Category Archives: Authors M to O

Reviews by author surname M to O

Blog Tour – Angels in the Moonlight by Caimh McDonnell *Author Guest Post and Review*

I am beyond excited to be kick starting the blog tour for Angels in the Moonlight by Caimh McDonnell today. I loved A Man With One of Those Faces and The Day That Never Comes and could not wait to get my hands on this, the prequel. I’m delighted that Caimh joins me today with a brilliant guest post on the inspiration behind Angels in the Moonlight so, without further ado, I will tell you about the book, then hand you over to Caimh and finally share my thoughts. Enjoy!

The Blurb

For Detective Bunny McGarry, life is complicated, and it is about to get more so.

It’s 1999 and his hard-won reputation amongst Dublin’s criminal fraternity, for being a massive pain in the backside, is unfortunately shared by his bosses. His partner has a career-threatening gambling problem and, oh yeah, Bunny’s finally been given a crack at the big time. He is set the task of bringing down the most skilled and ruthless armed robbers in Irish history. So, the last thing he needs in his life is yet another complication.

Her name is Simone. She is smart, funny, talented and, well, complicated. When her shocking past turns up to threaten her and Bunny’s chance at a future, things get very complicated indeed. If the choice is upholding the law or protecting those he loves, which way will the big fella turn?

Angels in the Moonlight is the standalone prequel to Caimh McDonnell’s critically acclaimed Dublin Trilogy, and it is complicated.

Inspiration by Caimh McDonnell

It is one of the great truths of life that nobody has ever asked an accountant where they get their ideas from. People should start doing that, because it would take a lot of the heat off us authors. I’ve been asked that question a few times and, generally, I give some variation of a funny response that doesn’t answer the question. Nobody likes to answer that question, not least because there really is no satisfying answer. In all honesty, most of the time the ideas are just there in my head when I jump into the shower in the morning. Perhaps my subconscious has worked them out overnight, perhaps my brain reacts well to water, perhaps I do all my best thinking naked. Certainly, I seem to think more clearly when naked, even if the thought is ‘I should very definitely not have taken my clothes off here’.

Still though, for the first and probably last time ever, I have gone through latest novel, Angels in the Moonlight, and tried to identify, where possible, how I arrived at certain conclusions. What this has resulted in is a weird scrapbook of ideas that may make little or no sense, but if nothing else, it’ll make you think twice before asking that dreaded question of anyone, even your accountant.

Getting annoyed at Lethal Weapon
You know the famous scene in Lethal Weapon where Mel Gibson’s character is dealing with a man trying to jump off a building? He handcuffs himself to him and then they both jump. Here’s the thing – it is a great scene that makes absolutely no sense. There’s a big inflatable bouncy castle type thing below that they land on – how did the jumper not know that was there? I’ve never jumped off a building but I’m pretty sure that if I was going to, I’d be incredibly focused on the ground. That has bugged me for thirty years, the whole first scene of my book is essentially me doing a distinctly Dublin version of that scene, with no invisible bouncy castles anywhere to be seen or indeed not seen.

A benign cyst
Speaking of romance … I was once the proud owner of a benign cyst. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, the human body will occasionally grow these entirely harmless lumps that, though slightly alarming, have zero medical repercussions. It’s one of the ways that life reminds us that while the human body is a miracle, God could still have probably asked for a bit of help on the finishing touches or maybe done some beta testing. I had one on my back that my long-suffering wife was not a big fan of. She eventually talked me into getting it removed because it was bothering her she was concerned about it. Long story short, I then had an operation and a severely unpleasant reaction to anesthetic. There’s an instance in the book where one of the characters is about to go through that same operation. Essentially, I wrote that so I could bring it up again without my wife being allowed to roll her eyes and tell me to get over it.

Some of you young’uns might not remember but back in the good old days (1999), we all thought the world was going to end due to a thing called the Millennium Bug – a very real and serious problem created by IT people that was going to cause planes to fall from the sky, all computers to stop working and my ma’s microwave to blow up so she had to unplug it and put it outside in the garden for safety. The only possible way to fix this was to pay IT people an awful lot of money – funny that. The best thing about it was if nothing happened they had done a brilliant job. This meant on January 1st 2000 the entire world felt a tremendous sense of anticlimax and started noticing the suspicious amount of IT consultants who now owned sports cars. I was working in IT at the time and while my compatriots were making out like bandits, I was spending my time reading endless articles on the internet about cults and predictions about how the world was going to end. Understand, I didn’t think it was going to end, I just developed an unhealthy fascination with those that did. I think I may’ve essentially set my book in 1999 just so I could share my obsession with one of my characters. Nothing is wasted – well, apart from if you gave away all your earthly possessions in the firm belief that the world was about to end, that is a bit of a waste.

