The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine


The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine

Released in paperback on 7th March is the latest best-seller by Barbara Erskine. The Ghost Tree (Harper Collins). The main character Ruth Dunbar has returned to Edinburgh after the death of her father. Now she is faced with sifting through all his belongings.


Ruth is having a tough time after the break-up of her marriage and also losing her career. The death of her father has come as a latest blow. Sifting through her father’s she now comes across a cupboard full of possessions belonging to her mother among them are letters and documents and also diaries kept by her mother’s ancestor Thomas Erskine. Thomas really lived a life but as she reads she begins to feel she is not alone in this isolated room at the top of the house.

As the name of the book suggests this is also a ghost story. But it is not just the ghost of Thomas Erskine that Ruth can feel, as she discovers more about Thomas’s past she also realises that he had his enemies and now she feels the presence of not only Thomas but also his enemy.


Ruth now must count on her friends who have experience in dealing with the paranormal. This is not really a scary ghost story but you find this novel dealing with aspects of trying to rid the house of the ghostly existence.

The story moves between the past and the present and this historical part of the novel I enjoyed more especially as Barbara Erskine brought into the novel her great-great-great-great-great grandfather Thomas Erskine who she heard so much about through her own family.

It is not only the past that contains enemies but also the present for Ruth, one such person is Timothy one man that really is not at all pleasant and is seriously questioning Ruth’s inheritance.

If you are a fan of Barbara Erskine then this really is for you.

592 Pages.

Thank you to Charlotte Walker from LoveReading for the review copy of The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine.

The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine was published by Harper Collins and was published on 7th March 2019 in Paperback and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

The Ghost Tree – Blog Tour 

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The Wolf Road – Beth Lewis

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The Wolf Road – Beth Lewis

The Official Blog Tour




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In the latest in a series of Meet the Author Interviews I am delighted to welcome Beth Lewis to talk about her stunning debut novel The Wolf Road which is has just been released through The Borough Press and is available through Waterstones and all good bookshops.


Congratulations on your debut novel The Wolf Road, can you tell you tell us a little of what The Wolf Road is about?

The Wolf Road is about Elka, a young girl who discovers the man who raised her, is a killer. Upon finding this out, she flees into a scarred wilderness to find her real parents but neither the man, Trapper, nor the law on his tail, aren’t letting her go that easily. To me, it’s about a girl’s journey, about facing her demons and trying to find her own place in the world.

 How did you come up with such a compelling post- apocalyptic storyline?

Firstly, thank you for calling it compelling! It was pretty organic. I had a start point, Elka in the trees watching the man she once loved, I had a moment in the middle, and a vague sense of where I wanted Elka to end up, but other than that, it all came together on its own. It’s that old, annoying thing writers say, ‘the character led the story’ but Elka really did. Like hell I could make her do anything she didn’t want to do!

 Can you give us a little idea of the research that was required to write such an extraordinary book?

Thank you! The research was the best part. I was already an ardent, long-time fan of survival shows and movies, and nature documentaries, so knew I wanted to write something set in the wild. I had the base knowledge of the area and skills but I wanted a more hands-on experience so I spent a weekend in the woods learning bushcraft and survival skills. I slept in the woods, built a shelter, made fires, set traps and prepared game. I was uncomfortable and hungry and cold, woke up shivering, covered in dew. It was brilliant and gave me invaluable, real experience to draw on for Elka’s story.

 The cover art design is incredible. Did you come up with the idea for the artwork?

I can’t take any credit for that! Dom Forbes at HarperCollins designed the cover and it’s just perfect, he did a fantastic job. My only real input was saying I liked bold, typographical covers. They took that, ran with it, and came up with something striking and beautiful.

 I always like to ask authors about their writing process, how long did it take to write The Wolf Road? And do you have a ‘quiet’ location where you write?

