Derbyshire Noir #1: Q&A with Tony R Cox, author of A Fatal Drug 5*

I was born in Lancashire but I went to secondary school in Derby and residential college in Buxton. So Derbyshire is a setting I know and love in novels. Derbyshire varies, from the beautiful peak district to the urban inner city that I know and love!
I have met very few authors in person. But one I have met and certainly won’t forget is Tony R Cox aka Richard Cox.
I met Richard just over a year ago at the signing of All Through The Night by M.P Wright in London. He is such a fantastic bloke and what Richard don’t know about Derby, ain’t worth knowing! I knew as soon as I started my blog, He would be brilliant for a Q&A. Very intelligent, a cracking sense of humour and rather dashing in ‘that shirt’ pic above. here is Richard’s Q&A………..

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A Fatal Drug by Tony R Cox 5*

The synopsis:

England. 1971. Reporter Simon Jardine is on the hunt for the story that will kick start his career and when a tortured, mutilated body turns up on his patch he can’t help thinking his luck is finally in. At first glance the provincial town of Derby is about as far away from the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll of London and California as it’s possible to imagine but as Jardine begins to scratch below the surface he finds that all is not well in England’s green and pleasant land. Along with fellow reporter Dave Green and local DJ Tom Freeman, Jardine is soon drawn into a spiral of gangland drug dealing and violence that stretches from the north of England to the south of Spain.


Q) Please can you give the readers a summary of your background, main character Simon Jardine & novel A Fatal Drug?

A) My father was a railway signalling engineer and mother a nurse. I was born in Barking, London, and lived in Glasgow, Lancaster, Crewe, Lahore in Pakistan, and then back to Cheshire before secondary school in Buxton, Derbyshire. I have a long family history in Derby, going back to the early 1800s. My great, grandfather worked alongside Sir Robert Peel, MP for Tamworth; my great grandfather and his brother were in the wine and beer business in Derby. My maternal grandmother was the last private nurse to Richard, the last of the Arkwright family – ‘Father of the Industrial Revolution’ and creator of the factory system.

My first proper job was as a cub reporter at the Derby Evening Telegraph in 1970 where my love of rock music and jazz was allowed full rein as a reviewer, as well as learning the ropes of regional journalism. It is from this era I chose my central characters. Simon Jardine is an amalgam of some great young journalists, with the naivety we all showed in our early 20s; Dave Green and Tom Freeman are loosely based on major influencers – both of whom have died.

For A Fatal Drug local reporter Simon Jardine’s romantic hotel room assignation is rudely interrupted by a grey, lifeless body staring through the skylight.

Simon, with crime reporter Dave Green and DJ-cum part time private investigator Tom Freeman, become enmeshed in the mystery of who the dead man was and how he ended up on the hotel roof.

The story travels to Spain and North Africa as the search for answers and a front page lead draws the three friends deeper into a growing drugs trade. Murder and prostitution are rife, but they’re no nearer getting the answers to their questions.

What links the hotel body to the drugs trade? Why does a would-be music reviewer go missing? Who is a bigger ‘godfather’ than Derby’s Mr Big? Is the threat of violence and death really worth it for a front page lead?

Q) I went to secondary school in Derby in the 1990’s. I absolutely loved the setting of Derby, I think Derby is such an intriguing City and its demographic changes street to street. It is also home to some of the most beautiful countryside. A Fatal Drug is set in 1971 Derby, what made you pick this era & this city?

A) The early 1970s were a time of sexual freedom, the drugs trade reached deeply and openly into the music scene, and society was undergoing some big changes society. For newspaper reporters, there were no mobile phones or the internet, and there was a culture, accepted by editors, that they could drink as much as they liked as long as they got the story.

Derby was transitioning slowly from being a heavily engineering-based employer to a more diverse economy. At the same time it was preserving some great architecture; building a new series of bridges over the River Derwent and a new ring road; and feeling the effects of some disastrous planning approvals, like any large urban area trying to build a strong future.

I like to think of Derby as ‘manageable’. It is possible to segment it historically and a short walk will take the visitor into wildly differing, architecturally emotional sectors: the new shopping centre; the Cathedral Quarter (Britain’s Best High Street); the riverside; the railway cottages conservation area; the miles of redbrick terraces, built to house workers at Rolls-Royce and the other engineering companies; and the wonderful parks.

Q) How much change have you seen in Derby from the 1970’s to 2017? Do you think it still makes for a brilliant location in 2017?

A) The city is a great ‘town’. It was given city status in 1997, but cannot shake off the ‘town’ tag. This, I believe is brilliant. I occasionally take people to Derby (200+ real ale pubs is a pretty good ‘draw’) and delight in showing them history that is still happening!

I am very surprised that some Derby locations have not been used for filmed period dramas, and by ‘period’ that could be Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and right through to the 70s. In a literary sense, an author I much admire, Steven Dunne, has set his enthralling Reaper series in 21st century Derby to great effect.


Q) I love that in your novel you are not afraid to shy away from themes of drug dealing, brothels & organised crime. It’s also hard to imagine such goings on in Derby. Did you base the novel on any real crimes? Or did they influence the writing in any way?

A) I don’t remember the town being so violent, but drug dealing was rife. I interviewed prostitutes and worked with an Irish newspaper to gain affidavits in a legal case, which meant entering a pub in the area of terraced housing by one door, meeting a prostitute at the bar, and running out of the other door – followed by a horde of irate men! Scratch the surface of any urban area and I think the criminal element will float up.

Q) The novel is set between two locations Derby & southern Spain, which is very good in terms of reflective locations. What drove the story this way?

A) There were two key drivers: the first is that I know Derby and its history well; secondly, drug smuggling involved people tapping into the burgeoning holiday destinations of southern Spain. While development in the Costas has covered vast areas in concrete, the geography remains largely the same.


Q) What are your favourite novels from childhood, teenage years to adulthood?

A) There were four phases I remember, apart from the early years of comics and Billy Bunter. My first ‘big’ author was W. E Johns and the Biggles series; then came Dennis Wheatley and Rider Haggard; later secondary school was the time of JRR Tolkien, James Joyce (and I was one of the only kids to actually enjoy Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and The Dubliners), and the First World War poets.

Now, depending on what I’m doing, I immerse myself in the works redolent of ‘my era’, such as Alan Sillitoe and John Braine. For pure enjoyment I read the latest novels by such luminaries as Steven Dunne, Stephen Booth, Sarah Ward (all set in Derbyshire), and, of course, my much acclaimed friend, M. P Wright. I also try and read as many of the books published by Fahrenheit Press, my publisher, as possible.

Q) What is next for Tony R Cox and will there be another Simon Jardine thriller?

A) The next Simon Jardine thriller is currently with my ‘editor’ who has found faults (don’t they all), but has called it well-crafted. From such an incisive and critical reader, that takes on the role of an Oscar in my estimation!

Jardine, Dave Green and Tom Freeman are again on the trail of news headlines. This time the story starts with a rock band’s homecoming gig in Wolverhampton, moves quickly into a possible expose of corrupt record sales in the music industry, and thence to drugs and murder. Police corruption lies at the heart of a novel that casts a spotlight on the finances of the IRA.

I’m also writing short stories and a more difficult work that has two main characters who speak in different dialects. It’s tough, but it exercises the writing brain.


Q) Aside from meeting me, What has been your favourite thing about being a published author?

A) Meeting your husband! No, not really, but he’s a great bloke.
There are so many positives about being a recognised writer. My first self-published Simon Jardine thriller, First Dead Body, was a personal achievement and the ‘launch’ party at Scarthin Books in Cromford, Derbyshire, was fantastic; being accepted by Fahrenheit Press for my second, A Fatal Drug, was hugely thrilling. I think the biggest change is the chance to mix with so many writers and readers whom I have admired for years, and the undimmed support they give me.

