Author Query – Ruth Downie + Giveaway

Cover Image Vita BrevisHistorical crime fiction is my jam — well one of them — and while I mostly read books set later in history, I have a soft spot for books with a Roman setting. Ruth Downie’s Medicus series featuring Gaius Ruso is one that I wasn’t familiar with, but given that Vita Brevis is the seventh book in the series, I’ve got some catching up to look forward to. Today, I’m happy to be part of the Vita Brevis blog tour with an interview with Ruth and a giveaway for a copy of the book. I hope you enjoy Ruth’s answers as much as I did and do check out the other stops on the blog tour.   Read More …

Susan Spann – The Ninja’s Daughter [Blog Tour]

susanspann-theninjasdaughterAutumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.

As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace–but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.

The Ninja’s Daughter is the fourth book in the Shinobi Mystery series and it is a reunion with the regular cast and some of my favourite background characters, such as Ana, Gato, Ginjiro, and Suke. I really enjoyed the previous two books I’ve read in this series, Blade of the Samurai and Flask of the Drunken Master, and I was looking forward to discover what would happen next for Hiro and his charge Father Mateo. What I found in The Ninja’s Daughter was both an interesting murder mystery and a great development of the overarching story.  Read More …

Author Query – Anna Mazzola

annamazzola-theunseeingYesterday I reviewed Anna Mazzola’s amazing debut novel The Unseeing. It’s a powerful story about one of the most notorious cases of early Victorian England. I absolutely adored the book and I was really pleased to be able to ask Anna some questions about it. I hope you enjoy Anna’s answers as much as I did and that you check out The Unseeing. If you’d like to hear an interview with Anna — including a bonus question from yours truly — check out her appearance on the Tea and Jeopardy podcast.


Let’s start with the basics. Who is Anna Mazzola? 

I’m a debut author, a very small one. My first novel, The Unseeing, came out in July. I also write short stories, look after small children and act as a criminal justice solicitor to people of all sizes.  Read More …

Anna Mazzola – The Unseeing

annamazzola-theunseeingIt is 1837 and the city streets teem with life, atmosphere and the stench of London. Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, has been sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding.

Edmund Fleetwood, an idealistic lawyer, is appointed to investigate Sarah’s petition for mercy and consider whether justice has been done. Struggling with his own demons, he is determined to seek out the truth, yet Sarah refuses to help him. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone with a child would willingly go to their own death?

Criminal injustice is a hot topic these days—from Serial and the various podcasts it inspired, to Making a Murderer, to the stories we see in the news about wrongful convictions or inexplicably light sentencing. But it is certainly not a modern phenomenon and it is one such case that forms the bones for the story told in The Unseeing. Anna Mazzola’s powerful debut novel is set in the year that Queen Victoria ascended the throne and looks at the conviction of a woman for a crime she might not have committed in one of the most infamous cases of the early nineteenth century.  Read More …

Excerpt: William Sutton – Lawless and the Flowers of Sin

Mid Lawless_Flowers of SinLast week I had William Sutton over on the blog for an Author Query about his latest novel Lawless and the Flowers of Sin, among other things, and today I get to share an excerpt from the book with you. I received a review copy earlier in the week, so look out for a review in the near future!


Molly, chief of the Oddbody Theatrical urchins, investigates the erotic publishers of Holywell Street.  Read More …

Angela Slatter – Vigil

angelaslatter-vigilVerity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds.

The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength – and the ability to walk between us and the other – as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.

But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale – and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways – and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane.

And Verity must investigate – or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.

Welcome to Brisneyland! The story Angela Slatter presents us with in her debut solo-novel Vigil is a departure from her previous work, which I have heard people raving about for the past few years really. As such it was the perfect place for me to start my first Angela Slatter story, since it is the beginning of a series and the start of this new urban fantasy direction for the author. And I loved it. Vigil is a fantastic read, with a heroine who captured my heart.  Read More …

Author Query – William Sutton

Mid Lawless_Flowers of SinIn 2013 I read and reviewed William Sutton’s Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square, which I liked a lot. I was looking forward to the next book, Lawless and the Flowers of Sin, but unfortunately due to the publisher closing up shop, its publication was cancelled. So when Titan Books picked up the series I was quite pleased. I’m happy to say that Lawless and the Flowers of Sin is now finally officially out in the world and I look forward to reading what is next for Campbell Lawless. I took the occasion of its publication as an opportunity to ask William some questions about his characters, his research, and his writing.  Read More …

Sarah Hilary – Tastes Like Fear

sarahhilary-tasteslikefearYou’ll never be out of Harm’s way

The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He’s the head of her new family.

He’s Harm.

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl’s disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she’s about to face.

Because when Harm’s family is threatened, everything tastes like fear…

I love DI Marnie Rome and it is always a treat to read her next adventure. Sarah Hilary’s third entry into the series, Tastes Like Fear, builds on the foundations laid in the first two books and builds the overarching story out while delivering a chilling and fascinating mystery to be unraveled in this book. There is an art to delivering a standalone experience while rewarding return readers that is especially important for crime series, which often run really long and need to be accessible at any point for new readers. Sarah Hilary manages this brilliantly with Tastes Like FearRead More …

Carlie St. George – The Spindle City Mysteries

carliestgeorge-bloodyslippercoverJimmy Prince is a private detective with a tendency to take on hopeless cases and ask too many questions and in Spindle City, asking the wrong questions is a guaranteed one-way ticket to the long and silent ever after. 

In this hardboiled detective series from Carlie St. George, Jimmy and his sidekick Jack navigate the City’s dark streets and bloody secrets in three noir-inspired mysteries: The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper, The Price You Pay Is Red, and The Long and Silent Ever After. 

I love a good noir detective and I have a weakness for fairytale retellings. In other words, Carlie St. George’s The Spindle City Mysteries hit the sweet spot just with their description alone. I was sold on the concept. But concept is one thing, execution another and I’m glad to say St. George didn’t disappoint. While written as three separate novellas and originally released in serial-form on the Book Smugglers, I read the stories in order almost as one long story. The three novellas certainly work as standalone stories, but I think they work even better when read as a whole. There is a really tight series arc that is told over the three stories and while I loved the separate cases Jimmy works during the series, the heart of the narrative was with that central series plot.  Read More …

Review Amnesty: YA Edition

reviewamnestyMy second post in my Review Amnesty series is all about YA. What is a review amnesty you might wonder? Well, it is a phrase I coined for the books that stacked up in a review back log when I had my blogging hiatus last year. They became a stumbling block to getting back into the swing of things, so I decided to give myself an out and call a review amnesty, meaning I’d only review the books with the most basic of reviews, so I could share my thoughts without having to reread the books, some of which I’d read over six months ago. So, two down, one to come!  Read More …