#BlogTour #Review: Death Before Coffee by Desmond P. Ryan @BakerPromo @RealDesmondRyan

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Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Canadian crime fiction writer Desmond P. Ryan’s second novel Death Before Coffee. Picking up thirteen years after the death of his partner Sal, Mike O’Shea is back at it chasing down leads and raising hell in Toronto. Just as gritty and just as real as 10-33 Assist PC, this is an outstanding sequel and an intensely gripping read.

10-33AssistPC_FINAL224pgsTitle: Death Before Coffee

Author: Desmond P. Ryan

Publisher: Copper Press Publishing

Publication Date: February 8, 2019

Genre: Fiction, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural

Themes: Friendship, Relationships, Human Trafficking, Crime

Features: N/A

My Rating: 4.5/ 5


By 2:27 on a Thursday afternoon, the one-legged man from Room 8 at 147 Loxitor Avenue has been beaten to death with a lead pipe. Twenty-eight minutes later, Detective Mike O’Shea is testifying in a stuffy courtroom, unaware that, within an hour, he will be standing in an alleyway littered with beer cans and condoms while his new partner—the man who saved his life thirteen years ago—flicks bugs off of a battered corpse with a ballpoint pen. When a rogue undercover copper prematurely hauls in the prime suspect, Mike blows a fuse, resulting in an unlikely rapport developing between him and the lead homicide detective sergeant, a woman known for her stilettos and razor sharp investigative skills. At the end of his seventy-two-hour shift, three men are dead and Mike O’Shea is floating in and out of consciousness in an emergency room hallway, two women by his side. Death Before Coffee, the second book in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, weaves a homicide investigation through the life of an inner-city police detective intent on balancing his responsibilities as a son, brother, and newly single father with his sworn oath of duty. When faced with death, Mike is forced to make decisions that stir up old memories, compelling him to confront his demons while fighting the good fight.

My Review

I have a confession.

Okay, maybe not the kind that needs to be recorded and documented but I feel it’s only fair to get it out in the open – I am typing this review rather heavily medicated for what seems to be the never-ending-February-head-cold and am worried that this may not be my best piece of writing. Please be kind when it comes to any spelling and grammar mistakes, as I am not catching things the way I normally do!

But on to the book which is fabulous, Canadian, and intensely action packed.

All of the things that I loved in Ryan’s first novel lived on in the second, and it was both refreshing and incredibly sad to see that Mike hadn’t walked away from Sal’s murder scott free. Too often I read crime fiction and series where the lead investigator witnesses tragedy after tragedy and seems to ruck on mentally unscathed – but that is not the case with Michael O’Shea. He’s broken, irreparably damaged, and incredibly real. He has flashbacks, suffers from PTSD, generally denies the reality that he needs some professional help, and yet manages to be stubborn and callous in the most endearing way possible.

I must admit though, I did not expect traffic man Ron Roberts to wind up as Mike’s partner, and loved how harshly their personalities clashed with one another. They were automatic chemistry, tension, and humour all rolled into one. And yet, I can see these two odd ducks – the living legend and the rules & regs man – forming a bond and partnership that will carry them through some serious cases and personal hard times. Of course, it makes sense that those involved in Sal’s open case would eventually gravitate back towards one another, and I simply can’t wait to see where this cold case goes given the whoppers that were dropped in the final pages. I mean – Oh. My. Giddy. Goodness. Who doesn’t love a little dirty-cop drama? And now we have to sit patiently for the next instalment to be released!

Impatience aside, this review would not be complete without some serious attention to Detective Sergeant Amanda Black. I am totally in love with this boss lady. Everyone might call her a bitch but she is seriously bad-ass! Driven, successful, damn good at her job and a family lady to boot, she sets the bar pretty high when it comes life goals. I absolutely adored her laser-vision attention to detail, ability to assess and manage a team, and especially her lady-balls when it came to dealing with condescension, insubordination, and the persistent gender gap in her given profession. She’s the perfect balance to Mike’s get ’em cowboy ways and Ron’s by the book approach, injecting a little femininity and a healthy dose of sarcasm into some seriously heavy police work. We need more ladies like her in fiction AND the real world. Period.

And let’s to forget the structure of the book itself. I loved how it was broken up into tightly packed segments delineated by date and time. It gave the feeling of reading through a police report while simultaneously drawing you into the action. It created this sense of everything moving both incredibly fast and unbearably slow at the same time, much the same way I imagine first 48 hours following a major crime feels to the investigating team. It allowed for intense focus on key moments as well as breaks in time to advance the plot while maintaining a seamless and easy to read presentation.

The case was tantalizing, and presented plenty of obstacles to ramp up the drama and keep the pages turning. I felt for the officers running the gauntlet with the media vultures, and found myself steaming with rage when officers went out of their way to disobey, or worse, looked like they might be dirty and on the take. I appreciated the power dynamics, the distinctly different units that have to converge to work on a case, and the need to balance safety with legitimacy when approaching any serious situation. The result was incredibly realistic and believable.

