Thrifty Thursday: Scotland Edition #HarrietSmart @LynneJMcEwan @JDKirkBooks @jodiecreates #ThriftyThursday #Challenge #Giveaway

Posted January 18, 2024 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review, Thrifty Thursday / 8 Comments

The purpose of Thrifty Thursday is to read a book which was free (at some point).

This is a collection of freebies I have read which are set in Scotland.

Kindle freebie on December 22, 2022  (as a box set of books 1-3)  (currently $2.99 at Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited as of writing this post)

Overall rating 4.09 with 2,057 ratings and  151 reviews


Thrifty Thursday:  Scotland Edition #HarrietSmart @LynneJMcEwan @JDKirkBooks @jodiecreates  #ThriftyThursday #Challenge #GiveawayThe Butchered Man by Harriet Smart
Series: The Northminster Mysteries #1
on November 2, 2011
Genres: Historical Mystery
Pages: 367
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Northminster, 1840: a once-picturesque cathedral city, where dirty smoke stacks now rival ancient spires. When workmen make the shocking discovery of a mutilated corpse in a ditch outside the ancient walls, Giles Vernon and Felix Carswell are charged with solving the case.

Intelligent and practical, Chief Constable Major Vernon has transformed the old city watch into a modern police force, and he throws himself into the investigation with the same energy. But as he probes a murky world of professional gamblers and jilted lovers, he is drawn into a dangerous emotional game that threatens to undermine his authority.

Newly-qualified police surgeon Felix Carswell is determined to make his way in the world on his own terms despite being the bastard son of prominent local grandee Lord Rothborough. Called to treat a girl in an asylum for reformed prostitutes, what he uncovers there brings him into conflict with his new employer, Vernon, and throws the case into disarray.

When I went looking into books set in Scotland in my freebies, The Northminster Mysteries is not what I thought I would find. It is set in early Victorian time of 1840.  We have an ex-military man as head of the constables, Vernon.  Then Carswell, who is a doctor, to work as police surgeon.

I thought each man was skilled in his profession. They had sincere desire to determine the killer and protect innocents.  There were some bad things happening.  The investigation was logical and handled fairly well.  The mystery plot was well written

I found it odd how much they got wrapped up in personal emotions as they worked. I don’t know if this will be a normal thing for them or if it was an aberration allowing us to learn more of each of their characters.  It didn’t seem so odd to have passionate outbursts from Carswell who is young and inexperienced but the actions of Vernon being an older, military man didn’t seem very fitting.  I will need to read more in the series to see how that goes.


Kindle freebie on August 3, 2023  (currently 99¢ at Amazon and Barnes & Noble as of writing this post)

Overall rating 4.30 with 1,988 ratings and 118 reviews


Thrifty Thursday:  Scotland Edition #HarrietSmart @LynneJMcEwan @JDKirkBooks @jodiecreates  #ThriftyThursday #Challenge #GiveawayIn Dark Water by Lynne McEwan
Series: Detective Shona Oliver #1
Published by Canelo on June 24, 2021
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 273
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
AmazonAudibleLibro.fmBarnes & NobleApple
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

DI Shona Oliver agreed to move to Dumfries with her ex-banker husband when their teenage daughter got in with a bad crowd in London. As a Glasgow native, she’s back on home turf.

Living on the shores of the Solway Firth allows Shona to continue as an RNLI volunteer, and a call out to recover a woman’s body indicates foul play. Police in Cumbria take the case but links back to Scotland keep Shona’s team involved. As they investigate, reports of people trafficking and a spate of thefts from local shops compete for attention with a large scale drug bust. But Shona’s work may all be in vain when those close to her threaten to tear the case apart – and ruin Shona in the process.

I never know when I pick up a freebie how it will go.  In Dark Waters is an excellent read. The setting and characters were well-developed.  There were plenty of police cases, very smartly investigated and considerable action.  The personalities and skills of the different members of Shona’s team made them real people.

Shona and her family came here after she left London.  Her husband Rob set up a B & B, Shona is a DI and their daughter Becca is in school, already planning for college.  They seem to be settling in well.  But then there are problems and their whole situation appears to be falling apart.

Shona is extremely talented at her work, both managing the people and narrowing down on the details to solve crimes.   She loves her family and wants them to do well, in spite of their problems.  Even in a personal crisis, she is talented at handling the situation.

I really loved her competence and look forward to reading more in the DI Shona Oliver series.

Kindle freebie on November 7, 2020  (currently $2.99 at Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited as of writing this post)

Overall rating 4.30 with 21,434 ratings and 1,262 reviews


Thrifty Thursday:  Scotland Edition #HarrietSmart @LynneJMcEwan @JDKirkBooks @jodiecreates  #ThriftyThursday #Challenge #GiveawayA Litter of Bones by JD Kirk
Series: DCI Logan Crime Thrillers #1
on May 1, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 327
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Ten years ago, DCI Jack Logan stopped the serial child-killer dubbed 'Mister Whisper,' earning himself a commendation, a drinking problem, and a broken marriage in the process.

