A Lover of Books

Cover Reveal – ‘Vanishing Girls’ by Lisa Regan

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for ‘Vanishing Girls’ by Lisa Regan which is being published as an eBook by Bookouture on the 17th January 2018.  I fell in love with this cover the moment I saw it and I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that I think it’s stunning.

Here’s what ‘Vanishing Girls’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

She was close enough to see that the girl had written a word on the wall in bright, warm red blood. Not a word, actually. A name…

Everyone in the small American town of Denton is searching for Isabelle Coleman, a missing seventeen-year-old girl. All they’ve found so far is her phone and another girl they didn’t even know was missing.

Mute and completely unresponsive to the world around her, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Detective Josie Quinn can get from her is a name: Ramona.

Currently suspended from the force for misconduct, Josie takes matters into her own hands as the name leads her to evidence linking the two girls. She knows the race is on to find Isabelle alive, and she fears there may be others…  

The trail leads Josie to another victim, a girl who escaped but whose case was labelled a hoax by authorities. To catch this monster, Josie must confront her own nightmares and follow her instinct to the darkest of places. But can she make it out alive?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Helen Fields and Robert Dugoni will be utterly gripped and sleeping with the lights on once they discover the first in this unputdownable new crime thriller series.

 

‘Vanishing Girls’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2gQn1on

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2hQp23w

 

About Lisa Regan

Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Find out more at her website: www.lisaregan.com

 

Connect with Lisa Regan here:-

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Lisalregan

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Lisa-Regan-189735444395923/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6443334.Lisa_Regan

 

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Blog Tour – ‘No Bodies’ by Robert Crouch

‘No Bodies’ is the second book in the Kent Fisher series. It was published yesterday the 19th October 2017 in paperback and as an eBook. I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Robert Crouch’s new book. I would like to thank both Caroline Vincent who has done a great job of organising this tour and Robert Crouch for my review copy of ‘No Bodies’.

Having recently solved a murder Kent Fisher has become something of a hero. So when Colonel Witherington seeks his help in finding his missing wife Kent isn’t too sure that he wants to get involved, especially as the police believe that she ran off with Colin Miller, a rather dubious caterer. Kent has also got problems of his own and it doesn’t look like things are about to get any easier for him.

When enquiries reveal that another woman has gone missing, Kent picks up a trail that went cold more than a year ago. However, he is struggling to find a connection between the two women and a third missing wife makes things even more confusing. Surely they can’t all of run away?

There could be a killer on the loose in Downland, but with no motive, connection or bodies, Kent may never uncover the truth.

I really enjoyed ‘No Accident’, so I couldn’t wait to read ‘No Bodies’. I love Robert Crouch’s style of writing and the humour. I was so looking forward to catching up with Kent Fisher and his beloved dog, Columbo.

Following on from the first book in the series Kent’s career is in jeopardy and he is awaiting the outcome. As well as working as an environmental health officer he also runs an animal sanctuary. With no salary coming in he wouldn’t be able to keep it open. You wouldn’t think that things could possibly get any worse for Kent would you, but they do. When a young girl ends up in hospital with an E. coli infection, fingers point at Kent. He could lose just about everything.

Although Kent didn’t really want to get involved in the search for the Colonel’s missing wife, he soon became intrigued and started investigating with the help of his colleague, Gemma. A few leads led to a shocking discovery for Kent and one that was a little too close to home. I personally thought that this was quite a complicated case. The author did a good job of keeping me guessing as to who the murderer was.

I loved reading about Colonel Witherington’s house and I almost felt as if I was being given a guided tour. It sounded very nice, though the stuffed animals put me off a bit. I also liked the various references to freezers throughout the story.

‘No Bodies’ is an exciting and fast-paced read with a number of twists and turns. I really hope there are more books in this series to come. Robert Crouch is fast becoming a favourite author.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

No Bodies’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – http://bit.ly/AmUKtoNBRC

Amazon US – http://bit.ly/AmUStoNBRC

 

Extract from ‘The Secret Mother’ by Shalini Boland

‘The Secret Mother’ is being published as an eBook on the 9th November 2017 by Bookouture.  As a special treat they are giving readers the chance to read an exclusive extract from the book.  Isn’t that just lovely of them?

