Bitter Flowers Blog Tour

PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when three complex crimes land on his desk.

A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool. A young woman has gone missing. Most chillingly, Veum is asked to investigate the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a little girl, who was never found.

As the threads of these three apparently unrelated cases come together, against the backdrop of a series of shocking environmental crimes, Veum faces the most challenging, traumatic investigation of his career.

A stunning, sophisticated, tension-packed thriller – the darkest of hardboiled Nordic Noir – from one of Norway’s most acclaimed crime writers.

Bitter Flowers is published in just a few day on 21st January by Orenda Books.

Fresh from rehab, Norwegian PI Varg Veum faces his most complex investigation yet, when a man is found drowned, a young woman disappears, and the case of a missing child is revived. The classic Nordic Noir series continues…

‘As searing and gripping as they come’ New York Times

‘One of my very favourite Scandinavian authors’ Ian Rankin

‘The Norwegian Chandler’ Jo Nesbø

***Now a major TV series starring Trond Espen Seim***

body of water near rock mountain under cloudy skies

So many reviewers have commented on the way that Bitter Flowers has absolutely blown them away – and that is exactly right. It’s got touches of so many of my favourite genres: it’s set in Norway, so it’s got many of the chillingly atmospheric details that I love as well as a character like Varg, who is sure to become one of your stand-out investigators if you haven’t met him already. Add all of that together and consider the fact that it also features a cold case – and I was absolutely sold, right from the get-go…

multicolored village wallpaper

Varg is someone that you won’t easily forget and I quickly became caught up in this new, post-rehab era of his story. He’s a character with strong principles as well as his very visible flaws, and I got completely drawn into his story all the more because of his complexities and challenges. He is a driven and intelligent man who will let nothing stand in the way of trying to establish what is behind the present-day deaths, and the long neglected cold case and I was absolutely gripped by his dogged determination to work through the twists and turns of this interwoven tale and get to the heart of the matter.

aerial photography of houses between body of water at daytime

The fact that some of the interwoven strands of this mystery are not quite as clear cut as you might wish added a disturbing, dark, and addictive element to this novel that was satisfyingly chilling and definitely not for the faint-hearted. Through the mystery, we get insights into wider societal themes such as alcohol abuse, environmental crimes, and the impact of trauma, which I thought added real depth to this novel and made it stand out head and shoulders above your more run of the mill ‘missing persons’ mysteries and gave it a really atmospheric feel that added to its addictive nature.

red and white wooden house in front of body of water

Many novels in this genre are all about composing the twists and turns of the plot and can display a real disregard for the writing itself. Not so Gunnar Staaalesen, expertly and beautifully translated by Don Bartlett: his writing is evocative and vivid showing a real talent for transporting you to the beautiful nordic landscapes as well as the grittier side of the investigations. The sections of the novel which describe the emerging relationship between Varg and Siv was stunningly well written and really stood out in the middle of the investigations as being both credible and very moving.

body of water surrounded mountain peak

The sure touch that Gunnar Staalesen brings to the Nordic noir genre makes for a satisfying, gripping and addictive read that drew me in completely. I can’t wait for Mr OnTheShelf to finish reading it so we can go for a long walk and talk our way through the twists and turns of this tale as I found its unique atmosphere and added human element to be absolutely gripping. The fact that he’s also engrossed speaks volumes as he’s not generally a fiction reader and Bitter Flowers really has him as engrossed as I was.

Norway flag standing on cliff

I have absolutely no doubt that in Varg I’ve found a new protagonist that I’ll be telling absolutely everyone about and I’ll definitely be looking out for the rest of his adventures. Bitter Flowers was the perfect blend of strong characterisation and cracking plot and the quality of writing made it hard to put down. Particular mention to the translator Don Bartlett who fully evokes the wonderful country it’s set in and makes me want to visit more than ever

brown wooden house on lake near green mountains under white clouds and blue sky during daytime

#TeamOrenda have rounded up a series of amazing bloggers for this novel and I’m honoured to be part of Anne Cater’s tour Check out the #BlogTour poster to see who else is creating the buzz around Bitter Flowers.

Make sure that you order your own copy and find out how much you didn’t know about Nordic noir for yourself…

Writer On The Shelf

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies.

Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour). Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sister was shortlisted for the award in 2019. He lives with his wife in Bergen.

