Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Luccia reviews Cleaver Square by Sean & Daniel Campbell

Today’s book review comes from Luccia, she blogs at


Luccia chose to read and review Cleaver Square by Sean Campbell


Cleaver Square: A Plot-driven Detective Novel

Cleaver Square is a well-plotted detective novel. I enjoyed travelling around London with Detective Morton, I also liked the detailed police procedural and scientific information, including autopsy reports and legal issues. At times it was like watching an entertaining crime film, with all the intricacies of a complex investigation.

The plot was cleverly designed and well developed until the final surprising twist is revealed. It’s narrated in third person, although the narrator is sometimes omniscient and sometimes, takes the point of view of one of the characters, such as Morton or Charlie Mathews, a young boy in a foster family, who is an essential component of the plot which will gradually develop throughout the novel (I don’t want to add any spoilers). The prose was mostly easy and pleasant to read.

It’s definitely a plot-driven novel, because the emphasis is clearly on an external conflict, in this case a murder, and its solution through a specific sequence of events, in this case tracking down the criminal. There is a great deal of action involved, and both the dialogue and the action are mainly concerned with unveiling the plot and solving the issue at hand. In this aspect there is no objection, the plot was correctly and smoothly conveyed.

On the other hand, there is an aspect which made it hard for me to enjoy the novel as much as I would have liked. I felt it lacked character development. I personally prefer character-driven novels where the emphasis is on personal conflict and the relationships between the characters. Character driven novels do not have a tangible or specific outcome. They are more concerned with how the characters cope with conflict, how they make decisions, and how these decisions affect their relationships with each other and their lives in general. The outcome is often a change of attitude, or a new situation in the characters’ lives. There is often no specific or definite solution or conclusion. I like to meet people when I read a novel, and I enjoy it when the characters to stay with me after I finish reading.

Most novels combine engaging characters and a compelling plot to varying degrees, but in this case, I felt that the lack of character development made it difficult for me to connect with the story itself, because I wasn’t interested in the characters themselves and what happened to them. As a result, I almost lost interest in the solution of the crime. I would have liked to feel more involved with the people in the novel. I felt like they were saying their lines and playing their part, but I couldn’t relate to them on a personal level.

Overall I’d say that if you enjoy a well-plotted detective novel, set in London, with an unexpected final twist, you’ll enjoy Cleaver Square.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Teri reviews Cleaver Square by Sean and Daniel Campbell

Today we bring you a review from Book Review Team member Teri, she blogs at


Teri chose to read and review Cleaver Square by Sean and Daniel Campbell


Here is Teri’s review.

The bleakest winter on record and a gruesome discovery bring DCI David Morton to the Hackney Marshes in search of a clue, any clue, as to the identity of a dead child found near the Old River Lea.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Morton’s long-suffering wife Sarah comes to the conclusion that her man has been doing more than work during his late nights at the office. As he closes in on the mystery of the boy’s identity his life begins to crumble and a terrible wrong is done to someone he loves.

With all of London watching, Morton’s impeccable ethics will be tested to their limit as he is forced to choose between doing what is right and what is legal.

Cleaver Square is a stand-alone Police Procedural featuring DCI David Morton. –

It had been a while since I’d read a crime suspense novel, so when I saw this one available on Rosie’s site for review, the cover caught my eye and I knew I’d found my book.

This story kept my attention from the first page. I liked David Morton and was immediately caught up in the case, reading into the early morning hours because I had to know who the young boy was. This novel wasn’t bogged down with a lot of procedural and technical jargon, but instead gave the reader just enough to understand what was going on, and for that I was thankful.

I have to admit, the storyline with the stolen identity had me puzzled. Just when I thought I’d figured out who was behind it – I was wrong. This book was well-paced and full of action, the writing solid, and the story believable.

Although I found most of the characters to be realistic, I was disappointed at how David’s wife, Sarah, and his second-in-command, Tina, were portrayed. Initially, Sarah seemed to be the stereotypical, long-suffering wife of a cop, familiar with late hours and mood swings, but then her whole personality seemed to change as she jumped to conclusions and became irrational about a situation. I also had a hard time believing that Tina, in her early 30’s and evidently career-oriented, considering her position in the department, would be making passes at her boss so frequently.