Would I recommend this book? In a heart beat! And I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge advocate for Canadian content, I’m saying it because this baby packs a serious punch and is shaping up to be an awesome series. Death Before Coffee is gritty, raw, and heartbreakingly real. It hits close to home, and makes you consider some pretty serious issues in an unobtrusive way. Read it my fellow crime lovers, you won’t be disappointed.

About The Author

thumbnail_img_1467For almost thirty years, Desmond P. Ryan began every day of his working life with either a victim waiting in a hospital emergency room, or a call to a street corner or a blood-soaked room where someone had been left for dead. Murder, assaults on a level that defied humanity, sexual violations intended to demean, shame, and haunt the individuals who were no more than objects to the offenders: all in a day’s work.

It was exhilarating, exhausting, and often heartbreaking.

As a Detective with the Toronto Police Service, Desmond P. Ryan wrote thousands of reports detailing the people, places, and events that led up to the moment he came along. He investigated the crimes and wrote synopses for guilty pleas detailing the circumstances that brought the accused individuals before the Courts. He also wrote a number of files to have individuals deemed either Not Criminally Responsible due to mental incapacity, or Dangerous Offenders to be held in custody indefinitely.

Now, as a retired investigator with three decades of research opportunities under his belt, Desmond P. Ryan writes crime fiction.

Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction.

Many thanks to Shell Baker at Baker’s Blog Tours and Promos for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

#ARC #Review: Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford #CrimeFiction #Thriller

Today I’m delighted to be sharing a 5* review for Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford. The second instalment in the DI Jo Masters series, this novel perfectly pairs the overly dramatic train wreck of a personal life managed by Josephine Masters, a dismissive and condescending DCI, and some seriously twisted cases surrounding missing and murdered girls – and you have hit the trifecta!

keep her closeTitle: Keep Her Close

Author: M. J. Ford

Publisher: Avon

Expected Publication Date: March  17, 2019

Genre: Fiction, Crime, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Murder Mystery

Themes: Family, Crime, Serial Killers, Work/ Life Balance

Features: N/A

My Rating: 5/ 5


From Goodreads…

The second edge-of-your-seat thriller from M.J. Ford

It’s six months since DS Josie Masters saved her nephew from the clutches of the killer clown, but she’s still haunted by that terrible night. The Thames Valley police force, however, regard Jo as a hero – much to the jealousy of some of her colleagues.

When a young girl goes missing from Jesus College, Jo is assigned to the case, along with new recruit, the handsome DS Pryce. The city of Oxford goes into turmoil when two more girls disappear from Oriel and Somerville, and Josie soon realises that the killer is spelling out her own initials in a deadly game of cat and mouse. This time, the case is personal – but who is the perpetrator?

In a race against time, Jo hunts for the killer – but soon realises he could be a lot closer to home than she’d realised…

My Review

I think I hesitated for all of a split second when it came to requesting this book on NetGalley as I haven’t read the first in the series, but the description was so dang juicy I simply couldn’t help myself. And the best part was that I never once felt like an interloper in an already established story.

Within the first few pages I fell comfortably into the world of Jo Masters, Ryan Pryce, Lucas and Heidi. I appreciated the slow-feed of background information spread throughout the book, as it really added depth and ah-ha moments, as well as the uniqueness of all the supporting characters. It was great that Stratton was the kind of boss that we can all love to hate, that Dimi comes across as a bit of a turd, that Crannick is the sweet but dependable co-worker always running interference and that Heidi always ended up playing den-mother for the dysfunctional crew.

I felt Jo’s frustration so deeply when it became clear that she was being handled with kid gloves, and that her investigative conclusions were being dismissed despite her significant knowledge and expertise. There’s nothing more frustrating that seeing connections and patterns that no one else does, or that your superiors would rather not be true, and having to fight for every inch gained when you should be moving miles instead. I mean,  with girls being abducted in broad daylight and at an alarming rate, don’t you think that the brass would want to explore every possible avenue, not just those that are comfortable and palatable.

And with the cast of suspects presented, I was guessing in circles as to who it could possibly be. I love a good thriller that I can’t figure out, and this one certainly hit the mark. For me, our big bad was entirely unexpected, I was just as shocked as the team and simply couldn’t imagine the media aftermath that the department would be fielding for the weeks and years to come.

And speaking of a media melt-down, Jo’s couldn’t have come at a worse time. While we’ve all had those moments where we go down the rabbit hole of distrust, the thing that I found most disturbing about Jo going off the deep end, was that she used her status as a police office to carry out some seriously misguided personal business. I mean, don’t get me wrong, who hasn’t done a deep dive on a potential romantic partner (there are way too many weirdos out there!), but this… wow. Jo’s behaviour made me question every decision she made throughout the course of the investigation and beyond. Although, it does serve as a healthy reminder that the internet is forever and that basically everyone has a smartphone, so don’t go busting down doors and turning all psycho-girlfriend in broad daylight because it might just go viral. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed too!

