Where The Truth Lies: (DI Ridpath Crime Thriller #1) by M J Lee | Blog Tour Guest Post | (@WriterMJLee @canelo_co) #WhereTheTruthLies #CrimeThriller


Published by Canelo (22 October 2018)

Available in ebook

352 pages


|   About the Book   |


The case was closed. Until people started dying… The unputdownable first DI Ridpath crime thriller from bestseller MJ Lee

A killer in total control. A detective on the edge. A mystery that HAS to be solved.

DI Thomas Ridpath was on the up in the Manchester CID: a promising young detective whose first case involved capturing a notorious serial killer. But ten years later he’s recovering from a serious illness and on the brink of being forced out of the police. Then people start dying: tortured, murdered, in an uncanny echo of Ridpath’s first case.

As the investigation intensifies, old bodies go missing, records can’t be found and the murder count grows. Caught in a turf war between the police and the coroner’s office, digging up skeletons some would rather forget, Ridpath is caught in a race against time: a race to save his career, his marriage… And lives.

When a detective goes missing everything is on the line. Can Ridpath close the case and save his colleague?



Where is Where the Truth Lies?

by M J Lee

The first novel in the DI Thomas Ridpath series is set in my hometown, Manchester. For me it is a wonderful setting for a contemporary crime story, featuring a young detective coming to terms with his own mortality and with a strong moral compass.


Firstly, there are some amazing locations. Manchester was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, growing rapidly throughout the nineteenth century when it earned the sobri-quet, Cottonpolis. Although the cotton industry no longer survives, it left behind a wealth of locations that were intrinsic to the growth of the industry.

The first murder was committed next to the Bridgewater Canal. This was built in 1759 by the third Duke of Bridgewater to transport coal from his mines in Worsley to Manchester to provide power for the new cotton mills It’s not used industrially any more but rather pro-vides facilities for leisure boating and fishing. Hence the location of the crime at the won-derfully named Stretford Marina.

The River Mersey is another location for the crimes in Where the Truth Lies. The river was the reason Manchester grew in the first place. It still wends its way slowly through the southern suburbs of the city, finally reaching the sea 35 miles away at Liverpool. The sandbank I describe in Northenden actually exists in the middle of the river, bordered on the upstream side by a green bridge and a weir.

Greater Manchester Police HQ has now moved from its old location in Old Trafford to a a modern, purpose- built building in the Northern district off the road to Oldham. It was past here in 1819 that crowds walked to the city to see Orator Hunt and were met by the swords of the Militia. This became known as Peterloo, depicted in Mike Leigh’s( born in Salford) latest film.

Finally, the suburb of Poynton exists. It is now a rather tony place to live, yet only 40 years it was a centre of mining and railway work. The mines closed in the 1980s leaving behind old workshops and one of the darkest forests you’ll ever have the misfortune to walk through. It is here that the final denouement of Where the Truth Lies happens. But you’ll have to read the book to find out what goes on.

Lastly, you won’t be able to find Stockfield anywhere on the map. I created the location of the coroner’s court as an amalgam of three or four Manchester districts. There has to be some licence for the authorial invention, even in Manchester.

I hope you enjoy reading Where the Truth Lies and, if you are in Manchester, take a look at some of the locations I feature.

Thanks for reading my book.


My thanks to Ellie of Canelo for the invitation to take part in the tour and to M J Lee for the guest post.

If you’ve been tempted, Where the Truth Lies is currently available to download on Amazon UK for just 99p




|   About the Author   |

M J Lee has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a university researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, TV commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the north of England, in London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning advertising awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and the United Nations.
While working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarters of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in the 1920s.
When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practising downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake, and wishing he were George Clooney.


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Book Buy Links: Amazon UK   |   Kobo   |   Google Books UK   |   Apple Books  UK

A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft | Book Review | (@SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK ) #AChristmasGift


Published by Avon/Harper Collins

Available in hardback, ebook and audiobook (1 November 2018)

384 pages

Source: Copy received from publisher


|   About the Book   |


Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.

To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?

Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?


|   My Thoughts   |


Georgine France is not having a good time.  Her feckless ex boyfriend has left her, she has debt collectors knocking at her door chasing her for payment of his debts and money is so tight, she has to count every penny to see if she afford any dinner. Following a stroke her father is in ill health and she is doing her best to care for and support him as well.  Her younger sister Blair is also leaning on her for support.  Thank heavens for her job as Events Director at Acting Instrumental, a performing arts college.  A place where she can throw herself into the Christmas production and forget about real life for a few hours.

