Edinburgh Crime Series

Discovering Hunter’s Secret

I will admit being a fan of stories that involve a secret. The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. That certainly is the case for Hunter’s Secret, fifth in Val Penny’s crime series set in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The first secret is an old one, when a teenaged Hunter Wilson and his brother, Fraser, encounter a dead body while biking on a path near a cemetery. The shocking discovery propels them to find help but when the police arrive, the body has disappeared. The experience stays with Hunter, one that he can’t shake or share with anyone.

Thirty years later, a similar experience happens to two officers, who while running come across a body. Without working phones, they leave the scene to find help. (Frankly, I don’t understand why one of them didn’t stay with the body, but, hey, this is fiction.) And once again when the police come to the scene, the body is missing. 

But this time DI Hunter Wilson leads the Major Incident Team to attempt solving this crime. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing to solve this case, which remarkably is linked to others, including the one he experienced as a boy. 

There are other secrets in this story, including those of the victims, whoever took their lives and cleverly hid their bodies. 

Plus, Hunter has another personal secret although this one has a sweet inspiration.

Once again, I found myself experiencing the darker side of Edinburgh, Scotland that Val creates. Each book in this series can stand on its own, but I like how many characters, both good and bad, remain players in each. I so enjoyed the banter of the police who work together to keep their city safe. Then there are those characters who aren’t on the up and up. 

I especially liked the back and forth between DCI Tim Myerscough and his father, Sir Peter Myerscough, the ever-amusing former cop who was recently released from jail and a bit of a thorn in Hunter’s side. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. 

Of course, my favorite is Hunter, who is such a smart and likeable character and my only complaint is that there isn’t more of him in the book. I saw at the end “Hunter’s Christmas follows soon,” so perhaps I will get my wish.

By the way, this review is part of the Reading Between the Lines Blog Tour. No compensation is involved.


Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.

Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.


Website – https://www.valpenny.com

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Val-Penny/e/B07C4725TK

Author Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

Author Twitter Page @valeriepenny

Author Instagram Page https://www.instagram.com/valerieepenny/

LINK TO BUY HUNTER’S SECRET: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CHN22Y3M

Checking the Traps, Isabel Long Mystery Series

Spreading the Word

I’ve just completed a marathon session writing blog posts about Checking the Traps, the third book in my Isabel Long Mystery Series. The posts will appear on other people’s blogs — all part of a plan to spread the net wide for readers. In all I wrote 20 posts, each on a different topic. Yeah, that’s a lot.

The first batch was for a 10-day blog tour I’ve booked on Rachel’s Random Resources that begins March 22, the day Checking the Traps is officially released. Many of the blogs will have reviews. Others will feature excerpts, with an intro I wrote. The rest of the bloggers wanted original posts, including one Q&A.

The second batch I wrote for authors. Most are with my publisher, Crooked Cat Books. I have yet to meet any of them in person since the publishing house is an international one. But I am chuffed, as my UK friends say, at the support they’ve offered through social media and our occasional Skype meetups.

So, how did I come up with 20 topics? First, I made a list. Then I started writing. I aimed for 300-400 words with an excerpt from Checking the Traps to illustrate my point.

The topics range from “my next victim” to “when a bad boy becomes a good guy” to “what’s with the title Checking the Traps?” The victim in this book wrote poetry, so I had to write poetry. I tell readers about that. I write about the characters and their relationships. One blogger wanted something history-related, and amazingly, I was able to do that.

Admittedly, it was a bit tricky since Checking the Traps is book three in a series. I didn’t want to spoil anything plot-wise for those who haven’t caught up with the other two books. I also didn’t want to give away anything crucial about the current one. So, I had to be a bit coy about details. I chose excerpts toward the start of the book.

I got into a rhythm, and wrote two or three a day. It was actually fun, especially now that they are done.

The posts will begin in mid-March. When one appears on a blog, I will let you know. I will also post it on my website. Yes, its all about spreading the word.

ORDERING: Kindle fans can pre-order Checking the Traps on Amazon now for $2.99 and it will pop into your device on March 22. Paperback fans can get their copy now for $10.99. Here’s the link: mybook.to/checkingthetraps

Thank you for your support!

Isabel Long Series, Redneck's Revenge

Taking This Baby For a Drive

With the release of the second book in my Isabel Long mystery series, I’ve decided to try a different route. Starting tomorrow (Oct. 8), Redneck’s Revenge will get lots of attention during an official blog tour — Rachel’s Random Resources.  The tour lasts one week.

I am very grateful to fellow authors — most have the same publisher, Crooked Cat Books — who have hosted my posts on their blogs and websites. They’ve offered a Rednecks Revenge smallvariety of formats: Q&As, letters, or whatever I propose. Many of them are based in Europe, Australia, and the US so that’s a wide exposure. (I offer the same exposure on my website.)

Of course, I do my own thing here and on various social media, but, hey, I’m no Stephen King, who has thousands hungrily waiting for anything he tweets.

So, I decided I need a bit of help. That’s when I turned to Rachel Gilbey. Other authors have tried her blog tours with success and the cost is reasonable. (I’ve spent more just dropping by the store to pick up a few things, which turned out to be a lot more things.) Here is her website if you want to learn more: https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com

I went with the seven-day, three-a-day package. So that means Redneck’s Revenge will be the subject of 21 different blog posts this week. Some requested I write a post on a topic of my choosing, such as why I chose to write in first-person, present tense and how I open the book. The majority will be reviews.

My aim, of course, is to generate interest in the series and hopefully, sales.

I have no idea ahead of time what these bloggers will write. But I will post links here on my Facebook page and Twitter as they come in.

Yeah, I’m a little nervous. But so far the response to Redneck’s Revenge has been wonderful. People in different parts of the globe get the characters and setting I’ve created in rural Western Massachusetts. That makes me one happy author.

REVIEWS: I am also grateful to those readers who have taken the time to post reviews in Amazon about Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge.

To answer one question, yes, you could have bought my book at a reading or the bookstore in my village of Shelburne Falls and still leave a review on Amazon. You just won’t be a verified buyer, but that’s okay.

You can also a review on GoodReads if you’ve signed up.

Here are the links:



ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That’s the schedule for this week’s blog tour.