#BlogTour #Review: Rogue Killer by Leigh Russell #CrimeFiction @noexitpress @LeighRussell

Final Rogue Killer Blog Tour poster

I am a complete numpty.

No, seriously.

Here I was all proud of having written and reviewed a full two months worth of blog tour posts in advance and I scheduled this post on the 28th instead of the 26th! Cue maximum embarrassment and self-deprecation. A huge thanks to Anne Carter and No Exit Press for their kindness and understanding with my mistake – because I absolutely adored this book and am still beyond stoked to be taking part in the tour.

Rogue Killer coverTitle: Rogue Killer

Author: Leigh Russell

Publisher: No Exit Press

Publication Date: 21 March 2019

Genre: Fiction, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Mystery, Thriller

Themes: Serial Killers, Crime, Family, Friendships, Power Dynamics

Features: N/A

My Rating: 5/ 5



A man is killed in an apparently random attack, and suspicion falls on a gang of muggers. Only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel thinks this is the work of a more deliberate murderer.

Two more victims are discovered, after further seemingly indiscriminate attacks, and this time the muggers have a concrete alibi. All the while the killer remains at large. When Geraldine finally manages to track down a witness, she finds her own life is in danger…

My Review

Today, despite my scheduling snafu, I have the absolute pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for Leigh Russell’s latest instalment in the Geraldine Steel series Rogue Killer. It’s deep, dark, and foolishly dangerous – exactly how I like my crime thrillers! It’s chalk full with a mysterious and unpredictable serial killer, a series of averting crimes and suspects, and a copper who’s willing to put her life and career on the line to get the job done. Trust me, this is a rather exciting read!

And for those that haven’t read the entire Geraldine Steel series, please don’t shy away. This baby reads as an excellent stand alone novel with just enough back story speckled throughout to keep you in the loop, but not so much as to feel redundant for those that have been with Geraldine throughout her career. I felt instantly at home with the cast of characters and the power dynamics, and honestly felt like I was being sucked comfortably into a police drama on TV.

I mean, you’ve got to love a cop who’s been demoted and feels like they have nothing left to loose. The result is Geraldine, our plucky heroine who gave up on a promising career to save her sister, yet remains unwaveringly dedicated to her work as a homicide detective – just with a little less regard for the rules. Bring on actually acting on those gut feelings, some seriously brash choices, and a ridiculous willingness to chase down leads out of hours and in the absence of back-up. Now add in a dash of emotional detachment, some unrequited feelings, and a touch of social awkwardness and you have more drama to carry you happily through the slower bits of an investigation.

This is all complemented by fractured perspectives with the bulk of the investigation broken up with insights into our gag of muggers and glimpses into the killers mind. The juxtaposition of these scenes against the waiting game that investigations can turn into created a twisty, dynamic, and ever-changing landscape. There was just enough in the way of choice details and leading bits of evidence to have me guessing at all of the wrong suspects right up until the very end.

And despite some less than savoury personalities and poor choices, I felt bad for all of the victims who approached the police with their concerns about the murders, muggings, and uneasy feelings to no avail. Especially young Daryl, trapped between a rock and a hard place, or rather between poverty and his sociopathic ring of friends. But sympathy aside, these healthy doses of reality to ground the story in a place of reality and reliability – no matter how uncomfortable some situations might make you feel.

I felt too, the frustration of both Geraldine and the police department as the murders and muggings continued on for so long without resolution. Especially given the massive media interest that such cases can generate and the underlying knowledge that there is no evidence to move forward with. But more than anything, I empathized with Geraldine’s frustration towards her colleagues and superiors as they put the blinders on and pursued a single solution instead of investigating the situation from as many angles as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the desire to wrap everything up with a single, neat solution but it was endlessly irritating to see possibility after possibility dismissed because it didn’t meet the perfect idea of what the solution should be.

Finally, I really enjoyed the interplay between Ian and Geraldine. Both of them clueless, both of them awkward, and altogether they created the injection of humour into a situation that seemed impossible to overcome. I mean, who hasn’t misinterpreted someone’s intentions or made assumptions about their relationship with a colleague from time to time? Their relationship was so real that it hurt to read! I can’t wait to see where they go next, as I’m sure there’s more to come for Geraldine Steel.

Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! In fact, I would recommend the entire series. Rogue Killer is wonderfully written, exciting, and utterly realistic. It’s full of twists and turns, dead-end leads, and relatable characters.

If you like strong female leads and stellar crime fiction, this baby is sure to please!

About The Author

Leigh Russell Author pictureLeigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi, Class Murder and Death Rope. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

Many thanks to Anne Carter for inviting me to join in this tour, and to Leigh Russell and No Exit Press and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.


#Review: Conspiracy of Lies by Kathryn Gauci #WWIIFiction #HistoricalFiction

Today I’m over the moon to share my 5 star review for Conspiracy of Lies by Katheryn Gauci. Part saucy romance part gripping WWII fiction, I simply couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages – it was absolutely amazing!

conspiracyTitle: Conspiracy of Lies

Author: Kathryn Gauci

Publisher: Kathryn Gauci

Expected Publication Date: July 12, 2017

Genre: WWII Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Themes: WWII, SOE, Romance, the French Resistance

Features: Book Club reading guide and questions.

My Rating: 5/ 5


From Goodreads…

From the author of The Embroiderer comes a powerful account of one woman’s struggle to balance her duty to her country and a love she knows will ultimately end in tragedy.

1940. With the Germans about to enter Paris, Claire Bouchard flees France for England. Two years later she is recruited by the Special Operations Executive and sent back into occupied France to work alongside the Resistance.

Working undercover as a teacher in Brittany, Claire accidentally befriends the wife of the German Commandant of Rennes and the blossoming friendship is about to become a dangerous mission.

Knowing that thousands of lives depended on her actions, Claire begins a double life as a Gestapo Commandant’s mistress in order to retrieve vital information for the Allied invasion of France, but ghosts from her past make the deception more painful than she could have imagined.

Part historical, part romance and part thriller, Conspiracy of Lies takes us on a journey through occupied France, from the picturesque villages of rural Brittany to the glittering dinner parties of the Nazi elite, in a story of courage, heartbreak and secrecy.

My Review

I’ve given up on thinking that I don’t like romance, because clearly I have been loving it lately – and Conspiracy of Lies was no exception. It starts of with a whirlwind romance in Paris (um hello, beautiful daydream much?) and is followed dramatically by a complete immersion in the SOE and a deployment to occupied France. I mean, oooft! Does it get any better?

I loved the tenacity of Claire Bouchard, and especially the retrospective introduction to the story. We see Claire at the end of her journey sharing moments with her daughter, so we know that she survives. Yet despite this, the events that Claire endures in 1943 had me on the edge of my seat wondering how she makes it through. I seriously doubted that Claire was going to survive her landing in Brittany, ad certainly not her unexpected infiltration of the Nazi elite as she fell into the bed of a Gestapo Commandant.

I enjoyed too, how Claire’s past and present were interspersed throughout the book. Her return to Brittany and reconnection with her daughter cut the tension of Claire’s mission at the best possible moment. Not only did they provided glimpses of insight into Claire’s character, but they also dolled out key clues into the history of the geography in which the story takes place. I found that it really helped to root the narrative in reality, and to make it feel like the past isn’t so far away.

And the scenario with the Gestapo Commandant was an absolute trip as well. It really brought to light the degree of subterfuge and infiltration undertaken by members of the SOE and the complicated situations that had to be navigated in the aftermath of the war. And keeping in mind the secrecy to which SOE agents were sworn, I can only imagine how shocking discovering the truth of a parent or grandparent’s real past might have been.

Yet, the magnitude of this drama was subtly balanced by the opulence of the Nazi elite. The dresses, the hotels, the parties and the food in the face of such drastic austerity was almost overwhelming. And once Claire was embedded in this world, I couldn’t shake the feeling of Stockholm Syndrome despite Claire’s obvious commitment to the SOE. The depth of detail provided a sense a grounding and realism that made every scenario believable, and solid foundation on which some extreme events can take place. And the best part was that despite having some knowledge of the French Resistance and the events leading up to the liberation of France, I never once felt that I could guess what was coming around the corner or that I knew an outcome before it came to pass.

This baby is truly the best of both worlds with enough pulling at the heartstrings to give you a flutter, and a riveting game of SOE cat-and-mouse espionage to keep those pages turing. It’s detailed, dramatic, and incredibly well written.

