To celebrate Rod Reynolds’s BLACK NIGHT FALLING being published in paperback today I’m re-running my review of this fabulous book…

What the blurb says: “Having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast, reporter Charlie Yates finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it’s less of a story Charlie’s chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it’s too late …”

The second book in the Charlie Yates series is another noir-drenched belter of a thriller.

When Charlie gets a call from Jimmy Robinson, a shady reporter from Texarkana – a place Charlie just wants to forget – asking for help, his gut instinct is to hang up. But when Jimmy hints that the trouble that chased Charlie from Texarkana could be connected to murders in Hot Springs, Charlie finds himself agreeing to make the trip. But when he lands at Hot Springs things aren’t at all what he’d expected, and a bad situation turns dire fast. Charlie feels driven to discover the truth of what’s going on and starts to investigate. He soon finds out that beneath it’s party town exterior, Hot Springs has a darker, and much more dangerous side.

Picking up a few months after Rod Reynolds stunning debut The Dark Inside ended, Black Night Falling oozes authenticity and a whole lot of deeply dark menace. The prose is a delight, and I adored the rhythmic cadence.

Reporter Charlie Yates is a great character, and in this second book of the series he’s doing his damnedest to move on from his past – his exile from New York, his failed marriage, and the brutal events in Texarkana that nearly claimed his life – by making a new life for himself in California. But it seems no matter how hard he tries, trouble always finds him! He’s still rather brooding and a bit mysterious, but he’s got a little more hope about him – or at least he’s trying to have!

I think that if Raymond Chandler and John D. MacDonald had co-written a book it might have been rather like BLACK NIGHT FALLING. Darkly gritty and authentically compelling, this is a flawless treat of a novel.

A must-read for all thriller fans. I recommend that you get it right now!

(And if you’ve not read The Dark Inside – get that too!)

BLACK NIGHT FALLING is published today! You can buy the book here from Amazon or from Waterstones by clicking on the store name.

To find out more about Rod Reynolds and his books go to his Amazon author page here and be sure to follow him on Twitter @Rod_RW




I am so excited to be a part of this cover reveal for the fantastic new book from CWA Historical Dagger 2016 winner, David Young.

Out on 9th February 2017 from Bonnier Zaffre, STASI WOLF is the second instalment in the Karin Müller series. I’ve had a sneak peep at the book already, and it’s a fabulous read.

What the blurb says: “How do you solve a murder when you can’t ask any questions? The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Stasi Child. East Germany, 1975. Karin Müller, sidelined from the murder squad in Berlin, jumps at the chance to be sent south to Halle-Neustadt, where a pair of infant twins have gone missing. But Müller soon finds her problems have followed her. Halle-Neustadt is a new town – the pride of the communist state – and she and her team are forbidden by the Stasi from publicising the disappearances, lest they tarnish the town’s flawless image. Meanwhile, in the eerily nameless streets and tower blocks, a child snatcher lurks, and the clock is ticking to rescue the twins alive . . .”

You can pre-order STASI WOLF from Amazon here

And be sure to follow David Young on Twitter @djy_writer to keep up to date with all his news.

CTG Reviews: A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee


Here’s what the blurb says: “Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatize to his new life or to deal with the ghosts which still haunt him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. A senior official has been murdered, and a note left in his mouth warns the British to quit India: or else. With rising political dissent and the stability of the Raj under threat, Wyndham and his two new colleagues – arrogant Inspector Digby and British-educated, but Indian-born Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians to be recruited into the new CID – embark on an investigation that will take them from the luxurious parlours of wealthy British traders to the seedy opium dens of the city.”

Set against the rich tapestry of Calcutta in 1919, this debut novel is a feast for the mind and the senses.

War hero and ex-Scotland Yard detective, Captain Sam Wyndham has gone to India to escape Britain, not because of the rain as is his usual reason given, but because he is disillusioned with his country and, since the deaths of his family and his beloved wife, there is nothing left there for him. He’s also fighting a few demons of his own.

His first case as head of the CID in Calcutta begins with the investigation into the murder of a burra sahib (a senior British government administrator). But despite his experience, the political posturing, cultural differences and the attitude of some of his own countrymen towards the local people are causes of frustration and delay for Captain Wyndham. His Sergeant, Surendranath “Surrender-not” Banerjee is one of the first Indian police detectives, and plays an essential role in helping Captain Wyndham navigate his newly adopted home, but there are places not open to him because of his nationality – and this is something that Captain Wyndham is not prepared to accept.