Now, he spends his days working in Glasgow's Major Incident Team, and his nights reliving the horrors of what he saw. And what he did.

When another child disappears a hundred miles north in the Highlands, Jack is sent to lead the investigation and bring the boy home.

But as similarities between the two cases grow, could it be that Jack caught the wrong man all those years ago? And, if so, is the real Mister Whisper about to claim his fourth victim?

A Litter of Bones carried me right through the story; I was surprised to read it in one sitting. The main character DCI Logan helped put away a child serial killer 10 years ago but he is haunted by how those boys were treated and the one he couldn’t find.  The killer is in a mental hospital and Logan is sure he is faking his brain injury.

Now a new set of abductions has begun with strong similarities to the original cases.  Logan is asked to work the case with the local team.  The new officers are good. They find some good information and the case is investigated smartly.  The press is wild and a problem.  They have information they shouldn’t know connecting to the original cases.

It’s a stressful race to the finish because the kidnapped boy is normally only kept alive 2 days and is tortured for that time.  I don’t understand though how if the boy’s dog barks all the time at everyone, why didn’t she bark at the abductor?  Otherwise, I thought it was engrossing and suspenseful.  There were certainly some great twists.

I hope to read on in the DCI Logan series and see what happens with him next.  Does he travel all over to take cases and will there be any updates about this one in future books? Probably not, but at least we can see how things go for the DCI now that he has finally put this case to rest.

Kindle freebie on May 4, 2023  (currently $0.99 at Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited as of writing this post)

Overall rating 3.83 with 2,476 ratings and 103 reviews


Thrifty Thursday:  Scotland Edition #HarrietSmart @LynneJMcEwan @JDKirkBooks @jodiecreates  #ThriftyThursday #Challenge #GiveawayThe Uniform by Jodie Lawrance
Series: Detective Helen Carter #1
Published by Joffe Books on June 22, 2021
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 276
Format: eARC
Source: Purchased
One StarOne Star

It's not easy being a woman in the police force in the 1970s. Sergeant Helen Carter is having trouble making her mark in the male-dominated Edinburgh CID, working under the difficult Inspector Jack Craven.

But then she’s landed with her first case: a murder in an old abandoned picture house. Whoever did it left a mysterious clock-like symbol on the wall . . . drawn in blood. Stranger still, the killer has left a clue: the business card of an ex-cop.

The main character is Helen Carter who is a detective whose father was a detective.  He has died but I can’t tell how long ago.  She is not in a good situation with an unsupportive boyfriend who wants her to do something less dangerous and her co-workers are not excited about her being on the team.

There are several murders. She does the best she can to help with investigations but her co-workers lack of inclusion has her going out on her own too much which is not smart.  Helen does key into the connection between murders but the team does not communicate well, or sometimes at all.

The Uniform was a chaotic start to a new series. I had trouble staying with it, but that could be me.  I might like the series better now that the world is introduced and things are more settled for Helen with her team and personal issues.   If I can get myself to continue the Detective Helen Carter series.


Definition of Freebies for the challenge:

  • Kindle or other platform freebies where you purchase it for $0
  • Freebies through author newsletters that anyone can sign up and get for free
  • Giveaways won or gifts received

These do NOT include Audible Plus, Kindle Unlimited, Prime Free Reading,  Prime First Reads, or library books.

FYI – My Thrifty Thursday post with my reviews and the linkups and giveaway will normally post on the 3rd Thursday of the month. Sometimes though, due to blog tours, mood reading, and other personal problems, it will be moved around. There WILL be one each month on some Thursday.  You can post your reviews any Thursday though on your own site.  The linkup will be open until the next month’s post is published. You can easily find all the Thrifty Thursday posts under the Features tab on my top menu.

(Reminder – If I get more than 10 linkups in a month, I will randomly pick one to select a prize from a list I send them which may include gift cards or giveaway books I have. (Open International))

Add your review link here: 

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The prize will be an $30 Amazon Gift card or $30 gift certificate at of Better World Books or $30 (2 months at Audible).  Open International.  Runs January 1, 2024 to January 6, 2025.

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You can sign up for the 2024 Thrifty Thursday Challenge HERE


About Lynne McEwan

Glasgow-born Lynne McEwan is a former newspaper photographer turned crime author. She’s covered stories including the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the first Gulf War in addition to many high profile murder cases. Her DI Shona Oliver series is set on the beautiful Solway Firth which forms the border between Scotland and England, and where Shona is also a lifeboat volunteer. Lynne is a graduate of the University of East Anglia’s Creative Writing programme and splits her time between Lincolnshire and Scotland.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 23-COYER
  • 24-COYER

Posted January 18, 2024 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review, Thrifty Thursday / 8 Comments

8 responses to “Thrifty Thursday: Scotland Edition

  1. I love that you do themed reads for Thrifty Thursday each month for a little extra challenge. I like the sound of the historical mystery pair and nice going finding some good police procedurals. Alas, the only one of these I have is the one that didn’t impress you that much. LOL

    Sophia recently posted: Thrifty Thursday: Scotland Edition