Wednesday 31 August 2022

Whisper of the Seals by Roxanne Bouchard BLOG TOUR #WhisperoftheSeals @RBourchard72 @OrendaBooks @givemeawave #DetectiveMorales


There’s only one thing more deadly than the storm…

Fisheries officer Simone Lord is transferred to Quebec’s remote Magdalen Islands for the winter, and at the last minute ordered to go aboard a trawler braving a winter storm for the traditional grey seal hunt, while all of the other boats shelter onshore.

Detective Sergeant Joaquin Moralès is on a cross-country boat trip down the St Lawrence River, accompanied by Nadine Lauzon, a forensic psychologist working on the case of a savagely beaten teenager with Moralès’ old team in Montreal. 

When it becomes clear that Simone is in grave danger aboard the trawler, the two cases converge, with startling, terrifying consequences for everyone involved…

The award-winning author of The Coral Bride returns with an atmospheric, race-against-the-clock thriller set on the icy seas in the midst of a brutal seal hunt, where nothing is as it seems and absolutely no one can be trusted. 

Whisper of the Seals by Roxanne Bouchard was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 18 August 2022. This is the third in the Detective Moralès series and is translated by David Warriner. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour

It is an absolute delight to join Detective Joaquin Moralès once more, and whilst this is a story that stands on its own, it's my recommendation that any reader who hasn't yet discovered this series does go and read the first two in the series.

Roxanne Bouchard writes with a beauty and passion that is almost symphonic and once more the landscape of the Canadian Gaspé peninsular is brought to life through the exquisitely crafted words on the page. 

Moralès has taken a holiday, something of a relief from the past months that were covered in the previous book; The Coral Bride. However, he cannot help but get involved in a case that his ex colleagues are working on. Fisheries Officer Simone Lord has been tasked with attending a seal hunt, she's on a boat, accompanied by a crew of men who are very antagonist toward her. She's a woman, and the sense of misogyny is overwhelming. She's also there in an official capacity, and the men really do not want to be investigated. 

The words 'seal hunt' made my hairs stand on end, and it was with some trepidation that I approached the passages where the hunt is described. Yes, it is brutal, and yes it is challenging, but what this talented author does so well is to deal with the darkest of issues with a sensitivity that shines from the page. The seal hunt is there, but it's described in such a way that it adds so much depth to the story, and also goes some way to explaining how and why seals may have to be culled. 

There's such a feeling of tension running through this story, as the reader becomes aware of just how much danger Simone could be in, it's not only the seals that are the target for the crew on this boat.

Bouchard gently weaves together both Simone and Moralès parts of this story and her character building is astute and candid. The grief and loss that Moralès carries around with him pervade his entire story, yet he never loses his policing instinct, which leads to an urgent and almost desperate race to the end of the story. 

I am always overwhelmed by the magnificence of Bouchard's writing, so ably translated from the French by David Warriner. The reader feels as though they are there, deep in wild and desolate surroundings, feeling the fear and the tension as every page is turned. 

Poetic and elegant, yet also brutal and dark, this is crime fiction at its very best. 

Over ten years ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to
sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the 
Gaspé Peninsula. 
The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. 

Her fifth novel (first translated into English) We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to
resounding critical acclaim, followed by The Coral Bride, which was a number-one
bestseller in Canada, shortlisted for the CWA Translation Dagger and won the Crime Writers of Canada's Crime Book of the Year Award. 

Whisper of the Seals is the third novel. 

She lives in Quebec with her partner, an undertaker.

Twitter @RBouchard72

Tuesday 30 August 2022

The Manhattan Girls by Gill Paul BLOG TOUR #TheManhattanGirls @GillPaulAUTHOR @RandomTTours @AvonBooksUK #BookReview



An impossible dream.

The war is over, the twenties are roaring, but in the depths of the city that never sleeps, Dorothy Parker is struggling to make her mark in a man’s world.

