Death of A Painter by Matthew Ross. #Review #RedDogPress #MatthewRoss #DeathOfAPainter



When Mark Poynter discovers a murder on his worksite all of his financial problems suddenly seem a lot closer to home: was this a warning his debts are overdue?

Suspected of being the killer and worried at being the intended victim, the murder only makes Mark’s money problems worse, leading him to turn to the local villain, Hamlet, who has his own unique repayment plan in mind for Mark.

When two more deaths plunge him even further into debt, Mark finds himself faced with a choice – help the police and clear his name or help the villain and clear his debt.

Set in the Medway Towns on the grey margins of criminality, where no job’s too big, no dodge’s too small …

Death Of A Painter is the first in a new series of darkly comic crime fiction novels featuring the beleaguered builder Mark Poynter, aided and hindered in equal measure by his trusted crew of slackers, idlers and gossips, and the lengths they go to just to earn a living.


Not only do I have go to authors, I have go to publishers, whose books I know will always be superb reads. Orenda is one and Red Dog Press is another! I just know that they carefully select books so that only really great ones are released out in our wonderful reading world.

I knew that on picking up Death Of A Painter I would be guaranteed hours of great reading and I was proved right.

So what was so great about this new novel. I loved the hero Mark Poynter, who is not the predictable police officer, he is a builder, who gets caught up in the tribulations of a friend, who ends up dead in the middle of one of his building projects. Now that it feels different and makes for a more unusual caste of characters.  He is flawed, debt ridden, but generally a good man and I found myself liking him and wanting to spend lots of time with him.

We read loads of thrillers littered with heros, who are either gruff men, or superhuman police officers and I love them, but it’s refreshing to spend time with a everyday character faced with a nightmare scenario of people dying around him and still having time to do a few building jobs, despite rather a lot of bruises. I know this might sound farfetched, but crimes exist closer than we think and just because we are not part of that world, we don’t see it, but Matthew Ross brings it to us, through a character who could be any of us and that makes it very thrilling indeed.

The story is littered with moments of excitement, dark humour and ordinary days turned upside down by death, debt and desperation. It balances them all out, so that you have a story that feels compulsive and entertaining. Especially at the moment, I don’t won’t relentless gloom, I want something that makes me laugh sometimes, even if that is in unexpected places and Death Of A Painter gave me that. I giggled, especially at poor Mark having to work with his sometimes work shy uncle, who had me in stitches over a rather pink painting job.

It was nice that the author, created a storyline that felt uplifted between Mark’s efforts to clear his own name, solve his debt problems and literally stay out of prison and out of hospital. Even the love interest was a pleasant and fun element to add into the story. Nothing ever goes easy for poor old Mark, but you can’t help rooting for him. I spent hours hoping he would get to the end in one piece, avoiding the attentions of the police and local criminals, because though his past is littered with past mistakes, we all want the hero to save the day and his own life!

Death Of A Painter is a fun, often dark, but always an entertaining read. I look forward to Mark’s next adventure.

You can purchase this novel from directly from the Red Dog Press and Amazon.

You can also order this novel from your local independent bookshops.

About the author

Matthew Ross was born and raised in the Medway Towns, England. He still lives in Kent with his Kiwi wife, his children and a very old cat.

He was immersed in the building industry from a very early age helping out on his father’s sites during school holidays before launching into his own career at 17. He’s worked on projects ranging from the smallest domestic repair to £billion+ infrastructure, and probably everything in between.

A lifelong comedy nerd, he ticked off a bucket-list ambition and tried his hand at stand-up comedy. Whilst being an experience probably best forgotten (for both him and audiences alike) it ignited a love for writing, leading to various commissions including for material broadcast on BBC Radio 4 comedy shows.

Matthew moved into the longer format of novel writing after graduating from the Faber Academy in London in 2017.

Death Of A Painter’ is his first novel and the first in a planned series of stories featuring Mark Poynter and his associates.

Matthew enjoys reading all manner of books – especially crime and mystery; 80s music; and travelling and can’t wait for the next trip to New Zealand to spend time with family and friends.



The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. Book Covers As Art #Bookcoversasworksofart.


Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.
Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.
The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.

This cover is for me a perfect example of book covers as works of art. It sums up the story of this couples journey from the depths to despair to the finding of a new life, by walking the coastal paths of this country. Along the way they become much closer to the wildlife that inhabits this temperamental environment and the cover brings that to life. The soaring birds, the waves against the cliff edge, they themselves on the path, is powerful and moving. It was the cover that attracted me to the book and the story within is incredibly moving and life affirming.

You can order this book from both Amazon and Waterstones or why not speak to your local indie, many of whom are still posting out books. They are the stalwarts of the book industry and they need our support more than ever!

About the author 

Since travelling the South West Coastal Path, Raynor Winn has become a regular long-distance walker and writes about nature, homelessness and wild camping. She lives in Cornwall. The Salt Path was her first book and became a Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and paperback. It was shortlisted for numerous prizes including the Costa, the Wainwright and the Stanfords Travel Writing awards.