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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - Libby and the Highland Heist by Jo Clarke

Review - Libby and the Highland Heist by Jo Clarke

After a tumultuous term in Paris, Libby and Connie are looking forward to a quiet holiday at Connie’s family home. But before long they find themselves caught up in another mystery, this time set against the dramatic backdrop of the Highlands and Edinburgh.

I love Becka Moor's illustrations. Look how big Connie's hair is!

Libby and the Highland Heist is such a fun crime story.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, where Libby settled into her new travelling school in Paris, but I've always loved the Highlands and have been anticipating this second book since it was announced. It didn't disappoint!

Connie takes a much more significant role in this one, as they initially head to her Scottish home, a very impressive near-castle like residence. However it soon becomes clear that things are not quite as they should be there. One of the major storylines in this book is Connie's family's financial troubles and they're readily apparent from the number of staff they've let go and the spaces on the walls where pictures used to hang. I liked this real world problems grounding the story, but this is a mystery so clearly it's going to be about more than their bank balance! 

In Libby and the Highland Heist, Jo Clarke has really captured the spirit of the old Enid Blyton Adventure novels I used to love as a child. The old house and its grounds are full of ghost stories, secret passages, mysterious sightings of people where they shouldn't be. It's intriguing and exciting as we follow the girls on their exploration of this old building, and the Christmas setting around it is very charming.

Then it's off to Edinburgh and the Travelling School. Here the mystery element is cranked up several notches as we get more mysterious sightings and tales of forgers and fraudsters. The Scottish setting is really brought into the book with the preparations for a Highland dance and explorations around the streets and gardens of Edinburgh, and I love how the changes in setting are used to really help make each book in this series feel distinctive. There are plenty of connections back to the first book though, and it's nice to see some returning characters and a sense of an overall story running through the series. 

The actual heist is the climax of the book, and I felt like it really pulled all of the different elements of the story together into a satisfying conclusion, albeit one with a few loose ends still to tie up.

Becka Moor does gorgeous illustrations throughout too. I love how her style fits the story so well.

A fun, thrilling Scottish mystery story.


Libby and the Highland Heist by Jo Clarke is published on 19 January 2023 by Firefly Press.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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