The German Wife

The German Wife Blogtour

Germany, 1939: Annaliese is a doctor’s wife, living in an elegant grey stone house with ivy creeping over the balcony. But when her husband is ordered to work at the Dachau labour camp, her ordinary life is turned upside down by the horrors of war. And Annaliese finds herself in grave danger when she dares to fight for love and freedom…

America, 1989: Turning the pages of the newspaper, Annaliese gasps when she recognizes the face of a man she thought she’d never see again. It makes her heart skip a beat as a rush of wartime memories come back to her. As she reads on, she realizes the past is catching up with her. She must confront a decades-old secret – or risk losing everything…

Germany, 1942:Annaliese’s marriage is beginning to crumble. Her husband, Hans, has grown cold and secretive since starting his new job as a doctor at Dachau. When a tall, handsome Russian prisoner named Alexander is sent from the camp to work in their garden, lonely Annaliese finds herself drawn to him as they tend to the plants together. In snatched moments and broken whispers, Alexander tells her the truth about the shocking conditions at the camp. Horrified, Annaliese vows to do everything she can to save him.

But as they grow closer, their feelings for each other put them both in terrible danger. And when Annaliese falls pregnant she has to make an impossible decision between protecting herself and saving the love of her life…

Inspired by a true story, this is a heart-stopping, unforgettable tale of ordinary people fighting for survival in the darkest of times. Fans of Orphan TrainThe Tattooist of Auschwitz and My Name is Eva will be utterly gripped by this beautiful, tragic, World War Two novel.

The German Wife  is one of the most humbling and devastating books I’ve ever read and I’m so grateful to have been invited onto the blog tour to learn from Annaliese’s incredible story of resilience and survival. It allows us a real insight into the many thousands of people across the world who lost everything,  fled their homes, and went through unimaginable suffering at the hands of the Nazis. The fact that there has been a swathe of Auschwitz books of late should not deter you from picking this up – it’s by far the best one I’ve read in the last few years and really stands out through the strong narrative voice, guiding you through this devastating period of time with grace and dignity. I didn’t know much about the Dachau before reading this book and I think that this book reinforces the fact that we must keep talking about these things if we wish to ensure that it never happens again.

open gray wooden door

This unforgettable and affecting read allows us an unforgettable insight into the lives of these characters, whilst we see at close hand the devastating impact of the Holocaust from the perspective of the people who lived it. This period is brought vividly to life as a place full of people just trying to survive as Annaliese travels back in her memories to this time of turbulence and personal change in the face of human brutality and evil in a place like Dachau.

metal bar

The characters in this compelling read spring to life from the page and remain in your heart long after you’ve finished–  it’s impossible to close the final page of this book and not feel a strong connection to them and a real sense of having bourne witness to the fates of the many hundreds of people at Dachau who did not survive it to tell their story. I was painfully aware all the time I was reading it that Annalise’s story is one voice out of the many thousands of women who lived during this time on the periphery of evil – and I could not stop thinking about those who did survive but sometimes wished that they hadn’t.

The difficult and challenging thing whilst you are reading a book such as this is that it is packed full of real stories of suffering and human endurance that are still happening in some places across the world.  The power of the narrative with its simple lyrical words to convey such powerful truths is an important part of why this novel has stuck with me and why I really think that you should read it too. The book is published more than 75 years after these camps’ liberation, but even though all of this time has passed, these characters are very much still alive in my mind and I can’t forget their story. Those of you who read my blog know that I often go off and do my research after reading a book I’ve absolutely loved and I was fascinated to read about this tale and discover some more shocking details of what went on in this camp and some more stories about people who survived– Read about it here

pile of assorted-color leather shoes

This is an important read and I can’t recommend it highly enough. A powerful insight into the strength of love, suffering and the lengths we will go to to protect the things that are most important to us. This is not an easy read, but it’s a very important one and it’s one that I unreservedly recommend. I will definitely try and use some of it in school when we are teaching The Holocaust. I am so grateful that I got the chance to read it and have really learned a lot from Annaliese’s honest, heartfelt and moving narrative.

Buy yourself a copy here and make sure that you follow the rest of the tour to hear the thoughts of the other bloggers on this Tour.

Writer On The Shelf

Debbie Rix has had a long career in journalism, including working as a presenter for the BBC. Her first novel, The Girl with Emerald Eyes was set around the building of the tower of Pisa and she has since released Daughters of the Silk Road and The Silk Weaver’s Wife. Debbie writes heartbreaking historical novels about love, tragedy and secrets.

The Italian Island

My darling girl, don’t make the same mistakes as I did. Now that my life is coming to an end, take your grandmother’s bracelet, unlock the secret of our family history, and discover who you are…

As the hazy sun sets on golden sand, twenty-year-old Annie arrives on the stunning Sicilian island of Galatea, her father’s final wish playing heavy on her heart: she must solve the mystery of her grandmother who disappeared during World War Two. Her only clues are the delicate gold band around her wrist and directions to Villa Onda – House of the Waves – where her grandmother once lived.