Wyndham and Banerjee make for a great double act as they follow the scant evidence, and pursue leads with dogged determination. As the investigation unfolds, and he gets help and hindrance from a variety of sources, Wyndham discovers not only more about the city that he now calls home, but also how danger can lurk within it in the most unexpected places.

A stunning debut novel; atmospheric, compelling, and with a strong heartbeat of social justice, A RISING MAN is a great read and a fabulous start to the Captain Sam Wyndham series.

A RISING MAN is out now. You can buy it from Waterstones here or Amazon here.  

To find out more about Abir follow him on Twitter @radiomukhers

Also check out Abir’s guest post on the CTG blog earlier this week, where he talks about his lead character – Captain Sam Wyndham – here 


The #ARisingMan Blog Tour: Abir Mukherjee talks about his lead character, Captain Sam Wyndham


I’m delighted to host a stop on Abir Mukherjee’s A Rising Man Blog Tour. Abir is the winner of the Telegraph Harvill Secker Crime Writing Competition. A Rising Man is his debut novel and is out later this week on May 5th.

Here’s the blurb: “1919. Calcutta. Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatize to his new life or to deal with the ghosts which still haunt him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. A senior official has been murdered, and a note left in his mouth warns the British to quit India: or else. With rising political dissent and the stability of the Raj under threat, Wyndham and his two new colleagues – arrogant Inspector Digby and British-educated, but Indian-born Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians to be recruited into the new CID – embark on an investigation that will take them from the luxurious parlours of wealthy British traders to the seedy opium dens of the city.”

Today, Abir Mukherjee is dropping by to tell us a bit more about Captain Sam Wyndham. Over to Abir …

Sam is an ex-Scotland Yard detective and veteran of the First World War who’s been scarred by his experiences and finds himself in Calcutta looking for a fresh start.

Life’s not exactly done him many favours. His mother died when he young and he was packed off to a boarding school in the middle of nowhere, which he was forced to leave when the money ran out. From there he pretty much fell into becoming a policeman, a job which, fortuitously, he’s rather good at. He’s quickly promoted from a beat copper to CID and then to Special Branch. The coming of the war derails his career and in 1915, he enlists in the army, mainly to impress the girl he loves into marrying him.

After a year of sitting in a trench and being shot at, his superiors realise that his talents could be put to better use and he’s transferred to Military Intelligence. He’s wounded close to war’s end and is shipped home, recovering in time to find that his wife has died in an influenza epidemic.

Scarred by his experiences, and because there’s nothing left for him in England, he accepts the offer of a job with the Imperial Police Force in Calcutta.

Like anyone else, Sam’s a product of his experiences. He’s always been an outsider, but what he saw during the Great War – the carnage, the futility and the ineptitude of those in authority – has left him cynical. He likes to think he sees the world for what it is, rather than blindly swallowing other people’s preconceptions and prejudices, and in this sense, he is a man of the modern age, and a man with a conscience. But I don’t think he’s as ‘modern’ as he likes to think he is. In truth, his unwillingness to accept what he’s told is as much down to his general stubbornness and distrust of authority as it is to any sense of open-mindedness, and despite his protestations to the contrary, I think there are certain racial taboos he’s not willing to break.

He has a rather dark, gallows sense of humour, which colours much of his outlook on life, and I think this is a reaction to what he’s been through. The war and the death of his wife have destroyed his faith in a god, and he’s come to see the world as a cruel and arbitrary place where any search for meaning or justice is absurd and ultimately futile. If he has a philosophy, it would be similar to Kierkegaard, not that Sam would ever have read any of the man’s work.

Finally, I think Sam’s come to India to find something. He doesn’t know what it is, and I don’t know if he’ll ever find it, but it’ll be an interesting to see where it goes and I’m looking forward to the journey.

Big thanks to Abir Mukherjee for making the CTG blog a stop along his A RISING MAN Blog Tour, and for dropping by to tell us more about his lead character – Captain Sam Wyndham – from A RISING MAN. It’s a fabulous book, and you can catch my review of it here on Saturday. 

A RISING MAN is out this week on May 5th. You can buy it from Waterstones here or Amazon here.  

