#Blogtour A Dark Steel Death by Chris Nickson

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Dark Steel Death by Chris Nickson.

About the Author

Chris Nickson is the author of nine previous Tom Harper mysteries, seven highly acclaimed novels in the Richard Nottingham series, and four Simon Westow mysteries. He is also a well-known music journalist. He lives in his beloved Leeds. Follow @ChrisNickson2 on Twitter

About the book

Tom Harper must catch a traitor intent on disrupting the war effort and bringing terror to the streets of Leeds in this page-turning mystery. Leeds. December 1916. Deputy Chief Constable Tom Harper is called out in the middle of the night when a huge explosion rips through a munitions factory supplying war materials, leaving death and destruction in its wake. A month later, matches and paper to start a fire are found in an army clothing depot. It’s a chilling discovery: there’s a saboteur running loose on the streets of Leeds.

As so many give their lives in the trenches, Harper and his men are working harder than ever – and their investigation takes a dark twist with two shootings, at the local steelworks and a hospital. With his back against the wall and the war effort at stake, Harper can’t afford to fail. But can he catch the traitor intent on bringing terror to Leeds?


I remember reading a crime novel set in Germany or Austria, either pre/post or during wartime and thinking – why would I think crime and murder stops just because of war. The truth is the chaos and desperation of war creates the perfect scenario for certain depraved minds. The situation lends itself to situations where one would rather remain invisible.

It makes Harper’s task all the more difficult. Try finding a needle in a haystack in the midst of WW1 at home with a city full of people doing their bit for the war effort – including his young daughter. It was interesting to read about the lack of compassion for men who were reluctant to fight, and of course at the time mental health and PTSD were considered weaknesses and a way to get out of the duty expected of them.

Harper and his team are tasked with trying to find a killer, a traitor intent on causing as much damage as possible. Someone who has no regard for the innocent people they kill, as long as the end justifies the means.

It’s a good read that has a vibe of historical war fiction, crime, mystery and simultaneously it also has the emotional depth of a wartime story. Normal people with normal problems, who have to deal with them, whilst dealing with the trauma of war.

Buy A Dark Steel Death at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: ‎Severn House pub date 6 Sept. 2022. Buy at Amazon com

#BlogTour Becoming Alfie by Neil Patterson

Today it’s my turn on the Blogtour Becoming Alfie by Neil Patterson.

About the Author

Born in South Essex close to the River Thames and directly East of London, my childhood was peppered with memories of the mighty river itself.

We would swim, fish and discover hidden treasure in the tidal mudflats with the fragments of clay pipes we found taking us back to another era. It was here that my inspiration for writing was born. I began to keep a diary of my observations from life and documented my feelings and thoughts.

My wife was twenty two and I was twenty four when we migrated to Australia with a glorious expectation. The sun was shining, the people were friendly and Sydney Harbour simply magnificent. Together we were committed to making the most of this opportunity beginning the next step in our lives. Everything was new which gave me endless writing opportunities that I recorded in my diary which had spilled over into a number of books. We travelled around this incredible country meeting people from all walks of life and from many nationalities. We lived and worked in a variety of capital cities enjoying each and every experience. All this was tremendous fodder for my writing.

I began to write short stories and poetry, none of which I sought to publish. By my fifty second birthday I was able to finish working and focus full time on my writing, the results so far are The Alfie Norrington Series with Becoming Alfie the first in the series of four. I hope that you enjoy reading Becoming Alfie as much as I did writing it.