Joe Blackthorn has recently returned to Middledip.  He and Georgine knew each other from school but she doesn’t recognise him.  A lot has happened to Joe in the intervening years and a large part of the story is about his life and the ongoing problems he has to deal with.  A child from a dysfunctional family, his early life wasn’t the happiest but something has happened in the past to cause tension between him and Georgine.

Sue Moorcroft has treated us to another Christmas story. This time we’re back in Middledip, with some familiar names making cameo appearances.  Those who read last year’s Christmas book ‘A Little Village Christmas’ may recognise a few familiar faces and locations.

As ever with this author’s books, they are not just light and fluffy.  The author weaves some reality and topical issues into the plot, for example poverty and  neglect, bankruptcy, and the far reaching effect of alcoholism and drugs.  However, there is always light and shade with an uplifting message too and this story is all about second chances and trying to do the right thing.

I really enjoyed following the two main characters, Georgine and Joe.  They are both engaging and have been given enough depth to make the reader care about them.  With both of them having gone through some really rubbish times in their lives, they both deserved some happiness –  however with both of them hiding secrets from each other, will they get it?

This may have Christmas in the title but it really isn’t the focus of the book, so don’t feel you can only read this at Christmas!  Even if you have an aversion to tinsel this is still a very enjoyable read.  Most of the story takes place in the lead up to Christmas, when the students are preparing for the Christmas concert.  Clearly a lot of research has gone into staging a show and there are some detailed insights as to just how much work is involved.

A Christmas Gift is a lovely read that will give you a book hug.


My thanks to Sabah for the lovely hardback copy to review and for the place on the tour.



|   About the Author   |

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.


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The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths | Book Review #TheStrangerDiaries


Published by Quercus (1 November 2018)

Available to buy in Ebook, Hardback and Audiobook | Paperback (4 April 2019)

416 pages

Source: review copy provided by publisher


|   About the Book   |


A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Susan Hill meets Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to tales of murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer R.M. Holland, she teaches a short course on them every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an R.M. Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…


|   My Thoughts   |


Elly Griffiths is well known for her Ruth Galloway and Mephisto and Stephens series’ but if you’re not familiar with those, fear not, for The Stranger Diaries is a standalone.

It starts with a story from long ago, recounted by a stranger on a train at Halloween – this immediately sets the tone for a deliciously creepy and atmospheric tale.

Back to the present, teacher Clare Cassidy is writing her own book about a former horror writer called RM Holland – this name, together with some of his work, will feature heavily in this story. The school was once his home and his study, now a museum, remains untouched in the attic. There is a mystery surrounding his family and a ghostly apparition that a few people have claimed to have seen.

Clare’s life is turned upside down when her colleague and close friend Ella is found murdered. She finds herself in the middle of the investigation for various reasons, and wonders just who she can trust. None of the people surrounding her escape the fallout of Ella’s murder with suspicion falling on almost everyone.

Written from the viewpoint of three main characters, Clare, her teenage daughter Georgia and DC Harbinder Kaur, their accounts sometimes overlap, so we the other’s perception of the same events.

The Stranger Diaries is a murder mystery with a touch of the Gothic and paranormal. From the beginning, I had the feeling that the murderer was someone close by and if I’d had my wits about me, I might have realised before being told.

There were some characters that I took to straight away whilst feeling a little repulsed by others. I felt empathy for Clare even if she was a bit annoying at times and her daughter Georgia was a typical teenager, trying to keep some secrets to herself without her mother knowing everything. And as for DC Kaur – that woman deserves a series of her own. I started off not really liking her – she was ambitious and wanted to prove herself but I felt that this made her come across as quite cold; she had own her prejudices, instantly distrusting and taking a dislike to people for the most odd reasons – like the fact that one person had a suntan in October, however she won me over with her caustic comments and her dedicated determination to find out the truth.

I was in a bit of a reading slump when I started the Stranger Diaries however this was the perfect book to get me out of it. I was enthralled from the first page and this well paced and cleverly plotted story kept me turning the pages at all hours. The Halloween setting of the Holland story running alongside made for an atmospheric and chilling read. I loved it and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.