It took about three months to write, all over one rather frenzied summer. Looking back on it, it’s mostly a blur but I remember it being crazy fun. My wife told me I was a nightmare during that summer but I think she’s happy with the results.

In terms of a ‘quiet’ location, hell no. I can’t write in silence but I can’t write to music either. I spent my weekends and days off in a café. White noise, no TV, and rubbish WiFi are key ingredients to my perfect writing environment.

 How does it feel now that you have your first novel published? Are there plans for a book tour?

It still feels unreal, even after seeing it in bookshops. It’s always been my dream to have a book published, right from childhood. It’s the reason I work in publishing and the reason I spend my evenings and weekends hunched over a laptop, so to have that dream come true takes a bit of getting used to. It’s amazing and I’m so thankful. I’m not sure about a book tour at this stage but I wouldn’t rule it out.

 Do you have a favourite author? And what are you reading at present?

It’s too hard to pick just one favourite but I adore David Mitchell, Sarah Waters, Stephen King, Clive Barker, and I loved The North Water by Ian McGuire, A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and so many more. I’m currently reading Norwegian Wood by Lars Mytting and Barkskins by Annie Proulx, what can I say, I like trees!

For your chance to win a copy of The Wolf Road read on.

The Last Word Review


As debut novels go The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis stands as a post-apocalyptic novel that takes the reader on a journey into the wilderness of North America. Written through the words of the leading character Elka a young lady brought up by a man she only knows as ‘Trapper’ a hunter and very much a loner. This following a storm in what Elka knows as ‘the Big Stupid’ an apocalyptic event. Without spoiling for the reader I will let them decide what this event was.

Trapper has looked after Elka whereas she would not have survived alone and so young, I would not go as far to say they lived a happy peaceful life together but more or less co-existed. He taught her to hunt and stay alive the very things needed in this ‘new’ world following the ‘event’.

While venturing into town Elka discovers the Trapper has a name Kreagar Hallet and he is wanted for murder. This changes everything for Elka and she realises she can no longer stay with the man who has been looking after her. She needs to escape and now we join her on a journey to try and find her real parents. If indeed they are still alive. Out in the wilderness were you must fight to stay alive where others would wish you harm. But there was something else about that wanted poster that puts Elka’s life in real danger. She is being hunted. This is an enthralling epic adventure that from the very first page Beth Lewis snares the reader and you face every twist and turn with Elka. It is brilliantly written and as dark and sinister the plot is there is some great humour added.

The real beauty for me was in the fact that all the hunting and survival skills that ‘Trapper’ taught her she uses in the wilderness to stay alive, now the real Elka comes forward as she fights the elements right down to catching and killing for food you are alongside her every step of her journey out of the hell and the darkness of her past. Imagine being out in the devastated wilderness and fearing you are being followed and hunted down, you run for fear you run for the fear of what will happen to you if they catch you. And Elka does run as fast as she can. This is a land were law and order does not exist so it is a fight for survival and trusting only yourself. As time moves on Elka starts to think about the past and she starts to question herself and was she Kreagar’s accomplice what was her role in all that took place. She must put this aside to keep her safe.

The Wolf Road is a remarkable story and one of the best stories of survival it is an astonishingly brilliant in the way the voice of Elka comes through every page it is unique in how her voice is transcribed onto the reader. Very quickly you will be accustomed to Elka’s personality and style of language.

I must admit to loving The Wolf Road and the story of a brave tough young lady fighting her surroundings and fighting to survive. A stunning debut novel from Beth Lewis and one I am delighted to recommend.


Thank you to Jaime Frost at The Borough Press for the advanced review copy.

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis and published by The Borough Press was released on 30 June 2016 and is available through Waterstones and all good bookshops.

The Wolf Road Official Blog Tour 2016.


You have read the interview with Beth Lewis and then my review, so now I have wetted your appetite, do you fancy winning a copy?


