take it seriously.

But an elderly woman is found strangled in her home. “RIP Auntie” is written on the floor in red lipstick.
Then another older woman is murdered.

With a major police manhunt underway, it becomes clear that they are up against a very dangerous serial killer, who is engaged in some kind of personal vendetta. An adversary who will not stop until he has achieved what he set out to do. 

But as she tries to get into the mind of the perpetrator, she finds he’s something of a chameleon and always seems to be one step ahead of the police — and this is not the only problem she has to deal with. She finds herself at odds with her boss over what she perceives as a crucial link between their man and a now derelict orphanage.

And another victim will die if Kate can’t track down the killer. 

Whose aunt will pay the ultimate price next?

My Review

A letter is received from George explaining that he is going to murder his Aunts.  Is it a hoax or intention to murder?  Kate thinks the former whereas her DI thinks not.  Roscoe is soon to be proven wrong which won’t help his mood and having another woman DCI to report to, one that he had issues with in a previous case, is unlikely to help his bad mood.
 
It soon becomes clear that the letter is definitely not a hoax as a woman’s body is found.  Now there is the problem of finding out who George is before he finds his next victim.
 
This is a very gripping story filled with danger and twists and turns.  Kate has sympathy for George and I agreed with her.  This is an horrific story of the abuse of a young child who dared to be different.  Religion and closed minds result in a very damaged individual who has been shunted from one institution to another all his life all these institutions having one thing in common:  he suffered abuse while under their ‘care’.
 
Kate has personal problems and this is distracting her to the extent that she puts herself in danger more than once.  Can she keep her mind on the job and solve the case or will her problems put her in a situation that she can’t escape?
 
Another brilliant addition to this series.  Twists, turns and curve balls intertwine to make this an adrenaline pumping read I found impossible to put down.
 
5 stars from me.

Kate Hamblin Series: Book 5 – Secrets on the Levels #Bookreview #crimefiction #detective #detectiveseries @joffebooks

Day 5 of my Detective Kate Hamblin blogs and today it is Book 5: SECRETS ON THE LEVELS

DISCOVER A BREATH-TAKING SERIES OF MYSTERIES THAT YOU WON’T WANT TO PUT DOWN

Secrets on the Levels (Kate Hamblin #5)

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Detective Kate believes that her own number is up when she finds herself staring at the wrong end of a double-barrelled shotgun on a sodden stretch of Somerset marshland. 

She’s on the trail of villain Lenny Stallard who has just broken out of prison. He was serving time for the murder of the elderly wife of a colonel during a robbery at their country residence near Bridgwater. 

Kate might have been taken off the case but the surprises are not over yet. And she never gives up in her quest for the truth.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AS DEADLY SECRETS

My Review

I am a big fan of detective series especially ones that take advantage of the area in which they are set.  I have really enjoyed this series by David Hodges.  Set on the Somerset Levels it takes advantage of the wetlands and mysteries that make up the area.
 
So here we are:  book 5 and I have loved every single book and each has gotten better and better.  Secrets on the Levels is by far the best though. 
 
Kate and Hayden continue to bring a touch of humour to the book along with the miserable, chain smoking Roscoe.  The characters have all grown in depth and complexity as the series progresses with additional characters coming and going to add interest to the stories.
 
The plot is excellent it begins as a standard plot, a murderer escapes from prison and sets out to seek revenge on the people who put him there.  But did he actually murder anyone?  At first I was of the mind that he was just another murderer protesting innocence but as the story progressed I began to question myself.  But if it wasn’t the escapee why were people connected to the case being murdered?  The truth is shocking and makes for a story full of many massive curve balls with adrenaline pumping suspense.
 
This  is a brilliant read well worth the 5 stars and I am hoping there are many more stories to come.

Kate Hamblin Series: Book 4 – Killer on the Levels #Bookreview #crimefiction #detective #detectiveseries @joffebooks

Day 4 of my Detective Kate Hamblin blogs and today it is Book 4: KILLER ON THE LEVELS

Killer on the Levels (Kate Hamblin #4)

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THE TOUGHEST CASE OF KATE’S CAREER

Missing journalist Ellie Landy is found in the River Parrett by a news crew covering the worst floods the Somerset Levels have suffered in living memory.

