DCI Greco series 1 of 4 – dark murder by helen h durrant @hhdurrant @joffebooks #crimefiction #bookreview #detective

Dark Murder (DCI Greco #1)

Available from Amazon

A gripping new detective series from a best-selling crime writer

A woman is found dead by a canal . . . why have her eyes have been viciously poked out?

Detective Stephen Greco has just started a new job at Oldston CID and now he faces a series of murders with seemingly no connection but the brutal disfigurement of the victims. Greco’s team is falling apart under the pressure and he doesn’t know who he can trust. Then they discover a link to a local drug dealer, but maybe it’s not all that it seems.

Can Greco get control of his chaotic team and stop the murders?

If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Mel Sherratt, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will be gripped by this exciting new crime fiction writer.

DARK MURDER is the first book in a new series of detective thrillers featuring D.I. Greco. Stephen Greco has moved to Oldston after his wife divorced him. He doesn’t like the place much but he wants to stay close to their daughter, Matilda. He is a meticulous policeman with a touch of O.C.D. Easy to admire, but sometimes difficult to like.

The series is set in the fictional industrial northern English town of Oldston.

My Review

This is the first book in the Greco series by Helen H Durrant

I read Dark Angel many months ago so I am able to confirm that these books work excellently as stand-alone although you will probably want to go back and read them all as I have.

Greco has had to uproot and move to a new area and new team in order to maintain a relationship with Matilda, his young daughter.

He is very fragile emotionally and feels he has been put in charge of a team of misfits which doesn’t help his stress levels. He suffers from OCD which gets worse with stress and his cleanliness fetish means he finds some team members more difficult than normal.

When his newly divorced wife has to go and care for her sick Dad Greco is left with his 5 year old daughter to care for in addition to all his other problems. Grace steps up to the plate and helps him out but that means he has to let down a few barriers and let her in a little which could be misinterpreted. In short Greco is struggling every which way.

Speedy gets himself in debt to a dangerous man who is suspect in a murder investigation and we are treated to a unique fly on the wall view of life on the dark side of the law which brings a new dimension to the story.

Realistic characters all with unique quirks and a story with many strands makes this book a fast-paced, adrenaline pumping read with twist and turns everywhere. A great introduction to the series.

5 stars from me.

View all my reviews

BLOG TOUR WRAP UP – lavender dreams (life after us #2) by rebekah dodson #dystopian @junctionpublish

Many thanks to the wonderful bloggers for helping with the Blog Tour for Lavender Dreams. Your help is very much appreciated you are awesome!

What the bloggers thought:

Ginger Book Geek 

The author writes so convincingly about her characters that they seemed very realistic and they seemed to jump off the page and spring to life as it were.  I found that I cared about what happened to them.  I found that the deeper I was getting into the book, the quicker the pages seemed to be turning.  Read more here

Joanna Larum’s Reviews 

Vicki is still looking for her fiance, Will, but she realises that she is falling in love with Ambrose and the ways he differs from Will are the reasons for her growing admiration and love for him. There is danger all round them and every stage in their journey is fraught with difficulties, culminating in Vicki’s capture by the terrorists.  Read more here

Turn The Page Blog:  Guest review by Penny Buxton

The story begins as Vicki and Ambrose had jumped into the river to safety it is here where they hate each other but as the story progresses they fall for each other, without giving too much away as the story progresses Vicki is captured by the terrorists in the end of the world scenario and Ambrose sets out in a fight to rescue her, with a lot of twists and turns in the story it ends at a cliff hanger leaving the reader gripped and looking forward to the next book!