I didn’t read the first novel in this series, but this book is easily a stand-alone and I’m glad I read it. If you enjoy crime thrillers that keep you guessing, this is a good book to add to your list.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT – Karen reviews Cleaver Square by Sean and Daniel Campbell

Today we have a book review from Book Review Team Member Karen, she blogs at


Karen chose to read and review Cleaver Square by Sean and Daniel Campbell


Here is Karen’s review.

The book introduces you to DCI David Morton and his team. They are called to the Hackney Marshes where the body of a child has been found. Due to the harsh winter, they can at least identify a time frame. How can a child not be missed? David Morton’s credit card issues make his life even more exhausting. The story comprises several threads which are easy to follow. The main characters are realistic with all their virtues and/or flaws. I will not tell you more about the story than shown in the Goodreads plot description. This would spoil the fun of reading this book yourself.

With Cleaver Square, Daniel and Sean have created a fine British mystery novel. Cleaver Square is an entertaining and intriguing read, not only for hobby sleuths. I was drawn into the story right away. I felt quite close to DCI Morton and his team. All characters were believable and well described, still leaving a little room for the readers’ imagination. Cleaver Square is a great story for British mystery lovers. Cleaver Square is the second book of the DCI Morton series. The first book in this series, Dead on Demand, will certainly be one of my next reads.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT – Noelle reviews Cleaver Square by Sean and Daniel Campbell

Today we have a review from Noelle. She blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle chose to read and review “Cleaver Square” by Sean and Daniel Campbell.


Here is Noelle’s review,

Review of Cleaver Square

4 of 5 stars

Cleaver Square by Daniel and Sean Campbell is a British police procedural in the genre of the books by P.D. James and her character, Inspector Adam Dalgliesh. I was not disappointed in the story line, which kept me reading eagerly to the end, and with few exceptions, the main characters were interesting and well-drawn.

Brothers Daniel and Sean have been writing together since 2012. Their first collaboration was Dead on Demand, which they wrote in 90 days, on a bet. In this book, DCI David Morton comes to life again, as he investigates the death of a child whose body is found frozen in a marshy area in London. The child appears to have no name until the very expensive watch found on the body leads Morton and his team to the foster system. There they find another child who is the real owner of the watch – or is he? Early in the investigation, Morton is the victim of identity fraud, leaving his and his wife’s bank accounts and retirement funds drained. Despite this rather huge distraction, Morton is determined to find the identity of the dead child, assisted by his team: the dedicated Bertram Ayala, a smartly dressed Detective Inspector, and his second in command, Detective Inspector Tina Vaughn, a young Welsh woman who more than admires her boss. The authors keep the pressure on Morton via his superiors and do a good job of interweaving the investigations of Morton and the members of his team with the story of the two boys.

Only two things were somewhat distracting in this entertaining read: a little too much time spent on the procedures required legally for the case to move forward, which slowed the action, and the fact that Morton’s relationships with the two main female characters – Sarah, his wife, and Tina Vaughn – did not completely resonate with this reviewer. Perhaps the first book establishes the nature of these relationships more clearly.

Notwithstanding these points, I recommend this book to mystery readers, especially those who like British mysteries, and look forward to reading more of DCI Morton’s adventures.

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Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT – Cleaver Square by Sean and Daniel Campbell reviewed by Cathy

Today we have a book review from Cathy, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Cathy chose to read and review “Cleaver Square” by Sean and Daniel Campbell


Here is Cathy’s review;

A suspicious death investigation soon turns into something very much more complex as DCI David Morton struggles to unravel the
increasing threads of a case which becomes ever more daunting.

He and his team have to find the truth behind the discovery of a child’s body buried in Hackney Marshes. There are no apparent clues, apart from a very expensive watch found with the body, or evidence as to how the child died. The deeper the police team dig the more confusing the case seems as they chase each lead and reach seemingly dead ends.

While the investigation is ongoing DCI Morton is also dealing with intense personal problems which turn his life upside down, resulting in an interesting sub plot depicting the frustrations of dealing with unaccommodating banks and legal systems.

The forensic, legal details and police procedures are very well researched and the plot is tight and realistic with unexpected twists and a shock departure. It’s gritty and the main characters are well executed and believable. All the strands of the story are woven together well making this an enjoyable read.

Could do with a little more precise editing, there are a few grammatical and punctuation errors.

I think this works as a stand alone but if, like me, you haven’t read the first book, Dead on Demand, it’s available for a free download in the Amazon UK and US Kindle shops at the moment. Not sure for how long though.

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Good Deeds Week 2nd – 8th March

Welcome to my weekly roundup of my year long challenge to do one Good deed a day for a year. This challenge began back in April 2013 and is still going strong. My inspiration came from reading “A Year of Doing Good” by Judith O’Reilly. Here is what I’ve been up to this week.

Good deedsMarch 2nd – Helped a fellow author out, Rachel Roberts, promote her book in a Kindle Countdown Deal, she was at no.27 in the top 100, with her book Medea Complex.

March 3rd – Helped out at school this morning. Had some wonderful help from fellow bloggers with some of the last letters on my A to Z Challenge. Volunteered to read and review Me and Billy The Kid for author Briana Vedsted.

March 4th – Got up seriously early this morning so that I could get my social networking done before sitting in traffic jams with the kids and finally getting to work. After this morning I really appreciate the fact that usually, I can avoid rush hour. Have been promoting The Griffin’s Boy and author Julia Hughes over the last 2 days. Julia’s been busy herself helping out a fellow author who is fighting cancer. Author Stephen C Spencer writes the Paul Mallory series, America’s answer to James Bond. Julia and Sean Campbell (who was our guest a few weeks ago with his book Cleaver Square) are helping Stephen to re-launch his books. I’ll be helping out on the blog with the re-launch in a few weeks and will appreciate help from you all to spread the word where possible during that time.

March 5th – Bought Land of the Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel book 6 in the Earth’s Children series, for my Mum ready for Mother’s Day. We’ve both enjoyed the series and Mum has been looking for a copy for a while. Started reading The Singing Bowl by Roy Dimond. Good Deeds received; Today I was a guest author over at fellow book reviewer A Woman’s Wisdom.

March 6th – Made a charity donation whilst out shopping today in one of my favourite stores, Lush.

March 7th – Posted my review of Flawed Perfection by Cassandra Giovanni on Goodreads and Amazon inline with the book launch today. Dropped off a birthday gift for a very good friend.

March 8th – Today’s book on the blog is a FREE travel download available from my friends at Blackfrog Publishing. “Overlanding- How, What, Where and Who with…”  by Andy Robinson and Kirsty McGregor. Check out the link to the post here

I’m ploughing my way through The Singing Bowl by Roy Dimond it really is an brilliantly epic book full of amazing characters and places, it is about a Tibetan Monk who is given a mystery to solve and a lost book to find as he flees from Chinese communists who want to destroy the ancient religion. It spans many cultures and travels through The Ancient World, The Old World and will end in The New World. The monk learns so much from inspiring people, I feel that I am travelling along with him. My deed today is to spread news of this book to you. May you too, find time to read this book and enjoy it as much as me.

Guest Authors Sean and Daniel Campbell

Today with have writing duo Sean and Daniel Campbell as our guests. They are the author’s of yesterday’s book Cleaver Square. Here is a link to the post if you missed it.

Sean Dan pic for RA interview re Cleaver Square

Let’s find out more about them.

Sean Campbell

1) Where is your home town?

We’re both from Portsmouth, which is a Naval city on the south coast of England. Sean’s been a Londoner on and off for all of his adult life, but Dan’s still in Portsmouth and is currently at the city’s Highbury Catering College (which includes culinary luminary Claire Smyth among it’s alumnus).

2) How long have you been writing as a duo?