Having re-read this, I think it is fair to say you could read the book (which I strongly suggest you do) and not have any idea what effect any of the above had on its creation. There’s an old saying in American politics, that laws are like sausages; it’s better if people don’t see how they’re made. I think we can now add novels to that list.

Thanks Caimh for the great post. Angels in the Moonlight certainly brought back fond memories of my mis-spent early adulthood in 1999 (and now I feel old!).

My Thoughts

Bunny is back! And I am bloomin’ glad he is! Angels in the Moonlight is the prequel to the brilliant Dublin Trilogy and it takes us back to 1999 when Bunny is still working as a detective. If you haven’t read the first two books in the trilogy Angels in the Moonlight is a great place to start (obviously … it’s a prequel!) and it is equally great for those who are familiar with and, let’s face it, love Bunny.

The first chapter is perfectly set. It incorporates drama and that all important acerbic Bunny wit. Angels in the Moonlight continues in this vein and, as you would expect from McDonnell, it has you doubled over with laughter while clinging to the edge of your seat. McDonnell continues to totally nail the crime/comedy aspect getting the blend of genres absolutely spot on. We see another layer, however, in Angels in the Moonlight as this is Bunny’s story and McDonnell answers the questions readers of the initial two books had about Bunny. We finally learn about – and meet – Simone; the woman who is often in Bunny’s thoughts in books one and two. Here McDonnell really demonstrates his writing skills as we see a softer side to Bunny, and McDonnell captures the emotions between him and Simone perfectly.

The characters throughout the book are fantastic. McDonnell’s descriptions of them are vivid and he really brings each one to life. I adored the nuns who appear in Angels in the Moonlight they are hilarious. There are always characters you want to see more of in the future in McDonnell’s books and this time, for me, it is definitely the nuns. The dynamics between the characters work wonderfully and ensures that you are completely engaged in the story.

McDonnell manages to make the more tedious aspects of detective work side-splittingly funny ensuring the plot moves along at speed while adding that realistic edge. Once you start Angels in the Moonlight you will find it difficult to drag yourself away from it.

Basically, Angels in the Moonlight is bloody brilliant. McDonnell doesn’t put a foot wrong and I urge everyone to read this (and the other two books if they haven’t already) as it is fantastic. Perfection on a page!

Published on 30 August 2017 by McFori Ink.

You can get your copy here:

Amazon UK
Amazon US

About the Author

Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

He is a man who wears many hats. As well as being an author, he is an award-winning writer for TV, a stand-up comedian and ‘the voice’ of London Irish rugby club. His debut novel, A Man with One of Those Faces was released in 2016 and it is the first book of the Dublin Trilogy series. The follow-up, The Day That Never Comes was published in 2017. Both books are fast-paced crime thrillers set in Caimh’s home town of Dublin and they are laced with distinctly Irish acerbic wit.
Caimh’s TV writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series Pet Squad which he created.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Follow Caimh’s witterings on @Caimh
Facebook: @CaimhMcD

A huge thank you to Caimh McDonnell and Elaine Ofori at McFori Ink for the advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Follow the rest of the tour…





Review – The Orphan of India by Sharon Maas

The Blurb

A lost child. A childless couple. Can they save each other?

Living on the streets of Bombay, Jyothi has no-one to turn to after her mother is involved in a tragic accident.

Monika and Jack Kingsley are desperate for a child of their own. On a trip to India, they fall in love with Jyothi and decide to adopt the orphan child.

The new family return to England, but Jyothi finds it difficult to adapt. As Monika and Jack’s relationship fractures, Jyothi is more alone than ever and music becomes her solace. But even when her extraordinary musical talent transforms into a promising career, Jyothi still doesn’t feel like she belongs. 

Then a turbulent love affair causes her to question everything. And Jyothi realises that before she can embrace her future, she must confront her past…

The Orphan of India is an utterly evocative and heart-wrenching novel that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Perfect for fans of Dinah Jefferies, Santa Montefiore and Diane Chamberlain.

My Thoughts

Sharon Maas has become my ‘go-to’ author when I need a break from thrillers and want a novel that delivers on an emotional and thought-provoking level while transporting me to a totally different place. So when the opportunity to read The Orphan of India came up I jumped at the chance. Maas has once again written a book that touches your heart.

Jyothi is a five-year-old Indian girl living in a small village with her parents when we first meet her in 1977. Her father’s work as a dhobi has come to an end when their regular customers purchase a washing machine. The family move to Bombay in the hope that her father will find work in The Dhobi Ghat. The story progresses as we follow the fate of Jyothi throughout her life as she suffers losses and goes on to be adopted and moves to Britain.