Contact for Tony R Cox
Twitter @TonyRCox

*Huge Thanks to Tony for taking part in the Q&A on by blog and I wish you much success with your further writing 🙂

New Release Review: Girl In Disguise by Greer Macallister

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Girl In Disguise by Greer Macallister 4.5*

The synopsis:

A new novel from the USA Today Bestselling author of The Magician’s Lie 

“Electrifying…a rollicking nineteenth-century thrill ride.”  —Amy Stewart, New York Times bestselling author of Girl Waits with Gun

Inspired by the real story of investigator Kate Warne, this spirited novel follows the detective’s rise during one of the nation’s times of crisis, bringing to life a fiercely independent woman whose forgotten triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.

With no money and no husband, Kate Warne finds herself with few choices. The streets of 1856 Chicago offer a desperate widow mostly trouble and ruin—unless that widow has a knack for manipulation and an unusually quick mind. In a bold move that no other woman has tried, Kate convinces the legendary Allan Pinkerton to hire her as a detective.

Battling criminals and coworkers alike, Kate immerses herself in the dangerous life of an operative, winning the right to tackle some of the agency’s toughest investigations. But is the woman she’s becoming—capable of any and all lies, swapping identities like dresses—the true Kate? Or has the real disguise been the good girl she always thought she was?

My Review:

I absolutely loved this novel, I found the era captivating and the description historically relevant.
The novel begins in 1856, in Chicago where we meet the fantastically written Kate Warne. Kate desires to become a Pinkerton agent and the first few chapters detail her introduction into the agency itself.
The characters are well written, in particularly Kate, you root for her in every investigation. The reader wants Kate to prove a worthy detective and she delivers in every case.
The novel isn’t centred around one specific case and instead is cleverly written as a reflective account of Kate’s life as an agent and the many cases she and the team worked on.
I found this novel to be hugely gripping and my only complaint would be that it was not intended to be a series! I would have loved a Kate Warne series!
I would recommend to readers who enjoy historical fiction and historical crime novels. I would also recommend to advanced YA readers, as I felt my daughter (13) would enjoy this novel as well.
I would rate this book 4.5/5

*I received an Ebook copy via netgalley in return for an honest review.

I wish The author much success with the release of this novel 🙂

My Reviews of Author Qasim Rashid’s Non-fiction books. The Wrong Kind Of Muslim and Talk To Me.

Qasim Rashid is an author of three non-fiction books which detail key issues in todays society. Whether UK, USA or Europe. These issues of race, religion and persecution are visible in our daily lives. One day I grew sick and tired of my only option being to blindly follow what the media or peoples opinions told me! I wanted to learn about Islam and the religious persecution Muslims face in not only the west but within Muslim countries.

I decided what better to do than ask a Muslim, except I live on a tiny channel island with few Muslims and unfortunately no local Mosque. So I looked to books (as always!), I think I actually googled “talk to a Muslim” up popped Qasim Rashid. This is now quite sometime ago. However with my new-ish blog I wanted to feature all the authors who made it to my favourite books of 2016 list. I signed up to Qasim’s Facebook & Twitter feed and he regularly keeps people up to date on events, news, changing polices relevant to the message of his books. Qasim is often a spokesperson for his community on American news channels. Through engaging in conversations on social media on Qasim’s page I now have a new wealth of new friends from Ghana to Pakistan to Germany to Indonesia and not forgetting Muhammed from London!

