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Blog Tour – ‘Rings of Smoke’ by Diane O’Toole

Rings of Smoke

‘Rings of Smoke’ is being published by Britain’s Next Bestseller on the 24th September 2015. I am one of a number of book bloggers taking part in this rather exciting blog tour.

Erin Fallon is the eldest of her siblings. Her father, an Irish immigrant, naturally wants to do the best by his family. So when he gets a promotion at work he agrees to his wife’s request to move to a bigger and better house. But Erin’s mother is never happy and always expects more, which leads to her father having to work really long hours.

Leonard Fitch spent his childhood being tormented and ridiculed. At school the girls would make fun of him and at home his mother made it clear that she never really wanted him around. The only person who ever showed him any love and kindness was his father, so when he died Leonard blamed his mother whose constant demands had him working all hours. This leads to Leonard swearing to exact revenge on women, in particular mothers.

When young girls start going missing never to be found alive again, police are left baffled. Will they ever be able to solve the case?

‘Rings of Smoke’ was a really good read and so very hard to put down. I really liked the author’s writing style. Exciting and fast-paced, it was also very shocking and graphic and at first I thought I was reading something out of a horror novel. It did make me shiver a bit.

I felt sorry for what Leonard went through in his childhood, but I couldn’t believe the lengths he would go to in his revenge against women. What he did was totally despicable. A successful surgeon, it just shows that appearances can be deceptive. I certainly wouldn’t want to be alone with him.

If you enjoy crime then you should probably read ‘Rings of Smoke’, but I warn you, it isn’t for the faint hearted.

I give this book 4 out of 5.



Now for an extract from ‘Rings of Smoke’.



Erin was still only half way along Bleaksedge Lane when the fog descended; a thick, freezing cold blanket of nothingness and it had all too quickly become difficult for Erin to see much further than a few feet in front of her. It was quiet, eerie in fact. She started thinking that perhaps she should have waited until a little later in the day when the weather might have improved. It’s a bit too late now; I’m halfway there.

She pulled her lime green scarf securely over her ears and buried her gloved hands deep inside her coat pockets. Lost in thoughts of how she would react and the first thing she would say to her mother if she found her, she was unaware of the car that was parked out of sight at the back of the derelict petrol station, engine purring quietly, ready to move.

Just as Erin was passing the petrol station, the car appeared out of the thick fog right along side her. She was stunned, rigid with fear, like a rabbit caught in headlights. The driver was leering and mouthing words at her that she couldn’t make out. He leaned over into the passenger seat, his hooknose almost touching the window as his dark bird-like eyes drank in every inch of her. He waved at her beckoning her to the car.

Erin tried to scream but the freezing cold air took her breath away, nothing came out. She set off running for her life and as she ran she could still hear the hum of the car’s engine but couldn’t tell whether or not he was coming after her; she was too terrified to look back and so she just kept running. The ice-cold air burned the back of her throat and her lungs as she gasped for breath.

From out of nowhere she was grabbed from behind and lifted off her feet, then a hand came across her face and she choked as the pungent smelling rag was pushed and held firmly against her mouth and nose. The Chloroform was fast; it took less than a minute to do the job. She was out cold – Fitch had his next victim; a little older than most of the others, it couldn’t be helped, he’d wanted this one badly and although he’d missed her birthday by a couple of days this time, he’d make sure that her birthday card reached it’s recipient on time next year.

He lifted her effortlessly over his shoulder and carried her to his car, the engine still running quietly, he opened the boot and dumped her inside. Not a single vehicle had passed down Bleaksedge Lane to witness the abduction – it was so much easier than he had anticipated – just perfect! He chuckled as he slammed the boot shut and climbed back inside his vehicle.

She’d be unconscious for a couple of hours or more, long enough for him to get her back to the lodge and settled in. He slowed as he drove past the girl’s house for one last time wondering what the girl’s mother was doing inside. Well, whatever you’re doing, your little girl won’t be coming home today, or ever again. The car sped up and disappeared into the fog.


About Diane O’Toole

Author Pic

Diane O’Toole  was born in Manchester into a large family of seven brothers and five sisters. As a child her playground was Belle Vue, one of the largest amusement parks in Europe. As a very young girl, I developed a voracious passion for books, and she read all of the classics: Dickens, Eliot, Trollope, and Hardy. During her teens it was Stephen King and James Herbert, and then Diane got a taste of the political thriller with Daniel Silva’s “Moscow Rules”. For “Rings of Smoke”, Diane drew on real life experiences, particularly in respect of the protagonist Erin Fallon. With stalkers, a runaway mother and abduction, she  had the bones of what she believed was a good story.



Interview with Bekki Pate

The Willow Tree

Bekki Pate has just had her debut novel, ‘The Willow Tree’ published by Britain’s Next Bestseller.  She kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.


Congratulations on having your debut novel published.  Can you tell me a bit about it please?

The novel is a dark, gory horror story that centres around several protagonists including a man on the hunt for his missing girlfriend, a young girl who loses her memory, and the demon that follows her. It is also about friendship and love, involving the young girl and the people she meets on her journey to finding out who she is. It is full of twists, and ends on a cliffhanger that I have already been told is really frustrating for the readers as now they have to wait for the next book!


What made you want to pen your first novel?

I have always loved writing, and as a child I loved scary stories such as the Goosebumps and Shivers series, which heavily influenced my earlier work when I was around eight! As a lover of books, I just wanted to write something that I would love to read, and I think I have accomplished that.


How long did it take you to write?

The whole trilogy took me around seven years, but this one has taken the longest as I have changed it so many times!


Where did you get your ideas from?

I love Stephen King and Richard Laymon, so I think I have been influenced by their way of storytelling, but I usually just ask myself “what scares me?” and I go with that.


What exactly does Britain’s Next Bestseller do to help those wanting to publish a book?

Once they accept your manuscript onto their database (you first have to submit a few chapters and synopsis, and then the whole book, and if they like that then you get onto their website) you have a few months to try and obtain 250 pre-orders so it became a campaign of pestering my friends and family, co-workers etc, to pre-order the book. This is harder to do than it sounds – not all authors hit their target.


Are you planning to write more novels?

I have written another two novels that follow directly on from this one, and after this I will probably be taking a break for a bit as I am expecting my first child which is really exciting 🙂 But it has made me a bit exhausted and less motivated to write recently.


Who are your favourite authors and did any of them inspire you?  

I love Stephen King, Sarah Waters, Richard Laymon, Elizabeth Kostova – I think all books I read inspire me in some way (unless they were really bad!) so I think I take something from each of them and carry that on to shape my own work. Every writer has their own voice, but they also have the voices of all the other writers whose work they admire.


Where do you do most of your writing?

Usually anywhere I can – at my desk in the spare room, on the sofa, in a cafe etc. – I don’t mind where I am too much as long as it is relatively quiet and I can sit comfortably.


‘The Willow Tree’ is available to buy on Amazon:-


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