Title: The Second Cut

Author: Louise Welsh

Pages: 372 Pages

Publisher: Canongate Books

The Blurb

Auctioneer Rilke has been trying to stay out of trouble, keeping his life more or less respectable. Business has been slow at Bowery Auctions, so when an old friend, Jojo, gives Rilke a tip-off for a house clearance, life seems to be looking up. The next day Jojo washes up dead.

Jojo liked Grindr hook-ups and recreational drugs – is that the reason the police won’t investigate? And if Rilke doesn’t find out what happened to Jojo, who will?

Thrilling and atmospheric, The Second Cut delves into the dark side of twenty-first century Glasgow. Twenty years on from his appearance in The Cutting Room, Rilke is still walking a moral tightrope between good and bad, saint and sinner.

The Review

I am so cross at myself for not knowing that The Second Cut by Louise Welsh is a sequel. I really enjoyed The Second Cut but really wish I had read The Cutting Room first. Not that you need to read The Cutting Room to enjoy The Second Cut. The characters are well drawn out and because it is 20 years later from the first book you don’t really feel like there is connecting threads of plot (I may think differently after I read The Cutting Room).

The story focuses on Rilke and how he manages to get himself entangled in the criminal underbelly of Glasgow and can’t seem to claw his way out of it. The death of a close friend Jojo leaves Rilke the unappealing task of getting rid of the accumulation of Jojo’s life. In doing so, Rilke discovers that Jojo was up to all sorts of dodgy things and it nis now up to Rilke to sort out a dead man’s life.

Funny in places, intense in others – The Second Cut is a must for fans of crime novels.

The Second Cut by Louise Welsh is available now.

For more information regarding Louise Walsh (@louisewelshOO) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Canongate Books (@canongatebooks) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.

Title: After Agatha – Women Write Crime

Author: Sally Cline

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Oldcastle Books

The Blurb

From Agatha Christie and Patricia Highsmith to Val McDermid and JK Rowling, After Agatha is an indispensable guide to women’s crime writing over the last century and an exploration of why women read crime

Spanning the 1930s to present day, After Agatha charts the explosion in women’s crime writing and examines key developments on both sides of the Atlantic: from the women writers at the helm of the UK Golden Age and their American and Canadian counterparts fighting to be heard, to the 1980s experimental trio, Marcia Muller, Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton, who created the first female PIs, and the more recent emergence of forensic crime writing and domestic noir thrillers such as Gone Girl and Apple Tree Yard.

After Agatha examines the diversification of crime writing and highlights landmark women’s novels which featured the marginalised in society as centralised characters.

Cline also explores why women readers are drawn to the genre and seek out justice in crime fiction, in a world where violent crimes against women rarely have such resolution.

The book includes interviews with dozens of contemporary authors such as Ann Cleeves, Sophie Hannah, Tess Gerritsen and Kathy Reichs and features the work of hundreds of women crime and mystery writers.

It is an essential read for crime fiction lovers.

The Review

I am not really a reader of crime fiction and I have to admit I have never read an Agatha Christie novel (I feel like I need to had back by book club membership card. That being said, I am the perfect audience for crime novels because the ones that I have read have completely floored me. I have been flabbergasted and shocked and totally outfoxed by the writer. I never predict the ending and everything is a shock to me. I am the audience that a crime writer wants to read their book.

I went into After Agatha really looking for direction into what authors I should read to get fully immersed in the genre. I got that which is good but I also got a full rounded education into the reasons why people, women in particular, like crime fiction. It was truly fascinating. And whilst that element was really interesting, how the various writers deal with brutality and crime was equally engaging and gave me more focus on whose work I would like to read.

This is a great read if you are looking for your next crime series.

After Agatha by Sally Cline is available now.

For more information regarding Oldcastle Books (@OldcastleBooks) please visit www.oldcastlebooks.co.uk.

Title: Gold Digger

Author: Gillian Godden

Pages: 258 Pages

Publisher: Boldwood Books

The Blurb

Money talks…

And blonde bombshell Julie isn’t afraid to ask for what she wants. With her mother locked up for murder, all Julie cares about is protecting her younger sister, Frankie. But penniless and alone on the streets of Liverpool, Julie realises that there’s only one sure fire way to make cash fast – the oldest trade. 

The men mean nothing to Julie, until she meets Ralph Goldstein, an ex-con who’ll do whatever it takes to make his way to top. And the only man Julie can trust. 

Separately, Ralph and Julie’s lives are filled with risk and danger. But when they meet, their blend of personality and ambition could be the best thing that ever happened … or the worst.

Will their pasts be their downfall, or will they make it big…together?

The Review

Okay. Where to begin. Okay. Gold Digger is your classic tart-with-a-heart crime caper. It focuses on Julie and how she tries her hardest to protect her family. However, her attempts to look after her family lead to murder, human trafficking, and prostitution. All pretty standard, really.

