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Archive for the tag “crime fiction”

Cover Reveal – ‘Broken Bones’ by Angela Marsons

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for ‘Broken Bones’ by Angela Marsons.  This is the seventh D.I. Kim Stone book and it is being published as an eBook on the 3rd November 2017 by Bookouture.  I really love the cover and have been hearing lots of good things about this series.  I guess that’s seven more books to add to my pile.  Read on to find out all about ‘Broken Bones’.

 

Book Blurb

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

A gripping new crime thriller from the Number One bestseller – you will be hooked until the final jaw-dropping twist.

 

About Angela Marsons

Angela Marsons is the author of the Amazon Bestselling DI Kim Stone series – Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines, Dead Souls and now Broken Bones. Her books have sold more than 2 million in 2 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Her last two books – Blood Lines and Dead Souls – reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.

 

Links

‘Broken Bones’ is available to pre-order from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2wwkvci

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vDLPsP

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/WriteAngie

Website – http://angelamarsons-books.com/

 

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Blog Tour – ‘Hunting Angels Diaries’ by Conrad Jones

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour celebrating ‘Hunting Angels’.  Today is the last day of the tour but the excitement hasn’t quite finished yet.  I have an extract for all of you, plus there are several other blogs to visit.  First though here’s what the book is about:-

 

Book Blurb

When an author is asked to help the police with the investigation into a double murder by identifying occult symbols, which had been carved into the victims, he is plunged into a nightmare and forced to go on the run. Hunted by law and a powerful cult, he has to stay one step ahead to survive.

 

Extract

If this woman was a member of the order, then he was in terrible trouble; he thought it wise to tell her something credible without incriminating himself. “Look, I was following a missing-person case and stumbled upon the fact she’d joined a cult, that’s all. Her mother said that she thought her daughter had joined the Hell’s Angels, but she was old and confused.” He laughed nervously and looked around at the faces. “No one here has a Harley do they?” The faces remained blank so he carried on. “Her friends told me she wasn’t involved with any biker gangs, so I looked deeper into other groups and touched upon a website belonging to a group called the Nine ‘Angles’ not Angels.” Malcolm shrugged and licked his lips. “I need a drink, please.”

“You know more than that.”

“Look, my head is cabbaged and my gob feels like the bottom of a parrot’s cage. I need a drink!”

“Let him drink.” She laughed and pushed herself away from the culling chair, and he sighed with relief as a man stepped forwards. Malcolm thought that he looked expressionless as he approached. He was hoping that he’d have a tall glass of cold beer. As the man neared, he realised that everyone in the room was naked. The dark shadows had hidden their forms from his view. The fact that they were naked panicked him further. It added to the eeriness of the whole scenario in which he found himself. “You can drink from him. We have nothing pure down here.”

“Whatever, I’ve had enough of this crap.” Malcolm licked his parched lips, not realising what she meant. The man stood in front of him and held his penis between his forefinger and thumb. “What the fuck is your game?” Malcolm shouted a second before a stream of hot urine hit him in the face. Two pairs of strong hands grabbed his head from behind, pulling his forehead backwards, pinching his nostrils and forcing his jaw downwards. Malcolm gagged as the steaming piss hit the back of his throat, filling his open mouth and dribbling down his chin. The powerful stream seemed endless and he was forced to swallow in order to breathe. The stinking urine filled his nasal cavities and dribbled through his nostrils, stinging as it touched the sensitive tissue. He was desperate not to vomit in case he choked to death. His body jerked, but there was no escape until the man finished urinating.

As his head was released, his stomach expelled its contents and vomit spewed from his mouth. The acidic liquid burnt his nostrils and the back of his throat before splattering down his chest and soaking his thighs. He gagged at the taste of cider and urine. “You’re sick! You’re all fucking sick.” He coughed and spluttered once the deed was done, and he tried to settle his breathing. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. There was no doubt in his mind now that this woman was part of the group he’d investigated. He was intelligent enough to know that his situation was dire. His eyes were watering and tears ran down his cheeks. He began to shiver uncontrollably as his mind raced, searching for a way out.

“Are you still thirsty, fat, mundane man?” She smiled for the first time. Malcolm noticed that there wasn’t a line on her face. It seemed odd to him to be attracted to a woman who was responsible for a stranger pissing in his mouth, but then the entire night had been freaky.

“Fuck you!” Malcolm spat his words and globules of vomit flew from his lips. He was terrified but defiant. “You’re bang out of order and you have no idea who you’re fucking with. I’m connected to some very serious people.”

“That is an interesting choice of words because some of our sinister would be happy to fuck with you.” There were chuckles from the dark corners of the room. Some of the laughter was guttural, almost animal-like. Malcolm couldn’t see who was laughing and he found no humour in her words. The thought of being tied up and buggered by a line of naked nutcases sent another wave of fear through him. Some of the cold cases he’d investigated in the US showed the victims has suffered violent sexual trauma. He gritted his teeth and rocked violently in the chair, but his bindings were too tight to escape.

 

About Conrad Jones

Conrad is the author of seventeen novels, eight author guides and two biographies. He has three series;
The Detective Alec Ramsay Series; seven books Gritty Crime Thrillers
The Soft Target Series; Gritty Thrillers six books (Reacher Style)
The Hunting Angels Diaries; three books Horror Thrillers
You can find out more; www.conradjonesauthor.com  or contact Conrad Jones at jonesconrad5@aol.com

I am Conrad Jones, a fifty-year-old author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. I spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manager with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

On March 20th, 1993, I was managing the restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.