I am just one of a number of bloggers who is hosting this extract.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen calling her ‘mummy’. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

~~~~~

What readers are saying about Shalini Boland:

‘Read in one sitting from 9pm last night until 2:15 am.  I literally could not put it down!!!!  The story line and the twists and the way it’s written just draws you in completely and you have to know where it’s going  I couldn’t read fast enough… absolutely addictive and brilliant  and an end I didn’t see coming.  This is one book you have to read and it gets 5 huge stars from me!!!! ’  Goodreads reviewer , 5 stars

‘What can I say? Just wow. I’m usually never surprised by an ending, but  this one blew me away. I am totally in shock  and think I’ll have a hangover from this book for a while.  A great read that keeps you on your toes until the very last word .’  Stacey Harrell, Goodreads

‘If anyone can have me reading until 2am and finishing a book in less than 48hrs in the school holidays it’s this author…  massive five stars  from me.’  Sarah Mackins, UK Crime Book Club , 5 stars

‘The  ending of this book blew me out of the water, you won’t be able to put this down .’  For the Love of Books , 5 stars

‘The plot is  gripping  and once you’ve started reading,  you have to keep on reading, you need to know how the story will end .’  Bits About Books , 5 Stars

… one of the most chilling reads of the year for me .’ Ajoobacats Blog , 5 Stars

‘This book should come with a warning… make sure you have enough time to read it in one-sitting because as soon as you’ll pick it up,  you won’t be able to put it down! ’  Bookishly Ever After , 5 stars

‘This is a brilliant psychological thriller. In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve read. It is full of suspense and has  more twists and turns than a fairground ride .’  Jackie Roche, UK Crime Book Club , 5 Stars

‘I thought I knew the direction this story was going go. Then the  jaw dropping  moment happened!…  unputdownable! ’  Goodreads Reviewer , 5 Stars

‘Once again, Boland has managed to blow my mind with all the  twists and turns … an outstanding  explosive  read!’  Mello and June , 5 Stars

‘Great book. I read it in less than 24 hours. I was unable to put it down. The story was  fast paced and intriguing .’  Goodreads reviewer , 5 stars

 

Extract

Chapter One

The street lamps flicker, illuminating the grey pavement mottled with patches of dirty snow and slick black ice. Slushy puddles hug the kerb, cringing away from the hissing, splashing car tyres. It takes all my concentration to keep my balance. My hands would be warmer if I jammed them into my coat pockets, but I need them free to steady myself on walls, fences, tree trunks, lamp posts. I don’t want to fall. And yet would it really be so terrible if I slipped on the ice? Wet jeans, a bruised bum. Not the end of the world. There are worse things. Far worse things.

It’s Sunday: the last exhale of the week. That uncomfortable pause before Monday, when it all starts up again – this lonely pretence at life. Sunday has become a black dot on the horizon for me, growing larger each day. I’m relieved now it’s almost over and yet I’m already anticipating the next one. The day when I visit the cemetery and stand above their graves, staring at the grass and stone, talking to them both, wondering if they hear my inane chatter or if I’m simply talking into the empty wind. In burning sunlight, pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures or thick fog I stand there. Every week. I’ve never missed a Sunday yet.

Sleet spatters my face. Icy needles that make me blink and gasp. Finally, I turn off the high street into my narrow road, where it’s more sheltered and the wind less violent. A rainbow assortment of overflowing bins lines my route, waiting for collection tomorrow at some ungodly pre-dawn hour. I turn my face away from the windows where Christmas tree lights wink and blink, reminding me of happier Christmases. Before.

Almost home.

My little north London terraced house sits halfway along the road. Pushing open the rusted gate, I turn my face away from the neglected front garden with its discarded sweet wrappers and crisp packets blown in from the street, now wedged among long tussocks of grass and overgrown bushes. I thrust my frozen fingers into my bag until they finally close around a jagged set of keys. I’m glad to be home, to get out of the cold, and yet my body sags when I open the door and step into the dark silence of the hall, feeling the hollow of their absence.

At least it’s warm in here. I shrug off my coat, kick off my boots, dump my bag on the hall table and switch on the light, avoiding my sad reflection in the hall mirror. A glass of wine would be welcome about now. I glance at my watch – only 5.20. No. I’ll be good and make a hot chocolate instead.

Strangely, the door to the kitchen is closed. This strikes me as odd, as I always leave it open. Perhaps a gust of wind slammed it shut when I came in. I trudge to the end of the hall and stop. Through a gap in the bottom of the door I see that the light is on. Someone’s in there. I catch my breath, feel the world slow down for a moment before it speeds back up. Could I have a burglar in my house?

I cock my ear. A sound filters through. Humming. A child is humming a tune in my kitchen. But I don’t have a child. Not any more.

Slowly I pull down the handle and push the door, my body tensing. I hardly dare breathe.

Here before me sits a little boy with dark hair, wearing pale blue jeans and a green cable-knit jumper. A little boy aged about five or six, perched on a chair at my kitchen counter, humming a familiar tune. Head down, he is intent on his drawing, colouring pencils spread out around an A4 sheet of paper. A navy raincoat hangs neatly over the back of the chair.

He looks up as I enter the room, his chocolate-brown eyes wide. We stare at one another for a moment.

‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks.

I bite my bottom lip, feel the ground shift. I grasp the counter top to steady myself. ‘Hello,’ I say, my heart suddenly swelling. ‘Hello. And who might you be?’

‘You know. I’m Harry,’ he replies. ‘Do you like my picture?’ He holds the sheet out in front of him, showing me his drawing of a little boy and a woman standing next to a train. ‘It’s not finished. I haven’t had time to colour it in properly,’ he explains.

‘It’s lovely, Harry. Is that you standing next to the train?’

‘Yes.’ He nods. ‘It’s you and me. I drew it for you because you’re my mummy.’

Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone crazy? This beautiful little boy is calling me his mummy. And yet I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before in my life. I close my eyes tight and then open them again. He’s still there, looking less confident now. His hopeful smile has faltered, slipping into a frown. His eyes are now a little too bright. I know that look – it’s the one that precedes tears.

‘Hey, Harry,’ I say with false jollity. ‘So you like trains, huh?’

His smile returns. ‘Steam trains are the best. Better than diesels.’ He scrunches up his face in disgust and blinks.

‘Did you come here on the train? To my house?’

‘No. We came on the bus. I wish we did come on the train, the bus was really slow. And it made me feel a bit sick.’ He lays the sheet of paper back on the counter.

‘And who did you come with?’ I ask.

‘The angel.’

I think I must have misheard him. ‘Who?’

‘The angel brought me here. She told me that you’re my mummy.’

‘The angel?’

He nods.

I glance around, suddenly aware that Harry might not be the only stranger in my house. ‘Is she here now?’ I ask in a whisper. ‘Is there someone else here with you?’

‘No, she’s gone. She told me to do some drawing and you’d be here soon.’

I relax my shoulders, relieved that there’s no one else in my home. But it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of who this little boy is. ‘How did you get into the house?’ I ask, nervously wondering if I might find a smashed window somewhere.

‘Through the front door, silly,’ he replies with a smile, rolling his eyes.

Through the front door? Did I leave it open somehow? I’m sure I would never have done that. What’s going on here? I should call someone. The authorities. The police. Somebody will be looking for this child. They will be frantic with worry. ‘Would you like a hot chocolate, Harry?’ I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. ‘I was going to make one for myself, so—’

‘Do you make it with milk?’ he interrupts. ‘Or with hot water? It’s definitely nicer with milk.’

I suppress a smile. ‘I agree, Harry. I always make it with milk.’

‘Okay. Yes, please,’ he replies. ‘Hot chocolate would be lovely.’

My heart squeezes at his politeness.

‘Shall I carry on colouring in my picture,’ he says, ‘or shall I help you? Because I’m really good at stirring in the chocolate.’

‘Well, that’s lucky,’ I reply, ‘because I’m terrible at stirring in the chocolate, so it’s a good thing you’re here to help me.’

He grins and slides off the stool.

What am I doing? I need to call the police right now. This child is missing from somewhere. But, oh God, just give me ten minutes with this sweet little boy who believes I’m his mother. Just a few moments of make-believe and then I’ll do the right thing. I reach out to touch his head and immediately snatch my hand back. What am I thinking? This boy has to go back to his real mother; she must be paralysed with worry.

He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts.

‘Okay,’ I say, taking a breath and blinking back any threat of tears. ‘We’ll do the chocolate in a minute. I’m just going to make a quick phone call in the hall, okay?’

‘Oh, okay.’

‘Carry on with your drawing for a little while. I won’t be long.’

He climbs back up onto the stool and selects a dark green pencil before resuming his colouring with a look of serious concentration. I turn away and pad out to the hall, where I retrieve my phone from my bag. But instead of dialling the police, I call another number. It rings twice.

‘Tess.’ The voice at the other end of the line is clipped, wary.

‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’

‘What? Now?’

‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’

‘Tessa, I’m knackered, and it’s hideous out there. I’ve just sat down with a cup of tea. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’

‘No.’ Standing by the hall table, I glimpse Harry through the doorway, the curls of his fringe flopping over one eye. Am I dreaming him?

‘What’s the matter?’ Scott says this the way he always says it. What he really means is, What’s the matter now? Because there’s always something the matter. I’m his damaged wife, who’s always having some new drama or make-believe crisis. Only this time he’ll see it’s something real, it’s something not of my making.

‘I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s too weird. You have to come over, see for yourself.’

His sigh comes long and hard down the phone. ‘Give me twenty minutes, okay?’

‘Okay. Thanks, Scott. Get here as soon as you can.’

My heart pounds, trying to make sense of what’s happening. That little boy in there says an angel brought him. He says I’m his mummy. But he’s not mine. So where on earth did he come from?

I take a breath and go back into the kitchen. The air is warm, welcoming, cosy. Nothing like the usual sterile atmosphere in here.

‘Can we make hot chocolate now?’ Harry looks up with shining eyes.

‘Of course. I’ll get the mugs and the chocolate. You open that drawer over there and pass me the smallest pan you can find.’

He eagerly does as I ask.

‘Harry,’ I say. ‘Where are your parents, your mummy and daddy?’

He stares at the pans in the drawer.

‘Harry?’ I prompt.

‘They’re not here,’ he replies. ‘Is this one small enough?’ He lifts out a stainless-steel milk pan and waves it in my direction.

‘Perfect.’ I nod and take it from him. ‘Can you tell me where you live?’

No reply.

‘Did you run away from home? Are you lost?’

‘No.’

‘But where’s your house or flat? The place you live? Is it here in Friern Barnet? In London? Close to my house?’

He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor.

‘Do you have a last name?’ I ask as gently as I can.

He looks up at me, his chin jutting out. ‘No.’

I try again, crouching down so I’m on his level. ‘Harry, darling, what’s your mummy’s name?’

‘You’re my new mummy. I have to stay here now.’ His bottom lip quivers.

‘Okay, sweetie. Don’t worry. Let’s just make our drinks, shall we?’

He nods vigorously and sniffs.

I give his hand a squeeze and straighten up. I wish I hadn’t had to call Scott. And yet I need him to be here when I ring the police. I can’t deal with them on my own, not after what happened before. I’m dreading their arrival – the questions, the sideways glances, the implication that I might have done something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, though. Have I?

And Harry… he’ll be taken away. What if his parents have been abusive? What if he has to go into foster care? A thousand thoughts run through my mind, each worse than the one before. But it’s not my place to decide what happens to him. There’s nothing I can do about any of it, because he’s not mine.

I don’t have a child. Not any more.

