Black Diamonds

Seasons of Change Book 1

Heartwarming Historical fiction by Lynette Rees: perfect for fans of Iris Gower and Richard Llewellyn.

A tale of passion and compassion and most of all, one woman’s brave heart. Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, 1865. When Lily Jenkin begins her first day working for the Morgans at their corner shop in the little village of Abercanaid, she has no idea of the calamity that lies ahead of that fateful day.

It is a day of tragedy at the Gethin Coal Pit that brings her into contact with the new handsome, chapel minister, Evan Davies, for the first time. Although a dark cloud of death passes over the village, Lily and Evan draw close to one another as they help the villagers deal with the tragedy, forming a bond which could lead to love.

However, there is a gossiping old crone in the village who will do her best to cause trouble for the pair by hook or by crook. Lily has the opportunity to escape the valley of the shadow of death to make a new home for herself in Great Salt Lake, America. Will she take the chance to go to ‘Zion’, following her Mormon relatives, and more importantly, will Evan, a Welsh Baptist minister, go with her?

The Seasons of Change Series: 1. Black Diamonds 2. White Roses 3. Blue Skies 4. Red Poppies


What’s Left Behind [Trailer]

Here’s the trailer for my crime fiction novel, What’s Left Behind.

Even the sins of the past can’t stay buried forever…

Detective Ruth Carter finds herself slap bang in the middle of a murder investigation regarding several murders in the local community. It soon becomes clear there’s a link which draws Ruth’s past and present together. Ruth’s childhood friend Jenny was murdered thirty years ago, ripping her life to shreds and is one of the reasons she became a detective. Now it appears the same killer, who calls himself ‘Prince Charming’, is on the rampage once again. Ruth and her partner, Vince Conway have until midnight to catch the serial killer before the clock strikes twelve…

Fans of Peter Robinson and Mark Billingham will be gripped by this exceptional new voice in Welsh crime fiction.

What’s Left Behind [Crime Novel]


Purchase book here:

I got the idea for this story after watching a real-life crime documentary about a murdered teenage girl. She set out for school one day walking through a wooded area and was never to return home again. Her body was discovered several days later, she’d been strangled. Her killer was never found, until years later, when the police discovered they still had her red duffle coat stored in a locker at the police station. There was now one major difference to how crimes were solved — DNA! And so the murder was solved.

It got me thinking, what if a young detective ended up being visited by a ghost from her past when she’s involved in a series of killings in her home town?

This is a story which dips into the past as policewoman, Ruth Carter, is forced to relive her youth once again and remember the horrific murder of her best friend, Jenny Johnson, whilst the police search for a serial killer in the community who calls himself, ‘Prince Charming’…


When an elderly man turns up at her police station, D.S. Ruth Carter, does not immediately recognise him. However, when she does, she is immediately transported back in time to 1980 when her best friend Jenny was murdered.

“There’s a man at the desk asking for you.” P.C. Aled Evans held the door open for her.

Sergeant Ruth Carter frowned. “What’s he want?”

The policeman scratched his head. “Dunno. Didn’t ask him.”

The bloody probationer didn’t have a clue. For goodness sake, the first rule was to prioritise, didn’t he realise that?

“Hello, Mr Johnson. I’m Detective Ruth Carter. What can I do for you?”

She detected a twinkle in his eye. “You don’t remember me, do you?”

Looking directly at her, his eyes softening, he said just one word. “Jenny.”

She fought to stop the image from entering her brain. For more than thirty years she had pushed it aside. Jenny was the reason she had gone into the police force in the first place.

Her hand flew to her mouth, her heart started to pound reminding her of all the frightening and scary events of her life.

There’s a killer on the loose who calls himself, ‘Prince Charming’, his modus operandi is to leave just one shoe on his victims. The murderer’s style is similar to the person who killed Jenny back in the eighties, but is this the same man?

Whilst the killer plays a ‘Cat and Mouse’ game with the detectives, Ruth’s personal life begins to unravel. What has her partner Pete been up to while she’s been at work? He’s been staying out over night and making excuses for his absences. Can she trust him? Particularly as he went missing the night of one of the murders.

Who is the killer is he a stranger or is he someone that she thought she knew so well?