A broken woman.

She’s penniless, she’s unemployed and her marriage is on the rocks when she starts a bridge group with three extraordinary women – but will they be able to save her from herself?

A fight for survival.

When tragedy strikes, and everything Dorothy holds dear is threatened, it’s up to Peggy, Winifred and Jane to help her confront the truth before it’s too late. Because the stakes may be life or death…

The Manhattan Girls by Gill Paul was published on 18 August 2022 by Avon Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 

I've been a fan of Gill Paul's books for a few years now, and I honestly think that her books get better and better. I love the fact that she takes well-known women from history and creates fictional stories around them. It is clever and entertaining and in The Manhattan Girls we are introduced to four amazing, colourful and fascinating women, headed up by the witty and acid-tongued Dorothy Parker. 

I adore the 1920s setting, it's my favourite era in historical fiction, along with the 1960s, probably because although they are forty years apart, they were so similar. Women were beginning to think for themselves, to go out and enjoy themselves, to drink and to have affairs, they certainly were swinging times.

Gill Paul excels in her descriptive writing, with the fashions of the time so brilliantly explored, along with the glamour of the hotel settings, the speakeasys and the general air of hard work and very hard play. 

The story centres around a Bridge club started by the four lead characters; Jane Grant, a New York Times reporter who has dreams of starting her own magazine, Winifred Lenihan, Irish immigrant and now an upcoming Broadway star, Peggy Leech; novelist in waiting and of course, Dorothy Parker, best known for her witty poetry and short stories.  Four very different women, all at varying times in their lives, careers and relationships but all brought together by their love of gossip, illicit gin and a game of cards. 

The Manhattan Girls is glorious, I lapped it up in almost one sitting. Totally losing myself in the Jazz Age and the unfolding dramas of each of the women. It's wonderfully researched, making reference to names that remain well known, and not always for the best reasons. Gill Paul excels in bringing her characters to life, as we follow them through joyous times and also their most desperate moments. 

A wonderful read, it is fascinating, glitzy, heartbreaking and utterly entertaining. Highly recommended.

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in the twentieth century and often writing about the lives of real women. 

Her novels have topped bestseller lists in the US and Canada as well as the UK and have been translated into twenty languages. 

The Secret Wife has sold over half a million copies and is a book-club favourite worldwide.

She is also the author of several non-fiction books on historical subjects. She lives in London and swims year-round in a wild pond.

Monday 29 August 2022

The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly #TheSkeletonKey @mserinkelly @HodderBooks #BookReview


Summer, 2021. Nell has come home at her family's insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried - gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore's pelvis remained hidden.

The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.

But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.

The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly is published in hardback by Hodder on 1 September 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my book for review. 

Erin Kelly is one of my all-time favourite authors. I have devoured everything that she's written and have to admit that The Skeleton Key has been one of my most anticipated books of the year. The joy of reading on holiday enabled me to really get stuck into this one, with no distractions and no need to put it aside to cook dinner, or do the washing. What an absolute treat that was and I was completely and utterly lost within the pages. It's a stunning read that takes the reader on a wild and rocky ride, alongside two troubled and very dysfunctional families. 

Nell Churcher has lived away from her family for many years. Choosing to live off-grid in a house boat, shunning the family wealth and making her own way, creating her own glass art and travelling the waterways in a very simple life. 

Nell's father is Sir Frank Churcher, celebrated artist and author of a book that took the world by storm fifty years ago. His creation, named The Golden Bones is a treasure hunt story, with clues littered within the text. The Golden Bones attracted people who were determined to solve the clues and find the bones of Elinore; the female character whose skeleton was scattered and the bones hidden. One bone remains undiscovered and the fiftieth anniversary of the book's publication makes for the perfect showcase. Frank will reveal the whereabouts of Elinor's pelvis, and the jewel that was hidden with it. 

