Review of The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham

the strange death of fionaThe Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths bcc:

British author, Harry Bingham, blew critics and readers away with his crime debut, Talking to the Dead. His second novel, Love Story, with Murders, established DC Fiona Griffiths as the most compelling heroine in crime fiction. With this, the third novel in the series, comes Fiona’s darkest, strangest and most challenging assignment yet . . .

It started out as nothing much. A minor payroll fraud at a furniture store in South Wales. No homicide involved, no corpses. Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths fights to get free of the case, but loses. She’s tasked with the investigation.

She begins her enquiries, only to discover the corpse of a woman who’s starved to death. Looks further, and soon realizes that within the first, smaller crime, a vaster one looms: the most audacious theft in history.

Fiona’s bosses need a copper willing to go undercover, and they ask Fiona to play the role of a timid payroll clerk so that she can penetrate the criminal gang from within.

Fiona will be alone, she’ll be lethally vulnerable – and her fragile grip on ‘Planet Normal’ will be tested as never before …

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harry binghamHarry Bingham Bio:

Harry is currently writing a crime series, featuring a young Welsh detective, Fiona Griffiths. The series has sold to publishers in the UK (Orion), the US (Random House), as well as FranceGermanyItalySpain, the Netherlandsand elsewhere. The first novel was televised by Bonafide and broadcast onSky Living. The novels are notable mostly for the strong voice and strange character of their protagonist. The first three titles in the series are Talking to the Dead, Love Story with Murders, and The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths.


The books have had nice reviews in the BooksellerPublishers Weekly,KirkusNew York TimesNew York Daily NewsBoston GlobeSeattle Times,Washington PostDaily MailTelegraph, Times, Sunday Times, Western Mail (all behind paywall) Shelf Awarenesscrimefictionlover, and many more fine publications.






You know I’m so glad that I read other books that aren’t associated with romance.  Don’t get me wrong, I love romance books but every once in a while I need to read something that I wouldn’t normally read and The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths certainly filled that bill.  Crime Thriller, mystery, suspense and not a lick of romance.  Oh and did I mention that the setting is Wales?  No.  You are in for a treat then.  Great location written by a brilliant author.

Everything about this book is brilliant.  A little slow in the beginning but once I got into the story you will not be able to put it down.  Fiona isn’t normal at all.  She has mental issues that make her seem almost robotic and unfeeling but trust me, keep reading.  It will all make sense in the end.  Absolutely fascinating character and Mr. Bingham lets the reader slowly into her mind and what makes her normal.  She’s a misfit in a way but it works.  Being a detective isn’t the easiest job but she makes it seem easy.  I would almost put her on the level as Sherlock Holmes in terms of her temperament and the ability to connect with the victim and NOT her co-workers.

The plot is sick and twisted so don’t let the blurb fool you.  🙂  Fiona finds herself in one situation after another and you will definitely be holding your breath until the bitter end.  Word to the reader, it is written in first person (I love).  Personally, I don’t think it could have been any other way.  Mr. Bingham has a written a character that with all of her “quirks”, you will fall in love with her.

I will say that I didn’t read the first two books in the series but you can read this one has a standalone.  Of course, since I have found a different kind of character to read and follow, I will be getting the first two books in the series.  Yes, the book is that good but will grab you is the writing.  Taunt, thrilling, and perfectly paced.  I know, I said it was slow in the beginning but that’s the point.

Do yourself a favor dear readers.  Read outside your romance comfort zone.  Oh yes, I still read Clancy (RIP) and Grisham.  Plus, I still read Danielle Steele.  Shoot me.  As you know, I don’t conform to most romance bloggers read and The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths is proof of that.


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Excerpt from Hand of Fatima by Myrna Sokoloff w/a $15 GC giveaway!

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Hand of Fatima

by Myrna Sokoloff



It had been a year since the sealed casket of Holly’s beloved husband Jake had been flown from the war zone to Dover Air Force Base with an honor guard. The American flag and the music didn’t lesson the agony of his death for her.


Nobody ever told Holly what had really happened on that classified mission in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.


The painful memory of his death came crashing in on her when Alex, a former special-warfare operator, approached her on a clear autumn day. Alex and his teammate TJ had been wounded on the same raid with Jake.


These tough wounded warriors were determined to find out the facts, but they knew for sure that the SEALS had been betrayed.


By uncovering the treacherous truth about the Helmand mission, this group of patriots and their friends discover an even more sinister plot that will put the country in danger . . . and it leads straight to the White House.

Excerpt One:




Alex paced in front of D.C.’s Union Station. He had worked with Susanna and trusted her but she still worked for the President he did not trust.


Susanna saw Alex, took a deep breath and walked towards him. “Alex,” she whispered.


He turned and walked into the station and got lost in the crowds surrounding the fast food restaurants and sat at on a bench.


Alex started, “Tariq betrayed us.”


Susanna gasped, “How do you know this?”


“We’ve tracked him since the attack in Helmand Province,” Alex said breathlessly, waiting to see Susanna’s reaction.


Susanna looked stunned.