~~~~~

Did the extract leave you wanting to read more?  ‘The Secret Mother’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2xrkDu4

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vXeg3W

 

About Shalini Boland

Shalini Boland lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

THE SECRET MOTHER (published by Bookouture) is now available to pre-order!

Shalini’s debut psychological thriller THE GIRL FROM THE SEA reached No 1 in the US Audible charts and No 7 in the UK Kindle charts. Her second thriller THE BEST FRIEND reached no 2 in the US Audible charts and No 10 in the Amazon UK Kindle charts. It also achieved number 1 in all its categories and was a Kindle All Star title for several months in a row. Shalini’s recent release THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE reached No 9 in the Kindle UK charts.

Follow Shalini Boland on:-

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland

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

Blog Tour – ‘A Litany of Good Intentions’ by Andrew Harris

Congratulations to Andrew Harris whose new book ‘A Litany of Good Intentions’, the second of The Human Spirit Trilogy is out today, published by Faithful Hound Media.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour for which Andrew has written a guest post, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

A thrilling, powerful and important story of a discovery that could change the world, that some would stop at nothing to keep hidden… 

Leading oncologist Dr Hannah Siekierkowski and her partner Lawrence McGlynn are visiting New Delhi for a conference, and enjoying a well-earned break. By chance, they meet Lawrence’s old friend Toby and his passionate daughter Okki, a charity worker. She introduces them to the organisation Sanitation In Action, and its charismatic leader, the young Chinese philanthropist Jock Lim.

An end to world poverty is more than just a dream for Jock. Through his charity connections and his fiancée Nisha’s extraordinary scientific breakthrough, Jock has discovered a way to release 2.6 billion people from the imminent threat of death and disease. Caught up in their passion and energy, Hannah agrees to help present their project at a conference in Uppsala, Sweden.

But with the discovery of a dead body, they realise that someone will stop at nothing to prevent them from achieving Jock’s dream. As the clock ticks down to the conference, Hannah and Lawrence are drawn into a web of corporate greed, racial prejudice and a seething hatred of the new world order: a hatred that originates back in the Second World War, with even earlier links to Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

An urgent fast-paced thriller, about right and wrong, people versus profits, and the best of intentions pitted against the failings and greed of humanity, which fans of Robert Harris, John le Carre and Michael Cordy will love.

 

Guest Post

A Reluctant Celebrity

For most people, finding a cure for cancer or saving the world from poverty, would be a momentous achievement. For Dr Hannah Siekierkowski, CEO of New York’s own Klinkenhammer Foundation for Medical Research, it’s what she gets paid to do: just another day in the office.  Matthew Cox wanted to know how she was coping with so much media attention.   

“Wealth is like sea water: the more we drink, the thirstier we become. The same is true of fame… for most people anyway. But for me? I’ve got other things to do.” She quotes Arthur Schopenhauer like he was her great uncle. Maybe he was – the European connections run deep in her family history, according to the official bio I’ve received.

The coffees arrive with a fanfare. She waits while the table is being laid out. Restless fingers continue to drum on her stylish black skirt. She checks her watch for the third time in as many minutes.

Is this making you nervous, I ask? I offer to turn off the recorder. She shakes her head briefly, flashing a tepid smile before her attention is caught by something going on behind me.

“I didn’t think this place really existed,” she continues, back with me, at least for now, “yet it’s only a few blocks from our office. Even the cab driver didn’t believe me.”

I’d chosen the location for our interview carefully. My boss said Number Sixty Nine was classy and discreet. There was no signage on the outside. Entrance was by keypad through an unmarked door in the back alley. My best friend said it was an upmarket knocking shop for the rich and famous when they were in town….well, Getting It Off Broadway’s what he actually said.

“How was Scandinavia? Good Conference?” I tried to get her talking about her recent trip. Her A-list status was pretty high before the live TV appearance from Sweden. What we all witnessed that day had shaken the world and rocketed her into the media stratosphere.

“Look, I know you’ve got magazines to sell. I have a copy in my apartment. And I know why people are interested in what I’ve been doing. But do they really want to know what razors I shave my legs with or how I take my coffee?” she smiles, warmer this time, sips another mouthful of espresso. “This is good by the way, thank you.”

“OK, try this.” Her bio said she’d been brought up in Brooklyn so I went for the more direct approach. “It isn’t about you. Our readers want to meet the person behind the job title. Someone they can relate to. Someone they can believe in. Someone they can trust with their hard-earned cash.”

She goes quiet. I’ve finally got her full attention. “This article will be syndicated into the business press and picked up by the pharmaceutical companies, the trust funds, the healthcare corporations, the investment bankers. They want to know if you can make a fast buck for them. If you can maximise the return on their investment, as they say. That’s what this is all about.”

She leans back into the sofa and pulls the cuff down over her watch. She looks me full in the face for the first time. I feel her warmth wrapping itself around me. Somehow I’ve crossed a threshold. What will come next will be from the heart. From the heart of a woman who has saved so many hearts from a lifetime of misery and suffering.