Read it book lovers, you won’t be disappointed!

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

#Review: The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff #WWIIFiction #HistoricalFiction @PamJenoff

I first fell in love with Pam Jenoff’s writing almost two years ago, when I read and reviewed The Orphan’s Tale. So today I am absolutely over the moon to be offering a 5* review for The Lost Girls of Paris. An intricate braid of three riveting stories, Jenoff transports you back to WWII in Paris, London, and New York and to a time of immeasurable sacrifice, incalculable strength, and determination in the face of overwhelming odds. This book is an absolute beauty and a must read for lovers of historical and WWII fiction.

lost girlsTitle: The Lost Girls of Paris

Author: Pam Jenoff

Publisher: Park Row

Expected Publication Date: January 29, 2019

Genre: WWII Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Themes: WWII, SOE, Romance, the French Resistance

Features: Book Club reading guide and questions.

My Rating: 5/ 5


From Goodreads…

From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Talecomes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female spies during World War II.

1946, Manhattan

Grace Healey is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war, and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

My Review

I’m biased, I know, but I love Jenoff’s writing. So I simply couldn’t resist when The Lost Girls of Paris are out, bought a copy on publication day, and then made myself wait until we went on holidays to read it. I’m seriously mad that I didn’t cave and let myself read it sooner, but it was absolutely worth the wait, and one of the best rides I’ve ever been on!

Let’s start with my favourite thing apparent in Jenoff’s writing – the obvious presence of research! It’s clear that no detail is haphazard or half-assed, and that no stone has been left unturned. Everything from the locales to the clothing breathes authenticity and and make the characters and their lives feel ever-so real. But what I appreciated more than the reliance on fact to craft the tales of Marie, Eleanor, and Grace was that all of the characters and events were entirely fictional. As a lover of WWII fiction I have read enough fictional versions of Himmler to last a lifetime, so having new and exciting characters in this setting was a breath of fresh air. It gave the freedom for an immersive read without inspiring an irrational need to fact check, and for that I am eternally grateful.

The split storylines of our ladies were beautiful complements to one another. I think in some cases that if the book had been about just one or the others of the women, that the sadness of their stories would have been overwhelming. However, the balance of Grace rebuilding her life after the loss of her husband served as the perfect complement to the hopelessness of Marie & Eleanor’s positions.

Of all the girls, I found Eleanor’s lot the most precarious and nerve wracking to read. Sure, she was our of the action and running things from the SOE, as it was clear early on that her superiors were setting her up to take the fall if her F Section agents failed and the credit if they succeeded. And because the women of F Section were never given official ranks or any sort of recognition, they too became easy to sweep under the rug when things got difficult. I can only imagine how painfully aware of this situation Eleanor was, which is why she was so invested in the recruiting, training deployment, and monitoring of her agents.

Garce was hard to read too, but in the best possible way. She bucked against the expectations of both her family and society in order to find herself doling her husband’s death, and in that had to grapple with an almost overwhelming amount of grief and guilt. Finding Eleanor’s suitcase was the perfect act of deflection to find closure for both the victim on the car crash and herself. I found her romance with Mark both sweet and timely, and adored how Mark pursued Grace through kindness and assistance rather than machismo and pressure. It was nice to see his empathy and understanding of Grace’s grief and other needs, as well as his respect and appreciation for her choice in having a career.

Marie was an absolute breath of fresh air. As much as I pitied her back story with such a users husband who ran off her fortune after their daughter was born I liked her grit, tenacity, and determination to maintain her home, even with Tess living safely in the country. I loved how she stuck it out against the odds when everyone expected her to fail in her training, and even when she expected failure from herself. I found her easy to relate to and exciting to read – especially after she was dropped for her mission in France.

The interplay between the three plots was perfectly balanced and made for an absolutely outstanding read. The push and pull between hope and grief, loss and love, war and recovery made for a dynamic and enjoyable experience. Like I said, I know I’m biased, being a Jenoff groupie and all, but I would recommend this baby to anyone. It’s the perfect blend of history and fiction, and it hits you in the heartstrings over and over again. It’s absolute perfection.

I purchased and reviewed this title independently, all opinions are my own.

