A Lover of Books

Cover Reveal – ‘Déjà Vu’ by Melody Saleh ~ @MelodySaleh @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours

I am delighted to be taking part in this cover reveal today and would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Tours for inviting me to participate.

‘Déjà Vu’ by Melody Saleh is the second book in the Unbroken series.  It is being published as an eBook on the 23rd June 2020.

Are you ready to see the cover?

Here it is…..

 

 

 

Book Blurb

Happiness is finally within reach for best friends, Amber, Dominque, Debra and Zya.  But fate has other plans…

Pregnant and widowed, Debra is engaged to suave and charming Italian heartthrob Roberto.  So why does her heart race when she thinks about her therapist, Brian?  Has she said yes to the wrong man?

Dominque has found the love and acceptance she always longed for with Tad.  But devastating news soon threatens their future together.

Successful fashion designer Zya has discovered her own unexpected happily ever after with Tina . . . until her daughter, Ashanti is bullied and becomes the focus of a police investigation and the media. Now Zya suddenly stands to lose everything she holds dear.

Finally, together with the only man she’s ever loved, Amber is determined to not let anything come between her and Patrick—not even her jealous and vindictive identical twin sister.  But someone is watching . . . waiting for the right moment to destroy her . . .

Will the women get their happy ending, or is it déjà vu all over again?  Find out in the dramatic and suspenseful second book of the Unbroken series.

 

‘Déjà Vu’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deja-Vu-Here-Again-Unbroken-ebook/dp/B088XY53GZ/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=deju+vu+by+melody+saleh&qid=1590219247&sr=8-1-spell

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Deja-Vu-Here-Again-Unbroken-ebook/dp/B088XY53GZ/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=deja+vu+by+melody+saleh&qid=1590220165&sr=8-1

 

About Melody Saleh

After 35+ years in operations for various businesses (including her own), Melody pursued her dream of writing a novel. Having written for business publications, local magazines and even publishing a poem, Chemo’s not for Sissies, during treatment after her first cancer diagnosis, it was time to finish the novel that was started many years ago. When she started  writing, “Facade: Things Aren’t Always as They Appear,” she had no idea where her characters were going to take her. “The story basically wrote itself. It was like a movie projector playing in my mind,” is how she describes her experience. It soon became apparent, their voices were not to be silenced… “The Unbroken Series” was born. “Deja Vu: Here We Go Again,” Book II, to be released June 23, 2020, followed by C’est la Vie, Book III, in December.

Melody lives with her husband in her native home state Florida. She’s blessed to be alive today after two cancer diagnoses and enjoys watching her grandchildren grow up; something she doesn’t take for granted.

 

Links

Website – https://www.melodiousenterprises.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MelodySaleh

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MelodyESaleh

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19627504.Melody_Saleh?from_search=true&from_srp=true

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Brave Daughters’ by Mary Wood ~ @panmacmillan @Authormary

‘The Brave Daughters’ by Mary Wood is the fourth book in The Girls Who Went to War series.  It was published in paperback, as an eBook and Audiobook on the 14th May 2020 by Pan.

I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour.  I am running my post a few days later than my original date as I am hosting an extract and it was better that they were kept in order so as not to confuse readers.

Before the extract lets take a look at the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

A moving and emotional family drama set between France and Britain from bestselling author, Mary Wood.

They would fight for their country, at all costs . . .

When Sibbie and Marjie arrive at RAF Digby, they are about to take on roles of national importance. It’s a cause of great excitement for everyone around them. Perhaps they will become code-breakers, spies even? Soon the pair embark on a rigorous training regime, but nothing can prepare them for what they’re about to face . . .

Amid the vineyards of rural France, Flora and Ella can’t bear the thought of another war. But as the thunderclouds grow darker, hanging over Europe, a sense of deep foreboding sets in, not just for their safety but for the fate of their families . . . With danger looming, as the threat of war becomes real, Flora and Ella are forced to leave their idyllic home and flee. Can they make it to safety, or will the war have further horrors in store for them?

 

Extract

CHAPTER TWO

Laurens, Hérault, France Ella and Flors

Flors smiled bravely as she stood on her doorstep and waved and waved until her husband Cyrus’s car, carrying their sons, Freddy and Randolph, was out of sight. The agony that she and Cyrus had been through, since the conscription papers had arrived, had almost defeated her. Now the pain set in, as the reality of what Freddy and Randie would face if war broke out took root.

Ella stood by her side. ‘Come on, Flors, let’s do as the British do and put the kettle on.’

‘Oh, Ella, to think of them having gone is unbearable.’

Ella clutched Flors’s hand even tighter and whispered, ‘Hug?’

Painful memories of the past and fears for the uncertain future vied for prominence in Flors’s heart as they hugged tightly. She knew that dear Ella would be feeling these same emotions, too.

As they emerged from the hug, they linked arms and went into the kitchen. A snore made them both jump, and nervous giggles consumed them. Rowena could sleep through any – thing when she was in her favourite rocking chair by the side of the stove. Even on a hot day like today, she professed that she felt the cold in her old bones. Rowena had known Flors since her childhood in Stepney, and now lived with her.

Flors felt glad of the light-hearted moment. She’d been on the brink of crying, but hadn’t wanted to; she’d save her tears for her own bed at night, when she was snuggled into the arms of her beloved Cyrus. Sighing, she told Ella, ‘It’s as if my nest is emptying all at once.’

‘I know. My darling Arnie is even saying that he will volunteer, if Britain ever comes under threat. And Paulo talks of going too, if necessary. It doesn’t bear thinking about.’

‘Oh no. Oh, Ella, everything we know and have built up, since the terrible things we went through in the last war, is under threat.’

‘They say we should be safe here in the South of France, and it’s the north-east that will bear the brunt, if an invasion does happen. But Hitler is threatening Poland at the moment, and I’m so worried about my sister, Calek.’

‘I don’t know what to say, Ella. We can only pray that the Germans don’t succeed in their quest to invade Poland, or that a miracle happens and they heed Chamberlain’s ultimatum.’

‘They have to. Oh, Flors, it’s Calek’s and Abram’s only chance; I fear they are in grave danger. Look at how Germany is treating its Jewish community, if the rumours of their cruel treatment are to be believed . . . Oh God, I can’t think about it. My dear nephew Zabrim is only fourteen.’

‘And there’s no answer to your last letter yet? Surely they will take up your offer to come here?’

‘I am praying for that, but I haven’t heard from them. At least if they sent Zabrim to me, that would ease my mind a little. I’m thinking of going to Poland to find out how they are. I checked and all the trains are still running. Maybe if I do, I can persuade them to come back with me.’

‘No, Ella, no! It’s too dangerous. Please think again, Ella, please. What does Arnie say about it?’

‘I haven’t discussed it with him.’

‘You haven’t discussed what, darling?’

‘Oh, Arnie, I didn’t see you. I – I . . . well, nothing – nothing really. I’ll tell you later.’

‘There’s no time like now. If you can share whatever it is with Flors, then you can share it with your husband, can’t you? Come on, old thing, what is it?’

As Ella poured out her thoughts, Arnie surprised Flors with his response. ‘I think that unless you do this, you will have an agonizing few years ahead of you, Ella – and I don’t want that. But I also think that you should wait to see if Hitler decides to take heed of Britain and France’s ultimatum – which I don’t think he will. If he doesn’t and invades Poland, it will be too dangerous for you to even think of going.’

Flors couldn’t believe the enormity of what Ella had proposed, and even less so that Arnie was partially agreeing that she should go to Poland. After all, she had the feeling that Hitler would find a way of doing as he had in Czechoslovakia and fully invade Poland. And what if that happened when Ella was there? ‘

I know what you’re thinking, Flors, but I understand Ella better than she does herself. Now that she has her family back in her life, it will kill her to think of the unspeakable things that might happen to them under a German regime.

 

‘The Brave Daughters’ is available to purchase from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brave-Daughters-Girls-Who-Went/dp/1509892613/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1589732367&sr=8-1

 

About Mary Wood

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers on her Facebook page.

Mary welcomes all contact with her readers and feedback on her work.

 

Links

Website – https://www.authormarywood.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Authormary

 

PM Press Submission Call ~ @PMPress1 @damppebbles

I have something really interesting today for all those writers out there courtesy of Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours.

 

About PM Press

We are a Kindle-First imprint of Holland House Books that specialises in crime, thriller and dystopian fiction. Phaidra Robinson and Mia Skevington set up PM Press in April 2020 in order to pursue their respective loves of true crime and detective fiction. Our background of Literary Fiction at Holland House Books means that we bring an expectation of and experience in producing high quality books to these genres. An inaugural imprint, this is the time for authors to submit their work for the chance to be one of our founding book releases.

 

Call for Submissions

We are looking for most types of crime and thriller fiction, from the classic English whodunit through to police procedurals, or classic noir through to mind-bending psychological thrillers. Maybe you want to introduce us to a dystopian future. We want well-written, satisfying work – a good twist and convincing characters are the ways to our hearts. It may be cosy and comfortable or dark and disturbing… or something completely different.

If you have a completed novel or novella which you believe may fit, then send us:

1) The first fifty pages of your work.
2) A synopsis of your work (maximum two pages).
3) A covering letter with a brief overview – we do NOT need you to do a brilliant ‘pitch’ or the kind of blurb which would go on the back of the book. The basic story, main character(s) and the general themes is all we need.

These documents should be Word Documents, size 12 in a standard font, with a line spacing of 1.5.

Please email us at pmpress@hhousebooks.com and address them to the Editor Phaidra Robinson.

 

Links

Email: pmpress@hhousebooks.com

Website: https://pmpress9.wixsite.com/pmpress

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PMPressHHB

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pmpresshollandhouse/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PMPress1

 

Blog Blitz – ‘The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce’ by Tom Gillespie ~ @tom_gillespie @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog blitz today and I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Tours for inviting me to participate.

‘The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce’ is Tom Gillespie’s brand new book.  It is being published in paperback and as an eBook on the 21st July 2020 by Vine Leaves Press.

 

Book Blurb

A spiralling obsession. A missing wife. A terrifying secret. Will he find her before it’s too late?

When Dr Jacob Boyce’s wife goes missing, the police put it down to a simple marital dispute. Jacob, however, fears something darker. Following her trail to Spain, he becomes convinced that Ella’s disappearance is tied to a mysterious painting whose hidden geometric and numerical riddles he’s been obsessively trying to solve for months. Obscure, hallucinogenic clues, and bizarre, larger-than-life characters, guide an increasingly unhinged Jacob through a nightmarish Spanish landscape to an art forger’s studio in Madrid, where he comes face-to-face with a centuries-old horror, and the terrifying, mind-bending, truth about his wife.

 

Sounds really good doesn’t it?  If this book appeals to you then you will be pleased to know that ‘The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Strange-Book-Jacob-Boyce/dp/1925965341/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1587725211&sr=8-1

 

About Tom Gillespie

Tom Gillespie grew up in a small town just outside Glasgow. After completing a Masters in English at Glasgow University, he spent the next ten years pursuing a musical career as a singer/songwriter, playing, recording and touring the UK and Europe with his band. He now lives in Bath with his wife, daughter and hyper-neurotic cat, where he works at the university as an English lecturer. Tom writes long and short stories. His stories have appeared in many magazines, journals and e-zines. He is co-author of Glass Work Humans-an anthology of stories and poems, published by Valley Press.