The Orphan of India is a multi-faceted book that beautifully conveys the themes of inter-racial adoption and identity. Clearly well researched and considered, Maas really gets to the heart of how Jyothi feels – all of the confusion, the feeling of not completely belonging and her trying to find her sense of self – along with the challenges faced by her adoptive parents and the reactions from those around them. Jyothi struggles throughout her childhood and into her adulthood with her sense of identity and turns to her musical talents to define her. Some of the most beautiful prose comes when Maas describes the relationship between Jyothi and music and you can clearly tell that she is writing about this from the heart.

The narrative structure of The Orphan of India is an interesting one. We follow Jack and Monika Kingsley at from their arrival into Bombay from Britain in 1978 as Monika works to set up a charity in India and the narrative takes place in third person. As Jyothi grows the narrative structure changes to that of first person from the perspective of Jyothi. This clearly defines each part of the book and the serves to set the different stages of Jyothi’s life and how her feelings grow and develop.

The Orphan of India is another wonderful book by Maas that has all the trademark thought and care that resonates throughout her work. A heart-rending, epic tale of loss and identity that gets into your heart.

Published on 28 June 2017 by Bookouture.

A huge thank you to Sharon Maas, Bookouture and Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

Sharon recently took part in Author Influences … find out about her favourite books and authors HERE.

Review – You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood

The Blurb

An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.
He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth.
There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters:
Did he do it?

My Thoughts

I like a good legal drama/thriller so You Don’t Know Me was always going to be a book I just had to read, and I was very intrigued by the premise of the reader being a member of the jury. On trial for murder, the unknown defendant sacks his barrister just before the closing speeches and closes the trial himself. His reason for doing this … his barrister had told him to omit the truth.

I loved the unique way You Don’t Know Me is narrated. Mahmood uses the second person throughout so you really get the sense of being a member of the jury as the main character addresses you throughout. Not an easy style to pull off but Mahmood manages it with ease. As the defendant describes his life on the periphery of gang culture, his voice comes across as authentic and genuine with the use of gang slang words. It is clear that Mahmood has undertaken a lot of research in order to make You Don’t Know Me believable.

We do not find out the name or age of the defendant and omitting these details from the book is something I really liked. It makes the narrator enigmatic and intriguing, allowing your imagination to rule, and your ideas and feelings towards them constantly change as the story is unveiled. It also serves to ensure you are guided completely by the story that the narrator is telling and not caught up in any assumptions about the narrator that may occur if these details and descriptions were made available. You are completely reliant on the points of evidence the prosecution team have put forward and the defendant’s explanation for them. Of course, it also fits in perfectly with the title.

Mahmood’s experience as a barrister shines through the pages and many questions are raised in respect of our current justice system. While the jury system represents a fair trial by your peers, can this ever truly be the case? As the narrator describes a life that I am aware of via the media but have no direct experience of, can a jury ever be truly representative of your peers? It therefore begs the question as to whether or not this is really a fair system. The manipulation of evidence by the prosecution and defence is also apparent throughout this book. The defendant fired his barrister as he wanted him to omit parts of the truth and yet we are told to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You Don’t Know Me also raises moral questions in relation to whether murder can ever be justified or understood. Mahmood has written a thought-provoking book as well as a great thriller.

As the defendant’s story progresses you are pulled wholeheartedly into the tale and what the defendant states is the truth about the murder. As all the pieces finally appear to fall into place I was shocked and stunned by the eventual conclusion. But can we believe what we have been told?

You Don’t Know Me is a great debut. Mahmood has written a thought-provoking page-turner that is unique, intriguing, believable and compelling. Guilty or innocent? What will your verdict be?

Published on 4 May 2017 by Michael Joseph.

A huge thank you to Imran Mahmood, Michael Joseph and Netgalley for the copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

Blog Tour – Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell *Review*

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of the Sleep Tight blog tour today along with Sharon at Chapter In My Life and Claire at Crimebookjunkie. So what did I think of the second book in the Detective Ruby Preston series? Has Caroline Mitchell managed to pull off another cracking read? Read on to find out…

The Blurb

Close your eyes … Just pray you don’t wake up.

A killer stalks the streets of East London. All over the area, murdered young women are discovered, their bodies posed into a sickening recreation of fairytale princesses.

Detective Ruby Preston is determined to hunt down a disturbed individual who is using the women to realise their twisted fantasies. But when body parts are found at the home of her lover, Nathan Crosby, Ruby is torn between her job and her heart.

Convinced that he is being framed, Ruby must catch the killer before Nathan becomes the number one suspect. But as more victims are found, it becomes harder to prove his innocence.

Ruby is in too deep, knowing that the cruel individual is getting ever closer, looking for his next beautiful victim. But can she stop a killer hell-bent on fulfilling their horrific desires – before it’s too late? And how well does she really know the man she loves?

A terrifying, addictive serial killer thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, for readers of Angela Marsons, Peter James and Rachel Abbott.