“Tracked him—how could you track him? Do you have mercenaries in the field or is TJ’s dad at NSA going outside the wire?”


“Tariq was there on the day of the attack.” Susanna’s mouth fell open.


Alex leaned close to her. “I’m not telling you the details because then you don’t know anything to testify to in case…”


“Testify,” she shouted. “What do you mean? How do you know he was at the site of the attack?”


Alex looked glum. “I saw him!”


Susanna gasped. “Are you sure it was Tariq?”


“Yes absolutely. You forget I was observing his interrogation at Gitmo. You know what this means Susanna?” he carefully said.


Susanna sighed and leaned back on the bench, “The President’s poster boy for Gitmo releases reverts to his old ways…he’s still a terrorist.”


“And worse, he set us up. He just didn’t escape into thin air—he led us into a trap by giving us false info in order to kill us. He was laughing at us!” Alex was intent on making her see the danger.


Susanna got up and started walking, pulling her coat around her against the chill autumn wind. Alex followed but hung behind giving her some space. Her pace slowed as she faced him.


Alex pleaded, “We need to tell Holly, wife of a dead SEAL and a respected analyst.”


“Holly is not political and she was devastated by Jake’s death. To bring it up again is cruel, especially if she finds out it was avoidable. I am speaking as her friend!” cried Susanna.


“Don’t you think she would want to know? And if her best friend knew something, don’t you think she’d be mad if you kept it from her?” asked Alex.


Susanna looked exasperated. But what he said made her feel unsure of her position. Maybe Holly would want to know.


“I tried to talk to her at Temple, but she was with family and besides, I lost my nerve,” he said, embarrassingly.


“I know how we can all meet away from prying eyes. It’s Sukkot Thursday night.” Alex looked stunned and smiled.


“I didn’t know you were Jewish!” he laughed.


“Holly always invites this Catholic to her sister’s Sukkah in her backyard in Connecticut. There will be lots of people all unrelated to our work. Holly said I could bring guests. Ask TJ. We’ll take the train.” Alex grinned and nodded his head.


Alex walked out of the station, happy he had met with Susanna. And he was glad he was going to see Holly again but he didn’t want to think of her in personal terms.


His thoughts went to Tariq. He was sure he had seen him at the edge of the staging area, which didn’t surprise him. After all, he had provided the intel. Then he thought he made a mistake and then everything was explosions, pain and darkness.


Alex was wounded. In the hospital room and in therapy, he felt like he had forgotten something important. But he was confused and the doctors told him some memory loss was perfectly normal after an explosion.


But it came back to him one night when he was watching The Godfather, and he called TJ.


“TJ, remember the scene in The Godfather when Michael was hiding out in Sicily after killing Sollozo and McClusky. His beautiful Sicilian wife—what was her name?”


“Appollonia…yeah I remember her,” said TJ.


Alex continued dramatically, “She was about to start the car. Michael called to his bodyguard Fabrizio. He looked back at Michael and then ran. In that instant Michael knew he had been betrayed and then his wife turned on the ignition and blew up. It had been meant for him.”


“Yeah, yeah I get it, but…,” interjected TJ.


“When I was watching that scene it came back to me. I saw Tariq that day and when I called to him he looked back with the same expression and then ran just like Fabrizio and then the explosions started.”


“We can’t use The Godfather as a reason you remembered Tariq. They’ll have you back in psych evaluation and think you are confusing life with a movie.”


“You do it all the time,” laughed Alex.

“Yeah, I know, but not at a debriefing.” TJ sighed.


Author Bio:

I grew up in the beautiful suburb of Westport Connecticut. After Boston University, I moved to New York City. In Manhattan I spent time in many political campaigns as fundraiser and writer. New York was a Democratic September 11th, 2001, changed me and I had to re-evaluate my politics. I used to work in lower Manhattan and saw on TV the streets and buildings covered with dust and so many people killed in an instant. In LA, I volunteeretown. We never fought with Republicans, we fought with each other! It was exciting and I thought I was making a contribution. When I moved to California, my connections helped me transistion into the political world in LA.
D for the USO at LAX and watched Marines from Camp Pendleton fly out to their next training base. I also served an Army Family Readiness unit near me.I called families of deployed soldiers to check if they needed anything and helped with the Army Christmas parties for the kids. It didn’t seem enough. I had to find another way to express my ideas and support the troops. I made political commercials and wrote articles.

In 2008 I was the co-writer and executive producer of the political comedy feature ‘An American Carol’

I decided to write my first novel ‘Hand of Fatima’ because I was angry about the lies surrounding Benghazi, the terrorist attack that occurred in 2012. The four men that died that day had families and friends who loved them. Our leaders acted as if it was a political mess to get passed and forgotten. The novel is a thriller about terrorism and how it affects real people.



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Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews

Review of Ash’s Fire (The Ash Trilogy #1) by Callie Gold w/a $50 GC giveaway!

99 ASHS-FIRE-flat-adBlurb:


Smart and successful Attorney Jordan Cohen didn’t expect Sam, her husband and best friend, to invoke their old pact for non-exclusivity. But after twenty-some years together, he did.


