Sunday 3 May 2020


Another dirty half dozen to look forward to.......

... two from Net Galley, 2 from Amazon for the Kindle and a couple of review copies, one from an author, one from the publisher.

Colin Conway - Cozy up to Death (2020) - review copy from author

Cozy mysteries aren't particulalry my thing, but this one apparently is a cozy that isn't cozy. I've had Colin Conway's books on my radar for a while, particularly his collaborations with Frank Zafiro, so I wasn't going to turn down the chance to read a book from his latest series.

Cozy up to Death is the first and is followed by Cozy up to Murder and the forthcoming Cozy up to Blood.


A man in hiding. A gang of outlaws searching for retribution. This is no time for cupcakes.

“Colin Conway has written the most unusual hero I've come across in a long time. Both touching and sweet with a razor-sharp edge. This is not your grandma's cozy.”
Libby Klein, Author of the Poppy McAllister Mysteries

Today is Brody Steele’s first day as the new owner of The Red Herring, Pleasant Valley, Maine’s only mystery bookstore. The cute shop has a loyal customer base as well as an ornery cat.

Unfortunately, Brody doesn’t know the first thing about running a legitimate business, he doesn’t want to be in the small town, and he hates cats. On top of all that, he hasn’t read a book since high school.

When a cute woman walks into the store, he thinks his bad luck is about to change. But as she starts asking about the previous owner’s whereabouts, his safe new existence begins to unravel.

For Brody Steele is a man with a secret he must protect at all costs. The U.S. Government has invested a lot to keep it hidden, and his enemies will stop at nothing to expose him.

Does happiness or death await Brody in this charming seaside community?

Nicholas Rhea - Constable on the Hill (1979) - Amazon purchase

Well I surprised myself with this buy, though it was only 99p. I enjoyed the TV series back in the day and very often when I get home from work there are episodes airing on one of the satellite TV channels and when I tune in I still like the series so why not? I probably won't go any further than this as there are about 30 in the series and that's too big a commitment for me. I'm curious to compare and see if the show has the same essence as the books.



The brilliantly entertaining and heartwarming books behind the hit 90s TV series Heartbeat. One of the top ten most watched shows of the decade.

In the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside of the 1960s, Constable Nick's roles are as varied as the eccentric villagers.

He handles every encounter with his characteristic humour, humanity and professionalism.

His investigations include the case of a clever pony who keeps escaping, a woman running through town naked, and a pack of Canadian timber wolves hanging out in a bus shelter.


He soon gets to know all the characters on his beat, from his superior officer Sergeant Blaketon to Claude Jeremiah Greengrass, whose lurcher Alfred lands him with a summons for “allowing a dog to worry livestock on agricultural land.” The ever-resourceful Claude Jeremiah offers the defence that Alfred's victim, a budgie, cannot be described as livestock!

John Farrow - Roar Back (2020) - Net Galley

I have a few of Farrow's Emile Cinq-Mars series on the TBR pile, acquired after enjoying Ball Park last year. I'm not passing up the chance to read the next in the series.


Sergeant-Detective Émile Cinq-Mars fails with a task set to him by his former captain and the consequences look set to spark a gangland war in Montreal.

Montreal, 1978. Newly promoted Sergeant-Detective Émile Cinq-Mars attends the scene of seventeen break-ins at an apartment complex. Nothing more than stolen toasters. Cinq-Mars suspects that the burglaries are a trial run for a bigger heist . . . until he discovers a body pinned to a wall with a machete in one apartment.

When the former captain of Night Patrol, Armand Touton, receives a tip from an undercover informant in the Mafia, Cinq-Mars is ordered to intervene with a prisoner's release: the man must stay behind bars. He fails with the task and the immediate consequences are devastating.

While trying to remedy his failure, solve the mystery of the break-ins and the case of the dead body, a chilling aspect emerges . . . gangland Montreal is bracing for war.

Michael Wiley - Lucky Bones (2020) - Net Galley

Another author I have been meaning to read for a while and haven't yet gotten around to.