I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later on due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their enigmatic leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank` and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’; You can see them here;
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Target-Series-Length-Mystery-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B00JEN607Q

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an eleven-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine McCann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my fifteenth novel, ‘Brick’, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

The Child Taker was the 6th book in the Soft Target Series but it also became the first book in the Detective Alec Ramsay Series when I signed a three-book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The series is now seven books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. The first two books are always free with over 1100 5-star reviews. You can see them here;
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010DWH57K

As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch Series.

 

Purchase Links

‘Hunting Angels’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hunting-Angels-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B00GZ0TH7G/ref=la_B002BOBGRE_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498397207&sr=1-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Angels-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B00GZ0TH7G/ref=la_B002BOBGRE_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498397207&sr=1-12

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Detriment’ by David Videcette

I am thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for David Videcette’s new book, ‘The Detriment’, a compelling detective thriller based on true events.  I think this cover really stands out and the colours used are simply stunning.

It’s over to David now who has some handy tips on how to create a cover.

~~~~~

Crime fighter turned crime writer, David Videcette, is very excited to share with us the cover reveal for his second thriller, The Detriment.

David says: “After twenty years in the police, I’m used to unmasking criminals, but today I’m delighted to reveal the cover of The Detriment for the very first time.

“A detective thriller, it follows on from The Theseus Paradox, my first novel, which was set against the backdrop of the 7/7 London attacks.”

“This second outing for Detective Jake Flannagan sees him sailing close to the wind as he struggles to thwart a nightclub bomb plot and a blazing Jeep attack on an airport. I use my police knowledge in my books, and The Detriment is once again based on true events and actual criminal investigations.”

Here are David’s top five tips for creating a cover:

  1. Remember that we all judge a book by its cover, even if we say we don’t! Give the design as much forethought as you would your writing.
  2. Kickstart the process by throwing together a ‘mood board’ of images and colours which appeal – and even those which don’t!
  3. Design should always reflect your book’s content, otherwise it’s just decoration.
  4. Have an outline idea of what you’d like, but remain flexible.
  5. Engage with the professionals, because you’ll need their design expertise to make your book look as good as it can.

The Detriment launches on 29th June, but you can pre-order it on Kindle today.

Find out more about David Videcette and his books based on true events here, or chat to David on Facebook or Twitter.

 

About David Videcette

As a Scotland Yard detective, David Videcette has worked on a wealth of infamous cases. He’s placed bugs on scores of vehicles, searched hundreds of properties, chased numerous dangerous criminals and interviewed thousands of witnesses.

With twenty years’ policing experience, including counter-terror operations and organised crime, David was a key investigator on the 7th July 2005 London bombings. He is the holder of many police commendations including one for tracking down a 7/7 bomb factory.

David is a regular commentator for international news and media outlets such as the BBC, ITV, Sky, The Wall Street Journal, Telegraph newspapers, Newsweek, The Guardian & The Daily Mail. He also blogs about crime, policing and terrorism, writing and publishing.

His television credits include, ITV’s ‘The Bill’, BBC’s ‘Burgled’, ‘One World’ and ‘Crimewatch’.

Sales and downloads of David’s books are supporting a charity called the Police Dependants’ Trust, which helps officers and their families following tragic events on duty.

 

Cover Reveal – ‘One to Watch’ by Rachel Amphlett

Having totally loved Rachel Amphlett’s first two Detective Kay Hunter novels, I am beyond excited to be revealing the cover of her new book.  Isn’t it just gorgeous?  I think it’s my favourite cover so far.

‘One to Watch’ is being published by Saxon Publishing on the 6th June 2017 and I can’t wait to read it.  There will of course be a blog tour.

 

Book Blurb

Sophie Whittaker shared a terrifying secret. Hours later, she was dead.

Detective Kay Hunter and her colleagues are shocked by the vicious murder of a teenage girl at a private party in the Kentish countryside.

A tangled web of dark secrets is exposed as twisted motives point to a history of greed and corruption within the tight-knit community.

Confronted by a growing number of suspects and her own enemies who are waging a vendetta against her, Kay makes a shocking discovery that will make her question her trust in everyone she knows.

One to Watch is a gripping murder mystery thriller, and the third in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH
2. WILL TO LIVE
3. ONE TO WATCH
4. HELL TO PAY (out 2017)

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

 

Contacting Rachel Amphlett

Email: info@rachelamphlett.com

Website: http://www.rachelamphlett.com

Twitter: @RachelAmphlett

Facebook: Rachel Amphlett

 

Blog Tour – ‘Revenge of the Malakim’ by Paul Harrison

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour for which I have interviewed Paul Harrison.  ‘Revenge of the Malakim’ is Paul’s debut crime fiction novel and it is the first book in The Grooming Parlour Trilogy.

 

For the benefit of my readers can you tell me a bit about ‘Revenge of the Malakim’ please?

Its my debut crime fiction novel, based in Bridlington and surrounding area. A fast paced police procedural, with DCI Will Scott and his sidekick DI Daisy Wright, trying to identify and arrest a serial killer with a difference. Its a roller coaster of an investigation, taking the reader across the north of England, down to London and to the US. There’s lots of twists and turns throughout.

 

How long did it take you to write?

The planning of the story line and plot took the longest, since a common thread runs through the trilogy. It took several months planning, and two months to write.

 

