Review: Moorings takes David Blake’s Norfolk crime series on a third deadly outing


, ,

A war veteran murdered in his bath, a crooked property developer, a family with a deadly secret that refuses to stay buried…

It’s clear DI John Tanner and sidekick DC Jenny Evans have their work cut out in Moorings, the third instalment of David Blake’s Norfolk-based murder mystery series.

There’s twists and turns aplenty, and a couple more corpses, before Tanner and Evans realise they’ve been looking in the wrong direction.

And, if you can identify the killer before they do…well, you’re a better detective than me. Continue reading

News: Writer’s Showcase events at Wakefield Literature Festival 2019


, , ,

Thrilled to bits to be making two appearances at the 2019 Wakefield Literature Festival.

After a two year absence, the festival has been revived by Louis Kasatkin and will run from Monday, September 16 until Saturday, September 21.

Full programme details are below, but you can join me at 2-3.30pm on Wednesday, September 18 at a Writer’s Showcase panel at Mocha Moocha – a lovely cafe in the city centre – and again, with Susan Pape, at 2pm on Saturday, September 21, at a second Writer’s Showcase at Wakefield Library, (above) which is more-or-less across the road from Westgate railway station.

Hope you can join us.

Full programme details can be found here.


News: Chemical reaction from ‘Sue and Susan who write books’ baffles Pointless hosts Armstrong and Osman


, , , ,

Not quite how either of us remember it, but Susan and I – described in a recent article on The Daily Express website as Sue and Susan who write books – had a little chuckle at the account by TV reporter Roxanne Hughes of our debut on television quiz show Pointless.

She described our consternation when co-hosts Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman announced the first round of the competition would be on chemical elements.

We seemed, she said, to be incredibly excited – which completely baffled both Armstrong and Osman. Continue reading

Review: My Daughter’s Wedding by Claire Baldry is a modern story of love in later life



What happens when your widowed, 61-year-old mother wants to bring a plus-one to your wedding?

In the case of bride-to-be Charlotte ‘that man’ is definitely persona non grata.

And her struggle to come to terms with her mum’s new relationship and re-discovered sexuality provides a thought-provoking backdrop to My Daughter’s Wedding, Claire Baldry’s poignant and romantic tale of love in later life.

It’s very well-observed – told mostly from the viewpoint of Angie, Charlotte’s mother – and, though younger readers might not appreciate Continue reading

Review: A Cornish Affair, romance driven drama by Jo Lambert, is satisfyingly tasty


, ,

How do you like your scones? The Devonshire way? Jam on top. Or do you go down the Cornwall route and spread the jam first and top with clotted cream?

I only ask because in some ways Jo Lambert’s romance driven drama A Cornish Affair reminds me of a particularly tasty Cornish scone – with the seaside setting a perfect showcase for a rich cast of characters and a plot with a surprising depth.

Am I stretching the metaphor a bit here?


The clue though is in that word ‘surprising’. Continue reading

Review: Rosebrook Chronicles (The Hidden Stories) from Helen J Christmas reminds us why the past needs to remain another country


, , ,

One of my pet hates is people who complain things were better in the old days.

Because they weren’t.

When I was a child Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were abducting, abusing and murdering children.

Spare the rod and spoil the child was still a widely held belief and, though I was incredibly lucky to have a safe and secure home life, lots of other kids didn’t.

And Rosebrook Chronicles (The Hidden Stories), a tense psychological series of Continue reading

Review: How ‘normal’ is normal? That’s the question for Sally Rooney’s Normal People

I was reluctant to add to the praise of this author – or like her book. I mean Sally Rooney has already had most of the plaudits that can be thrown at a young debut writer: shortlisted for a string of book awards, and winner of others including the Costa Novel of the Year, and long listed for the Man Booker Prize as well as the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney

She’s published by Faber & Faber who can afford to throw money at her marketing and promotion. She’s young and she comes from County Mayo so she ticks boxes (age and un-London).

And in the book she’s writing something that would seem to me to be a coming of age story featuring two unlikely teenagers.

She uses the present tense. And she doesn’t use quotation marks.

Really? How can I, riven as I am with (ahem) preconceived ideas and resentment, like this author and this book?

Childishly, I thought: Oh, come on.

Continue reading

Review: The secrets of How Not to Write Female Characters from Lucy V. Hay


, ,

Forget stereotypes and box ticking: from Kick-ass Hotties to Mom Warriors, tarts with hearts and Crying WAGS – it’s all about the writing.

Or, as Lucy V. Hay puts it in her punchy, concise e-book guide How Not to Write Female Characters, it’s about GOOD WRITING.

Hay, script editor, novelist and owner of the UK’s top screenwriting blog, knows what she’s talking about.

She’s spent the last 15 years reading the slush pile and has learned to spot the patterns, pitfalls and general mistakes writers make when writing female characters – and why. Continue reading

Review: Ungentlemanly Warfare – gripping page-turning thriller from Howard Linskey


, ,

There may be better places to read a tale of derring-do in war torn France, but the Ille de Oleron, in the heart of what was once the occupied zone, takes some beating.

As the OH and I drove through the Frenchcountryside or meandered through sleepy towns and villages, it was easy to picture ourselves in the world depicted in Howard Linskey’s World War Two thriller Ungentlemanly Warfare, where Captain Harry Walsh, has been tasked with assassinating the scientific genius behind the ME 163, a miracle jet fighter that could destroy all chance of allied victory in Europe. Continue reading

Review: Dead Inside marks a twisty crime thriller debut from Noelle Holten


, ,

There’s no point beating about the bush – it was with some trepidation I agreed to read and review Dead Inside, from debut novelist Noelle Holten.

Because, although I’ve never met Noelle – and probably wouldn’t recognise her if we tripped over each other in the street – I do know her through membership of various social media readers groups, where lots of other members have been raving about the book, the first in a new crime thriller series.

So, does Dead Inside live up to the advance billing?

It sure does: the plot is twisty and thought-provoking and Noelle, who was a senior probation office for 18 years, provides real insights into the working partnership between the police and probation services. Continue reading