Blog Tour Wrap Up – SILENT CRIMES (Detective Sophie Allen #8) by Michael Hambling #bookreview #crimefiction #detective #policeprocedural @joffebooks

Michael, Joffe Books and I would like to say a very big THANK YOU to all the wonderful bloggers, reviewers, readers and supporters who helped with the launch of SILENT CRIMES. Your help at such a busy time of year is very much appreciated xx

What the reviewers and bloggers thought

Loopy Laura

Silent Crimes is a very enjoyable police investigation novel. I liked the range of detective characters and now want to read the rest of the books in the series to see how their personalities, relationships and careers have progressed up until this case. Read more here

The Word is Out

The plot is clever and the suspects all have multiple sides to them. With lots of turns in the story it was hard to decide who was guilty and who was innocent almost right up to the exciting and surprising end. Read more here

Linda Strong Book Reviews

This is well written with twists and turns and secrets that have been hiding in the shadows for many years. The characters are finely drawn, warts and all.  Read more here

Joanna Larum’s Reviews

A very enjoyable read which I would recommend to all lovers of detective fiction. Read more here

Black Books Blog

Throughout the book I thought I had a handle on things and knew where they were heading, but then something would happen to make me change my mind. Read more here

Ginger Book Geek

Sue Wallace Site

Silent Crimes

Detective Sophie Allen #8

Available from AMAZON

a totally captivating crime mystery

Looking for a gripping mystery by a best-selling author? Full of twists and turns, this crime thriller will keep you turning the pages until the satisfying conclusion.


Detective Sophie Allen’s daughter discovers the body of a reclusive tramp in remote woodland in Dorset. He’s been dead for a week.

Sophie and her team try to piece together something about his life, but progress is slow.


Then a hidden package is discovered near his rudimentary shelter. The police also find out that someone has been in the area asking about the tramp recently. A picture begins to emerge.

He was an important member of a commune that had a three-year existence on a farm on the Quantock Hills in Somerset more than decade earlier.


Discover the truth in this captivating crime mystery.

SILENT CRIMES is book eight of a new series of crime thrillers featuring Sophie Allen, head of the Violent Crime Unit in Dorset.

DCI Sophie Allen is Dorset’s acknowledged expert on murder and violent crime. She is 42 as the series starts, and lives with her husband and younger daughter in Wareham. Her elder daughter is studying in London. Sophie has a law degree and a master’s in criminal psychology. Her brilliant mind conceals some dark secrets from her past.

DS Barry Marsh is based at Swanage police station. He’s quiet, methodical and dedicated, the perfect foil for Sophie’s hidden fragility.

Dorset. A beautiful English county which includes a stunning section of the coastline, but whose beauty belies darkness beneath the surface.


My Review

This is book 8 in the bestselling Detective Sophie Allen series but does work well as stand alone.

Sophie’s daughter, Jade, has been keeping an eye on a tramp and his dog.  When she finds his dead body and injured dog she has plenty of questions to answer but also questions that she needs answering.  Paul was a gentle amiable man so why would someone kill him?  Also, why is he living as a tramp when he is wealthy?  Not only does she need the answers but so does her mum and the rest of the team.

When the clues lead back to 12 years ago and a young woman who disappeared the team are travelling the country trying to track down members of a commune that disbanded all those years ago.

In addition there is Trent, convicted of murder and out on parole he is set to make the people who contributed to his being convicted to pay. 

As the team unravell the clues they uncover a pandora’s box of secrets and wrongdoings but there are even bigger shocks in store.

This is an intriguing read that keeps the pages turning as the reader follows the team in their quest to find the people responsible.

If you like detective books this is one you will really love as the story gets into the nitty gritty of detective work along with the false leads and lies that make their job so difficult.

What readers are saying about MICHAEL HAMBLING

“Very well written and highly recommended.” Viv

“An utterly compelling book from Michael Hambling.” Ron

“The characters were a diverse, mixed bag of well-developed, realistic personalities.” Nicki

“This book is a must read.” Barbara

“This was a good book, I love Sophie as a character.” Hannelore


Michael Hambling author bio

Like many writers, I have been a keen reader all of my life. I remember one day as a nine year old in the summer holidays, when I visited the local library four times in one day because a child’s ticket only allowed one book out at a time! I can even remember the plot of one book, a story about a boy taking up fly-fishing, read while sitting outside in a sunny back garden in Bristol.

