#BlogTour To Become an Outlaw by Peter Murphy

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour To Become an Outlaw by Peter Murphy.

‘When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw’ – Nelson Mandela

About the Author

Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the United States, and served for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. As well as Verbal, the seventh book in the Ben Schroeder series, he has written two political thrillers about the US presidency, Removal and Test of Resolve. His latest series, featuring Judge Walden, returned in 2019 with a fresh series of cases. He lives in Cambridgeshire.

About the book

1964, Apartheid South Africa. Danie du Plessis, the son of a conservative Afrikaner family, is poised to start a glittering legal academic career at one of South Africa’s leading universities, when he falls in love with a student, Amy Coetzee. But there’s a problem: he’s white, she’s not. Facing arrest, imprisonment and ruin, the couple flee South Africa, and settle in Cambridge, where friends find them positions at the University. They marry and have two children, and have seemingly put the past, and South Africa, behind them. But in 1968 Art Pienaar enters their lives, and, insisting that they have a duty to fight back, enlists their help in increasingly dangerous schemes to undermine the South African regime.

When Pienaar and a notorious drug dealer, Vince Cummings, are found murdered together, Danie’s activities come to light, and he and his family find themselves in mortal danger. Danie is also threatened with criminal prosecution on behalf of a government desperate to maintain good relations with the apartheid regime. Danie knows he’s sailed close to the wind. But has he become an outlaw? Can Ben Schroeder persuade a jury that the answer is no?


I think this is an interesting one, and slightly different for this particular author. It wades into a complex political and human rights issue, that has faded into the chests of history a little. I can remember the global pressure and outcry to demand an end to apartheid. Of course that is what people tend to remember and not the many years of oppression, the victims of the segregation laws, and certainly not the nameless people fighting against the oppressive system.

In this eighth book in the Ben Schroeder series a question arise of what exactly constitutes an outlaw, a criminal – an enemy of the state. Aside from the minutiae details of the actual legal case, there is a bigger discussion about whether the people who fight against the rule of law of a country or state are indeed outlaws if the rule of law or the government/dictator in charge are guilty of the crime of oppression, human rights offences or any crime considered an atrocity to the greater world. 

The word domestic terrorist, activist, rebel and outlaw take on a completely different meaning when the opponent is cruel hatemonger. It’s neither a lack or white answer – it all depends on each variable. It’s an interesting legal crime read, which is fleshed out by the story that is very much the bigger picture in this premise.

Buy To Become an Outlaw at Amazon Uk . Publisher: No Exit Press; Published 21 April 2022 – Paperback – £9.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at No Exit Press.

#BlogTour Nick by Michael Farris Smith

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Nick by Michael Farris Smith. – ‘September marks the 125th Anniversary of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Birth – Nick Carraway steps out of the shadows and into the spotlight in this exhilarating prequel to The Great Gatsby, leading up to Carraway’s meeting with the enigmatic Jay Gatsby.’

About the Author

No Exit Press also publish Michael Farris Smith’s novels The Fighter, Desperation Road and most recently Blackwood. Farris Smith has been a finalist for the Gold Dagger Award in the UK, and the Grand Prix des Lectrices in France, and his essays have appeared in publications including The New York Times. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughters. Follow @michael_f_smith on Twitter, Visit michaelfarrissmith.com

About the book

This rich and imaginative novel from critically acclaimed author Michael Farris Smith breathes new life into a character that many know only from the periphery. Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby’s world, he was at the centre of a very different story – one taking place along the trenches and deep within the tunnels of World War I. Floundering in the wake of the destruction he witnessed first-hand, Nick embarks on a redemptive journey that takes him from a whirlwind Paris romance – doomed from the very beginning – to the dizzying frenzy of New Orleans, rife with its own flavour of debauchery and violence.

NICK is an inspired concept realised with delicate, rhythmic prose, profound characterisation and deep emotion. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to transfix even the heartiest of golden age scribes, NICK reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.


First and foremost I now have to go back and read The Great Gatsby again in order for this prequel of sorts to find a better lace in my reading experience and literary consciousness – Nick Carraway before he meets Jay Gatsby, the story previously untold.

The author makes a really interesting point in the foreword, which is probably something readers who go back to the same books now and again will be aware of. Your reading experience is always subjective and always seen through your own frame of reference. Those frame of references change depending on what age or stage of life you are currently in. It changes the way you interpret and experience the words you are reading.