 

Links

Website – http://tom-gillespie.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/tom_gillespie

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tomgillespiewriter

 

Blog Tour – ‘Just My Luck’ by Adele Parks ~ @HQstories @adeleparks

Congratulations to Adele Parks whose new book, ‘Just My Luck’ was published in hardback, as an eBook and Audiobook on the 14th May 2020 by HQ.  This is her 20th novel.

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour along with loads of other book bloggers.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate and for my proof copy.

I will tell you all in a minute what I thought about this book.  First though here is the book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

What if winning means losing everything?

It’s the stuff dreams are made of – a lottery win so big, it changes everything.

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.

But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.

Sunday Times Number One bestseller Adele Parks returns with a riveting look at the dark side of wealth in this gripping take on friendship, money and betrayal, and good luck gone bad…

 

My Review

Wow! Well, I never expected that. Never expected that at all.

I was really looking forward to reading ‘Just My Luck’. Having now read it I have to say that Adele Parks certainly knows how to weave a good tale. I loved the style in which the book was written and thought the author was very descriptive. This was such an addictive and exciting read and it was pretty hard to put down.

I absolutely loved the storyline. It was much more complex than I imagined it would be. There were shocks galore and, in the end, I didn’t really know who I could trust. Surely nothing else could happen I thought, but I was proved wrong again and again.

I didn’t like the majority of the characters apart from Lexi, her children, Toma and Gillian. Lexi came across as a really lovely person. She wanted to be able to help as many people as she could and was definitely in the right job. I could understand her frustration at not being able to do more for others.

Lexi was the most level-headed person as far as the lottery win went which is more than could be said for the rest of her family. She was sensible about what she wanted to spend the money on.

I have always thought that I would like to win the lottery. We all have dreams after all. I would hopefully put the money to good use after the initial excitement. After reading this book though I think I would have to be careful how I went about things. It is quite a scary situation to be in really.

‘Just My Luck’ is a story about greed, secrets, betrayal and lies. It will leave you shocked, and you will never think about winning the lottery in the same way again. It is definitely not all it is cracked up to be.

Go buy a copy of ‘Just My Luck’. It is superb and is an eye-opener of a read.

 

‘Just My Luck’ can be purchased from:-

HarperCollins – https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008410575/just-my-luck/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Luck-bestsellers-including-bestseller-ebook/dp/B081D4N6T3/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1589608334&sr=8-1

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/just-my-luck/adele-parks/9780008410575

Hive – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Adele-Parks/Just-My-Luck/24893081

 

About Adele Parks

I was born in Teesside, NE England. Since graduating from Leicester University, where I studied English Language and Literature, I’ve worked in advertising and as a management consultant. In 2010 I was proud to be awarded an honorary doctorate of Letters from Teesside University.

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer and my first novel – Playing Away – was published in 2000; that year the Evening Standard identified me as one of London’s ‘Twenty Faces to Watch’, which was very nice of them!

I like to keep busy and am pretty flattered when I’m described as one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK, (who wouldn’t like that?!) Three and a half million copies of my UK editions have been sold and I’m translated into 26 different languages. I’ve published nineteen novels in nineteen years, and I’m lucky that they’ve all hit the bestseller lists. I have written 16 contemporary novels and two historical ones, Spare Brides and If You Go Away, set during and after WW1. All my novels examines issues that are important to us all. I like to scrutinize our concepts of family, our theories on love, parenting and fidelity with (I hope) honesty and humour. Whatever period I set my novels I’m known for examining the thorny issues of the lives people lead with my trademark, up-front, tell-it-as-it-is style.

I write numerous articles and short stories for national magazines and newspapers and often appear on radio and TV talking about my work and related matters. You know, basically a talking head. This works well for me as I’m very chatty and fairly opinionated. I think it’s true to say once I get going, it’s quite hard to shut me up.

I passionately believe that reading is a basic right. I’m a proud Ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and The Reading Agency’s Six Book Challenge, a scheme that encourages emerging adult readers who are becoming passionate about books. In 2008 I wrote a Quick Read, Happy Families as part of the celebrations of World Book Day, which went on to win Quick Read Learners’ Favourite Award, as voted for by the public.

I am a judge for the Costa Book Awards and The British Book Awards which is a great privilege and an amazing experience. During my career I’ve lived in Italy, Botswana and London. Now I live happily in Guildford, Surrey with my husband, teenage son and cat. I guess, that’s it, so far…

 

Links

Website – https://www.adeleparks.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/adeleparks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/OfficialAdeleParks

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/adele_parks/

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Scribbler’ by Iain Maitland ~ @RKbookpublicist @SarabandBooks @iainmaitland

I am beyond thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘The Scribbler’ by Iain Maitland was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 7th May 2020 by Contraband and is the first of a series.

I would like to thank Ruth Killick for inviting me to participate and both Ruth and the publisher for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute exactly what I thought about ‘The Scribbler’ after the all important book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

“He’s back, Carrie. The Scribbler is back.”

DI Gayther and his rookie colleague DC Carrie have been assigned a new caseload. Or rather, an old one… cold murder cases of LGBTQ+ victims.Georgia Carrie wasn’t even born when the notorious serial killer began his reign of terror across the East of England, but Roger Gayther was on the force that failed to catch him and remembers every chilling detail.

Back in the Eighties, Gayther’s team hadn’t been assigned sufficient resources. But now, after all these years, there’s a sudden death featuring The Scribbler’s tell-tale modus operandi. Gayther and Carrie have to find and bring him to justice to stop the killing once and for all.

 

My Review

Oh My Goodness! How did I not know about Iain Maitland and his work before now? I mean what planet have I been living on all this time? I feel like I have just made one of the greatest discoveries on Earth. Literally I do. What a mind this author has.

I thought ‘The Scribbler’ was a fantastic read. I really liked the author’s style of writing and I could almost feel the atmosphere at times.

This was one of those books I could not wait to get back to, especially as I got deeper and deeper into the story. It was like falling into a hole and wanting to get to the bottom to find out what was there.

There were certainly some interesting characters, many of whom I just didn’t take to. I liked DI Gayther and DC Carrie and I thought that they had a really good working relationship. Together with Thomas and Cotton they made a good team. I was most interested to see how far they got with the cold murder cases of LGBTQ+ victims.

The Scribbler was just so evil and twisted. How he could live with himself I really do not know. There was another side to him though surprisingly and it seemed that he did have a heart somewhere. He was very protective of his family, especially his sibling. As I read on it became apparent as to why The Scribbler had become the way he had, not that murdering people was any excuse. I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit sympathetic for him and his brother.

‘The Scribbler’ is a dark, gripping, creepy and tense read. It deals with a number of issues including mental health, homosexuality, abuse and loss.

If you are a fan of crime fiction, then I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy of ‘The Scribbler’ now.

I was over the moon when I discovered that this was the first book in a series, and I will wait patiently for the next one. In the meantime, I will definitely be buying Iain Maitland’s first two novels, there is no doubt about that at all.

I think this is another book to add to my favourites of the year.

 

‘The Scribbler’ can be purchased from:-

Saraband – https://saraband.net/sb-title/the-scribbler/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1912235803?pf_rd_r=F917907HFJGYKDDY0DCR&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e

 

About Iain Maitland

Iain Maitland is the author of thrillers: The Scribbler (2020) Mr Todd’s Reckoning (2019) and Sweet William (2017) as well as two non-fiction books on mental health: Dear Michael, Love Dad (2016) and Out of the Madhouse (2018). An ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity, Iain also speaks on mental health issues in the workplace. A writer since 1987, he is a journalist and has written more than 50 books, mainly on business, which have been published around the world.

 

Links

Website – http://www.iainmaitland.net/home

Twitter – https://twitter.com/iainmaitland

Guest Post by Mark Ellis ~ @midaspr @MarkEllis15

It is a real pleasure having Mark Ellis as a guest on my blog today.  His latest book, ‘A Death in Mayfair’, the fourth book in the DCI Frank Merlin series, was published last November in paperback, as an eBook and Audiobook by Accent Press.

Mark has written a post about the research he has undertaken for his books.

 

Researching The World War Two Frank Merlin Detective Series

With this month’s VE Day Anniversary, public interest in World War Two has once again been high. This pleases me as the period is fascinating and one in which I spend considerable time as the author of a series of wartime crime thrillers. My hero, Detective Chief Inspector Frank Merlin, is a Scotland Yard policeman investigating serious crime in London. The series follows his adventures through the war sequentially. Four books have been published so far and I am writing the fifth. The first of the series, Princes Gate, is set in January 1940, at the time of the so-called ‘Phoney War’. The second, Stalin’s Gold, is set in September 1940, at the beginning of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain. The action of the third, Merlin At War, takes place in June 1941, just before Hitler’s invasion of Russia. A Death In Mayfair, the recently published fourth Merlin book is set in December 1941, the month in which the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour.

A considerable amount of research goes into the writing of the Frank Merlin series. I aim to set the Merlin stories against as realistic a historical background as I can. Before starting to write I spend around three months reading everything I can about the book’s particular period setting. When I started out with Princes Gate, I was very reliant on libraries for my research. I spent much time in particular at the Public Records Office in Kew where they had an abundance of helpful books and documents. Since then, as the amount of online information has proliferated, libraries have become less vital, although I still use them. The internet is an amazing source. If I want to find out the weather in London on a specific day in the war, I can find details online. If I want to find out which RAF squadrons were in the air on a particular day in the Battle of Britain, the internet can tell me. And so on.

Apart from the internet and libraries, I have a useful book collection of my own. It includes several excellent histories of life on the Home Front (eg Philip Ziegler, Juliet Gardiner, Angus Calder), great wartime diaries (Harold Nicolson, Chips Channon, Alan Brooke), memoirs and biographies (Churchill, De Gaulle, Eisenhower) and works of period fiction (Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Elizabeth Bowen). I also travel for purposes of research. While the action of the Merlin books takes place mostly in London, other locations occasionally feature. These have included Berlin, Paris, Buenos Aires, Miami, Moscow, Berlin, Vichy, New York and Cairo, a number of which I have been able to visit.

When I write a book I do not work to an advance framework of the plot. After the initial period of research, I set out on the first draft with plot lines which have come to my mind during that process. With the most recent Merlin book, A Death In Mayfair, my research drew me to the British wartime film industry. I learned that there were as many as fifteen film studios in and around London in the early years of the war. This struck me as a large number and further reading provided interesting detail on cinema in the war years and of its importance to the British public. I thus decided to set the story of A Death In Mayfair against a background of movie stars, directors and producers making films in a fictional film studio beside the River Thames. As I began to write, I set various plot lines running and went where they took me. Then, as is my method, when I was about three quarters of the way through the draft, I worked out how the plots were resolved. This can be a rather nerve-wracking process but somehow it seems to work for me.

The new work in progress, the fifth Merlin book, is set in August 1942. The plot revolves around art theft, espionage and racism in the US forces. My preliminary research included books on wartime Lisbon, the art world, and the arrival of American GIs in Britain. As I’m not yet half way through the draft, I have no idea yet about what will happen. Thus I’m as excited by the development of the story as I hope readers are when it hits the bookshops! It will be out next year.

 

Book Blurb

December 1941. Japanese planes swoop down and attack Pearl Harbour. America enters the war and Britain no longer stands alone against Hitler. But conditions on the home front remain bleak, and for Scotland Yard detective Frank Merlin, life is as arduous as ever.  He is diverted from his tenacious campaign against London’s organised criminal gangs by the violent deaths of two young women in the centre of the city. Merlin investigates and encounters fraudulent film moguls, dissipated movie stars, mad Satanists, and brutal gangsters amongst others as he and his team battle to uncover the and search out the truth.