A chance meeting with Ari Ash, the tall-dark-and-yummy internationally renowned concert pianist, sends Jordan into his arms. Ari’s mysterious ways and magical lovemaking pull the conflicted Jordan into a whirlwind affair.


When Ari is implicated in an execution-style murder, she wants to believe Ari is innocent, but one troubling fact after another keeps popping up. Jordan turns to the only man she can trust with her lover’s life – her brilliant criminal defense attorney husband.


Is Ari a killer?


When Ari is charged, Jordan fears the worst: a life sentence for her lover, exposure of her affair and the ruin of her law firm and irreparable damage to her husband’s reputation. But she can’t let go of Ari’s love…


With the trial just days ahead, Jordan races to save her lover, her husband and herself.


Desire, suspicion, love and loyalty all clash in the fast-paced Mediterranean city of Tel-Aviv.


Excerpt Two:


“Did you tell Sam?” Judith asked.




“Good girl. And it’s a good thing he knew you were seeing someone,” she said. “How did he take it?”


“Fine, I think,” Jordan said. “No major blowups.”


“Jordan, what are you guys doing? This is seriously dangerous,” Judith said.


“I know.”


“So are you going to end your fling with Ari?”


“I don’t think it’s a fling, Jude,” Jordan heard herself say. “And I’m not giving him up.”


“We’re going to have a serious conversation about all of this, you know,” Judith said, exhaling.


“But for now, tell me, can you work like that?”


“I can work just fine,” Jordan said.


“You’re the worst liar in the world.”


“Sam said the same thing.”


“Was Ari shocked to see you when you walked in the office?” Judith asked.


Jordan paused. “No, he wasn’t.”


“This is strange, you have to admit.”


“He’s good at hiding his feelings, so what?”


“You’re developing a dangerous habit, Jordan. Keep that in mind.”


“It’s just a simple IP case. I can do it in my sleep.”


“We do nothing in our sleep. This is dangerous talk.”


“Okay, okay, you’re right,” Jordan agreed. “You’re warning me, I appreciate it. I’ll keep it in mind. Promise.”


Judith sighed.


After she put down the phone, Jordan took out her compact and looked at her face. She concentrated on Ari and kept looking. Her face changed, glowed. You look ten years younger. And sexy. And more beautiful than you’ve been in years. Jordan felt the heat rising in her, and she pressed her hand in her lap. Shhhhh, she her body told.



This is one of the hardest reviews that I’ve ever had to write.  On one hand I really loved the book.  But on the other hand…I didn’t.  Cheating is a HUGE no for me especially when the cheaters are married and for what ever reason, its used as a plot device.  Yes, cheating is a plot device in the book.  I have to admire Ms. Gold for making plausible between Sam and Jordan.  I could see the blandness and the boredom between them but still cheating is cheating.

I have to admit that I skipped some of the smexy parts.  Again…the whole cheating thing but I will let you know what I really enjoyed about the book now.

1.  Characterization – Brilliant!  Oh yes, you really get to know all the characters in the book.  Some were brief but Ms. Gold makes great use of them in her story.  I really did Jordan.  I could understand the “why” with her and the pickle that she got herself into later.  Sam…he’s a work in progress for me.  Ari?  *sigh*  What’s not to like.

2.  Setting – Tel Aviv comes alive in Ms. Gold book.  I’ve never been but just by reading this book, I do want to go there one day.  It was almost like another character in the book.

3.  Plot – Once I got pass the whole cheating thing, I really enjoyed the story.  Briskly paced, interesting and you know I can’t resist a good old fashioned mystery.  I’m a sucker really.

4.  Ms. Gold’s writing kept me going through the book.  I will admit that I almost didn’t finish but I just had to find out what happened.  Again, she kept my interest and it seemed like the book didn’t stop.  🙂

Again, this was a hard one to write but I will recommend it.  Yes, there is cheating but what kept me going was the other things going on in the book and Ms. Gold’s writing.


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Callie Gold is an Israeli married to an American. She admits that marrying her husband was the smartest decision she has ever made in her entire life. Together they have raised three beautiful children.

Callie is a lawyer, and a Jew, and what’s worse – an Israeli. That means that she’s an in-your-face kinda gal. There is no Hebrew word for ‘subtle’. Callie’s husband says that she has too many opinions, and he’s right. But she’s also open and friendly and very curious, and is known to start intimate conversations with the Falafel guy.

Since she stopped litigating, Callie’s husband says she’s become a much nicer person (Callie’s husband is almost always right, which makes living with him really good and seriously annoying, all at the same time).

When she’s not writing, Callie does divorce mediation and marriage counseling, which, she believes will save her a good seat in that place up there. She also cooks and bakes and you will always find home-baked bread in her freezer, next to the chocolate gelato that her husband makes.

Callie writes because writing creates another life for her, a life in which she can do whatever she wants. In order to write she has become a time thief.

Above all, Callie is a lover of people and she can never get enough of human interaction. So feel free to start up a conversation with her!

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