Qasim is a fascinating man himself, he is an American Lawyer working for an organisation that specialises in women’s rights. He has proven time and time again that he is intelligent, honest and fair. But don’t take my word for it, read his books and follow his pages! *Qasim has agreed to a Q&A on my blog, however his work schedule is crazy busy! So as soon as he gets chance, I will post 🙂

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The Wrong Kind Of Muslim: An Untold Story Of Persecution & Perseverance by Qasim Rashid 5* Genius

The Synopsis:

The Wrong Kind of Muslim is a call to unite those of all faiths and of no faith in the struggle for universal freedom of conscience. Since 9/11, terrorists in Pakistan have killed over 40,000—and counting. Often risking his own life, Qasim Rashid journeys into the heart of that terrorism to unearth the untold story of those silenced by Taliban suicide bombings, secret police torture, and state sponsored religious persecution. Rashid exposes the horrifying truth about growing radicalism in Pakistan and its impact on Western security. But most importantly, Rashid uncovers the inspiring untold story of millions fighting back—and winning.

My Review:

“We try to win hearts” – This book WILL win your heart

I bought this book to gain some insight into the Muslim faith & educate myself on the issues that affect the different sects of Islam. We can no longer rely on the media for educational facts, as they pursue their own agendas, irrespectively of the damage this causes. So evidently books like this become a great source of insight. I am a non-Muslim, so my knowledge of Islam is pretty limited and prior to reading this book, my knowledge of the Ahmadi community was non-existent. This book is so much more than an insight into the Ahmadi faith, Qasim champions the rights of ALL faiths and is quite honest & frank about the failings in Pakistan and the oppression and danger this poses to its own society. The book is written intelligently and with reference to the facts that can easily be verified. Qasim has crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s, which is exclusively important in non-fiction & more so under the current unfortunate climate of islamophobia. I would recommend this book to anyone hoping to gain some knowledge, because I started like that and ended up swept away with the chapters. The book contains chapters that make for difficult reading but above all, the message of hope & freedom of expression flows off every page.

On chapter 19 Qasim quotes the Ahmadi leader Mirza Nasir Ahmad in saying “we try to win hearts”. Well with this book Qasim definitely won mine. I have made a promise to myself to share this book with as many people I can, to pass on the message and read more books like it. I have already purchased another of Qasim’s books and I anticipate that in the future, his name will be held with huge praise & admiration of a great Muslim who paved the way for peace. 5*
(written 16th April 2016)
The Wong Kind Of Muslim is currently only £2.39 on Kindle Ebook .

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Talk To Me: Changing The Narrative On Race, Religion and Education by Qasim Rashid 5*

The synopsis:

Talk To Me: Changing the Narrative on Race, Religion, & Education is a non-fiction memoir on how the power of dialogue can overcome racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and violence. It is the real life story of how ordinary Americans are rising above the forces that seek to drive us apart, and instead finding paths to peace and understanding. Talk To Me gives these powerful stories of struggle from race and faith minorities the platform they deserve, and demonstrates that our differences are not a source of discord and division—they’re a source of strength and recognition.

Step out of your comfort zone and take the time to Talk To Me.

My Review:

The message is one of simplicity “love for all, hatred for none”.

This is an educational book that I would like to see in school or educational settings. Qasim breaks down many barriers with his fantastic writing and deep understanding of race, religions and cultures. I have followed Qasim’s fb page for some time and have also read his other novel the wrong kind of Muslim. Qasim is a true spokesperson for humanity. This is not a book by a Muslim for Muslims. this is a book for people from all walks of life. Each chapter carry’s a different message, sometimes written by contributors. some are incredibly moving & heart breaking. In particular, a chapter near the end details the prejudice Qasim faced himself at a book fair. simply trying to get his message out, he is insulted & vilified but he responds in true Qasim ahmadi style with “love for all hatred for none” 5*
(written 31st July 2016)
*Talk To Me is available at just £2.07 on Kindle Ebook store.

Qasim Rashid’s Contact details:


Twitter: @MuslimIQ


Q&A with Kerensa Jennings, author of Seas Of Snow

I have really enjoyed running Q&A’s on my blog. They are a brilliant idea to get to know the writer behind the book and meet interesting authors. Let me introduce you to Kerensa Jennings, debut author of Seas Of Snow and a woman of many talents!

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Seas Of Snow By Kerensa Jennings

Q) For the readers, could you give us summary of yourself & Seas Of Snow?