Take that concept and adapt it to a book of notable literary fame and then consider the experience. The awed young reader, becomes the disenchanted one and the older reader is perhaps the one who comprehends as never before. It’s an incredibly insightful thought. Now combine that with the fictional backstory of  a character from The Great Gatsby, hence now needing to read the GG again.

It absolutely helps that the author does this with an astute emotional connection to Nick, the prose is both lyrical and at times brutally frank, which lends itself to the creation of a beautiful piece of work. It’s an homage to the work of scribes of the golden age.

Buy Nick at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎No Exit Press; pub date 24 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Deep Cover by Leigh Russell

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Deep Cover by Leigh Russell.

About the Author

Leigh Russell is the author of the Ian Peterson series (Cold Sacrifice, Race to Death and Blood Axe) and the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi, Class Murder, Death Rope, Rogue Killer, Deathly Affair and Deadly Revenge.

The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA),John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London. Follow @LeighRussell on Twitter, Visit leighrussell.co.uk

About the book

When a sex worker dies in suspicious circumstances in York, Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel struggles to remain focused on the murder investigation. She is distracted by her worries about her colleague and life partner, Ian Peterson, who has disappeared. Geraldine becomes close to her colleague, Matthew. She is unaware that Ian is working under cover in London, helping to identify a criminal gang who have been targeting Geraldine. As a second victim is discovered in York, Ian’s life is threatened by a psychopath. If he fails in his mission, both he and Geraldine may die…


In this 16th installment of the DI Geraldine Steel series, the two main characters go in two different directions to combat crime in their own way. Their relationship has hit a snag, although it’s fair to say one of them is both more aware and dealing with it with more finality than the other.

Is that why Ian has  more or less disappeared into an avenue of police work that ensures isolation and lack of contact to Geraldine, whereas she is confused by the aforementioned. In fact Geraldine thinks there is something wrong and finds it hard to concentrate on the killer who has a penchant for prostitutes.

In a police procedural of such longevity it’s important to shake the status quo up now and again to keep readers engaged, even if that means driving a wedge between two favourite characters. In this case they are quite literally so separate that it’s often like reading two crime stories in one. The question is where does the series go from here?  Does Steel need new challenges and a new character to bounce off and interact with? I’m sure the author won’t disappoint.

Buy Deep Cover at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎No Exit Press pub date 24 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Killing Hills by Chris Offutt

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Killing Hills by Chris Offutt.

About the Author 

Chris Offutt is the author of the short-story collections Kentucky Straight and Out of theWoods, the novels The Good Brother, Country Dark and The Killing Hills, and three memoirs: The Same River Twice, No Heroes, and My Father, the Pornographer. 

His work has appeared in Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays, among many other places. He has written screenplays for Weeds, True Blood, and Treme, and has received fellowships from the Lannan and Guggenheim foundations.

Visit chrisoffutt.com for more information or find him on Twitter @chris_offutt

About the book

Mick Hardin, a combat veteran now working as an Army CID agent, is home on a leave that is almost done. His wife is about to give birth, but they aren’t getting along. His sister, newly risen to sheriff, has just landed her first murder case, and local politicians are pushing for city police or the FBI to take the case. 

Are they convinced she can’t handle it, or is there something else at work? She calls on Mick who, with his homicide investigation experience and familiarity with the terrain, is well-suited to staying under the radar. As he delves into the investigation, he dodges his commanding officer’s increasingly urgent calls while attempting to head off further murders. And he needs to talk to his wife.


The whole mule thing – I swear is there anything more backwoods? I mean, who does that? (Yes, it made me laugh)

Mick’s sister has asked him for help in a murder investigation. She is finding it difficult to assert herself as a woman in male dominated field, especially because the men around her really want to see her fail. Mick on the other hand is dealing with the disintegration of his marriage and being blindsided by some uncomfortable truths. The question is whether they will get in the way of finding a killer.

I enjoyed the way the main character and the setting take equal standing and never overshadow each other, and that balancing act is a testament to the storytelling skills of the author. It gives the read a more realistic in the here and now feel.

Not sure why Offutt hasn’t been on my radar before, but he certainly is now. His writing style and the way he draws the reader into the surroundings reminds me of Jane Harper. It’s a gritty read with a subtle sarcasm, self-deprecating humour and the inside knowledge of the close-knit community. The ingrained sense of loyalties and of course the flip side of that are the cross generational feuds many of the families feed off and fuel.

On a final note, the way Offutt introduces possible future and past storylines, crimes and scenarios was both intriguing and an absolute way to hook a reader -hook, line and sinker. I need to find out about all these other crimes Mick is going to solve or not.