Nell's life was almost ruined by the book, and the hunters. The hunters became obsessive and sometimes violent and Nell's decision to hide herself away is the result of the trauma she faced as a child.  Now she is returning to the family home, and to the two families who live side by side and are linked together by secrets, guilt and deceit.

The Skeleton Key is a gothic mystery with such depth. Kelly not only describes the Golden Bones book, the hunters and the furore caused by it all, she also takes two families and cleverly unpicks the many layers within them. Theres's an age-old mystery within the story too and as the author slowly reveals each character and their innermost thoughts, the reader begins to learn and to suspect each and every one of them.

Told mainly in Nell's present-day voice, with flashbacks from the decades before, this is a complex and multi layered story that is utterly bewitching. I especially loved the female characters who have tried their utmost to be their own people, yet ultimately remain the wives of famous and somewhat controversial men. 

Addictive, disturbing and so very inventive, this is fiction at its finest. Erin Kelly is a master of her art, I adored this book. I loved the mystery, I loved to hate some of the characters, it really is brilliant. 

Erin Kelly is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning
Air, The Ties That Bind, He Said/She Said, Stone Mothers/We Know You Know, Watch Her Fall and Broadchurch: The Novel, inspired by the mega-hit TV series. 

In 2013, The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama and was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2011. He Said/She Said spent six weeks in the top ten in both hardback and paperback, was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier crime novel of the year award, and selected for both the Simon Mayo Radio 2 and Richard & Judy Book Clubs. 

She has worked as a freelance journalist since 1998 and written for the Guardian, The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, New Statesman, Red, Elle and Cosmopolitan. 

Born in London in 1976, she lives in north London with her husband and daughters.

Love & Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift BLOG TOUR @Beth_Clift @HodderBooks @Stevie_Coops #LoveAndOtherHumanErrors #BookReview


An unforgettable story about love in all its chaotic glory from the author of Last One At The Party

A book synopsis is fundamentally ridiculous. How can I possibly convey, in only 100 words, the events of the past year and their impact on my perfectly ordered existence?

It is insufficient space to accurately detail how I was blackmailed into demonstrating my flawless algorithm to find a soulmate, despite having no desire for one.

In my former life I avoided trivial human connections. I was alone, accomplished and brilliant.

Unfortunately, that solitary and driven woman no longer exists.

My name is Indiana Dylan and this is the extraordinary account of how I fell in love.

There: 100 words exactly.

Love & Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift was published on 4 August 2022 by Hodder. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour.

Back in February 2021 I read and reviewed Bethany Clift's debut novel; Last One At The Party. I was utterly blown away by the originality of her ideas and her writing style. I did wonder just how she was going to follow it. 

I have not been disappointed. Love & Other Human Errors is another unique and quirky novel that has delighted me, I think, if I'm brutally honest, that I loved this one more than her first, and that's a huge compliment. 

This is a love story, but it's not a romantic love story, nor does it just deal with affairs of the heart. We have characters here who need to be loved, although some of them would deny that. They need the close warm feeling of love given by friends, just as much as they need the love that they could get from a life partner. 

The story is set in the not too distant future, I'd guess it's around 2030, and the technology that drives the world has advanced to almost outrageous proportions. 

Indiana lives an isolated life, her only companions are Peggy and Spider, and she controls both of them. She's a woman who is structured in her life, planning out exactly what she will do, when she will eat, run and even when she will have sex. Indiana is also incredibly intelligent, surrounding herself with technology, developing new, complicated systems and she's discovered a way to ensure that the old style of love affairs can be discarded. Her invention will ensure that everyone finds their ideal and perfect soul mate. No more broken hearts or messy divorces.

When Indiana showcases her design to the JaneDoe company, headed up by Dr Cameron Gardener, she's on to a winner. JaneDoe want her design, but Gardener is well known for her devious and quite frankly, despicable behaviours. Indiana will not tolerate those terms, she walks away, but not for long. 