A paperback is found by the woman’s bed with a mysterious inscription mentioning “Sandman” and a time of day.

Police assume it is an accidental drowning. Kate disobeys orders from the top and probes the death, as she suspects this was no accident.

When another woman dies in suspicious circumstances, Kate finds herself drawn ever deeper into a nightmare of murder, treachery and perversion.

SHE WILL RISK EVERYTHING TO STOP A SERIAL KILLER, BEFORE THE SANDMAN PUTS ANYONE ELSE TO SLEEP.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AS SANDMAN

My Review

This is book 4 in the Kate Hamblin series. 
 
The Somerset levels have been subject to abnormal weather, the worst for 250 years, and there is a lot of flooding with Fields and hedgerows hidden underwater it is a difficult time for everyone.  Young journalist Ellie is stranded at Lowmoor having travelled there by boat but now has no way of getting back and is being hunted down.
 
Married to Hayden Kate has her work cut out.  While she is a dedicated police officer her husband is laid back verging on lazy.  An attempt to cover for the fact that he overslept comes back to bite her when the missing person he is supposedly investigating is found floating in the River Parrett.  Kate suspects murder but her superiors always looking at the budgets order her to leave it as accidental drowning.  Kates instinct is usually spot on and she is right this time as becomes clear when the pathology reports come in.
 
What had Ellie stumbled upon that got her killed?  As Kate and Hayden continue to investigate on the quiet they soon find themselves getting tangled up in the dark grimy world of drugs.
 
This is a gripping page turner as we follow Kate into a world of lies, corruption and danger.  Another great addition to a brilliant detective series.

Kate Hamblin Series: Book 3 – Fear on the Levels #Bookreview #crimefiction #detective #detectiveseries @joffebooks

Day 3 of my Detective Kate Hamblin blogs and today it is Book 2: FEAR ON THE LEVELS

Fear on the Levels (Kate Hamblin #2)

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Kate returns from a disastrous honeymoon, only to be plunged into a macabre murder investigation.

A teenage girl last seen leaving a party at the height of a local scarecrow festival is found strangled and partially stripped in her own barn.

The gruesome crime is an exact copy of the 150-year old murder of peasant girl, Martha Tinney, alleged by superstitious locals to have been committed by a spectral scarecrow, nicknamed Strawfoot.

Kate and her colleagues desperately try to track down the copycat killer, it becomes apparent that he has no intention of stopping at just one murder, and now, he’s developed an unhealthy interest in Kate herself…

A RACE AGAINST TIME TO STOP AN EVIL MURDERER WITH ECHOES OF THE PAST

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AS STRAWFOOT

My Review

I do like a thriller that takes advantage of the mysteries and superstitions of the area in which it is set and the author has done that excellently with this book.
 
Kate is still recovering from her experiences at the hands of Twister.  Her new husband is in hospital following an accident while they were on honeymoon.  She is still a little fragile when a young woman is found strangled in a barn. 
 
Further investigations reveal that the murder is a replica of one 150 years ago.  How can that be?  As Kate delves into the history of the area more murders are committed with the same MO.
 
With no clues and Detective Ansell back waiting for her to fail Kate is really up against it.  When Roscoe becomes focussed on ‘the one that got away’ several years ago and no leads will the team manage to solve this one or will it remain another unsolved murder along with the 150 year old one.
 
This is a very intriguing read with a lot of unlikely suspects and no motives or link between the victims.  The suspense builds throughout the book all the way to the end.  A very gripping read.

Kate Hamblin Series: Book 2 – Revenge on the Levels #Bookreview #crimefiction #detective #detectiveseries @joffebooks

Day 2 of my Detective Kate Hamblin blogs and today it is Book 2: REVENGE ON THE LEVELS

Revenge on the Levels (Kate Hamblin #2)

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TWISTER IS BACK AND HE WANTS REVENGE.

Two years ago psychotic undertaker Larry “Twister” Wadman disappeared after blasting two police detectives to death with an incendiary device and embarking on a murderous rampage across the Somerset Levels.

For most, memories have dulled, but the sole survivor of the carnage, Detective Kate Hamblin, cannot forget.

Then a prostitute’s body is found dumped in a coffin in Twister’s now derelict funeral parlor, dressed in a police uniform. 

Kate realizes that her old enemy is back, and out to get her.