What made you decide to write a series?

I cover a difficult subject, and there are so many different strands that I wanted to cover. The Grooming Parlour Trilogy of books, manages to encompass this without compromising the plot or hopefully, reader enjoyment.

 

When can we expect the next book in the series to be out?

The Dark Web will be out June/July 2017 I hope it will really hit the mark with readers, as the action and intrigue is non stop.

 

What would your reaction be if a character out of your book turned up on your doorstep?

Wow. Depends which one really. I would welcome them all, since Its up to me what they do and how they react. Though there are a couple I would avoid. Cannot say much more, if you get my drift.

 

Would you like to see this series made into a TV programme? 

Definitely yes, I think it lends itself to a television series perfectly.

 

How long were you a police officer for? 

My police career spans three decades. I saw huge changes during that time (1970s through to the late 1990s). I was medically pensioned out of the force after sustaining a serious injury on duty.

 

What sort of cases have you been involved in?

Everything, from murder, to child abduction, kidnapping. Its wrong that murder investigations are super interesting. They are difficult and often monotonous. In fiction, it is the thrill of the chase, and the mystery. You do not get that in day to day police investigations.

 

What was it like interviewing serial killers?

Well, at first it was exciting, being face to face with them. My first serial killer was Ron DeFeo, of Amityville horror fame. He was charming, yet deluded, he continually changed his story.  Peter Sutcliffe, (Yorkshire Ripper) was cold and calculating. I felt uncomfortable with him.  Funnily enough, having interviewed over thirty of these killers, there is one thing they have in common, it isn’t that they are evil. They are insipid characters with weak personalities.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I would love to still be writing crime fiction and hopefully with Williams and Whiting publisher and Mike Linane. They are the best publisher I have worked for. Mike is amazingly supportive and knows his stuff. I have total respect for him. I think it is fair to say that I have penned my last true crime book now. I had a decent run at it, over thirty books. Fiction is far more interesting.

 

Will there be more books from you after this series?

Most definitely. I am discussing something very special, for later this year, with my publisher Williams and Whiting as we speak.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I watch football, Leeds United. I do try to go to as many games as I can. In addition, I have three dogs, German Shepherds, so do a lot of walking with them. Which helps me think and plan new plot lines.

 

About Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a retired police officer, with a successful career that spanned three decades.  During that time, he worked on some memorable high profile investigations, and interviewed countless criminals who operated within the darker side of humanity.  Paul began writing and had his first book published during his time in the police.  Since then, he has gone on to write 34 books, mainly in the field of true crime.  Now he has turned all that experience into writing crime fiction.

 

Links

‘Revenge of the Malakim’ is available from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Revenge-Malakim-Grooming-Parlour-Trilogy/dp/1911266527/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1490123310&sr=1-1

Paul Harrison’s Website – http://www.paulharrisonbooks.co.uk

DCI Will Scott (character) Website – http://www.dciwillscott.com/

 

Book Trailer

Interview with Simon Michael

It’s time now for another interview, this time with Simon Michael.  ‘The Lighterman’, the third book in the Charles Holborne series is being published in June of this year.

 

As you know I loved ‘The Brief’. For the benefit of my readers can you tell me a bit about ‘The Brief’ and the series as a whole?

I confess that as I have got further into the series (the third book is about to be published and the fourth is underway) I have understood both Charles Holborne, the conflicted antihero barrister, and what the books are about much better. The seeds were there, but apparently buried in my subconscious. I have realised that the series of thrillers is about a man who tries to stay true to his integrity and honour despite being surrounded by corruption. So, the Kray twins, the Richardson brothers and the Messina brothers are engaged in a war in which they fire-bomb, razor and intimidate for control of their criminal territories; the Metropolitan Police are institutionally corrupt, taking bribes, assisting the criminals, and beating confessions from innocent people; and the judiciary are institutionally biased. Charles Holborne is torn between, on the one hand, his East End, ex-boxer and ex-criminal roots, where he still has friends and family and, on the other, his love for the law, the institutions of justice and his own personal code of honour. In The Brief Charles is framed for the murder of his wife and has to decide: “Will I rely on the dysfunctional machinery of justice to prove my innocence, or will I break the law to avoid the hangman?” I often have in my mind’s eye when writing Michael Corleone from The Godfather: a war hero and an honest man, a man whose Mafia family desperately want to keep “clean”, being dragged back into crime for the love of his father.

 

Where did you get your ideas from for this series?

Several threads combined to produce the series. Firstly I am a Londoner, and only the first generation in 500 years not to live in the East End. Secondly, boxing features in my family history. From the 1920s onwards several of my forebears used the same East End gym as the Kray twins and one became a successful professional boxer. Thirdly, when I became a barrister in 1978, although things had begun to improve, there was still an enormous amount of corruption in the English criminal justice system. There was also huge anti-Semitism and class prejudice. I was the first barrister to join my Chambers who had not been to a public school, and I can guarantee I was the only one who worked as a council labourer every vacation to raise money to continue my education! It was quite a shock to find that the venerable institution of the Bar was so riven by prejudice. So I joined these threads together, and emphasised them by simply moving the events back in time to the 1960s. But the legal cases on which the plots are based, and the court documents included within the text of the books, are based on cases I actually worked on as a barrister.

 

How long did it take you to write ‘The Brief’ and ‘An Honest Man’?

