My Book of the Month for October 2014

The book I enjoyed most this month was The Soul Of Discretion by Susan Hill. My review is here.



A Twist Of The Knife by Peter James. Read October 2014.

I quickly realised this wouldn’t be bedtime reading, then rationed myself to a few stories a day so I could savour the experience.
“With each twist of the knife, a chilling new journey begins…From a woman intent on bizarre revenge, to a restaurant critic with a morbid fear of the number thirteen; and from a man arranging a life-changing assignation, to a couple heading for a disaster-filled vacation . . .”
A new Peter James book is one of the highlights of my year but I confess my heart fell when I realised it was a short story collection. I’ve never been a fan of short stories – I don’t like the feeling of just getting to know the characters then it’s all over too quickly. A Twist of the Knife has completely changed my opinion. Each story was a new delight and even the very short ones (less than a page) had an impact.
Whilst reading A Twist of the Knife I heard a radio interview with the author who gave some background to some of the stories. This added an extra dimension to my enjoyment of the book.
The stories I most enjoyed were those based on true incidents as they challenged my scepticism of all things paranormal. I vow to be more open-minded in future.
Thank you to the publisher, via Midas PR, for the proof copy to review.


Falling by Emma Kavanagh. Read October 2014.

A father grieving for his daughter, a daughter who can’t grieve for her father. Just two of the intriguing and heartbreaking strands of this story.
“A plane falls out of the sky. A woman is murdered. Four people all have something to hide”.
From the first few pages I knew that this would be a crime novel with a difference. The plot is expertly constructed and the characters, flawed but sympathetic, engaged me so that I found myself thinking about them even when I wasn’t reading the book.
I raced through the first half of the book but then got a little bogged down for a few chapters when I was confused by what was happening in the present and what was flashbacks. There were also a couple of mix ups of timing / logic that spoilt my enjoyment slightly. (These may have been edited out – I was reading an early netgalley version).
Overall though I found this a cracking read with a truly original plot.
Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for the advance copy e-book


The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2014

Winners unmasked at Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2014 on ITV3


Friday 24 October, 2014

Keeley Hawes and Matthew McConaughey won the Best Actress and Best Actor awards at the prestigious Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2014, held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel tonight.

The star-studded awards ceremony was hosted by Bradley Walsh and attended by the cream of actors, writers and producers from the world of crime TV and fiction, including Keeley Hawes, Stanley Tucci, Anna Maxwell Martin, James Norton, Rachael Stirling and Amanda Abbington.

Authors who received recognition at the awards, which celebrate the best in crime fiction on TV and in books, included Peter May, Wiley Cash and Robert Harris.

For the first time a whole series, ITV’s Midsomer Murders, was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and the cast and crew turned out in force to collect their Award.

The glittering event, organised by Cactus TV and ITV3 in partnership with the Crime Writers’ Association, saw and Happy Valley win the TV Dagger and True Detective win the International TV Dagger.

Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards Winners are:

● Keeley Hawes for Line of Duty – Dagger for Best Actress

● Matthew McConaughey for True Detective – Dagger for Best Actor

● James Norton for Happy Valley – Dagger for Best Supporting Actor

● Amanda Abbington for Sherlock – Dagger for Best Supporting Actress

● Happy Valley – Dagger for Best TV Series

● True Detective – Dagger for Best International TV Series

● Cold in July – Dagger for Best Film

● Peter May – Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year

● Wiley Cash – CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger

● Ray Celestin – CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger

● Robert Harris – CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year

● Denise Mina, Robert Harris and Midsomer Murders were inducted into the Hall of Fame

The awards, now in their seventh year, mark the culmination of ITV3’s six-week prime time series, The Specsavers Crime Thriller Club. The ceremony will be shown on ITV3 at 9pm, Monday 27 October 2014, and a full list of winners is below.