We’ve been writing together since 2012, when we made a St Patrick’s Day bet that we could write a novel in 90 days or less. Dead on Demand, our first book, was the result.

3) Where did the title of the book “Cleaver Square” come from?

It’s a real place – with one of London’s finest pubs in it. There is no 36B, but we’ve otherwise been pretty faithful to reality. The square is a unique slice of London that is almost surreally quiet, with gorgeous townhouses and a huge green that is used for street parties and boules in the summer.

4) If this your first murder mystery?

We had several murders in Dead on Demand, but that was told from the point of view of the antagonist, who tries to plot the perfect murder (and comes pretty close to succeeding!). Cleaver Square is our first book that’s firmly in the ‘mystery’ bracket, but it also crosses into the suspense genre too.

5) What writing roles did you both take on?

Dan does some of the big picture stuff, but I get the research elements (so if you find an error in forensics or police procedure, that’s probably my fault).

6) How long did it take to research the material for the book?

It took a little while – we took nearly eighteen months over this on and off. I trained as a barrister so the legal side is dead easy, and I have a number of friends in the forces as well as some handy contacts in the world of forensics to annoy in the hopes of getting things right.

7) You’ve got some great characters in the book, mine were the Lovejoys purely because their name conjured up memories of a favourite TV series of mine. Which character was your favourite?

Probably Tina – she’s a bit of a tart, but she’s loveable with it. And who doesn’t like drinking/ board game mash-ups?

8) Which were the hardest parts of the story to write and why?

Charlie’s back-story – he’s had a rough time of it, and getting the timings/ age consistent with all the minor elements of the forensics, as well as making sure that little things like sunrise times stay consistent takes a lot of co-ordination. Thankfully, we had some excellent editors on board to catch our faux-pas.

9) Tell us about some of your other books

Dead on Demand is the most well-known – there are tens of thousands of copies out there in the readersphere, and we hope to reach a few more this year. We’ve also got a few non-fiction titles out, including one on the British Peerage system. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the ‘Become a Lord or Lady’ Christmas gifts, where you buy a square foot of land, and allegedly become a Lord, but they’re, at best, misleading. Laird is simply Scottish for ‘landowner’ rather than denoting a title. There are ways to become a Lord, but a square foot of mud probably doesn’t cut it.

10) Do you have ideas for another murder for Detective Chief Inspector Morton to investigate?

Absolutely – we’ve got an idea that we’re outlining at the moment that combines a dash of political intrigue with what we hope our most original murder method yet.

Product Details

Dan Campbell

1) Where is your home town?


2) How long have you been writing as a duo?

Duo? I do all the hard work.

3) Where did the title of the book “Cleaver Square” come from?

Well, we thought about Knife Octagon for a while, but that’s just too multi-sided.

4) If this your first murder mystery?

I never killed nobody guvnor. Honest, I didn’t.

5) What writing roles did you both take on?

I wrote. I looked pretty. Sean provided the requisite age to get taken seriously (I was 16 when ‘we’ wrote Dead on Demand)

6) How long did it take to research the material for the book?

Sean did that. Or so he says. I think he just makes it up. He’s got that convincing look about him.

7) You’ve got some great characters in the book, mine were the Lovejoys purely because their name conjured up memories of a favourite TV series of mine. Which character was your favourite?

Bertram Ayala – he’s almost as vain as I am.

8) Which were the hardest parts of the story to write and why?

The middle is the worst. You’ve not got that “just started” motivation, and the end isn’t in sight yet.

9) Tell us about some of your other books.

I’m doing a couple of solo projects this year – watch out for The Utopia Project, an ‘End of the world’ story that comes out in December.

10) Do you have ideas for another murder for Detective Chief Inspector Morton to investigate?

Yes – can’t say exactly what just yet, but if you think an ice bullet is clever, this will blow your mind.

