dead in drk cvrBorn in Loscoe, Derbyshire, I was raised as an inner city child in Nottingham. Like my ancestors did, I escaped the noise and grime of industrial city life to the fresh air and space of the Peak District national park regularly. Initially on family days out and caravan holidays to the ‘White peak’ and later in my teens on camping and hiking weekends to the northern end of the park, known as the Dark Peak.

The White and Dark refer to differences in the geology of the regions but the author of this months book  casts a dark shadow over the county, even to those of us who might be lulled into a false sense of security by childhood memories, its Dead In The Dark by Stephen Booth, published by Sphere ( in July 2017.

‘Dead in the Dark’ is the latest novel featuring Ben Cooper and Diane Fry and the seventeenth in Booth’s series, which includes ‘Dancing With The Virgins’  (which won the CWA Gold Dagger in 2001) , ‘Blood On The Tongue’, ‘Scared To Live’, ‘Lost River’ and the 16th was ‘Secrets of Death’ in (2016). ‘Dead In The Dark’ was this reviewers introduction to his work and whilst I was able to enjoy it as stand alone story, it has inspired me to go back to the beginning with ‘Black Dog’ and start to read my way through the long list between their debut and the current story.

Stephen Booth

Stephen Booth

Stephen Booth ( was born in Lancashire, lived in Yorkshire and now in Nottinghamshire but although he worked on a Derbyshire newspaper, apparently never lived in Derbyshire. Despite this the locations are accurate and perfectly described. I had presumed he lived there and had a farming background. I loved the descriptions of the countryside and was more on Cooper’s side than Diane’s in relation to the attractions of rural life. Stephen Booth has worked as journalist on various midland newspapers, on the Farming Guardian and as a specialist rugby writer on national papers. He also developed an interest in farming, breeding goats. All these aspects of his experience come together in the books. They say you should write about what you know and Stephen certainly knows his stuff.

The two main characters in this and his other novels are an interesting duo. Ben Cooper is a local man. His dad was a policeman before him and his brother farms the family farm. Diane Fry is an urbanite, raised in foster care, she moved to Derbyshire to improve her chances of promotion and escape traumatic memories. In most detective novels, detective partnerships the two participants are unevenly matched, in that one is the lead and the other is the one who can’t put the clues together but is loyal and comes to the aid of the lead when required. The duo get on well, the senior explaining things (to the readers benefit) to the junior. Often, I’ve found there’s a difficult relationship with staff higher up the chain of command to allow the duo to challenge authority. Well, while this may be the pattern for many of the most successful crime dramas it’s not the case here! Cooper and Fry are vastly different in their approach and outlook but are often forced to join forces and solve crimes together. From the outset they seem to misunderstand and dislike each other. Fry is logic and protocol driven, whilst Cooper understands people and their motivations. He will often equate a person he meets in the line of enquiries to someone he knows. As Miss Marple pointed out, if you know the people in your village, you know people everywhere.

In ‘Dead in the Dark’, Cooper and Fry are more separate. Diane Fry has moved up to the Major Crime unit, whilst Detective Inspector Cooper remains in Bakewell and their paths cross less often. However, Diane Fry is called to Chesterfield to a death which might have links to an operation looking into slave trafficking and Ben Cooper is juggling a cold case and a series of robberies. They meet and exchange cold pleasantries. One of them has a body but no suspects and the other has a suspect but no body. Will the paths of their investigations cross again?
I will say that the only negative comment I have in relation to the books are that so far in my experience there seems to be a brutal animal scene in each book. In some instances, I haven’t felt this adds anything to the plot or to my understanding of characters. It would prevent me recommending them wholeheartedly to some friends. Maybe I’m a little squeamish but I have read that where authors have animal cruelty in their books it loses them readers so maybe it’s not just me?

A TV series based on the novels has been commissioned and is in development. I hope it is filmed in the glorious Peak District. As I plan to read the rest of the books before watching it. I won’t let the darkness of the novels put me off. I still feel safe and at home walking the hills and introducing the wonders of the National Park to my husband.

Reviewed by:  Georgina Murphy



liebster1Recognition, we all like to receive it. But do we really go out of our way to get it? No of course not, because the best part of receiving an award or more importantly recognition for something you’ve done, is the utter surprise. If we all expected to receive an award for our work then the fake reaction would be noticeable from space and as cheesy as the acting you see on U.S. shows such as Pimp My Ride. Where the supposed utter shock and surprise shown by the lucky car owner at seeing the presenter, Xzibit at their door, is so over the top, as to make one cringe. So you can imagine my utter shock when I realized on Saturday 4th January that I had been nominated for a Liebster Award by Hana Telige for my review of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl on this blog. Thanks Hana and please everyone visit Hana’s blog above and tell her what you think of it because to all of us plying our trade as bloggers/writers on the web, the best thing we can ever get is feed back and recognition.

So, what is a “Liebster Award”, according  to the research I’ve done on the web, it’s an online award given to new blogs which have a following of less than 200 or 2000 followers, depending on what you read. There is no prize or fancy black tie ceremony with a red carpet, just the online accolade and benefits of increased awareness of your blog. I’ve already seen that, especially after I posted the news on Facebook, thanks to all my friends’ and LiebsterAwardRulesacquaintances, who’ve sent messages of congratulations and wished me well in person. There’s is also a little bit of work to do as a result of a nomination.

1)      I have to thank my nominator by linking them in this acceptance blog (done above), but again thanks Hana.

2)      I have to answer 10 questions set by Hana (some award nominators request 11 and 11 random facts, but I think Hana is going easy on her nominees)   .

3)      I have to nominate 10 other blogs for a Liebster (This is harder then it sounds, most of my ten have somewhere between less the 200 and 2000 followers. If you have more, sorry, I hope you appreciate the award and graciously accept it).

4)      And finally set 11 questions for these bloggers to answer.

So here are the 10 questions set by Hana:

1)      Why did you start a Blog? It was originally as a way to express my musings on life and events in the news, that blog was on BlogSpot but about two years ago I started putting book reviews on it, then last November I set up this Word Press blog to cater solely for my book reviews.

2)      What is your favourite video game? Currently it’s GTA5 as that’s what I’m playing at the moment, but the best ever game was a little known title called Flight Unlimited 3 by Looking Glass studios and EA. As a flight Sim it was very realistic and gave me hours of fun flying various planes all over Washington State.

3)      What’s the first thing on your bucket list? Why? God, There’s still so much I want to do, that I don’t really know what is top of my list , or why.

4)      Would you want to live for ever (at the age you are now)? Why or why not? Yes, because like most people I’m scared of dying. Although in all seriousness I know I’ll die some day, despite all the major advances in medical science.

5)      Favourite quote or one that makes you think? Some days you’re the pigeon, some days you’re the statue.

6)      Why do you like your favourite food? Wine, because no two bottles are ever the same and it’s 5pm somewhere.

7)      What’s the first book you remember loving? Shall We Tell The President by Jeffery Archer

8)      What instrument would you most like to play? The Piano

9)      Favourite thing that happened in 2013? Spending a week hill walking in Derbyshire, while also sampling some great local ales.

10)   What are you most excited about in 2014? Seeing my best mate Ivan, whose been travelling around the globe, he returns in February.


Now for my ten lucky nominees, well done.

I need 11 random facts  and 11 Nominations and 11 questions, might as well stick to the rules.

My 11 questions to my nominees:

  1. What was the last book you read? How did you come to read it?
  2. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
  3. If you could ask someone dead or living (they don’t have to be famous) a question what would it be?
  4. If you could be the witness to some event in history what would it be? And why?
  5. What’s the worst present you ever got and regretted giving?
  6. Where’s the best place you’ve visited on a holiday? Why?
  7. Have you ever Book Crossed and if so where’s the strangest place you left a book or found a book?
  8. Do you remember your first kiss? Go on, who was it and have you seen that person since?
  9. What books are on you TBR list for this year 2014?
  10. Where were you on 9/11, how did you hear about the news?
  11. When was the last time you cried, why?