 

‘A Death in Mayfair’ can be purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Merlin-Noir-DCI-Frank-Novel/dp/1786156725/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=a+death+in+mayfair&qid=1589374554&sr=8-1

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-death-in-mayfair/mark-ellis/9781786156723

 

About Mark Ellis

Mark Ellis is a thriller writer from Swansea and a former barrister. He is the creator of DCI Frank Merlin, an Anglo-Spanish police detective operating in World War 2 London. His books treat the reader to a vivid portrait of London during the war.

Mark grew up under the shadow of his parents’ experience of the Second World War. He has always been fascinated by the fact that while the nation was engaged in a heroic endeavour, crime flourished. His father served in the wartime navy and died a young man. His mother told him stories of watching the heavy bombardment of Swansea from the safe vantage point of a hill in Llanelli, and of attending tea dances in wartime London under the bombs and doodlebugs.

In consequence Mark has always been fascinated by WW2 and in particular the Home Front and the fact that while the nation was engaged in a heroic endeavour, crime flourished. Murder, robbery, theft and rape were rife and the Blitz provided scope for widespread looting.This was an intriguing, harsh and cruel world. This is the world of DCI Frank Merlin.

Mark Ellis’ books regularly appear in the Kindle bestseller charts. He is a member of the Crime Writers Association (CWA). His most recent book, Merlin at War, was on the CWA Historical Dagger Longlist in 2018. A Death in Mayfair will be published in November 2019.

 

Links

Website – https://markellisauthor.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MarkEllis15

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MarkEllisAuthor

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Whispers in the Dark’ by Chris McDonald ~ @RedDogTweets @cmacwritescrime

Today is all about the cover love.  Yes, together with a number of fellow book bloggers I am helping to reveal the cover of Chris McDonald’s new book, ‘Whispers in the Dark’.

This is the second book in the Erika Piper series and it is being published in hardback, paperback and as an eBook by Red Dog Press on the 14th November 2020.

So, I guess you’ll be wanting to see the cover now won’t you?  Well, without further ado here it is.

 

 

Isn’t it just fabulous?

 

Book Blurb

Who will heed the call when Death comes whispering?

Small time drug dealer, Marcus Stone and DCI Clive Burston had never met until one night in August. But by the end of that night, both had been shot dead in a small bedroom in the heart of gang territory.

DI Erika Piper is called to the scene but is at a loss to explain what’s happened. How did these two even meet, let alone end up dead in what appears to be a strange murder-suicide? As Erika leads the investigation, another two bodies are found, killed in a similar fashion. One murder, one suicide. But who is controlling this macarbre puppet show?

As Erika delves deeper into the lives of the dead, the pieces begin to fit together and a number of nefarious characters crawl out of the woodwork – one of whom is almost certainly pulling the strings.

A catastrophic event and a personal miracle threaten to derail the investigation. Erika must find the strength to continue, before the whispers catch up with her too…

‘Whispers in the Dark’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Red Dog Press – https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/shop

Amazon UK – http://mybook.to/WITD

 

About Chris McDonald

Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure, before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime.

He’s a fan of 5-a-side football, has an eclectic taste in music ranging from Damien Rice to Slayer and loves dogs.

 

Links

Twitter handles:

https://twitter.com/RedDogTweets

https://twitter.com/cmacwritescrime

Instagram handles:

@red_dog_press

@macreviewsbooks

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/reddogassociates

Guest Post by Robert Crouch ~ @robertcrouchuk

It’s a lovely sunny Saturday morning, made even better by Robert Crouch who has come to pay a visit to my blog to tell me all about the joys of writing a series.  I have really enjoyed the Kent Fisher Mysteries series so far and will soon be reading Robert’s latest book, ‘No Mercy’.

Over to Rob now.

 

The joys of writing a series

When I began I had no idea if I could write one novel, let alone a series.

I’d never written a murder mystery before.

Plot seemed the logical place to start. A whodunit where the reader had to work out the killer required a clever plot, full of twists and red herrings.

It also required a detective to solve the mystery. Miss Marple, Inspector Morse, Kinsey Millhone all sprang to mind. Did I want a detective inspector or a private eye? Each brought its own challenges.

How would my detective stand out from the myriad of fictional and TV detectives? The choices were limitless, it seemed. Male or female? Young or old? Loner or team player? Maverick or by the book?

Then I considered flaws. Every detective had to have one, maybe more. Drinking, gambling, infidelity and broken marriages were common flaws that made detectives more human and sympathetic.

How about personal traumas? This was an emerging trait to make readers care more for detectives and lead characters. There were wives or children who disappeared, siblings who were killed or committed suicide, colleagues who died, detectives with addictions or mental health problems.

It soon became apparent that creating characters was more challenging and interesting than developing a twisting plot. And as no character lives or works alone, a strong supporting cast was essential – more so if you wrote about private eyes, who usually worked alone.

It took me several years for my protagonist Kent Fisher to ‘leap off the page’ as one agent demanded. I didn’t make things easy by shunning both private eye and detective inspector in favour of an amateur sleuth.

I wanted someone for today’s world – a person who cared as much about the environment and animals as he did about justice and fair play. He cared about his health, eating sensibly, exercising regularly.

Not very rock and roll, you might say, but this guy was also a hunt saboteur. He chained himself to trees to stop developers destroying the countryside. Though not a policeman, he was still a law enforcement officer – an environmental health officer (EHO), like me. He preferred animals to people and only had to get up in the morning to attract trouble.

As EHOs don’t investigate murders, he had to be drawn in by accident – literally in the case of his first outing.

This allowed me to give readers an insight into environmental health and the world he occupied. The characters around him took shape – like Danni, the fast track boss who felt threatened by him. Her PA, Kelly, was the font of all knowledge and gossip, delivering some of the funniest lines I wrote. His assistant Gemma helped him solve the murder and provided an unrequited love interest.

To make up for not having a police team to help him solve murders, his best friend Mike was once a Scenes of Crime Officer.

With the exception of Gemma, they were minor players in No Accident, the first Kent Fisher mystery. It was his show. Yet readers and reviewers were as interested in the characters as the plot. Some liked Gemma and wanted her and Kent to get together. Others thought she was bad for Kent and urged him to stop dreaming about her.

Then there was Columbo, the West Highland white terrier rescued by Kent. Readers loved this little guy, who seemed to steal most of the scenes he was in. Come the follow up, No Bodies, Columbo even had a hand in capturing the killer.

The story followed the original template, except Kent’s animal sanctuary and family issues grew in importance. We saw more of the world he lived in. Gemma played the same role once more, but with more authority and confidence, prompting readers and reviewers to be more vocal about their relationship.

The third novel, No Remorse, showed another part of environmental health, developing new characters. Danni was still there, struggling to manage Kent, but their relationship was developing and changing as more was revealed about their pasts. Kent had a new love interest to challenge his feelings for Gemma and vice versa.

Suddenly, as I began to think about each new murder mystery, the characters, work and animal sanctuary dominated my thoughts and planning. There were stories, running threads and unresolved issues to consider and continue.

By now readers and reviewers seemed to enjoy the backstory and characters as much as the murder mysteries. Kent, who had started out as the kind of maverick EHO I could never be, developed as a character, revealing the defining insights from his past.

With each novel, he becomes less like me and more his own person.

The same could be said of the characters, who develop with each story. The relationships change and shift as characters face new challenges. New characters have joined the cast, such as Detective Inspector Ashley Goodman, who investigates as a police officer, adding a new dimension and conflict.

But as the first draft of Kent Fisher #6 is completed, the backstory continues to produce subplots, challenges and emotional conflict that keep the stories fresh and moving forward, while remaining loyal to the classic whodunit.

Work continues to get in Kent’s way, but reflects the challenging times of public spending cuts and underfunded services. His relationship with Gemma has more twists and turns than many of the murder plots. Columbo continues to enchant readers and steal every scene he’s in. The animal sanctuary continues to grow and develop.

When I started, I envisaged one, maybe two novels. Never in my wildest dreams, did I think the characters would grow and develop to add a second layer of interest to make my stories as well as my protagonist distinctive.

Thanks to the series, I’ve grown to love the characters. I care deeply about what happens to them. They are like a family to me and matter as much as the complex murder plots I create.

Without these guys, there would not be a series.

 

 

‘No Accident’ the first book in the Kent Fisher Mystery series is currently only £1.99 on Amazon.  Here is the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

A former gangster is dead. It looks like an accident. Only Kent Fisher suspects murder.

When the police decide Syd Collins’ death is a work accident, they hand over the investigation to environmental health officer, Kent Fisher, a man with more baggage than an airport carousel.

He defies a restraining order to enter Tombstone Adventure Park and confronts the owner, Miles Birchill, who has his own reasons for blocking the investigation. Thwarted at every turn, Kent’s forced to bend the rules and is soon suspended from duty.

He battles on, unearthing secrets and corruption that could destroy those he loves. With his personal and professional worlds on a collision course, he knows life will never be the same again.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Accident-Kent-Fisher-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B0747S2YMP/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=no+accident+by+robert+crouch&qid=1589011625&sr=8-1

 

About Robert Crouch

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

 

Links

Website – https://robertcrouch.co.uk

Twitter – https://twitter.com/robertcrouchuk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor

Instagram – @robertcrouch_author

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01HFPCYOM

 

 

Blog Blitz – ‘Carrion’ by Graeme Cumming ~ #LoveBooksTours @lovebooksgroup @GraemeCumming63

It’s Bank Holiday Friday and what better day to tell you about a new book which is being published tomorrow the 9th May 2020.  First though I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog blitz.

‘Carrion’ is Graeme Cumming’s brand new book and it is coming out tomorrow as an eBook.  Read on to find out a bit more about this book.  The purchase link is at the bottom of the page.

 

Book Blurb

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY. WORDS HAVE POWER.

A sheet of black filled his vision as hundreds of birds dived at the cottage, pointed beaks thrust forward. From this angle, he couldn’t see many of them striking it, but the few he did see held nothing back as they hammered into the shutter. The scale of the attack was beyond anything he’d seen or heard of. And bloodied casualties littered the ground: skulls shattered, wings broken, innards spilling from them. The fact that so many of them continued with the onslaught in spite of this filled him with even more dread.

Salin has always wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity presents itself, he grabs it with both hands, taking his friends along for the ride – whether they want to or not.

With strange lands come strange creatures that stand between them and their goal. And that goal is the same for someone else, a man who believes the prize is worth every sacrifice – especially when the sacrifices are made by others.

The future is about to change. But who for?

 

About Graeme Cumming

Graeme Cumming lives in Robin Hood country, and has spent most of his life immersed in fiction – books, TV, movies – turning to writing his own during his early teens.

With his interests in story-telling sparked by an excessive amount of time sitting in front of a black and white television, his tastes are varied.  Influences ranged from the Irwin Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, etc.) to ITC series (The Saint, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and so many more), so the common theme was action and adventure, but crossed into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as crime and espionage.

This diverse interest in fiction continued with his reading and his discovery of the magical world of cinema.  As a result, his stories don’t always fall into a specific genre, but will always maintain the style of a thriller.

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking.  He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club.  Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and loves the cinema.