A massive murder hunt is launched and it becomes evident that the deranged killer is in no hurry to make his move. He wants to have some fun first — and Twister’s idea of fun is the last thing Kate or any sane person would wish for.

A RACE AGAINST TIME TO STOP A PSYCHOTIC KILLER WITH A VENDETTA AGAINST HER.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AS REQUIEM

My Review

This is book 2 in the ‘Levels’ series it should work as stand-alone but I think you would be better reading book 1 first.
 
Kate Hamblin .is picking up the pieces of her life after Twister tried many times to kill her.  A call comes in of a break in at the funeral directors which was Twisters home.  What they found there shocks Kate to her very core.  Twister is back to finish what he started Kate’s life is in danger again.
 
The characters continue to develop and new ones are introduced following the retirement of Callow.  Sharpe takes more of a main part in this book as we learn what a slimey trouble causer he is.
 
As the team try to track down Twister a psychologist is brought in to profile the killer and help the police.
 
Relationships under pressure, dead ends and twists and turns kept the pages turning.
 
I did work out who Twister was early on but I had to keep reading to see if I was right.  There were several parts that didn’t quite work for me but overall it was a very good read.

Kate Hamblin Series: Book 1 – Murder on the Levels #Bookreview #crimefiction #detective #detectiveseries @joffebooks

Over the next 6 days I will be sharing my reviews of the Kate Hamblin series by David Hodges. This is a detective series that Joffe Books are republishing. It is set on the Somerset Levels and the author has made excellent use of the area for this series. I will feature each book in sequence. Today it is book 1: Murder on the Levels.

Murder on the Levels (Kate Hamblin #1)

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Detective Kate Hamblin is doing surveillance on the Somerset Levels, trying to catch a crazed arsonist. She leaves the van for a moment. Then it goes up in flames, killing her two colleagues.

Kate is accused of abandoning them and is excluded from the murder hunt and effectively suspended from duty.

She is desperate to nail the killer herself and clear her name. She risks all by entering into an unholy alliance with the murder team’s chief suspect.

Kate finds herself not only targeted in a personal vendetta by her own DCI, but stalked by the very killer she is pursuing .

A VICIOUS CRIMINAL NAMED TWISTER WITH AN AGENDA OF SLAUGHTER

Can Kate catch the killer before he takes out the only witness? And will her career go up in flames before it’s even really started?

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AS FIRETRAP

My Review

David Hodges is a new author to me but I was intrigued to read this series set on the Somerset Levels.
 
The story kicks off with a bang and the suspense builds from page 1 all the way to the very end.  There are many twists and turns along the way and a massive helping of intrigue.  Never in a million years would I have worked out who was behind all the action.
 
Kate Hamblin: a detective who got on the wrong side of her DCI: Roz Callow.  Then she escapes with her life while 2 colleagues didn’t and although she had to run for her life she still ended up being held accountable and more or less suspended.
 
Kate is a feisty young woman who won’t lie down and die for anyone.  Finding out that her superiors suspect Duval and wont be persuaded to consider other options Kate decides she needs to uncover the truth and thereby her innocence herself.
 
This is a fast paced, adrenaline pumping read with well defined characters.  The author brings his knowledge of the Police Force and the Somerset Levels area into the book with skill and expertise to enable the reader to envisage the scenes and area without being subjected to big chunks of descriptive text.
 
There are several aspects of the story that are totally unique and the twists and turns added to the intrigue kept the pages turning… And turning all the way to the jaw dropping ending.
 
A brilliant read I am already downloading book 2.

BLOG TOUR – Nowhere to Hide (Inspector Drake #7) by Stephen Puleston #mystery #detective #crimefiction @stephenpuleston

Today is my turn on the Blog Tour for NOWHERE TO HIDE by Stephen Puleston.  This is book 7 in the brilliant Inspector Drake series.  The series gets better book by book and this one will not disappoint it is a gripping page turner full of twists and turns.

Nowhere to Hide coverNowhere to Hide (Inspector Drake #7) by Stephen Puleston

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Goodreads link

A murdered mother… A failing police force…A detective looking for justice.

When drug addict Dawn Piper is found dead in her own home, her neighbours are far from surprised. Dawn’s habit led her to mix with some dangerous people. But this quiet mother of one was small fry …would anyone want Dawn dead?