My thanks to Olivia of Quercus for inviting me to take part in the tour for The Stranger Diaries.  It was a real pleasure to attend the recent Quercus event for their 2019 releases of which The Stranger Diaries featured.




|   About the Author   |


Photo Credit: Sara Reeve

WINNER OF THE 2016 CWA DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY. Elly Griffiths was born in London. She worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer. Her bestselling series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk. The series has won the CWA Dagger in the Library, and has been shortlisted three times for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her Stephens and Mephisto series is based in 1950s Brighton. She lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two children.


Website   |   Twitter    |   Facebook   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads



Picking Up the Pieces by Jo Worgan | Blog Tour Guest Post | (@JoanneWorgan @urbanebooks) #Lovebooksgrouptours


Published by Urbane Publications Limited

Available in ebook and paperback (8 November 2018)

298 pages


|   About the Book   |


A compelling and emotive story about a mother’s unbreakable love for her autistic son.

Kate has a six-year-old autistic son, Sam. Having started a new life to escape her controlling and abusive boyfriend Jake, Kate believes the past is behind her and that she and Sam are safe.

But after spotting Jake through a misted-up cafe window, she knows that her previous life has found her.

Kate confides in her new neighbour Matt, a man running from his own secrets. He seems to offer a genuine chance at happiness for Kate and her son, but Jake is determined to get them back at all costs….

Picking Up The Pieces is an original, moving and gripping page-turner about a woman’s search for happiness as she fights to protect her autistic son’s future.



Characterisation – Kate and Matt

Picking Up The Pieces is a contemporary work of fiction that revolves around two main central characters, Kate Sullivan and Matt Harper. Below I’ll explore how I developed these two characters, plus my ideas and inspiration behind them.

I began by writing down all the ideas that I had in terms of how they look, where they live, what jobs they do, education, fears and likes. In fact, everything I could think of to help me create a fully rounded character.

I wanted Kate to be a single mum. I wanted her to be a working mum, independent, someone who knows her own mind, but who also has vulnerabilities. Kate has never really shaken off, not forgotten, what happened to her in the past and this has an impact on her life as it is now. I wanted Kate to be a little quirky, an interesting woman, but one who the reader would be easily able to identify with. She’s a mum who is simply doing her best and getting by. But, ultimately, she’s only really going through the motions, she isn’t really living life. I wanted so much more for Kate. I wanted her to shrug off her past and to become the woman she once wanted to become.

In chapter two we are introduced to Dr Matt Harper. I wanted him to be a no-nonsense kind of guy, kind, caring, and who had also suffered loss in his life with skeletons in his cupboard. In one way he shares so many similarities with Kate, in that he is living alone, and that work is the sole purpose of his life. His past also plagues him and is holding him back from living his life. I wanted him to be challenged, to step out of his comfort zone, and both Kate and Sam enable him to do so.

I had a lot of fun writing conversations between these two characters and the situations that they found themselves in, usually involving Sam and his antics. I hope that you enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.


My thanks to Kelly of Love Books Group for the invitation to take part in the tour and to Jo for the guest post.




|   Author Bio   |

Jo Worgan is a freelance copywriter, columnist and book blogger. She has published 4 non-fiction works aimed at parenting children on the Autistic spectrum, based upon her experiences as a mother of an autistic son. Writing is what she truly loves, and Picking up the Pieces is her second novel following her first, An Unextraordinary Life. Today Jo lives in Lancashire with her husband of 19 years and their two young sons. When she is not busy writing, she likes to take her boys to the local museums, cafes, cinema, the Lake District and lots of playgrounds.


Website/Blog   |   Twitter   |   Amazon UK    Goodreads



The Word For Freedom | Anthology | Blog Tour Guest Post by Katherine Blessan (@kathblessan @RetreatWest )


Published by Retreat West on 1 November 2018

Available to buy in ebook and paperback

242 pages

I’m delighted to be included for the blog tour for The Word for Freedom.  My thanks to Anne Cater and Retreat West for the invitation and to Katherine Blessan for providing the guest post.


|   About the Book   |


A collection of 24 short stories celebrating a hundred years of women’ suffrage, from both established and emerging authors, all of whom have been inspired by the suffragettes and whose stories, whether set in 1918, the current day or the future, focus on the same freedoms that those women fought for so courageously.

A clerk of works at the Palace of Westminster encounters Emily Davison in a broom cupboard; a mermaid dares to tread on land to please the man she loves; a school girl friendship makes the suffragette protests relevant to the modern day; a mother leaves her child for a tree; an online troll has to face his target; and a woman caught in modern day slavery discovers a chance for freedom in a newspaper cutting.