Buy The Killing Hills at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 23 Nov 2021| Paperback Original £9.99 | Ebook available. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Play The Red Queen by Juris Jurjevics

Today its a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Play The Red Queen by Juris Jurjevics.

About the Author

Juris Jurjevics (1943-2018) was born in Latvia and grew up in Displaced Persons camps in Germany before emigrating to the United States. He served in Vietnam for fourteen months, nine days, and two hours, his original departure date delayed by the Tet Offensive. He wrote two other novels, Red Flags and The Trudeau Vector, which was published in ten other countries. Publisher and co-founder of the Soho Press, Jurjevics worked for decades in the book industry.

Read more about books by Juris Jurjevics at Goodreadson AmazonBuy Play The Red Queen

About the book

Vietnam, 1963. A female Viet Cong assassin is trawling the boulevards of Saigon, catching US Army officers off-guard with a single pistol shot, then riding off on the back of a scooter. Although the US military is not officially in combat, sixteen thousand American servicemen are stationed in Vietnam “advising” the military and government. Among them are Ellsworth Miser and Clovis Robeson, two army investigators who have been tasked with tracking down the daring killer.

Set in the besieged capital of a new nation on the eve of the coup that would bring down the Diem regime and launch the Americans into the Vietnam War, Play the Red Queen is a tour de-force mystery-cum-social history, breathtakingly atmospheric and heartbreakingly alive with the laws and lawlessness of war.


Whilst the story begins with the hunt for an experienced unapologetic assassin, who is taking out Americans in broad daylight on the streets of Saigon without a second thought – the story ends with betrayal. She is bold, fearless and is working on a schedule – a plan with consequences. She personifies the lack of gentleman’s rule and white man’s war game the Viet Cong became famous for – ruthless and anyone can be the enemy. 

It’s been quite a while since I have read a story about the ‘skirmish’ in Vietnam that manages to catch it with such accuracy. Jurjevics writes this mystery war crime with the sharp tongue of a social commentary. One of the most contentious periods of the US political interference in foreign countries, which was never officially deemed as something on par with other wars, hence the word skirmish, despite the losses and trauma it left in its wake. It also opened up a controversy on homeland soil the likes of which the US is still recovering from and still apologising to its veterans for. Rightly so.

As the story leads the reader into the above events it’s important to add a footnote that warfare against the VC was something the westerners were completely unprepared for and they experienced a completely different thought and tactical processes that cost many lives, killed many and left survivors with lifelong trauma and some never returned at all. 

Vietnam Veteran is a word bandied about without a lot of thought, but it’s important to remember that they didn’t and still don’t receive the accolades survivors of other wars did and do. People find it really hard to separate the concept – soldiers act on orders and are not the ones making the decisions – the top brass and upper echelon does.

I think a great writing talent has been lost where Juris Jurjevics is concerned, but readers can take solace that he left a fantastic body of work in his wake. His books are infused with a stark sense of realism, due to his own experiences, which always gives the reader a different kind of experience. This book is one of those.

Buy Play The Red Queen at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 12 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon comAt Hive. At Bookshop.org.

#BlogTour Verbal by Peter Murphy

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Verbal by Peter Murphy.

About the Author 

Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the U.S., and served for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He is the author of six historical/legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder, including A Matter for the Jury and And Is there Honey Still for Tea? The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr, Calling Down the Storm and One Law for the Rest of Us. He is also the author of the Walden of Bermondsey series. He lives in Cambridgeshire.

Follow on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit petermurphyauthor.co.ukBuy Verbal

About the book

A clever, accomplished Cambridge graduate with a good job and an attentive lover, Imogen Lester seems to have the world at her feet. But when her parents are murdered abroad while working for the Diplomatic Service, she is suddenly thrown headlong into a murky world of espionage and organised crime.

When she is charged with drug trafficking, even Ben Schroeder’s skills may not be enough to save her – unless a shadowy figure from Ben’s past can survive long enough to unmask a web of graft and corruption…


The world seems cruel enough when Imogen learns of the tragic brutal death of her parents in a foreign country. It appears as if they were in the middle of something politically complex and yet when Imogen returns to London and her world is turned upside down she realises there is so much more at stake than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It’s a legal thriller with elements of spydom, politics and police procedural. It’s a fast paced read that takes the reader in the direction of one thing and wanders slowly into a dark layer of corruption.

I recommend reading the Author’s Notes at the end of this story. It gives an interesting insight into the plot and the historical factual basis some of the story is based on.