To find out more about Abir follow him on Twitter @radiomukhers

And don’t forget to check out all these fab tour stops …


STASI CHILD Blog Tour: CTG interviews debut author David Young


I’m delighted to welcome David Young, author of STASI CHILD, to the CTG blog and to be hosting his blog tour stop today. STASI CHILD (published by Twenty7) is David’s debut novel and is the winner of the PFD 2014 Crime Prize. He’s popped along to see us today to chat about the book, his writing process, and his route to publication.

So to the questions!

Your debut, STASI CHILD, is out this month. Can you tell us a bit about it?

It’s a crime thriller – part historical crime, part police procedural, part thriller, and I guess a dash of Cold War politics to boot. What it’s not is a traditional Cold War spy thriller – although it’s set in the era of the Cold War. It tells two parallel stories: one in third person past through the eyes of a female detective in the state police, Oberleutnant Karin Müller, who’s trying to solve a gruesome murder but has to battle obstacles put in her way by the secret police, the Stasi. The other, in first person present, follows the life of a 15-year-old female inmate of a communist Jugendwerkhof – which loosely translates into ‘youth workhouse’ or reform school. The two stories eventually collide in a climax on the snowy slopes of northern Germany’s highest mountain, the Brocken, near the border with the west. I think fans of Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44 would enjoy it, and also those who read Anna Funder’s non-fiction account of the Stasi’s methods, Stasiland.

STASI CHILD is set in East Germany in 1975. What drew you to writing about this moment in history?

No-one had yet written a crime series set in East Germany – at least not in English as the original language. So I thought it filled a gap in the market, was something a bit different and – given the success of books like Child 44 and AD Miller’s Snowdrops – could prove popular. The idea originally came from reading Stasiland while on a self-booked (and at times chaotic) mini-tour of eastern Germany with my indiepop band about seven years ago. I was fascinated that you could still feel the ghost of the communist east even though the Berlin Wall had been torn down, at that time, twenty years earlier. Müller’s office is underneath Hackescher Markt S-bahn station – where we played our Berlin gig. So I wanted to choose a time when East Germany was perhaps at its most confident, and yet with enough years to fit a series in, if the first book sold well.

Given the modern historical setting, how did you go about researching the book?

A mixture of things, really. Watching films like The Lives of Others and Barbara, episodes of the original East German detective show, Polizeiruf 110, and the current German TV series set in the period, Weissensee – which is a great watch but inexplicably, and annoyingly, only has English subtitles on the second of its three series so far. I also read a lot of memoirs of inmates of Jugendwerkhöfe, that sort of thing, and true crime books by former GDR detectives. I don’t speak German – so it was a case of tearing out pages, feeding them into an OCR programme via a scanner, and then putting it all through Google Translate! What came out was barely intelligible, but you could pick out the facts even if the actual storytelling was mangled beyond repair. I also had great fun visiting all my locations, and interviewing former East German detectives (with the help of translators). So I loved the research, and I’m itching to get back out to Germany again. I also keep telling myself I must learn German!


You recently completed the City University MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction), how do you think this helped you on your journey to publication?

I think it was the key to it, really. We had some great tutors who were all published crime writers: Claire MacGowan, Laura Wilson and Roger Morris were mine – although William Ryan, who writes in a similar genre to me, has now joined. Roger introduced me to Peter May’s Lewis trilogy, and the structure of Stasi Child – with its twin narrative – is quite similar to May’s The Lewis Man. Claire nurtured the original idea, Laura worked on the nuts and bolts as my main novel tutor, and then both of them read and fed back on the full draft. The result was that Stasi Child won the course prize sponsored by the literary agents, PFD, and by the shortlisting stage a young PFD agent, Adam Gauntlett, had already declared his hand in wanting to represent me.

So, what’s it like having your debut novel published? What’s your best moment so far?

Because my publishers Twenty7 (part of the Bonnier group) are e-book first, the biggest thrill was getting a physical copy of the proof. It’s got a slightly different cover, very minimalist, which I love. I’ve only got one copy, though, and the publishers have run out now so I guard it with my life. And then in the last few days, Stasi Child became the fourth bestselling Kindle book in the UK, and the number one bestseller in Historical Fiction – for ebooks and paperbacks. It’s fallen back since, but that was a champagne moment, figuratively sitting on top of luminaries such as Robert Harris, Hilary Mantel …well, everyone who’s anyone in historical fiction. Ha! It’ll probably never happen to me again. We made sure we kept the screenshots of the charts!