My Thoughts

Detective Ruby Preston is back and I have to say I’m very pleased she is! I adored Love You To Death and couldn’t wait to get my mitts on the second in the series. I’m pleased to say that Mitchell has done it again with Sleep Tight and written another bloomin’ brilliant book.

Ruby has her work cut out for her as a serial killer is on the loose and bodies of young women are being discovered across East London. The case becomes personal when body parts are found at her on-off lover and gangster Nathan Crosby’s home.

Mitchell has written a macabre, twisted novel in which the bodies are dressed as fairy tale princesses. I love the way she has incorporated the fairy tales within the killer’s MO harking to the original dark stories told by the Grimm brothers. It makes the killings even more disturbing thus making Sleep Tight all the more thrilling.

I devoured this book in a matter of hours. The prologue is darkly enticing and creepy, and the pace that follows is unforgiving and relentless, forcing you to read ‘just one more’ chapter until, before you know it, you have finished the book. Mitchell takes you to the brink of thinking you have it all sussed out and then quickly pulls the rug from underneath you.

I really liked the character of Ruby with her complicated life in the first book and Sleep Tight has cemented my view of Ruby being a Detective to follow. The personal perspectives on police procedures, the investigation and interrogation give that real insight into how the job is viewed by those who undertake it every day adding that extra layer to the story. Mitchell’s previous life as a detective shines through and gives her work an authentic feel.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sleep Tight, it is fast-paced, creepy and nail-biting. Mitchell has created a fantastic follow-up to Love You To Death and I can see the Detective Ruby Preston series being a big hit with crime fiction fans. Read it, you will love it!

Published 20 April 2017 by Bookouture.

Purchase Links
UK 🇬🇧
US 🇺🇸

About the Author

A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences.
Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. She now writes full time.

A huge thank you to Noelle at Bookouture and Caroline Mitchell for the advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Be sure to catch the rest of the fab bloggers on the tour…


Book Review – Everything But The Truth by Gillian McAllister

The Blurb

Everything but the Truth is Gillian McAllister’s stunning breakthrough thriller about deceit, betrayal and one woman’s compulsive need to uncover the truth.
It all started with the email.
Rachel didn’t even mean to look. She loves Jack and she’s pregnant with their child. She trusts him.
But now she’s seen it, she can’t undo that moment. Or the chain of events it has set in motion.
Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn’t Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost?

My Thoughts

I really love a book that makes you think beyond the storyline and Everything But The Truth, the debut novel by Gillian McAllister, is definitely one of those books. It’s going to be pretty tricky to say everything I want to in this review without giving any of the plot away but I will try. This is one of those books you are desperate to discuss with somebody else who has read it!

Everything But The Truth tells the story of Rachel who is pregnant with her first child to Jack; a man she has been in a relationship with for only a short period of time. Rachel begins to discover that the man she is involved with is not who she thinks he is. What follows is a tale of secrets, lies and insecurities which also has a psychological edge to it. Told over two timelines, switching with ease between the present and a year ago, it is told from the perspective of Rachel.

I had a feeling from the outset that I would enjoy this book as McAllister has chosen the following quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr at the beginning of the book;

‘Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.’

The characters play an important part in this story and through the use of first person narrative the reader is privy to all of Rachel’s innermost feelings and thoughts and, therefore, her flaws. Her back story is drip-fed resulting in a feeling of anticipation throughout the novel. I found myself questioning how much I could rely on Rachel to accurately portray what was going on due to her own nuances. The result is that this is as much a story about the psychological effects of traumatic events as it is gripping domestic noir.

Add to this the moral dilemmas that are presented throughout—which had me constantly mulling over ‘what would I have done?—and McAllister has written a cracker of a psychological thriller that has that slow-burn I love so much. I was desperate to have a conversation about the book with somebody else who had read it to get another person’s perspective and thoughts.

McAllister has also written a gripping and compelling novel. I devoured Everything But The Truth in pursuit of finding out what that truth was and how things would work out for our main character. You are completely pulled into the novel from the very first line and the combination of prose, thought-provoking storylines and in-depth characterisation make this an accomplished debut.

Everything But The Truth is riveting, mentally stimulating and intelligently written; really giving the reader food for thought. It is a book to mull over and discuss. A highly recommended read and if this is anything to go by McAllister has a great career as a writer ahead of her.

Thank you to Gillian McAllister, Penguin Books (Michael Joseph) and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Published on 9 March 2017 by Penguin Books (Michael Joseph).

Review – Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen

The Blurb

The body on the mortuary slab wasn’t who Glasgow PI  Charlie Cameron was looking for.

But it wasn’t a stranger.

Suddenly, a routine missing persons investigation becomes a fight for survival. As Charlie is dragged deeper into Glasgow’s underbelly he goes up against notorious gangster Jimmy Rafferty and discovers what fear really is.