Amanda Ross, Managing Director of Cactus TV, creator of the awards and season for ITV3 said: ‘This is the most popular genre of fiction on the screen and in print, so it’s great to be able to honour its true stars. Bradley Walsh was on sparkling form, so I’m sure the viewers at home will enjoy the event as much as all the stars in the room.’

Crime legends Denise Mina and Robert Harris were inducted into the CWA Hall of Fame at the awards ceremony in recognition of their contributions to the genre.

The Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the year was awarded to Peter May for ‘Entry Island’. This award is selected by a group of independent publishing experts from the Awards Academy, from a shortlist of 6 great Crime reads featured throughout the Crime Thriller Club Series on ITV3.

This year’s CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year was won by Wiley Cash for debut novel This Dark Road to Mercy, a story of blood and vengeance involving two young sisters. Cash’s book beat an exceptional line-up of likely suspects including Paul Mendelson’s The First Rule of Survival, Louise Penny’s How the Light Gets In and Paula Daly’s Keep Your Friends Close to win the prestigious award.

The CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for Best New Crime Writer of the Year was awarded to Ray Celestin for his debut novel The Axeman’s Jazz. Named the most wanted new author in crime fiction, Celestin’s The Axeman’s Jazz and its tale of an axe killer with a mysterious identity beat off competition from M.J. Carter’s The Strangler Vine, Antonia Hodgson’s The Devil in the Marshalsea and A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife to take home the award.

The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year went to Robert Harris for An Officer and a Spy. This bestselling author thriller battled it out against Terry Hayes for I Am Pilgrim, Greg Iles for Natchez Burning and Louise Doughty for Apple Tree Yard to win the esteemed award.


● The Best Actress Dagger
Keeley Hawes, Line of Duty

● The Best Actor Dagger
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective

● The Specsavers ITV3 Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read :
Peter May, Entry Island (Quercus)

● CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger for the Best Crime Novel of the Year:
Wiley Cash, This Dark Road to Mercy (Doubleday/Transworld)

● CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for the Best New Crime Writer of the Year:
Ray Celestin, The Axeman’s Jazz (Mantle)

● CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the Best Thriller of the Year:
Robert Harris, An Officer and a Spy (Arrow)

● The TV Dagger
Happy Valley

● The Film Dagger
Cold in July

● The Best Supporting Actor Sagger
James Norton, Happy Valley

· The Best Supporting Actress Dagger
Amanda Abbington, Sherlock

● The International TV Dagger
True Detective

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. Read October 2014.

Sheer escapism with the return of Poirot.
“Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered…Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel have been murdered, a cufflink placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman?”
I haven’t read an Agatha Christie novel for donkey’s years. I used to chain read them, devouring each one as soon as I could get my hands on it from the library. I loved them and they laid some of the foundations of my lifelong love of crime fiction. Added to that, Sophie Hannah is one of my favourite contemporary crime writers and her psychological thrillers are among my top reads of recent years. So you could say my expectations were high when I started The Monogram Murders!
I’m pleased to report that I wasn’t disappointed. The plot was clever and well constructed and the characters were a colourful cast who I found at least as believable as those in the original Poirot stories.
Some suspension of disbelief was necessary in order to enjoy the book fully, but once this was achieved I wallowed in the mystery and its intricate explanation.
From the style to the plotting I could easily have taken this book to be an Agatha Christie original and enjoyed it as such, and now I’m hoping there may be more to come.


October 24 Hour Readathon


The event’s coming to a close in the next hour. I definitely could have read more (if I’d stayed off Twitter) but I enjoyed the challenges & interacting with others. Definitely taking part next time & highly recommend to other readers!

End of Event Meme:

Which hour was most daunting for you?
The first hour – didn’t know where to look for challenges etc
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I’d suggest some short story collections so you can pick & mix.
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
It’s been great, hard to think of anything.
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The hosts were great & all the links worked.
How many books did you read?
What were the names of the books you read?
The Monogram Murders & A Twist of the Knife.
Which book did you enjoy most?
Which did you enjoy least?
Both equally
If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? n/a
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? 100% taking part again, as a reader again, then maybe get more involved in

Best of your reading year

Best book: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty – shocking and stunning My review.