This may surprise you, but the first draft of The Brief took less than three weeks. I had been thinking about the story for so long that it just burst out of me and I just had to get out of the way. An Honest Man took a little longer, but only a few months. Once I have the idea, I write very quickly. On a “bad day” I might write only 1500 words but on an averagely good day I will write 5000 words.

 

Being a barrister would have helped you a lot with these books obviously. Did you have to do any specific research and if so what did it entail?

I had to buy some old legal textbooks to check the legal procedure in the 1960s, but after 37 years at the Bar I had a pretty strong grounding and just had to make sure I wasn’t accidentally including 1970s material in a 1960s book. I have been pulled up by a couple of ex-coppers who pointed out that there were no Crown Courts until 1972 – and they are absolutely right! I am always very grateful to people who point out mistakes. One of the policemen has agreed to act as a beta reader in future, which is extremely kind of him. I’m still learning, and that’s the only way to improve. So far as the 1960s are concerned, I do a lot of research on the Internet but even then mistakes do creep in. Somebody pointed out that the Mary Quant hairstyle I refer to did not exist for another two years, and one fan said that the engine of the Rover P5, used in The Brief as the getaway car, was in fact a 3 L not a 3.5 L at that time!

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

As you can see from my earlier answers, although these books are not autobiographical, Charles Holborne is based on me or, more accurately, on who I would have been had I been born a generation earlier. I think it is very difficult to be true to your ideals when you are surrounded, by friends and family – by your entire culture – at the bottom of the socio-economic pile and prepared to do anything to climb out.

 

Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

Believe it or not I wasn’t going to write this series at all and I didn’t consider myself a crime writer. I had an idea for a much “bigger” book but I thought The Brief and perhaps a sequel would just get me started as an author. Dip my toe in the water, so to speak. I didn’t realise there was an entire series here, and I really hadn’t expected the degree of success I’ve enjoyed. So now I seem to be pigeonholed as a crime writer and my agent says that if I do get round to writing the “big” book I will need to use a pseudonym.

 

Will you be doing any book signings when ‘The Lighterman’ is published?

Yes, as many as I can. It’s very difficult to achieve prominence in such a crowded market, and I am not good at social media. I like face-to-face interactions with people so book signings and talks are perfect.

 

I know there’s going to be a blog tour. What do you hope is achieved from it?

I hope people will start to notice the series. It’s an enormously crowded market, and there are hundreds of authors writing police procedurals and psychological thrillers. What I am writing is different, but so far as the publishers are concerned they fall within the same genre. To some extent that’s true – they are crime thrillers with a legal twist – but they are more than that. I am trying to write about real people with real homes, real lives, and I’m following one man’s personal journey. I don’t know anyone else who is writing 1960s thrillers involving an East End Jewish ex-boxer ex-criminal barrister on a moral journey.

 

How has social media helped you?

I’m not the right person to ask about this. I seem to have a relatively small band of devoted fans, many of whom have been reached initially by social media, but like I said I’m not good at it. I hate the self-promotion involved. It wasn’t the way I was brought up, and to shout about one’s achievements was frowned upon. Your achievements should speak for you. It’s a very English attitude, but in a market dominated by so-called “Amazon Bestsellers!!” if you don’t shout about yourself you won’t get noticed at all.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your career as a barrister please?

I was “called to the Bar” by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1978 and started doing what they call mixed common law cases. That is crime, matrimonial, landlord and tenant, contract, personal injury – everything. That’s not what happens nowadays where young entrants tend to specialise very early, which I think is a mistake. I was best at the crime because I identified with the underdog and loved working with juries. I suspect I should have been an actor like my children. Gradually my practice focused on crime and personal injury. I had to make a decision whether to continue doing the crime in the face of severe legal aid cuts when I had a young family and decided to move gradually into clinical negligence work. I developed a practice where I represented people who had suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of medical negligence and who needed very significant support and care. So, I prosecuted and defended in the Crown Courts, including the Old Bailey, for about 15 years before gradually giving it up for financial reasons. I still miss the buzz of the jury work, the camaraderie of the Bar Messes, prison visits and walking into the Old Bailey.

 

What made you decide to write?

I love telling stories. I always have, since I was a child. My ex-wife says that I “live inside my own head”, and there is some truth in that. When the writing is going well the world I’ve created in my head seems more real than the “real world”.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

In the field that I’m now working, Raymond Chandler, followed by Dashiell Hammett and John Mortimer. All three deal with crime and a hero who does his best to remain true to his principles, i.e. Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and Horace Rumpole.

Otherwise, Charles Dickens and Shakespeare. Both see into the hearts and souls of their characters and recognise that all of us are a mixture of good and bad.

 

Links

‘The Brief’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-brief/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Brief-gripping-crime-drama-swinging-Charles-Holborne/191069200X/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489444677&sr=1-1&keywords=the+brief+by+simon+michael

‘An Honest Man’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/an-honest-man/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Honest-Man-Book-Charles-Holborne/dp/1911129392/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

‘The Lighterman’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-lighterman/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lighterman-Book-Charles-Holborne/dp/191158300X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Website – www.simonmichael.uk

