Anne Bonny #BookReview A Dark So Deadly by @StuartMacBride 5* Genius! @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #CrimeFiction #MacBrideMafia

A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride

A detective no one believes in. A killer with nothing to lose…

A gripping standalone thriller from the Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series.

Beware of the dark…

Welcome to the Misfit Mob – where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to. Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases. So when an ancient mummy is found at the Oldcastle tip, it’s his job to track down its owner.

But then Callum uncovers links between his mummified corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting.

No one expects the Misfit Mob to solve anything, but right now they’re all that stands between a killer’s victims and a slow lingering death. Can they prove everyone wrong before someone else dies?

My Review:

After seeing various blog posts by the #MacBrideMafia aka Jen, Kate and Eva. I decided to catch up on the most recent MacBride novel’s, I had missed out on due to Mount TBR. A Dark So Deadly, I purchased from Sainsburys for the absolute steal of £2.99. It was calling me from the bookshelves, so I decided to bump it up the TBR. I did not regret it!
I actually spent the entire weekend with the novel in front of my face. Any attempts my husband made to speak to me, were met with one word……. *SILENCE!
*he is not a fan of this response lol

‘They’ll worship you: You’ll be a god’

The novel centres around the misfit mob, a bunch of police officers with disciplinary actions on their police folders or ill health. They are made up of, our awesome protagonist DC Callum McGregor, DC Watt, DS Hodgkin and new to the team DC Franklin. The bosses are DS McAdams and mother aka DI Malcolmson. They are such a unique bunch of characters and truly make this novel. The epic read that it is. I think the author has done a remarkable job of writing the female police officers. They are feisty, no-nonsense and strong women. Callum on the other hand, is far more complex.

DC Callum McGregor is a deeply layered character, that is constantly evolving throughout the novel. There are moments I felt quite sorry for him. He just never gets a break, by that I mean he has the worst luck in the world ever!
Having found himself transferred to the team, just 3wks ago. He is finding it incredibly difficult to settle in. He feels disliked by his colleagues, there are ample rumours he is a dirty cop and shock-horror the criminals don’t like him either!

The novel opens with the dramatic arrest of local youth Ainsley Dugdale. Although the arrest is traumatic for Callum, with him becoming acquainted with ‘the claw’. There are moments where I was actually laughing. It is just so very well written. It is at this moment, on the opening pages, I knew I would love this book.

After apprehending Ainsley, Callum and McAdams are summoned to a crime scene at the tip. With multiple body parts and some mummified remains, police Scotland have seven different murder enquires on there hands. It is at this point the misfits are assigned the mummy. The team have no idea just yet, the depth of this case. The darkness they’ll come to experience and the broken psychology behind it all, make this novel one of my favourites so far this year!

As the team begin to investigate, Callum is given the job of locating museums with a lost mummy. None of the police team suspect that this is a current police investigation. Callum is disliked by his team, who mock him at every given chance. He has a professional standards meeting looming and he must train newest member to the team, the resentful and feisty DC Franklin. Then another mummy is discovered, with a mouth full of NHS fillings, and the case is blown wide open……..

As the novel progresses, we learn the backstories of each of the police officers. Each member of the team has their cross to bear. Whether it be career sexism, disability or terminal cancer, this team is unlike anything, I have ever read before.
There is a scene in the novel where Callum visits young mum Irene Brown. I felt this was a clear and vivid depiction of one woman’s experience of poverty and abuse in modern day Britain. Callum does what he can to attempt to help the young mum and her children; despite the fact that they are no fans of the police.

The mummified remains case has clues that eventually lead to the house of three young men, Benjamin Harrington, Brett Miller and Glen Carmichael. The scene at their house, leads the team to consult behavioural evidence analyst Alice MacDonald. The murders show signs of a ritualised event. The killer using human cadavers as his ‘artwork’.
This is one sick and twisted killer.

The novel also delves into Callum’s personal life and childhood. Callum grew up within the care system, he has experienced much emotional pain and loss. The clever way this element is written, is simply superb. There are several spin-off crimes and plots weaved into this novel. But for me, the firm favourite was Callum’s past.

At just under 600 pages, this is no quick simple read. I read 240+ books a year, this being my 56th of 2018 so far (as of 18/02/18). It is most definitely one of my firm favourites of 2018. I can’t recommend this novel highly enough, I sincerely hope it becomes a series of novels. I MUST also catch up with the Logan McRae series.