Bethany Clift excels in character creation. We learn about Lina and Jack who both work for JaneDoe, we get to know their innermost thoughts, we come to care about them. Cameron and her wannabe side kick Emily are deliciously vile, showing human nature at its lowest. 

It is Indiana and those who are closest to her; Peggy, Spider, Frank and Alan  who really steal the show though. Perfectly formed, with characteristics that Indiana learns from, although reluctantly at first.

This is a story that proves that the human heart can never be replaced. That we are all designed differently, and that the power of real love, be it romantic, or through friendship can fix us and make us whole again. 

Unforgettable, joyous, funny, warm and heart rending. Bethany Clift's style is unique and really quite amazing. I loved it.

Bethany Clift is a graduate of the Northern Film School, the producer of low-budget British horror
film Heretic, and the Director of her own production company, Saber Productions. Last One At The Party is her debut novel.

Bethany suffers from itchy feet. She travelled extensively when she was younger and once drove round America for a year, camping and living in her car because she couldn’t afford motels. Her itchy feet mean that, since leaving her childhood home, she has moved house a lot. She once moved house four times in a year. Bethany has now settled in Milton Keynes with her husband and two children and, luckily, she is a big fan of roundabouts.

Bethany has enjoyed many different careers including hairdresser, florist, karaoke bar singer, pork pie maker, barman, jeweller, fruit and veg seller, librarian and a season as an Elf. Bethany has spent the last eleven years working for the NHS and is a huge advocate for the organisation and the world-renowned service it provides.

Bethany is the producer of the low-budget horror movie, Heretic. Bethany produced the entire movie for less than £18k and secured it a UK cinema and DVD release earning the movie the number 3 spot in the DVD charts on the weekend of its release. Bethany was also the Production Manager for the 16-day film shoot for the movie and she did this six-weeks after giving birth to her first child and whilst still breast-feeding and surviving on about three hours sleep a night. She credits watching the Great British Bake Off as the reason for keeping her sanity, and her marriage, during those sixteen days.

Bethany loves reading and watching sci-fi; listening to American country and blues music; dancing to Northern Soul or old-school Hip-Hop and eating, well, pretty much anything. The movie WALL-E makes her cry, and her family and friends make her happy.

Twitter @Beth_Clift

Instagram @beth_writes_stuff

Friday 26 August 2022

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid BLOG TOUR #TheLastWhiteMan #MohsinHamid @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks @RandomTTours


From the internationally bestselling author of Exit West, a story of love, loss, and rediscovery in a time of unsettling change

One morning, Anders wakes to find that his skin has turned dark, his reflection a stranger to him. At first he tells only Oona, an old friend, newly a lover. Soon, reports of similar occurrences surface across the land. Some see in the transformations the long-dreaded overturning of an established order, to be resisted to a bitter end. In many, like Anders's father and Oona's mother, a sense of profound loss wars with profound love. As the bond between Anders and Oona deepens, change takes on a different shading: a chance to see one another, face to face, anew.

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid was published on 11 August 2022 by Hamish Hamilton. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour. 

Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist was one of those books that left such an impact on me, and I was looking forward to reading his latest, The Last White Man. 

At just under 200 pages in the hardback edition, this is really more of a novella, than a novel. However, it may be small, but it's perfectly formed. Hamid's writing is often sparse, almost distant. He tells the story in an almost matter-of-fact way, but this does not detract from the importance of the themes within it. 

Anders is a pretty ordinary guy, one morning, as he looks in the mirror, he sees that his skin has taken on a darker hue. His emotions range from shock, horror, fear and despair. At first Anders tries to hide himself away, but needs must and he has to visit his local shop. He's well known to the shopkeeper, but his darker skin renders him invisible, and unrecognisable. No warm greetings as usual, just a perfunctory visit that reinforces Anders' assumptions that his life has changed forever. 