Rafferty is so ruthless even his own sons are terrified of him.

Now he wants Charlie to find something. And Jimmy Rafferty always gets what he wants.

There is only one problem…Charlie doesn’t know where it is.

My Thoughts

A dead body, missing money and Glasgow gangsters result in what could be Private Investigator Charlie Cameron’s most difficult case yet…not least because the dead body is that of an old friend and it has become personal!

Old Friends and New Enemies is the second book in the Charlie Cameron series. Initially I felt I had missed out as I have not read the first book The Games People Play and it took me a little while to get into the characters and the setting as I didn’t have the benefit of the backstory that had gone before in the previous book. However, as the book progressed I settled in, got to know the characters better, and it worked well as a standalone novel.

Charlie Cameron is a great character who I really warmed to. He has the right combination of being straight-forward with hidden depth which makes you want to get to know more about him. Mullen has created a great cast around Charlie in his friends which results in the reader feeling fully involved in their lives. I really liked the dynamics portrayed in the Rafferty family and Mullen has made the ‘bad guys’ gritty and two-dimensional with insights into their family and personalities. This always adds extra to the story as I always love to know more about the villains and their motivations.

Fast-paced with ‘Oh my God’ moments, Mullen writes well keeping up the momentum until the very end. With two investigations running concurrently, Mullen effectively keeps the reader’s interest with both until they reach their conclusions. There are also moments in the book in which Mullen writes about Charlie’s thoughts and feelings with a depth and sensitivity I wasn’t expecting.

A thoroughly enjoyable read, Old Friends and New Enemies is a great book with a protagonist I look forward to seeing more of. The Charlie Cameron series is set to become a firm favourite and I will definitely be reading The Games People Play, the first book in the series.

A huge thanks to Owen Mullen for my copy in exchange for my fair and unbiased review.

Old Friends and New Enemies is published in paperback on 6 February 2017 and Ebook on 21 February 2017 by Bloodhound Books.

#AroundTheUKIn144Books Challenge Book 3 – County: Glasgow

Blog Tour – The Day That Never Comes by Caimh McDonnell *Review,Excerpt and Promo*

I’m absolutely chuffed to bits to be taking part in The Day That Never Comes blog tour, the latest in The Dublin Trilogy by Caimh McDonnell. I’m able to share my thoughts on the book and excerpt. If you fancy a bit of humour with your crime thriller I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

The Day That Never Comes cover[2685]

The Blurb

Remember those people that destroyed the economy and then cruised off in their yachts? Well guess what – someone is killing them.

Dublin is in the middle of a heatwave and tempers are running high. The Celtic Tiger is well and truly dead, activists have taken over the headquarters of a failed bank, the trial of three unscrupulous property developers teeters on the brink of collapse, and in the midst of all this, along comes a mysterious organisation hell-Benton exacting bloody vengeance in the name of the little guy.

Paul Mulchrone doesn’t care about any of this; he has problems of his own. His newly established detective agency is about to be DOA. One of his partners won’t talk to him for very good reasons and the other has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth for no reason at all. Can he hold it together for long enough to figure out what Bunny McGarry’s colourful past has to do with his present absence?

When the law and justice no longer mean the same thing, on which side will you stand?

The Day That Never Comes is the second book in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin Trilogy, which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly acerbic Irish wit.


Chapter 10

“Have you got any books on how to follow somebody?”
The woman behind the counter pulled a face like Paul had just shat in her hand and asked her to clap. She had a couple of facial piercings, and her dyed red hair looked like three different hairdressers had fought it out to an unhappy stalemate on her head.
“Who wants to know?” she said.
“Ehm, I do,” said Paul. He would have thought that was obvious.
“Did Maureen send you? She accuses me of harassment and then she sends someone to my work? That is fucking typical!”
“No, no I—”
The girl leaned forward on her high stool, and jabbed at the wooden counter-top with her finger.
“You tell Maureen that I’ve as much right to go to an exhibition on the depiction of the female form in African culture as she does. It’s not my fault that her and that… thing, were there.”
“Right. I’ve not been sent by anybody, I promise. I just really need a book on how to follow somebody.”
“Really?” she eyed him suspiciously.
“This is a book shop, isn’t it?”
She looked around, as if confirming that his story was indeed correct. Paul looked around too, just to double-check that he really had walked into a three-storey building filled with books that were available for purchase. The assistant’s level of aggression would have been nearly justifiable if he’d mistakenly gone into a delicatessen. Perhaps she didn’t work there at all. Maybe she’d just wandered in and thought the stool behind the register was a good place to read her graphic novel.
“Is everything OK, Lianne?”
The question had come from a tall, bespectacled man that had been rearranging a stack of Dan Brown books in the large display window with the enthusiasm of a vegetarian working in an abattoir. His facial expression carried clearly legible overtones of ‘what now?’ Lianne waved back nervously. “Yeah, fine, Gerald. I’m just helping this gentleman with something.” She lowered her voice. “C’mon.”
She led Paul around the corner into the children’s section.
“And you’re sure you’re not here about Maureen?”
“I don’t know anything about your ex-girlfriend.”
“Woah, how did you know Maureen was my ex-girlfriend?”
“I’m a private detective,” said Paul, feeling slightly smug about it.
“And you don’t know how to follow somebody?”
“It’s my first day.”

