Title: Lockdown

Author: Peter May

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: riverrun

The Blurb

‘They said that twenty-five percent of the population would catch the flu. Between seventy and eighty percent of them would die. He had been directly exposed to it, and the odds weren’t good.’


London, the epicenter of a global pandemic, is a city in lockdown. Violence and civil disorder simmer. Martial law has been imposed. No-one is safe from the deadly virus that has already claimed thousands of victims. Health and emergency services are overwhelmed.


At a building site for a temporary hospital, construction workers find a bag containing the rendered bones of a murdered child. A remorseless killer has been unleashed on the city; his mission is to take all measures necessary to prevent the bones from being identified.


D.I. Jack MacNeil, counting down the hours on his final day with the Met, is sent to investigate. His career is in ruins, his marriage over and his own family touched by the virus. Sinister forces are tracking his every move, prepared to kill again to conceal the truth. Which will stop him first – the virus or the killers?

Written over fifteen years ago, this prescient, suspenseful thriller is set against a backdrop of a capital city in quarantine, and explores human experience in the grip of a killer virus.


The Review

With London in lockdown due to a deadly pandemic, DI Jack MacNeil has to solve the case of a brutal murder of a child which may in turn lead to the end of lockdown and finally reveal the truth.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I read Lockdown because I was in lockdown – who doesn’t want to live the ‘meta’ life? It seemed fitting. I will also admit that crime novels are not my specialist subject but I actually found myself really enjoying the story. Peter May wrote it over 15 years ago but it was still ridiculously relevant.

In Lockdown (the book, not the current situation), the government are corrupt (erm…) and are to blame for the mass loss of life (I am really trying to keep my political opinions to myself here) and the corruption is all for political power and monetary gain.

There were some parts of the plot of Lockdown that were either a little irrelevant or far-fetched and if they had been left out of the story I don’t feel it would have suffered or lost anything. The most interesting parts were definitely those that focused on the insidious government and their involvement/lack of action when it came to the pandemic. That really helped add to the race against time feeling.

Lockdown is definitely worth a read especially if you are into conspiracy theories or if you like a good mystery to solve.

Lockdown by Peter May is available now.

For more information regarding Peter May (@authorpetermay) please visit www.petermay.co.uk.

For more information regarding riverrun (@riverrunbooks) please visit www.riverrunbooks.co.uk.

Title: The Truth about Keeping Secrets

Author: Savannah Brown

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A stunning coming-of-age tale from poet and writer Savannah Brown.

Sydney’s dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around in their small Ohio town.

He is also unexpectedly dead.

Sydney believes the crash was anything but an accident. And when the threatening texts begin, and June Copeland – homecoming queen and golden child – appears at his funeral out of nowhere, she’s sure of it.

But through Sydney’s newfound relationship with June, she’s given a glimpse of a life without the darkness of an unresolved grief and the chance, just maybe, of a fresh start.

Until it’s clear that the secrets won’t go away, and the truth might bring everything crashing down…

Imperfect friendships, the shadow of grief and the sweet pain of romance – this is a poetic, thrilling ode to being human.

The Review

Imagine you are dealing with the grief of losing a parent. Now imagine that within that grief you believe it wasn’t an accident but that his death was pre-meditated. Imagine you believed your parent was murdered. This is the reality for Sydney and she is determined to find out the truth.

The Truth about Keeping Secrets is a great LGBTQIA+ crime mystery novel. It keeps you guessing to the very last page but also it has a lot of heart so you genuinely do feel for the characters. You really care about them and about their survival.

The Truth about Keeping Secrets is a must read for mystery lovers but it is also a quite cathartic read that looks at grief and the mental health implications of losing someone you love.

The Truth about Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown is available now.

For more information regarding Savannah Brown (@savannahbrown) please visit www.savbrown.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: An Oxford Revenge

Author: Maxine Barry

Pages: 204 Pages

Publisher: Joffe Books

The Blurb


Faith Martin is the author of the beloved Hillary Greene series. Her books have sold more than 2 million copies. Discover her writing as Maxine Barry.


Davina Granger wants revenge. She blames Dr Gareth Lacey for her brother’s suicide. When she gets a fellowship at his Oxford college, she sees her chance to punish him.

But is he really as guilty as she believes?

Alicia Norman is a student at the same college. She’s excited to leave her sheltered, privileged existence for college life. But her brother and his friends will do anything to stop her from being with anyone they think isn’t posh enough for her. Including murder?


The Review

I was really looking forward to reading An Oxford Revenge. I wanted a good, old fashioned murder mystery. What I got was a mild porno decorated with a too neat, cheesy murder plot. Additionally, all the characters seemed to have problems with sensitive nipples.

The story goes like this: brilliant poet, Davina Granger heads to Oxford University to exact revenge on the person she blames for her brother’s death – Dr Gareth Lacey. Things get complicated when she begins to have feelings for him.

The issue I had with An Oxford Revenge – besides the rogue nippular attacks – was that everything was too neat and clean. There was a problem, a confrontation and bam the problem was fixed with a happy ending. It just didn’t work. Furthermore, Barry was over descriptive in everything. Whilst this worked well when describing Oxford and the Cotswolds, it failed to have the same impact when describing the characters because it was used too frequently. It is okay for a character’s eyes to be noticeable and sparkle like diamonds but if every person notices them then it becomes extremely tedious for the reader.

Overall, An Oxford Revenge promised a lot but failed to deliver anything special.

An Oxford Revenge by Maxine Barry is available now.

For more information regarding Faith Martin (@MaxineBbooks) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Joffe Books (@JoffeBooks) please visit www.joffebooks.com.

Title: After the Silence

Author: Louise O’Neill

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Quercus

The Blurb

Nessa Crowley’s murderer has been protected by silence for ten years. Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.

The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.

Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella’s carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O’Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close.

The Review

So, I have read the past three releases from Louise O’Neill and I have enjoyed them all – actually enjoyed seems like a weird word to use because the subject matters of her books are never easy. However, I have read them and got what I needed as a reader from them. Her latest book After the Silence is on another level to her first three. It is, by far, her best yet.

It centres on the murder of a beautiful young girl on a small island off Ireland. Those who live in Inisrun know the small town mentality. Everyone knows everyone’s business. And when Tessa Crowley is murdered the islanders all know who is to blame.

It is with the appearance of a documentary film team that the old murder case gets brought back into the minds of the islanders – though it has never really left their consciousness – but it leaves people uneasy. In particular, Keelin Kinsella whose husband is was the prime suspect.

After the Silence is a brilliant psychological mystery. The interplay between interviews, different voices and flashbacks to the past let the reader try and piece together what happened. At each point your mind changes over who is responsible and you flip-flop mercilessly as O’Neill leads you along the story. It is one of the best mystery stories that I have read in a long time and it was one that I didn’t feel frustrated with because it gave me enough clues that I could figure things out but without the answers being too obvious but equally still left me needing to turn the page because I knew that there was much more to discover.

Furthermore, in O’Neill’s typical style, she uses her writing to look at more difficult issues. In this case – domestic violence. So even without the mystery element you have a novel that packs a massive punch.

I am so genuinely impressed by After the Silence. Louise O’Neill is going from strength to strength.

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill is available from 03rd September 2020.

For more information regarding Louise O’Neill (@oneilllo) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Quercus (@QuercusBooks) please visit their Twitter page.


Title: Carnival of Monsters

Author: Andrew Beasley

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Usbourne

The Blurb

Roll up, roll up, if you dare, to Doctor Vindicta’s Carnival! Gasp at the dancing ghosts! Grimace at the creepy clowns! It’s all harmless fun and frights…until a young boy disappears and his sister swears he was snatched by a monster. Only the bravest detectives can detain a demon: send for supernatural investigators Billy Flint and Charley Steel!


The Review

Carnival of Monsters by Andrew Beasley is the second book I have read about the adventures of Charlotte Steel and Billy Flint – two crime fighters for a small department in Scotland Yard. They deal with the crimes that have a supernatural quality, the crimes that the regular police force cannot solve. One thing you can say about Charley and Billy is that they take their job very seriously…but it also looks seriously fun.

In Carnival of Monsters, the crime fighting due are called to Hobb’s End to help Bunny Smallbone find her brother who was ripped from his bed in the dead of night after attending a travelling fair. It is a race against the clock for S.C.R.E.A.M. to solve the mystery.

I really love these middle grade books. Not just because they deal with crimes, mysteries and the supernatural but because Beasley manages to get all sorts into the plot – science fact, history, representations of class and disability. They are fantastic books for starting a conversation with younger readers. I have read this series with reluctant readers and it has really got my students thinking and questioning and looking at the world with a different perspective.

I genuinely cannot wait for the next book in the series.

Carnival of Monsters by Andrew Beasley is available now.

For more information regarding Andrew Beasley (@ABeasley_author) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Usbourne (@Usbourne) please visit www.usbourne.com.