STASI CHILD is the first in the Karin Müller crime series, can you tell us anything about the next book?

Yes Karin returns, but this time in the model East German new town of Halle-Neustadt, where underneath the ideal communist city gloss, dark things are happening a few months after the closure of the Stasi Child case. The Stasi are heavily involved again, and we also learn more about Karin’s past – with several surprises in store for her. It follows the same twin narrative format, but the second narration this time is darker, more disturbed, and unreliable. In fact the whole thing is darker and more disturbed, which is slightly worrying as most people seem to think Stasi Child’s about as dark as you can get.

And, finally, what does the rest of 2015 have in store for you?

Initially, I’ll be concentrating on promoting the Stasi Child ebook, and I’ve my first appearance at a literary festival, as part of the past prizewinner’s event at Yeovil on Friday October 30th. Then it will be a combination of reshaping book two with my editor at Bonnier, and researching book three with a trip to Germany. Oh, and I might finally get around to starting to learn German … but no promises!

A huge thank you to David Young for coming along to the CTG blog to chat with us today. You can find out more about David by checking out his website at www.stasichild.com and follow him on Twitter @djy_writer

Stasi Child is a great read, perfect for fans of historical crime fiction. Here’s the blurb: “East Berlin, 1975: Questions are dangerous. Answers can kill. When murder squad head Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body found riddled with bullets at the foot of the Berlin Wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: it seems the girl was trying to escape – but from the West. 

Müller is a member of the People’s Police, but in East Germany her power only stretches so far. The Stasi want her to discover the identity of the girl, but assure her the case is otherwise closed – and strongly discourage her asking questions.  The evidence doesn’t add up, and it soon becomes clear that the crime scene has been staged, the girl’s features mutilated. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Müller doesn’t realise that the trail she’s following will lead her dangerously close to home.

The previous summer, on Rügen Island off the Baltic Coast, two desperate teenage girls conspire to escape the physical and sexual abuse of the youth workhouse they call home.  Forced to assemble furniture packs for the West, the girls live out a monotonous, painful and hopeless life.  Stowing away in the very furniture they are forced to make, the girls arrived in Hamburg. But their celebrations are short-lived as they discover there is a price on freedom in the DDR…”

STASI CHILD is out now in eBook (and will be out in paperback in February 2016). To buy the eBook via Amazon click on the book cover below



And don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous stops on the Stasi Child Blog Tour:


BLOG TOUR STOP: Author Alison Morton drops by to talk about INCEPTIO

Blog Tour Logo

Blog Tour Logo

If you like some alternative history with your crime, Alison Morton’s exciting debut novel ‘INCEPTIO’ could be just your type of read. Blending alternative historical and modern settings, the story follows Karen Brown as she searches to uncover the truth behind her connection to the mysterious Roma Nova, and discover (before it’s too late) why government enforcer, Jeffery Renschman, wants her dead.

To learn all about it, I’m pleased to welcome to Alison Morton, author of  ‘INCEPTIO’, who’s joining me today as part of her ‘INCEPTIO’ Blog Tour.

Alison, you’ve said that the idea for your new thriller ‘INCEPTIO’ came from your eleven-year-old self wondering What would have happened if women were in charge of the Romans? What was it that made you decide to write a novel along that theme?

Ever since my clever, ‘senior Roman nut’ father batted that question back at me by replying, “What do you think it would be like?” the idea has bubbled away in my mind. Ancient Rome morphed into a new type of Rome, a small rump state that survived the dissolution of the Western Roman Empire into the 21st century, but retained its Roman identity. And one where the social structure changed; women were going to be leading society. Despite a full range of life events keeping me busy (school, university, career, military, marriage, parenthood, business ownership, move to France), I couldn’t make the story go away.

But what actually started me writing INCEPTIO? One Wednesday I went to the local multiplex cinema with my husband. Thirty minutes into the film, we agreed it was really, really bad. The cinematography was good, but the plot dire and narration uneven.

‘I could do better than that,’ I whispered in the darkened cinema.

‘So why don’t you?’ came my husband’s reply.

The story that had filled my mind for years burst out through my fingers and ninety days later, I’d written 96,000 words, the first draft of INCEPTIO.

Your modern day protagonist, Karen Brown, is certainly up against the odds. What was your inspiration for creating her?