What’s Left Behind [Crime Fiction Novel]


Even the sins of the past can’t lay buried forever…

Detective Ruth Carter finds herself slap bang in the middle of a murder investigation regarding several murders in the local community. It soon becomes clear there’s a link which draws Ruth’s past and present together. Ruth’s childhood friend Jenny was murdered thirty years ago, ripping her life to shreds and is one of the reasons she became a detective. Now it appears the same killer, who calls himself ‘Prince Charming’, is on the rampage once again. Ruth and her partner, Vince Conway have until midnight to catch the serial killer before the clock strikes twelve…

Fans of Peter Robinson and Mark Billingham will be gripped by this exceptional new voice in Welsh crime fiction.


Ruth Carter was in a bad mood as she scrubbed away at the breakfast dishes with a small brush. Pete had not come home with a Chinese meal for them last night; in fact, he had not come home at all. She slammed the breakfast dishes onto the draining board and in so doing chipped her favourite mug. “Damn him!” This couldn’t go on for much longer. It was getting to be that she didn’t trust him anymore. She had so wanted to speak to him last night about Jennifer. If anyone would have understood, it would have been him. He was part of the small gang they both went around with in school and he even admitted to once fancying Jen, one night last year, when they’d both had too much to drink. Ruth had felt a little hurt when he’d said that at the time but she’d had to admit, it was no surprise.

All the boys liked Jen. She was clever, funny and most of all, very pretty. If she was being honest, although Jen was her best friend whom she admired, she was also a little envious of the girl. Throughout all these years the phrase that most ran though her mind when she thought of her was, “It could have been me.” And it could have too. What if it had been her who had stormed off that night and gone in search of a taxi? She had more than a little guilt attached to the entire scenario. Maybe it’s what led her into the police force in the first place, a way to assuage her guilt. A way to put the world to rights, by putting away the baddies out there.

She was just about to make herself another cup of tea, it was her day off and she fancied a bit of retail therapy. Pete had left his debit card behind and she’d toyed with idea of getting a wad of cash out of the cash point as a way of punishing him. She knew his pin number, it would be a doddle. She heard the sound of a vehicle outside. Oh, no, it wasn’t that bloody big white van being parked outside blocking her in again, was it? She walked over to the large window and gazed down at the car park below. It was a police van parking up. What the hell did they want on her day off? Didn’t she do enough for them already? She watched as her colleague D.C. Vince Conway alighted and jogged over to the main door. She heard a buzz and his voice came over the intercom. “Ruth are you there? I’ve been ringing you. You’re needed. Something major is kicking off.”

“Vince. I’m here. I’ll be right with you.”

What the hell was going on? It had to be something huge for them to send for her on her day off. She put on her jacket, picked up her bag and ran down the stairs, then hopped into the awaiting vehicle.

“What the hell is going on, Vince?” she asked as he started up the van, sirens blaring and speeding off before she had chance to buckle herself in.

“A body of a young girl has been found…” he glanced across at her in the passenger seat, as if gauging her reaction.

No, this couldn’t be true. “Do you mean it doesn’t look like an illness or accident?” “Nope. She was found by a pair of refuse collectors this morning, in a skip at the back of Iceland.”

“Do we have any idea who she is?”

He shrugged. “No, not yet. No one has been reported missing. The Crime Scene

Investigators are on the way and the coroner has been called for. Uniform are guarding the scene, until we get there.”

Ruth felt her heart beating hard beneath her jumper, asking herself the question: What if the note Mr Johnson received really was from ‘Prince Charming’?

Vince glanced over briefly from the steering wheel. “Come on, Ruth, I know you. Something’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing. Really I…” Somehow the words were hard to find.

“Well if it’s nothing why’s your face looking pale?”

There was no kidding a kidder. Vince knew her better than anyone, better than Pete, maybe. “It’s just that man who called into the station yesterday, remember me telling you?”

“Jennifer’s father?”

“Yes. I should have taken that note more seriously. What if this is the same bloke. It might have been preventable.”

“Don’t fool yourself, Ruth. You’ve been carrying around a heavy package called ‘guilt’ for the past thirty odd years. You can’t possibly blame yourself for this one. In any case, how could any of us have protected this girl? We’d have needed to tell the female population to stay bolted in doors on a Friday night and even then, who’s to say the girl wouldn’t have been murdered in her own home anyhow? Look, you showed me that note, so I would be equally responsible, if that makes you feel any better. ‘Prince Charming’, if that’s who it was, left no clues as to who he would murder. We’ll know more after the autopsy. At this point it looks like murder, but who’s to say; maybe it’s not, just a quirk of fate, a coincidence.