I live in the west-country, in the beautiful cathedral city of Salisbury, although I set my novels in the neighbouring county of Dorset. We own a lovely flat in the small Dorset coastal town of Swanage, and spend a lot of time there, walking the famous Jurassic Coast world heritage site.. The early novels in the series are based on the Isle of Purbeck, one of the UK’s most beautiful coastal regions. But the rest of the county of Dorset does get a look in, and there are scenes set in other locations in the central south of England.

I write because I constantly create scenes, people, imaginary conversations and unusual situations in my head. I have always done so, ever since I was a child. Using the richness of the English language to set down these creations in words is a great joy. Maybe by the time I’ve edited a passage for the umpteenth time it’s beginning to lose some of its sparkle for me, but I do believe in reshaping and polishing until it’s as good as I can make it. It then becomes something about which I can feel some justifiable pride.

Who are my own favourite writers? Hilary Mantel, of course. Not just the the recent Thomas Cromwell novels, but the brilliant and sly characterisation of Beyond Black.
Doris Lessing has written some startlingly original stories over many years. I’m also a great fan of David Mitchell. He shows great creativity in all of his novels.
Philip Pullman has written many books of startling originality, full of imaginative ideas. Not just the Lara series, but the earlier Sally Lockhart novels. One of my sons bought me La Belle Sauvage (volume one of the Book of Dust trilogy) for Christmas. I loved it, so much so that I’ve already re-read it a month later, something very rare for me. Wonderful stuff.
Another author I’ve come to admire greatly is Charity Norman. She writes about families in crisis situations and how the problem is partly resolved. I came to her books with “The New Woman”, a novel that probes the problems created by gender variance. Her other novels are equally good. Her writing style is outstanding.
I’ve recently read “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold and was bowled over by it. So much emotional punch and so well written. I’ll be packing her other novels to read on my forthcoming holiday.

In crime fiction I like Val McDiarmid’s work, Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie novels and the books of Mo Hayder. I also enjoy Colin Dexter’s Morse and Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels.

I cannot compete with these greats, so I aim for something different. I hope that I have succeeded to some extent.




A frank canvas: From the art world to the top of the Kindle charts – The Bookseller 26th October 2018 @joffebooks #TeamJoffeBooks

Today I would like to share with you an article in The Bookseller featuring my favourite publisher: JOFFE BOOKS.

An observer of the Kindle charts over the past few years will have noticed that there is one UK independent publisher consistently competing toe to toe with conglomerates and Amazon’s own publishing divisions at the top of the bestseller lists: Joffe Books.

At this writing, the East London-based digital crime fiction specialist has three books in the Kindle Top 50—led by Joy Ellis’ The Stolen Boys in 14th—which is one better than all of Penguin Random House, two better than Bonnier Books, and within spitting distance of Pan Macmillan and HarperCollins (five entries apiece).

Not bad for a company which is probably nimbler than even the most agile of its fellow indie publishers—a recent office move “was done in an Uber”, says founder Jasper Joffe. The artist-turned-publisher employs freelancers to help on various parts of the business, including agent Lorella Belli to handle foreign rights sales, but he is the only full-timer. Joffe says: “I try to resist saying we’re a small publisher—we’ve had revenue of £3m [since launch in 2014] to the beginning of 2018, which I think is pretty good. But our size is why we can be successful, because everything is integrated. The editing, the design, the blurb on the cover is all me, which all links to the marketing. I set up the Facebook ads, so I know whether the tagline is generating the right cost per click; I know if the cover is appealing to people at the thumbnail level. Other publishers probably have the same data, but often by the time they get it the book is dead. So we are able to react real time.”

The model has been working. All told, Joffe Books has shifted nearly five million units worldwide since launch, 2.2 million of which have been sold in 2018. It’s also notched up more than a billion page reads on the Kindle Unlimited subscription service. The last 15 titles it has published have all hit the Kindle UK top 100, and in August 2018 Ellis’ e-book sales passed 1.5 million units.

