I’m in love – with a thriller series

Anyone who follows me on social media will know that I spend as much time reading and falling in love with books as I do writing them.  I have read so many good books in 2017, including Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton, Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood and Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan (not out until 2018), all of which stand out for very different reasons.

You might also know I’m a huge fan of crime and thriller novels, and if I can get my teeth stuck into a good crime series, then even better.  Well, I now have a new favourite series, complete with one of the best fictional detectives I’ve ever come across who, in only two books, has stalked his way into my heart.


I downloaded Perfect Remains by Helen Fields to my Kindle because it was 99p and Avon Books, the HarperCollins imprint who publish it, seemed rather excited about it on Twitter.  (And, while I shouldn’t be biased, HarperCollins do publish some rather good books).  Because of my overburdened reading pile it took me a while to start it, but when I did I quickly realised I had discovered something special.

Helen Fields’ books are set in Edinburgh, and the cases are investigated by DI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach.  Ava Turner is fiery and determined, but she’s also funny, warm and kind – she hasn’t sacrificed her empathy for ambition.  Luc Callanach is half Scottish and half French, and has recently returned to Scotland after his Interpol career ended in less than happy circumstances.  A former model, he’s sometimes remote and short tempered, and to begin with I struggled to warm to him.  But then, as he started working with DI Turner, I stopped struggling, and I began to warm to him like a marshmallow turning slowly over a camp fire.  I melted.

By the end of the first book I was hooked – I’m sure I stopped breathing a few times,  and then I went online immediately to find out when the second book in the series, Perfect Prey, was coming out.  I only had a couple of months to wait, and the sense of relief was huge.  Avon Books very kindly (or under duress – I may have pestered a bit) sent me a proof last week, and I managed to make it last all of two days, and that was exercising my utmost restraint.  Needless to say, I liked it quite a lot.

I was trying to work out why I love these books so much, why they resonate with me more than most other series I enjoy.   They feel like they’ve been written for me; they fulfil every single thing I like about crime thrillers, and it’s such a brilliant feeling when you find a book like that.  We are Made For Each Other. 


Firstly, I love Edinburgh, it’s one of my favourite places in the world; it has a wonderful atmosphere, it’s historic and modern and sinister and welcoming all at the same time, and so any novel set there immediately has me on side.  Then there are the crimes, which are complex, original and scary – definitely at the top end of grizzly – with killers who are unique and unpredictable.  There are always more lives at stake, and that adds so much tension, and to the pressure put on the detectives solving the case.

Then, of course, there are the characters.  DI Turner and DI Callanach have a brilliant supporting cast of officers and civilians that help them get to the truth.  Helen Fields has such a clever way of teasing out the plot, so that with every turned page you care more about Luc, Ava and their team, and by the end are as ragged as if you’d been involved in the chase yourself.

And Luc Callanach is, without a doubt, my new favourite tortured hero.  I love him even more than I love Wolf in Ragdoll, which is saying a lot.

DI Luc Callanach is brooding but focussed, he puts everything aside to catch the killers; personal safety, procedure, happiness, sleep.  He’s always in just the right amount of danger that you’re constantly worried about him.  He’s gorgeous, he has a French accent – he’s undeniably attractive in lots of ways – but he’s often distant, he makes himself untouchable, and underneath everything he’s battling with the repercussions of events in his past.  He’s a complicated character – the phrase ‘tortured hero’ puts him in a box that doesn’t really do him justice – and his relationship with Ava Turner is as compelling as the crimes they’re trying to solve.


They’re gripping, brilliant, addictive books, and knowing that I only have to wait until January for number three, called Perfect Death – the title alone makes me a bit trembly – means that things are, I think, going to be OK.  I’ve set up a new collection on my Kindle, I’ll download Perfect Prey on Thursday despite having the proof, so I can keep books one and two in my handbag at all times (can anyone say “book geek”?)  I can cope with six months . . . just about.

So if you’re stuck in a reading rut, wondering what to try next or looking for a new author to sweep you away, and you don’t mind your stories dark and gruesome, then look no further.  But a word of warning . . . you might well find yourself counting down the days until your next Luc Callanach fix, just like I am.



The Canal Boat Café full novel is 99p

My second novel, The Canal Boat Café, has been chosen as part of Kindle’s summer sale, and is currently the less-than-a-coffee price of 99p!

Eagle-eyed readers might also have spotted on Amazon a couple of new titles, The Canal Boat Café Christmas parts 1 & 2.  It’s a follow up to The Canal Boat Café, and returns to Willowbeck to see Summer and Mason embarking on a new adventure, which is not without its hitches!


I’m looking forward to letting you know more details, and revealing the covers, very soon.  In the meantime, why not snap up the original story and give your Kindle a summer treat.