When you read urban crime and police procedurals that take place in a certain timeframe there is most definitely a line drawn in the sand when it comes to corruption and reputation of the police. Mentioned under the almost amusing catch phrases of tough policing, turning a blind eye and a sense of fear that stemmed from knowing lawlesss often included the very men who were meant to uphold the law – it defined the way policing was perceived.

What worth does a system have when the people in charge are as corrupt as the criminals they are supposed to be apprehending? How much respect can they expect when everyone knows it isn’t the truth or justice that counts, instead it is all about profit, greed and hiding the uncomfortable truth. You turn a blind eye for one thing and before you know it is worth your while to turn a blind eye to everything.

Murphy brings that element of the Flying Squad and their notorious corrupt ways, although they themselves would say they did enough good to balance out the occasional black mark. Easy enough to live by when you aren’t the person who has to suffer from the corruption.

Kudos to Murphy for a great read and for the really well explained political and cultural landscape of former Yugoslavia.

Buy Verbal at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 25 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon comBuy at No Exit Press.

Read my review of Walden of Bermondsey by Peter Murphy.

#BlogTour When We Fall by Carolyn Kirby

Today it’s the last day, but a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour When We Fall By Carolyn Kirby.

Based on the Katyn massacre of 1940, When We Fall is a moving historical novel of three lives forever altered by one fatal choice.

Carolyn Kirby – ‘All of the victims of the Katyn massacre were men, except, remarkably, for one woman. And when I discovered that this woman, Janina Lewandowska, was a pilot, I knew that the Polish experience would become the heart of my novel… The story I tell is fiction, but it is one that I could not have begun to imagine without the remarkable life and death of Janina Lewandowska’

April – May 2020 marks 80 years since the Katyn massacre and 10th April 2020 also marks the 10th anniversary of the airline crash that killed top Polish dignitaries on their way to Russia to commemorate the atrocity.

About the Author

Carolyn Kirby is the author of The Conviction of Cora Burns which was longlisted for the Historical Writers’Association Debut Crown Award.

Before being a full-time writer, Carolyn worked in social housing and as a teacher. She has two grown-up daughters and lives with her husband in Oxfordshire.

Follow @novelcarolyn on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit Carolynkirby.comBuy When We Fall

About the book

England, 1943. Lost in fog, Air Transport Auxiliary pilot Vee Katchatourian is forced to make an emergency landing where she meets enigmatic RAF airman Stefan Bergel, and then can’t get him out of her mind.

In occupied Poland, Ewa Hartman hosts German officers in her father’s guest house, while secretly gathering intelligence for the Polish resistance. Mourning her lover, Stefan, who was captured by the Soviets at the start of the war, Ewa is shocked to see him on the street one day.

Haunted by a terrible choice he made in captivity, Stefan asks Vee and Ewa to help him expose one of the darkest secrets of the war. But it is not clear where everyone’s loyalties lie until they are tested.


This is the story of Ewa, Vee and Stefan. Three people doing their part to win and survive the war, and reveal the dark secrets that have been hidden and used to fuel the anger towards the enemy.

Ewa is adjusting to her hometown being occupied by the Germans. She has been waiting for news from her lover, a prisoner of war courtesy of the Soviets. Vee is doing her part as a pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary, and both women know Stefan Bergel. Stefan is a man scarred by his years as a prisoner and determined to make sure the world knows what happened to his comrades and who is responsible.

The propaganda machine of the Soviets was a very effective tool, as is the Russian one now, even in the 1940s. They didn’t acknowledge or confirm their responsibility for the Katyn massacre until 1990. Instead they hid their atrocities alongside those of the Nazi regime – in plain sight. The NKVD were responsible for the deaths or rather executions of 22000 Polish military officers, police officers and intelligentisa. They were killed in a series of mass executions.

Polish intelligentsia were people arbitrarily identified as intelligence officers and imprisoned. I say arbitrarily, but they were men who held important positions in their communities. According to historians Stalin wanted to ensure any future Polish military power would struggle, due to a lack of leaders and talent. Sounds so rational and cold.

It’s historical war fiction based on the true events of the Katyn massacre.

In a way Kirby shows us how so many lives became connected for the greater good and simultaneously also through unfathomable trauma. Bonds and tethers that remain throughout the years, regardless of which side they were on. This is what makes the ending of the book so perfectly imperfect.

It’s another riveting read from Kirby.

Buy When We Fall at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press | pub date 7th May 2020 | Demy Paperback Original with flaps | eBook also available | £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby.

