Bleeding Heart Yard

Bleeding Heart Yard by Elly Griffiths

Expected publication:  November 15, 2022 – Mariner Books

Review galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley


Is it possible to forget that you’ve committed a murder?

When Cassie Fitzgerald was at school in the late 90s, she and her friends killed a fellow student. Almost twenty years later, Cassie is a happily married mother who loves her job—as a police officer. She closely guards the secret she has all but erased from her memory.

One day her husband finally persuades her to go to a school reunion. Cassie catches up with her high-achieving old friends from the Manor Park School—among them two politicians, a rock star, and a famous actress. But then, shockingly, one of them, Garfield Rice, is found dead in the school bathroom, supposedly from a drug overdose. As Garfield was an eminent—and controversial—MP and the investigation is high profile, it’s headed by Cassie’s new boss, DI Harbinder Kaur, freshly promoted and newly arrived in London. The trouble is, Cassie can’t shake the feeling that one of them has killed again.

Is Cassie right, or was Garfield murdered by one of his political cronies? It’s in Cassie’s interest to skew the investigation so that it looks like it has nothing to do with Manor Park and she seems to be succeeding.

Until someone else from the reunion is found dead in Bleeding Heart Yard… (publisher)

My take:

I’m jumping into the Harbinder Kaur series in book three (it was pitched as a stand alone). Even though I don’t know a lot about her experiences in the first two books I felt that Elly Griffiths revealed enough important details. I really like DI Kaur and her team. She’s got her first big case at her new job in London and hopes to show everyone she deserves to be there.

I liked the class reunion at a posh school setting and all the trappings you’d expect. There were some surprises along the way but midway through the pace slowed for me and I grew a bit bored. What kept me reading, though, was DI Kaur and her team – and of course wanting to find out whodunnit. Will I read more in the series? If there’s another book I’ll definitely make time to read it.

About the author:

Elly Griffiths is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Magic Men mystery series, as well as the standalone novels THE STRANGER DIARIES, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and THE POSTSCRIPT MURDERS. She is the recipient of the CWA Dagger in the Library Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She lives in Brighton, England.


Spotlight: Gathering Dark

Today’s Spotlight title is GATHERING DARK by Candice Fox.  I plan to read it soon but wanted to tell readers about it now.  Tomorrow, March 16, is publication day – so congratulations to author Candice Fox!

Gathering Dark by Candice Fox

Expected publication:  March 16, 2021 – Forge Books


A convicted killer. A gifted thief. A vicious ganglord. A disillusioned cop. Together they’re a missing girl’s only hope.

Dr. Blair Harbour, once a wealthy, respected pediatric surgeon, is now an ex-con down on her luck. She’s determined to keep her nose clean and win back custody of her son. But when her former cellmate begs for help to find her missing daughter, Blair is compelled to put her new-found freedom on the line.

Detective Jessica Sanchez has always had a difficult relationship with the LAPD. And her inheritance of a multi-million dollar mansion as a reward for catching a killer has just made her police enemy number one.

It’s been ten years since Jessica arrested Blair for cold-blooded murder. So when Jessica opens the door to the disgraced doctor late one night she expects abuse, maybe even violence. What comes next is a plea for help…

About the author:

CANDICE FOX is the award-winning author of Crimson LakeRedemption Point, and Gone By Midnight. She is also co-writer with James Patterson of New York Times bestsellers Never NeverFifty Fifty, Liar Liar, and The Inn. She lives in Sydney.


Blood Orchids by Toby Neal

Title:  Blood Orchids – The Lei Crime Series

Author:  Toby Neal

Genre:  Crime fiction; series

Published:  November 2011 – Amazon Digital Services

About:  (Goodreads synopsis) Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise.
Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop in the sleepy Big Island town of Hilo. On a routine patrol she finds two murdered teenagers—one of whom she’d recently busted. With its echoes of her own past, the murdered girl’s harsh life and tragic death affect Lei deeply. She becomes obsessed—even as the killer is drawn to Lei’s intensity, feeding off her vulnerabilities and toying with her sanity.
Despite her obsession with the case and fear that she’s being stalked, Lei finds herself falling in love for the first time. Steaming volcanoes, black sand beaches and shrouded fern forests are the backdrop to Lei’s quest for answers—and the stalker is closer than she can imagine, as threads of the past tangle in her future. Lei is determined to find the killer—but he knows where to find her first.

My take:  Blood Orchids is definitely outside my reading comfort zone but I’m glad I gave it a try.  Lei Texeira is a deeply wounded character. She’s also very brave.  She survived a horrible childhood but never truly worked through her issues which has resulted in her being a bit of a loner. She avoids romantic relationships. Her abuser called her DG (for damaged goods) and that’s what she’s carried with her since that time. Lei relies on coping mechanisms to get through the times when her past comes to the forefront. Thankfully she has a great friend in her Rottweiler Keiki who offers her security and unconditional devotion.

When the case she’s working on shows possible similarities to what happened to her she vows to find the murderer and bring him to justice. Detective Michael Stevens is just as determined to solve the case as Lei. In addition, they are attracted to each other. She knows a relationship would be doomed so she tries to discourage him. He had a tough childhood as well and is determined to show Lei he’s willing to wait until she’s ready. Together they work on finding the murderer.

I loved the pace of the story. I found myself looking forward to picking the book up each day which is saying a lot since the book involves gruesome crimes. Neal is a native Hawaiian as well as a mental health therapist which came through in the novel. At one point Lei is ordered by her chief to attend counseling sessions. That is when she begins to address her childhood abuse. I liked the understated and compassionate therapist and wonder if she’ll appear in future books.

While not completely surprised by the identity of the murderer (there were a few possibilities) I was absorbed in the novel right through to the exciting conclusion. I recommend Blood Orchids and look forward to the next book in the series.

Source:  BookSparks PR.

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

♦  ♦  ♦

Raised on the island of Kauai, Neal uses her native knowledge and first-hand experience as a therapist to create realistic settings and experiences, complex characters and an all around chilling crime thriller.

For information about Toby Neal and Blood Orchids, visit Neal’s website.

You can also connect with her on Facebook and  Twitter .