“Making money has become an obsession at the expense of really matters.” She holds up her hand before I have a chance to speak, “and before you jump in, I know, I’m just as much a part of a money-making machine. Our medical research could not continue without it.”

Her hands are running over the soft chintzy material. She’s starting to relax.

“Lawrence was right. There never was an economic argument against slavery.” Any pretence at playing the media game has now gone. This was the person I really wanted to meet.

“People used to be more religious, more connected to a spiritual world of right and wrong, of good and evil. It wasn’t economics that led to the abolition of slavery. It was the moral argument. Nowadays, the moral argument has been washed away in a world of accountancy, financial investment, banking….a world of purely making money.”

Lawrence was the new man in her life. Her Head of Diabetes Research at the Foundation: he was also her partner, her live-in lover. Her colleagues told me she had taken fierce criticism over his appointment. Lawrence was under-qualified for the job. He’d had no previous medical training. Accusations of favouritism were thrown at her. It had been a challenging year, she pointed out.

“We have lost touch with our own humanity. People have become resources again to be bought and sold. Even in my own world of medical research, we are developing more and more profitable drugs to treat disease rather than trying to find out what causes the disease in the first place or how to prevent it.

She tells me that Alexander Fleming never profited out of the discovery of penicillin. The most important medical breakthrough in our history was his gift to world, she explains. Such an act of human kindness today would be unthinkable. What’s changed, she continues, is our attitude. For Fleming, it was about how he could save lives. Today is about me and how I can benefit financially, often at the expense of others.

“I can’t change the world. But I can lead by example. I feel very privileged to be who I am.” She checks her watch again. Times up. The ordeal is over. Her media obligation is fulfilled. We shake hands.

And one last question. What about the future? Her work in finding a cure for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes is reaching a tipping point, so her PR agency reports. Would she like to comment?

The smile says it all. I’ll have to wait. We’ll all have to wait until she is ready to tell us. She may be a reluctant celebrity but I’m hooked – she is one fascinating, enigmatic woman.

 

About Andrew Harris

Andrew Harris moved from the United Kingdom to New Zealand in 2008. He was born in Liverpool, survived a grammar school education and graduated with a first class honours degree from the University of Leeds. He had a successful career in people management before running his own executive search consultancy. In this capacity, he travelled extensively and has been privileged to meet some remarkable and influential characters around the world.

One of his passions is crime fiction. Andrew strongly believes this genre provides the perfect vehicle for stimulating debate and challenging the status quo. He writes thrillers with a social conscience, putting fictional characters in real life situations.

A Litany of Good Intentions is the second book in Andrew’s The Human Spirit Trilogy, a series of thrillers with a social conscience based on exciting scientific discoveries in medicine, physics and biology. The second book follows The C Clef, published in April 2016 and available on Amazon.

In The Human Spirit Trilogy, Andrew combines the factual world of science with pacey, action-packed thrillers to explore urgent questions faced by humanity. Why isn’t there a cure for cancer? How do we end world poverty? What will eradicate addiction? How are we going to feed 9 billion people without destroying our precious planet?

Each book is a standalone novel and features the main characters of Dr Hannah Siekierkowski, leading American oncologist and Lawrence McGlynn, British project manager.

 

‘A Litany of Good Intentions’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Litany-Intentions-Human-Spirit-Trilogy/dp/1911195492/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1507744547&sr=1-1

 

Blog Tour – ‘Fifty Years of Fear’ by Ross Greenwood

‘Fifty Years of Fear’ is Ross Greenwood’s third novel. It was published on the 1st October 2017 and is available both in paperback and as an eBook. I felt honoured when Ross Greenwood asked me if I would like to take part in his blog tour, especially as I haven’t read his previous books. My thanks go to Ross for providing me with an ARC of ‘Fifty Years of Fear’ and to Caroline Vincent for organising the tour. Read on to find out what I thought about this book.

After a childhood accident, Vincent loses his memory. This causes him to become sensitive and anxious around others. At school Vincent is bullied because of his differences and this is when his family come to his aid.

Soon after the devastating loss of his parents, Vincent meets a woman and a remarkable one at that. She teaches him to embrace life and bit by bit he begins to realise that the world is far more forgiving then he ever imagined. Maybe things aren’t so bad for him after all. Then Vincent starts getting flashbacks and he slowly begins to unravel his past.

Who was his mother? What kind of man was his brother, Frank? And why does death surround him?  As Vincent is about to discover, fate is cruel, the past is dark and things are not as they seem.

As mentioned above, this is the first book by Ross Greenwood that I have read and I’m so very glad that I did. ‘Fifty Years of Fear’ is quality at its very best. Beautifully written, this story takes a hold of you and keeps you reading.

The story is narrated by Vincent (known as Vinnie to many) and starts off from when he was fourteen years old, seven years after his accident. As a teenager Vincent seeked solace in books, reading practically everything he could lay his hands on and travelling many worlds. We get to learn about his life over the next thirty-six years and what he went through. I felt really sorry for Vincent as he did appear to be the victim. At one point he seemed to be getting his life together and then everything changed just like that. He did achieve quite a lot in a way though.

The majority of the characters in this story were flawed. As Vincent was later to discover, his mum wasn’t who he thought she was. She had done some shocking things. Frank, his brother, had reason to behave the way he did. He came across as a bully but was he really?