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/simonmichaeluk

 

Interview with Chris Parker

It’s time now for an interview with Chris Parker.  His latest book, ‘debris’ was published in January of this year.

 

You seem to have had a variety of books published by Urbane Publications so far. Can you tell me a bit about them please?

Happy to! I’d like to preface that, however, by explaining why I wanted to be an Urbane author in the first place and why I’m thrilled to still be an Urbane author. And that’s because of Matthew Smith, the founder and owner of Urbane! We first met when he was in his previous role and agreed to publish a book I was writing. I was struck from our first meeting by his unique, creative and much-needed collaborative approach to publishing and working with authors. And I still am. I value our relationship highly. I am a better writer now because of his trust and advice.

So…back to my Urbane books. The first was ‘Influence’. It’s part one in a three-part psychological thriller exploring what happens when Marcus Kline, a man regarded as the world’s leading expert in Communication and Influence, is targeted by a killer who is potentially even more skilled at getting inside people’s minds and making them do whatever he wants. Throughout the trilogy people die, minds are broken and relationships are ruined as the conflict of words and influence rages.

With ‘Influence’ complete, the plan was for me to write the rest of the trilogy – titled ‘Belief’ and ‘Faith’ – in short order. However, I work with and know some exceptional individuals and I’m skilled at modelling excellence. So I let myself be distracted from the world of Marcus Kline and wrote instead about the genius who is Diego Masciaga, the master of customer service and a global legend in the world of hospitality and catering. By the time ‘The Diego Masciaga Way’ was published I had also completed my first poetry collection titled ‘The City Fox and others in our community’. I was genuinely stunned – and scared – when Matthew said he would publish this.

I had been working on ‘Belief’ during this time and it was progressing nicely (I thought), but I then decided that the world needed to know about and learn from the work and teaching of leading American Clinical Sport Psychologist and Sport Scientist, Dr John Sullivan. So that led to me writing the book ‘The Brain Always Wins’. I have to say this will probably always be the most useful book I will ever write. I say that because the better we manage and treat our brain, the better the quality of our life and performance. It is as simple as that. And we know enough now for us all to be able to create and maintain our own personalised daily brain management Process! In the book we teach you how.

With ‘The Brain Always Wins’ complete, it was back to ‘Belief’. I realised then that the first draft was really not that good. So I threw most of it away and started again. The poetry writing hadn’t stopped either, so as I was coming to the end of ‘Belief’ I finished my second poetry collection titled ‘debris’. Wonderfully, Matthew published this in January! And I’m a bit less scared at seeing my name on a poetry book this time.

‘Belief’ is scheduled for publication in June of this year. I have already started work on ‘Faith’ and no other writing project – and Matthew, if you are listening, I really, really mean this – no other writing project will get in the way!

 

I love crime fiction and have got a copy of ‘Influence’ to read. If I was deciding whether to buy it or not, how would you sell it to me?

I would quote a review by Mr Baz who called it “A sizzling detective story that keeps you guessing right up to the end.” Then I would make reference to other reviewers who have called it “original”, “unnerving yet compulsive”, “a well crafted blend of gripping crime and fascinating science” and a “mind numbing book of mystery”.

I would also say that I have been asked many times if there are people who can really influence others using only words and gestures as powerfully as characters do in the book. The answer is a clear and definite “Yes!” Words can be as positive, exciting or frightening as a kiss or as destructive as a bomb. And the ways they are used in ‘Belief’, which are even more shocking and challenging than in ‘Influence’, really drives home this point.

Beyond my writing I have been studying and teaching others about this for four decades. The Marcus Kline trilogy is ultimately based on that old writing principle of ‘write about what you know’. Although, having said that, because of the power of words I always emphasise in my training and teaching the absolute need to influence others positively and respectfully. The killer in the trilogy represents the opposite of that.

 

Does that mean you got the idea for ‘Influence’ from your own study and work?

Essentially, yes. I wanted to highlight the very real power we have to affect others and ourselves through our communication. I wanted to write about words being used as kisses and as bombs, whilst also writing a powerful, engaging and provocative crime thriller.

 

Did you have to do any additional research for it?

Yes. Lots. For example, I knew nothing about police work, or the legal process, or photography, or a very specific act of violence, all of which are integral to the story. Fortunately I love doing the research needed to write both fiction and non-fiction. More fortunately still, I know individuals who are hugely experienced in all the professions and skills I needed to learn about. It’s been very important to me that the Marcus Kline trilogy is realistic throughout. I’m happy if parts of it seem hard to believe – that would be one of the reasons why the second book is called ‘Belief’ – but my experts have all worked with me to ensure that what happens is factual. And, as I said earlier, I know the communication and hypnosis aspects are all grounded in reality.

 

How long have you been writing poetry for?

Since childhood. When my parents died and I spent a day preparing what had been the family home for men in a van to clear, I found a notebook of my childhood poetry in a suitcase underneath the bed in the small bedroom. I’d written it between the ages of nine and eleven. I have absolutely no idea what drew me to write poetry back then. To be honest, I don’t have much more of an idea why I still write it now. I do think, though, that poetry takes people on an inward journey into their own life experiences, beliefs, hopes, questions etc. I love it when someone tells me what I meant by a certain poem and how they ‘got it’, when in fact their interpretation is purely their own! It’s a great example of how easy it is to assume shared perceptions or understandings that don’t exist. It’s also a great indicator of how poetry works on such a personal level for all of us. I think novels and short stories on the other hand draw readers out into an imaginary world. I think they offer more of a degree of escapism – which might be one reason why they are more popular than poems.

 