Anders decides to tell Oona, friend who has recently become his lover, Oona is also shocked, but supportive, and then it transpires that this happening to lots of people.

There are some scenes in Anders' story that are quite brutal, not physical violence, the words spoken to him by people he had admired and respected are shocking, and hurtful and say so much about the world that we live in.

This is an absorbing read that throws up so many questions, not least from the viewpoint of Oona's mother, who was my favourite character; a woman formed by her beliefs and her conspiracy theories, but also a woman who will be familiar to so many of us. 

With a touch of magical realism, and a lot of power, this is a novel that deserves to be read more than once, to be savoured and to be discussed. 

Mohsin Hamid writes regularly for The New York Times, the Guardian and the New York Review of Books, and is the author of Exit West, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Moth Smoke, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia and Discontent and its Civilizations. 

Born and mostly raised in Lahore, he has since lived between Lahore, London and New York.

Thursday 18 August 2022

My Other Husband by Dorothy Koomson #Giveaway #MyOtherHusband @DorothyKoomson @headlinepg #Prize #Win #Competition


Cleo Forsum is a bestselling novelist turned scriptwriter whose TV series, 'The Baking Detective' is a huge success. Writing is all she's ever wanted to do, and baking and murder stories have proved a winning combination.

But now she has decided to walk away from it all - including divorcing her husband, Wallace - before her past secrets catch up with her.

As Cleo drafts the final ever episodes of the series, people she knows start getting hurt. And it's soon clear that someone is trying to frame her for murder.

She thinks she knows why, but Cleo can't tell the police or prove her innocence. Because then she'd have to confess about her other husband . . .

A series of terrifying murders. A set of complex lies.

And a woman with no way to clear her name.

My Other Husband by Dorothy Koomson is published today, 18 August 2022 by Headline. I adore Dorothy Koomson's books, she never ever lets me down and this one is superb.

My review was published in S Magazine last week. 

I'm delighted to have one hardback copy of My Other Husband to give away to celebrate publication day. Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in the blog post. UK entries only please. 


One hardback copy of My Other Husband by Dorothy Koomson

'Dorothy Koomson really takes things to another level with My Other Husband. With shocking twists and an emotional, but satisfying conclusion, this is an expertly-crafted, rollercoaster of a novel that had me gripped from the beginning' Jendella Benson

'Dorothy Koomson is on formidable form . . . Clever, unnerving and utterly compulsive, the final few chapters left me breathless' Kia Abdullah

Readers love Dorothy Koomson:

'Koomson just gets better and better' Woman & Home

'An instantly involving psychological thriller' Daily Telegraph

'This is devastatingly good' Heat

'The suspense was on another level' Black Girls Book Club

'Written with verve and insight' Stylist

'We just couldn't put it down' Closer

'The author plays a blinder' Sun

'The novel simmers with tension' Daily Express

'You'll be gripped by this tense, twisty thriller' Fabulous

Dorothy Koomson is the award-winning author of 15 novels and has been making up stories since she was 13 when she used to share her stories with her convent school friends. Her published titles include: Tell Me Your Secret, The Brighton Mermaid, The Friend, When I Was Invisible, That Girl From Nowhere, The Flavours of Love, The Woman He Loved Before, Goodnight, Beautiful and The Chocolate Run.

Dorothy’s first novel, The Cupid Effect, was published in 2003 (when she was quite a bit older than 13). Her third book, My Best Friend’s Girl, was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads of 2006 and went on to sell over 500,000 copies. While her fourth novel, Marshmallows For Breakfast, has sold in excess of 250,000 copies. Dorothy’s books, The Ice Cream Girls and The Rose Petal Beach were both shortlisted for the popular fiction category of the British Book Awards in 2010 and 2013, respectively.

Dorothy’s novels have been translated into over 30 languages, and a TV adaptation loosely based on The Ice Cream Girls was shown on ITV1 in 2013. After briefly living in Australia, Dorothy now lives in Brighton.