A case of stolen shoes leads maverick Chicago PI Sam Kelson into something far darker and deeper in the second of this hardhitting crime noir series. "My boyfriend's been stealing my Jimmy Choos." Genevieve Bower has hired private investigator Sam Kelson to recover her stolen shoes from her soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. The problem is that no one's seen Genevieve's boyfriend for the past two weeks. Events take a disturbing twist when, in his search for the shoes, Kelson comes across a body, shot in the head. A clear-cut case of suicide - or is it? Has Kelson's client been wholly honest with him? What is this case really about? At the same time, an explosion rips through one of the city's public libraries, leaving a friend's nephew critically injured. Could there be a connection? If there is, Kelson's determined to find it. But Kelson's not like other investigators. Taking a bullet in the brain during his former career as a Chicago cop, he suffers from disinhibition: he cannot keep silent or tell lies when questioned - and his involuntary outspokenness is about to lead him into dangerous waters . . .

T.J. Brearton - When He Vanished (2019) - Amazon FREEBIE purchase

A bit of a punt, an Amazon FREEBIE and with nearly 150 positive reviews for it and a page count of under 250 worth a look.



Jane Gable returns from her shift at the hospital one night to find her two children asleep in bed and her husband gone, his phone and wallet left behind.

John has long been a responsible and dependable man, maintaining a predictable schedule. He is a former alcoholic, and so Jane fears he has relapsed and may be in trouble.

An ‘old friend’ of John’s, Bruce Barnes, turned up on their doorstep the day before his disappearance.

Jane’s son Russ had seen a mysterious blonde woman at the house.

An SUV keeps showing up. Jane feels watched and under threat.

Then John’s abandoned car is found with blood on the steering wheel and Jane fears the worst. And there is a revelation that will make her question her own sanity.

Jane desperately begins investigating on her own. Suspects include her ex-husband, her stepbrother, and the mysterious blonde.

Is she being framed? Can she even trust herself?


Joe Edd Morris - The Prison (2019) - copy from Black Rose Publishing

A great cover which captured my attention initially and an intriguing outline. Looks like one I'll enjoy.


"The Prison is an exciting murder mystery led by amateur sleuth Shell Ferguson, who uncovers clues in disarming and lively ways. A brilliant novel!" –Michael Hartnett, bestselling author of The Blue Rat

Shell Ferguson visits his incarcerated grandson Cal with tragic news: his daughter, wife, and grandmother have perished in a fire. Cal must rely on his grandfather to uncover the suspicious circumstances of the blaze, as clues unfold to establish his innocence. Compelling revelations link the fire and Cal’s innocence with domestic terrorism. From plots to blow up Mississippi River bridges to threats on their lives, grandfather and grandson take a series of risks, including Cal’s daring prison escape, in an attempt to save the remnants of their family and southern community so disturbingly infiltrated.


  1. You've got some interesting ones here, Col. I've heard of the Rhea series, but haven't (yet) tried the novels. Of the ones you have here, I think that's the one that interests me most; I'll look forward to your review when you get there.

    1. Margot I thought it might. I wonder if the Heartbeat TV show which were based on the Constable books by Rhea ever made it across to your side of the pond?

  2. Cozies are a guilty pleasure – when I find one that grabs me – and not many of them do. But I like the blurb for Conway’s. So on the list it goes. The Morris book sounds promising, too. Look forward to your reviews, Col.

    1. Thanks Elgin, hopefully I won't keep you waiting too long!

  3. Heartbeat was based on books?! Well well well, never knew that. It was never my favourite but it was part of British life for many years, my Mum liked it. And lunchtime repeats still going strong. Will look forward to hearing about it when you get round to it.

    1. I wasn't aware of it until this popped up in a publisher newsletter I get. I thought why the hell not. I did like the show back in the day....Nick Berry and Niamh Cusack or am I confusing here with her sister/aunt/mum - the one in Father Brown? I quite like the show now as I catch the odd one eating my dinner!