The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse is published today

It’s finally here!  My third novel, The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse, is published today in full ebook and also super-stroky paperback.


Here’s a bit more about it.

Robin Brennan has come home to Campion Bay. Now her parents have retired, she’s set to become the new landlady of The Campion Bay Guesthouse.

Bookings have been as thin as the hand towels, and it doesn’t take long for Robin to realise that the place needs a serious makeover. Perhaps throwing herself into the task will help to heal her sadness at the tragic end to her dreams in London.

As she gives the guesthouse a new lease of life, Robin encounters old friends and new, including old flame Tim, who’d clearly like to reboot their romance. But what about Will, the new arrival at No. 4, who’s rocked up with the cutest dog ever?

Caught up in a flurry of full-English breakfasts and cream teas, Robin’s never sure what, or who, the next check-in will bring…

If you pick up a copy, I love to see photos of you reading it, or the paperback sitting snugly on a bookshelf somewhere.  You can get in touch with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, or the contact form on this website.  And if you can take five minutes out to write a review and pop it on Amazon or Goodreads, I’d be very grateful – they really make a difference.

Happy reading!


Cressy x

The Writing Life

Today I started my new job – as a full time writer. Instead of fitting in my writing and editing, plotting and promotion into my Writing Wednesdays, and the evenings and weekends, it’s now my day job. No longer do I need to haul myself out of bed, put on vaguely presentable clothes and go to the local county council offices, where I have worked for the last eight and a half years.

I can write in my pyjamas, I can have Radio 1 or Classic FM accompanying me, I can spend more time staring out of the window at the back garden, currently the purple and yellow of Lilac and Laburnum, and think about how best to construct the next scene, or whether a character is working in the role I’ve given them.

This has been my dream for almost ten years, ever since I decided I was going to write a novel – because by that point writing had become more than just a hobby, it was something I needed to do. Part of me never thought I’d see this day, that it would always be a magical, unreachable wish, and now that it’s here I’m excited and daunted, and I also feel a little guilty.

img_1128.jpgI am being paid to make up stories: to sit in my office at home surrounded by books, with photos of Ross-Aidan-Turner-Poldark on my wall, a figure of Beast from the recent Beauty and the Beast film cheering me on from my desk, and the sparkle of my lava lamp. Coffee, chocolate biscuits and fruit are a staircase away, ready to fuel me while I create new worlds, heroines and heroes.

And then, at the end, I am rewarded with my words being turned into a book with a beautifully designed cover and, in the case of the paperback, end-matter and riffling pages, that people will read and enjoy and talk to me about. It feels naughty; I keep wondering what the catch is.

I also wonder if I can do it. Am I destined to fail, to suddenly lose my productivity or get crippling writer’s block now the days stretch ahead of me? Will I become a mumbling hermit, so unused to human interaction that I forget how to be sociable and develop a fear of leaving the house? Will my sales dry up, forcing me to look for a new “day job” in six months’ time? I’m sure everyone who has made this leap has felt this way; I know I’m not alone.

Also, as my friends and family have been reminding me, I have worked towards this day for nearly ten years, through rejections and close calls before the magic of my book deal, then late night copy edits to meet deadlines, and many many days at the council when I wished so badly that I was at home finishing a chapter, turning the ideas into paragraphs and pages.

Well, now that’s what I do. This is my job. I have been given the chance to do what I love for a living, to turn that long-imagined daydream into reality, and I’m going to make the most of it. Have you ever fulfilled a dream? Was it scary as well as blissful? I’d love to hear your experiences.

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse – full novel cover reveal

I’m thrilled to share the cover for the complete novel of The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse.  This is the cover for the full Kindle edition and also the paperback, both of which are out on the 29th of June. It’s a combination of all the best bits of the series covers, and I’m over the moon (!) with it. What do you think?

Cover Paperback

The fourth and final part of The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse, Wish You Were Here, came out yesterday, and if you’ve read it then I’d love to know what you think. You can leave a review on Amazon, or get in touch with me via the contact page on here, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

If, however, you’re waiting for the complete novel to come out, either as an eBook or a paperback, then I hope you like the jacket it comes in! I’m pretty chuffed with it, I have to say.

Cressy xx

Do Not Disturb is published today

Today is the release day for part 3 of my current series, The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse.  It’s called Do Not Disturb, and it’s the penultimate part of Robin’s story. Here’s the blurb:

image003Robin is devastated that a rift has come between her and her neighbour Will. To add to her anxiety, the other residents of Campion Bay are relying on Robin to halt a property developer’s assault on the Bay’s unique charm.  But Robin needs Will’s help to stop them − perhaps it’s time to reveal why she really came home to Campion Bay.

In between finding the perfect English breakfast tea for her guests and checking her reviews on Tripadvisor, Robin decides that only the personal touch can bring Will around.