Some coincidence though.

They drove through Victoria Street and were met by a uniformed police officer, who allowed them through the barrier, until they got to the back of Iceland. The police were in the process of erecting a white tent. Two scene of crime officers were taking photographs. Ruth’s eyes travelled to the half naked body of a young woman lying on the ground. Her skin was tinged blue, her eyes starring almost mockingly at her. For a fleeting second, she saw Jen’s face looking at her, seeing into her very soul.

You couldn’t help me then, you can’t help me now.

“Ruth,” Vince nudged her. “This is the pathologist, Doctor Seymour Blake. Ruth jerked back to reality. “Oh, hello Doctor. Haven’t we met some place before?”

She gazed intently into his green eyes. He was a distinguished looking man: late fifties maybe, grey hair. He smiled at her, the wrinkles around his eyes creased. “You know I do believe we have. Please refresh me?”

“You gave a talk at Police HQ several years back. I found it really interesting.”

His silver eyebrows knitted together as he thought. “Oh yes, I remember now, I’ve taken a look here, a preliminary as it were, I think this young lady has been dead for about 72 hours. We’re lucky in a way that the weather has been so cold, that metal bin has acted like a refrigerator, so the decomp is minor. We’re fortunate in that respect.”

‘Fortunate’ seemed a bad choice of wording to Ruth. “Any idea what she died of?”

Blake exhaled as the cold air collided with his warm breath. “Not at this stage. The only thing I can tell you is that there appears to be no puncture wound, so a stabbing or a gunshot is out. There’s possible asphyxiation. I noticed some petechial spots on her face – you know tiny red spots concurrent with cutting off the oxygen supply.”

Ruth pulled a pen out of her bag and recorded it in her note book. “Any distinguishing features?”

Blake shook his head. “No visible scars, but there is a tattoo of some sort on her thigh.

Would you care to take a look? The boys have photographed it closely and will blow it up.”

Ruth shuddered. The thought of drawing up close to the corpse spooked her out. It wasn’t that she hadn’t seen a dead body before, she’d seen plenty, it was just the resemblance to Jen. Although she had to admit this girl looked a few years older. She took a deep breath and kneeled down to get a better view. “No, I don’t understand what that motto or whatever it is says. It looks like some kind of foreign language to me.”

“Yes, I did think at first it might be Latin, but this young lady doesn’t look the intellectual type to me.” Ruth had to admit that she didn’t think so either. “Oh, there’s one other thing. The shoes…there’s one missing…”

Ruth looked down and saw that the girl was wearing one red stiletto. She brought her hands to her mouth in horror and turning said, “Vince, it has to be him…”

Purchase book here:







The Workhouse Waif is available on Kindle!


Eleven-year-old, Megan Hopkins, is an inmate at Merthyr Tydfil Union Workhouse.

Megan’s family has fallen on hard times. Her hardworking collier father, was killed in a mining accident at Castle Pit Troedyrhiw, and her mother has six mouths to feed, besides her own, so they all find themselves interned at the local workhouse.

One day, Megan has been asked by the matron to fetch some shopping as there’s a Board of Guardians meeting that afternoon, she is skipping past the Temperance Hall holding a wicker basket in her hand, when she’s stopped in her tracks by the most melodious voice she has ever heard in her life. It’s the voice of an angel, called, Kathleen O’Hara.

Megan doesn’t realise it, but their paths are about to cross and maybe a little magic is about to occur…

Available here:

Review: Red Poppies

Red Poppies Kindle July


I’ve read all of Lynette Rees’s saga series to date but for me, Red Poppies, is the best by far!

Set during the First World War, the reader meets Adele Owen, a young nurse from Merthyr Tydfil; she has one lofty ambition, to train as a doctor in what is undisputedly, a man’s world.

She heads off to a London teaching hospital where women are welcomed as students except by the male students, who for the most part appear to be obnoxious middle class oafs, who cannot stand seeing a woman doing better than them.

