BOOK SPOTLIGHT: The Butcher by Nathan Burrows

Today I welcome the Book Tour for the twisted and funny The Butcher by Nathan Burrows. Along with this spotlight post, I’ll be giving my take on the novel here in a bit. But before I get to talking about the book, let’s start by learning a little about this here book, okay? Before I forget, I should mention that for a limited time, The Butcher is available for 99p/99c. That’s a price that you cannot go wrong with.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Butcher by Nathan Burrows
Release date: July 1, 2018
Format: Paperback/Ebook/Audiobook
Length: 316 pages

Book Blurb:

She thought it was pork. She was wrong.

The first time hapless food inspector Emily Underwood meets butcher Frank Pinch, he’s not got much at all in his display counters. But what he does have is a rather unusual plan to restock his shelves. The next time they bump into each other, he’s won an award for his sausages but is running out of meat.

Can Frank keep up production of his unusually tasty sausages? Will Emily discover the source of Frank’s award-winning meat? And what will happen the next time she tries to inspect his butcher’s shop?

Book 1 in the Rub-a-Dub-Dub trilogy, this deliciously British dark comedy will change the way you look at sausages forever.

About Nathan Burrows:

Nathan BurrowsNathan Burrows is a writer based in Norfolk in the United Kingdom. His debut novel, a legal thriller called Blind Justice, was published in March 2018.

He’s also the author of a dark comedy trilogy set in Norfolk. The first in the series is The Butcher, a deliciously funny story about – amongst other things – sausages. The second in the series is The Baker, which features Norfolk’s most useless cult. And finally, The Candlestick Maker is about a fitness instructor with a difference.

The next book to be released will be Man Down, a return to more traditional thrillers. It’s a military story set in Afghanistan which will be released in the Autumn, 2019. Also releasing later in the year is Finding Milly, which explores just how far a man will go to find his missing daughter.

Nathan’s a keen reader as well as a writer. He occasionally runs marathons, has a Norwich City football club season ticket, and is the proud part-owner of a Daschund puppy called Bertie.

For more information, visit

Nathan Burrows’ Social Media:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon Author Page

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Google Books ~ Kobo

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.


Kill for Me by Rebecca Bradley: Compelling seems an inadequate word to describe this Police Procedural

Kill for MeKill for Me

by Rebecca Bradley
Series: DI Hannah Robbins, #5

Kindle Edition, 275 pg.

Read: June 20 – 22, 2019

           …it had happened the way he planned it and there was no use crying over a perfect plan. The one surprise was how well it had all gone. How easy it had been to manipulate people. Like pieces on a chess board they had done as he told them to. They’d moved where he told them to move and done as he’d told them to do. He felt powerful and it was a feeling he liked and could get used to…

He could create a vicious circle where the police could never catch up . . . and he was pulling the strings but not a single strand of his DNA was left at the scene. It was priceless.

Pure genius. He was a genius.

There were enough people in the world who were more interested in saving themselves than anything else that they would do as he told them to.

There were some fun times ahead.

So like the last DI Hanna Robbins book I read — The Twisted Web — so much of the success of Kill for Me comes down to the hook. Obviously, how well she delivers on the promise of the hook is as essential, but without that hook, who’s going to read on?

As you can see above, it’s a great hook — our nameless “He” puts this single mother in a no-win situation. He’s manipulated her daughter’s school, compromised her communication with the outside world and has her daughter. All he requires her to do is kill someone, and then her daughter will be returned. Once he’s done with her, he moves on to someone else. And someone else. And someone else. Each time, the lever he uses to pry his victim into action is different — the life of a daughter, threatening to expose wrongdoing and ruining the life of a spouse as well as his victim, threatening to use falsified pictures of a child, and so on. Rather than risk whatever he’s threatening — “saving themselves” (or someone else) — these victims will do “anything else. . . he told them to.”

Murder by proxy. Spree killing by proxy, really. What starts off as killing for some dark purpose quickly evolves into killing because of the thrill gained by manipulating others — being a puppet master who happens to have deadly puppets

It’s gripping. It feels plausible. It feels like a story in the news from next week.

Does Bradley deliver? Yes. Not in the way I expected things to go once I got to the quotation above, but in a way that was so much better. This is the third novel of Bradley’s I’ve read in the past ten months. Each one had a fantastic premise, a hook as shiny and sharp as anyone could want — and each time she uses that hook to reel in her readers in the manner of a seasoned pro. I’m not going to say more than that so I don’t risk giving something away.

I wasn’t crazy about the Epilogue — it was an efficient way to wrap up what needed to be wrapped up, take care of remaining details, etc. If she hadn’t written it up in a nice summary fashion like she did, it would’ve taken a chapter or two. But it felt rushed, too compressed and perfunctory. It did what needed to be done, but in a way that left me unsatisfied. It’s a small thing compared to the rest of the book, but Bradley didn’t do the novel any favors with that.