A) I’ve been writing stories and poems ever since I was a little girl. Although it’s taken me a long time to get around to writing a book, I’m lucky enough to have had a long career in the media as a TV producer, writing television programmes. Most of the time viewers would have had no idea who I was, but my words have informed, educated and entertained millions over the years. I produced, directed, wrote for and worked with some of the most amazing people including Nelson Mandela, Sir David Frost (I was Programme Editor of Breakfast with Frost) and Rory Bremner.

I moved away from programme making to strategy and became the BBC’s Head of Strategic Delivery where I designed and delivered strategies for the Corporation, including a significant digital strategy. I now run The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award.

I’ve always used literature, and poetry in particular, for solace and escape. I happen to think literature is probably the best self-help on the planet! You can fly into other worlds and find ways through writing to make sense of life.

SEAS of SNOW draws together some of my passions and fascinations. While I was at university, I studied the psychoanalysis of fairy tales and got very interested in archetypes and the way characters and stories of good and evil are portrayed. While leading the BBC News coverage of the Soham investigation, I had the opportunity to see first-hand a lot of evidence about the mind and motives of a psychopath. So in SEAS of SNOW, the protagonist Gracie uses poetry and playtime to escape the traumas and abuses of her life; the antagonist, her Uncle Joe, is a very bad man, a psychopath; and there is a subtext of fairy tale underlying the page-turning scenario which hopefully makes you want to read while half covering your eyes.

Q) What was the inspiration behind Seas Of Snow? What was the journey from idea through to publication?

A) The inspiration was originally sparked by a need for catharsis. I found the experience of learning about what the school caretaker Ian Huntley did to those two beautiful little girls profoundly affecting. I went on to train in psychology and take my learning further after qualifying as a professional Executive Coach. I wanted to explore whether evil is born or made, the question at the heart of SEAS of SNOW.

I had the idea of setting the story in the 1950s because of a photograph. In the early nineties, I was living in Paris as part of my studies. I bought a beautiful book called ‘Mémoires d’Enfance’ (Childhood Memories). The front cover was a photograph by the American artist W Eugene Smith, and depicted a gorgeous tableau… a little boy and girl, holding hands, chubbily walking into a wooded glade. There is a halo of light around the children, and an air of foreboding in the dark, sinister woods. The photograph is black and white, and you see the children from behind. The little girl is wearing a sweet smock dress, and the boy, slightly taller and older, is clearly taking responsibility for his charge. When I began formulating my story, suddenly this picture re-appeared in my head, and I knew what those children were called. Gracie and Billy suddenly arrived, fully formed as my characters, and from then on there was no choice but to set the story in the 1950s.

I wrote the book in all my holidays between 2009 and 2013; then did the final polishing of the submitted manuscript in 2014.

Getting published was a fairly long journey. I was fortunate enough that the digital disruptor Unbound fell in love with the book in 2015 and wanted to help me see my vision be published. I honestly cannot thank them enough. Most literary agents want work that can neatly fit into a category, or something with commercial potential. My book does not sit squarely in any category in particular – it’s a thriller in the sense it’s a real page turner; it’s got lots of psychological elements so could be described as a psychological thriller; the story centres around evil and crime – so you could say it’s crime fiction; but then it’s written in an unashamedly literary way – so some people might describe it as literary fiction.

What is brilliant about Unbound is that they support authors writing the work they want to write. We ran a crowdfunding campaign in 2015, and I was told that in their five-year history, mine was the second fastest fiction book to reach its target. Click to watch the promo video if you like. Then last year (2016), I worked on the development edit with the amazing Scott Pack who asked intelligent, sensitive questions, and encouraged me to enhance what I had with extra bits of back-story here and there; additional explanations from time to time; and some truly brilliant suggestions that were always given with care and tact. Because his style was to ask questions and explore my thinking, it gave me the chance to analyse whether I had given the reader enough information. In many cases, I decided that I needed to do a bit more. So I did.