Adele needs rescuing from a tricky situation and when that person comes along, she somehow realises he will always be in her life.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away here, but needless to say Adele impresses the powers that be and ends up serving at a casualty clearing station in Ypres, Belgium, where she has to make life and death decisions. Later she serves at a military hospital in France where innovative methods are used for dealing with men who have suffered from shell shock.

The character of Adele, shows great fortitude and courage under bombardment from artillery fire in the distance, and she not only has to contend with men who are physically injured and dying but also the psychological wounds they endure.

On returning to London, Adele’s biggest dilemma is being torn between two loves. One is a fatherly figure who has taken care of her for the longest time, the other, the surgeon she worked with on the Western Front.

This is a gripping drama that I found hard to put down. There are many shocks and surprises inside this book. At one point I actually shook my head in disbelief but as the story unfolded, it all made complete sense and the signs were there all along.

If you’d like a compelling read about WW1 where it’s evident the author has really carried out extensive research, without the book sounding like a history encyclopedia, then this is the book for you!

It would be hard to remain unmoved by this phenomenal read.

Highly Recommended!

J.  Gowerton – Loves Books

Available here:

Saturday’s Novel Excerpt: It Happened One Summer


Read book excerpt here:

When Sandy Perkins runs into an awkward customer where she works as a manageress, in a charity shop in small Welsh town, she becomes annoyed. The ‘customer’ later reveals himself to her as new area manager, Matt Walker. The reason Sandy is so angry is because her emotions are all over the place after losing her fiancé in a motorbike accident a few months previously. She’s still grieving the loss. Having just returned from a spell of working for a children’s charity overseas, Matt has no idea of this of course and when he discovers this, he plans on making it up to her.

The charity they work for is in trouble and might be forced to close down soon if someone doesn’t come up with a good idea to raise funds! Added to this, is the fact that Sandy has a stalker and she has no idea who that person is…makes for a roller coaster of a ride for her, particularly as she finds herself falling for the very man she should resent at the same time. Her life is in danger though, and Matt does everything he can to protect her from the evil stalker.

I first published this book ten years ago to raise funds for a charity I worked for at the time. It was my first book and one I’m extremely proud of as my contribution by writing, publishing and selling this novel, helped to put a few bricks into the new building for the charity, which is still going strong today.

Mondays excerpt: Black Diamonds [Season of Change book #1]


Monday’s Excerpt: Black Diamonds [Seasons of Change book #1] can be read here:

I’m very interested in local history and wrote Black Diamonds after discovering something interesting in my own family history. A skeleton if you like. I’d never realised before but one of my ancestors from my home town was a pioneer Mormon who emigrated to Great Salt Lake in 1871 and who had opposition from other family members, one of whom was his wife as she refused to follow him to ‘Zion’, so he left her behind and remarried bigamously there, and had further children.

Life was much better for him in Utah with the clean open spaces and fresh air, unlike the dirty grey industrial town he left behind.

Preachers like Dan Jones who made many converts in Merthyr Tydfil often encouraged people to move to Utah. The Church was keen to utilise the mining skills of the Welsh Brethren in Salt Lake City. But the ‘Saint’s who preached on the streets of Merthyr were stoned and treated badly.

I realise how brave my ancestor, William Harman, was as he was offered the chance to be sole beneficiary in the will of rich Uncle Edmund Harman if he chose to renounce his religion. But instead he chose his faith and Utah, his ‘Zion’.

The population of Merthyr had exploded due to the iron works at Cyfarthfa, Dowlais and Plymouth. What had once been a small farming community became a heaving metropolis where Iron was king and coal its Queen.

It got me wondering what life would have been like in Merthyr Tydfil at that time.

During that sort of time period there was also a coal mining explosion at Gethin Pit which killed 34 men and boys in Abercanaid, Merthyr Tydfil. It happened just before Christmas of 1865, and this got me wondering what life in the village would have been like after that.

How would people cope during such a tragedy?

I began to write and research and discovered some amazing facts. Although this is a work of fiction, it’s set around real life events that actually happened in the town.

The protagonist is Lily Jenkin, a spirited young woman, who has just begun working at the local shop when she discovers both her twin brothers have been involved in the explosion. She fears for their safety and it’s while she’s waiting to hear the news that she encounters handsome minister, Evan Davies. They join forces to do what they can for the injured and their families in the village.

It’s a tale of passion and compassion and most of all one woman’s brave heart.