Audiobook Review: ‘Hiding the Past: The Forensic Genealogist Series Book 1’ by Nathan Dylan Goodwin


The past holds all sorts of mysteries for those who enjoy researching their family tree. But what if no such avenue of research is available? What if someone were to find that their past simply didn’t exist?

Despite the fact that Peter Coldrick has no family and no family tree, his past does catch up with him in a way that sets Morton Farrier on a course of investigation that led to places that neither he nor the reader could possibly expect. 

This is a really interesting mystery story with a refreshing perspective that presents new opportunities and avenues for investigation than amateur sleuths or police detectives usually employ. The story also draws on some intriguing elements of World War II history as the background for an investigation that takes place seventy years later and in a completely different context. 

The narration by Jonathan Ip is very good indeed. He has a very pleasant voice to listen to, and portrays the different characters very effectively. His reading brings the story to life, and immerses the audience in the story as an eyewitness to the drama and action as it takes place. 

All in all, a great story and an excellent narration. 

‘The Baby on the Back Porch’ by Lucia N Davis

Sometimes people’s lives cross in uncanny ways. Whether it is by design, destiny or accident, these are events that can change the entire course of someone’s life.

‘The Baby on the Back Porch’ is a short story full of mystery, danger, and surprises. As the story progresses, the author makes really good use of foreboding and dream sequences to build tension and heighten the anticipation of the reader. The characters and premise of the story are believable and relatable, and while it starts off with the appearance of a story that might be romantic, it soon develops into something far more mysterious and compelling. 

This s a really well-crafted and enjoyable story that can comfortably be read in less than an hour and leaves the reader pondering the nature of coincidence and the ways in which one’s destiny might be interwoven with others’.

Audiobook Review: ‘Escaping from Houdini’ by Kerri Maniscalco

The third in Kerri Maniscalco’s Victorian macabre mystery series, ‘Escaping from Houdini’ is set on the Etruria, a cruise ship travelling from London to New York in 1899 with Audrey Rose Wadsworth, her beau Thomas Cresswell, and Uncle Jonathan Wadsworth aboard.

A series of gruesome murders present this Victorian forensic science team with a series of challenges and mysteries that must be solved before arriving at their destination. 

The story is intricate and complex, dark and dangerous, and completely captivating. Themes of distraction, illusion and deception interweave like a macabre carnival dance. The personal consequences and implications for Audrey Rose, Thomas, and other passengers on the ship are compelling, keeping the audience engaged both mentally and emotionally in the drama as it unfolds. 

Nicola Barber’s narration is expressive, fluent and most enjoyable. Barber has a definite gift for characterisation and drama  that makes her storytelling lively and most enjoyable.  

An excellent audiobook experience, ‘Escapting From Houdini’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Available as a novel or audiobook

Book of the Week: ‘Fallen Captive’ by Aliya DalRae

‘Fallen Captive’ is the second book in a suspenseful and exciting new series of paranormal romance suspense novels by Aliya DalRae.  

Held captive from birth for crimes ultimately committed by another, the Vampire, Nox, escapes the Primeval only to spend his first hundred years of liberty searching for somewhere to belong. The last place he imagined he’d call home is with the Fallen Cross Legion, a military faction serving the very entity responsible for his wrongful imprisonment. The only complication is the fire-haired female who saved his life, if not his eye.

From the moment she laid eyes on him, Rachel found herself drawn to Nox. However, the loss of her human husband after a lifetime of devotion left her with no desire to put herself through that brand of heartbreak ever again. She doesn’t need a male in her world to feel complete. 

When the Primeval demands an audience with Nox and the Legion Warriors, they find themselves far from home and at the mercy of a madman. Compelled by the Seer blood running through her veins, Rachel joins the Warriors on their journey to London, knowing full well they’ll be lucky to escape with their lives.

But her heart has betrayed her, and Rachel knows she must do whatever it takes to rescue the male that she loves. 

Of course, you may want to start at the beginning of the Fallen Cross Legion series with Fallen Prey, which has been reviewed previously on this blog.

Aliya DalRae is the author of the Jessica Sweet trilogy of paranormal romance novels and the Fallen Cross Pack paranormal novella series.

Book Review: ‘Deadly Deception’ by P.J. Mann

This story is based on a fascinating premise: if someone is a compulsive liar, how can they ever know if they are really telling the truth? The blurring of lines between truth and deceit is a key factor in this book, which drives the story and compels the main character in his choices and responses throughout the narrative. 

Ethan is a very interesting character, given that he is just such that kind of liar, and yet he yearns to be truthful although he cannot. In telling the story from his point of view, the author causes the reader to be sympathetic to him and his condition.

Ethan’s experiences are certainly thought-provoking, given our human nature’s tendency to reject liars and distrust them completely. If such a condition is involuntary, how can we treat the deluded person with justice and yet protect ourselves and everyone else from their lies? In this regard, Ethan’s friend Stewart and his girlfriend Karen model acceptance and show how security and love can make a vital difference in someone’s life. 

This story is quite well told, and the twist at the end is cleverly executed.

There are a few instances where the grammar is slightly stilted, particularly when a question is being asked. Presumably, this is because English is not the author’s first language. This would easily be fixed with some editing, but does not cause such a problem that it cannot simply be overlooked. While I noticed those occasions, they did not impede my understanding or my enjoyment of the story. 

An interesting and enjoyable read, ‘Deadly Deception’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Audiobook Review: ‘The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper’ by Phyllis Entis

The third book in Phyllis Entis’ ‘Damien Dickens Mysteries’ crime/detective series, ‘The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper’ continues the story of private investigators Damien and Millie Dickens with new challenges and investigations, at the same time taking them into new territory in their relationship. 

This is an exciting and tension-filled story with some very interesting and quite unexpected twists. I enjoyed the suspense and the interaction between different characters, and I loved the chance to revisit Montreal as I enjoyed the narrative. 

The narrator has a nice, clear voice and is easy to listen to. His reading is expressive and fluent, and his use of register, accent and inflection in his characterisation is consistently good. 

Overall, this was an excellent audiobook experience.

‘The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy of the audiobook or the novel here

Book Review: ‘The Cracksman Code’ by Jane Jago

The Cracksman Code is a terrific read.

On more than one occasion, this story will warm your heart right before lurching it into your throat and leave you holding your breath.

Part thriller, part heartwarming portrait of a family bound by loyalty and their own way of doing things, the strands of this story blend seamlessly into one immensely enjoyable story that leaves the reader feeling like a member of the family. It’s a story that immerses the reader in both the professional and the personal sides of operations that, while they are in pursuit of justice, are nevertheless just outside of legal boundaries.

The Cracksman family are entirely realistic and believable, each with strengths and flaws that play off the other characters’ qualities in a very familiar way. At the same time, they do have some remarkable talents and involvements that make them anything but your standard family-next-door. Similarly, their friends Anna Marshall and Sam Henderson are very normal people who do extraordinary things out of their commitment to the same kind of loyalty and values embraced by the Cracksmans. 

Clever and witty writing highlights the warmth of the friendships and family relationships and contrasts powerfully with the acute tension created in the action and suspense sequences of the story, making this a book that is hard to put down. 

There is some adult content, so this book is not suitable for young readers.

’The Cracksman Code’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here