What do you want readers to get from ‘The City Fox’ and ‘debris’?

For reasons I’ve just intimated that is a really hard question to answer. There are several interconnected themes running throughout both – to do with the relationship between nature, communication, community and learning in all its forms. Having said that, poetry should move, shake or rattle readers. It should get inside them and open them up. It should take them inwards, as I just mentioned, and draw something out.

I wrote a poem that I chose not to put in ‘debris’ called ‘A poem wounds’ and it’s about that very thing. In one sense poetry should wound us; the question is what will we bleed – will it be laughter or recognition or pain or something else altogether? The answer to that question depends on the reader, on who and how and where they are in their life when they engage with the poem.

So, ultimately, readers will get from reading poetry whatever it is they are ready to get. The poet’s job is to make sure it’s never safe. Sometimes a poem will wound you in ways you are not consciously prepared for, in ways you least expect.

 

What are you working on now?

Just yesterday I started work on ‘Faith’, the final book in the Marcus Kline trilogy. Marcus and I have been together for quite a few years now and over that time we have got to know each other very well. He has, quite literally (if you’ll pardon the pun) taken on a life of his own. He has his own website at http://www.marcuskline.co.uk where he blogs and promotes his business. And he is scheduled to appear as a guest on the Unlimited Podcast later this year. That’s assuming, of course, he manages to stay alive and keep his life on track. Which, to be fair, is proving to be an awful lot easier said than done. For obvious reasons, I can’t reveal what condition he is in by the end of ‘Belief’ or, indeed, the condition of anyone he cares about. All I can say is that if things were really bad for Marcus and the other main characters in ‘Influence’, they get far, far worse in ‘Belief’. In fact, they’re so bad I actually struggled to share some of them…

Anyway, moving on from that, ‘Faith’ picks up the story a few months after ‘Belief’ ends. In one sense I’m really looking forward to writing it, and in one sense I’m not. I’m looking forward to it because everything that has gone before has been leading up to what happens in ‘Faith’. Paradoxically, that’s also why I’m not looking forward to it. You see I know what’s going to happen next. It’s not at all good and I’m genuinely fond of many of the characters. Still, there’s no turning back for any of us because Matthew Smith wants the book and I’ve promised he’ll get it. I guess that means Marcus, the other characters and I will just need to push on.

 

Can we look forward to even more books from you?

Absolutely! As I am sure you appreciate, writing is an itch that can never be scratched satisfactorily. In fact, Matthew and I first talked about the trilogy I’m planning to write after Marcus Kline quite a few years ago. It’s called ‘Dark Steps’ and it’s based on a character I included in a novel I had published in the 1990s. Matthew read the novel – it made him smile quite a lot, which was a shame because it wasn’t a comedy – but he did really like one particular character. When I told him I had a storyline planned for this character, he became interested. Thankfully he really liked the plot, which is very, very different from the Marcus Kline story, and I’ve been developing it slowly ever since. So after I’ve developed my ‘Faith’, I’m going to walk some ‘Dark Steps’.

 

Beyond your writing, your career sound fascinating. How did it all start?

Because I met a man who had the ability to understand and influence people in ways I thought were magical. I was a student, training to be a schoolteacher at the time and I realised this type of ability was crucial for educators. Yet it wasn’t a part of the undergraduate degree I was studying. I asked why we weren’t doing at least one module in how to use words to change emotional and physical states, or how to look and listen so we could see below the surface structure of what was being said or done. My lecturers didn’t really have any answers – at least they didn’t have any answers that satisfied me – and as I had already started learning from this particular gentleman I didn’t pursue it any further with them. That was in 1976. The man who became my inspiration and mentor continues to be so. And my fascination with communication and influence, particularly how interpersonal communication affects our brain and how meditative practises can help people prepare for and enhance the entire communication process, is as great now as it has ever been. Currently I divide my working time between lecturing, providing corporate training and, of course, writing.

 

Have you found social media to be useful?

I’m an absolute novice when it comes to using social media well. I need to get an awful lot better and, truthfully, I’d much rather look at and/or listen to another human being in real time. So I have much learning to do in this regard. To put it into context, I’ve only had my websites in place for a year or so! They are http://www.chrisparkerauthor.com and http://www.powerofwords.com. Fortunately I have some very caring and talented people around me who are committed to my social media education and to helping me use it well.

 

Will you be doing any book signings?

Yes. Book signings and talks are great fun! I’m actually talking to members of a local book club later this week. Looking ahead, Matthew has organised a book launch event for ‘Belief’ in June in the wonderful Five Leaves bookshop in Nottingham. The plan is to arrange some talks and signings around that event.

 

What would you do if there were no such thing as words?

Listen to the silence.

 

Links

‘debris’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/debris/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Debris-poetry-collection-Chris-Parker-ebook/dp/B01N326FYY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489248596&sr=1-1&keywords=debris+by+chris+parker

‘The City Fox’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-city-fox/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/City-Fox-others-community-ebook/dp/B010Q1RUXM/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1489248824&sr=1-7

‘Influence’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/influence/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Influence-Chris-Parker/dp/1909273066/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489248824&sr=1-4

‘The Brain Always Wins’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-brain-always-wins/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brain-Always-Wins-Improving-management/dp/1909273732/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489248824&sr=1-2

‘The Diego Masciaga Way’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-diego-masciaga-way/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Diego-Masciaga-Way-Lessons-Customer/dp/1909273481/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489248824&sr=1-5

Book Review – ‘Fade to Dead’ by Tara Moore


‘Fade to Dead’ is the first book in the Jessica Wideacre series. It was published by Urbane Publications last year. Being a huge fan of crime thrillers I really liked the sound of this book and bought myself a copy.

A serial killer is at large on the streets of South London. Known as The Director, he seems to be obsessed with young women who are barely of legal age, are blonde and beautiful. What exactly is his fascination with them and why does he keep going for just one type?

DI Jessica Wideacre who has been recently promoted is put in charge of the investigation. As the body count rises Jessica and her team find that they don’t have much to go on and soon become very disheartened. Jessica starts feeling that she isn’t up to the job. With her boss breathing down her neck, the pressure of the job and her marriage in jeopardy, Jessica is driven to drinking.

Meanwhile, The Director has a new victim in his sights. Someone who will get the red carpet treatment for sure. He’s really looking forward to acting out this film.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Fade to Dead’. It was an exciting, thrilling and gripping read. Tara Moore really is off to a great start with this series. I liked her style of writing and the way she has managed to create characters who are genuine.

I liked DI Jessica Wideacre and thought that some of the things she came out with were hilarious. I suppose even when dealing with murder you need to have some sort of a sense of humour in order to survive everyday life. Jessica swore to the murder victims that she would find their killer and even though it seemed at times that he would never be caught, I knew that sooner or later something had to happen. Those poor girls though and what they went through, it was just horrendous. The reader is also given a glimpse into Jessica’s personal life which I always think is a good thing. There were certain members of her family that I really didn’t take to at all, especially her sister, Carol. I thought she was really selfish.

I was shocked by the ending, it was a real twist in the tale. I really wouldn’t have guessed it.

‘Fade to Dead’ is a must read for crime fiction lovers. This is sure to be one of my favourite books of the year. I am really looking forward to joining DI Jessica Wideacre on her next case. The second book in the Jessica Wideacre series is due out in 2018.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘Fade to Dead’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/fade-to-dead/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fade-Dead-ruthless-Director-Wideacre-ebook/dp/B01FJA8EJO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489223492&sr=1-1&keywords=fade+to+dead

 

Interview with Anne Coates

anne-coates

I’d like to welcome Anne Coates back to my blog.  Her new book, ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ is out on the 11th May of this year.  As part of the event I have interviewed Anne.

 

As you know I loved ‘Dancers in the Wind’ and I am thoroughly looking forward to your next book which is out in May. Can you tell me a bit about it please?

‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ continues Hannah Weybridge’s story and opens with her discovering the dead body of her close friend Liz Rayman in the crypt of St John the Evangelist at Waterloo where she ran a weekly pro bono dental surgery. Initially the police write off the murder as perpetrated by one of the homeless clients high on drink or drugs. Neither Hannah or Liz’s mother, Lady Celia Rayman, is convinced by this theory and Celia employs the journalist to start investigating. No spoilers here.

 

Did you have to do much research?

I know the area (and the Cardboard City in the Bullring in the 90s) really well. My mother was born in Waterloo and many of my extended family lived there. I also worked for IPC magazines when situated at King’s Reach Tower, Stamford Street which gave me a good backdrop. Having written the first three chapters many years ago, strangely I had never been inside the church. I have subsequently attended many meetings there and it will be the venue for my launch party.

My work as a freelance journalist for newspapers and magazines gave me a solid background for my protagonist.

There are themes that I have gone back to primary sources for research – I won’t mention these as I hope readers will be surprised and intrigued as to how the novel progresses. I am also blessed with friends who work in diverse careers whom I can tap into for information. Great to do my research over a glass of wine and a chat with a friend!

 

What made you decide to write crime fiction?

The first short story I had published was a “confession” of a crime and many of my tales with a twist which I wrote for magazines like Bella (some published in ‘Cheque-Mate & Other Tales of the Unexpected’) concerned a crime of some description from fraud to murder. I love reading crime novels and believe you should always write what you would like to read!

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

I am blessed/cursed with the type of mind which can put me in someone else’s shoes very easily.

Hannah Weybridge has some of my foibles and characteristics (but is not me). In many ways she is my alter ego and does things I wish I had the guts to do. I would never be such a risk-taker. There are other characters I have fallen a bit in love with like Tom Jordan the DI in ‘Dancers in the Wind’ and James, the doctor who also features in both books. I have a real soft spot for Sam who has a small role in DitW and DSJ but may have more to say in book three which I am currently working on. Linda comes to the fore in book three and she is an amalgam of some of my loveliest friends. I can also put myself into the minds of my baddies – which probably reveals a bit too much about me and my darker side!

 

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

As a journalist I learned to write fast and stick to deadlines so that discipline helps with writing books. So the answer to your question is, it depends on the deadline but I do like a lot of thinking/dreaming time for ideas to percolate and take root. My writing is very character led and they often take me off in directions I would never have contemplated when I first started a particular book.

 

Do you have a favourite place where you do your writing?