 

Links

‘Carrion’ by Graeme Cumming can be pre-ordered from https://amzn.to/2KYvFjp

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GraemeCumming63

Blog Tour – ‘The Inheritance’ by Anne Allen ~ #LoveBooksTours @lovebooksgroup @AnneAllen21

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour along with a number of fellow book bloggers and would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Tours for inviting me to participate.

 

‘The Inheritance’ by Anne Allen is a year old. To celebrate all seven books in The Guernsey Novel series will only be £1.99 on Kindle for a limited time. Each of the books can be read as a standalone too.

I have an extract from ‘The Inheritance’.

 

Extract

 

Chapter five

Eugénie’s Diary – Guernsey March 1862

 

‘Ah! La pauvre petite! And how are feeling today? You have some colour in your cheeks, which is good.’ M’sieur Hugo strode into the drawing room and came straight to the chaise longue where I waited, nervously twisting my fingers. Lifting up a hand, he kissed it, accompanied by a slight bow. I lowered my head in acknowledgment.

‘I am much improved, m’sieur, thank you. Madame Drouet has been a wonderful nurse.’

He sat in a chair opposite me while she took a seat on the chaise. He looked like a genial grandfather, his thick white hair and beard in need of a trim while his oddly black moustache virtually erased his mouth. Two small, dark eyes studied me and I dropped my gaze.

‘Yes, she has indeed.’ He leaned forward and patted her hand. Turning to me he went on, ‘I owe you an apology for my reaction when we met the other day. The shock of seeing a young woman the very image of my deceased daughter affected my brain for a moment. Do you believe in spirits, the afterlife?’ He sat, his hands placed on his splayed legs, looking very much the great thinker and writer.

‘I…I don’t know, m’sieur. Although I was raised as a Catholic, I am not particularly religious and not in awe of a God who allows so much death and misery to be endured on this earth.’

His eyes sparkled.

‘Well said! I am of a similar turn of mind and it has been many years since I entered a church, except for burials. But spirits cannot be so readily dismissed. Why, my own house is haunted and I regularly have conversations with ghosts who seem to frequent my bedroom. Which is why I thought, for a moment, you were the spirit of my dear Léopoldine, come to be reunited with me.’ He sighed and his eyes clouded with sadness.

 

 

The Inheritance – Book 7 – https://amzn.to/352abv5

How close were Victor Hugo and his copyist?

1862 Young widow Eugénie faces an uncertain future in Guernsey. A further tragedy brings her to the attention of Monsieur Victor Hugo, living in exile on the island only yards away from Eugénie’s home. Their meeting changes her life and she becomes his copyist, forming a strong friendship with both Hugo and his mistress, Juliette Drouet.

2012 Dr Tess Le Prevost, Guernsey-born but living in England, is shocked to inherit her Great-Aunt’s house on the island. As a child, she was entranced by Doris’s tales of their ancestor, Eugénie, whose house this once was, and her close relationship with Hugo. Was he the real father of her child? Returning to the island gives Tess a fresh start and a chance to unlock family secrets.

Will she discover the truth about Eugénie and Hugo? A surprise find may hold the answer as Tess embraces new challenges which test her strength – and her heart.

 

The Betrayal –  Book Six – https://amzn.to/2yCvCqE

Book Six of The Guernsey Novels is another dual-time story set during the German Occupation and present-day Guernsey and is likely to appeal particularly to fans of the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…

1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.

1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.

2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth

Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?

Who betrayed Leo?

Who knew about the stolen Renoir?

And are they prepared to kill – again?

 

Echoes of Time – Book Five – https://amzn.to/2wZgeE5

The fifth of The Guernsey Novels, Echoes of Time is a dual-time story set in the German Occupation and present-day Guernsey and is likely to appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years…

1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey.

All too soon Olive realises she has made a mistake. Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer-however there’s a price to pay. . .

2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own…

Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive.

Thrown together in a bid to find out what happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on?

 

The Family Divided – Book Four – https://amzn.to/34TXLWd

The fourth of The Guernsey Novels, covering both contemporary Guernsey and the time of the Occupation. Likely to appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

One family, divided by death – and money

Andy Batiste, at loggerheads with his degenerate cousin, seeks to discover the truth of his family history. Why was his pregnant grandmother forced to flee to France? What really happened to her husband during the German Occupation, sixty years ago? Who accused Edmund, the elder son and Batiste heir, of being an informer? Was he really a traitor – and who murdered him?

With Edmund’s brother Harold now head of the family, enjoying the wealth which ought to have come to Andy’s father, the family is forever divided. Andy yearns to clear Edmund’s name and restore his father to his rightful inheritance.

Andy is introduced to Charlotte Townsend, newly divorced, lonely and struggling with writer’s block and the consuming threat of impending loss. They meet when she returns for healing at Guernsey’s natural health centre, La Folie, and Charlotte becomes involved in Andy’s family history.

Together they embark on a hunt for the truth…

 

Guernsey Retreat – Book Three – https://amzn.to/2VswgzT

The third in The Guernsey Novels series, likely to appeal to fans of the best-selling book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Two violent deaths. Separated by time, but with a fatal connection…

A man loses his father. A young woman loses her mother. Both in tragic circumstances that lead, when they meet, to surprising revelations from the past.

Louisa needs to find the father she has never known, to warn him of possible danger – for them both. Her search takes her from England to Guernsey. Malcolm’s journey is more complicated: conceived in Guernsey, his bereaved mother emigrates with him to Canada. Many years later he arrives in India, and from here he is led back to Guernsey to open a health centre at La Folie. This was his father’s home and where he was killed at the start of the Second World War.

At the heart of the two deaths lie stolen jewels. Valuable enough to kill for. Twice.

Finding her father brings Louisa more than she bargains for, and her life is transformed, while Malcolm learns that life is, after all, for sharing

 

Finding Mother – Book Two – https://amzn.to/2VrLl4u

Three women. Three generations. Sacrifices for love…

Who is she really? Nicole is about to find out as she searches for her real mother; the woman who gave her away at birth. With her marriage in tatters, she sets out from England: travelling to Spain, Jersey and Guernsey before the extraordinary story of her real family is finally revealed.

Nicole becomes an unwitting catalyst for change in that family. Two women are forced to reveal long-buried secrets. One going back as far as the Second World War. Lives are transformed as choices have to be made and the past laid to rest…

 

Dangerous Waters – Book One – https://amzn.to/34TE4O2

Dangerous Waters is the first of The Guernsey Novels, linked but standalone stories, which will appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Tragedy seems to follow Jeanne Le Page around . . .

Can she really go through it again and survive?

She is lucky to be alive … at sixteen Jeanne was almost killed in a boating accident which brought heart-breaking family tragedy. Now, fifteen years later, Jeanne returns reluctantly to the island of Guernsey following the death of her beloved grandmother. Struggling for breath as the ferry nears the island; she is overwhelmed by a dark foreboding as hazy memories of that terrible day resurface…

Only returning to sell her inheritance – her grandmother’s old cottage – Jeanne has no intention of picking up her old life. But the cottage holds a secret, dating back to World War II and the German Occupation, and Jeanne becomes drawn into discovering more. Then, soon after her arrival, a chance meeting with an old teenage crush leads her to thoughts of love.

Jeanne is forced to face her demons, reliving the tragedy as her lost memory returns.

When the truth is finally revealed, her life is endangered for the second time…

 

About Anne Allen

Anne was born in Rugby to a Welsh father and an English mother. As a result, she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learned to love the sea. Now she is based in Devon to be near her daughter and two small grandchildren. Her restless spirit has meant many moves, the longest stay being in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns. Her younger son is based in London – ideal for city breaks

By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist who long had a desire to write and Dangerous Waters, her first novel, was published in 2012. It was awarded Silver(Adult Fiction) in TheWishingShelfAwards 2012. Since then she has published six more books in The Guernsey Novels series; Finding Mother, Guernsey Retreat, The Family Divided, Echoes of Time- winner of The Diamond Book Award 2017, a finalist in Readersfavorite awards and granted a ChillWithABookAward, The Betrayal, and The Inheritance, published April 2019.

 

Links

Website – http://www.anneallen.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AnneAllen21

Blog Tour – ‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’ by Kim Sancreed ~ @Bookollective @kimsancreed

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’ was published as an eBook on the 26th January 2020 by Wildword and is also available as a paperback.

I would like to thank Bookollective for inviting me to participate in this blog tour and the publisher/author for my review copy.

Before I tell you what I thought about ‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’ here is the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

A witty, off-beat romance set in Cornwall. New member of faculty Kate finds herself living below one of her colleagues in a converted engine house on the cliffs. Everyone can see they are made for each other, but he’s a little too in love with his surfing, and she’s a little too focused on her career. Under the merciless gaze of their students, Dave and Kate dance around each other through the highs and lows of a school term. Will they manage to get out of the way of their own happy ending?

 

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’ and I loved the writing style. I really liked how the story opened. This was such a light-hearted and humorous read and it was one I couldn’t wait to get back to.

In the first couple of chapters I was introduced to some of the teachers and students. I also got a good feel for St Petroc’s and the daily routine and lessons. I felt I was given a behind the scenes look at the work that goes on in a school which was good.

I liked reading about Cornwall especially the beach and the café. How lucky to have that virtually on your doorstep.

There were some quite interesting characters in this story. I liked Dave and thought he had such a nice personality. He was a bit laid back sure, but there was nothing wrong with that at all. I did feel if anything that he needed a bit of encouragement as he was actually really good at what he did. I also liked Kate and felt from the beginning that she would be good for the school. I absolutely loved Frances as well.

When Dave and Kate met, they didn’t exactly get off to a flying start. There was definitely some chemistry there though and I couldn’t wait to see what if anything would happen between them.

It was interesting reading about the students and learning about their various backgrounds and their personal lives. I really think Kate did wonders with one of them in particular and I was actually quite amazed at what she managed to achieve.

Some parts of the story were predictable, but it was all good. There was one thing I couldn’t get into and that was the golf playing though what happened afterwards was I thought quite spectacular in its own way.

If you are looking for a relaxing read then, I recommend ‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’. It is certainly worth investing your time in. I really hope there is more to come from the author.

 

‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mentoring-Mr-Singleman-feelgood-Cornish-ebook/dp/B0847RVVL9/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1588517086&sr=8-1-spell

 

About Kim Sancreed

Kim Sancreed is a writer who lives in Cornwall and blogs on living, writing and enjoying the Arts in West Cornwall.

 

Links

Website – https://www.wildword.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/kimsancreed

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kimsancreed/

 

Competition – ‘Death of a Painter’ by Matthew Ross ~ @RedDogTweets @mattwross

Hi Everyone.  I hope you are all well and are staying safe during these strange and worrying times.

I have something very special for you today.  The publisher, Red Dog Press, are giving away a hardback copy of ‘Death of a Painter’ by Matthew Ross, the first book in the Mark Poynter series.  The link is towards the bottom of the page.

To give you a taster of ‘Death of a Painter’ here is the book blurb followed by an extract.

 

Book Blurb

IN THE BUILDING GAME TIME IS MONEY AND MONEY IS EVERYTHING. UNFORTUNATELY FOR MARK POYNTER, HE’S RUN OUT OF MONEY AND HE’S FAST RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

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.

 

Extract

-1-

SOME SAY BEING in the building trade isn’t a job, they say it’s a way of life. What they never tell you about is the problems – every day of every week of every year – nothing but problems.

Everyone you work with wants money off you, everyone you work for wants to keep money from you, and everyone – and I mean everyone – wants it done by yesterday. It’s problem after problem after bloody problem.

And right now, I seem to have more than anyone. I’ve got a hysterical woman screaming down the house, a dead man on her kitchen floor, and I’ve got absolutely no idea what’s going on. All I do know… there’s no way now this job’s going to be finished by Friday.

 

MRS WILKES SQUEEZED my hand and sobbed. I looked at the mess that was once Tommy and couldn’t help wondering – had he been having a bit of a dabble with Mrs Wilkes? It wouldn’t be the first time he’d entertained the client, and it would explain the overly dramatic wailing that quite frankly was starting to give me the hump.

I figured he probably had been. He definitely had a magic touch with married stay-at-home mums harbouring secret fantasies for no-strings with a rascal – and he was that alright, all smiles and laughs and a little bit of teasing to make them blush – it was as though he’d walked straight out of a crappy 70s sex comedy, only now it wasn’t so funny – Carry On Dying.

There is a Mr Wilkes. We’d greet him every morning as he headed off in his smart suit and sense of self-importance. It was no wonder the wife treated herself to a bit of fun with a cheeky painter when she was married to such a miserable belligerent arse. He does something in the City and thinks he’s very busy and important; maybe he is, I don’t care. Mrs Wilkes was alright, but he’d been a nuisance since the job began, in fact since before the job began – he’d insisted on having a proper contract between us.

So far, he’d tried and failed to knock our money for genuine variations, and tried (and failed) to refuse us an extension of time after his wife’s changes of mind added a fortnight to the job. His contract wasn’t really working in his favour and it only seemed to add to his general state of ill-temper. However, we’d run out of smart excuses. We had to finish by Friday, and Mr Wilkes was exactly the sort who’d want his penalty payments out of principle. I could picture him willing us to fail just so he can feel like he’s won something. But I don’t know where the contract stands on when the work’s delayed by the site becoming a crime scene – is that force majeure? It was certainly a force of something, looking at the damage done to poor Tommy.

This wasn’t a fall or an accident on site, this was violence, this was brutal. Just below his ear, his head yawned open wide, smashed white bones and grey jelly. His face had been rinsed red by the steady flow of blood, now pooled and tacky like spilled paint on the granite tiles beneath him.

He was the best decorator I’ve ever worked with; morally questionable, but he’d do a lovely job, which is why, as soon as I saw his brushes on the side, I knew something was up. They hadn’t been washed out, he’d still been working, must have been interrupted and put them down for a moment. If he’d intended leaving them for a while, he’d have wrapped them in clingfilm to keep the bristles soft. That’s what he always did. I knew his brushes would stiffen and become brittle, like the bloody wound in the side of his head that was turning black around the edges. Thankfully I was pulled out of these dark thoughts by a voice beside me.

‘I said, what are we going to do?’ asked Mrs Wilkes.

‘Police… I suppose,’ was my rather feeble response.

No doubt Mr Wilkes and his swaggering pomposity would have thrived in such a moment, issuing commandments left right and centre, but my immediate reaction – and it probably doesn’t show me in any great light to admit it – was Thank God she found him first, as I could just imagine how the police’s questions would go if she hadn’t, although it didn’t seem to matter because, twenty minutes later:

‘He worked for you for how long, roughly, would you say?’ the uniformed copper asked me. He looked so familiar, I’m sure I’d seen him before, maybe from one of the Sunday league teams that drink at the Golden Lamb post-match; he looked the football sort – tall, slim, bit of a swagger. ‘And were there any disagreements? Disputes about money?’

There it is, that’s the one I’d been waiting for – the sub-contractor’s dead, must’ve been an argument over payment, must’ve been me; brilliant, well done Medway’s finest for jumping to the bleeding obvious!

A man entered the room, a small man with a face like a fox – all dark eyes, pointy nose and teeth, with white hair. He was very smartly dressed and obviously took a great deal of pride in his appearance judging by his shiny shoes and even shinier cufflinks. The uniform stopped his somewhat insulting questions, looked at the dapper little fellow, gave a respectful nod and moved away.

Mr Cufflinks approached me, reaching into the inside pocket of his tailored suit jacket. ‘I have been appointed investigating officer here,’ he informed me in a monotone voice, pulling out a warrant card and holding it six inches from my face. I tried to read his name, unusual, never seen it before but I decided to give it my best shot.

‘Inspector Senior, I’m—’

‘Sen Ya’ he interrupted ‘Senia, it’s pronounced Senia, Detective Chief Inspector Senia. It’s Italian.’ His patronising tone was already beginning to annoy me.

‘So, you’re Italian?’ I still don’t know why I asked that, ease the tension I suppose.

‘Do I fucking look Italian?’

Well, that threw me, no-one’s ever asked me that before; what does an Italian look like? I could only think of Pavarotti and he didn’t look anything like him. I must have pondered for too long as he barked his next question at me.

‘You’re the one that called it in? Mark Poynter?’

I confirmed I was both of those, and then started explaining that Tommy worked for me and the job we were doing. He didn’t seem to understand.

‘But you’re an electrician?’

‘Yes.’

‘And the deceased was a painter?’

‘Yes.’

‘So why does an electrician need a painter?’

‘Err, to paint.’

‘I know a painter does the bloody painting, don’t get smart with me. Why is an electrician employing a painter?’

‘Because I’ve been fitting the new kitchen here, and I had him decorating.’

‘Fitting a kitchen? Isn’t that a carpenter’s job?’

‘Yes, but the carpenter’s finished, the plumber’s finished, the plasterer’s finished so now it’s just the decorator to finish.’

‘But you’re an electrician!’

I thought carefully about my next words, he was starting to wind me up, but the last thing I wanted was to annoy the Law when they were looking for someone to blame a murder on.

‘Yes, I’m an electrician. Most of my work is electrical. But on occasion people have asked me to take on bigger projects because they know I know all the right trades and it’s easier having me manage the thing start to finish.’

‘Like a main contractor?’

‘Yes, like a main contractor.’

‘Well, why didn’t you say that to begin with instead of farting about saying you’re an electrician?’

I didn’t know how to respond to that, so I didn’t.

‘So, you two were friends, good friends?’

I felt a bit guilty – to Tommy not to this foxy-faced fuckwit – to find myself denying we’d been friends for, must be, fifteen years now. Instead I gabbled around the edges staying nondescript, I told him we’d done a lot of work together – he’d get jobs and recommend me, I’d get jobs and recommend him – and that’s how things tend to go in this industry.

‘Can you think of anyone that’d want to harm him, or bore a grudge?’ asked Senia.

I immediately thought of Tommy’s tendency to dabble, and wondered whether Mr Wilkes had found out he’d been dipping more than his brushes whilst he was at work. But I didn’t say anything, firstly because Mr Wilkes may have been a petulant nobhead but I knew he was nothing more than bluster and bullshit, also it didn’t make sense to accuse him of murder when he still owed me a month’s money. I’ve got the bill for his granite worktops due this week, they’re the price of a new car alone, the last thing I wanted was to risk him knocking my payment, so I told Senia no.

Senia stared patiently at me, for ages, unblinking, like a crocodile. ‘Did he work for you as a direct employee?’

I explained, again, he was a sub-contractor; this was beginning to feel like hard work.

‘Well why in that case,’ the frustration in his voice matching mine, ‘are you both wearing the same shirt?’

He was right. We were both wearing a purple sweatshirt with my silver ‘MP Electrical’ logo. I tried explaining the concept of corporate branding: ‘my job, my firm, my rules’, meaning Tommy would wear my shirt when on my project.

‘So, if you can’t think of anyone that may have wanted to harm him,’ said Senia, ‘what about you? Your job, your firm – your shirt. Could it be mistaken identity and it was, in fact, you they were after? Has anyone threatened you, anyone bear a grudge against you?’

‘No,’ I lied, but by the way those dark eyes stared back I don’t think he believed me.

 

About Matthew Ross

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.

 

Links

Publisher

Website – https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/RedDogTweets

Author

Website – https://mattwross.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mattwross

 

Competition

So, as mentioned earlier, Red Dog Press are giving away a hardback copy of ‘Death of a Painter’.  This competition is open worldwide from now until 4:00 p.m. on the 10th May 2020.  The winner will be chosen by the publisher.  Click on the link below to enter:-

Rafflecopter Giveaway.

 

 

If you are not the lucky winner but like the sound of the book, you can buy it from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Painter-Mark-Poynter-Matthew/dp/1913331431/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=death+of+a+painter&qid=1588345687&sr=8-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Death-Painter-Mark-Poynter-Book-ebook/dp/B086P6Q8ZH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=death+of+a+painter&qid=1588347186&sr=8-1

 

There is also a blog tour taking place which you might want to check out.

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Spirited’ by Julie Cohen ~ @orionbooks @julie_cohen

I am thrilled to be helping to share the cover for Julie Cohen’s brand new book.

Yes, you heard right!  ‘Spirited’ is being published in hardback, as an eBook and Audiobook on the 9th July 2020 by Orion and it sounds absolutely amazing.

Right, are you ready to feast your eyes on the cover?  I can promise you that it’s pure gorgeousness.

 

 

 

Such beautiful artwork.  Here’s what ‘Spirited’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

FAITH.
Viola has an impossible talent. Searching for meaning in her grief, she uses her photography to feel closer to her late father, taking solace from the skills he taught her—and to keep her distance from her husband. But her pictures seem to capture things invisible to the eye…

COURAGE.
Henriette is a celebrated spirit medium, carrying nothing but her secrets with her as she travels the country. When she meets Viola, a powerful connection sparks between them—but Victorian society is no place for reckless women.

LOVE.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, invisible threads join Viola and Henriette to another woman who lives in secrecy, hiding her dangerous act of rebellion in plain sight.

What will they risk for freedom?

 

‘Spirited’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/spirited/julie-cohen/9781409179870

Blackwell’s – https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Spirited-by-Julie-Cohen-author/9781409179870

 

About Julie Cohen

Julie Cohen grew up in Maine and studied English at Brown University, Cambridge University and the University of Reading. Her award-winning novels have sold over a million copies worldwide, and she has twice been selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club in the UK. Julie runs an oversubscribed literary consultancy which has helped many writers go on to be published. She is a Vice President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, founder of the RNA Rainbow Chapter, and a Patron of literacy charity ABC To Read. Her bestselling novel TOGETHER has been translated into eleven languages and optioned for television adaptation; THE TWO LIVES OF LOUIS & LOUISE was long-listed for the Polari Prize and has been optioned by Enderby Entertainment as a feature film. Her first historical novel, SPIRITED, will be published in July 2020. She lives in Berkshire with her family and a terrier of dubious origin.

 

Links

Website – http://www.julie-cohen.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/julie_cohen

 

Book Review – ‘I Am Dust’ by Louise Beech ~ @OrendaBooks @LouiseWriter

I hope everyone is well and having as lovely a weekend as you can.

This is a bit later than planned, but I now have my review of ‘I Am Dust’ by Louise Beech.  For ease of reference here is the book blurb again.

 

Book Blurb

When iconic musical Dust is revived twenty years after the leading actress was murdered in her dressing room, a series of eerie events haunts the new cast…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

 

My Review

Wow! Just Wow!! ‘I Am Dust’ was such an amazing read and I really hope I can do it justice with this review.

Louise Beech has written a book so wonderful that it has left me in total awe. The writing is simply beautiful and very descriptive, and I loved the style of it. The words have a way of catching hold of you and tantalising you so that you become totally caught up in the story.