Inspector Drake knows there is more to Dawn’s murder than a simple drug deal gone wrong. As he digs deeper, he discovers that Dawn hoped to clean up the streets of her community that are being overrun by drugs and the dangerous County Lines gangs that sell them. And it cost her her life. Have the police force failed the community they serve?

Drake is used to the murky world of organised crime groups. He knows the dirty games they play to evade arrest. But in his toughest case to date Drake is determined to make the guilty pay.

This time, they will have nowhere to hide”


My Review

Inspector Drake is back and this time he is out to obtain justice for the people society has let down.

The body of a young woman is found in her home but that is not where she was killed.  Drake and his team have the difficult task of finding out why she was murdered and who killed her.  As an ex addict (or is she) she has mixed with the underworld of drugs and violence but even so a life has been lost and a young boy motherless so Drake is determined to get answers.  2 other girls go missing while in the care of the state.  Are the 2 cases linked or separate?  Either way Drake will see justice is done.

Drake has struggled with life.  He has serious OCD and has worked to keep it under control but it cost him his marriage.  But now he has Annie and in addition to a very demanding job he is working hard to make the relationship work.  He also has to cope with upcoming changes at work as the superior officer he has developed an effective relationship with moves on Drake has to start again with somebody new.

As the team dive in to the investigation Drake finds that someone is out to scare him off.  As the people who he cares about are put at risk can he unravel the clues before someone gets seriously hurt?

This is a steady paced mystery that gets into the nitty gritty of detective work.  We follow the team in looking for clues where there are very few and round many twists and turns making it a very engaging read that is perfect for police procedural fans.


Biography

I write crime fiction based in Wales and about Wales. The rural landscape of north Wales provides the backdrop to the Inspector Drake novels. And Cardiff the capital of Wales provides the setting for the Inspector Marco novels set in a modern urban environment.

I love the novels of Raymond Chandler, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Henning Mankell, Val McDermid – the list could go on! And I enjoy watching detective series on the television the recent Hinterland series based near Aberystwyth in Wales was great. One of my favourites is the French series Spiral but The Bridge and Broadchurch and the Rebus series with Ken Stott and Kenneth Branagh in Wallander are great too.

I have been on writing courses at the Welsh Writers Centre in Llanystymdwy, North Wales tutored by Matt Whyman and Marcus Sedgwick as well as crime writing courses with Peter Robinson and Andrew Taylor at the Scottish Writers centre.

I was born in Anglesey an island off the north Wales coast and after leaving school in Holyhead I went to University in London before training as a solicitor/lawyer. I practised in a small family business doing criminal work in the magistrates and crown courts, divorce and family work.

I still live on Anglesey, North Wales near the beach and the mountains of Snowdonia

LINKS

Website: http://www.stephenpuleston.co.uk

Twitter: @stephenpuleston

Facebook:

BLOG TOUR WRAP UP – Darkness on the Fens (Nikki Galena #10) by Joy Ellis #Nikkigalena #crimefiction #detective #blogtour @joffebooks

Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who helped with the Launch of DARKNESS ON THE FENS by Joy Ellis.  Another #1 bestseller and that is the result of you guys freely giving your time and expertise to help promote it.  THANK YOU xx

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What the bloggers and reviewers thought:

Joanna Larum’s Reviews

As is usual in Joy Ellis’ novels, the story grabs hold of the reader and won’t let go. Work and food are off the menu until the reader reaches the last page and then there is the dreadful disappointment of knowing that the book is finished and that the reader will have to wait for the next book. Read more here

Linda Strong Book Reviews

As usual with small villages, the residents are, in turn, quirky, secretive except when they aren’t, and on the whole, lends not only credibility to the story, but some humor as well. There are plenty of suspects and twists and turns that lead to an incredible ending.  Read more here

Nicki’s book blog

I love this series. There is always an excellent plot line to keep you guessing and turning the pages, but for me it is the depth and warmth of the characters that Joy writes so well. Read more here

Herding Cats

Guest Post: Nikki Galena by Joy Ellis 

The Word is Out

This story is full of the wonderful characters that have grown to be so popular as the series has progressed and much of this is due to how warm and human they are. The plot is clever and beautifully plotted, and draws the reader through a dark trail of clues and suspects to the final exciting chapters as the culprit is revealed in an ending that still has a few surprises.