‘Fifty Years of Fear’ is an outstanding and thought-provoking read and it will stay with you long after you finish the last page. I look forward to reading more books by Ross Greenwood.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Giveaway

I hope my review has left you dying to read this book.  If so, you’re in luck as there is a chance to win a signed copy of ‘Fifty Years of Fear’.  Just click on this link Raflecopter Giveaway.

The closing date is 12:00 pm. on the 10th October 2017 (the last day of the blog tour).  It is open to UK residents only.

 

Links

‘Fifty Years of Fear’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/FIFTY-YEARS-FEAR-Ross-Greenwood-ebook/dp/B075FFQVK9/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Website – http://www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/RossGreenwoodAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

 

Blog Tour – ‘Fox Hunter’ by Zoë Sharp

‘Fox Hunter’ was released as an eBook last month and will be out in hardback on the 11th October 2017, published by W. W. Norton & Company.  This is the 12th book in the Charlie Fox series.

I was asked by the lovely Ayo Onatade if I would like to take part in this blog tour.   Although I have never read any of Zoë Sharp’s books I thought this series sounded interesting and so I was delighted to participate.  Zoë has written a guest post, but first here’s what ‘Fox Hunter’ is all about.

 

Book Blurb

‘The dead man had not gone quietly … There was a time when I would have given everything I owned to be the one responsible for that.’

Charlie Fox will never forget the men who put a brutal end to her military career, but she vowed a long time ago she would not go looking for them.

Now she doesn’t have a choice.

Her boss and former lover, Sean Meyer, is missing in Iraq where one of those men was working as a private security contractor. When the man’s butchered body is discovered, Charlie fears that Sean may be pursuing a twisted vendetta on her behalf.

Sean’s partner in their exclusive New York close-protection agency needs this dealt with—fast and quiet—before everything they’ve worked for is in ruins. He sends Charlie to the Middle East with very specific instructions:

Find Sean Meyer and stop him. By whatever means necessary.

At one time Charlie thought she knew Sean better than she knew herself, but it seems he’s turned into a violent stranger. As the trail grows more bloody, Charlie realises that unless she can get to Sean first, the hunter may soon become the hunted.

 

Guest Post

MY WRITING DAY

I’d love to be able to say I have an incredibly organised and unfailingly productive writing day, but sadly I’ve never quite been able to manage it. Some days the words just flow, and others every dot and comma has to be sweated out of the keyboard. It can be rather like trying to fight a lion in a phone box.

I still prefer to work from handwritten notes. Preferably written in pencil on an A4 pad rather than a small notebook. I call it using my neck-top computer, and claim I’m saving up for an iBrain. Somehow, crossing out and starting again in pencil seems less of a false start than it would in pen. Pen would be better, because I could read it in low light, but I’ve tried, and pencil just connects my mind better to the page.

Writing up my notes usually produces far more words on screen than there were to start with. The notes become a springboard, and I’ll often stop typing and go back to pad and pencil for the next section. As long as I’m making story, I’m happy.

I try to do chunks of about 500 words at a time, two or three of them a day, and editing the earlier work as a stepping stone into the next batch. I’ll often go and do other things during the day and go back to writing in the evening. I don’t have TV, so it seems natural to simply keep working.

I know other writers who are far more productive than this, but also those who take longer to complete a book. We all work at our own pace, and the only person you can compare yourself to, ultimately, is … yourself.

I’m planning a non-fiction book over the winter. For this I’m going to try using dictation software. I stayed with a friend recently, fellow crime thriller author JS Law, who uses it and reckons to produce thousands of words a day by this method. Considering the trouble I have getting the voice-activated function on my phone to dial numbers for me when I’m driving, I’m approaching this experiment with some trepidation.

Before I start on a book, I do tend to plan quite a bit. I’ve tried the seat-of-the-pants method and it just doesn’t work for me. Instead, I go for a slightly more halfway-house approach. I plan the main events of the storyline, but not the reactions of the characters to those events, preferring to leave that aspect as a more organic process.

However, I do keep a detailed summary as I go. Just a paragraph of each chapter, with Day 1, Day 2, etc, at the start of it, and whether there’s a time gap from the previous chapter, or if the chapter break came in the middle of a scene. My instinct always used to be to finish writing a scene and end the chapter there, but I’ve found that, more frequently, it’s better to break in the middle of a scene, both to keep the chapters short and to make it that bit harder for the reader to put the book aside.

I keep a note of the gist of conversations, of any action, and if any characters are carrying injuries I need to remember for forthcoming scenes. This not only helps me keep track of the story as I’m writing, but also makes edits easier afterwards. It’s less cumbersome to work out where a subplot needs to be threaded in to a story, or two characters amalgamated, if you’re working with a 20-page summary rather than a full typescript.

And I do try to end each day’s writing not quite at the end of a scene. Even if I only type the opening sentence of the next chapter, it’s better than opening up the computer the following day only to stare at that dreaded blank page!