These stories and many more come together in a collection that doesn’t shy away from the reality of a woman’s world, which has injustices and inequalities alongside opportunities and hard-won freedoms, but always finds strength, bravery and hope.

Through this anthology Retreat West Books is proud to support Hestia and the UK Says No More campaign against domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Authors that have donated stories include:

Sophie Duffy, author of The Generation Game
Angela Readman, Costa Short Story Award winner
Anna Mazzola, author of The Story Keepers and winner of the Edgar Allen Poe award
Isabel Costello, author of Paris, Mon Amour and host of The Literary Sofa blog
Angela Clarke, best-selling author of the Social Media Murders series
Karen Hamilton, author of The Perfect Girlfriend
Helen Irene Young, author of The May Queen
Victoria Richards, journalist and award-winning short story writer
Cath Bore, feminist short story writer and broadcaster


Beauty out of Ashes 

by Katherine Blessan


They talk about compassion fatigue. I’m not sure I know what that means. For me, compassion plus its counterpart anger are fuel for action. When I hear real life stories about situations of social injustice – especially ones that nudge closest to my heart such as the oppression of women or refugees – it frequently inspires me with fictional story ideas. A simple case of life inspiring fiction, and fiction reflecting the reality of the world, yet with the meaning and shape that narrative provides.

‘Sayyida Nanda’ is a case in point; it was inspired by the real-life story that a friend of mine told me about being a child bride. Originally, I was going to write her story as a memoir, but due to my friend’s personal circumstances, this ended up not being ethically appropriate. Yet the imaginary character of Sayyida kept playing in my mind, and a short story was birthed instead; it was spawned out of real life but had its own narrative force.

After my second child was born, I was in a good deal of pain recovering from a tear and episiotomy. Whilst still being unable to sit comfortably, I watched a powerful documentary called The Cruel Cut about female genital mutilation (FGM). On the knife edge of pain myself, I found myself able to relate to the excruciating pain that many girls and women have to suffer against their own will and felt incensed by their suffering. Out of this mixture of documentary information and a lived experience, I wrote a short story about a mother-daughter relationship affected by FGM.

As a writer who touches on social issues, the proudest I feel is hearing that my story has moved readers to action in some way. Four years ago, my debut novel Lydia’s Song (Instant Apostle, 2014), which explores the reality of child-sex trafficking in Cambodia through the lens of hope was published. I am most encouraged by readers who tell me that my novel spurred them on in some way – eg. one lady told me she wanted to go and work and a charity like the one in my novel, which rehabilitates girls who have been rescued from prostitution.

As fiction writers, we cannot and should not write polemics. We are first and foremost story tellers, using words to make beauty out of the world around us. Nevertheless, stories speak powerfully to the human heart about the way life is and frequently fill us with a yearning for the way things should be. So, their function as instruments of change should not be underplayed.

It is well recognised that Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1850s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin had a part to play in the American Civil War. Whilst it was not by any means a direct cause of the war, as a bestselling novel it helped to impact American hearts and minds with the brutality of the system of slavery, and made the public more inclined to support the war against slavery.

So, resist compassion fatigue. Instead, follow current affairs and use the anger that you feel to sear onto the page and forge beauty and purpose out of the ashes of social injustice.



|   About the author   |


Katherine Blessan is the author of Lydia’s Song: The Story of a Child Lost and a Woman Found (Instant Apostle, 2014), a hope-filled story about sextrafficking in Cambodia. As well as writing her second novel, Katherine is a screenwriter and short story writer. She lives in Sheffield with her Indian husband and two children where she works as an English tutor and examiner.

Katherine’s Amazon Author Page    Website   |   Twitter

Retreat West :  Website   |  Twitter 

|   About the Publisher   |


Retreat West Books is an independent press publishing paperback books and ebooks.

Founder, Amanda Saint, is a novelist and short story writer. She’s also a features journalist writing about environmental sustainability and climate change. So all Retreat West Books publications take advantage of digital technology advances and are print-on-demand, in order to make best use of the world’s finite resources.

Retreat West Books is an arm of Amanda’s creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs fiction writing retreats, courses and competitions and provides editorial services.

Initially started to publish the anthologies of winning stories in the Retreat West competitions, Retreat West Books is now open for submissions for short story collections, novels and memoirs. Submission info can be found here.