After the development edit, there was a copy edit which tested detail and robustness of fact, timelines and so on; then the structural edit ensuring everything was in the right place and put together properly; followed by a formatting edit and a few rounds of proof reading. It was completely exhausting! I despatched the final manuscript off in December and the first editions started rolling off the presses in January 2017.

Q) The character of Gracie is written exceptionally well and I found she reminded me of my daughter at that young age. She is the true depiction of innocence. What was your inspiration behind her character?

A) Thank you! What a lovely compliment. Gracie is, in my mind, the little girl in the photograph. When she arrived in my head, she was a wise, clever little girl. Serious, calm, but imaginative. A child who could take flights into the imagination and be older than her years in her thinking. Some of her attributes come from my own experiences. I kept diaries and wrote poetry from a very young age. I had a funny experience when at one point someone at the publisher who was helping me with the book queried whether a little girl that young would be interested enough to jot down the prices of things and make small notes about things going on in the news. I had to prove that this can, and indeed, does happen, and shared some extracts from my own diary written at roughly the same age!

I knew I wanted Gracie to love poetry and to use literature to help make sense of the world. Through her, I am attempting to help people who are not so familiar with reading poetry learn some of the tricks and tips you can use to help make sense of it; and also attempting to share my own love of literature to try to inspire others with passion for both the beauty and the solace it can provide. Her unbridled joy at reading is infectious, I hope, as is her delight in trying to put her own poems together.

You are right I wanted her to be the true depiction of innocence. My thesis at Oxford was titled ‘Persecution and Revenge of the Innocents’. I started getting interested in good and evil as themes at school when I studied William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience. So I very deliberately wanted to bring to life a character who would be a truly good person; to act as the most profound counterpoint to the darkness in the soul of the antagonist. Although some of that sounds a bit theoretical, it’s a good old fashioned good versus evil story. A bit David and Goliath.

The hardest bit about bringing Gracie to life was ensuring her dialogue matched her age and her character. She is five years old when we first meet her in the book, and as she grows older I needed to ensure her vocabulary developed and her thinking matured. I really enjoyed ‘getting to know’ Gracie as I was writing her. I think we all secretly want a friend like Gracie.

Q) I found the novel to be very thought-provoking in subject matter. I stated in my review that it would be perfect for book groups, as the content is ideal for debate/discussion. Also taking the era into consideration, it shows the changes in society. Would you like to see it used in book groups? Are there available Q&A’s for this?

A) I would absolutely love SEAS of SNOW to be used in book groups; and yes there are topics, themes and Q+A available for anyone who wants them. Example topics include the nature of maternal love; loyalty; trust; betrayal; abuse; domestic violence; whether evil is born or made; the use of poetry in the book; childhood friendship and psychological motives.

This year I am devoting all my annual leave and spare time to work on supporting the book’s publication so I am happy to arrange post-read skype calls, webinars, and personal visits to book clubs if I can make the logistics work. I would also be thrilled to take Q+A from readers and am organising all of these through my Facebook page @KerensaJenningsAuthor and my website: Please also follow me on Twitter @zinca !


Q) I found the novel deeply moving, with an ending that really packs a punch. What have the responses been so far?

A) Thank you so much – that’s so lovely to hear.

I really loved your review and was so thrilled you so brilliantly appreciated its central themes and characters. I was amazed and honoured to get a quote from Rowan Pelling, who writes for The Telegraph and the Daily Mail (she was the former editor of The Erotic Review) who said this:

‘Intense and haunting, this perfectly pitched debut novel hooks the reader from the first page and refuses to let go.’

BooksMonthly said it was ‘absolutely wonderful’, and commented ‘the reveal at the end is nothing short of brilliant.’ Amazon currently (as of 19th March 2017) has 21 reviews, all of which are FIVE STAR! Example quotes include ‘an astonishing book’; ‘phenomenal’; and ‘simply brilliant’. I have to admit I am slightly blown away and cannot stop smiling.