My Thoughts

The Day That Never Comes is the second instalment of Caimh McDonnell’s The Dublin Trilogy and sees the very welcome return of Paul Mulchrone, Brigit Conroy and Bunny McGarry and a fantastic new character in the form of Maggie the German Shepherd. While really looking forward to reading this second book, I did wonder if it could live up to its predecessor A Man With One Of Those Faces. It not only lives up to it, in my opinion, it’s even better! If you haven’t read the first book, The Day That Never Comes does work as a standalone, however you’re missing out if you haven’t read the first.

A businessman is found dead and tortured in Dublin during a time in which the citizens have had enough of austerity measures and the corruption of MP’s and businesses. Amidst this Paul is trying to get the private investigation company he, Brigit and Bunny set up, there is, however, a problem…Brigit has fallen out with him, Bunny is missing and Paul is a hopeless private investigator! What follows is a rip-roaring read that combines gripping thriller with incredible wit.

McDonnell draws you in immediately with a prologue that sets the scene perfectly, leaving you intrigued and just having to read more. His writing is second to none and all of the chapters are perfectly paced with the right hooks at the end of each. There are a few threads and storylines running, however, it is easy to keep track and they all complement each other perfectly.

Full of fantastic characters that, while they have their flaws, are incredibly likeable. You find yourself really rooting for them and get totally involved in their antics. Maggie the dog is brilliant and her antics had me crying with laughter. I felt sad when I had finished the book and had to say goodbye to Paul and the rest of the gang!

There is an additional layer to The Day That Never Comes as it addresses some current and relevant political and societal issues, resulting in a novel that is also thought-provoking. McDonnell makes this subject accessible and interesting via the nature of his humour and writing.

I loved this book! It is rip-roaringly funny and yet at the same time totally gripping. McDonnell’s talent is such that he pulls this combination off flawlessly. I really enjoyed A Man With One Of Those Faces but in my humble opinion The Day That Never Comes is even better. I really can’t wait for the third instalment of The Dublin Trilogy and McDonnell is a force to be reckoned with. Absolutely fantastic!

The Day That Never Comes is published on 23 January 2017 by McFori Ink.
A huge thank you to Caimh McDonnell and Elaine Ofari for the advance copy in exchange for my review and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

You can purchase a copy of The Day That Never Comes  HERE in the UK and HERE in the USA.


If you haven’t read A Man With One Of Those Faces what are you waiting for? A Man With One Of Those Faces is available for 99p/99c from 23 – 30 January!

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the Author


Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

His writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League Of Their Own, Mock The week and Have I Got News For You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created. He was also a winner in the BBC’s Northern Laffs sitcom writing competition.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Follow Caimh’s witterings on @caimh

Facebook: @CaimhMcD 

Be sure to follow the rest of the tour…

The Day That Never Comes Blog Tour[2684]



Book Review – The Lost Daughter Of India by Sharon Maas

The Lost Daughter of India

The Blurb

When Caroline meets Kamal the attraction is instant. He’s enchanting, charismatic and she can’t wait to set up a new life with him in India. Both their families are against the union but Caroline is convinced they’ll come round, especially when she gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Asha.

Asha is an adorable child but Caroline, homesick and beginning to hate the remote Indian village they live in, struggles with motherhood. Kamal is hardly ever there and she feels more and more isolated. In the grips of severe depression Caroline flees back to America, leaving Asha behind.

Ten years later…

Caroline recovered from her illness, is consumed by thoughts of the daughter she abandoned. Desperate to find Asha, she reunites with Kamal, intent on tracking her down. Will they ever be able to find their lost daughter? If they have a chance, they must confront the painful truths of the past and a terrible secret that has been kept for many years until now.

A heart-breaking and beautifully written story of loss, secrets and the strength of a mother’s love against all odds. If you enjoyed Diane Chamberlain and Lucinda Riley then this book will find its way into your heart and stay there.

My Thoughts

‘Bombay, or Mumbai, as it is now to be called, was the enemy. She arrived prepared to do battle, prepared to wrest from its bowels that precious jewel, her Asha.’