Best cover: Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly. This has been my favourite cover all year & it’s a great book too!

Best author: I’ve looked at Goodreads & found the author I’ve read most this year which is Sophie Hannah (5 books read) who writes psychological thrillers with amazing plot twists.

Book 1 completed (21 hours in!) 🕙:


140 character challenge
@TraceyWalsh_: Even though I’m still on Book 1 I’m loving this #readathon. So much going on & lots of book chat with other readathoners & twitter folk 👍😊📚📖

Show It Off Challenge
Has to be my signed copy of Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid



I’m swapping some books about – removing A Tap On The Window from my stack & slotting in a short story collection A Twist of the Knife by Peter James, which I’ll start as soon as I’ve completed book 1.


Name Your Readathon
From my TBR – I name my readathon “A Twist in the Tales”
(A Twist of the Knife by Peter James & Tell No Tales by Eva Dolan)


Shelfie Challenge
I’m not a book hoarder but I do keep signed books & proofs – here’s my shelfie


Opening Meme:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Blackburn, England, UK
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Falling by Emma Kavanagh – been on TBR ages
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Cheese, crackers & wine
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Crime fiction addict, especially psychological thrillers. Recently discovered a talent for haiku poems.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
Seeing if I can read past usual bedtime!

I’m taking part in another readathon (I love readathons!) This one is a 24 hour readathon that takes place twice a year. Check out for details.
From 1pm Saturday 18 October, I’ll be doing as much reading as I can fit in to the next 24 hours.
Having checked my TBR pile I expect to read some or all of:
The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
Falling by Emma Kavanagh
A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay

I’m reader #375.

Dead To Me by Cath Staincliffe. Read October 2014.

An enjoyable read but having watched the TV series I missed being able to imagine the characters for myself.
“A prequel to the hit TV series Scott and Bailey, and a chillingly authentic story of murder and hunting killers on the mean streets of Manchester.”
For 90% if the book I was convinced I knew who the killer was (wrong!) and I was impressed with how the author led me down the wrong path.
I think the strongest character is Gill Murray, in both the book and the TV programme. The parts of the story detailing her home life were the most absorbing for me.
Fans of the TV show will enjoy finding out more about what makes the characters tick. I have two further books in the series to read but I think I’ll take a break from Scott & Bailey and work my way through some of my TBR pile first.


The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill. Read October 2014.

Two crime fiction books have unexpectedly made me cry recently, both in the Simon Serrailler series by Susan Hill, including this one.
“When one day DCS Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton’s new Chief Constable… He is asked to take the principal role in a difficult, potentially dangerous undercover operation and must leave town immediately, without telling anyone…Meanwhile, Simon’s sister Cat is facing difficult choices at work, as Lafferton’s hospice closes its bedded units; and at home, as her daughter is presented with a glittering opportunity that they would struggle afford. And all is not well with Simon and Cat’s step-mother, Judith, either. To complete his special op, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. This takes its toll on Simon and, as the op unfolds, also on the town and some of its most respected citizens.”
With each book I read in this series I declare it the best yet and this is no exception. As always the writing is wonderful and the story draws the reader in right from the first page.
The importance of reading this series in order is underlined because it would be impossible to appreciate the impact of events on the recurring characters if you hadn’t followed their development through the other books.
I’m finding it quite difficult to describe the plot of The Soul of Discretion without spoilers, and regular readers will know that spoilers are banned from my reviews, so all I will say is that none of the recurring characters will come out of this story unchanged and that readers are guaranteed an emotional roller coaster ride.
While reading this book I was inspired to write a blog post about some of my favourite crime fiction series and how the reading experience is enhanced if the reader is up to date with the latest instalment. The post is here.
Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for the advance copy e-book.