Okay, it wasn’t the best book I have read and it did have some glaring holes in the plot/threads but it was an enjoyable read. However, one massive down point for me was a throwaway line towards the end about keeping hold of your wallet in Liverpool which personally, as a born and bred scouser was massively insulting. I would have probably been able to have forgiven some of the writing until that point. Going for a tired and quite frankly false stereotype was just lazy writing for a cheap laugh. Not cool.

Gold Digger by Gillian Godden is available now.

For more information regarding Gillian Godden (@GGodden) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Boldwood Books (@BoldwoodBooks) please visit www.boldwoodbooks.com.

Title: As Good as Dead

Author: Holly Jackson

Pages: 576 Pages

Publisher: Electric Monkey

The Blurb


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is The New York Times No.1 bestselling YA crime thriller and WINNER of The British Book Awards’ Children’s Book of the Year 2020 and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2020

Pip Fitz-Amobi is haunted by the way her last investigation ended. Soon she’ll be leaving for Cambridge University but then another case finds her . . . and this time it’s all about Pip.

Pip is used to online death threats, but there’s one that catches her eye, someone who keeps asking: who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? And it’s not just online. Pip has a stalker who knows where she lives. The police refuse to act and then Pip finds connections between her stalker and a local serial killer. The killer has been in prison for six years, but Pip suspects that the wrong man is behind bars. As the deadly game plays out, Pip realises that everything in Little Kilton is finally coming full circle. If Pip doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears . . .

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is The New York Times No.1 bestselling YA crime thriller and WINNER of The British Book Awards’ Children’s Book of the Year 2020.


Perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying, Eva Dolan, C L Taylor, We Were Liars and Riverdale

The Review

Wow. What a ride.

The A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder Series by Holly Jackson has been an edge of the seat page turner from the very first book. We have followed crime solver and enthusiast Pip Fitz-Amobi as she uncovers crime after crime and somehow manages to get herself involved in the drama putting herself and the ones she loves in danger.

In this gripping final installment we see just how good a detective Pip is – and to be fair just how brilliant a writer Holly Jackson. Jackson has led you to believe from book one that some of her red herrings are just that – clues that lead to nowhere but oh no. Jackson was setting up plot points for book three As Good As Dead. When this happened in the story I physically had to lower the book and just shook my head in disbelief at how cleverly this series has been written. I mean wow.

If crime is your thing then As Good as Dead along with the other books in this series are the books for you.

As Good as Dead by Holly Jackson is available now.

For more information regarding Holly Jackson (@HoJay92) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Electric Monkey (@EMTeenFiction) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Dead Head

Author: CJ Skuse

Pages: 480 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

Victim. Murderer. Serial Killer. What next?

The third darkly comic thriller in the highly addictive Sweetpea series featuring serial killer Rhiannon Lewis.

‘Think Bridget Jones meets Killing Eve – only with better jokes’ Daily Mail

Can a serial killer ever lose their taste for murder?

Since confessing to her bloody murder spree Rhiannon Lewis, the now-notorious Sweetpea killer, has been feeling out-of-sorts.

Having fled the UK on a cruise ship to start her new life, Rhiannon should be feeling happy. But it’s hard to turn over a new leaf when she’s stuck in an oversized floating tin can with the Gammonati and screaming kids. Especially when they remind her of Ivy – the baby she gave up for a life carrying on killing.

Rhiannon is all at sea. She’s lost her taste for blood but is it really gone for good? Maybe Rhiannon is realising that there’s more to life than death…

The third book in the critically-acclaimed series following Sweetpea and In Bloom featuring everyone’s favourite truly original girl-next-door serial killer Rhiannon Lewis.

The Review

I’m not one for reading book series. I find that they can be too much of a commitment however the Sweetpea series by CJ Skuse is one exception to this rule.

In Dead Head, the third installment, we find our psycho-protagonist Rhiannon Lewis on the lam. Running away from her old life and the chaos that she has caused whilst also dealing with the yearning ache for her child Ivy. We see her travel across the world to escape the storm of drama she has left and the debris of her crimes in the UK but we also know that Rhiannon cannot truly leave herself – her true self – behind. Will she kill again? Probably.

The third installment in this series is different from the first two in that we see a more introspective Rhiannon. This could be that it is told in the past/present tense. So looking back but told in the present tense. It is as though this gives us chance – and indeed Rhiannon – to consider her actions and gives us time to process them alongside her rather than seeing the red mist descend and then the chaos. This doesn’t make them any less bat crap crazy but it does give us time to think.

Rhiannon Lewis will probably be one of my most remembered protagonists in fiction. Her actions and her unshakable belief in vigilante justice has left a lasting impression and I am hoping that there will be more in this series.

Dead Head by CJ Skuse is available now.

For more information regarding CJ Skuse (@CJSkuse) please visit www.cjskuse.com.

For more information regarding (@HQStories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.