As she climbs the winding road up to the cliffside villa, Annie’s path collides with handsome local fisherman, Salvo. His sea-blue eyes sparkle with recognition at her bracelet, and Annie can’t tell if it’s his warm touch or the sun-kissed villa’s vine-covered splendour that takes her breath away. Swept into the warm arms of Salvo’s family, it’s not long before she finds herself dancing the night away in the cobbled piazza and finally beginning to heal.

But one afternoon she finds an antique gramophone hidden beneath a dusty sheet in her grandmother’s bedroom. Setting the needle, she unlocks a long-buried secret… And, through Salvo’s mother, starts to unravel the truth about the bracelet and her grandmother’s heart-shattering wartime sacrifice.

With Salvo’s first kiss lingering on her lips, Annie knows she must dig deeper into the scars that haunt this beautiful island. But can her fragile new-found love with Salvo survive uncovering the truth? Will she ever be able to move on with her life until she does?

An absolutely heart-wrenching page-turner about how the catastrophic consequences of war can echo through generations, and the power that true love has to save us all.

From the author of million-copy bestseller, Watch Over Me, and Amazon Number 1. bestseller, The Italian Villa, this is the perfect one-sitting read for anyone who adores Fiona Valpy, Victoria Hislop, or The Letter by Kathryn Hughes.

photo of house near cliff and body of water

If you love a historical epic, then The Italian Island might be your new favourite read. I love books that carry me across time, weaving skilfully between the past and the present and Daniela Sacerdoti manages this superbly, leading us with Annie between the end of the war and her modern-day exploration of her family history with consummate ease

concrete house on cliff

I love books that transport me in time and place and I read this during the chilly winter break– totally losing myself in balmy Galatea as Sacerdoti’s fantastic sense of place is so deftly realised in this immersive read.

high-angle photography of blue beach

But even beautiful Sicily is no refuge from the past and now in the present day, Annie has to face up to secrets from the past that begin to raise their head once she starts to explore her family history. This book is set in two very diverting periods and I felt that they were both drawn with equal attention to detail and I happily moved between them in the novel.  I really enjoy it when books let me see historical periods through the eyes of the same characters and the fact that we see Annie’s family through life from several different perspectives was fascinating and really kept me engrossed.

landscape photography of concrete structures on top of mountain

The Italian island opens with Annie fulfilling her father’s last wish by travelling to Italy to try and uncover the truth behind the disappearance of his mother all those years ago.   But as Annie discovers, sometimes the past refuses to be neatly laid to rest. Each of the succeeding episodes in the novel drip freed us more information about  what might have happened in the past, at the same time as she begins to fall in love with the people as well as the location of her family’s roots.  This narrative form was very more-ish and several nights kept me up much later than I’d intended with a real sense of ‘just one more chapter…’

gray concrete building during daytime

The strong plotting and skilful characterisation combine to draw you into a story bursting with secrets and the stunningly evocative setting – where you could swear that you can hear the Mediterranean beating off the shore all combine to keep you turning the pages. I really liked the way that we are left to discover things for ourselves and the novel credits the reader with a bit of intelligence, rather than spelling everything out straight away as we follow events to their moving conclusion. It’s hard to write about The Italian Island with no spoilers, but I’ve tried really hard as this is a book that you really need to experience for yourself.

clothes hanged on clothesline

If you like a historical saga,  you’ll love this book and I know that my mum’s definitely going to be pinching it from me for her holidays. I’d like to thank Sarah Hardy at Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a fantastically enticing read that will be hard to tear yourself away from once you get started.

Buy yourself a copy here

Writer On The Shelf

Image of author Daniela Sacerdoti

Daniela was born and raised in Italy. She studied Classics, then lived in Scotland for fourteen years, where she married and taught in a primary school.

She writes beautiful, haunting and bestselling fiction for adults (the Glen Avich series), young adults (the Sarah Midnight trilogy) and children. Her novels have been translated in twelve languages.

Her debut novel Watch Over Me was named the eighth bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015, when she was also ranked as the eleventh top-selling Kindle author.

She lives in a small village in the middle of nowhere, with her Scottish husband and family.

Daniela’s Website

Daniela on Twitter

The Visitors Caroline Scott

Esme Nicholls is to spend the summer in Cornwall. Her late husband Alec, who died fighting in the war, grew up in Penzance, and she’s hoping to learn more about the man she loved and lost.

While there, she will stay with Gilbert, in his rambling seaside house, where he lives with his former brothers in arms. Esme is fascinated by this community of eccentric artists and former soldiers, and as she gets to know the men and their stories, she begins to feel this summer might be exactly what she needs.