#BlogTour Blackwood by Michael Farris Smith

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Blackwood by Michael Farris Smith.

About the Author

Michael Farris Smith is the author of Blackwood (2020), The Fighter, Desperation Road, Rivers, and The Hands of Strangers. His novels have appeared on Best of the Year lists with Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot, and numerous others, and have been named Indie Next, Barnes & Noble Discover, and Amazon Best of the Month selections. His essays have appeared with The New York Times, Bitter Southerner, Writer’s Bone, and more. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughters.

Follow @michael_f_smith on Twitteron Amazonon Goodreads,  Visit michaelfarrissmith.comBuy Blackwood

About the book

In this timeless, mythical tale of unforgiving justice and elusive grace, rural Mississippi townsfolk shoulder the pain of generations as something dangerous lurks in the enigmatic kudzu of the woods.

The town of Red Bluff, Mississippi, has seen better days, though those who’ve held on have little memory of when that was. Myer, the county’s aged, sardonic lawman, still thinks it can prove itself — when confronted by a strange family of drifters, the sheriff believes that the people of Red Bluff can be accepting, rational, even good.

The opposite is true: this is a landscape of fear and ghosts — of regret and violence — transformed by the kudzu vines that have enveloped the hills around it, swallowing homes, cars, rivers, and hiding a terrible secret deeper still.

Colburn, a junkyard sculptor who’s returned to Red Bluff, knows this pain all too well, though he too is willing to hope for more when he meets and falls in love with Celia, the local bar owner. The Deep South gives these noble, broken, and driven folks the gift of human connection while bestowing upon them the crippling weight of generations. With broken histories and vagabond hearts, the townsfolk wrestle with the evil in the woods — and the wickedness that lurks in each and every one of us.


This story is driven in various directions with a rural Mississippi town and its people in the midst of it all. Townspeople that live off the myths, the gossip and the paranoia of the darkness that consumes their town and the surrounding area.

The drifter family who wander in and play a pivotal part in the story are perhaps the most interesting, because the author never deems it necessary to name them, almost as if a name makes them real and gives them a better hold in the events that happen. It’s just the woman, the man and the boy.

Then there is Colburn, a man who has never truly been able to escape the darkness and pain of his childhood. Is coming back a way to face his inner demons and guilt head on?

It’s hard to pin this down, perhaps because it mixes multiple darker genres together. It has a noirish vibe, often the charm of a Southern gothic, but ultimately for me this was bordering on horror. No matter how much it had a pinky inclined tea-drinking feel to it – it always came back to creepy, mysterious and disturbing. A kind of Twin Peaksesque sense of plotting, which is thrown into disarray with the reality of things that go bump in the night.  The horror behind the mask of small town normality.

I think it’s fairly easy to visualise where the author was going with the story, but in all fairness I can see why some readers might feel as if they aren’t being given enough information. The kind of story that works well with imagery, as opposed to many words. It’s appears to be a style thing. The author wants images to override the words. Feel the clinging darkness of the kudzu, the claustrophobic nature of the wet earth in the dank oppressive cave.

Buy Blackwood at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 19 Mar. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan

It’s really is a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan. I really enjoy this series. Khan is a gem of a writer.About the Author

Ausma Zehanat Khan is a novelist, human rights lawyer, lecturer and commentator. She holds a PhD in international human rights law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. After graduating from Trafalgar Castle, Ausma completed her B.. in English literature and sociology at the University of Toronto. She went on to complete her LL.B. and LL.M. at the University of Ottowa.

Previously, Ausma served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine to reshape the conversation about Muslim women across North America. Her debut novel, The Unquiet Dead, won the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. It is followed by The Language of Secrets, Among the Ruins and No Place of Refuge in the Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty mystery series. She is a longtime community activist and writer. Born in Britain, Ausma lived in Canada for many years before recently becoming an American citizen. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Follow @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit ausmazehanatkhan.comBuy A Deadly Divide

About the book

In the aftermath of a mass shooting in a mosque, small town tensions run high. Clashes between the Muslim community and a local faction of radical white nationalists are escalating, but who would I have motive and opportunity to commit such a devastating act of violence?

Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are assigned to this high-profile case and tasked to ensure the extremely volatile situation doesn’t worsen. but when leaked CCTV footage exposes a shocking piece of evidence, both sides of the divide are enraged.

As Khattak and Getty work though a mounting list of suspects, they realise there’s far more going on in this small town than anyone first thought.