Stuart MacBride
Website – With the best author bio EVER!

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Among The Branded by @Lindasmolkin #RandomThingsTours #NewRelease #AmongTheBranded

Among The Branded[1]
Among The Branded by Linda Smolkin

What if a 70-year-old letter from World War II changed the course of your life?

While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. She’s at first drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers. Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision—one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.

Contemporary fiction with a historical touch, AMONG THE BRANDED explores family life, an unexpected friendship, and moral conflicts that make us wonder what’s more important: our livelihood or our beliefs. This moving debut novel by Linda Smolkin is a great addition for readers who enjoy books by Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, and Liane Moriarty.


Chapter 1

It all started with the Moo Shoo Chicken, wreaking havoc on one of the moms in the upstairs bathroom.
I felt for Jane, but had no desire to wear the shaggy costume meant for her.
Svetlana stood next to me while the kids ran around, some playing tag, others spilling punch on the kitchen floor.
“Hey, guys,” she said, “put down the juice boxes, or somebody’s going to get hurt.”
She grabbed a sponge and bent down to clean up the mess.
“Rockin’ party,” I joked.
“More like raucous.
Put a bunch of four-year-olds together, and I’m having a love fest with the linoleum.”
Sveta, as I’d called her for years, stood up and gave me a mischievous look, as if she was about to share some juicy gossip about a neighbor on her cul-de-sac.
Instead, she asked me to take Jane’s place and dress up as Ripsie the Retriever.
She asked twice then begged.
It brought me back to when we first met, and she insisted I tag along for a Thursday-night Happy Hour.
“Why can’t you wear it?”
“Because I’m reading the book.
And you’re taller—it’ll fit better.” I washed my hands and reached for some pretzels.
“Uh-huh, great excuse.”
There wasn’t enough birthday cake to make me agree.
I’m claustrophobic, I could say.
I’m allergic to dogs, crossed my mind, even though I had my own version at home, a German Shepherd named Ginger.
But the more I thought about it, I couldn’t disappoint Sveta’s grandson, Evan, on his fourth birthday.
So on a Sunday afternoon, I became Ripsie.
I went to a spare bedroom overflowing with Evan’s toys—a half-built spaceship near the door, coloring books and markers on the desk, an unfinished puzzle on the floor.
I stepped over a train set, slipped my legs into the costume, and pulled it up and over.
I looked pretty cute as a retriever, I admitted to myself in the mirror, even if I was bright yellow and already sweaty.
I took one last look then stepped over the train set again and waited in the hallway for Sveta’s cue.
First, she read Ripsie Goes to the Bakery then Ripsie Makes a New Friend.
After finishing Here Comes Ripsie, Sveta said, “Well, kids, does anyone see Ripsie? Where could she be?”
From around the corner, I came out on all twos, waddling along as I waved both hands and wiggled my tail.
A kid stood up and stopped in front of me.
He stayed there for a moment then shouted, “That’s not Ripsie! That’s some guy in a costume.”
It was Evan. He shouted some more. “Take off your head and show us your face!”
I was horrified and couldn’t move.
Sveta walked over to whisper something to him.
He sat down while a few kids came up to hug me and sit on my lap. “I love you, Ripsie,” said a sweet girl.
“You’re so soft and fluffy,” said another.
After a few more sweaty minutes and several waves goodbye, I walked back to the bedroom and changed out of the costume.
I opened the door, startled to see Evan waiting there.
“Ha! I knew it!” he roared with laughter.
“Knew what?” I brushed the top of his hair then pushed softly on his nose.
Evan reminded me of Jack when he was that age—so clever, so opinionated.
“You were Ripsie!”
“No, I wasn’t!”
I bent down to get a better look at his brown eyes then tickled him so he’d laugh a little harder.
“Yes, you were!” he shouted and took off with a mad dash when Sveta yelled, “Pizza’s here. Come and get it.”

Copyright © 2017 by Linda Smolkin.
All rights reserved.
ISBN 978-0-9986171-1-4 (paperback)
This excerpt may not be reproduced or scanned without written permission from the author. For more information about Among the Branded, please visit

Linda Smolkin - Author Picture
Linda Smolkin

Author Bio:
Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an ad agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She’s currently working on her second novel, which will be released in Spring 2018. When not in front of the computer, she’s behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog. For more information, visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @lindasmolkin and Facebook @AuthorLindaSmolkin.

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