Ginger Book Geek

As soon as I began to read, I felt as though I had been reunited with old friends in the shape of Nikki and her team and I even felt as though I was an invisible and extra member of Nikki’s team. Read more

Sharon Rimmelzwaan

It has everything needed to build the story and keep me reading anyway. The writing is fantastic and you feel like you actually are in the middle of the investigations going on around you! A must read for me! Read more here

Loopy Laura

I enjoyed the mix of historical detail, professional police work and personal relationships that the book contained. Joy Ellis uses a lot of dialogue to forward the plot developments rather than long descriptions: this has the effect of making the characters more prominent and developed. Read more here

Black Books Blog

Throughout the book there are lots of tantalising clues as to who is doing it, but also lots of little red herrings, making it tricky to work out exactly what is happening. This book did drag slightly in places, but overall I was hooked as I loved the book and couldn’t wait to get to the conclusion and find out who was doing it.  Read more here


DARKNESS ON THE FENS publish.jpgDarkness on the Fens (Nikki Galena #10) by Joy Ellis

Available from AMAZON

Do you love addictive detective mysteries? Then try this book by a multiple #1 best-selling author now. You won’t be able to put it down. It’s a totally enthralling read.

A SERIAL KILLER ON A POISONOUS MISSION PUSHES NIKKI AND HER TEAM TO BREAKING POINT

Revellers are flocking into Greenborough for the yearly Dark Greenborough Festival, a three-day event celebrating local folklore, superstition and the darker side of life.

What the public doesn’t know is that there has been a warning sent to the police, saying that Greenborough will be a very dangerous place this year. The anonymous letter ends with the Latin phrase, Mors certa, hora incerta: Death is certain, the hour uncertain.

DI Nikki Galena and her team soon discover this is no hoax, as people start dying from what appears to be alcoholic poisoning. Things rapidly escalate, and as the deaths get more horrific, Nikki realises they have a serial killer in their midst.

A NIGHTMARE HUNT FOR A KILLER DURING THEIR BUSIEST TIME OF THE YEAR.

Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the heart-stopping ending.

This is book ten of the international best-selling books featuring Nikki Galena.

THE DETECTIVE
DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she’s seen a girl die in her arms and her own family destroyed. She’s tough on criminals but fiercely loyal to her team.

HER PARTNER
DS Joseph Easter is the squeaky-clean member of the team. But his nickname “Holy Joe” belies his former life as a soldier. He has a daughter and an ex-wife who wants his attention.

THE SETTING
The Lincolnshire Fens: great open skies brood over marshes, farmland, and nature reserves. It is not easy terrain for the Fenland Constabulary to police, due to the distances between some of the remote fen villages, the dangerous and often misty lanes, and the poor telephone coverage. There are still villages where the oldest residents have never set foot outside their own farmland and a visit to the nearest town is a major event. But it has a strange airy beauty to it, and above it all are the biggest skies you’ve ever seen.

DISCOVER YOUR NEXT FAVOURITE MYSTERY SERIES NOW


My Review

Ahhh book 10.  Settling down to read a Nikki Galena book is like having a catch up with a dear friend.

The character is sheer brilliance, feisty, caring, resourceful and unique.  I have read all this series (well I have read every book Joy Ellis has written) and thought I knew all there was to know about Nikki but while reading this I realised the character still has plenty more to give.

Her partner, Joseph Easton, is the perfect balance to Nikki.  He is calm, rational and sensitive.  But, like with Nikki, there is more to learn about his character.  Emotionally damaged by his military past Joseph sometimes has difficulty holding it all together.  His determination to protect the people he loves has no boundaries.

Then there is the story, Dark Greenborough!  The title of this book is probably the most perfect title I have seen in a long time, Darkness on the Fens, it is that alright.  Someone is committing heinous murders.  Victims are suffering agonising deaths and nobody can help just stand there and watch the suffering.  On its own this would be bad enough but it is Dark Greenborough weekend and the area is full of strangers dressed as evil characters from the past.  The perfect cover for a murderer.  Nikki and her team are up against it even with the help of Morgan and Connor the clues are very elusive.  Can this maniac be stopped?