Not really. I usually write at home although I also scribble down ideas on buses and trains. As my first draft is written on my laptop it means I can be anywhere – even in my garden when it’s warm. If I get stuck with a scene I find changing rooms helps – a move to the kitchen or bedroom encourages a new perspective.

 

Are there going to be more books?

I am currently writing book three in the Hannah Weybridge series (as yet no title) and I have an idea for another book when we meet her many years later.

 

I see that you are also an editor. What does that involve doing?

I have edited magazines for various companies and for many years I have abridged books for Reader’s Digest for the UK, Australian and Canadian markets. Cutting a book – sometimes by as much as 50 per cent – is a major task and by the end I have read the book so often I probably know it better than the author. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown when I had to cut Middlemarch in half for the Orion Compact Editions. With the classics you can’t change a word and as I love that book it was heart-breaking to eliminate themes or storylines.

I also copy edit, which involves checking facts and spellings, making sure of consistency, following house style and basically dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s.

 

What was your experience at getting published by Urbane Publications like?

I have been published by four other companies: Wayland, Bloomsbury, Need to Know, and Endeavour and each experience has been different. Urbane Publications – like many of the newer indie publishers – offers a more collaborative approach, which works well for me. The focus, enthusiasm and sense of purpose is brilliant and I also enjoy the being part of a group of authors who are supportive and happy to meet up in real life. Last year Urbane sent a group of us to CrimeFest, which was a great experience and this year I’ll be on one of the panels and we’ll all meet up for drinks and the Gala Dinner.

 

What advice have you got for anyone wishing to pen a book?

Read widely, keep writing and don’t give up. There are many routes to getting published now and if you persevere you’ll find the right one for you. I was once told to write the first novel, dump it and get on with the second. My first novel is still in a box in the attic.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

Twitter has introduced my to an amazing array of authors whom I might not have come across but whose books have become firm favourites. Some have become friends and if I started naming them I’d be bound to leave someone out in error. However it was with utter joy when I learned that the daughter of a close friend (and my daughter’s godfather) had achieved a brilliant publishing deal. Needless to say I loved reading it: ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by E C Healey. When I have the time I go back to reading old favourites like Wilkie Collins, Dickens, James Joyce, and DH Lawrence among others.

 

If you were only allowed to keep three items what would they be?

Although I am an inveterate hoarder, I try to discipline myself not to be “owned” by possessions. It’s taken me a long time to realise this. My family, friends and three cats (the felines are all sitting with me as I write this, making sure I include them) are the world to me. If I had to choose items it would probably be my mother’s rings and earrings, old family photos currently framed and hanging in the dining room, and my phone which contains all my contacts. Actually this has given me an idea for another book …

 

Links

Dancers in the Wind
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dancers-Wind-gripping-thriller-Weybridge/dp/1911129635/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1486815984&sr=1-1

Death’s Silent Judgement
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deaths-Silent-Judgement-Hannah-Weybridge/dp/1911331353/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487075630&sr=1-1&keywords=death%27s+silent+judgement

Cheque-Mate & Other Tales of the Unexpected
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cheque-Mate-Other-Tales-Unexpected-Coates-ebook/dp/B008G1FI5M/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487075707&sr=1-1&keywords=Cheque+Mate+and+other+Tales+of+the+unexpected

Author website http://www.annecoatesauthor.com/

‘Miss Christie Regrets’ by Guy Fraser-Sampson

miss-christie-regrets
Congratulations to Guy Fraser-Sampson whose new novel, ‘Miss Christie Regrets’, the second in the Hampstead Murders series is out today. Agatha Christie herself plays a key part in this book so it’s really nice that it has been published on her death anniversary. Makes it kind of special don’t you think. I would like to thank Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications for sending me a proof copy to review.

The story itself opens with a death at an iconic local venue, certainly not something you would expect on a day out. A police investigation commences and it seems that there could be a connection with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals. But is it just pure coincidence or is there more than meets the eye? It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link.

I really enjoyed ‘Death in Profile’, the first book in the series and was looking forward to reading ‘Miss Christie Regrets’. I like Guy Fraser-Sampson’s style of writing. He has such a wonderful and elegant way with words.

You should definitely read ‘Death in Profile’ first in order to get the full benefit of this book as a couple of the storylines are ongoing. It was really nice meeting some of the characters from the previous novel again. I was just dying to know how things were going to develop for DS Karen Willis.

Just as with the first book I enjoyed reading about the police procedurals and I actually felt as if I learnt something. I think it’s ironic that Agatha Christie who wrote all those detective novels should now be mentioned in another author’s book. I mean what a brilliant idea! I reckon that she would have been quite touched with being mentioned in ‘Miss Christie Regrets’.

‘Miss Christie Regrets’ is a classic whodunit, Golden Age crime fiction at its best. It is perfect for people who like reading cosy crime. I actually think that the Hampstead Murders novels would make a really good TV series and I hope it is considered.

The third book in the series, ‘A Whiff of Cyanide’ is due to be published this summer and I eagerly await it.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

‘Miss Christie Regrets’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/miss-christie-regrets/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Miss-Christie-Regrets-Guy-Fraser-Sampson/1911331809/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484164698&sr=1-1&keywords=miss+christie+regrets

 

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