Now here is your chance to win a copy of the excellent The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis Just head over to my Twitter feed @Thelastword1962 and follow and Retweet the pinned review tweet and you will be entered into the draw. (UK Only) The free draw closes on today 8th July 2016 at 20.00hrs. The winner will be selected at random and notified via a DM through Twitter and a copy will be sent out by the publishers.

Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell


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Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell

Review Date: 31 October 2015

Author: Patricia Cornwell

Release Date: 22 October 2015

Publishers: Harper Collins

ISBN –10: 0007552467

ISBN – 13: 978-0007552467


Available in Hardback, Kindle and audio

The Last Word Review

Dr Kay Scarpetta is back. Prepare for twists and prepare for the ultimate thriller

The Official Depraved Heart blog tour 2015

Depraved Heart is Patricia Cornwell’s twenty-third book that features the medical examiner Dr Kay Scarpetta. I must admit although I am a huge fan of Patricia Cornwell it has been a while since I have had the chance to read one of her superb thrillers.

Firstly I had one slight problem with Depraved Heart, it is a follow up to Flesh and Blood which was first released in November 2014. I had not read this so I was at a slight disadvantage as the story opened with Dr Scarpetta still recovering after being shot by a spear while underwater.

The one thing about Cornwell’s thrillers is that the timeframe is all very compact for some crime writers that may not work but Cornwell seems to have mastered the art of writing a fast paced enthralling thriller that happens within a short timeframe in Depraved Heart this is no exception.

Scarpetta is working on a case involving the death of Chanel Gilbert, Chanel is the daughter of a famous Hollywood producer Amanda Gilbert. What would seem like an accident involving Chanel falling from while changing a light bulb at her mother’s house. Dr Scarpetta thinks otherwise and suspects sinister motives and that this was no accident.

Depraved Heart is not just a crime thriller it is a psychological thriller as you progress through the story it becomes clear that Scarpetta starts to lose trust with many around her. When you are trying to solve a mystery and you suspect people around you it becomes a completely different scenario and it is fascinating to see how she interacts with others while solving the crime. One character in Depraved Heart that I was not sure about was Scarpetta’s niece Lucy, this part of the story is interesting as some will find her difficult and others will find it an interesting plot twister along with another leading character Carrie Grethen who is let’s be honest here no fan of Dr Scarpetta and this alone just adds to the impending tension that gathers apace through the book, the one thing that is guaranteed with Cornwell’s books is the ending, this one is no exception and it left me wanting more.

It has been truly fascinating to catch up with Dr Kay Scarpetta after so long and seeing how she has developed makes me want to go back and read all the ones I have missed over the years. Loyal fans will love Depraved Heart and I look forward to the next chapter in the Kay Scarpetta thrillers.

Thank you to Hayley Camis and Harper Collins for a review copy of Depraved Heart and for the opportunity to be part of the official blog tour. Sadly today is the last day my thanks to everyone who has taken part on the blog tour and for Hayley Camis who has worked so hard in arranging all the finer detail.


There is an opportunity to meet Patricia Cornwell at to forthcoming events to coincide with the release of Depraved Heart. Meet the No1 best-selling author who has sold over 100 million books in the series. – event in LONDON -event in MANCHESTER

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Meet the Author

Patricia Cornwell


Patricia Cornwell is the 2008 winner of the Galaxy British Book Awards’ Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year – the first American ever to win this prestigious award. Postmortem was the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year and Cruel and Unusual won the coveted Gold Dagger Award in 1993.

Book Review: Into the Fire by Manda Scott


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Into The Fire by Manda Scott

Review Date: 21 June 2015

Author: Manda Scott

Release Date: 18 June 2015

Publishers: Bantam Press (Transworld Publishers)

ISBN 10: 0593072472

ISBN – 13: 0593072479


Available in Hardback, and Kindle.

Authors Website:

As Part of the ‘into the Fire’ blog Tour

The Last Word Review:

‘Historical thriller with a burning desire to keep you guessing to the very end’

Imagine a thriller spanning 600 hundred years. Sounds incredible but that is exactly what Manda Scott has achieved just that with Into the Fire.

This is a unique recipe of two great crime novels rolled into one outstanding read that will keep the reader up all night. You have been warned.

The key characters are the Police Capitaine Ines Picaut from current time and from 1429 Joan of Arc trying to turn the tide in the war with the English.

The story opens in current time (2014) and Orleans is under attack by arsonists and on this occasion Capitaine Picaut is called to a hotel in the centre of the old town that has been hit and this time amid the flames lies the charred remains of a body of a male but his identity is unknown. All she has to go on are Islamic extremists claiming responsibility. Who is the dead man? Did he know his attackers? The post mortem later revealed a memory card lodged in his throat. As the investigations move forward to try and solve this crime, the arsonists strike again this time the CCTV cameras have footage. The chase is now on, but there is more to this story that a modern day crime.

In 1429 Joan of Arc (The Maid of Orléans) was in the process of fighting the English, and Tomas Rustbeard has been sent as an undercover operative to seek out and eventually kill ‘The Maid’ and the myth that surrounds her. This part of the story in woven skilfully by the author in to the modern day crime spree.

I have a bucket full of admiration for Manda Scott and the volume of research that has been undertaken to write this novel that spans 600 years. I will admit at first just holding the book I was not sure if it would stand up, but I was nothing but blown away by the storyline and style of writing.

The characters that appear in the pages of Into the Fire are not only strong and but believable as well as the outstanding storyline. Without doubt it will make it to my shortlist of books of 2015.

This is a book that should be on your reading list for this summer it has bags of Heroism and evil to match and keep the reader glued to every page as it weaves from 2014 back to 1429. A true masterclass in historical fiction writing.




Meet the Author:

Manda Scott

Manda Scott  is a former veterinary surgeon who is now a writer, Born and educated in Glasgow, Scotland, she trained at the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine and now lives and works in Shropshire. She made her name initially as a crime writer. Her first novel, Hen’s Teeth, hailed by Fay Weldon as ‘a new voice for a new world’ was shortlisted for the 1997 Orange Prize, and No Good Deed was nominated for the 2003 Edgar Award.

Her subsequent novels, Night MaresStronger than Death and No Good Deed, for which she was hailed as ‘one of Britain’s most important crime writers’ by The Times, were published by Headline and are now published, along with her other books, by Transworld Publishers, an imprint of Random House. She writes both historical and contemporary thrillers. “The Boudica series” are her first historical novels.

Her more recent Rome series (written under the name MC Scott), beginning with The Emperor’s Spy, are spy thrillers, set in the same fictional universe with some of the surviving characters from the Boudica series.

Between the two major historical series, she wrote The Crystal Skull, a dual timeline novel with a historical thread set in the Tudor era and a contemporary thriller set in modern-day Cambridge.

Her latest novel is a fast-paced, dual timeline thriller, Into the Fire, which explores the truth behind the myth of Jeanne d’Arc – and the impact those revelations could have on modern day France.

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Competition time. Would you like to win a signed copy of Into the Fire by Manda Scott.  Head over to my Twitter page: @Thelastword1962 Just follow and retweet the post for this review and you will go into the draw to win a signed copy. Entries close at 9pm Friday 26 June and the Winner will be notified on Saturday morning.


Into The Fire by Manda Scott. The Blog Tour Dates.

It is Happy Publication Day to Manda Scott and Into The Fire released today. It is an outstanding read and will prove to be a sensational Summer hit. Look out for my review coming soon.

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To coincide with the release there is an official blog tour starting on June 20 and I will be hosting the tour on Friday 26 June and that is not all as there is an exciting free prize draw to win an autographed copy of Into The Fire. All you have to do is keep any eye on my Twitter feed @Thelastword1962 and look out for further details. In the meantime here are the tour dates for Into The Fire

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