Archive | April, 2019

Van has finished reading… Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

29 Apr


Lauren’s new-born twins are crying. The twins are hungry. In the early hours, exhausted, Lauren is crying too. Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting…


I’m of the opinion that any thriller – crime, psychological, supernatural – hangs or falls on what’s disclosed and when. Melanie Golding’s Little Darlings hangs with deceptive ease. There’s real craft in the writing of this book, though you’d be forgiven for it passing you by as the writing never gets in the way of a gripping story. And there’s honesty too. I’m hard-pressed to think of another book that portrays the intimate horror of a difficult birth without getting mired in gore or sentiment. There’s sensitivity displayed in a portrayal that really gets under the skin, and a foil to that too in a lack of sensitivity on one character’s part that I guarantee will have you swearing at the pages!

The character work is well done, too. There are tropes that are hard to get away from in any genre, and I think thrillers in particular but the edges Melanie Golding finds in her characters, and particularly in DS Harper and local reporter, Amy, lift them out of that off-the-peg sense that can so easily cripple a story. There are some very nice turns in tale too, and the good people at HQ hit on a great idea with these proofs by marking three pages at key points. Had everything gone to plan you would have seen some tweets from me as I reached these markers but the first thing I managed to do was drop the book and shed the markers. That said, I think I could have made a good stab at picking up where they should have been – you know those ‘oh my’ moments – though in retrospect part of me was secretly happy that I could stumble upon them as any reader would!


Melanie Golding’s Little Darlings is a taut and gripping tale. Eminently readable, one you pick it up you might find yourself there for the duration. Read it now or save it for the summer when it’s as hot and steamy as the atmosphere Melanie creates.


Little Darlings is published by HQ on the 2nd May 2019 ISBN:9780008293673

You can find Melanie on Twitter @mk_golding or at her website,

My particular thanks to the team at HQ for allowing me to review this book

Van has finished reading… Echo Murder by Laura Laakso

5 Apr

echo murder

A mugging gone wrong sees a man stabbed in a London alley, but when you’re this close to Old London and its magical community nothing is ever quite what it seems. The victim vanishes into thin air. When the same man is killed and vanishes again days later it’s time to call in Yannia Wilde. But Yannia has her own problems to deal with. Called to her father’s death bed, can she reconcile her obligations with her desires, her Wild Folk upbringing with her vocation in Old London? Can she do all this and solve the case?


Laura Laakso’s Echo Murder is the second in the Wilde Investigations series. Picking up where Laura’s excellent debut, Fallible Justice, left off, there’s tension right from the start with Yannia facing home and all the emotional turmoil that entails. Relationships and obligations take a front seat in this book and the author does a great job of balancing competing forces to keep the reader wondering what’s going to give first. The writing is pacey and the plot tight and engaging – nothing contrived or convenient in the turn of events.

While the world building is as strong as ever it’s the characters that come to the fore in this novel. It’s possible to pick up Echo Murder and feel at home but I would say it’s definitely a better idea to grab Fallible Justice first (I mean, it’s not like that’s a chore!). Quite simply, knowing the first book makes the second book that little bit more accessible and you’re right there with Yannia and company, eager to see what she’s going to get put through this time!

I particularly enjoyed the development of Karrion and Yannia’s relationship in Echo Murder. Albeit they seem more sibling-close there’s a playfulness there that carries more than a hint of will they or won’t they about it, though that might be a longer story arc in the series. It’s the light and shade of comfort and awkwardness between them really sets the relationship apart. And with Dearon in the mix too, well, all manner of fireworks are surely fizzing in the shadows just waiting to go off.

With planning already under way for books 4 to 8 (I’m sure I saw a note about that somewhere!), and a tease for book 3 at the end of Echo Murder, I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s next up in this thrilling series.


Echo Murder is published by Louise Walters Books on the 6th June 2019 ISBN:9781999780975

You can find Laura on Twitter @LLaaksoWriter

My particular thanks to Louise Walters for allowing me to review this excellent book.