But everything is not as idyllic as it seems – a mysterious new arrival later in the summer will turn Esme’s world upside down, and make her question everything she thought she knew about her life, and the people in it.
Full of light, laughter and larger-than-life characters, The Visitors is a novel of one woman finally finding her voice and choosing her own path forwards.

I adored Caroline’s last two books as they contain so many of my favourite aspects of a satisfying read: they have plenty of real-life events woven through them and readers of my column know that I often go off to try and find out as much as possible about the people living at the time of characters that I’ve fallen in love with after finishing a book I’ve loved, as I get so caught up in the story. When I Come Home Again was just as satisfying and beautifully written as The Photographer of the Lost and I was so excited when The Visitors dropped through my letterbox as I was looking for another wonderfully immersive period read. I can assure you that I was not disappointed and I think it is now actually my favourite book out of the three – but more on that below!

The Visitors

Caroline Scott’s latest novel just proves that she is one of my absolute favourites in historical fiction for me with a nuance and elegance to her writing that is extremely hard to find elsewhere. This is another heartwrenchingly emotional and beautiful read with every element of it and its depiction of loss, sacrifice and grief absolutely pitch-perfect. I absolutely loved hearing about Esperance and found myself visiting it alongside Esme and getting to know the stories of its inhabitants as we uncover her own. Perhaps the fact that I read it at a time where we at school were remembering the stories of our own fallen which made it an extra poignant read for me but at times I felt overwhelmed with emotional all the stories of the boys who came home, yet sometimes wished they lay in France with their fallen brothers…

red poppy flower

The Visitors is a beautifully evocative and heartbreaking read at times, it is written in such a skilful way that allows Caroline Scott to deploy all of her historical research without ever losing sight of the fact that in a novel we have to care about the characters that we are reading about and we never falter for a second in this regard.  I am lost in admiration for her skill in bringing this period to life so authentically and making us feel like we are these right alongside them– Esme’s story is impossible not to get emotionally caught up in and I even dreamed about Esperance, I was so immersed in this story. The fact that you know that Caroline Scott has based this all on her impeccable research into this period in history makes it all the more poignant and I am desperate for our book group to start up again next year as I think that this would make for the perfect read to get us all engaged, talking and caught up in the sorrow, loss and heartbreak of this tale as we hear from Esme and Rory whose tales intertwine and lead us through the multi-faceted idea of loss as it existed in Britain after the war had ceased – but still hadn’t ended for so many soldiers, families and loved ones.

I absolutely love it when my own world and the world of a book that I am reading with collide.   It was amazing to read Esme’s story when we have been looking at the women in my school’s history that sent their husbands off to be killed in the Boer War and then found themselves in the heartbreaking situation of having their sons come of age at the onset of WW1 and many of them losing them too. The story of how the war affected everyone, not just the soldiers who fought in it is a very important one and one that really captured my imagination and my emotions as I read it.

What Caroline Scott does that affected me so much was never to make me feel like she is using her characters to make a point. Instead, the things that you think about and become moved, upset and saddened by are as a consequence of the story, not the other way round. Her sensitivity and respect for the past are written into the fabric of the text and I absolutely loved every moment of it – this is the very definition of a satisfying read and if you haven’t bought a copy yet, it has to be next on your Winter book shopping list.

If you can, head to your nearest independent bookstore or to their online website and get your hands on a copy as soon as you can. I love Caroline’s writing and can’t stop singing her praises.

It would be an absolutely wonderful gift for someone – I’m sure that they’ll love it just as much as I did. 

If I haven’t convinced you yet, take a look at what these other fantastic fellow bloggers think

Writer On The Shelf

Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on the landscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company. Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France. The Photographer of the Lost was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick.

Twitter: @CScottBooks

Don’t Speak

When a teenage girl is found brutally murdered, DS Amelie Davis struggles to keep her own trauma from clouding the investigation. After suffering years of abuse at the hands of her father, Amelie has only ever trusted one man – her husband Edward.


In the middle of the night, she receives a phone call from an unknown number. The voice at the other end asks:


Suddenly, Amelie fears Edward is not the man she thought she knew. In fact, he might just be the killer she’s been hunting…

As a real fan of an intriguing mystery,  I was definitely seduced by the premise of this book featuring a brutal murder, a missing girl and some shocking revelations – when I discovered that it featured mysterious late-night calls to boot that really sealed the deal for me and it quickly zoomed to the top of my TBR pile. I was delighted to be invited on the tour by the lovely Tracy and Orion Crime and couldn’t wait to see if it was as unsettling as I expected

This book definitely did not disappoint, it pulled me right into the story. I was really intrigued by the premise of the book and wanted to uncover everything that’s going on for Amelie – and where her own life intersects with the mystery.