Follow Neil Patterson on Facebookon Amazonon Goodreads, Visit alfienorrington.comBuy Becoming Alfie

About the book

Alfie‌ ‌Norrington‌ ‌was‌ ‌born‌ ‌into‌ ‌poverty‌ ‌in‌ ‌London’s‌ ‌East‌ ‌End‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌first‌ ‌minute‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌twentieth‌ century.‌ ‌His‌ ‌life‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌battle.‌ ‌From‌ ‌the‌ ‌Brick‌ ‌Lane‌ ‌markets‌ ‌where‌ ‌young‌ ‌Alfie‌ ‌pilfered‌ ‌and‌ pickpocketed,‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌trenches‌ ‌of‌ ‌Flanders,‌ ‌Alfie‌ ‌fought‌ ‌every‌ ‌step‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌way.‌ ‌ ‌

Almost‌ ‌killed‌ ‌by‌ ‌a‌ ‌trench‌ ‌bomb‌ ‌he‌ ‌battled‌ ‌to‌ ‌recover‌ ‌and‌ ‌while‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌military‌ ‌hospital‌ ‌Alfie‌ ‌made‌ ‌a‌ ‌promise‌ ‌that‌ ‌dramatically‌ ‌change’s‌ ‌his‌ ‌life.‌ ‌A‌ ‌true‌ ‌East‌ ‌End‌ ‌hero,‌ ‌Alfie‌ ‌begins‌ ‌his‌ ‌journey‌ ‌away‌ ‌from‌ ‌poverty‌ ‌armed‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌robust‌ ‌moral‌ ‌compass‌ ‌and‌ ‌an‌ ‌open‌ ‌heart.‌ ‌

Becoming‌ ‌Alfie‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌first‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Alfie‌ ‌Norrington‌ ‌series.‌ ‌It‌ ‌follows‌ ‌the‌ ‌life‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌man‌ ‌who‌ ‌positively‌ ‌influenced‌ ‌thousands‌ ‌of‌ ‌people.‌ ‌The‌ ‌world‌ ‌needs‌ ‌more‌ ‌individuals‌ ‌like‌ ‌Alfie‌ ‌Norrington,‌ ‌that‌ ‌give‌ much‌ ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌they‌ ‌take.‌ 


Alfie isn’t exactly born into the lap of luxury. Rags, poverty and a family with too many mouths to feed. A drunk of a father with a violent streak, but the children are committed to each other as only fellow victims of dysfunctional families are.

The story follows Alfie as he goes through pivotal moments in his life. The street-smart boy becomes the brave teenager willing to protect his country, although he is still but a child. Patterson goes into the trauma of war, when trauma was still an unknown entity or diagnosis. The suffering of the soldiers who survived WW1, despite being the so-called lucky ones because they returned.

The author draws a web of connections, which can only be created by family and people bonded via traumatic events in their lives. He takes the fragility and simultaneously the rapid changes during the early 20th century to create a story built on love, support and belief in each other.

With a few nips and tucks this could become a series readers will be eager to follow. Less rushed, more depth and better dialogue. This family saga, with a focus on one member in particular, is filled with moments of clarity and truth, as a young boy becomes a man under the burden of war.

Buy Becoming Alfie at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon comAt HiveAt Bookshop.org.  

#BlogTour Death of a Young Lieutenant by B.R. Stateham

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Death of a Young Lieutenant by B.R. Stateham.About the Author

B.R. Stateham is a fourteen-year-old boy trapped in a seventy-year-old body.  But his enthusiasm and boyish delight in anything mysterious and/or unknown continue.

Writing novels, especially detectives, is just the avenue of escape which keeps the author’s mind sharp and inquisitive.  He’s published a ton of short stories in online magazines like Crooked, Darkest Before the Dawn, Abandoned Towers, Pulp Metal Magazine, Suspense Magazine, Spinetingler Magazine, Near to The Knuckle, A Twist of Noir, Angie’s Diary, Power Burn Flash, and Eastern Standard Crime.  He writes both detective/mysteries, as well as science-fiction and fantasy.

In 2008 the first book in the series featuring homicide detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales came out, called Murderous Passions. Also, in 2008 he self-published a fantasy novel entitled, Roland of the High Crags: Evil Arises. In 2009 he created a character named Smitty. So far twenty-eight short stories and two novellas have been written about this dark eyed, unusually complex hit man. In 2012 Untreed Reads published book two of the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales series A Taste of Old Revenge.

In 2015 NumberThirteen Press published a Smitty novella entitled, A Killing Kiss. In 2017 a British indie publisher, Endeavour Media, re-issued A Taste of Old Revenge, and soon followed by a second Turner Hahn/Frank Morales novel entitled, There Are No Innocents. In 2018 Endeavour Media published a third novel of mine, the first in a 1st Century Roman detective series, entitled While the Emperor Slept. Also in 2018, NumberThirteen Press merged with another famous British indie, Fahrenheit Press. Soon afterwards, Fahrenheit Press re-issued an old novel of mine entitled, Death of a Young Lieutenant.

Now, after all of this apparent success, you would think Fame and Fortune would have sailed into my harbor, making me the delight of the hard-core genre world. Ah but contraire, mon ami! Fame and Fortune are two devious little wraths who pick and chooses the poor souls they wish to bedevil. I remain in complete anonymity and am just as bereft of fortune as I have always been. And apparently will continue to be for a long time to come.

B.R. Stateham has a blog called, In the Dark Mind of B.R. Stateham – noirtaketurner-frank.blogspot.com/

Follow @brstateham on Twitter on Goodreadson AmazonBuy Death of a Young Lieutenant by B.R. Stateham

About the book

Meet Captain Jake Reynolds – pilot, adventurer, art thief, spy.

In the opening weeks of World War One, and as a member of the newly formed British Royal Flying Corps, Captain Jake Reynolds is shipped off to Belgium. Roped in by his squadron commander to prove the innocence of a young lieutenant accused of murder, Jake also wants to steal a 14th Century Jan van Eck painting.

The problem is both the evidence and the painting are behind enemy lines. How do you prove a man’s innocence and steal a masterpiece while an entire German army is breathing down your neck?Review

Jake Reynolds has the kind of roguish charm that makes him the type of person people find it hard to say no to, and even if they do he finds a way to achieve his goals. He is so much more than a man serving his country – he is a man serving his own agenda. An agenda that includes accumulating irreplaceable works of art. A bit of forgery, here and there, never hurt anyone right?

His goal of acquiring a valuable piece of art behind enemy lines takes a second seat to an odd incident, which takes place nearby and he is asked to look into. What appears to be a violent argument, that ends with one man dead and the other badly wounded, soon distracts him from his more profitable endeavours. Did the young soldier commit a murder or was it an accident?

It’s a murder mystery set in the midst of the conflict of WWI. Stateham gives his readers a real sense of the mischievous and carefree attitude that surrounds Jake throughout the story, despite the tragic conflict taking place around him.

At times some moments seem frivolous and perhaps not in keeping with the setting of the Great War, however I think it’s important to remember those moments are what kept the men going and perhaps even sane. Given the ending I think the author had exactly that in mind. The futility of the war, in the majority of cases the inevitability of death, and the attempt to keep morale high in such difficult circumstances. It’s an interesting parallel path to draw, especially whilst simultaneously giving readers an entertaining murder mystery at the same time.

Buy Death of a Young Lieutenant at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Fahrenheit Press, pub date 19 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Glorious Dead by Tim Atkinson

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Glorious Dead by Tim Atkinson. It’s an emotional reminder of the sacrifices given during the Great War.

About the Author

Tim Atkinson is a teacher, author and award-winning blogger. He studied philosophy at the University of Hull and has worked variously as a filing clerk, lay-clerk, chain-man and schoolteacher. He was born in Colchester, brought up in Yorkshire and now lives in Lincolnshire.

Follow @dotterel @unbounders on Twitter, Visit timatkinson.info

Buy The Glorious Dead

About the book

What happened when the Great War ended and the guns stopped firing? Who cleared the battlefields and buried the dead? It’s 1918 and the war may be over but Lance-Corporal Jack Patterson ad the men of his platoon are still knee-deep in Flanders mud, searching the battlefields for the remain of comrades killed in action. But duty isn’t all that’s keeping Jack in Flanders. For one there is Katia, the daughter of a local publican, with whom he has struck up a romance. And then there is something else, a secret that lies buried in Jack’s past, one he hopes isn’t about to be dug up.


The Glorious Dead tells a forgotten story, one we should all be aware of because of its historical importance. It’s the centenary of the end of the Great War, which makes this an even more poignant read.

There won’t be many among us who haven’t read about the Great War or seen documentaries and films about the subject. It’s still part of the curriculum in the UK and the majority of secondary schools (high schools) offer trips to France and Belgium to visit the war memorials, the graveyards and sites of the battles.

We hear and speak about the Lost Generation. The many men and women who lost their lives fighting for our country. Fathers, brothers, husbands and often children who have given the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe and other European countries safe from the oppression of an invading force.

What we don’t talk about, and I can imagine many are still unaware, is of the time after the war ended and the logistics of laying the dead to rest. This book tells the story of the men, the majority of whom were survivors of the Great War, tasked with burying the dead and recording the names, places and plots for the government and their loved ones. Two years after the Armistice they were still collecting, recording and consolidating remains and graves.

Imagine having to dig up the remains and corpses of fellow soldiers from their final resting place in a muddy field filled with thousands of fallen men, and having to transport and rebury them at a site specially chosen for them. Going through fields square by square to remove the dead, because the decomposing bodies were poisoning the ground and making the soil useless for the farmers who lived there for instance.

Logistics and practicality seems such a cruel way to speak about the dead, and yet ultimately these were decisions that had to be made. One could argue however about the enforced rule about soldiers of the crown never being returned to their country, also a decision made out of practicality. As mentioned in the book, it would have destroyed the morale of the troops and the people left behind if they had been confronted by mass graves, huge cemeteries and piles of bodies returning from the battlefields. Other countries exhumed and brought many of their dead home.

I could talk about the content of this book for ages. There is a story within the traumatic historical facts, but for me the characters took a secondary place, because the surroundings and the real and very tragic circumstances were more important. In fact I can imagine this being its own Band of Brothers, the years beyond the Armistice. Perhaps the true story of those who stayed behind. The unsung bravery of the men who spent years digging for badges, caps and bones to identify who died where, and those who laid them to rest overseas – a long way from home.

It’s an emotional journey through the past and a reminder of the sacrifices many people gave for us, both the dead and the ones who came home. Survivor’s guilt is an awful thing. It’s a brutally honest and captivating read.

Buy The Glorious Dead at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Unbound (1 Nov. 2018)

The Pearl Locket by Kathleen McGurl

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This story actually reminded me a lot of my own genealogy research. Similar to Ali and Kelly, I also found out that my grandmother had secrets she had kept from her children and grandchildren, during her entire lifetime as a mother and grandmother.

In Ali’s case the secrets seem to be embedded in the house she has just inherited, almost as if something or someone there is still waiting to be acknowledged or to get some closure.

The presence is so strong that it starts to cause changes in the family. One specific person starts to melt back into the memories, behaviour and emotions of the mysterious presence.

The author takes us from the past to the present, from one chapter to another, letting the story of the past unfold into the lives of those in the house. The reader gets a glimpse of the love and also despair that once vibrated through the walls.The young girl surrounded by family and yet completely alone, oppressed by the strict father and his rules, which ultimately leads to unexpected and tragic events.

Ali has very sexist views when it comes to Kelly. She has to keep herself from blaming her daughter for the fact Kelly’s boyfriend broke up with her, because of her taste in clothes. Dressing like a girl from the 1940’s, ergo too fuddy duddy and not fashionable enough for him to remain interested.

That isn’t the kind of message you want to relay to a daughter, as a mother. Even the fact Ali thinks that way, even if she doesn’t voice it, is quite strange. Perhaps Ali is more like her grandfather than she realises or is history repeating itself on a very subtle level? Is there more than one ghostly echo in the property?

McGurl really likes to weave her stories within the folds of family relationships, secrets and genealogy. Mixing heartbreak with romance to create a pleasant and inviting read,
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author and Carina UK.

Buy The Pearl Locket at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read The Emerald Comb or The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl.
Read about Kathleen McGurl here.

Follow @KathMcGurl  @HQStories @HQDigitalUK

Visit kathleenmcgurl.com

Read The Girl from Ballymor by Kathleen McGurl