Sharon Maas has done it again with The Lost Daughter Of India, having created a heart-felt, intensely moving, beautifully written novel.

When American Caroline meets Indian Kamal, she believes her childhood dreams of India have come true. After marrying, giving birth to their daughter Asha and settling in a small village in India, she realises that this is not the life she wanted, compounded by her struggle to adjust to motherhood. Returning to America, leaving her daughter behind with the family they have resided with, things later go awry when Asha goes missing in India and Caroline, Kamal and Asha’s foster-sister Janiki try desperately to find her. What follows is a gripping story of secrets, regret and desperation in a country of contrasts.

The Lost Daughter Of India is not always a comfortable book to read as it addresses some of the horrifying aspects of India and the way it treats some of its women and children. It touches on topics that are not easy to come to terms with and that are, sadly, a reality for many Indian children, however it is done with sensitivity and understanding.

Told from the perspectives of Asha, Caroline, Kamal and Janiki, Asha’s foster-sister, with Asha’s parts told in first person narrative, Sharon has created well-rounded characters. The impact their different cultures have had on each of them come across perfectly. Asha’s parts really struck me as you feel as though you are actually sat with Asha as she tells her story. She becomes more than a character in a book due to Sharon’s way of having Asha address the reader directly. I really liked this as it ensured that I was fully invested emotionally in Asha’s story and plight. Caroline is at times unrealistic and I didn’t agree with some of her decisions, however I found myself questioning my own views and wondering if I was coming from a very western point of view as a result.

The Lost Daughter of India would make a great book for a reading group as it touches on various themes—attachment difficulties between mother and child, child trafficking, the impact of culture on behaviour and views—that are thought-provoking and ripe for discussion. The downside to reading advance copies of books is being unable to talk about it with someone else who has read it. This is one of those books you really want to get into a conversation about.

And then there is the writing. You are immediately drawn into the book from the prologue. Sharon’s enchanting and rich descriptions evoke all of the sights, sounds, colours and smells of India. As Caroline’s nanny reads to her and Caroline talks about how the book makes her feel, she could be describing how her own books make me feel. Sharon writes about India wonderfully, getting across the dual nature of this country of contrasts perfectly and it made me feel really emotional!

‘Two-faced India, gentle and brutal, gloriously beautiful, hideously ugly. The India that kissed you on one cheek and slapped you on the other. The India that soothed your soul one day and ripped it to shreds the next. The India that nourished your senses and starved your ego, kicking it into the ground.’

The difficulty of finding Asha is portrayed beautifully through the prose, with Sharon illustrating the importance of the setting in such a way that India takes on a life of its own and becomes omnipresent.

I loved The Lost Daughter Of India. It is poignant, evocative, beautiful yet shocking and intelligently and sensitively written. It is all-absorbing, gripping and emotionally charged – an absolute must read and I just hope I have done it justice in this review.

Thank you to Sharon Maas, Bookouture and Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Published on 20 January 2017 by Bookouture.

You can purchase a copy HERE.

Review – Cold Calling by Russell Mardell

Cold Calling Cover

The Blurb

Still reeling from is break-up with the love of his life, insurance firm cold-caller Ray English has become a bit of a screw up.  Cynical and withdrawn, Ray is aimlessly drifting through life in London with his long suffering best friend, Danny.  However, once he is asked to reform his college band for a friend’s wedding, Ray is soon forced to face up to his old life, and the hometown he had tried so hard to turn his back on.  Anya Belmont is a woman with a secret and a history that continues to shape her life.  A coffee shop owner in Salisbury, Anya is successful, yet bored; married, yet lonely.  She is also slowly being driven to distraction by her highly temperamental friend, the child-hating children’s author, Eva Cunningham.  Through fate, coincidence or just bad timing, Ray and Anya’s lives begin to change when Ray cold calls Anya and the two strike up a seemingly innocuous conversation.  Against their better judgement, their conversation is soon the start of a relationship played out over the phone.  But can there ever be anything real in a phone call? A sharp-witted, saccharine-free, thoroughly modern tale of lost loves and found friendships.

My Thoughts

Cold Calling by Russell Mardell is a sardonic observation of life, love and friendship with wry humour and moments of perfectly placed astuteness.

Ray is still getting over his ex-girlfriend five years after they split up. Seeing a counsellor, it is Anya, a woman he ‘meets’ over the telephone during a cold call he makes as part of his job in an insurance company who helps him achieve the closure he needs while Anya finds the courage to discuss a part of her life which she had kept to herself. A friendship is established between Ray and Anya despite them never meeting.