I absolutely loved the present-day setting of this novel and definitely found the disappearance and the ensuing revelations about Amelie’s own demons that have come back to haunt her. It was intriguing to see which trail of breadcrumbs would prove to be the right one as AJ Park kept me changing my mind from one moment to the next. The fact that each new revelation presents us with fresh clues and small insights into what has happened in the past was a fantastic device and really kept me on my toes as a reader as this novel unfolded

Don't Speak: ‘A master of suspense’ Sophie Hannah by [A. J. Park]

Even though there have been lots of novels this year that focus on people going missing, the writing here ensures that the characters we meet allow this plot to unfold in an original way which makes the story feel fresh and innovative, rather than plowing a familiar furrow. I think that the analogy of a jigsaw puzzle, where you strive to find the missing pieces is an excellent analogy for this book and even the most addicted puzzle solvers will find much to occupy their brains here as it’s so well-crafted.

AJ Park is an intriguing new writer for me – it’s hard to talk about this novel without spoilers, so I’ll just need to tell you that you must read it for yourself. You will be intrigued by Amelie’sunenviable situation and want to read on and find out exactly what is behind this mysterious disappearance and what else will emerge from her past that seems to be having such a seismic impact on the present day. It’s not one of these ‘keep looking for the big twist’ stories that people are getting a little bored of now. It is just that things start to appear through the murk and you’ll not be able to believe you never noticed them…

Anyone interested in twisty reads and who loves trying to work out which characters to trust…or not…will love this gripping novel. I had really high hopes for Don’t Speak and I’m delighted to say that I was definitely not disappointed. It was definitely a book that  I’ll be recommending to lots of readers as I was totally intrigued by its pace and the way it really kept me guessing

The idea that life can be a lot darker and more interesting than you might think on the surface is a very intriguing one. I think that this would make an excellent Book Group read as it would be sure to provoke lots and lots of discussion…

Buy yourself a copy here if you want to get to the heart of the mystery

Writer On The Shelf

A.J. Park is the author of The First Lie, published by Orion Fiction. His second psychological thriller, Don’t Speak, will arrive on 25th November 2021. The translation rights to The First Lie have been sold to publishers in Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

A.J. Park’s real name is Karl Vadaszffy. Karl Vadaszffy is the author of three novels: The Missing, which was twice a Kindle top ten bestseller in the UK, peaking at number 6, as well as a number one bestseller in Australia, Sins of the Father and Full of Sin. He is also a freelance journalist and the Head of English at a secondary school in Hertfordshire.

The Missing has now been repackaged and republished as an A.J. Park book.

Dead Mercy Noelle Holton Blog Tour.

‘Hugely confident … harrowing, visceral … recommended’ Ian Rankin on Dead Inside

A brutal murder…

When a burned body is found with its teeth missing, DC Maggie Jamieson discovers that the victim may be the husband of one of her probation colleagues.

A dark history…

As the body count rises, the team becomes increasingly baffled by how the victims could possibly be connected until a clue leads them to a historical case that was never prosecuted.

A terrible secret…

Dead Mercy: A gripping serial killer thriller filled with secrets and suspense (Maggie Jamieson thriller, Book 5) by [Noelle Holten]

In order to catch the killer, Maggie must piece together what happened all those years ago before it’s too late.

I haven’t been as excited to write a blog post for a very long time and my only worry is that I won’t be able to accurately convey just how much I enjoyed this book in words. When you read a lot, it’s hard to pick your favourites as there are so many books clamouring for your attention.

If you haven’t met DC Maggie Jamieson yet, then you are about to be introduced to your next favourite crime series and if like me you’ve been waiting on Book 5 coming out then you’ll absolutely understand why I couldn’t resist reading it straight away – and even though my TBR is looking very tempting right now, this book skipped its way to the top of the pile and I have absolutely zero regrets about that…


Although I was totally absorbed in the plot of Dead Mercy, and with that stunning opening, how could I fail to be? It is undoubtedly the deft and gritty characterisation in Noelle Holton’s writing that makes it such a stand-out series  Maggie herself jumps off the page as a fully-realised human being that I 100% believed in from the get-go and five books in, I can safely say that I could not put this book down as I got entirely caught up in this tale that pulled me right into her latest investigation and didn’t let me go.