As effective as Bradley is with premises (and following through with them), she’s great with the emotional core of the story and characters. I wonder from time to time if she doesn’t give enough space to the “procedural” part of “police procedural” (in at least two of the three books by her that I’ve read). In this book in particular there were two lines of inquiry that I thought Hannah and her team could’ve — should’ve — done better with. Thanks to a recent binge-watch with my wife, I had visions of DCI Gill Murray eviscerating Hannah for leaving them untouched. But the reader will either not notice those points, or won’t care, because Bradley will suck you into the innermost thoughts and feelings of the victims and the police investigating the crimes (and, in some ways, with the killer). I sympathized and empathized with each of these victims — understanding why they felt they had no choice but to dance to the wicked tune he was playing, turning themselves into the kind of monster they couldn’t imagine ever being.

The same is true for Hannah Robbins and her team — you see the turmoil caused by this case, the way it gets under their skin — as well as personal and professional crises/upheaval changes for Hanna, her right hand man, and others. I’m still trying to suss out all the various plotlines, character arcs and motivations when it comes to the police thanks to coming to this series so late — but I’m very interested in the way a couple of them play out. One thing along those lines that Hannah seems to think has been resolved, has almost certainly not been resolved and will blow up in a book or two, and I’m very curious about it.

Whether we’re talking about new characters or established ones, victim or police trying to help them — Rebecca Bradley infuses these characters with enough genuine emotion, authentic desire and undeniable and relatable reactions to the madness surrounding them that she can do pretty much what else she wants and readers will follow.

In addition to writing compelling stories, Bradley seems to have many things to say about our mobile devices, social media, personal security and the way these three ideas need to be carefully reevaluated by ourselves and others needing some sort of court order (it seems) to reconsider the way we utilize this new technology.

I’m finding myself becoming a real fan of Rebecca Bradley and DI Hannah Robbins both, and this book is a large part of why. Compelling doesn’t seem to be an adequate adjective for these books and this author. Fans of police procedurals should get their hands on these books right off. This would be a great jumping on point for a new reader, and a great maintenance fix for people familiar with Hannah Robbins and her brand of investigation.


4 Stars

LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge 2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Kill for Me by Rebecca Bradley

Today I welcome the Book Tour for the gripping and powerful Kill for Me by Rebecca Bradley. Along with this spotlight post, I’ll be giving my take on the novel here in a bit. But before I get to talking about the book, let’s start by learning a little about this here book, okay?

Book Details:

Book Title: Kill for Meb by Rebecca Bradley
Release date: February 14, 2019
Format: Ebook/Audiobook
Length: 275 pages

Book Blurb:

A deadly game. An unstoppable killer. The perfect alibi.

Lucy Anderson is late collecting her daughter from nursery. A mistake that could prove fatal.
Her daughter is gone and there is only one way Lucy can get her back. The ransom is simple, she has to kill someone…

And this is just the beginning. A deadly game with a domino effect has started as the real killer forces others to do his bidding.

Can detective inspector Hannah Robbins find the killer’s next puppet before they’re forced to strike or will this be the case where her opponent has found the perfect way to kill?

Pick up Kill For Me for impossible choices and moral dilemmas and see where you would fall.

For fans of Peter James and Angela Marsons

About Rebecca Bradley:

Rebecca BradleyRebecca Bradley is a retired police detective. She lives in the UK with her family and her two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.

She writes the DI Hannah Robbins police procedural series and has also released a standalone novel, Dead Blind, about a cop who acquires prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness.

To receive a free novella sign up to her readers’ club and you will be able to download the prequel to Hannah Robbins series. Find it on the blog at You’ll also be provided exclusive content and giveaways.

Rebecca Bradley’s Social Media:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Instagram ~ Amazon Author Page

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT (and Giveaway!): Emperors of the Deep by William McKeever

Today I’m pleased to welcome the Book Spotlight Tour for Emperors of the Deep by William McKeever. Who doesn’t find sharks fascinating?. Check out the information about the book or just scroll down to the end of the post and enter the givewway — or just go buy it.

Book Details:

Book Title: Emperors of the Deep by William McKeever
Publisher: Harper Collins
Category: Adult Non-Fiction
Release date: June 25, 2019
Format: Ebook/Hardcover/Audiobook
Length: 320 pages
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Intense underwater moments and descriptions of interactions with Sharks both in diver and hunting situation)

Book Blurb:

In this remarkable groundbreaking book, a documentarian and conservationist, determined to dispel misplaced fear and correct common misconceptions, explores in-depth the secret lives of sharks—magnificent creatures who play an integral part in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans and ultimately the planet.