In 2019 Dorothy was awarded the Image Award by The Black British Business Awards to celebrate and honour her achievements.

For more information on Dorothy Koomson visit

Wednesday 17 August 2022

Is This Love? by C E Riley @ceriley7 #IsThisLove @serpentstail #BookReview


J's wife has left, and J is trying to understand why. How could someone you loved so much, who claimed to love you once, just walk away? How could they send divorce papers accusing you of terrible things, when all you've ever done is tried to make them happy?

Narrated by J in the days, weeks and months after the marriage collapses, and interspersed with the departed wife's diary entries, 
Is This Love? is an addictive, deeply unsettling, and provocative novel of deception and betrayal, and passion turned to pain. As the story unfolds, and each character's version of events undermines the other, all our assumptions about victimhood, agency, love and control are challenged - for we never know J's gender. If we did, would it change our minds about who was telling the truth?

Is This Love? by C E Riley was published in hardback on 4 August 2022 by Serpent's Tail. My thanks to the publisher who sent my book for review. 

Written in a style that is most unusual, and that I believe is described as first person (referral), this is a book that totally consumed me. I read it in a couple of sittings in one day. It is engrossing, and lyrical, it is brutal and sometimes violent, but it truly is an outstanding read. One that I will think of and ponder for a long time. 

I am a fan of the unreliable narrator and Riley takes hers to the extreme. J is the first narrator, talking to their wife. The woman that they love and adore, that they married and hoped to spend the rest of their life with, and also the woman who has just broken them by telling them that they want a divorce. It is emotionally challenging as we are privy to J's innermost thoughts, to their total and utter confusion and later to their bitterness and anger.

J describes in detail how they met and fell in love with their wife. The whirlwind romance, the almost immediate sharing of a home, the quest to find the perfect house, the toil and hard work whilst J took time out of work to create the dream home that their wife desired. The wife is described as somewhat forgetful, scatty almost, not really responsible, but still adored by J, who would do anything to make her happy. 

And then, we read the court papers prepared by J's wife. We read what she has accused J of, her accounts of controlling behaviour, physical abuse, gaslighting, and we realise just how one story can have more than one perspective. 

The reader feels almost voyeuristic at times. It can be uncomfortable to read J's painful account, the soul searching, the utter despair, the descent into behaviours that seem out of character, but are justified by the pain that J is experiencing. 

The fact that we never know J's gender is a triumphant twist to this finely detailed story of a marriage and how it has broken beyond repair. Whilst reading, I imagined J as both male and female, and it's easy to form opinions entirely on the basis of gender. This probably proves that no matter how inclusive and non judgemental we are in our lives, there is a deep, hidden bias within us all. 

For me, the ending was one that I welcomed, it was the outcome that I hoped for, but I do wonder if that had been different if the wife had narrated the story, aiming it at J?

Clever, utterly compelling and beautifully structured. A book to discuss and one that I recommend. 

C. E. Riley is a writer and director of the literary festival, Primadonna, which is described as 'books,
with a little bit of rock'n'roll' – a festival that showcases established and emerging voices that aren't heard enough in the mainstream. 

She lives in London, and has previously published two works of non-fiction. 

Is This Love? is her debut novel.

Twitter @ceriley7

Ravenous by H N Pashley BLOG TOUR #Ravenous @hnpashley @RandomTTours #BookExtract


It’s 1890, and Ada Phillips, one of the first female medical students in England, fights to stop a masked vigilante from cutting a bloody swathe across London.

In mourning after her mother’s recent suicide, Ada is horrified to discover that the vigilante is somehow connected to her family. Dubbed ‘The Ravener’ by the press, he is exacting brutal vengeance on those who would harm the innocent, excising their hearts and taking a single bite from each.

In both her dreams and waking hours, the Ravener tries to sway Ada to his cause by showing her the suffering inflicted by his victims, but his justifications for murder are at odds with everything she believes in. His reign of terror has to be brought to end, but how, and what if the man behind the mask is much closer to home than Ada realises?