I had experience of living in different cultures and of serving in the military so could draw on both of those to seed some of the background of Karen’s story. But I wanted to take a modern Western young woman and not only make her contend with a nasty piece of work trying to eliminate her, but also unsettle her by having to adapt to a fundamentally different culture. She was going to be forced to change and grow, something I think readers like to see. More than anything, I wanted her to discover the person she was meant to be, something she certainly wasn’t going to do stuck in a city office.

With ‘INCEPTIO’ set in the alternate modern day and in the alternate historical setting of Roma Nova, what research did you do to ensure the two worlds felt so real?

The key to writing alternate history is plausibility. Firstly, it’s essential to know your history up to the point when the new alternate timeline diverges from the one we know. The next step is to work out in a historically logical way how the world would look after that divergence. Roma Nova’s existence couldn’t happen in a vacuum – in the course of sixteen hundred years it would have affected the rest of the world’s history.

New York is an Autonomous City in the Eastern United States (EUS) that the Dutch only left in 1813 and the British in 1865. Roma Nova had protected its New World trade interests in the late 1700s by brokering a political accord between the British colonies and the home government. The New World French states of Louisiane and Québec are ruled by Gouverneurs-Généraux on behalf of Napoléon VI, California and Texas belong to the Spanish Empire and the Western Territories are a protected area for the Indigenous Peoples.

These are only background details – I don’t develop them much further – the New World is only the setting for the first chapters. I only allude to it where necessary – nobody likes a long history lesson or an info dump in the middle of a pacey thriller – but I have it worked out in great detail in my head so I can live within that world while writing.

Secondly, you have to reinforce the settings with anchors to the reader’s own reality. Take a character working in law enforcement. Readers can accept cops being gentle or tough, enthusiastic, intellectual or world-weary. And whether corrupt or clean, they must act like a recognisable form of cop; they catch criminals, arrest and charge them and operate within a judicial system. Legal practicalities can differ significantly from those we know, but they must be consistent with that society while remaining plausible for the reader.

Almost every story hinges upon implausibility. Readers will engage with it and follow as long as the writer keeps their trust. One way to do this is to infuse, but not flood, the story with corroborative detail so that it verifies and reinforces the original setting the writer has introduced.

Even though INCEPTIO is an alternate history thriller set in the 21st century, the Roma Novan characters still allude to their past by saying things like ‘I wouldn’t be in your sandals when he finds out.’  There are honey-coated biscuits (honey was important for the ancient Romans) not chocolate digestives in the squad room. The Roma Novan family in the 21st century still includes not only the blood family but the entire household. This detail is where historic logic meets practical function of the roles the characters are playing.

If ‘INCEPTIO’ were made into a movie, which actors would you like to see playing your main characters?

A while ago, Meg Ryan and Val Kilmer (Carina and Conrad), with Judi Dench (Aurelia) and Alexander Siddig (Daniel). Today, probably Bryce Dallas Howard and Alexander Skarsgård, with Meryl Streep and Ben Barnes.

Tell us a little about your writing process, do you plot out the story events before sitting down to write, or do you drive right in and see where the story takes you?

I’m probably 20% ‘plotter’ and 80% ‘pantser’.  I start with my characters, their values and motivations, then float some story ideas involving them around in my head. I like to interweave a crisis facing Roma Nova with a personal crisis between the characters and in their lives. Nobody comes out of the story in the same state they went in.

By then, I know where the story starts and where it has to finish. Maybe now is the time to confess that only one of the three books I’ve written actually has exactly the ending I first thought of!  Next, structure. I’ve evolved a thirty-line system; Line 1 is the inciting incident, Lines 6, 14 and 22 (or nearabouts) the three crisis points, Line 27 or 28 the ‘black moment’ and Line 30 the resolution. I fill in some of the lines in between with likely scenes, but often leave some blank. It’s a process to imprint the plot on my conscious mind so that the unconscious or creative one has some hooks to hang the story threads on. All the rest in between just swirls around in my head and only emerges as I’m writing.

How do you organise your writing day: do you have a favourite time and place to write?

On a typical day I write most mornings after a short spurt on social media, and do domestic stuff in the afternoons or depending where I am in the book some research. In the evening, I’ll write a few more lines and dip into Facebook and Twitter.