#BlogTour #Review: The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes #WWIIFiction #CrimeFiction @endeavourquill

The Blameless Dead banner (small)

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Gary Hayne’s stellar novel The Blameless Dead. Part WWII fiction, part psychological crime thriller this multi-viewpoint mosaic is the best of both worlds. If you like dark and twisty and playing puzzle master as you read, this baby is sure to please.

The Blameless DeadTitle: 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


From Goodreads…

In the dying days of World War Two, Pavel Romasko and his Red Army colleagues pick their way through the carnage and detritus of a dying Berlin. Stumbling upon the smoking remains of a Nazi bunker, they find something inside that eclipses the horror of even the worst excesses in the city above them…

As the war ends, retribution begins. But some revenge cannot be taken at once. Some revenge takes years.

And so it is, as post-war Europe tries desperately to drag itself back onto its feet, and soldiers attempt a return to normality, that retribution continues to ferment in the Gulags of the Soviet Union and beneath the surface of apparently ordinary lives.

Which is how, seventy years later, FBI agent Carla Romero and New York lawyer Gabriel Hall are enlisted to investigate a series of blood-chilling crimes that seem to have their roots in the distant past — even though the suffering they cause is all too present. And for one of them, the disappearance of young women is a particularly personal matter.

The Blameless Dead is an epic, compelling, edge-of-the-seat drama that sweeps the reader from twentieth century Europe to modern-day New York, taking in some of the most important events of modern history and exposing them in honest and unflinching terms. Part murder-mystery, part historical novel and shot through with adrenaline-pumping action, this novel superbly demonstrates that, while the hostilities may cease and the peace be signed, the horror that is war is never really over.

My Review

I first took part in the cover reveal for this baby back in November because I was absolutely in love with the blurb, so you can imagine my delight when I was able to get my hands on the galley. And let me tell you this, the reality of the narrative far exceeded my expectations! I mean, some twisty WWII fiction packaged together with a seriously messed up modern serial killer in a riveting investigative procedural – ooft! Amazing.

Keep in mind though, this is not the type of book that can be readily enjoyed by the detached or casual reader. Rather, the variety of viewpoints and span of settings and times, demands a master puzzler to keep track of the crucial yet disparate goings-on. And given that none of the characters are inclined to share information with one another, it falls on the reader to pull the threads together and make sense of how each piece fits together. If you’re paying attention the ending can be sussed out to great satisfaction. But don’t get too cocky about those sleuthing skills, because there are some twists and turns that simply can be predicted.

Packed with a cast of uniquely individual characters, I was surprised to find myself attaching to more than one, including our eventual bad-guy. I found myself trapped in the cycle of grief with Gabriel as he mourns the loss of his niece, raging with Kazapov as he seeks justice for the atrocities committed against his family, and feeling excited and empowered as Carla engages fully with her investigation. Each of them are loaded with secrets from the past, a toast of idiosyncrasies, and an unpredictable nature.

Now throw in a foreign hitman with a few sadistic tendencies and a criminal network rooted in society’s underbelly, and there’s simply no guessing which character is going to be the next to die. At one point I felt like Mr. Martin took over and was dealing out deaths just to keep you from getting too attached. But seriously though, while some of the events certainly seemed cruel and senseless, they all adhered to a certain criminal logic and were not without purpose.

This book isn’t for the faint of heart. It can be difficult and uncomfortable, and it deals with both the atrocities of war and the lasting effects that being involved in such events can have on the human psyche. Torture and psychotic tendencies aside though, The Blameless Dead is exceptionally well written and undeniably gripping.

Would I recommend this book? Without a question! Although if you’re like me I might suggest breaking out the notepad and paper, as Haynes will certainly put your attention to detail to the test. Gritty, brutal and undeniably powerful The Blameless Dead will hook you from the first page.

About The Author


Bestselling Thriller/Crime novelist published by HarperCollins/Endeavour Quill. Gary Haynes studied law at university before becoming a commercial litigator. He is interested in history, philosophy and international relations. When he’s not writing or reading, he enjoys watching European films, travelling, hillwalking and spending time with his family. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

You can contact Gary via his website and social media sites.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/GaryHaynesNovel

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391784.Gary_Haynes

Website: https://garyhaynes.weebly.com/

Many thanks to Hannah Groves at Endeavour Media for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Blameless Dead Blog Tour Schedule