I really did like the storyline and found it to be extremely gripping. Bringing back the iconic musical ‘Dust’ after twenty years was bound to spark a lot of interest from the press because of what had happened the first time it played at the theatre. Was there any truth about the actress who was murdered in her dressing room haunting the theatre? What if history were to repeat itself?

Through Chloe, an usher at the theatre and the main character in this story, we learn about what happened when she was just a teenager along with Jess and Ryan. It made for quite disturbing reading at times, especially with the message they received, a warning you could say.

Chloe came across as a really lovely and genuine person. All she ever wanted was to be loved and she couldn’t even have that. One thing she did have though was a gift, whether she wanted it or not.

There were a few shocks later on in the story which left me totally gobsmacked. I also found the song that was sung by the actress who had been murdered to be pretty haunting. I thought the ending was very poignant. It is such a shame the way things worked out.

‘I Am Dust’ is haunting, mesmerising and chilling. It is a story of obsession, greed and betrayal and at the same time it is a love story of sorts.

This is not a book I will forget very easily, and it will definitely be going on my list of favourites. I think this could even be my most favourite book of the year.

If any book deserves to win an award it is this one. Louise Beech is an exceptionally talented writer.  I highly recommend that you read ‘I Am Dust’. It is everything and more besides.

 

‘I Am Dust’ can be purchased from Amazon:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Am-Dust-Louise-Beech-ebook/dp/B07X8SSJV7/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1586503297&sr=8-1

 

Thank you to the publisher for my review copy.

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Gossips’ Choice’ by Sara Read ~ #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup @Wildpressed @saralread

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today along with two other book bloggers.  ‘The Gossips’ Choice’ was published in paperback on the 1st April 2020 by Wild Pressed Books and is also available as an eBook.

I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour.

I have an excerpt from ‘The Gossips’ Choice’ for you all to read.  First though let’s take a look at the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

“Call The Midwife for the 17th Century”

Lucie Smith is a respected midwife who is married to Jacob, the town apothecary. They live happily together at the shop with the sign of the Three Doves. But sixteen-sixty-five proves a troublesome year for the couple. Lucie is called to a birth at the local Manor House and Jacob objects to her involvement with their former opponents in the English Civil Wars. Their only-surviving son Simon flees plague-ridden London for his country hometown, only to argue with his father. Lucie also has to manage her husband’s fury at the news of their loyal housemaid’s unplanned pregnancy and its repercussions.

The year draws to a close with the first ever accusation of malpractice against Lucie, which could see her lose her midwifery licence, or even face excommunication.

 

Book Excerpt

Excerpt 3 The Gossips’ Choice – Sara Read

The atmosphere in the Three Doves was strained all evening. As Martha hadn’t returned, Lucie had served supper, and afterwards Jasper had read from the Bible and asked them to answer theological questions. Ned remained surly all evening and became even more so when Jasper informed him of his decision that the apprentice’s truckle bed was to be moved to his and Lucie’s chamber until further notice.

The next announcement was a shock for Lucie, as Jasper declared that he had been praying and reflecting on the money the King had sent during the summer. The two bright guineas had been in the locked metal chest in his chamber since they arrived; Lucie had given Martha and Ned their share from her own money. Jasper told them that God had helped him reach the decision that this money should go into the parish funds for poor relief. The Stuart court’s profligacy and loose morals, not to mention rumours of its attachment to popery, were everything Jasper opposed, and while he was proud that his wife’s efforts had been recognised, he felt they were unable to accept the money.

‘This decision has been a long time making, husband,’ Lucie said. ‘I took it for granted that you were reconciled to my reward, since you had not mentioned it since the day it arrived.’

‘That’s true, but the extravagant fee Lady Calstone sent lately troubled me anew. We both work hard and take a fair fee for our labour. All we asked from the Manor was that they should settle their fee and not that they should give us large sums, presumably to assure our discretion in the other matter.’

Lucie noticed Ned’s ears pricking up and wondered what he was thinking. Given his recent rioting in the alehouse, she was seeing the lad in a fresh and not very positive light.

‘Furthermore,’ Jasper continued, ‘I was disposed to pray on the matter, and the answer revealed to me was that we should accept your customary fee – with something more for your additional troubles – and the later treatments we dispatched, and then the rest should also go to the parish poor funds. It will make provision for the winter months, when the parish is called on most for relief.’

‘As you wish,’ said Lucie demurely, but with regret. She might be unchallengeable in the birthing chamber, but accepted without question that Jasper was master of his own household. That included her earnings. It was fortunate that the painter she had retained was no longer coming. She did have some pin money saved from her household allowance but having the Calstone and royal money to keep would have been a significant addition to her personal fortune.

 

‘The Gossips’ Choice’ is available to purchase from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gossips-Choice-Sara-Read-ebook/dp/B087C9NFZ4/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=the+gossip%27s+choice+by+sara+read&qid=1587491587&sr=8-4

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Gossips-Choice-Sara-Read-ebook/dp/B087C9NFZ4/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+gossips+choice+by+sara+read&qid=1587536441&sr=8-1

 

About Sara Read

Dr Sara Read is a lecturer in English at Loughborough University. Her research is in the cultural representations of women, bodies and health in the early modern era.

She has published widely in this area with her first book Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England being published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.

She is a member of the organising committee of the Women’s Studies Group, 1558-1837 and recently co-edited a special collection produced to celebrate the group’s 30th anniversary.

She is also the co-editor of the popular Early Modern Medicine blog. With founding editor Dr Jennifer Evans, Sara wrote a book about health and disease in this era Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740 (Pen and Sword 2017).

Sara regularly writes for history magazines such as Discover Your Ancestors and History Today. In 2017 she published an article ‘My Ancestor was a Midwife’ tracing the history of the midwifery profession for Who Do You Think You Are? magazine in 2017. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s Freethinking programme and is often to be heard on BBC Radio Leicester and BBC Radio WM.

 

Links

Website – http://www.sararead.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/saralread

 

Blog Tour – ‘Sister’ by Kjell Ola Dahl ~ #RandomThingsTours @annecater @OrendaBooks @ko_dahl

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate.  ‘Sister’ by Kjell Ola Dahl, the latest book in the Oslo Detectives series which is translated by Don Bartlett, is being published in paperback on the 30th April 2020 by Orenda Books and is available as an eBook.

I have a competition for you to win an eBook copy of ‘Sister’.  First though lets take a look at what this book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Oslo detective Frølich searches for the mysterious sister of a young female asylum seeker, but when people start to die, everything points to an old case and a series of events that someone will do anything to hide…

Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death.

Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…

A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation. m

 

About Kjell Ola Dahl

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

 

Links

‘Sister’ is available to purchase / pre-order from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sister-Oslo-Detectives-Kjell-Dahl-ebook/dp/B07XBW8VR8/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1587228103&sr=8-1

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ko_dahl

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/605240.Kjell_Ola_Dahl

 

Competition

One lucky person has the chance to win an eBook copy of ‘Sister’.  To enter just share this post on social media and leave a comment here.

 

Terms and Conditions

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 30th April 2020.

The winner will be chosen within 7 days of the closing date and their details passed on to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.

This competition is open to UK residents only.

 

Cover Reveal – ‘One Step Behind’ by Lauren North ~ @Lauren_C_North @TransworldBooks

I have something very exciting to share with you all today.  Yes, I am helping to reveal the cover of Lauren North’s brand new book, ‘One Step Behind’.  It is being published as an eBook on the 16th July 2020 by Transworld and will be available in paperback from the 3rd September 2020.

If you like psychological thrillers then I would say give this book a go.  I know I’ll be reading it.

Right!  Who is ready to feast their eyes on the cover?

 

 

Such a beautiful cover, but it’s creepy as well.  Here’s what ‘One Step Behind’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker.

Every time she leaves her house, she sees him. Disturbing gifts are left at her door. Cruel emails are sent to her colleagues. She has no idea who this man is but she feels powerless against him.

Until the day he is brought into her hospital after a serious accident, and Jenna is given the chance to find out once and for all why this man is tormenting her. Now, the power is all hers.

But how many lines is she willing to cross to take back control of her life?

 

You can pre-order ‘One Step Behind’ from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Step-Behind-Lauren-North-ebook/dp/B081J6485K/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=one+step+behind&qid=1586416475&sr=8-2

 

About Lauren North

Lauren writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside. Her debut novel, The Perfect Betrayal, was released last year.

Readers can follow Lauren on Twitter @Lauren_C_North and Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Lauren_C_North

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LaurenNorthAuthor/

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Authenticity Project’ by Clare Pooley ~ #RandomThingsTours @annecater @TransworldBooks @cpooleywriter

‘The Authenticity Project’ by Clare Pooley was published in hardback on the 2nd April 2020 by Bantam Press.  It is also available as an eBook and in Audiobook.  Today it is my turn on the blog tour for this book and I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate.

I have a competition for you to enter, but first here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Everybody lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth instead?

Julian Jessop is living a lie.  He’s lonely but refuses to speak to neighbours. He loved his wife when she was alive, but he didn’t tell her. (In fact, he wasn’t very kind to her at all.) He feels invisible to the world but he doesn’t want to go out. But now he wants to be honest. So he writes his truth in a small green notebook and leaves it in his local cafe.

Monica gave up a high-flying career as a lawyer to open her own cafe, but it isn’t going as well as she hoped. On finding the notebook, she’s both inspired to write her own truth and to help Julian out of his loneliness.

Little does Julian know that his one small act is about to bring a whole group of people together as they discover the power, and the danger, of honesty.

 

About Clare Pooley

Clare Pooley graduated from Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising before becoming a full-time mum. She is the author of the hugely popular blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker, under the pseudonym Sober Mummy and her memoir, The Sober Diaries was published by Hodder in 2017 to critical acclaim.

Her blog has had over two million hits and she recently gave a TEDx talk titled Making Sober Less Shameful.

Clare’s debut novel The Authenticity Project is inspired by the time Clare spent in advertising, a world where the line between authenticity and fiction is constantly blurred, and by her own experience of exposing truth about her seemingly perfect life in her memoir.

 

Links

‘The Authenticity Project’ can be purchased from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Authenticity-Project-Clare-Pooley/dp/1787631796/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1586594109&sr=8-1

Website – https://clarepooley.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/cpooleywriter

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17183424.Clare_Pooley

 

Competition

One lucky person has the chance to win an eBook copy of ‘The Authenticity Project’.  To enter just share this post on social media and leave a comment here.

 

Terms and Conditions

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 25th April 2020.

The winner will be chosen within 7 days of the closing date and their details passed on to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.

This competition is open to UK residents only.

 

Blog Tour – ‘I Am Dust’ by Louise Beech ~ #RandomThingsTours @annecater @OrendaBooks @LouiseWriter

‘I Am Dust’ by Louise Beech was published as an eBook in February by Orenda Books and will be out in paperback on the 16th April 2020.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate.

You will have to wait until next week to find out what I think about ‘I Am Dust’.  I will say though that Louise Beech is a remarkable writer and this book truly deserves to win an award.

I have a competition for you all.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

When iconic musical Dust is revived twenty years after the leading actress was murdered in her dressing room, a series of eerie events haunts the new cast…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

 

About Louise Beech

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

 

Links

‘I Am Dust’ can be bought / pre-ordered from Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Am-Dust-Louise-Beech-ebook/dp/B07X8SSJV7/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1586503297&sr=8-1

Website – https://louisebeech.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LouiseWriter

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4122943.Louise_Beech

 

Competition

One lucky person has the chance to win an eBook copy of ‘I Am Dust’.  To enter just share this post on social media and leave a comment here.