This is a fast-paced, adrenaline pumping read.  Joy Ellis at her very best.  I started turning the pages and couldn’t stop savouring every page and wondering what will happen next all the way to the explosive ending.  WOW!  The best Joy Ellis book yet.  Yes I know I always say that but it is always true this author gets better book by book and I hope she has plenty more to give.

5 Golden stars from me.


Joy Ellis new author photoJOY ELLIS – Author Bio

UK #1 Best Seller with THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS and THE FOURTH FRIEND

Over 1 million books sold!

“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!

And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, and our four Springer spaniels. I had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to take it seriously. Now I write full time, and as my partner is a highly decorated retired police officer; I find I have an in-house consultant on hand to make sure that the police and judicial procedure is correct. She also makes very good tea! I have set my crime thrillers here in the misty fens because I sincerely love the remoteness and airy beauty of the marshlands. This area is steeped in superstitions and lends itself so well to murder!

DARKNESS ON THE FENS publish.jpg

BLOG TOUR: Martha’s Revenge (Chronicles of the Coleman Family #3) by Joanna Larum. #guestpost #bookreview #newrelease #historicalfiction @jolarum

Today it is my pleasure to close off the Blog Tour for MARTHA’S REVENGE by Joanna Larum. I am sharing with you a Guest Review by Penny Buxton.

Martha’s Revenge (Chronicles of the Coleman Family #3) by Joanna Larum

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Martha’s Revenge begins where Martha is pretending to have lost her memory after Dolly attacked her. She is finding playing the ‘angelic younger sister’ a strain but this is compensated by the adrenaline rush that she gets when she murders her next victim, Mrs Browne. This is so addictive she looks out for another victim and settles on Mr Gray, the inoffensive but rather weak printer who made such a mess of her advertising leaflets.

Martha and Daniel’s mother, Edith, falls ill as she pays for all the years she spent working in the damp laundry in the cold and wet. She dies and her husband Bob is devastated, as is Daniel. Martha doesn’t feel anything at the loss of her mother other than irritation at her failure to protect her children from the cruelty of their grandparents.

Georgie hero worships Daniel who rescued him from the work house and has been almost a father figure to him since he came to live in York Street with them. Dolly, a fat and unattractive older woman, was also taken in by Daniel and she adores him for being so kind to her. Her head is stuffed with Irish folk tales which she learnt from her Irish grandmother, as well as the conviction that she can see the kindness or cruelty in other people’s auras. Daniel is the innocent in this, as he believes that Martha has reformed and is the delightful sister he always hoped she was.

Both Georgie and Dolly want to protect Daniel as they know he would be devastated by proof of Martha’s wickedness and they both know that he won’t help them to trap her. When the printer dies, strangled during the night by an ‘unknown’ killer, they realise that they could be next on her list and start to plan how they are going to trap her.

Daniel finds Frank Jackson, a twelve-year-old boy who has an alcoholic mother and younger siblings and has lost his father to the War, who is taken on as a shop boy to help Martha. Frank initially thinks that Martha is a wonderful person but, the more he sees of her behaviour in the shop, the more he realises how wicked and cruel she actually is. He mentions his concerns over Martha’s behaviour to Dolly and she recruits him as a spy in the shop. Martha moves on to another victim, murdering old Mrs Jessop in her own kitchen. Frank is now frightened of Martha and glad that he took his concerns to Dolly.

Lucy Renwick, who Martha blackmailed over her affair with the married David Dundas, has sunk very low in the world. Jobless and living in one room which she can’t afford, she spends her days looking for work, walking up to Normanby every day and then home again, still jobless. Mr Wilfred Chambers owns the manor house which faces Normanby Road and he watches Lucy every day. He has been invalided out of the Army and he wants to open a market garden on the land which surrounds his house, so that he can provide work and wages for those soldiers who have lost limbs to the War, or to the families of those soldiers who gave their lives in service to their country. He goes to the Baptist Chapel one Sunday morning and sees Lucy and offers her the job of housekeeper and overseer of the garden. He has admired the way that she has never given in or up, despite losing everything and wearing out her shoes walking the streets looking for work. She accepts the job and moves into the manor house where she loses her high-handed attitude and is genuinely loved by the garden workers and their families and the staff of the manor house.