Maggie is one of those rare characters that you instantly connect with, despite her life experiences being almost diametrically opposed to my own as an English teacher in a boarding school that has definitely never had to cope with a brutal murder where the victim has been tortured and burned alive. The tale was so well drawn that I could wholly imagine myself there and it definitely felt like a slice of true crime that I was reading rather than a fictional rendition. It’s definitely one of those books that you feel like googling the events of it to see the news story behind it and I love the fact that we get the whole multi-agency approach to an investigation through the whole team of Maggie, Kate, Nathan, Kat and the rest of the team


Maggie is definitely one of those protagonists that you will be rooting for as you read. I think that it’s a testament to the strength of the writing that we absolutely believe in her and her ability to get to the bottom of this brutal crime throughout the novel. Her relationship with the characters around her are convincingly and vividly depicted. I love the fact that she’s a real team player and her perspective on the case and her conversations with her team ring true throughout this story as it unfolds bringing a credibility to the narrative that’s often lacking in crime fiction.

If you are looking for a fabulous new series in crime fiction then look no further and you’ll be delighted that this is the fifth installment. I guarantee that like me, you’ll be up unto the wee small hours, desperate to find out how this pageturner ends. Its pace is just perfect – it’s engrossing without ever feeling rushed or too hectic and really gives you time to try and navigate the case for yourself alongside Maggie and her team. I was absolutely blown away once again, and can’t wait to see what Noelle does next.

You will definitely find it hard to put this book down as you’ll be so wrapped up in this psychologically convincing and intelligently constructed case that you’ll need to keep reading and find out how it all ends. Neither Maggie nor Dr Kate Moloney are characters to give up easily, no matter the circumstances, so it’s safe to say that there were parts of this novel that I read with a thudding heart and sweaty palms as I was not sure how it was all going to end. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and I’m really jealous of anyone who’s yet to start reading this fantastically written series, as they are definitely in for an absolute treat.

I  heartily recommend it to people who really like to get their teeth into a story that feels resolutely real and never lets you forget that even though this is fiction, there are plenty of teams like Maggie’s out there doing their best for the lost, the missing and the murdered all over the world. I love Noelle Holton’s skilful characterisation as much as I enjoyed her plots in this series, and I will definitely keep recommending it to friends of mine who enjoy crime novels that stand out head and shoulders above the rest of the competition.

Dead Mercy: A gripping serial killer thriller filled with secrets and suspense (Maggie Jamieson thriller, Book 5) by [Noelle Holten]

You need to buy this book, that is my Autumn reading advice for you – get comfortable on these cosy nights and treat yourself to an absolutely amazing read. All I can do now is count down to Noelle’s next book – but I can say one thing for sure, Dead Mercy will take some beating…

Writer On The Shelf

Noelle Holton

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting.

She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Psychopaths Anonymous – Orenda Blog Tour

Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict: A functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men. 

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve. 

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control. 

She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group. 

But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…

A scathing, violent and darkly funny book about love, connection, obsessions and sex – and the aspects of human nature we’d prefer to hide – Psychopaths Anonymous is also an electrifyingly original, unpredictable thriller that challenges virtually everything.

I’m absolutely over the moon to be reunited with Detective Sergeant Pace this autumn, after falling for him in Good Samaritans, Nothing Important Happened Today and Hinton Hollow Death Trip, and I couldn’t wait to meet Maeve and her fellow #PsychopathsAnonymous in another wild and wonderful walk on the dark side with one of my favourite writers. I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour and honoured to be introducing more readers to a series that you’ll hopefully adore just as much as I do…

thrillers; psychological suspense; literary fiction; British; noir; dark; crime; murder; criminal

I try not to make sweeping generalisations in my reviews, but I do have to say that I’m pretty sure you’ll never have met anyone quite like Maeve before. The portrait of this multi-faceted and glitteringly dangerous creation is pitch-perfect and will draw you right into this story with the Will Carver trademark blend of horror and fascination.

thrillers; psychological suspense; literary fiction; British; noir; dark; crime; murder; criminal

If you are turned off by darkness and horror then this is perhaps not the book for you, and definitely don’t say that you haven’t been warned. If it’s not enough of a giveaway in the title, the fact that we are dealing with psychopaths here means that some of the scenes are not for the faint-hearted and Maeve definitely pulls no punches. If you are looking for something to remind yourself of the goodness inherent within human nature, you’ve come to the wrong place – but if you are a fan of crime with a twist, then you’ll adore this marvellously dark and original read.

thrillers; psychological suspense; literary fiction; British; noir; dark; crime; murder; criminal