 

Terms and Conditions

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 24th April 2020.

The winner will be chosen within 7 days of the closing date and their details passed on to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.

This competition is open to UK residents only.

Blog Tour – ‘Act 3: The Art of Growing Older’ by Judy Reith and Adrian Reith ~ #RandomThingsTours @annecater @unbounders @Act3Life

‘Act 3: The Art of Growing Older’ by Judy Reith and Adrian Reith was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 2nd April 2020 by Unbound.  I am pleased to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate.  I think this is a very important book and I hope it is of help to lots of people.

I have an excerpt from ‘Act 3: The Art of Growing Older’ for all of you to read.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

At last, the life you want . . . post 50.

We’re living longer, in better health, with higher expectations than any generation in human history. With an extra adult chapter to look forward to, what will you do? Who else could you be? How will you evolve the best plan for your life between 50 and 80?

Judy and Adrian Reith have decades of experience in helping people see hidden possibilities, clarify their goals and achieve life-changing results. In Act 3 they suggest practical steps to make your life more fulfilling as you age. From the ground up this book will help you identify and strengthen the four roots you ll need for a happy and successful third act. It illustrates how your attitude, purpose, relationships and values are keystones to a life without regret.

Act 3 gives tools and tips to help you focus on what matters, with chapters on Work, Home, Money, Health, Play, the World and Friends. You ll be inspired by original stories of those who have changed their lives after 50 and be able to re-imagine your future, and so get the life you want . . . at last.

 

Excerpt

How This Book Works

Mental Pipes Unblocked

As authors, we take a ‘coaching’ approach to Act3. As coaches we know the best answers to our client’s questions are found inside them. We believe the same will be true for you. Coaching principles and mind sets are well known in the world of sport, but they bring excellence and satisfaction in other areas of life too. We’ll show you how.

‘Starting in 1971 on the tennis court I found myself asking a question I’d never been asked or told to ask, “I wonder what’s going on inside the head of a person while the ball is approaching them?” And that opened the door to The Inner Game. The answer was obvious. Much too much. Championship athletes said when they were at their best their mind was quiet, focussed, not full of shoulds and shouldn’ts.’ — Tim Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis

We All Have An Outer Game And An Inner Game.

Tim Gallwey – one of the fathers of modern coaching – was one of the first to address the internal narrative of shoulds and shouldn’ts, to help sports people, or business people perform not only to reach their potential, but to far exceed it. His work has been emulated worldwide and way beyond sport and business.

Dealing With Shoulds and Shouldn’ts

As coaches in business and life we listen, reflect back, ask questions, support and challenge the client to dig below the surface, to get clear on what they really want their life to be about. Then we work with them to create practical steps to achieve those goals.

We’ll do the same in the book: Act3 – How To Live A Better Life After 50: You’ll ‘say hello’ to the unhelpful voices in your head, acknowledging their power. You’ll recognise your limiting beliefs about yourself, you’ll find ways to break out from these restrictions.

You Cannot Be What You Cannot See

If the voice in your head drowns out your ability to hear or imagine anything better, or stops you creating change – you have a problem.

“My dad always said I wasn’t musical. I wasted fifty years believing him, until a friend took me along to sing in a community choir and finally I gave myself permission to believe that my dad was wrong.”

To be something different, you first have to see something different in your mind’s eye. You need to see a destination, a goal, a better outcome. You need to think differently. As a clever guy once said:

‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’ — Albert Einstein

 

‘Act3: The Art of Growing Older’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Act-3-Art-Growing-Older/dp/1783526998/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1586195072&sr=8-1

 

About Judy and Adrian Reith

Judy and Adrian Reith are professional coaches and writers, covering life, parenting and executive coaching.

They facilitate Act3 events and coach individuals to prepare for a life well lived.

Together they have 3 adult children who have left home. Returned. Left home. Returned…

Australian born Judy has been a parenting expert for nearly 20 years. Her publications include 7 Secrets of Raising Girls Every Parent Must Know, Be a Great Mum and Transform Living with Teenagers.

She draws on her professional training in child development, counselling and parent education to help thousands of parents, some of whom are also entering Act3. At 57, she loves nothing more than having friends and family round with plenty of good food and drink. She runs it off with the dog while she still can.

Since 2006 Adrian has specialised in executive and leadership coaching and facilitation. He qualified as a coach after an award-winning first career as a writer / director in advertising – a world where youth is idolised.

He is a published author, has recently built an eco-house, survived cycling Land’s End to John o’Groats… holds a Senior Railcard and is 62.

 

Links

Website – https://act3life.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Act3Life

 

Blog Tour – ‘Cherry Slice’ by Jennifer Stone ~ @farragobooks @missjennystone

I am absolutely thrilled to be closing this blog tour.  I was actually down as taking part in it today and would like to thank the publisher for letting me stick to my original date.

‘Cherry Slice’ by Jennifer Stone is the first book in the Cherry PI Mystery series.  It is being published tomorrow the 2nd April 2020 in paperback and as an eBook by Farrago Books and will also be available as an Audiobook and Audio CD.

I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy of ‘Cherry Slice’.  You will find out what I thought about this book in a minute.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

In Cherry Hinton’s first case, she discovers that it takes a reality TV star to catch a reality TV murderer.

When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV’s Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of three million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. After all, everyone saw Martin do it, didn’t they?

Cherry Hinton knows there’s more to this than meets the eye. As an investigative reporter, she went undercover on dating show Caravan of Love…but after getting in too deep with one of the other contestants, she was caught knicker-less in front of the nation. Humiliated, fired and heartbroken, she has fled to Brentwood, where she opens a cake shop and tries to forget all about Expose.

Until Kenny Thorpe’s sister walks into her shop with a letter that turns Cherry’s world upside down. Is Martin innocent? How is infamous gangster Leon Solent involved? Is Expose to blame, and is there a killer still on the loose?

Cherry is the only one in a position to find out.

 

My Review

The first thing that caught my eye was the cover. Isn’t it just pure gorgeousness? I love the bright pink and as for that cake. Heaven! I could quite easily lust over it. Now, I’m not really a fan of reality TV, although I did watch two series of a certain show many years ago now. Why then did I want to read this book? Well, apart from the fact that I loved the cover and could spend literally hours staring at that delicious looking cake, I was intrigued when I saw that murder was involved.

What an entertaining and light-hearted read this was. I knew within the first couple of pages that I was going to enjoy this book. It is just what I needed with all that is going on at the moment and it actually helped me to take my mind off things. I loved the author’s style of writing and the humour throughout the story.

I absolutely adored Cherry Hinton. To me she was pure class. After losing her job as an investigative reporter Cherry decides to make a fresh start. She opens a bakery and creates the most wonderful and mouth-watering sounding cakes, her mind working overtime with new ideas. A woman with many talents, she soon finds herself involved in investigating a murder. Was the wrong person convicted and will she discover the truth?

I was most interested to see where Cherry’s investigation would take her and admired her skills and how she worked things out with a bit of assistance from others.

I didn’t really take to any of the contestants who took part in Big Blubber as such. The only person I remotely liked was Jodrell Banks.

If you are looking for something to take your mind off the current world situation and you like cosy crime, then I highly recommend ‘Cherry Slice’.  It is like a breath of fresh air reading this book. I am so excited that there will be a second book in this series and am very much looking forward to reading it.

This is the first title by Farrago Books that I have read, and I am seriously impressed. I will definitely be checking out more of their books.

‘Cherry Slice’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cherry-Slice-PI-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07R1PY7R7/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1585726831&sr=1-1

 

About Jennifer Stone

Jennifer Stone was born in Essex and spent her formative years living within its borders and enjoying the delights of the multiple night clubs and alcopop-swigging opportunities available. After a stint in North Wales acquiring a degree and a further spell in Leeds, training to be a teacher, she returned to the south of England to teach English in a variety of schools. She is currently head of English at a boarding school in Suffolk and has just completed her MA in Creative Writing (Crime) at UEA. She lives with her wife and their small son.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/missjennystone

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/220958.Jennifer_Stone

Interview with Dan Brotzel ~ @sandstonepress @brotzel_fiction

Today on my blog I have an interview with Dan Brotzel.  His book, ‘Hotel du Jack’, a debut collection of short stories, was published in paperback and as an eBook by Sandstone Press on the 23rd January 2020.

 

I have been sent a copy of your book and am really looking forward to reading it. For the benefit of my readers can you please tell me a bit about ‘Hotel du Jack’?

Thank you so much for reading, Sonya! Hotel du Jack is a collection of short stories that I mostly wrote over the last 4-5 years. They tend to be funny-sad in tone, and look at things like parental guilt, dodgy gurus, the nightmare of office life, failed relationships, grief, ageing, wondering where your life went wrong etc – often quite domestic themes, but with a bit of a dark edge to them.

I’m interested in playing with different voices and unusual structures too. So in here you get stories in the form of a product recall notification, a dishwasher glossary, a grammar lesson, a shopping list – not to mention a strange ghost story in the form of a neighbourhood forum chat!

 

Have you been writing short stories for long?

I’ve been trying to write fiction for about 30 years, but I always thought I had to start with a novel. Then, about five years ago, I suddenly had the brainwave of writing shorter things. I’ve not been able to stop since…

 

Where have you had your short stories published?

My stories have appeared in lots of literary mags, such as Pithead Chapel, Ellipsis Zine, Reflex Fiction, Cabinet of Heed, Bending Genres, The Esthetic Apostle, Spelk, Ginger Collect and Fiction Pool. I won the 2019 Riptide Journal short story competition, was runner-up in the 2019 Leicester Writes contest, and was highly commended in the Manchester Writing School competition 2018 too. A couple of my stories have recently been nominated for the Pushcart anthology in the US too.

 

Where do you get your ideas from?

Often they come from something that I’ve seen or experienced that I can then use as a sort of prompt to make up from there. The title story for Hotel du Jack, for example, came from a man spotted on a beach who looked like a body-builder and seemed more interested in his quads than his kids. At the same time I was reading an Anita Brookner novel, and I thought it would be funny to see what would happen if I put these two things together. Another story, ‘Ella G in a Country Churchyard’ is based on me trying to explain death to my young daughter.

But as I write more stories, I find they are often less based on direct experience. ‘Now and For Ever’, for example, is based on an idea I had about a dubious guru who preaches that everyone can become immortal but finds himself terrified on his own deathbed, while ‘Nothing So Blue’ simply came from my son telling me to ‘write a story about being invisible’. I suddenly thought: What if being invisible turned out to be rubbish, and it just went from there…

 

Are there plans for anymore of your stories to be published as a collection?

I really hope so! I’m about halfway through getting enough stories together for another collection (working title: The Grace Period), so we shall see…

 

Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

Yes! I’ve got a comic novel coming out with Unbound in early 2021. It’s called Kitten on a Fatberg and it’s about a group of very eccentric wannabe writers… I’m also putting the finishing touches to another comic novel just now, a solo effort this time, called The Wolf in the Woods.

 

What do you hope readers will get from your stories?