Martha writes a letter to Lucy, admitting to being the person who tried to have her framed for burglary in the pawnbroker’s shop. Lucy comes to the shop to see Martha and they make friends – genuine on Lucy’s part but false on Martha’s part. Frank is told to go home but he is frightened of Martha’s mood and reports to Georgie and Dolly. They decide to keep watch on Martha, even if that means taking turns at staying awake all night in order to see what she does.
Martha has been invited to a garden party at the manor house where she decides to make a play for Mr Chambers, but he has eyes only for Lucy.

Meanwhile, Daniel has fallen in love with Bob Prosser’s daughter and is devastated to learn that Bob is also his father. Their relationship is forbidden which plunges Daniel into a deep depression which worries Georgie and Dolly even more. Daniel is oblivious of all that is happening around him as he is so concerned about his love for Grace.

While at the garden party, Martha took the opportunity of taking an impression of the back door key in order to have it copied. Frank, Dolly and Georgie are convinced by Martha’s behaviour that she has planned on killing Lucy as retribution for the times that Lucy was rude to her in Reed’s shop. That night, when Martha sets off to storm the manor house, Georgie and Dolly follow her, unaware that Frank is following all three of them. Martha is also unaware that Mr Chambers has proposed to Lucy, although Lucy has to decline his offer as she is still married to her husband, the one who threw her out when he learnt of her adultery.

Martha reaches Lucy’s bedroom but doesn’t find Lucy as she is in her parlour next door to her bedroom, reliving Mr Chamber’s proposal. A storm arrives and lightning hits the barns which house the tender plants as well as one of them being a dormitory for the workers. Chaos ensues as they all try to extinguish the fires which result from the lightning strike but the water in the pump runs dry and Lucy goes to try and find an old well at the bottom of the manor’s garden. Martha accosts her there, away from anyone else and attempts to strangle her. SPOILER ALERT – Frank pushes Martha down the well and saves Lucy’s life.

Once the fire has been extinguished, Frank explains everything that happened and produces Martha’s suitcase which she had hidden in the garden. She intended killing Lucy and then escaping to London. She has a letter in the suitcase, stamped and addressed to Daniel which Georgie opens. It contains her confession of Lucy’s (and other) murders and explains she is going to move to a city. She has taken all the money she amassed with her blackmailing.

Lucy, Mr Chambers, Georgie and Dolly decide to use the money to rebuild the barns and extend the garden. They tip the detritus from the fires down the well and then seal it, so Martha’s body is never discovered and they all keep the secret of who killed Martha. The rest of the world, including Daniel, believes that Martha has moved to a big city, so no-one misses her.

Also by Joanna Larum:

Chronicles of the Coleman Family

Book 1 – Something Wicked This Way Comes:  Read more here

Book 2 – Martha’s Secrets: Read more here

Book 3 – Martha’s Revenge: Read more here


Guest Review by Penny Buxton

This book is the last in the series after something wicked this way comes & marthas Secrets, it picks up after the end of the 2nd book, Dolly and Georgie grow suspicious of martha’s behaviour as she is pretending to have lost her memory, and Daniel is quite taken in by her innocent appearance on the outside glad that she has changed her ways, as the story progresses you learn more of Martha’s dark side, as with Marthas secrets it sees blackmail and murder, she cannot forget the way she was treated as a child by her abusive grandparents, the story progresses and sees the introduction of Frankie who is rescued by Daniel and without spoiling the story it all comes to a very good ending for the series!

This was an amazing read I had eagerly awaited the next part and was not disappointed with the outcome, it had me turning page after page and the way the characters developed was great, it has some turns in it that shocked me into “wow I did not see that coming!” and came to a head with a brilliant twist, all I will say is it is well worth the wait and is an amazing read. Be aware if you read this it will have you gripped from start to finish, absolutely brilliant!

Penny Buxton


Author Bio

I only went to school to learn to read. At age 6, I decided I COULD read and promptly left, by the school gate, the same gate which my mother marched me back through 10 minutes later. So I had to spend the next 12 years at school, learning lots of different things, none of which lived up to the excitement of reading. Wanting to be a writer was a natural progression, because there is nothing as exciting as inventing the story yourself. But it’s taken over 50 years before I dared to present my stories for other people to read. So, here they are! I’ll just creep behind the sofa.

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