Thank goodness Jo has such a supportive family and group of friends, even if they happen to be retired ex-cops drinking themselves to the bottom of the bar. I was surprised at how well Jo’s brother handled the aftermath of both their previous ordeal, as well as the drama of Jo’s current case when it starts to strike too close to home. No word of a lie though, I’d be selling of my house too if someone had been murdered in my kitchen and a child had been abducted from their bedroom. In all honesty, I don’t know how Jo stood through the realtor’s showing without crawling out of her skin. Ugh ugh ugh!

All together this was an incredible read – thrilling, action packed, and full of drama. I was eating up every word and was left wanting more. I can’t want to see what comes next for Jo Masters and the team, or for Jo and Lucas! Read it crime lovers, Keep Her Safe will not disappoint.

Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

#BlogTour #Review: The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir @SussexMysteries @rararesources #Giveaway

The Forgotten Children

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir.  Disturbingly real, deeply emotional, and absolutely gripping Emily’s journey will leave you questioning the motives and secret histories of everyone you’ve ever dared to judge.

The Forgotten Children PAPERBACK frontTitle: The Forgotten Children

Author: Isabella Muir

Publisher: Outset Publishing Inc.

Publication Date: November 29, 2018

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Themes: Friendship, Relationships, Family

Features: N/A

My Rating: 4/ 5


A woman’s search to find her son uncovers the shocking truth about one of Britain’s darkest periods

Struggling with the demons of her past, Emily is a children’s author with a dark secret, and a guilt that threatens to consume her.  For twenty years she has lived in Brighton, England, trying to forget the day they took her baby from her, just hours after he was born.  But now, in the summer of 1987, she decides to begin the search for her son.

Emily takes refuge in a small town on the Isle of Anglesey to plan the search, where she meets Walter, a gentle stranger, who helps her with his words of wisdom and kindness.  But it is when she decides to return home to Hastings, that she really has to face her demons.

Estranged from her parents when she was just sixteen, Emily is shocked by what her mother has to tell her about events that occurred before Emily was even born.

Beside her, throughout her search, is Emily’s beautiful Irish friend, Geraldine, recovering from her own sad experiences.  Together they uncover a truth that shocks them all.

The Forgotten Children draws the reader into lives affected by narrow-minded beliefs and blinkered thinking at the highest level. Children who weren’t allowed to be born, children who were abandoned, and children who were taken, forced to lead a life thousands of miles away from everyone and everything they knew – leaving scars that may never heal.

At its heart, The Forgotten Childrenis a story of survival, but the journey that Emily has to take is painful.  Even more so because she knows it was allowed to happen by individuals, religions and governments, who should have known better.

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Children-chilling-inspired-events-ebook/dp/B07GZYHLKV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Children-chilling-inspired-events-ebook/dp/B07GZYHLKV

My Review

If you enjoy gushy, uplifting reads, walk away now.

The Forgotten Children is deep, uncomfortable, and entirely confrontational. It forces you to question motives, suspend judgement, and look more closely at ‘official’ histories. Oh, and did I mention that it’s an absolutely outstanding read?

Set in the not-too-distant past, the familiarity of the place and society of Emily’s world is so close that it’s almost tangible. Full of nostalgia, heartbreak, and lasting preconceptions it’s almost impossible not to get lost in Emily’s story as she strives to make peace with her past, her mother, and her son. Muir confronts loss on so many levels – through miscarriage, through adoption, through choice, between parents and children, amongst siblings, lovers, and friends. It deals with some incredibly harsh realities, and yet it delivers an incredibly cathartic experience that evokes both empathy and understanding.

Emotions aside, there’s a damn good story in the mix as well. I enjoyed being let into Emily’s life, especially those moments with Ralph, and felt that the journey she experienced was particularly believable. Walter and Patrick were a breath of fresh air, and I appreciated the ways in which Walter always turned a question in on itself. I also loved Gee, and her persistently optimistic outlook on life. But most surprising, was the degree to which I found myself empathizing with Emily’s mother. Granted, it took some time for me to warm up to her, but about the time she joined Emily in Wales I was as much invested in her story as I was in her daughter’s.

I must admit though, that I found there were a few too may happy endings given the circumstances. It seemed unlikely that there would be so many reunions in light of the times, the distance, and the practice of changing children’s name when they were transported overseas. The reality is that closed and/ or anonymous adoptions can be difficult to track at the best times, let alone across an ocean and when paper files were prone to natural attrition or convenient destruction. Don’t get me wrong, I needed a little hope and happiness after Emily’s rollercoaster ride, but this was perhaps the only element I found a bit stretched.

Regardless, The Forgotten Children is the kind of book that makes you think. It tugs at your heartstrings in every way possible, and has a relatable character for just about everyone. It’s balanced, provocative, and sadly sweet.  If you enjoy contemporary fiction with a bit of grit and a healthy does of drama this one will definitely be for you.


Giveaway  – Win a signed copy of The Forgotten Children (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


About The Author

The Forgotten Isabella Muir

Isabella Muir has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

As well as her newest title, The Forgotten Children, Isabella is the author of the Sussex Crime Mystery series.  These Agatha Christie style stories are set in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke, who has a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Social Media Links –




Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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