Well, I’ve had some lovely reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. For example: ‘Life affirming, heartbreaking, quietly hilarious. A joy.’ And: ‘Hotel du Jack offers the chance to see life through many lenses; the joyful, the sad, the heartwarming and the hilarious are all treated with the same sharp wit and keen insight into the beauty of the mundane.’   I’m so thrilled with comments like these because they say better than me what I’d hoped for these stories – that they make people smile, maybe nod their heads in recognition, and feel they are not alone in being less than perfect! I love finding beauty and poignancy in every day things – or as Updike put it, ‘to give the mundane its beautiful due’.

 

What advice would you give to someone wishing to submit short stories to magazines?

Go for it. Just do it and keep doing it! Write a story and submit it to 20 places! Then write another while you are waiting! The most important thing is just to keep plugging away and not to waste time on doubting yourself – all writers do, I think, but over time you can learn to focus your thoughts elsewhere. There are so many wonderful litmags out there – all the ones I mention above, for example – that are really supportive of new writers, often giving feedback when they turn a piece down. And on Twitter there’s a lively community of writers who are are really supportive and generous with each other too. It’s an inspiring thing to find, especially when there’s so much bad news around. Also – enter short story competitions. Again, there are loads, and each one comes of course with a deadline (and sometimes a prompt), which focuses the mind wonderfully…

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I write! Also, I have three young children, so that takes care of most of my time. I play tennis badly too. But mostly, I write.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

They change all the time. But at the mo, off the top of my head, maybe Malcolm Lowry, Joyce Carole Oates, Jonathan Coe, Siri Hustvedt, Paul Theroux, Gary Shteyngart…  I could go on!

 

Book Blurb

A woman granted a superpower discovers it’s more trouble than it’s worth. A neighbourhood forum becomes the setting for a bizarre ghost story. A children’s entertainer wrestles with problems that are nothing to joke about. A harassed dad attempts to meet the challenge of the primary school cake competition.

By turns tender and satirical, witty and bizarre, the stories in this debut collection cast a fresh eye on first-world problems. Funny and humane, they zoom in on the absurdities and poignancies in work, family, love and loss in our frenetic modern lives.

 

About Dan Brotzel

Dan Brotzel’s stories have appeared in Pithead Chapel, Ellipsis Zine, Reflex Fiction, Cabinet of Heed, Lucent Dreaming, Bending Genres, The Esthetic Apostle, Spelk, The Ginger Collect and Fiction Pool. He won the 2018 Riptide Journal short story competition, was runner-up in the 2019 Leicester Writes competition, and was highly commended in the Manchester Writing School competition 2018. He is also coauthor of a comic novel-in-emails about an eccentric writers’ group, Kitten on a Fatberg (Unbound).

He lives in London with his partner Eve and their three children.

 

Links

‘Hotel du Jack’ is available from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hotel-du-Jack-Other-Stories-ebook/dp/B07YF61DMZ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1585032597&sr=8-1

Twitter – https://twitter.com/brotzel_fiction

Blog Tour – ‘The Waxwork Corpse’ by Simon Michael ~ @SapereBooks @simonmichaeluk

I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour along with Steph’s Book Blog and Linda’s Book Bag.  ‘The Waxwork Corpse’ by Simon Michael is the fifth book in the Charles Holborne series.  It was published on the 23rd December last year in paperback and as an eBook by Sapere Books.

I would like to thank Caoimhe O’Brien of Sapere Books for inviting me to participate in this blog tour and for my review copy of ‘The Waxwork Corpse’.  I literally cannot wait to tell you what I thought about this book.  First though here’s the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Charles Holborne is back – with his strangest case to date! Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Robert Bailey, Michael Connelly and Robert Dugoni.

A deadly crime has been dragged to the surface…

London, 1965

Charles Holborne, maverick barrister, will never fit in at the Bar; he is too working-class, too Jewish and too dangerous.

But that makes him the perfect outsider to prosecute a shocking murder case which has already made its way to the press. By chance, a body was found, dumped in a lake.

It had clearly been there for some time, but the conditions in the water have meant that it was nearly perfectly preserved.

The police have managed to match this ‘waxwork corpse’ to a missing woman and if her husband — a senior judge — was the one who killed her, the scandal threatens to rock the British justice to its foundations.

The waxwork corpse is not the only thing to be raised from the past. The investigation also dredges up a violent mistake made by Charles in his youth which, if revealed, could put his own life at stake…

THE WAXWORK CORPSE, based on a real Old Bailey case, is the fifth crime novel in an exciting historical series, the Charles Holborne Legal Thrillers — gritty, hard-boiled mysteries set in 1960s London.

 

My Review

What a superb read this was. I absolutely loved ‘The Waxwork Corpse’. I haven’t actually read the full series yet but that didn’t spoil things for me in the least and I would say this book can definitely be read as a standalone novel.

I found myself engrossed in the story from the very start. It was really quite easy to get into. By the time I read the prologue I was intrigued. I kept trying to work out where exactly it fitted in with the story. I really do like Simon Michael’s style of writing. He was very descriptive throughout and I was actually able to picture things. I loved reading about the Temple and Chambers and wished I could have been there exploring.

This is such an intelligent and thought-provoking legal thriller. I thought the case itself was really quite unusual and was surprised to find that it was actually based on a real one. I was totally gripped during the trial and I almost felt as if I was there sitting in Court with everyone else. I didn’t want to have to put down the book until the verdict was read.

I really like Charles Holborne as a character. He comes across as a really good barrister and I would say nothing much gets past him. He knew when things were amiss. I enjoyed reading about Charles and his family and it was nice to see how things developed there. I could actually see both sides. His father, Harry, is such a lovely man and I’m glad that Charles got to spend some quality time with him.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Charles Holborne series, but I think the author has surpassed himself with this one and has come a very long way with his writing since then. I am overjoyed that there is going to be another book.

If you are a fan of legal thrillers, historical and crime fiction, I highly recommend that you read ‘The Waxwork Corpse’.

This book gets all the stars from me and is definitely one of my favourite books of the year so far.

 

‘The Waxwork Corpse’ can be purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Waxwork-Corpse-thriller-chilling-Thrillers/dp/1913335836/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1583694598&sr=8-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Waxwork-Corpse-thriller-chilling-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B07ZTHJVG3/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+waxwork+corpse&qid=1583696157&sr=8-1

 

About Simon Michael

Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister, Charles Holborne. Simon writes from personal experience: a barrister for 37 years, he worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy. The 1960s was the Wild West of British justice, a time when the Krays, the Richardsons and other violent gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime, and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted evidence and took a share of the criminal proceeds. Simon weaves into his thrillers real events of the time, the cases on which he worked and his unusual family history in the East End.

Simon was published here and in America in the 1980s and returned to writing when he retired from the law in 2016. The Charles Holborne series, The Brief, An Honest Man, The Lighterman, Corrupted and the latest, The Waxwork Corpse, have all garnered strong reviews for their authenticity and excitement.

 

Links

Website – http://www.simonmichael.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/simonmichaeluk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/simonmichael.uk/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15798010.Simon_Michael

 

Guest Post by Angelena Boden ~ @matadorbooks

It is a real privilege to have Angelena Boden visiting my blog today and brightening it up as always.  Angelena’s new novel, ‘Love Bytes Back’, the second book in the Edna Reid Investigates series, was published as an eBook on the 14th February 2020 by Troubador Publishing and it sounds like a cracker of a read.  This lady really deserves to do well.

Angelena has written a very personal and truly beautiful post for my blog which I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did.

 

FINDING LOVE AT SIXTY

In the years following a protracted and intensely painful divorce in the late 90s, I lost all sense of self-worth and vowed to give men a wide-berth. Still smarting from being robbed of trust and money, I wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship, and couldn’t imagine that changing.

As my two daughters grew and became independent, finally leaving the nest for university and high-powered jobs, I felt an increasing sense of isolation and loneliness. The house echoed with silence and I slid into a depression, preferring to soothe myself with junk food and sleep rather than make an effort to get out there and meet people.

As the months crawled towards my sixtieth birthday, I ended up at the doctor’s surgery, shaking and in flood of tears. She suggested various local groups as a way of breaking the deadlock of my empty weekends. A friend, who was a member of an online dating site regaled me with her experiences, some of which made me laugh while others filled me with horror.

I couldn’t imagine being so bold but with nothing to lose, I scrolled through some dating sites and liked the look of one that was for the over sixties. There were no calls to download an App or “swipe right” so I registered my details and paid for a trial month with no obligation. From there, I was hurled into a world of loonies, losers, fantasists and desperados. Some had clearly faked their profiles, others got down to business and asked me for money. So much for a troll-free site.

When I received a “nudge” from Ken, whose interests matched mine I felt hopeful. We chatted for hours and seemed to share similar interests- rambling in the countryside, art, and books. That was until I met him in a sixteenth century pub, complete with oak beams and a roaring fire.

I looked cautiously round to see if I could identify him and was about to approach a smartly dressed man with a signet ring on his little finger, when a man with a beer belly hanging over his trousers bellowed out my name and grinned when I turned round. He reeked of smoke. To be polite I ordered a coffee, exchanged pleasantries with him and wished him well before hot-footing it to the exit.

My daughter was worried about my online safety because of the increase in scammers, but also my physical safety. When I did venture out on another date, I had to inform her of my whereabouts (talk about tables turning), take my own car, park in a well- lit place and have my phone fully charged. In the end it was all too much effort so I gave it up and accepted the reality that relationships held none of the promise of those at thirty or younger. The men who strayed across my path were on the prowl for younger women or wanted a clone of their deceased wife. This was my experience and maybe not typical.

They say when you stop looking, love will find you and I can vouch for that. I was working away when I received a text from an old family friend. I’d known him for thirty years but we’d lost touch. He was letting me know that his long term partner had died. We agreed to meet up and walked miles through the Shropshire countryside, catching up on the lost years. Our friendship was filled with lots of laughter, surprises, and conversation. It was easy, fun and safe.

We married five years ago but agreed to live independently during the week and meet up at weekends. Semi-detached living isn’t for everyone but for it’s a good option when you’re older and set in your ways. It also keeps the stars twinkling!

 

Book Blurb

When lonely widow Kitty Merriweather moves to Derbyshire’s Hope Valley, she joins the Silver Rose online dating site because it offers a safe place for the over sixties to find romance.

There, she meets the enigmatic Harvey, a scientist working on a conservation project in Bali who promises her “hot days and stormy nights.”

Love blooms quickly but Kitty breaks all the rules laid down by the agency, putting herself at risk. When little things don’t add up she dismisses them as being unimportant. Nothing matters more than her plans for them to live happily ever after.

When she confides in her new friend, Edna Reid, octogenarian and former café owner, Kitty gets angry at Edna’s implication she is likely the victim of a scam.

The more Edna hears about Harvey, the more she is convinced he’s only interested in Kitty for her money.

Using her knowledge of computers Edna finally uncovers the truth, but where does black magic and murder fit into this intriguing cosy mystery?

 

About Angelena Boden

Angelena has spent thirty- five years as an international training consultant and counsellor, specialising in behavioural management, communication skills and conflict resolution. She has a Masters in Social Science from Birmingham University, and diplomas in Transactional Analysis, teaching, training, coaching and mentoring. Now retired, when Angelina is not dog walking, babysitting, landscape painting or reading astrology charts for clients, she writes the “Edna Reid Investigates” series of cosy crime novels, which are set in the Peak District. She is also a champion for Autumn Voices, a website dedicated to promoting creative pursuits of authors over 60.

 

Links

‘Love Bytes Back’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2VZZPt0

Website – https://www.angelenaboden.com/

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: