Wish-List 5: Dublin Murder Squad

me-iiI have a strong interest in crime thrillers, and mystery. It’s not often I have the time to really dive into the genre. Though I must admit, this year I’ve read more crime thrillers than I have in recent years. There have been some truly great ones that have been published of late. I believe I came across this crime thriller on Facebook. I have seen, In the Woods quite often and never really looked into it. Until now.

Be sure to take a look at these fabulous books and check below for my Wish-List 5: A Bookish Halloween and other great Wish-List from my fellow book bloggers.

in-the-woodsIn the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.
Richly atmospheric and stunning in its complexity, In the Woods is utterly convincing and surprising to the end.

Look for French’s new mystery, The Trespasser, for more of the Dublin Murder Squad.

the-likenessThe Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad #2) by Tana French

Tana French astonished critics and readers alike with her mesmerizing debut novel, In the Woods. Now both French and Detective Cassie Maddox return to unravel a case even more sinister and enigmatic than the first. Six months after the events of In the Woods, an urgent telephone call beckons Cassie to a grisly crime scene. The victim looks exactly like Cassie and carries ID identifying herself as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie once used. Suddenly, Cassie must discover not only who killed this girl, but, more importantly, who is this girl? A disturbing tale of shifting identities, The Likeness firmly establishes Tana French as an important voice in suspense fiction.

faithful-placeFaithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad #3) by Tana French

Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was a nineteen-year-old kid with a dream of escaping his family’s cramped flat on Faithful Place and running away to London with his girl, Rosie Daly. But on the night they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn’t show. Frank took it for granted that she’d dumped him-probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. He never went home again. Neither did Rosie. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie’s suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank, now a detective in the Subline Undercover squad, is going home whether he likes it or not.

Getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out again. Frank finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind. The cops working the case want him out of the way, in case loyalty to his family and community makes him a liability. Faithful Place wants him out because he’s a detective now, and the Place has never liked cops. Frank just wants to find out what happened to Rosie Daly-and he’s willing to do whatever it takes, to himself or anyone else, to get the job done.

broken-harborBroken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad #4) by Tana French

In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin – half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned – two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder Squad’s star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once.

Scorcher’s personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk . . .

the-secret-placeThe Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad #5) by Tana French

The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says, I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.

Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. The Secret Place, a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

But everything they discover leads them back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen’s links to the Mackey family. St. Kilda’s will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly’s father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points toward his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined.

Book six: The Trespasser was recently Published-October 4th 2016. Hardcover, 449 pages.

Be sure to check out my Wish-List 5: A Bookish Halloween -A great selection for this season.

Here are some of the wish lists from a few of my friends this month:

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation-Coming Soon

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired-Coming Soon

Erin @ Flashlight Commentary


Wish-List Five: Sherlock Holmes

As an avid read and my love for searching for a good read, I have a list several miles long of books I want to get my hands on. A few of my fellow bloggers and I decided to share with our audience those books every month. This month for the five I have chosen on my wish-list are themed. I have always been a big Sherlock fan and I came across some books this week that I can’t believe I have not read! I love that writers have continued to publish stories about Sherlock. His relationships and the people he involves himself with to solve crimes is extraordinary! Let’s get started!

Dust and shadow

From the gritty streets of 19th century London, the loyal and courageous Dr. Watson offers a tale unearthed after generations of lore: the harrowing story of Sherlock Holmes’s attempt to hunt down Jack the Ripper.

As England’s greatest specialist in criminal detection, Sherlock Holmes is unwavering in his quest to capture the killer responsible for terrifying London’s East End. He hires an “unfortunate” known as Mary Ann Monk, the friend of a fellow streetwalker who was one of the Ripper’s earliest victims; and he relies heavily on the steadfast and devoted Dr. John H. Watson. When Holmes himself is wounded in Whitechapel during an attempt to catch the savage monster, the popular press launches an investigation of its own, questioning the great detective’s role in the very crimes he is so fervently struggling to prevent. Stripped of his credibility, Holmes is left with no choice but to break every rule in the desperate race to find the madman known as “the Knife” before it is too late.

A study in silks


In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch and sorcery the demon enemy of the Empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines — something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?

But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock Holmes’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.