Feeding My Series Addiction


My name is Tracey and I’m a Crime Series addict.
I’d like to take you through some of the series I’ve been enjoying for years and some that I’ve discovered recently. It was only when I sat down to write this post that I realised just how many series I’m following. The inspiration for the post was this: I was reading the latest book in one of my favourite series when I realised what it is that keeps me hooked. In the series I stick with, I’m involved as much with the relationships between the characters as I am with the crimes/plots. When I’m up to date with a series and reading the latest instalment, there’s always a chance that the author might have decided to do away with the main character and therefore the series and this adds to the tension and suspense of the book (when playing catch up this Could It Be The End? element is lost as you know there are other books in the set).
So, what was going to be my Top Ten turned into a Top Fifteen, then I remembered a couple I’d missed and a couple on my TBR I’m looking forward to as they’ve been highly recommended. With thanks to for the dates info, here’s the list, in no particular order apart from when I most recently read an instalment. I’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations.

1. Simon Serrailler by Susan Hill
Book 1: The Various Haunts of Men (2004)
Latest (Book 8): The Soul of Discretion (2014)

2. Amy Lane Mysteries by Rosie Claverton
Book 1: Binary Witness (2014)
Latest (Book 2): Code Runner (2014)

3. Alexandra Cooper by Linda Fairstein
Book 1: Final Jeopardy (1996)
Latest (Book 16): Terminal City (2014)

4. Joseph O’Loughlin by Michael Robotham
Book 1: The Suspect (2004)
Latest (Book 7): Watching You (2013)

5. Roy Grace by Peter James
Book 1: Dead Simple (2005)
Latest (Book 10): Want You Dead (2014)

6. Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell
Book 1: Postmortem (1990)
Latest (Book 22): Flesh and Blood (2014)

7. Tom Douglas by Rachel Abbott
Book 1: Only The Innocent (2011)
Latest (Book 3): Sleep Tight (2014)

8. Spilling CID by Sophie Hannah
Book 1: Little Face (2006)
Latest (Book 9): The Telling Error (2014)

9. Paula Maguire by Claire McGowan
Book 1: The Lost (2013)
Latest (Book 2): The Dead Ground (2014)

10. Kiszka & Kershaw by Anya Lipska
Book 1: Where The Devil Can’t Go (2013)
Latest (Book 2): Death Can’t Take A Joke (2014)

11. Lacey Flint by Sharon Bolton
Book 1: Now You See Me (2011)
Latest (Book 4): A Dark And Twisted Tide (2014)

12. Tony Hill / Carol Jordan by Val McDermid
Book 1: The Mermaids Singing (1995)
Latest (Book 8): Cross And Burn (2013)

13. Jack Caffery by Mo Hayder
Book 1: Birdman (1999)
Latest (Book 7): Wolf (2014)

14. Geraldine Steel by Leigh Russell
Book 1: Cut Short (2009)
Latest (Book 6): Fatal Act (2013)

15. Jackson Brodie by Kate Atkinson
Book 1: Case Histories (2004)
Latest (Book 4): Started Early, Took My Dog (2010)

16. Marnie Rome by Sarah Hilary
Book 1: Someone Else’s Skin (2014)
(Book 2 not yet released but series has huge potential)

17. Lincoln Rhyme by Jeffery Deaver
Book 1: The Bone Collector (1997)
Latest (Book 11): The Skin Collector (2014)

18. Tom Thorne by Mark Billingham
Book 1: Sleepy Head (2001)
Latest (Book 10): The Bones Beneath (2014)

I’m up to date with nearly all the above series, and I’m about to juggle my TBR list to make sure I catch up with the others and with these that I’ve had waiting on my Kindle for ages but haven’t been able to get to yet:

19. Kate Daniels by Mari Hannah

20. The Estate by Mel Sherratt