If I’m editing, I tend to work straight through, with a short lunch break as I’m totally immersed. Strange, isn’t it? I can draft in paragraphs, but prefer to edit in long stretches. Proofing is another question – I do that in short bursts because of the concentration needed.

My books centre around a big conflict, dangerous assignment or saving the world story within the Roma Nova environment. Luckily, I’ve breathed in history since I was a kid. I even ‘went back to school’ to take a history masters thirty years after my first degree. So I have enough of a grounding in the aspects of Roman history I want to draw on to start the story. I write the basic dynamics of a scene, then if I need to check a detail, I mark the text up in bright blue which gives me a visual signal to come back and research that item.

What have you learnt through writing this novel that you’d like to pass on to aspiring crime thriller writers?

Keep a really big surprise for the end, but make sure you leave some clues. Readers hate what’s known in SFF as ‘alien space bats’, more properly a deux ex machina where a surprise solution or resolution is parachuted in. Try to nudge the reader into thinking about what’s going on behind the characters’ motivation.  In INCEPTIO, the heroine doesn’t know why Renschman pursues her with such persistence. We know he’s a bad guy, but why is he so vindictive? Read the book and you’ll find out!

Structure and keep track of time so you ensure that the right people know or don’t know about events or vital clues. The mobile phone has ruined many traditional opportunities for suspense and tension so writers have to be more inventive these days.

My last tip is to keep the reader in the loop. I love surprising and disconcerting the reader as the plot twists and turns, but I try hard to ensure the reader knows what’s happening. As a reader myself, I hate not knowing who’s speaking for pages and pages just to make the writing look clever.

And what’s next for you, are you planning your next novel, or already well into the writing of it?

I’m working on book two of the Roma Nova series, PERFIDITAS (Betrayal). I drafted it a little while ago, but it’s been ‘in the drawer’ for several months. It’s a thriller again, this time the whole Roma Novan society faces collapse as well as pushing the heroine to a personal crisis. I’m looking forward to reading it again after many months away!

Thank you, Alison, for dropping by today and for sharing your writing secrets.

For more about Alison Morton and INCEPTIO hop on over to her website at: http://alison-morton.com/

INCEPTIO is the first in a series of exciting alternate history thrillers set in mysterious Roma Nova. Published by SilverWood Books, it is available now in Paperback and eBook.

Review: Come the Fear by Chris Nickson

Come the Fear book cover

An atmospheric and chilling historical mystery

“March, 1733. Richard Nottingham, Constable of the City of Leeds, joins others trying desperately to put out a fire in an empty house before it destroys the entire street. The next morning, searching the blackened ruins, he finds the charred corpse of a girl, and something placed on her chest. Had the fire been started to conceal her murder?

Starting with just a single clue, Nottingham his deputy John Sedgwick and Rob Lister slowly piece together the girl’s past, a journey that takes them into the camps of the homeless, the homes of rich merchants, down to the poor and those beyond hope, deep into the dark secrets and lies that families keep hidden.”

I have to admit that I’ve not read much historical crime fiction, so this book was a bit of a first for me.

It’s the fourth book in Chris Nickson’s Richard Nottingham series. And, although it’s part of a series, I found it easy to get into the story having not read the books that precede it.

What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the way in which the multiple plot-lines crossed and then joined together. The gruesome discovery of the murdered girl in the burnt-out house is the main story, but through the eyes of the main characters the reader also discovers what it was like to police the city of Leeds during the period. Nottingham, Sedgewick and Lister encounter troubles with prostitution, theft (and thief-takers) and violent crime, and it’s through how they deal with these challenges, and the issues that they face in their personal lives, that the reader gets an insight into what it must have been like to live in those times, to have a relationship with someone outside the social class society deemed appropriate for you, to raise a family, and to cope with the joys and the tragedies that living in that period made commonplace.

Nickson paints a rich picture, conjuring the sights, smells and sounds of the period through his vivid narrative. That said, the novel moves with a quick pace and, as the reader uncovers the clues and events with the main characters, you’re soon swept up in the story and in trying to work out who did it and why.

Come the Fear gives a fascinating glimpse into life and crime in the 1730s, as well as providing an engaging mystery for the reader to unravel alongside Constable Richard Nottingham and his team.

Highly recommended.

Come the Fear is published by the Crème de la Crime imprint of Severn House on 30th August 2012 (UK) and in November 2012 (USA).