Product Details

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Cleaver Square by Sean and Daniel Campbell

Cleaver SquareCleaver Square by Daniel Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cleaver Square is a murder mystery / thriller set in and around London. It opens with a murder scene in Hackney Marshes on a cold January morning. A body is found by Robert Lyons, a member of the North London Metal Detectors. A post mortem reveals the body is of a young teenage boy, who has been in the ground for some weeks. A key item of evidence is a valuable watch found with the victim by the metal detector.

Whilst the murder investigation gets underway led by Detective Chief Inspector David Morton, the readers are introduced to Charlie Matthews a young lad who is being taken to a new foster home by his social worker. Charlie’s history is tragic, both parents died in a car crash, then a set of foster parents died in a house fire, he is being moved once again through the overloaded social care system.

With a murder case going no where and Morton working long unsocial hours his home life is shattered when he and his wife are the victims of fraud and all their bank accounts and savings are emptied and their credit cards compromised.

DNA testing of evidence lead the team to ask “Who is Charlie Matthews?” But they are no closer to answering the question when Detective Tina Vaughn goes missing whilst following her own line of enquires.

Finally a new detective finds a new angle and a window of opportunity for the murder crime is revealed. The Police can close in on the suspects, but which Police department will get there first?

This was a cleverly written book, which kept me interested the whole way through, I wanted to solve the crimes too. The book tackles some serious real life issues which are sad possibilities in todays world.

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View all my reviews on Goodreads

Sean and Daniel are our guest authors on the blog tomorrow, so do come back and meet them.

Good Deeds Week January 5th – 11th

I’m now in to my ninth month of my year of Good Deeds challenge, where I try to do at least one Good Deed a day and I write about them. I find that, for me, this brings their value to the forefront of my thoughts. My inspiration came from reading “A Year of Doing Good” by Judith O’Reilly. Judith was our guest on the blog last week and if you missed it here is the link.

Good deedsJanuary 5th – What a brilliant day today, Judith O’Reilly was our guest on the blog, fantastic! I’ve volunteered to go and feed the poultry at my parents while they are away overnight on Tuesday. An easy sounding job, but one that puts fear into my heart. I shall be facing the “Killer Geese!” The farm has no need of guard dogs, they have 3 geese. The geese disregard the fact that I’m feeding them and even though I keep a metal feed bucket and the egg collecting basket between us they always viciously attack me and chase me from the premises.

January 6th – School is back today after the holidays, so I’ve been helping out again this morning.

January 7th – Have finished reading another book and written my review of The Medea Complex by Rachel Roberts, a historical thriller which I shall be reviewing here on the blog at the end of January. Great news, I survived the killer geese! I think they were slightly less aggressive because the goose wasn’t in her egg laying season when they are simply vicious! I collected the chicken eggs, fed the farm cats and lit a fire in the farmhouse boiler (tried to get rid of all of the smoke that wafted around the kitchen in my fire making attempts, but as my clothes still smell, I’m not sure, let’s hope there is a cosy kitchen for my parents return, rather than a dead fire and smoke smells.)

January 8th – Have just hand delivered a Christmas gift Thank you note and picked up litter on the way home.

January 9th – It’s a beautiful sunny day outside, so after a quick lunch I made the most of it and went out for a walk. I picked up litter and was rewarded by finding some dropped money along the way. Read and posted 2 more book reviews over the past couple of days.

January 10th – Met someone I haven’t seen for a couple of years in the supermarket, made time to catch up with all her news. Later did some Good Deeds research, had a chat to another person that works in a charity shop, I was asking what books they can use in their shops. We have found quite a few old books, not first editions or anything, just older books that I’m not sure anyone is interested in anymore. But she said they would consider any books that I’d like to take along. She said there is little demand for non-fiction hard backs and no demand at all for Videos. Are Videos now heading for extinction? Posted a book review on Goodreads and Amazon for Cleaver Square by Sean and Daniel Campbell.

January 11th – Good Deeds received; Thanked today for my review of a book that I’d posted on Goodreads and Amazon. Sorted out some books for the charity shop and others for friends who I lend books to. Lastly one more Good Deed just before bed, a late phone call from my brother-in-law needing help with a computer issue, simple for me but a nightmare for him, I talked him through the process and it worked straight away.