The fact that we see events from Maeve’s twisted and warped perspective gives this book a really vivid and original point of view and I loved getting an insight into a brain that moved at a velocity and ferocity that I’d never experienced the like of before. The female of the species can indeed be deadlier than the male – and Will Carver certainly conveys this for his readers in glorious technicolour. What he is always so successful at is presenting us with evil that lives among us and Maeve and her merry band are no exception. And it’s not all po-faced either – there are flashes of very dark humour here that hit the mark and serve to make the darkness all the more chilling at the same time. There is so much going on in this novel that is immoral, inappropriate and downright illegal that you won’t know where to turn. It’s definitely a journey into the dark heart of humanity, but what a fascinating one it is.

thrillers; psychological suspense; literary fiction; British; noir; dark; crime; murder; criminal

Will Carver is a talented and original writer whose characters spring off the page and come to life for you as you try and work out what makes them tick. Sometimes it’s a salutary reminder as a reader that he is not inventing society in these pages but recreating it as it really is without the sugar-coated veneer. Maeve’s character is truly unforgettable – she is unscrupulous, dangerous and endlessly imaginative and it is an unforgettable ride that we are buckled into as we see her fantasies and plotting escalate as the narrative unfolds. As I’ve said – it’s not a tale for the faint-hearted, but if you are a fan of a dark and stormy ride, you won’t be able to look away as Carver leads us deep into the heart of what makes some people tick and draw us further and further into Sergeant Pace’s unenviable cat and mouse game…

Psychopaths Anonymous is a superb blend of skilful plotting with unforgettable characterisation and one of the most original narrators I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of this year. I’ll be recommending to everyone. It stands out to me due to its in your face narrator and the way it keeps us constantly reflective about humanity and the depths we are capable of as we are reading and there is no letting up. I absolutely loved it and it’s definitely left me desperate for the Will Carver instalment and hoping that I don’t have to wait too long…

I’d like to thank both Anne Cater and Karen from Orenda for the opportunity to talk about another fantastic Orenda book as part of the tour and I’m so grateful to them both for keeping me in books that I can’t wait to shout about – both here on my blog and with my bookish friends in real life!

Buy yourself a copy of Psychopaths Anonymous here, you definitely won’t regret it.

Writer On The Shelf

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company.

He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, The Beresford is out in July 2021.

His previous title Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

Before My Actual Heart Breaks Blog Tour

‘If I could go back to being sixteen again, I’d do things differently.’
‘Everyone over the age of forty feels like that, you total gom,’ says my best friend Lizzie Magee.

When she was young Mary Rattigan wanted to fly. She was going to take off like an angel from heaven and leave the muck and madness of troubled Northern Ireland behind. Nothing but the Land of Happy Ever After would do for her.

But as a Catholic girl with a B.I.T.C.H. for a Mammy and a silent Daddy, things did not go as she and Lizzie Magee had planned.

Now, five children, twenty-five years, an end to the bombs and bullets, enough whiskey to sink a ship and endless wakes and sandwich teas later, Mary’s alone. She’s learned plenty of hard lessons and missed a hundred steps towards the life she’d always hoped for.

Will she finally find the courage to ask for the love she deserves? Or is it too late?

Before My Actual Heart Breaks by Tish Delaney

Before My Actual Heart Breaks by Tish Delaney is a stunning read that brings its central character’s difficult life alive in beautifully evocative prose. Mary Rattigan lives on a farm with her family in pretty challenging circumstances – Sadie, the matriarch of the family, drives her children away as soon as they’re able to escape, due to her emotional cruelty and the harsh discipline she doles out with merciless regularity. Mary perhaps because she’s the youngest and last to be able to leave, endures this the longest and manages to endure the awfulness of her childhood through fantasising about her escape and envisaging her new life as far away from Sadie and her clutches as is humanly possible…


Mary’s strict Catholic upbringing is set in the 1970s, against the backdrop of the Troubles. This period is brought vividly to life through tiny details that make the numbing misery of Mary’s day-to-day life have a real impact on the reader. Like me, you’ll be longing for her to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – but as we know – things don’t always work out like that. Mary’s desperation to escape from the misery and lovelessness of her upbringing results in her making a real ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ choice when she flees into the arms of husband John…

Romance, debut, Ireland, love story

Married life with John definitely does not provide the ‘happily ever after’ that Mary has been seeking. She finds neither happiness, joy or comfort in her marriage and her emotional response to this is almost to shut her heart off to hope and hide herself away from a world that has offered such little comfort to her in an effort to protect what there is left of herself after so much pain, misery and disappointment.

Mary’s story truly is heartbreaking – we see her at the start of the novel with hopes and dreams we can all relate to. I also grew up in the 1980s and there was much here that I could connect to in terms of my dreams of a life beyond the confines of a small town and a common hope that there would come a time when I too would have more control over my own destiny. Mary’s honesty and hope as a young girl is cruelly juxtaposed with her emotional withdrawal as an adult and you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be truly moved by her understatedly poignant reflections.