Perfect for fans of Dean Koontz and Graham Masterton, or the Showtime television series ‘Penny Dreadful’, Ravenous is the first novel in The Ravener Trilogy.

Ravenous by H N Pashley was published on 19 May 2022. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 

Extract from Ravenous by H N Pashley 

23 November 1890
Chapter 1
Cover her Face

Ada lifted her mourning veil, the better to examine the body of Elizabeth Fellowes. The young woman lay on her marriage bed, her face screaming silently at the ceiling. Her death had been neither swift, nor painless.

‘What do you see, Ada?’

She took a deep breath and turned to her father. ‘I think it likely she was murdered by the same individual that killed the others.’

‘I would tend to agree. Our observations should align with those of the previous three victims. Are you ready to assist me?’

‘Yes,’ she said, watching as he opened his casebook, the nib of his fountain pen hovering over a fresh page. Despite his outwardly professional demeanour, his hand shook and sweat beaded his forehead.

‘Shall I take notes while you dictate, Papa?’

Henry Phillips hesitated a moment, then handed the book and pen to his daughter. ‘That would be helpful,’ he said, but offered no further acknowledgement of his infirmity. 
Clearing his throat, he set about the grim task of describing the crime scene. 
‘The victim is Elizabeth Fellowes, aged eighteen years and resident at 2 Station Row, Limehouse. She was found by her husband, Reginald Fellowes, at eleven o’clock this morning, Sunday, 23rd of November. He is a signalman on the adjacent London and Blackwall railway. The body is lying...’

Henry was interrupted by a man’s agonised sobbing from outside the cottage. Ada looked at her father. His mouth hung slightly open, as if he wished to say something but was unable to do so. His eyes brimmed with unshed tears and his neat, handsome face grew pale. This is too much, too soon, thought Ada, for both of us.

‘May I suggest that I also make the observations on this occasion?’ she asked. ‘I believe it would be instructive.’ Her father nodded, folding his arms across his chest as he composed himself.

Ada let her gaze range across the bed, noting every detail before she spoke. ‘The body is lying supine with the arms outstretched at right angles to the torso. The index, middle and ring fingers on the left hand appear to be broken. The right arm is fractured just above the wrist, with damage to both radius and ulna. The bones have not pierced the skin. Both sets of injuries are recent and were likely sustained during the attack on her person.’ She raised her eyes to her father for confirmation.

‘Please continue,’ he said softly.
‘Elizabeth is wearing a...’
‘The victim,’ he said. ‘I know it seems unfeeling but you must not personalise matters.

It is for your own good, believe me.’

‘Yes, Papa, my apologies. The victim is wearing a white, linen nightgown. It has been 
torn open from neck to hem and the torso and pelvic region laid bare. The garment is stained with blood, predominantly at the neck. The legs are splayed, with livid contusions present on the inner thighs. There are no external indications that she has been violated; this can be confirmed during autopsy. There are multiple, shallow lacerations on the torso and abdomen, although none appear to be deep enough to be the cause of death. The edges of the wounds are smooth, indicating they were inflicted by a sharp blade of some kind, probably a knife. Her mouth is open and tightly filled with what appears to be a cotton rag. It is likely her assailant did this to prevent her from crying out.’

H. N. Pashley lives in Norwich, and when not typing furiously can often be found risking life and limb doing partner acrobatics. Ravenous is his first book for adults.

He is also the author of a middle-grade trilogy: Gabriel’s Clock, Sammael’s Wings and Michael’s Spear, under his full name of Hilton Pashley.

Work on ‘Nemesis’, the second book in The Ravener trilogy, is currently underway, and will take the reader to some very dark places indeed.

To find out more about Hilton and his writing, please visit, Twitter @hnpashley, Facebook @hnpashley and Instagram @hnpashley.