April Editor’s Pick – Rebellion’s Message

It was a tough decision this month, but publisher Kate chose REBELLION’S MESSAGE by Michael Jecks, with RAT RUN by Caro Ramsay a very close second:

9781780290850“We are delighted to welcome to Severn House the long-established and much-loved crime writer Michael Jecks with REBELLION’S MESSAGE, the first in a brand-new Tudor mystery series. The author of more than thirty novels in the Knights Templar medieval mystery series, this is an intriguing new departure for Jecks, who sets this new novel during the brief but bloodstained reign of Queen Mary, elder sister of Elizabeth I.

This is a less familiar backdrop to historical crime fiction than the more well-documented Elizabethan age, but for me it worked very well as Jecks succeeds in bringing mid-sixteenth century London vividly to life in all its teeming muck, noisiness and squalor, and I was fascinated to be introduced to a period of history of which I’d had relatively little prior knowledge. Real historical characters mingle seamlessly with fictitious, and I particularly liked Jecks’ depiction of the embattled Queen Mary herself, revealing a rather different perspective on this much-maligned royal figure than her usual ‘Bloody Mary’ reputation would dictate.

In the roguish cutpurse and adventurer Jack Blackjack, Jecks has created an endearingly amoral yet forthright, rough-and-ready, redblooded detective hero, who succeeds in engaging the reader’s sympathy as he finds himself constantly being crossed and double-crossed, never quite knowing whom to trust, tormented by his doomed love for the duplicitous Moll and frequently whacked over the head!

The fast-moving plot throws up plenty of credible suspects and cunningly planted clues – and I confess that I was taken wholly by surprise when the identity of the killer was finally revealed. In short, a fabulous first in a highly promising new series and I hope we will be seeing much more of Jack Blackjack in the years to come.”

Request REBELLION’S MESSAGE on NetGalley now


Wuff Justice – thrilling Pet Mysteries

Pets and mysteries – nothing could be better, apart from a combination of the two! We’ve rounded up a list of our cat and dog mysteries for you to purr over.

WRITTEN IN RED by Annie Dalton

9780727885951More thriller than cosy, WRITTEN IN RED is the second in Annie Dalton’s fabulous new Oxford Dogwalkers mystery series. A well-written, intricately plotted novel, its stunning Oxford setting will especially appeal to Anglophiles.

When a college professor is found brutally attacked in his rooms at Walsingham College, heroine Anna Hopkins discovers that he had a connection with her fellow dogwalker, Isadora, who knew him as an undergraduate in the 1960s. It turns out that Isadora has been keeping a surprising secret all these years: a secret that has its roots in the Cold War and a 50-year-old unsolved murder case.  It’s up to Anna, Isadora and Tansy, the dogwalking detectives, to find out the truth about what happened all those years ago, and discover who was responsible for the attack on the professor.

“This taut, suspense-filled, nail-biter of a mystery is chock-full of surprises and will appeal to a wide range of mystery lovers.” – Booklist

Pre-order now


9780727885746CURTAINS FOR MISS PLYM by Kathleen Delaney

Mary McGill returns for her second small-town Californian mystery alongside doggy sidekick Millie.

Preparations for Santa Louisa’s annual spring rummage sale are thrown into chaos when organizer Mary McGill and her devoted cocker spaniel Millie come across a dead body on the premises. Still wearing her pink nightdress and slippers, what on earth was Miss Emilie Plym doing in a locked church hall in the dead of night? And who on earth would want to harm a sweet-natured but confused elderly lady who wouldn’t hurt a fly?

As Mary investigates, she discovers that not everyone had Miss Plym’s best interests at heart, and at least one of those who should have been caring for her is hiding a shocking secret.

“Plenty of wit and humor round out this intelligent, appealing mystery. Fans of Laurien Berenson should be introduced to this series” – Booklist

Buy now


9780727886026HIGH JINX by Shannon Esposito

Fans of Laurien Berenson should take note of this wickedly entertaining, lighthearted pet mystery series starring doggie-yoga instructor Elle Pressley, whose canine clientele are rather better behaved than their human owners. Shannon Esposito has come up with a twisty and entertaining murder mystery, underpinned by Elle’s fun, flirty relationship with sexy Irish PI Devon Burke.

When Elle Pressley’s eccentric Greek client tells her she’s been cursed by the evil eye, Elle shrugs it off – until she discovers a body hanging from the kitchen rafters at a Halloween party.

Finding herself dragged into the ensuing investigation, Elle turns to her new boyfriend, Devon Burke, the local P.I. With Devon distracted by new evidence in his parents’ murder case and Elle’s streak of bad luck continuing, is fate about to deliver them both into the hands of a determined killer?

A perfect summer read for dog lovers and cozy fans alike.

“The motive and red herrings will keep fans of both light mysteries and romance interested in this fun new addition to the pet cozy genre” – Booklist on Faux Pas

Pre-order now


9780727885715.jpgTHE NINTH LIFE by Clea Simon

If you are a fan of cat mysteries, then you must have heard of Clea Simon – and if you haven’t, then now’s the time to fix that. With THE NINTH LIFE, the first in a new series, Clea steps away from her cozier Dulcie Schwartz series into an altogether darker landscape.

THE NINTH LIFE introduces Blackie, an unusual feline hero, and his companion Care. The past is an enigma to Blackie, until he is rescued from drowning by lonely pink-haired Care. Living on the streets, the only comfort Care had was snatched away when her mentor was murdered. Determined to avenge his death, with Blackie at her side, she must first escape the clutches of drug dealers, murderers and thieves.

Combining elements of feline fantasy and cozy whodunit, The Ninth Life follows the murky journey of two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives, and for the lives and memories of those they love.

If you want to know more about Clea and cat mysteries, head over to The Wall Street Journal‘s article. 

“Noir fans who are fond of felines will find a lot to like.” – Publishers Weekly

Buy now


9780727886101.jpgNO SECOND CHANCES by Lyndon Stacey

NO SECOND CHANCES is the fourth mystery set in Britain’s beautiful West Country and featuring ex-police dog handler Daniel Whelan and his devoted German Shepherd, Taz. In this latest outing, Daniel finds he’s bitten off rather more than he can chew when he comes to the aid of one of his neighbours, who’s being threatened by a pair of menacing thugs. Thus Daniel finds himself drawn into the complex affairs of the Myers family – with potentially fatal consequences for himself and Taz.

As well as its obvious attraction to dog lovers, NO SECOND CHANCES  will appeal to anyone who enjoys a strong, well-written mystery in a gorgeous rural setting.


“Daniel and Taz work as a perfect team in pursuit of the killer, and their warm relationship helps make this a feel-good book” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review of Nothing but Lies

Pre-order now

9780727885470LIGHTS, CAMERA, MURDER! by Marie Celine

With the latest installment in this fun series coming out later this year, now is the perfect opportunity to meet Pet Chef Kitty Karlyle in this playful series opener.

Kitty serves gourmet meals to pampered canines, cats, birds, snakes, Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs and most any other pet belonging to her wealthy and quirky L.A. clientele. In a town where pets have their own psychologists and masseuses, why shouldn’t they have their own chefs too?

Kitty finds herself somewhat reluctantly hosting a new cooking show called ‘The Pampered Pet’. While shooting the pilot, the show’s producer is found in her office with a knife in her back – one of Kitty’s knives, to be exact. The list of suspects is long and time is short. If Kitty can’t find the killer soon, her own goose might be cooked.

A fun summer read, ideal for foodies and dog lovers.

“Celine adds a jaunty, madcap note to the proceedings with a touch of magic. Recipes for pet food from Kitty’s business add an unusual note to this light and fun addition to the pet mystery genre.” – Booklist

Buy now