The last five of Ellis’ Lincolnshire-based police procedural novels have topped the UK Kindle charts. Not bad considering the 71-year-old Ellis turned her hand to writing only after retiring from a long career as a florist—and she was knocked back by 12 traditional publishers before finding a home at Joffe. Its other stars include Helen H Durrant, who has shifted around 700,000 copies of her Calladine & Bayliss and DI Greco series, and Faith Martin, author of the 16-title strong DI Hillary Greene oeuvre.

The DI Greene titles were previously traditionally published, as was Roy Lewis, an author whose 40-book backlist Joffe recently acquired. He saw a digital opportunity for both authors as “first of all they are great writers”. But he suggests “[the traditional publishers] screwed up all the marketing. They seemed to publish a book, slap a cover on it and then publish another one regardless of whether it sold. I guess they didn’t have the ability to be reactive to the market.”

Painted love
When he was trying to decide where to go to university, Joffe was torn between his two big passions—a rather unusual mix: art and business. Even more unusual was that his mother pushed him towards art. “She said to me, ‘You can always go back to university and be a lawyer or do economics’, but you can never go back to being an artist’.”

He did his undergraduate at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford and a masters at the Royal College of Art, graduating from the latter in 1999. For the succeeding 15 years or so, he made his living as a painter. If you are a contemporary art fan you will undoubtedly have heard of Joffe—his 2008 pastel of Heinrich Himmler was acquired, controversially, by Charles Saatchi; he founded the Free Art Fair with other artists, including Bob and Roberta Smith; and he was the subject of much press in 2009 when he ran an exhibition in which he sold all his belongings after being dumped by his girlfriend. Though “painting is still a passion”, he became jaded by the art scene. His switch over to publishing was “organic”, he says. “I published
a novel traditionally [2006’s Water] so I knew how the process worked, and a couple of friends and I had self-published some books. I enjoyed it, and started to advertise for authors. The company started from there. There seemed to be a lot of good authors who didn’t quite know how to self-publish, and we could help them.”

Joffe Books first hit the market during the agency model period, when many of the big publishers were refraining from pricing e-books low. Joffe says: “The market is changing a bit… During our first growth period it was useful that we were selling books more cheaply than [the conglomerates]. But now you see Penguin selling for 99p, HarperCollins, Hachette too. So we’re now on a reasonably level playing field.” So is he worried the big boys are becoming more aggressive? “Not really. I know we can compete. And we can pivot and react fast to the market, maybe in ways they can’t. Honestly, if they cut the price of all their e-books to 29p, they could drive us out of business. But I don’t think they’re going to do that.”

Joffe Books does publish titles in print on demand, but digital is the main format. “The authors like p.o.d., Amazon likes it—as it wants as many formats per book as possible—and I like to see the book in my hands,” Joffe says. “But it is only about 1% of revenue.”

As a mainly digital publisher, then, he has absolutely no truck for the notion the e-book market is stuttering. “If you really look at the overall data, it shows that the e-book market is growing,” Joffe argues. “These reports that say the digital market is dying never show data from indie publishers and authors—and they don’t show any Kindle Unlimited [KU] data. We’ve had a billion page reads on KU, and that’s growing. I just don’t understand the glee with which an e-book slowdown seems to be reported. It’s as if some publishers and the media are happy to kill off a part of the market that is still flourishing.”

Joffe Books is flourishing, certainly, with the business doubling its turnover every year. Is that likely to continue? “Well, it’s fun to be ambitious,” Joffe laughs. “We’ve reached a point… going from 2.8 million units sold by the end of this year to 5.6 million is going to be tougher.” One way to boost that is to crack the US market, “which we really haven’t as much as we’d have liked. The US crime market is different to the UK’s. We’re a mostly British list and American readers respond better to home-grown writers, but we are going to try to expand there.”

He has no immediate plans to increase the team either, though he may cast around for “one more person a bit like myself”. But any growth will be about the talent. Joffe says: “Part of our success is that we’ve cut out all the bits you don’t need any more in modern publishing. But ultimately it all comes down to the pipeline of good authors.”

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: