A Lover of Books

Archive for the month “May, 2020”

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.

 

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