Even though this isn’t really my type of book, I liked reading the next installment. I kept wanting to see what happens next, even though it wasn’t as thrilling as the first one. I was feeling a little under their spell and didn’t want to stop reading it.   Read more here

Black Books Blog

This book is another great read and kept me hooked as it follows Vicki and Ambrose in their possible love triangle, also involving Vicki’s  husband (who got taken by terrorists at the beginning of book 1).   Read more here

Big Family Organised Chaos 

Lavender Dreams (Life after us #2) 

Available from AMAZON

On the run from invading forces, Vicki escapes into the woods with Ambrose. After his truck is stolen, she has to make a choice: accept her fiance, Will, is dead, or keep searching — possibly in vain. Can she learn to love Ambrose as she loved Will?

Khaki. That’s what everyone thinks of him, but Vicki knows the truth, and after that kiss, Ambrose yearns for more. He wants Vicki to forget about her fiance and accept the fact he is dead. They saw him being dragged off in handcuffs before the explosion!

But, what if he’s not dead?

What if he made it out alive?

When Vicki is kidnapped by terrorists, Ambrose fights to find the woman he loves. Yet their lavender dream promises of serenity may never come.

My thoughts

This is book 2 in the Life After Us series and it does work as stand alone but I would advise that Poppy Bloom is read first if possible.  Poppy Bloom ended on a cliff-hanger and that is where this book picks up.

The USA has been attacked and is now under the control of a group of ‘Military’ who are armed with high tech weapons capable of reducing people to dust.  Add to the mix a young girl with an agenda and danger is all around.

Ambrose and Vicky are on the run and Ambrose is injured just when they think they are safe they encounter more problems.

I do not normally read dystopian but I do like to read something different on occasion and read Poppy Bloom so I needed to know what happens next.

The characters build in depth and complexity as the book progresses to become well rounded, realistic characters with a strong will to survive.  The story is a very engaging one that kept the pages turning.

Again the book ends on a cliff-hanger so I am now waiting for the next in the series.

5 stars from me.

Many thanks to Junction Publishing for the advance copy.  This is my unbiased review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

About Rebekah Dodson

Rebekah Dodson is a prolific word weaver of romance, fantasy, and science fiction novels. Her works include the series Postcards from Paris, The Surrogate, The Curse of Lanval series, several stand alone novels, and her upcoming YA novel, Clock City. She has been writing her whole life, with her first published work of historical fiction with 4H Clubs of America at the age of 12, and poetry at the age of 16 with the National Poetry Society. With an extensive academic background including education, history, psychology and English, she currently works as a college professor by day and a writer by night.



Game of souls by c. l. peache #bookreview #horror @c_peache

I was made aware of this debut novella via Facebook and read it in one sitting it is a brilliant read. Although Horror genre I think it will also appeal to readers of Crime Fiction.

Game of SoulsGame of Souls by C.L Peache

Available from Amazon UK US AU CA

Scary Christmas Novella. Would you confess your worst sin to save your Soul? What about your friend’s Souls? Eight friends gather for their Christmas party, a fun night of Secret Santa, excellent food, and plenty of drinks. Only, the evening does not go as planned… The book has been opened, and the game has begun… A terrifying night of confessions, secrets and lies. Will they all make it out alive? *this Novella does contain some bad language

My Review

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a debut novella in the Horror genre from a fledgling author with obvious potential.

Bea has bought and renovated a cottage and is hosting a Christmas come housewarming party with a group of friends. Everything is ready and Bea is snuggled up on the sofa waiting for them to arrive when a knock on the door sets in motion something that will affect all of them forever.

Usually with a novella we don’t get much insight into the characters but this, although short, describes the characters very well so we get to know them through the story.

It is a brilliant, adrenaline pumping read full of twists and turns with superstition interwoven along with secrets. What dark secrets is each of them hiding?

A fast paced read full of surprises and shocks all the way to the unexpected ending. Fantastic debut from an author we will be hearing more of I am sure. 5 stars from me.

View all my reviews

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 15 – Aug-2018 (1) – The Backpacker by Stewart giles #dcharriettaylor #thebackpacker @stewartgiles #crimefiction #detective

I didnt realise until I started my Advent book blog how many brilliant books I have had the pleasure of reading this year.  This one is up among the top ones but is very special to me in many ways.  The Backpacker is book 3 in the DC Harriet Taylor series by the brilliant Stewart Giles.  If you haven’t read it yet then you have a treat in store.