As well as Mary’s personal story, this evocative novel also brings Northern Ireland to life and makes the news headlines personal. Hearing about the Troubles in this more human context was really fascinating and I found Mary’s voice and the way that the everyday collided with the political and vice versa to make for a memorable and unputdownable read. If you enjoy a book where humour and sadness sit side by side and where you learn as much about the time and place as you do about the central character then you will absolutely love Tish Delaney’s writing.


I fell hard for Mary and her spiky, unique personality. Even though at times this was a harrowing and challenging read there were moments of dark humour and personality that shone through the darkness and made Mary a character that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It is a testament to the writing that you absolutely forget that these are created characters and I defy anyone to close this book without being captivated by this deftly captured tale of growing up in the troubles. Thank you so much to Anne Cater from Random Things tours for inviting me on Mary’s journey and I’ll definitely look out for reviews from the other bloggers on the tour

Buy yourself a copy of this stunning read here

Writer On The Shelf

Tish Delaney was born and brought up in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles.

Like a lot of people of her generation, she left the sectarian violence behind by moving to England. After graduating from Manchester University, she moved to London and worked on various magazines and broadsheets as a reporter, reviewer and sub-editor. She left the Financial Times in 2014 to live in the Channel Islands to pursue her career as a writer.

Saying Goodbye to Tuesday Blog Tour

‘Clever, compelling, canine and utterly mesmerising’ – Helen Lederer

tupendo the dog has died. But that’s just the beginning of his story.

To love and protect. The code of the good dog is clear. When single mother Tuesday took on mongrel pup Stupendo, she made a friend for life. Through the best and the worst of times, Stupendo has been there for her. Ever faithful, ever loyal, ever true. Nothing could break their bond. Until last week.

Stupendo doesn’t know why Tuesday is suddenly ignoring him or why his doggy antics no longer seem to soothe Baby William. It takes his worst enemy – the cat next door – to break the news that Stupendo has become a ghost.

Somehow left behind on Earth, Stupendo knows he has unfinished business. Enlisting the help of the community of animals in the neighbourhood, Stupendo must get to the bottom of the very human sadness that hangs over his old home and keeps him from saying goodbye to Tuesday.

Saying Goodbye to Tuesday by Chrissie Manby is a moving, original and heartwarming tale that would make the perfect gift for the dog lover in your life this Christmas

yellow labrador retriever with tongue out

Stupendo has been there as a faithful and loyal friend for single mother Tuesday no matter what and has provided comfort and friendship through the many ups and downs they’ve shared together. Stupendo is upset and puzzled as to why Tuesday and William are now ignoring him and feels lost, confused, and rejected by this sudden change to the life he’s loved.

yellow labrador retriever sitting on ground

Everything becomes horrible clear when the cat next door, formerly Stupendo’s arch-enemy, breaks the news that this change is because he has died and is now a ghost. In order to cope with this seismic change, in his circumstances, Stupendo joins forces with his animal friends to try and work through these feelings and come to terms with this news. Somehow he has to learn to say goodbye – but how can he do that when life with Tuesday and William is still going on all around him?

brown short coated dog lying on floor

I loved this book. You don’t have to be a dog lover to fall hard for Stupendo’s beautifully written and emotional tale, but if you are one you’ll be moved to tears by his very human response to grief, loss and change. Saying Goodbye to Tuesday does not miss a single beat in its exploration of the great love that exists between humans and their pets and by looking at it from this unusual perspective, it will reassure pet lovers that this great love is never one sided.

medium short-coated white dog lying on green grass field

Chrissie Manby is a wonderful writer and this moving and unique tale is her best yet! Thank you so much to Jenny Platt for inviting me on the tour – it’s not my usual kind of read, but I absolutely loved it.

yellow labrador retriever puppy on green grass field during daytime

Saying Goodbye to Tuesday by Chrissie Manby is available to purchase here


‘An emotional, lovely read, just perfect for animal lovers. It was a joy to read, although have tissues handy’ – Rachel Wells, bestselling author of Alfie the Doorstep Cat

‘Pawfection. It’s emotional and joyful and utterly compelling‘ – Alex Brown

‘A gorgeous, ingenious story’ – Amanda Brookfield

This isn’t just a story about a dog, it’s a story about the very meaning of life, told from a unique and bold perspective. Filled with joyful bittersweetness and clear-eyed wisdom it made me both laugh and cry and its message of hope will stay with me for a long time to come’ – Alexandra Potter

Writer On The Shelf

Chrissie Manby is the author of seventeen romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her recent novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award.

Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can’t walk in.  

You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website to find out more.