From the Jaws blockbusters to Shark Week, we are conditioned to see sharks as terrifying cold-blooded underwater predators. But as Safeguard the Seas founder William McKeever reveals, sharks are evolutionary marvels essential to maintaining a balanced ecosystem. We can learn much from sharks, he argues, and our knowledge about them continues to grow. The first book to reveal in full the hidden lives of sharks, Emperors of the Deep examines four species—Mako, Tiger, Hammerhead, and Great White—as never before, and includes fascinating details such as:

  • Sharks are 50-million years older than trees;
  • Sharks have survived five extinction level events, including the one that killed off the dinosaurs;
  • Sharks have electroreception, a sixth-sense that lets them pick up on electric fields generated by living things;
  • Sharks can dive 4,000 feet below the surface;
  • Sharks account for only 6 human fatalities per year, while humans kill 100 million sharks per year.

McKeever goes back through time to probe the shark’s pre-historic secrets and how it has become the world’s most feared and most misunderstood predator, and takes us on a pulse-pounding tour around the world and deep under the water’s surface, from the frigid waters of the Arctic Circle to the coral reefs of the tropical Central Pacific, to see sharks up close in their natural habitat. He also interviews ecologists, conservationists, and world-renowned shark experts, including the founders of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, the head of the Massachusetts Shark Research Program, and the self-professed “last great shark hunter.”

At once a deep-dive into the misunderstood world of sharks and an urgent call to protect them, Emperors of the Deep celebrates this wild species that hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of the ocean—if we can prevent their extinction from climate change and human hunters.

Purchase Links for Emperors of the Deep:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

Book Trailer:

MBS_TRAILER_04052019_2 Min from Wmckeever on Vimeo.

(Vimeo tells me it might not show correctly, if that’s the case, click here to watch the trailer. It’s one of the best looking book trailers you’ve ever seen — you really should watch it)

About William McKeever:

William McKeever

William McKeever is a writer and documentary Filmmaker. He is the founder of Safeguard the Seas, an NGO dedicated to ocean conservation. He is the producer and director of the forthcoming feature-length documentary Man Bites Shark.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


Win a copy of Emperors of the Deep (1 winner / open to USA only)

(ends July 20, 2019)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(if the Rafflecopter script isn’t working, just click here — it’s not as pretty, but it works)

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Play To Live: Life Skills and Joy Through the Natural Talent to Play by Brian VanDongen

Today I’m pleased to welcome the Book Spotlight Tour for Play to Liveby Brian VanDongen. I think this book good — especially for parents of kids who are about a decade younger than my youngest, but I can’t fit in to my schedule (at least not quickly enough to help out with the tour). Still, I thought it was potentially useful and wanted to help spread the word about it. So we’ve got this here spotlight and then a little later this morning a A Few Quick Questions with the author. But first, check out the information about the book and the givewway — or just go buy it. Either way…

Book Details:

Book Title: Play to Live: Life Skills and Joy Through the Natural Talent to Play by Brian VanDongen
Publisher: BVDPlays
Category: Adult Non-Fiction
Release date: April 30, 2019
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Length: 119 pages
Content Rating: G

Book Blurb:

Play To Live: Life Skills and Joy Through The Natural Talent To Play by author Brian VanDongen takes you back to your childhood to remind you about what being a child is all about. Playing! We all have those fond childhood memories of growing up playing with our friends in social settings. Developing social skills and learning how to handle friendships and relationships.

What we didn’t realize at the time was that those skills we learned for the building blocks which lay the foundation for the rest of our lives. What are our children learning right now? How are they playing now and what part are we playing in how our children interact with the world around them.

For many children, their idea of play and playing now consists of talking to friends online and playing with electronic devices, staying safe indoors, and not venturing further than their own small safe world which we have created.

Inside Play To Live you’ll discover:

  • Understanding what it means to play.
  • Where play has gone and what has changed?
  • How playing inside the box promotes the simplicity of play.
  • Why risky play is not the same as dangerous play. Are we too overprotective?
  • That climbing up the slide is just as important as sliding down.
  • Getting muddy outside and rediscovering nature is imperative.
  • That play is serious business and so much more.

Inside Play To Live: Life Skills and Joy Through The Natural Talent To Play you’ll read about case studies and reports followed by tips, tricks, and information to help you. If you would like to rediscover what it means to play, then grab a copy of Play To Live right now!

Purchase Links for Play to Live:

Amazon ~ Apple Books
Add to Goodreads

About Brian VanDongen:

Brian VanDongen

Brian is a life-long “parks and rec kid.” Now, he is a parks and recreation professional.

Brian has created, designed, and implemented transformational recreational programming for thousands of residents. ​ Through his work as a park and recreation professional, Brian helps people play and find their natural talent to play.