I can’t say it often enough about this series and the author – Ausma Zehanat Khan should be on your radar. The writing is spectacular, the characters and storylines are culturally aware and authentic. The politics, religion, culture, ideologies and just in general the socio-political topics she weaves into the crimes and the lives of her characters, are astute and relevant.

This story is absolutely in keeping with the problems in the world at the moment. The rise or re-emergence of the far right, white supremacists marching the streets, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia have become the norm instead of rare glimpses of hatred and ignorance.

Khattak and Getty land in the midst of a nest of simmering hatred, bigotry and racism. A local mosque becomes the scene of a mass shooting. The local police are quick to point the finger at a young man who fits the stereotypical prejudice they often fall back on when it comes to solving crimes.

Esa and Rachel are alarmed to find there has been a build-up to this incident, things that show a pattern of escalation – one the police chose to ignore. This implies systemic hatred and the fact they haven’t brought an active neo-Nazi group to heel puts all the events in a different light.

It’s a crime thriller with culture, race, religion and ideology at the centre. A brutally honest account of ignorance and hatred in our day and age, which the author pinpoints which frightening accuracy.

Khan doesn’t want her stories, perhaps this one in particular, to come across ‘as message books or as didactic’, which they don’t but they are an eye-opener. There are many words, sentences and paragraphs that are quote worthy. This book has a different feel to it. There seems to be an awareness of how important each word is, perhaps because the topic is so divisive and controversial. The fast-paced action is replaced with reflection and a head-on confrontation with the truth.

Don’t be surprised if some of the dialogue is difficult to read. It’s vile, ignorant and frankly unworthy of a world that is very much aware of how the persecution of a specific race or people can end in genocide. It’s important to speak up. Too many look the other way or laugh things off as minor irritations. They aren’t. Tell that to Holocaust survivors being confronted with swastikas and ‘Juden Raus’ again. Tell the Muslims being told to go home, spat at and all thrown in to the same category as terrorists, to just forget about it. We are all accountable when we choose to ignore hatred, because confronting it is too uncomfortable.

Once again Khan gives readers a compelling and driven read. A fantastic writer I wouldn’t hesitate to buy or recommend.

Buy A Deadly Divide at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 6 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of The Language of SecretsAmong The Ruins and  No Place of Refuge by Ausma Zehanat Khan.

#BlogTour Deathly Affair by Leigh Russell

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Deathly Affair by Leigh Russell. It’s the 13th book in the Geraldine Steel series.

About the Author

Leigh Russell is the author of the Ian Peterson series (Cold Sacrifice, Race to Death and Blood Axe) and the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series:Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi,Class Murder, Death Rope and Rogue Killer.The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA), John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize.

Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

Follow @LeighRussell @noexitpress on Twitter, on Facebookon Amazonon Goodreads, Visit leighrussell.co.ukBuy Deathly Affair

About the book

Four dead bodies. But who is guilty in this deadly web of secrecy and lies?

When a homeless man is murdered, Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel is disturbed by the cold-blooded nature of the crime. With the discovery of a second victim, the police hunt for a killer whose motive is as elusive as he is dangerous.

In an investigation plagued by police scepticism, Geraldine is relentless in her pursuit of the truth. Drawn into the lives of three people caught in a toxic web of love and deceit, Geraldine learns there is more to this case than she had imagined..


This is the 13th book in the Geraldine Steel series, and I would write DI Steel, but due to her actions in the last book Geraldine has been demoted. She is finding her feet in this new situation where she no longer takes the lead and has to be the subordinate again. The problem with that is her experience often points her in a different direction than the person in charge wants to go with the investigation.

Geraldine feels there is more to the death of a local homeless man for instance. Something about it just doesn’t ring quite right, aside from it being a murder of course. She is also annoyed by the assumptions her colleagues make about the poor man. Throwing theories about that suggest he deserved his death or did something to incur the wrath of the murderer. The lack of general compassion for the victim because he had fallen on hard times.

It’s a police procedural crime read. Russell combines it with the tumultuous story of a marriage with consequences and the result is nothing less than tragic.

It’s an interesting way to let the complexity of an unfulfilled marriage and controlling behaviour intersect with the murderous intention of someone determined to get revenge. Just when everything appears to be straight cut the reader realises making assumptions is exactly the wrong thing to do when it comes to a crime read.

Buy Deathly Affair at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.Publisher: No Exit Press | pub date 12 December 2019 | Paperback Original | eBook available | £8.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at No Exit Press

Read my review of Rogue Killer by Leigh Russell