Could Lorna, the quiet and enigmatic new guest offer a solution, or will Tim, her single-minded ex, make sure that it’s he − and not Will − who gets the five-star treatment…

If you want to start at the beginning, parts 1 and 2 are Open for Business and Fully Booked. It’s not that long until the final part, Wish you were here, is published, and that will be followed by a paperback and ebook containing all four instalments.

Check back next week when I’ll be doing a cover reveal for the paperback of The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse – it’s a proper stunner!

I’d love to know what you think of Do Not Disturb, or if you want to get in touch for any other reason then you can visit the contact page.

Happy reading!

Cress x

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole: one of the best books I have ever read

I’ve never taken part in a blog tour before – I’ve only had my blog for a couple of weeks – and I couldn’t think of a better book to pop my blog tour cherry with.

0k4gqfcc-jpg-largeIt’s no secret to anyone who knows me that, while the books I write are heartwarming and romantic, I am a huge fan of crime thrillers – the darker and more gruesome the better.  I’ve read a lot of them, I’ve inhaled them and raved about them, and when I got my hands on a proof of Ragdoll I’d already heard a lot about it.  I was excited, I had high expectations, but it turned out my expectations weren’t close to scaling the dizzy heights of brilliance that Daniel Cole reaches.

It is, quite simply, one of the best books I have ever read.

Usually it takes me a few chapters to get into a book, to feel at home with the characters and work out who I care about, and to get swept up in the plot, but Ragdoll had me from the first page.  I could have raced through it and finished it in a couple of days, but I already knew it was special, that I needed to savour every word, and so I restricted it to bedtime reading, when there would be no television or tweets to distract me and I could give it my whole attention.

It is satisfying on so many levels, and so perfectly balanced that nothing feels weak or out of place.  It has a fantastically gruesome opening, and the premise is genius.  It’s laugh-out-loud funny, but the humour doesn’t take away from the tension at all.  And there are the wonderful characters, who I cared about as much as I did the resolution of the case.  It’s an adrenaline-fuelled ride, but one that retains its emotion and heart, which makes it all the more chew-your-fingers-down-to-the-knuckle stressful.

And it has Wolf, who is my new favourite fictional hero.  Everyone loves a sexy, tortured hero (don’t they?) but so often they’re over-macho; they power through, physical blows glancing off them, foiling the baddie with relative ease at the end and coming out as some kind of unnatural superman.  Wolf is different.  He’s flawed, he has moments of real weakness and self-doubt, but his heart is undeniably in the right place.  He’s loveable and believable.  He has a Bon Jovi Keep the Faith tour T-shirt.

I’m not kissing it, honest!

Daniel Cole is an incredible, brave writer, and I’d be gutted if I hadn’t seen that it was the first in a series.  I can’t wait for book two, and I already know that it will be shocking and hilarious and brilliant.

I am very very lucky to be going to the launch this evening.  I am going to try (and inevitably fail) to remain cool and composed and not fall in a gushing puddle of admiration at Daniel Cole’s feet.

Ragdoll is scary and funny and tense and warm and emotional and dark – and it’s all of those things in spades!  Believe the hype.  Read it.  Whimper a lot, snort tea out of your nose and fall in love with it.

It has hooked me completely, and this is one occasion when I’m very happy to be a victim


Fully Booked is published today

The second part of my new series, The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse, is published today.  It’s called Fully Booked, and it’s the next part of Robin’s story.  Here’s a little taster:

image002Robin’s reinvention of her parent’s guesthouse is a hit. Bookings are up and the carefully themed rooms are hugely popular with the guests. Life in Campion Bay is turning out to be much more eventful than she ever imagined – it’s far from the sleepy seaside town that Robin remembers.

She’s secretly thrilled to have a charismatic new guest in the shape of Will, the attractive man from next door. He’s inherited the house from his aunt, but it’s in a ramshackle state and now he’s staying at the guesthouse while he decides what to do next.

Meanwhile, Tim, Robin’s sexy ex-boyfriend, has designs of his own on Will’s house and Robin soon finds herself with divided loyalties. Life is tricky enough having to juggle the needs of her eccentric guests − can Robin make things right with Will before he checks out for good?

What do you think?  It makes most sense if you’ve read the first part, Open for Business, but it can be read as a standalone too.

If you do read it, then I’d love to know what you think!

Publication day never gets any less special, even though I’m very lucky to get five of them for each book – for the four parts, and then the full novel.  Today, I’m travelling up to Sheffield with my husband, and we’ll go out for dinner somewhere nice.  It’s beautifully sunny here too, which is always so welcome in February. Maybe spring is finally on its way!

You can buy Fully booked from any ebook retailer, but here are the links for Amazon, iBooks, WHSmiths and Kobo.