The Backpacker (DC Harriet Taylor #3)

Available from AMAZON


From #1 best-selling author: Stewart Giles comes a new detective story set on the Cornish coast. Where the pretty villages and towns hold some very dark secrets.


A girl’s body is found hidden in a remote spot of a Cornish Farm. The same farm that a young girl ran towards, to escape her pursuer, many years before. Detective Harriet Taylor has to abandon her day out to investigate.
As Littlemore and the forensics team get to work they uncover another mystery hidden among the rocks.
Who would kill a young backpacker who hurt nobody? Is there a link between this and a mystery from many years ago?
As Harriet and the team get to work they find more questions than answers. What secrets is the sleepy Cornish village hiding?

This is a fast-paced page-turner that has so many twists and turns it keeps the reader guessing right up to the shocking end.

If you like Police Procedurals, then this is a series you won’t want to miss.

What the readers are saying:

Joanna Larum’s Reviews

The action rushes on until we are given all the answers at the end. (I won’t spoil it!)
Stewart Giles books are always a pleasure to read with so many ins and outs and possible perpetrators. The reader is kept on the edge of his/her seat and, I find, ignores everything in order to reach the end of the story. I would highly recommend this book to all lovers of police procedural and also those with a love of the English countryside. It’s definitely 5 stars from me!  Read more here

Beth in a Box

I enjoyed The Backpacker; I found it fast-paced, energetic with just enough, um, fluff…. Sorry Stewart, I can’t think of a better word.

I enjoyed the waiting until the very end for the climax, although I had guessed correctly by about 90% who the murderer was. I liked the fact that a step forward seemed to take the team back two steps at some points.  Read more here

Turn the Page

The book is funny as well as having a fantastic storyline, that keeps you reading til the end.  Although this is third in the series you could quite easily read it alone (and then the others after)  Highly recommend this read to everyone.  Read more here

Ginger Book Geek

The author clearly cares about the characters in this book and this shines through in his writing.  There were certain characters that I couldn’t help but take to and there were certain characters that made me want to punch them on the nose end.  When I felt that my ‘friends’, those characters that I had taken to, were under attack I so wanted to jump inside the pages of the book to defend them.  Read more here

Linda Strong Book Reviews

There are plenty of suspects to follow in this well written crime fiction. The girl’s boyfriend who doesn’t seem too upset … the brother she hasn’t spoken to in years … members of the farm where she was found … or was this a random killing?  Read more here

On the Shelf Reviews

Sometimes I love diving back into a series with familiar characters that I am already know and enjoy. The book isn’t that long but there’s plenty packed into it! With the fast pace I absolutely flew through it, I could not stop turning those pages!  Read more here

Donna’s Book Blog

The plot is great, I loved the pace and the characters are spot on – I love a strong female lead and you certainly get on in this book!  The interaction between Harriet and her team was completely on point and I loved it.  Plenty of twists to keep you hooked right from the start through to the books brilliant ending – excellent!  Read more here

Daisy White’s Wicked Words

The pace and tension, plus the great atmospheric descriptions pull the whole thing together. The premise was good one, and I stayed up late to find out what happened. Harriet Taylor is a likeable detective, with a few edges that work well with the whole plot.  Read more here

Debbie Hipster

What a book, and strong female lead. I was hooked from the first chapter. Set in rural Cornwall, a place I can easily identify with, and see while I read. Switching from the past and present had me guessing how the stories linked and intertwined with one another. The characters were every one you know and can relate too, we’ve all met these people in our lives, which helps connect the reader to the story, and you forget it’s fiction.  Read more here

Black Books Blog

The story flowed really well throughout and I was left guessing and second guessing myself whilst reading to try and figure out the link and who the murderer was before the big reveal.  When the big reveal did arrive I was shocked by the answers but really liked the way the story ended.  I also really hope this isn’t the last we have seen of Harriet and her team.  Read more here

Trotterdown and the surrounding villages is a fictional village in Cornwall. It is typical of Cornish villages with remote farms and sleepy Cornish stone cottages. However, the area is steeped in history and the residents of the quaint cottages have their share of myths and secrets making it the ideal setting for this series.