Cold Calling is quite unlike anything I have read before. It is told in first person narrative by four different people – Ray, Anya, Ray’s friend and flatmate Danny and Anya’s author friend Eva – with the main story line centring around the phone calls between the main characters. The characterisation is fantastic with each bringing their own unique voice and perspective to the story which serves to add a wider perspective and humour. Ray is a little bit of a screw up, his relationship with Katie was not long lasting and yet his life has been on hold for the five years since they split up. Anya has issues of her own she is dealing with and her friendship with Ray allows her the opportunity to find the courage to discuss her issues with her long standing friend, Eva. Eva is a successful author, but not in the genre she wants to write. Like a petulant, spoilt child she is infuriating and yet funny and Mardell’s observations of the world of writing for a living made me laugh. The characters are likeable and not perfect which gives them an authenticity.

While in the main humorous, there are touching moments throughout the book. Ray’s memories of his grandfather and the words of wisdom he gave to him before his death are told in a down to earth way and yet have a real depth and genuineness to them.

The nature of friendship plays a central role in this book. We accept and love our friends despite their flaws and foibles. They may drive us mad but we stick with them and support them.

A great light read – if you are after a book that is different, witty and gives accurate observations on life and love look no further that Russell Mardell’s Cold Calling.

A huge thank you to Russell Mardell for the copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Published on 18 February 2016 by Troubador Publishing.

Blog Tour – Witness by Caroline Mitchell *Review*


I’m so pleased to finally be able to share my review of Witness by Caroline Mitchell as one of today’s hosts of the blog tour alongside Kate at Bibliophile Book Club.  So without further ado I will tell you what Witness is about and my thoughts on it.

The Blurb

To Rebecca it was a brave decision that led to her freedom from domestic abuse.  To Solomon it was the ultimate betrayal.

It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away.  Enough time for nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her.

Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom – but it’s not her phone.  Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime.  And, to make matters worse, she has to chose the victims.

‘Fail to respond and you get hurt.  Talk to the police and you die.  Ready to play?  You have sixty seconds to decide…

As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.

My Thoughts

Just how far would you go to protect your family? Rebecca finds herself having to answer this question in Caroline Mitchell’s searing new psychological thriller Witness.

When Rebecca’s abusive ex-partner Solomon is released from prison after serving time for murder, the new and safe life she has built up over the course of ten years comes crashing down around her. Hell bent on revenge after Rebecca’s testimony put him away, Solomon demands that Rebecca become a silent witness to ten crimes…with her choosing the victims. Afraid of the consequences of not complying with his demands and the impact on her family Rebecca feels she has no choice but take part in his sick game.

Witness had me totally hooked from the prologue and whispering ‘oh my God!’ to my Kindle at 3 percent. Caroline pulls you into the story from the first paragraph and she doesn’t let you go until you have devoured the whole book. A totally unique and compelling storyline Witness has you thinking about your morals and dying to have the ‘what would you do?’ discussion with someone else who has read it.

Perfectly structured with a dual timeline that switches between the present and the past, the reader is given real insight into the nature of Rebecca and Solomon’s past relationship – how it began, progressed and evolved – evoking empathy with Rebecca and adding to the understanding of Rebecca’s reaction to the situation she is in. Told by Rebecca in first person narrative and Solomon in third person narrative, Witness seamlessly flows while ensuring the reader stays with the predicament Rebecca is in while also getting a look at the mindset of Solomon. I always love it when the bad guy features as I’m intrigued by them and Caroline doesn’t disappoint. Needless to say the characterisation is great.

It is clear that Caroline has worked with those who have suffered domestic abuse as she writes with an insight and an understanding about the issue. Acknowledging that there is so much more to domestic abuse than physical attacks, the emotional, sexual, financial abuse and complete control that often features in abusive relationships are all demonstrated in the relationship between Rebecca and Solomon. The fact that their relationship begins when Rebecca is at a particularly vulnerable time in her life is realistically portrayed. Solomon’s tale is one of generational abuse and the impact of a child’s tenuous attachment to their parents.

I absolutely loved the premise of Rebecca having to decide who would be the victims of the crimes she is forced to witness. As Rebecca tried to make her decisions based on her morals and who is and isn’t deserving it becomes clear that appearances can often be deceptive. I really felt the dilemmas Rebecca faced each time a message came through on her phone, along with her guilt.

The tension is palpable throughout, along with the ever growing fear that Rebecca feels when her own safety and those she loves is put in jeopardy. The isolation of her home is the perfect setting to add to the unease the reader feels.

Caroline has written a first class psychological thriller and the absolute definition of a page-turner.  Witness is all-absorbing, completely gripping and thought-provoking, I absolutely loved it. You really need to read this book!

A huge thank you to Caroline Mitchell and Thomas and Mercer for the advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Published on Ebook and paperback on 20 December 2016  by Thomas and Mercer.

You can purchase a copy HERE.

A massive thank you to Caroline Mitchell for inviting me to take part in the Witness blog tour.  Be sure to catch the other bloggers on the tour.