 

About Zoë Sharp

Zoë Sharp was born in Nottinghamshire not too far from the site of Robin Hood’s famous oak tree, but ran away to sea when she was seven. (OK, her parents took her to live on a boat, but she does have an imagination, after all.) She hand-wrote her first novel at age 15, which her father kindly typed up. Publishers gave it ‘rave rejections’. She decided to write a crime novel partly because the police told her she was not allowed to beat up the two teenagers who stole her first motorcycle. She’s been creating havoc in print ever since. www.ZoeSharp.com

 

‘Fox Hunter’ is available to buy as an eBook from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/FOX-HUNTER-mystery-thriller-Charlie-ebook/dp/B0756FV4YY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507055156&sr=1-1&keywords=fox+hunter+zoe+sharp

You can pre-order it in hardback from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fox-Hunter-Charlie-Thrillers/dp/1681774380/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1507055156&sr=1-1

 

Guest Post by Alex Day

I am pleased to welcome Alex Day to my blog.  ‘The Missing Twin’ was published as an eBook by Killer Reads in August of this year and has had a lot of good feedback so far.  It is out in paperback tomorrow, the 5th October 2017.  Alex has written a guest post which I hope you all enjoy.

~~~~~

Psychological thrillers are such big news in the book world at the moment that most people will have read one or two or ten. I love to read this genre so it seemed a logical step to write my own and, amazingly, as soon as I’d had this thought the plot for The Missing Twin appeared before me like a mirage. I know, that sort of thing doesn’t happen often – even in a psychological thriller!

The great thing about the genre is that it’s very broad so as a writer, I didn’t feel limited about what I could or couldn’t write, or that I had to include certain things in order for it to be ‘accepted’ into the fold. I’m not a fan of graphic violence in books of any type, and I simply couldn’t go into the gory details of a bloody murder or gruesome torture or anything like that. That’s not to say that there’s no violence at all in The Missing Twin. Sadly, there is – but I hope that readers will understand how and why it happens and will appreciate how and why sexual violence is so often used as a weapon of power and control over women.

It’s interesting to be writing this guest post now, after the first reviews for The Missing Twin have come in. The level of engagement with the story is fantastic, with Fatima fast becoming a firm favourite. The most gratifying thing is that many readers have said how her experiences have made them stop and think about how lucky they are in their cosy lives, and made them more aware of, and sympathetic towards, the refugee situation in the world today.

Poor Edie, bless her, is often misunderstood. I hope that readers will understand, as they progress through the book, why she is the way she is and why she does the things she does. Her character arc – what she experiences, and how she deals with it, and how she comes out the other end – is hugely important to the narrative. I really love Edie, who has so many demons to overcome, and I was rooting for her just as much as for Fatima as I was writing the tale.

I always love to hear how other authors research their work, and I have to confess to being overcome by jealousy when I hear of those who can spend six months living in a refugee camp so that they can better write the character of an asylum seeker or whatever. It would be great to have the opportunity to do this but unfortunately it simply isn’t possible for me or for the vast majority of writers. I have a home and three children to support and to do this, I must work full time as a teacher in an inner London secondary school. My writing is something I shoehorn into whatever time is left after the commitments of ten to twelve hour working days and my own kids’ needs.

As with many authors, my dream is to make enough from my writing to give up the day job – but that dream is still a long, long way off. Most ebooks sell for just £1 or £2, on which 20% VAT is payable, unlike print books. So if you buy a book for £1, 20p of what you’ve paid goes immediately to the Exchequer. The publisher takes the bulk of what’s left, with the writer getting only a small percentage, some of which goes to their agent and some to the tax man when they do their own tax return. You can do the maths and work out that it’s hard to make serious money. Writers rich as Croesus in the JK Rowling model are rare indeed.

So, to get back to the research, for a story like Fatima’s it involved hours on the internet, studying news reports and blogs and videos and photographs. I also drew on my own experience of teaching the children of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in London schools. Many of them have horrendous, and desperately sad, stories but what is amazing is their tremendous resilience and their ability to keep going. Having said that, the Syrian children I’ve met have clearly been deeply traumatised and I simply cannot imagine how that country is ever going to recover and rebuild after everything its citizens have been through.

All the research in the world, however, does not make a fiction book and the icing on the cake is one’s own imagination. How does it feel to be sure that someone’s out to get you, to know that you’re being lied to but not to know by whom? What is it like to be fleeing for your life, with no idea what new dangers lie around every corner, always fearing that you, or your children, won’t make it?

If you can imagine those scenarios, and write about them, then you can write a psychological thriller – or any kind of book, for that matter. I’m hugely excited about The Missing Twin and I hope that you will be, too, and will enjoy the experience of reading. You can follow me on Twitter at @alexdaywriter.

 

About Alex Day

Alex Day is a writer, teacher, parent and dreamer who has been putting pen to paper to weave stories for as long as she can remember. The Missing Twin is her first psychological thriller but she is a bestselling author of fiction under the name Rose Alexander.

Inspired by a real pair of identical twin girls, The Missing Twin also draws on Alex’s experience of teaching newly arrived refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in a London comprehensive school.

 

‘The Missing Twin’ is available to buy as an eBook on Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Missing-Twin-gripping-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B072TYXKLB/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1507053705&sr=1-1

