The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers #BookReview #BlogTour

When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers today. Many thanks to the author, Manatee Books and Tracy Fenton for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

The opening chapter of The Dark Place briefly introduces the reader to Issy as she returns home following her first year at university. We learn very little about her here, other than she is the mother of a young son, Noah who is cared for by her parents and she seems to struggle to know how to relate to him. The moment when her life comes to a sudden and violent end is a shocking …

No Remorse by Robert Crouch #BookReview #BlogTour




Old sins cast long shadows.
An old man dead. Dementia or murder? Threats won’t stop Kent Fisher from finding out.
At luxury retirement home, Nightingales, appearance matters more than the truth. But what is the truth? Was Anthony Trimble killed as he predicted? If so, who wanted him out of the way, and why?
Kent puzzles over the only clue Trimble left him. Are the numbers a mysterious code that could reveal his dark secret, or items on a takeaway menu?
Kent has to dig deep. Then people start dying.
Will Kent win the race to discover the truth, or become the next victim?

With shades of Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton, No Remorse brings a refreshing twist to the traditional murder mystery.

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for No Remorse book by Robert Crouch today. Many thanks to the author and Caroline Vincent from Bits About Books for inviting me and for my ecopy of the novel.
No Remorse is the third in Robert Crouch's Kent Fisher series about an environmental health officer who finds himself solving crimes. Having read all three books in quick succession I would recommend reading them in order if you can. They can be read as standalones but the relationship between characters evolves through the series and there are some spoilers should you read the books out of order.
It's obviously not really realistic for an environmental health officer to be investigating murders and as such this series will definitely appeal to cosy crime readers who enjoy seeing an amateur sleuth solves mysteries. With this being the third case for Kent Fisher, his reputation proceeds him and I loved the wry humour in the book that recognises that, with several characters making jokes about his crime solving successes. Kent is a fascinating character, his past has left him with an enormous chip on his shoulder, he has a - sometimes infuriating - problem dealing with authority and his love life is a mess. These character traits are obviously familiar to anybody who reads crime fiction but Fisher is also rather different from the embittered, hard-drinking fictional detectives - he is a teetotaller who runs an animal sanctuary and has a history of protesting against fox hunting, battling developers and companies who grow GMO crops and investigating animal cruelty. His years of dogged investigations into underhand practices mean he has no qualms about taking  whatever steps necessary to solve crimes but his methods and his past don't endear him to the police. It's clear he thrives on the excitement a new case offers, years of watching Columbo and Morse and reading Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton novels mean he is in his element when investigating what looks like a murder. It's perhaps inevitable then that his sleuthing leads to conflict in his day job and as he steps on more toes in the council it seems obvious that life isn't going to get any easier for him as the series progresses. 
Robert Crouch worked as an environmental health officer himself which gives the scenes involving Kent's work a sense of real authenticity, with regards to both the actual job checking out various establishments and the frustrations of dealing with cost-cutting exercises and pointless management speak. I imagine there's something quite cathartic about putting some of the more exasperating moments to paper! In No Remorse however, it's Kent's off duty activities that lead him into his latest case when he takes his dog, Columbo to a nursing home as a pets as therapy (PAT) animal for the elderly residents. An old man tries to confide in him but dies before Kent can find out his secrets then he starts finding sinister notes on his car windscreen. His investigation leads him to uncover decades old secrets as he learns that not everybody who oversees the running of residential establishments can be trusted...
Kent's personal life is engaging too; his ongoing problems with his romantic relationships and his desire to protect his animal sanctuary are almost as compelling as his investigations. I can't help feeling sorry for any woman he becomes involved with as he is still infatuated with Gemma - although I'm not entirely sure why as other than a sex-filled week many years ago, their relationship seems to be a toxic mix of sexual tension, mistrust, fear of commitment and poor communication. I'd like to be able to wish that they reunite but I haven't yet entirely warmed to Gemma and still need to be convinced that they would be better together than apart. I am looking forward to seeing where their relationship goes next though, their encounters in No Remorse mean I see plenty of trouble ahead. I'm sure that Kent will find himself attracted to another unlucky woman in the next book in the series but I must admit to hoping that his stock phrase about being unable to resist a white blouse, stretched to transparency over a well-filled bra is retired or at least rephrased as the series progresses. Admittedly I read all three books in quick succession so was more likely to notice the words repeated and I understand that the author wants to let new readers know about Fisher's weakness for waitresses but I believe that for returning readers that predilection has been well established now and perhaps could be expressed differently in future. This is a very minor quibble however, and certainly won't stop me enjoying further Kent Fisher books.
I really enjoyed No Remorse, the mystery is an engrossing puzzle with some intriguing twists and a real sense of danger. The ongoing development of the characters and their relationships has ensured that I'm eager to read the next book in the series and I'm looking forward to discovering what crime Kent Fisher stumbles across next.


Kent's West Highland White terrier, the fabulously named Columbo is rapidly becoming one of my favourite dogs in fiction and definitely deserves a special mention so what better way than through his crumpled, brilliant namesake!

No Remorse is available to purchase here. Don't miss the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.


About the Author

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.
At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he's soon embroiled in murder.
Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.
Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.
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