I worked hard on the ending because I get so frustrated as a reader when I have invested time, energy and love in a story and it either peters out, has an unsatisfactory or implausible ending, or makes you wish you hadn’t bothered. Example of brilliant endings in my opinion include We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Uninvited, Immortality, Before I Go To Sleep and Gone Girl. I wanted people to read my book and be pleased they did. I also wanted to affect people emotionally, so they could feel a bit what I felt when I was covering the case. I don’t know if it is the wrong thing to say about your own book, but it still makes me cry.

Q) What is next, is there a book #2 planned? Will you write within the same genre?

A) Yes, SEAS of SNOW is the first of three psychological thrillers inspired by my work in the field as a TV journalist. I am part way through the second one and have planned the third.

I also continue to write poetry and do poetry commissions for special occasions. Anyone can get in touch and ask.

For anyone who wants to get updates, or contact me, you can sign up to my SEAS of SNOW newsletter at, write via the website, and of course follow @zinca on Twitter. My Intagram is seasofsnow.

*Huge thanks to Kerensa for being part of a Q&A on my blog. I wish you every success with your debut novel and future writing career.



Blog Tour – Review: Dead Embers by Matt Brolly 5*

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Dead Embers by Matt Brolly

The synopsis:

An explosive fire. A double murder. And that’s just the start…

When DCI Michael Lambert is called out to an apparent house fire, he knows it can’t be routine. Instead he finds the remains of a burnt house, a traumatised child and two corpses – one of whom is a senior police officer.

Lambert’s got other problems. Anti-corruption are onto his boss. His relationships is on the rocks. He can’t get over his ex-wife and he keeps blacking out.

But when a detective has been murdered the stakes are too high to get distracted. All is not as it seems. As the investigation continues Lambert realises he is getting drawn into something altogether bigger and more terrifying than he could ever have imagined…

Trust no one.

Gripping, chilling to its core and full of twists, the powerful new DCI Michael Lambert from Matt Brolly is perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Helen H. Durrant and Michael Hambling. 

My review:

I do have a tiny confession; I am completely new to this series! With so many cracking series out there, it’s impossible to be up to date on them all. That being said it had no negative impact on my enjoyment of this brilliant new release. My bestie is a detective with the Met & she also works on the murder team. So I love London as a location & always find it has an added edge to a crime series. In both historical or modern crime fiction.

The novel begins with a creepy chapter one and straight away I knew it was going to be a gripping read! A suspected arson fire draws DCI Michael Lambert to the scene of a crime. Two corpses are quickly discovered and the sole survivor, a traumatised little girl of only 3 years old. It becomes clear the bodies were murdered prior to the fire and the fire was due to a series of explosions! The investigation continues and we learn The mother of the surviving child is a serving police officer and that in her past she had an abusive relationship with her ex-husband. We learn some of DCI Lamberts past & then the plot really starts to thicken! With the victims not who they originally thought they were, an arsonist playing homage to John Orr and a reporter meddling in the case. DCI Lambert really has his work cut out for him.

I found this novel to be a fast paced and straight to the point. It flows as though it is a commuter in London City itself. I found myself comfortably going with the flow & writing some notes in my journal such as Who is thefiremen1973? What does make arsonists tick? Will the press mess things up for DCI Lambert? What is the story in Lamberts past? When Matt Brolly obviously had other ideas and out of nowhere comes a huge twist and the plot just got a whole lot darker! What started off as one case suddenly becomes a deep web of secrecy & corruption right up to the top!

It is difficult to complete an in-depth review for fear of slipping spoilers in by accident. I will just say that this is one of them novels that is so much bigger than its synopsis! I would say it is police procedural but that the characters all have depth. An explosive crime thriller and then some! 5*

*I received an Ebook copy via netgalley in return for an honest review.

 Author Information


Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He reads widely across all genres, and is currently working on the third in his Michael Lambert thriller series. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.