DC Harriet Taylor had only been married for 2 years when her philandering husband was killed in a car crash. It is common knowledge around the station that the woman who died next to him was his latest lover. Harriet transferred to Trotterdown to escape the gossip and sympathetic looks. She is now finding her way around Cornwall and getting to know the other members of the team.

My Review

This is book 3 in the Detective Harriet Taylor series but it works excellently as stand-alone

My first introduction to Stewart Giles was The Beekeeper which is book 1 in this series and will always hold a special place in my heart.  Obviously a lot of other people loved it because it has hit #1 in Australia twice.  The Perfect Murder was also of the same calibre so I was looking forward to reading this new release.

Harriet moved to Cornwall to escape the gossips when her philandering husband was killed in a crash with his lover.  I am pleased to see her getting over that and moving on with her life. Her character is developing well. She is forming a healthy friendship with John Finch and they both have a passion for boats.  The first chapter gives us an insight into the boating world but reality returns when a body is found.

This is an intriguing story with 2 strands.  2 bodies a couple of decades apart in the same place in the remote countryside of Landell’s farm. The same farm a girl ran towards escaping a pursuer many years before.  What is the connection between the 2 cases?  Is there one?

I loved this story I found myself thinking ‘detective’ and trying to work out who the murderer was all the way through along with the team.  Every clue leads to a dead end as the team go around in circles trying to find a way through the secrets and lies.

There are a lot of twists and turns as the story moves along keeping the reader totally engrossed in the story.  The intrigue builds all the way through to the very end.

There are a mix of characters in this book and all are unique and bring a lot to the story.  Some I liked some I didn’t.  I am familiar with Derbyshire farmers and although the characters at Landell’s are Cornish I doubt they differ much so in my opinion Stewart has them portrayed perfectly.  There are characters that come and go but they are all realistic and well described.

I love Stewart’s books I think he is a very talented author but this book is, in my opinion, the best yet.  It has everything you could want from a good detective book.  Intrigue, suspense the ins and outs and entanglement of complex detective work all wrapped up in a fast-moving page-turner that keeps the interest all the way through to the shocker of an ending.

Brilliant read.  Definitely 5 golden stars from me

Book 1 – The Beekeeper Buy from Amazon 
Book 2 – The Perfect Murder  Buy from Amazon 
Book 3 – The Backpacker

Book 0.5 – PhobiaBuy from Amazon 
Book 1 – Smith Buy from Amazon
Book 3 – Ladybird  Buy from Amazon
Book 4 – Occam’s Razor  Buy from Amazon
Book 5 – Harlequin  Buy from Amazon
Book 6 – Selene Buy from Amazon
Book 7 – Horsemen  Buy from Amazon
Book 8 – Unworthy  Buy from Amazon 

You may also be interested in:

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 1 – Jan-2018 (1) – The Shoeless Child

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 2 – Jan-2018 (2) – Dark Angel

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 3 – Feb-2018 (1) – Flashpoint

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 4 – Feb-2018 (2) – Ruthless

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 5 – Mar-2018 (1) – Low Lake

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 6 – Mar-2018 (2) – Unworthy

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 7 – Apr-2018 (1) – Black Soul

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 8 – Apr-2018 (2) – Murder at Work

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 9 – May-2018 (1) – Dead Bad

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 10 – May-2018 (2) – Married Lies

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 11 – Jun-2018 (1) – Their Last Words

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 12 – Jun-2018 (2) – Dirty Secrets

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 13 – Jul-2018 (1) – Her Last Breath

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 14 –  Jul-2018 (2) – To Snare a Witch

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