The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes-adoring Londoners eagerly opened their Strand magazines, anticipating the detective’s next adventure, only to find the unthinkable: his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off. London spiraled into mourning — crowds sported black armbands in grief — and railed against Conan Doyle as his assassin.

Then in 1901, just as abruptly as Conan Doyle had “murdered” Holmes in “The Final Problem,” he resurrected him. Though the writer kept detailed diaries of his days and work, Conan Doyle never explained this sudden change of heart. After his death, one of his journals from the interim period was discovered to be missing, and in the decades since, has never been found. Or has it?

When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he’s about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: the missing diary. But when the world’s leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold — using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories — who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin’s ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits — and the assistance of an attractive yet enigmatic young detective — to save her cousin’s reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way.

Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this gripping novel heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice in young adult literature.

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared, she quickly embarks on a journey to London in search of her. But nothing can prepare her for what awaits. Because when she arrives, she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, fleeing murderous villains, and trying to elude her shrewd older brothers — all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother’s strange disappearance. Amid all the mayhem, will Enola be able to decode the necessary clues and find her mother?

There are so many more I discovered so I might have to do another wish list five in the near future of Sherlock reads! -Stephanie M. Hopkins


Check out The Maiden’s Court Wish-List 5: Spies in World War II

A Bookaholic Swede’s April Wish List: Sherlock Holmes

Flashlight Commentary’s Wishlist Reads: April 2016

A Literary Vacation’s Wish List-The Below Stairs Life

2 Kids and Tired Books’ Wish-list…Celebrities

New tales of the Old Town: With Stuart Laing

I would like to thank, Author Stuart S. Laing for being my guest on Layered Pages today. He is here to talk about why he chose his characters, the location for his story, period, who he writes for and his writing process. Stuart is a wonderful writer and has been instrumental in my own writing. I have learned so much through him. So please help me welcome, Stuart!

Please allow me to begin by first of all thanking Stephanie for allowing me the opportunity to share a little of my books with you. She is a rock of support that I and many other authors have come to know and appreciate for all the time and trouble she goes to on our behalf.

I write an ongoing series of mystery crime thrillers set in Georgian era Edinburgh prior to the development of the New Town featuring my main character Robert Young of Newbiggin and his family and friends. I try to weave real historical incidents into my tales as much as the plot allows me to do so.

Children of the Shadows

Why Those Characters?

Robert Young, his wife Euphemia, his close friend Captain Travers and Estelle Cannonby all existed prior to the first Edinburgh tale. They first appeared in a series of short stories written for the entertainment of the members of the Bible study group which I attended at the time. I wrote a couple of these short stories set during the 1650’s when my hometown was occupied by the New Model Army of Oliver Cromwell. These were passed around the members of the group who all enjoyed them and asked for more. In the end I was turning out a new short story which followed on from the previous one every week to keep them happy.

When I decided I wanted to write a full length book I knew the characters so well that I didn’t want to leave them behind and so they packed their bags and followed me across the Firth of Forth to have new adventures in the city of Edinburgh.

Robert solves crimes for the challenges it presents him as he strives to prove a client’s innocence, along with the financial rewards this service brings him, although he is rich in his own right from being heir to a small business empire built by his father.

Charles Travers, as captain of the Town Guard, works to prove the guilt of Robert’s clients but they are the best of friends despite this and will work together when required.

One surprise has been how much people have taken the character of Sergeant MacIan to their hearts. He started out in the first draft of A Pound of Flesh as a background character without even a name but he has somehow pushed his way to the fore and despite being a grouchy, crusty old reprobate with an “old fashioned” approach to meting out punishment for the guilty but women especially seem to love him.

Other characters such as Effie, Shona, Kitty and Alice Galbraith were also intended to be just the supporting cast but they also have all became regulars who demand their moment in the spotlight as the series has developed.

I am rather grateful to them all though as they all bring something new to the table and allow stories to develop in ways which I hadn’t even considered earlier.

A Pound of Flesh

Why Edinburgh?

Edinburgh, as a tourist hotspot, is familiar to people from all corners of the world and is a place I have always loved. Its history, its geography, its people, the pubs, museums, shops and culture including the International Festival and Fringe have always been close to my heart. Even as a teenager I loved escaping what I saw as the humdrum of life in a small Fife coastal town for the hustle, bustle, excitement and colour of Edinburgh so when I was looking for a location to anchor the books I knew that Scotland’s capital was the only logical place for me to choose.

It helped that I have several good maps of Edinburgh from the time which are invaluable to me as they not only allow me to visualise the city as it was in 1745 but also names all the closes and wynds (streets and alleys) which existed then.

Modern Edibourough Old Edenbuorgh

The modern photo shows St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile (High Street) while the drawing shows the old Tollbooth standing before the church prior to its destruction in 1817 but this is how the High Street would have looked at the time of the books. It’s mad to think that they built a prison in the middle of the busiest street in town but they did. They also built the Guardhouse a little further down the street also in the middle of the road. And we complain about town planners these days.

Why That Era?

I thought long and hard about this. I considered the Regency era and Victorian times as options when the New Town was thriving and there was a clear distinction between rich and poor: the poor had been left behind in the Old Town while the rich now occupied the broad and clean streets of the New. It was tempting to do so but in the end I knew that the 1740’s was a better choice. Edinburgh was still a cramped, walled town only a mile east to west and half that distance north to south but contained more than 70,000 people who lived literally heaped atop one another in towering tenements which at the time were the tallest buildings in Europe. It was that sense of everyone, rich and poor, living cheek by jowl that appealed to me.

The sense of claustrophobia must have been intense at times but from the history it seems that people were proud of their city where everything a man or woman could desire could be found from the markets, stalls and shops on their very doorstep.

Who Are You Writing For?

Hopefully for anyone who enjoys a good yarn whether they are history buffs or not. I know how touchy Historical Fiction fans can be about anachronisms or other errors and I can appreciate where they are coming from (I can’t watch war movies without pointing out things like the German tanks attacking our heroes in Normandy are actually American M48 Patton medium tanks, which is just one reason why my wife won’t watch war movies with me).

I have attempted to stick as closely as possible to the facts when it comes to locations, events and dress but at the same time recognise that the story is more important than whether a button would be bone or brass on a gentleman’s coat. If the story doesn’t hold the reader’s attention then such things simply won’t matter.

The Process of Writing

The first thing is the characters for me. I know them so well now that they have become friends who I have to protect and care for even if they do tend to do their own thing once the writing starts. I always work out the plot from beginning to end prior to starting writing down to the level of what happens in each chapter. Unfortunately the characters themselves tend to take over so the only things which remain unchanged from originally plotting the story to typing The End are the first scene and who the guilty party is. Anything else is pretty much fluid no matter how hard I try to force people to stick to the script!

When I am actually writing I normally sit down at my netbook at lunchtime and will write for on average four or five hours stopping only for regular doses of strong coffee. I need to have the television switched off as it is far too much of a distraction with its pretty flickering colours and images urging me to stop and look at the pictures. Music however is a different story. I work better if I am listening to my favourite music and that can be anything from Pachabel’s Canon in D to Iron Maiden to folky stuff such as the wonderful Birdy and her song Wings. Mumford and Sons, Marillion, Hawkwind, Big Country and The Clash all feature regularly on the soundtrack to every book as I write them.

The biggest secret to any writing process for me is simply this – don’t set yourself unrealistic deadlines. As an Indie author you are in control! You set the targets and create your own goals. Don’t expect to become an overnight success and have Hollywood knocking on your door demanding the right to turn your book into a blockbuster movie. Do it for fun. If you enjoy writing your book then there is more chance that people will enjoy reading it.

Thank you again to Stephanie for allowing me to share my stories with you today. I hope, if you are tempted to try them, that you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed bringing them to you. Now where is my coffee?

You’re welcome and thank you! Now enjoy that coffee!

About Stuart Laing:

Stuart Laing

Born in 1966 and raised on the east coast of Scotland in the ancient Pictish Kingdom of Fife. Stuart has been married to the love of his life for 20 years and they have blessed with a daughter. Completing the household is a cat which is also female leaving him heavily outnumbered.

He has always been fascinated by the history of Edinburgh and has spends most of his adult life studying Scottish history in all its aspects but always find himself being drawn back to the cobbled streets of the Old Town.

He would urge all visitors to Scotland’s ancient capital to (briefly) venture into one of the narrow closes running down from the Royal Mile to get a flavour of how alive with mischief, mayhem, love and laughter these streets once were.

Stuart’s book can be purchased here