He believes everyone has that talent, but it is sometimes hard to find, or even suppressed in today’s society. ​ Fortunately, play at its most basic level is easy, fun, healthy, and desirable. That playful talent just needs to be unleashed.

Brian has helped thousands of people find their natural talent to play and become happier and healthier people through the power of play.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


Win a signed copy of Play to Live: Life Skills and Joy Through the Natural Talent to Play (1 winner / open to USA only)

(ends July 13, 2019)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(if the Rafflecopter script isn’t working, just click here — it’s not as pretty, but it works)

My thanks to iREAD Book Tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials they provided.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Dead is Beautiful by Jo Perry

Today I’m excited to welcome the Book Tour for the funny, clever, tragic and engaging Dead is Beautiful by Jo Perry. I already posted about the book back in February, so along with this spotlight post, I’ve been given a great excerpt to share here in a bit as well as a page that indexes The Irresponsible Reader’s Jo Perry/Charlie and Rose content in one easy to use post.

But first, let’s focus on the book in question here: Dead is Beautiful

Book Details:

Book Title: Dead is Beautiful by Jo Perry
Publisher: Fahrenheit 13
Release date: February 13, 2019
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Length: 268 pages

Book Blurb:

DEAD IS BEAUTIFUL finds Rose leading Charlie from the peace of the afterlife to the place he hates most on earth, “Beverly Fucking Hills,” where a mature, protected tree harboring a protected bird is being illegally cut down.

The tree-assault leads Charlie and Rose to a to murder and to the person Charlie loathes most in life and in death, the sibling he refers to only as “his shit brother,” who is in danger.

Charlie fights-across the borders of life and death–for the man who never fought for him, and with the help of a fearless Scotsman, a beautiful witch, and a pissed-off owl, Charlie must stop a cruel and exploitative scheme and protect his beloved Rose.

About Jo Perry:

Jo PerryJo Perry earned a Ph.D. in English, taught college literature and writing, produced and wrote episodic television, and published articles, book reviews, and poetry.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, novelist Thomas Perry. They have two adult children. Their two dogs are rescues.

Jo is the author of DEAD IS BETTER, DEAD IS BEST, DEAD IS GOOD, and DEAD IS BEAUTIFUL, a dark, comic mystery series from Fahrenheit Press.

Jo Perry’s Social Media:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website ~” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Instagram

Purchase Links for Dead is Beautiful:

Fahrenheit Press ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials they provided.

GUEST POST: A Cunning Plan by Andrew J. Harvey

As usual, I can’t hear that phrase without thinking of Baldrick and Blackadder…which, actually, is kind of fitting given where Andrew J. Harvey goes with his. I enjoyed this, hope you do to:

A Cunning Plan

It was during the process of developing the trailer for my Alternate History novel, Nightfall, the first book in my Clemhorn Trilogy, that I was shocked to discover how badly I had underestimated the general public’s knowledge of history.

I have always been interested in history, even taking one unit at University when I was studying there, and had perhaps foolishly believed that like myself, people were interested in the past. Particularly given George Santayana’s warning that: “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Given the myriad mistakes and failings that humans are so susceptible too, the blindness to history’s lessons seems particularly dangerous to me.

I was realistic enough to understand that it was unlikely that most people would have, as I did, entire bookshelves filled with history books, and the occasional alternate history novel, but I did at least expect that one or two history books would be displayed somewhere. As I said, I was quickly disabused of this while testing the book trailer for Nightfall, with the following teaser:

In 1884 the world stood on the verge of war. Once again the Russian and British Empires faced each other across the Mississippi.

And discovered that the person I was speaking to had no idea that in our own history the Russian and British Empires had never, ever faced each other in America, let alone across the Mississippi.

This resulted in the following rewrite:

In 1884, in a history very different from our own, the world stood on the verge of war …

As an aficionado and writer of Alternate History this was particularly disappointing given that Alternate History is a genre of fiction where stories are set in worlds in which one or more historical events unfold differently from how it did in our world. It is better appreciated with at least some modicum of how the historical event the author is writing about actually unfolded in our own reality.

But I now have a cunning plan, and hope that anyone reading Nightfall will be interested enough to investigate how some of the alternate histories I portray in the novel actually played out in our history (hint in Nightfall the Mainline split from our own when in 1451 the Serbian Emperor Uros III captures Constantinople, triggering a Serbian rather than Italian renaissance). And of course if they continue to read the series, they continue to meet other alternates, and with fifty-four lines making up the Cross-Temporal Empire there’s more than enough to keep a reader delving into all sorts of histories for quite some time.

Along these lines I leave you with a paraphrasing of George Santayana’s words, that is: “those who cannot remember the past may be brought to appreciate it by the ‘what ifs’ posed by alternate history.”

Read the novel that’s part of this cunning plan, Nightfall by Andrew J.Harvey.

My thanks to iREAD Book Tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials they provided.