It can be pre-ordered in paperback here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Missing-Twin-Alex-Day/dp/0008271291/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1507053705&sr=1-1

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Hell to Pay’ by Rachel Amphlett

I am more than just a little bit excited today.  In fact I am thrilled as I can at last reveal the cover for Rachel Amphlett’s new book, ‘Hell to Pay’, the fourth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series.  I swear the covers just keep getting better and better.

‘Hell to Pay’ is being published on the 16th November 2017 by Saxon Publishing and will be available in paperback, as an eBook and in audiobook.  Here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?

Hell to Pay is a gripping fast paced crime thriller, and the fourth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH

2. WILL TO LIVE

3. ONE TO WATCH

4. HELL TO PAY

A page-turning whodunit for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and James Patterson.

 

‘Hell to Pay’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hell-Pay-Detective-Hunter-Thriller/dp/0994547943/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506969985&sr=1-1&keywords=hell+to+pay+by+rachel+amphlett

 

Blog Tour – ‘No Way Back’ by Kelly Florentia

‘No Way Back’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 21st September 2017 by Urbane Publications.  I am currently reading this book and am enjoying it immensely.  For those of you who are planning to read ‘No Way Back’ I can tell you now that you are in for a real treat.

I am thrilled to be taking part in this wonderful blog tour for which Kelly Florentia has written a really interesting guest post.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

When two eligible and attractive men are vying for your heart, it should be the perfect dilemma…

Audrey Fox has been dumped by her unreliable fiancé Nick Byrne just days before the wedding. Heartbroken and confused, the last thing she expects when she jumps on a plane to convalesce in Cyprus is romance. But a chance meeting with handsome entrepreneur and father-of-one Daniel Taylor weaves her into a dating game she’s not sure she’s ready for. Audrey’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she discovers on her return to London that Nick has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident that’s left him in intensive care. Distraught yet determined to look to the future, Audrey must make a decision – follow her heart or listen to well-meaning advice from family and friends? Because sometimes, no matter what, it’s the people that we love who can hurt us the most…

 

Guest Post

Creating Characters

On the bus the other day, a pregnant lady sat opposite me with her little girl – about four-years-old, blonde hair tumbling over her narrow shoulders, blues eyes, incredibly cute. Her legs dangled over the seat, feet almost touching my legs.

“We used to go to that park,” she announced suddenly, pointing out of the window. “The one with the brown gate.”

“Yes,” Mum replied, smiling, “Highgate Woods, and we’ll go there again when the weather warms up.”

“Yes,” said the girl, “Highgate Woods.”

She gazed out of the window for a few moments, swinging her little legs over the seat, then took a sip of water, ate a few gummy bears that her mum handed. It wasn’t long before her pink canvas shoes collided with my knees. She looked at me, eyes wide, clinging to her mother. “I kicked that lady with my feet,” she said warily. Mum looked at me, apologised, and I smiled warmly, said it was okay.

“The lady knows. It’s okay,” she told her.

The little girl studied me for a while, chewing on a gummy bear, then said, “Mummy, I think you’ve got bigger feet than the lady.”

Of course, I glanced down at mum’s feet, I think we all did, and yes, mum’s feet were considerably larger than mine. But I’m not sure she wanted to share this information with the entire bus.

“Yes,” Mum said dryly, “I think I have.”

And I smiled again because in that instant I recognised that little girl. She’s Lily from my second novel No Way Back. I took snapshots of her with my eyes and brought her to the forefront of my mind whenever I wrote a scene about her. And that’s how I create some of my secondary characters.

 

About Kelly Florentia

Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. No Way Back, released 21st September, is her second novel.

Kelly has always enjoyed writing and was a bit of a poet when she was younger. Before penning her debut The Magic Touch (2016), she wrote short stories for women’s magazines. To Tell a Tale or Two… is a collection of her short tales.

Kelly has a keen interest in health and fitness and has written many articles on this subject. Smooth Operator (published in January 2017) is a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes.

As well as writing, Kelly enjoys reading, running, yoga, drinking coffee, and scoffing cakes. She is currently working on the sequel to NO WAY BACK.

 

Links

‘No Way Back’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2xGjZMe

Website – http://www.kellyflorentia.com

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

Twitter – @kellyflorentia

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

‘No Way Back’ Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/user/11135145039/playlist/0IbxzB3L6ZPdbrFiUY5fAI

 

Cover Reveal – ‘No Bodies’ by Robert Crouch

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for ‘No Bodies’ by Robert Crouch, the second book in the Kent Fisher series which is out as an eBook on the 19th October 2017.  I love this cover and I think it’s my favourite of the two so far.  There will of course be a blog tour taking place next month so keep a look out for that.  In the meantime here’s what ‘No Bodies’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

Why would environmental health officer, Kent Fisher, show any interest in finding Daphne Witherington, the missing wife of a longstanding family friend?

The police believe she ran off with Colin Miller, a rather dubious caterer, and Kent has problems of his own when a young girl who visits his animal sanctuary is rushed to hospital.

When enquiries into Colin Miller reveal a second missing wife, Kent picks up a trail that went cold over a year ago. But he’s struggling to find a connection between the women, even when he discovers a third missing wife.

Is there a killer on the loose in Downland?

With no motive, no connection and no bodies, Kent may never uncover the truth.

 

‘No Bodies’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – http://bit.ly/AmUKtoNBRC

Amazon US – http://bit.ly/AmUStoNBRC

 

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