The Mortuary by RC Bridgestock #ShortStory @RCBridgestock @DHHlitagency @caffeinenights

I am super excited to be able to share with you today a fabulous short story by RC Bridgestock, featuring none other than DI Dylan himself. Fans of the series do not want to miss this. I also have another one for you next week so make sure to check back!

So without further ado here it is. Enjoy!

The Mortuary 

One way or another post-mortems leave an indelible mark on the psyche.

 ‘Would you like a mint?’ Detective Inspector Jack Dylan said.

The young man shook his head. His face held a smirk. ‘Nah, I’ve got this covered thanks.’ He turned to Detective Sergeant Vicky Hardacre and with a wink of his eye he showed her a small, round metal tin and pointed to his nostrils. ‘My mate told me to put Vaseline up my nose.’

 ‘I found it makes the smell linger,’ she said, abruptly dismissing the young man, and turning to her boss.

Dylan shook his head. ‘Behave,’ he said under his breath. Vicky shrugged her shoulders, and gave a slow blink of an eye.

On entering the room it felt cold; hallucinatory bright – Dylan’s brain considered a riot of aromas fighting each other for dominance. Decomposing body = rotting chicken, Hydrogen = rotten eggs, Methanethiol = rotting cabbage. A little game he played whilst he waited…

Mortuaries were not Jack Dylan’s preferred location – especially on his day off, and it being a sunny Saturday afternoon when he’d rather be home with his wife and daughter Maisy.

Impatiently Dylan rocked back and forth on the soles of his size ten shoes, whilst popping into his mouth another extra strong mint to rid it of the metallic taste that had appeared.

He observed the young police officer standing tall, shoulders back and confidently smiling at the woman Pathologist, who hovered at the other side of the operating table. Vicky caught the officers eye and nodded towards the oscillating saw on the trolley beside her which held a chisel to help open up the skull so she could examine the brain. His smile fell from his face.

 ‘Don’t worry,’ she mouthed. ‘It’s just like taking the top of a hard boiled egg. They do it everyday.’

Dylan saw the young officer swallow hard and his face paled when the pathologist picked up the scalpel in readiness to open-up the torso.

Dylan considered his role. He believed an SIO should be at the post-mortem. The victim, and the victim’s family deserved non other than the man-in-charge to see first-hand the injuries that had been sustained, and hear the pathologists verdict on the cause of death straight from the ‘horses mouth’. This was imperative to the police investigation.

Les the technician, suited from top-to-toe in overalls; a plastic apron atop, stood at the feet of the corpse. He too had a devilish look in his eye. Dylan and Vicky took a quick step back for they knew what was coming. With a sponge in one hand and a hosepipe in the other Les hosed the blood and dirt from the cadavers loosened skin. The spray reached as far as the counters that held the weighing scales for the dead man’s organs. He worked emphatically on the corpes’s face when suddenly there was a collective intake of breath, as a glass eye popped out of the dead man’s eye socket, at which point the young officer ran for the door.

As if in slow motion the marble like object flew up into the air. Les’s eyes

followed ‘the ball’ and effortlessly it seemed, his hand reached out to catch it before it hit the floor. He rubbed the converted object on his chest, as if a cricket ball to shine, turned, and strode to the jars on the shelf marked Green glass eyes.

Vicky turned and lifted her an eyebrow. ‘I knew he’d run for the hills. Shall I go see if he’s okay?’  

Hope you enjoyed it is as much as I did. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading the DI Dylan series you can find out more about the authors as well as links to how you can keep up to date with any news as well as finding out more about their books.


Author Bio:

The D.I. Dylan series of books by RC Bridgestock (Husband and wife writing team, Bob and Carol Bridgestock) comes from a unique perspective of a collective real life experience of high level policing of 47 years. As a career detective Bob Bridgestock worked in the CID at every rank. For over half of his service he was a senior detective, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent of the West Yorkshire Police force.

As a Senior Investigative Officer (SIO) in charge of homicide cases he took command of some twenty-six murder investigations, twenty-three major incidents including shootings and attempted murders and over fifty suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults, some of which were extremely high profile in his last three years alone.

Bob brings this unique insight and experience from how real life cases are conducted into page turning gripping fiction, aided by his wife Carol, who has 17 years working within the force. Carol brings her understanding and the experience of a partner of a frontline detective to the D.I. Dylan series. This combination adds authenticity rarely seen in British crime fiction, coupled with warmth, humour and humanity.

The books offer an insight into the real world of British policing mixed with cunning plots and human relationships. This adds a dimension to police procedural fiction which is truly genuine in voice and substance.

Caffeine Nights Publishing is proud to be associated with this series of books which grip and touch the human heart as well as engage the mind.

The couple are consultant storyline/police procedure for Sally Waintwright on 2014 police drama series for BBC 1 Happy Valley and are also consultant storyline advisors/police procedural to Red Productions Ltd for ITV 1 Scott & Bailey & general police advice.


Our website is
We also blog @
Twitter @RCBridgestock
LinkedIn @ Bob Bridgestock
Facebook RC Bridgestock

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Foul Trade by BK Duncan #BlogBlitz @Bloodhoundbook @BKDuncanwriter


Book Description:

It is March 1920. May Keaps, the Poplar Coroner’s Officer, has never failed to provide a jury with sufficient evidence to arrive at a just verdict.

The poverty, drunken fights between visiting sailors, drug trafficking, and criminal gangs, haunting the shadows of the busiest docks in the world, mean that the Coroner sees more than its fair share of sudden and unnatural deaths.

May relishes the responsibility placed upon her but there are many who believe it’s an unsuitable job for a woman. Even May begins to wonder if that is the case when the discovery of a young man’s body, in a Limehouse alley, plunges her into an underworld of opium dens, gambling, turf wars, protection rackets and murder.

As her investigations draw her into danger, it becomes increasingly clear that whoever is responsible intends to avoid the hangman’s noose by arranging to have May laid out on one of her own mortuary slabs. 

My Thoughts:

Foul Trade is the start of a new crime series featuring May Keaps.

The author transports you back in time and you really get a feel of what life was like in that era. Though the world May finds herself in is a very dark and dangerous one. I know drugs have always been around but didn’t realise just how rife it was in 1920’s.

May is very much a modern woman of her day. She is an independent and determined young lady who knows what she wants in life. She reminded me of a younger version of Agatha Christie’s, Jane Marple. Always getting involved in things she would be best off keeping out of.

Foul Trade is a well written novel that is perfect for fans of historical crime fiction. A very solid start to a brand new crime series and look forward to reading more.

My thanks to Bloodhound Books for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Foul Trade is available to purchase from Amazon.

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Author Bio:

BK Duncan is the pen name Ruth Wade has adopted for the May Keaps series of historical crime novels.

Born on a steam railway and brought up on the South Coast of England, such beginnings were destined to leave BK Duncan with a love of vintage transport, crashing seas, and Art Deco architecture.

Following a career encompassing developmental learning and change-management consultancy she now combines producing her own work with lecturing part-time in creative writing in colleges and academies in Cambridge and Oxford. Her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.

BK Duncan also writes historical crime novels as Ruth Wade.


She’s Not There by Joy Fielding @joyfielding @BonnierZaffre #BlogTour


Book Description:

‘I think my real name is Samantha. I think I’m your daughter.’

When Caroline Shipley’s two-year-old daughter disappeared, her whole world came crashing down.

Now, fifteen years later, Caroline receives a phone-call that could change everything.

But could this stranger really be her daughter? And what happened all those years ago to make her vanish without a trace? As Caroline pieces together the events of that ill-fated holiday, she begins to question whether the answers could lie dangerously close to home. . .

My Thoughts:

This is the first book I have read by this author and it certainly won’t be the last!

This is one of those slow burners that gently draws you in and then before you know it, it has got you hook, line and sinker, not allowing you to go anywhere until you get to the very end.

You can’t help but think of the Madeleine McCann case when it comes to this book. A couple having a meal with friends close by whilst the children are left in the hotel room unsupervised. The majority of people certainly hold the McCann’s responsible for her disappearance and to a certain extent in this story you could say the same. Seeing Caroline’s side of things though did have me feeling a whole load of empathy I didn’t expect to feel.

Caroline has drifted through life since her youngest daughters disappearance. Her marriage broke down soon after and her eldest daughter Michelle, their relationship is quite estranged to say the least.

Even though the story starts off with someone claiming to be the missing daughter, this story is more about what happened as the story flicks between present day and to the past when Samantha went missing. What I loved though is seeing the fragile relationship between Caroline and Michelle as we only tend to think about the parents when this sort of thing happens, but what about the other siblings.

Michelle was a character I really enjoyed. She has had to go through a lot, constantly living under her sister’s shadow, my heart really went out to her.

She’s Not There is a brilliant read. It lulls you into a false sense of security, dropping a few treats along the way, but like with a meal, my favourite part has to be, the dessert, or in this case the ending. Superb!

My thanks to Bonnier Zaffre and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

She’s Not There is available to purchase from Amazon.

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The Christmas Guest by Daisy Bell @QuercusBooks @bookbridgr


Book Description:

The heartwarming tale of a homeless puppy with a huge heart
When Teddy runs away from home a week before Christmas, he is confronted by a cold, scary and oh, so big world. Then he finds the Woods family. With their kind hearts and cosy cottage, Teddy forms a special bond with Claire and Ben, but it’s in little Emily that he finds the best friend he needs. But Emily is ill, and raising a puppy is hardly a priority for her stressed parents. If only he can prove to them how much happier he can make them all, Teddy might just find his forever home this Christmas…

My Thoughts:

The Christmas Guest is the perfect read for this time of year. It’s a book that will certainly appeal to a wide range of age groups.

As soon as we meet Teddy I was hopelessly in love with him. I loved getting inside a dogs mind, especially a puppy and seeing what they make of the world. Luckily he gets away from his original owner to find a lovely forever family. Things don’t go so smoothly though.

The family that Teddy finds himself living with are all lovely people. I loved each of the characters as they all bring something different to the story. Emily is someone else who will tug on the readers heart strings. All the family are struggling to deal with Emily’s illness and Teddy brings a much welcome relief to them all.

The Christmas Guest may be set at the coldest time of the year but what is contained within those pages would melt the coldest of hearts. A heart warming and truly wonderful festive read that animal lovers are going to adore.

My thanks to Bookbridgr and Quercus books for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.

The Christmas Guest is available to purchase from Amazon.


Dark Skies by LJ Ross @LJRoss_author


Book Description:

Beware what lies beneath…

One fateful, starry night, three friends embark on a secret camping trip but only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now. 

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan returns from honeymoon to face danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has escaped justice before and will do anything to protect the secrets of the past. Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, an old foe has taken the helm as Superintendent and is determined to destroy Ryan at any cost. 

Who will prevail in Ryan’s most dangerous case yet?

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape. 

My Thoughts:

Dark Skies is the seventh book in the DCI Ryan series. I would personally recommend reading at least the last couple of books to get full enjoyment from this one.

After finishing Cragside, I couldn’t wait to read the next one as I was very interested to see how things would work out with Lucas, Ryan’s new boss, someone from his past. If my dislike wasn’t enough for Lucas in the brief time I knew them in Cragside, it certainly grew to be more in Dark Side. I really felt every much as frustrated as Ryan with some of the orders she was giving and boy did I want to give her a good slap.

You can’t help but be drawn in to the wonderful scenery within these pages. I know it’s a crime book and there are murders, but what a fabulous setting and I’m sure I probably mention it in every review of these books but it truly is fabulous and makes me want to jump in my car and see it all for myself.

The finding of a body and working out who it is, is probably the easiest part of this case. From there on in, it becomes a game of cat and mouse trying to lure the murderer out. To get away with it for numerous years though it certainly makes it very difficult for Ryan and his team, especially with Lucas being at the helm.

Another brilliant book in an unmissable crime series. Gripping from the off, I struggled to put it down and read in two sittings. Can’t wait for more!

My thanks to the author for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Dark Skies is out today and available to purhcase from Amazon.

The Runaway Children by Sandy Taylor #BlogBlitz @bookouture @SandyTaylorAuth


Book Description:

An unforgettable journey of two evacuee sisters during the Second World War – and their determination to stay together, no matter what.

London, 1942: Thirteen-year-old Nell and five-year-old Olive are being sent away from home to escape the devastation of the East End during the Blitz. Leaving behind their beloved mother and brothers, they don’t know if they will ever see them again. 

As the sisters adjust to their new life in a close-knit Welsh village, they gradually find hope in the friendships they make. And Nell kindles a special bond with fellow evacuee Jimmy, who makes her smile even at the hardest of times. 

But when little Olive’s safety is threatened, Nell makes a decision that will change their lives forever. They must run from danger and find their way home…

Together, through tears and laughter, the two sisters hold each other’s hands as they make an incredibly brave journey across war-torn England. Will they be reunited with the family they have missed for so many years? Or is there more heartache to come?

A moving story of unconditional love, friendship and the fight for survival during a time of unimaginable change. This book is guaranteed to find a place in your heart. Perfect for fans of Orphan Train and The Girl With No Name. 

The Runaway Children - Blog Tour

My Thoughts:

What an absolutely fabulous book this is.

I have to start with Olive from the book. What an adorable and wonderful character. There is such a lovely innocence about her and she brings a certain amount of humour into the story. I absolutely loved the relationship between her and Nell, it truly was so lovely to read and my heart just melts even now just thinking about it.

Nell is yet another fabulous character. Having to grow up quickly whilst being a mother as well as a sister to Olive. I couldn’t imagine being sent away from home and having to live with strangers, even though it is for their own safety. I wanted to reach out and give a big hug so many times with what she has to carry on her shoulders.

There are a few unsavoury characters but mainly the characters in this story are just scrumptious. I loved each and every one of them. Each one stands out in their own right and I so wished I could vanish into those pages to meet them all in person as I wanted to have the relationship that Nell did with them.

The Runaway Children is a book that readers will treasure. It’s one of those reads that is timeless and will be enjoyed for many years to come. Mesmerizing, beautiful, sweet, funny, I just adored The Runaway Children and feel bereft at having now finished it. Without a doubt this is one book I could read again and again and I know I will love it even more than the last time I read it. Simply wonderful!

My thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

The Runaway Children is available to purchase from Amazon

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About the author: 
Sandy Taylor grew up on a council estate near Brighton. There were no books in the house, so Sandy’s love of the written word was nurtured in the little local library. Leaving school at fifteen, Sandy worked in a series of factories before landing a job at Butlins in Minehead. This career change led her to becoming a singer, a stand up comic and eventually a playwright and novelist.

Finding Myself by Victoria J. Brown #BlogBlitz @bombshellpub @victoriajbrown


Book Description:

Kat’s life has become a blur of dirty nappies and sleepless nights. She has moved into the flat above the salon she owns, alone and without Max the father of her children.

To make matters worse, Max has revealed he plans to remarry. Constantly on edge, her babies are taking up all of her time and Max is never around to help.

Diagnosed with post-natal depression, Kat feels more alone than ever.

Will Kat be able to manage alone? Can she find hope and rebuild her life?

Finding Myself is a novel about searching for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Also, available in The Chaos Series

Book 1 Holding Myself

Book 2 Losing Myself

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My Thoughts:

Finding Myself is the third book in the Chaos series, personally I would recommend reading them in order as you don’t want to miss out on Kat’s journey.

It has been quite a journey the author has taken us on following Kat as she struggles to stay in control of her life. This is by no means some chick lit story so if you go into these books expecting that you will be sorely disappointed. This really is so much more. The author tackles quite a few topics, depression probably being the main thread in this book, not just post natal depression but the severe depression that Libby her sister is going through also and how it affects the people around them.

Though depression might be the main thread of the story it is very much a heart warming and realistic take on what life is like with issues that many of us have to face. Kat is such a wonderful character who has really had to put others first for so long and I loved her strength although I wanted to take her away from her life for a while so she could have a bit of a breather and put herself first for a change. I certainly don’t think I could cope with everything she was having to deal with, especially her ex’s mother walking into the flat whenever she chose with clients in toe to have a look at the adorable twins.

Everything really comes together in this book. I was so sad to get to the end as even though Kat is ready to move on with her life I wasn’t ready to leave her and the twins behind. I really hope that the author comes back to Kat in the future as I have a feeling her readers will be begging for more after this one.

Finding Myself is an engaging read that I didn’t want to end. A heart warming and emotional story with characters that readers will take into their hearts. The third and my favourite book in the trilogy.

My thanks to Bombshell Books for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Finding Myself is available to purchase from Amazon.

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Author Bio:

Victoria J.Brown has always had a passion for writing. When asked at the age of 9 years old, what she wanted to be when she grew up, her reply ‘an author’ was met with a disheartened response, ‘that jobs like that, don’t happen to people like us!’

Luckily, Victoria didn’t listen to this advice and never gave up on her passion.  She continued to write while perusing a career in Marketing after gaining a BA (Hons) in Business and Marketing.

In 2006 her eldest daughter was born and then two years later her 2nd daughter came along. Victoria realised in the midst of the mummy madness, that she’d let her writing dwindle and that nappy-changing, sleepless nights and not being able to go to the toilet in peace could not stop her       fulfilling her writing dreams. So when her girls were 3 years old and 18 months old, she decided that sleep was over-rated and enrolled at Teesside University. A year later she proudly left with a MA in Creative Writing, some wonderful friendships and a passion for therapeutic writing. While studying for her MA she was also delighted to win a short-story competition judged by Adele Parks, to which she received publication and mentoring from Adele.

After her MA, Victoria concentrated on writing women’s fiction. She loves writing stories that women can relate to. The Chaos Series grew from her own experience of pregnancy, motherhood and life.

Victoria is also passionate about mental health and likes to write of such issues in her stories. Her dedication to mental health and living life to the full has led her down a spiritual path. Through her learning of spirituality she qualified as a Law of Attraction and NLP Practitioner, which she integrates into her writing. Her inspirational blog includes an A-Z motivational journey with weekly therapeutic creative writing exercises. She has developed this further and will soon launch her inspirational shop. The shop has been created to pass on positivity and love to others … you never know when someone may need to see those messages.

Being accepted by Bombshell Books is a dream come true for Victoria, she hopes that her mantra for giving love always and never giving up will inspire others to follow their dreams and passion.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Victoria, her inspirational blog and shop you can visit, plus you can follow her on: