A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “crime thrillers”

Guest Post by Stuart James ~ @StuartJames73

It is a real pleasure to have Stuart James on my blog today.  His new book, ‘Turn The Other Way’ was self-published as an eBook and in paperback in February of this year and boy does it sound amazing or what.  I will most definitely be buying it, that’s for sure.

Stuart has written a guest post for my blog.


I have always loved scary stories, especially ones that shocked me, left me terrified, looking under my bed or in the wardrobe before going to sleep.

There was just a fantastic buzz whenever I watched or read something that took my breath away.

I remember going to my nan’s house in Ireland as a youngster with my mother and sister, on the West Coast, staying in a cottage, surrounded by miles of fields and my family sitting around the table in the kitchen at night telling ghost stories. Going out and exploring derelict farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. I remember clearly the field at the end of the road was supposed to be haunted by headless nuns.

My cousins often remind me of the great times we had, frightening each other and running for our lives whenever we’d see something that didn’t look right.

This is why I love nothing more than to tell a story.


I started writing two years ago, penning The House On Rectory Lane.

I got the idea from something that has often seemed scary to me. I know that a terrifying story has to be something that you’re frightened of doing, something that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck, something that fills you with dread, yet also with excitement.

To me, the thought of going to a house in the middle of nowhere, upping and leaving a busy town and moving to the country is something that scares lots of people and me: the seclusion, the quiet, the darkness.

That’s what inspired me to write my first novel.


My second thriller is called Turn The Other Way.

I have multiple stories running, past and present.

A family who want answers from the surgeon responsible for their daughter’s death.

A young woman looking for her parents after they go missing from a party.

A couple driving home and hearing screams for help from the back of the van in front of them.

A serial killer on the loose in North London, dragging victims off the street.


I’m so grateful when people not only read my thrillers but also take the time to get in touch and leave a review. To me, that is the greatest feeling, hearing from people that have enjoyed my work. I know then that I’m doing something right.

I’m currently working on my new thriller, Apartment Six, which should be released later this year.

I’m 45, married and have two beautiful children. Currently, I’m a full-time plumber but would love nothing more than to make a living from my writing.

I hope I write stories and people continue to enjoy them for years to come.

That would be completely amazing and a dream come true.



‘Turn The Other Way’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turn-Other-Way-Stuart-James-ebook/dp/B07MQNYNN1/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1555436293&sr=1-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Turn-Other-Way-Stuart-James/dp/1796303976/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=stuart+james&qid=1555437998&s=books&sr=1-1

‘The House on Rectory Lane’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Rectory-Lane-Stuart-James-ebook/dp/B078585TG1/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/House-Rectory-Lane-Stuart-James-ebook/dp/B078585TG1/ref=sr_1_2


Website – http://www.stuartjamesthrillers.com

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/StuartJames73

Guest Post by John Mayer ~ @CarolineBookBit @johnmayerauthor

I am delighted to welcome John Mayer, author of the Parliament House Books to my blog.  This series sounds really interesting and is one I hope to read at some point.  Links to the books are towards the bottom of this post.

John has written a guest post for my blog which I hope you enjoy.


Guest Post

On Writing – John Mayer

Writing is precious, or at least, it was. When people first began to write what we would call books – which was in Sanskrit – the technique was open and free for anyone to learn. As soon as writing spread to Europe, words were used to influence and even scare people into beliefs they didn’t have before and didn’t actually want.

With the advent of Amazon Books, I think book writing has come full circle and is once more open and free to learn. As a life-long learner though, I’d prefer the openness would not cause ‘us’ writers to dismiss the learning curve – with each book we write we strive to make it better than the one before.

A carefully crafted story which suspends the reader’s disbelief is a very difficult thing to do well and has to be both learned and practised regularly. After all, attentive readers appreciate and recognise quality when they see it. I’m proud to say that many reviewers of The Parliament House Books feel this way about my books. That’s very satisfying because quality lasts in the mind of readers and makes them eager for more, the next book of their favourite author. I imagine it is like dining out in a nice restaurant or eating a fast-food meal: the latter is to stop your stomach from rumbling, the first is as much food for thought as it is enjoyable to digest.

I like to think that my stories actually help people to shape their own opinions on the subject matter of my series, ‘injustice in high places.’ I feel very strongly about this. I have had feedback from readers saying that my books are different and that pleases me as my books and writing style are an intrinsic part of who I am.

How do I write? I don’t plan, or plot or stick to any kind of formula. I start with a single word: but that word has to be an important one which contains many ideas; not just legal ideas, but social and personal ones too. For instance, the words Cross, Cycle, Boots, Trial, Order, Bones, Trust all contain multiple ideas. Of course, I write about Parliament House and legal cases, with my twenty years’ experience as an Advocate in the Supreme Court of Scotland which gives me a unique depth of insight. I then develop the single word by imagining how it applies to people in a court case as well as how the court case impacts on their lives and the lives of those around them. The American lawyers who write books are all office lawyers, which is a world apart from Parliament House in Edinburgh. When I’ve got the word at the centre of a number of ideas, I then start to sculpt the word – which is like a stone block at this early stage – into a shape which, I imagine and hope, readers can appreciate from many angles.

My central character, Brogan McLane QC, lives in two worlds. One is the grandness and splendour of Parliament House in Edinburgh where he practises law at the Bar of the Court. The other is the Calton Bar in Glasgow where he grew up and has his blood brother – Big Joe Mularkey – by his side. The stories reveal how the low life in high places in the old town of Edinburgh are often disguised by their finery and the characters in each book have to look to another kind of Bar for help in getting justice. Mind, my books are fiction and this is not to say that all Advocates and Judges in Parliament House are corrupt or incompetent: but some are and they casually wreck lives on a regular basis.

Perhaps injustice sounds boring to you but to me, the burning pain of injustice is what motivates and drives me – imagine your loved one wrongly convicted. Anyone in that situation will tell you that the long hard slog trying to turn injustice into justice is a very humiliating and lonely place to be. Similarly in civil cases, trying to get justice for a wrongful act done to you in a few seconds, can take years and drain you of all your hard earned money. Those trying that task will tell you, that it eats into your soul so that you live and breathe the injustice, often for years or decades. There is an old Arabic curse which says ‘May your life be filled with lawyers.’ Anyone who’s had that experience will tell you that it wrecks you emotionally, financially and spiritually until many people surrounded by injustice take their own lives. Any politician will tell you that there are no votes in fighting injustice; but there should be. I think so.

I hope you will never have your life filled with lawyers. May you only experience that curse through the world of Brogan McLane QC in The Parliament House Books.

Best wishes,

John Mayer.


The Parliament House Books

Welcome to the Parliament House Books. John Mayer’s protagonist is Brogan McLane QC – who lives in two worlds.

McLane inhabits two worlds. One is the rarified world of Parliament House in Edinburgh, where he practices law, while the other is in Glasgow where he frequents the Calton Bar. To get in to the Calton Bar, you’ll need to first understand its ways. Those ways are to be found in the first and second prequels to the Parliament House Books, The Cross and The Cycle respectively.

The motto of the series is ‘Low Life in High Places in the Old Town’ and there is plenty of both in this series and, according to the author, in reality. Some Judges and Advocates in Parliament House are fine, intelligent and honest people. Others are mere pretenders. They are the schemers, members of secret societies from which they improve their chances of rising up the slippery pole of legal ranking.


The Prequels:

The Cross
The Cycle
The Boots

All three prequels are free to download at https://parliamenthousebooks.weebly.com/

The Books:

#1 The Trial                http://getbook.at/TheTrial-JohnMayer
#2 The Order             
#3 The Bones           
#4 The Trust              
#5 The House


About John Mayer

Like his leading character, Brogan McLane, John Mayer was born in Glasgow, Scotland and spent much of his time in the Mitchell Library in central Glasgow where he devoured books of all kinds.

Having as the owner of a record company had a court battle with global giants, John decided to study law and became an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland – yes, at Edinburgh’s Parliament House. John acted for the downtrodden and desperate as well as Greenpeace International. His specialism was in fighting international child abduction.

John’s experiences as an Advocate are the foundation for his Parliament House Books, his battle to seek justice is what motivates and inspires his protagonist, crusading Scottish Advocate, Brogan McLane,  who fights injustice casually delivered by Low Life in High Places in the Old Town.


John Mayer on Social Media:

Author Website:           https://parliamenthousebooks.weebly.com/
FB Author Page:          https://www.facebook.com/JohnMayerAuthor/
Twitter:                         https://twitter.com/johnmayerauthor
Instagram:                    https://www.instagram.com/johnmayer_author/
Amazon Author Page: https://author.to/JohnMayer


Interview with Pete Adams

Pete Adams

Pete Adams latest book, ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ was published last year.  I asked him a few questions.


Could you tell me a bit about your Kind Hearts and Martinets series please?

I see Kind Hearts and Martinets as Good -v- Evil ; a politician or civil servant, a powerful Corporate magnate, or just a Machiavellian character, will carry on with a despotic action when reasonable argument demonstrates that it is just plain wrong; he feels he is right. In each book of the eight book trilogy, there is a theme of stubborn refusal to tilt the tiller from the set ‘path’; it is a simple fact, everyone else is wrong.

Each book stands on its own and can be read as a separate novel, although there is a continuing thread suggestive of a malign conspiracy, but of what, and that is carried through to book 5, where all of the threads are woven to a neat conclusion? Really? Things are not that simple surely, and after all, there are another three books.

The series of books also looks at how people react to the martinet persona and consequent actions, and how those with the ‘courage’ to act, often cannot see the irony in their actions, in so much as they are also convinced they are correct in what they do; is this the dilemma of life? And do the ends justify the means? I think this is why, of the eight books, I like book two, Irony in the Soul, because it sets the course for the subsequent books but examines the irony in the motives not only of the perpetrators but also the main protagonists, the dipstick DCI Austin, who has never solved a crime in his life but has a heart of gold, and his long suffering, over a short period of time, partner in work and in love, Detective Superintendent Amanda Bruce.

I like to see Kind Hearts and Martinets as a series (trilogy) of books with a narrative ranging from adventure, to violence, to abject misery to insuperable and often illogical love, to the conclusion that change is not always for the best, but change we must if we are to move on.


How many more books in the series are there to come?

It is a long story, if you pardon the pun, and Kind Hearts is a trilogy in eight books – explanation can be offered if sought, but that is another saga.

Books 1 and 2, Cause and Effect and Irony in the Soul, I self published on Kindle and I then signed with Urbane for book 3, A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza, out in June 2015 and formally launched at Waterstones in October 2015.

Book 4, Ghost and Ragman Roll is a rollicking adventure and introduces some additional characters that get taken on in later books and more of the mystery is unveiled – the manuscript for this book is with the Publisher now.

Book 5 – Merde and Mandarins – the five books are wrapped up; the end – not likely but a moment to pause and reflect, enter book 6.

Book 6 – The Duchess of Friesian Tun – I stepped out of the novel framework and wrote this as a ‘stage-set’ narrative (certainly a challenge that I loved) where the story of Kind Hearts and Martinets is mulled over by a set of ‘off-the-wall’ characters, loosely based on The Canterbury Tales but where the characters go nowhere; the ‘play’ contained principally to one set, with aside vignettes – I am really pleased with it.

Book 7, Rhubarb in the Mammon, and the story is re-launched but seemingly as a new narrative, but later on, as it slides inexorably into book 8, the stories clearly meld. Rhubarb is finished but I can’t leave it alone because I love it so much, but also because it has a partner in the sequel, and so I go back and amend things to suit events in book 8.

Book 8, Umble Pie, New scenarios, new characters whom I love to bits, and old favourites who return for the barnstorming finale to Kind Hearts and Martinets, it even left me breathless as the story travels from serious (but makes you laugh) to an edgy though epic conclusion. Umble Pie is my hardest task so far – I set myself the challenge of weaving a ‘real’ transference of narrative to the sequel / and a ‘surreal’ onward narrative; the DNA spiral of Kind Hearts and Martinets.  I have the first draft complete and will return to it in a few weeks to commence editing and rewriting.

Book 9, Larkin’s Barkin’ is off from the starting blocks and currently passing from synapse to synapse as I walk my dog along the seafront; completely new.

I also have, by way of a madcap distraction, written and illustrated, two ‘nonsense’ books based around imaginary adventures with my granddaughter, called Whopping Tales – they are children’s books, not for children, but for adults who have not grown up. I will post you an example of my illustrations, my granddaughter and I. I have written two short books so far, and a third is about halfway and I’m on a mission to complete it this month and seek a niche Publisher for the upcoming Christmas market.

fevvers and isla

Book one is out to a panel for comment; authors, professional reviewers, and readers who contact me, and I have to say that the response is tremendous and has given me a great momentum to make this project happen. I will package the comments up as part of my submission, so, if any of your readers are interested I can send the MS, it takes about 2 hours to read and allow a further half hour for falling off your chair laughing.


Where did you get the idea for this series from?

Simple – from real life, its social injustices, its unfairness and its evil, countered by the bountiful love of most people who do not have to pass along a path predetermined by some martinet twat who cannot conceive that people are individuals, that life is richer if not mapped out by someone with their own agenda. In other words, and one of my best reviews said this “the books are crime thrillers that make you laugh, cry and think” and in that, each book tackles serious issues both in narrative and in character development, but does it in a slightly larger than life way, not so much a literary lampooning cartoon , but not far off it, and here I always quote Peter Ustinov, “Comedy is a funny way of being serious” and this is what drives me, that and I’m a sucker for a good story, and romance, I love romance..


Are you anything like your main character, Jack Austin?

A lot of people suggest this but quite simply, Jack Austin is an ugly, overweight oaf, with far too much confidence for his own good, and barrels through life regardless of what obstacles he may encounter, relying on the fact that it will all be alright at the end of the day, whereas I am…

…Let me get back to you on that one.

But, the very perceptive of readers correctly observe that Jack, nicknamed Jane, Austin, is a rather obvious, crass even, foil for the characters that do the real work in the novels, and most of them are very strong women; it just happens to be my experience in life.


How long do you spend writing each day?

Oh dear, not long enough. I started writing late in life, I had to have been about 56 -7 and it’s as though there are not enough hours in the day to keep doing the thing I love most, apart from my family that is. Having said that I am an architect by day and I have to focus on my practice, but rarely a day goes by that I do not write, and I feel it on those days I don’t.

I am often up in the middle of the night and write, and if I am free to write with no other distractions, I will generally start around five in the morning and stop about lunchtime, when I take my dog for a walk along the seafront – its wonderful living beside the seaside, and not just because of the ice creams, ‘Giss a lick of yer ice cream mister…’.

After that I like to read, catch up TV, but most of all read if my eyes are not too tired and then I like to write reviews of the books I have read.


Do you have a favourite place to do your writing in?

I am not blessed with the opportunity to have an option of a favourite place. I have an old house that was 80% renovated when the recession hit – my lubbly jubbly writing study is not complete, and so I write under the stairs alongside the central heating boiler, the washing machine and tumble drier, but it is cosy and it has produced eight novels and two and a half Whopping Tales – I am not sure how I will react when I have the luxury of a big room and a desk? Probably cry and sit beside the washing machine and tumble drier, mid-cycle…absorbing the inspirational vibrations of a 1400 spin.


Are you working on any other writing projects?

Book 9 is started, Larkin’s barkin’ – new characters that already I love, and I am finishing book three of Whopping Tales and this is getting such a tremendous response that I may have to think where it goes after publishing.


What’s the best bit of advice you have ever been given regarding writing?

You don’t need this, and you don’t need that, and what does this serve in promoting the story, and you can’t say that, can you, really? Oh, and move over I want to put some laundry in the washing machine.


Do you see yourself still writing in five years time?

I cannot ever see myself stop writing, I love it so much.


Now that you’re getting used to social media would you say it is of benefit to you?

Absolutely, and I resisted my Publisher ‘suggesting’ Twitter for so long and that was a mistake; I now have my book being read in Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the USA and I’m followed by the Trans Siberian Railway (you need to look out my book page for that) , in fact I’ve just had some brilliant reviews from the USA in Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, very big coverage in America. My Publisher and I have great hopes that my books will go well across the pond, pretty much how the Janet Evanovich books went well in the UK, unless he means the pond in St James’s Park; I’ll get back to you on that, promise not to duck the issue.

If I were asked my opinion on what gets the most responses for an author, I would say that it is coverage from book bloggers, and interviews such as your own Sonya, and, I find the questions help me crystallise my own thoughts and motivation, and the bonus, it’s just so nice to have exchanges with people who, like myself, love books – I always respond to messages from readers and bloggers and they are most considerate of my ineptitude in using social media, electronic gadgetry and the fact that I press return too many times and send back gobbledygook (editor – palese sort taht bit).


You have a crazy sense of humour.  Have you ever thought about becoming a comedian?

People always say that I should be on the stage, there’s one leaving in ten minutes; the old ones are brilliant aren’t they, and there is no doubt I am old (though as you will see from my picture, I don’t look it). I used to do after dinner speaking and loved it, was better at MC’ing dinners though, where I could ad lib in reaction to events. I once MC’d a Lord Mayor’s dinner in Portsmouth, at half time I was requested to ease up as the people had paid to eat their dinner and couldn’t do it laughing. But, as I have aged, I think it is not worth the stress, especially if they are expecting you to be funny all the time – sometimes I want to be serious – Nah, just kidding; except in actual fact, my books are very serious indeed and it says all that I believe about today’s society; still, misery is optional.


What do you like doing in your spare time?

It has to be reading. I do like TV but invariably it is all recorded stuff or catch up and I absolutely love Nordic Noir, in books and TV – it gets down to real life with real characters, not phoney Hollywood people with sparkly teeth and fat wallets.

I used to play rugby really badly and if the ball would only have stopped hitting the wicket, I wasn’t bad at cricket – I love watching both sports now.

My family is important to me and I’m proud of my kids, my daughter who travelled the world and then came back and qualified as a midwife with an amazing degree, and gave me Isla Rose (my granddaughter who narrates in Whopping tales) and my son, now at Conservatoire, studying classical violin performance and jazz guitar – I absolutely love classical music and my son is getting me into Jazz; Snarky Puppy, I know, but listen to them and that is what my son plays.


About Pete Adams

Pete Adams is an architect living in Portsmouth, where he sets his books. With a writing style shaped by his Bermondsey and East-End of London family, Pete’s Kind Hearts and Martinets series of books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; crime thrillers that make you laugh, with a dash of social commentary. A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza is book 3; he’s currently writing book 8 – so, lots to come.



Facebook: book page where Pete also reviews other books; he enjoys this page; fun posts, reviews of his books, interviews…silly pictures…  https://www.facebook.com/Peteadamsauthor/?ref=bookmarks 

Twitter: @Peteadams8 – I’m new to this, so still like a monkey with a machine gun.

Amazon author page: books:-

Cause and Effect – Book 1:  http://amzn.to/1WiW5dk

Irony in the Soul – Book 2: http://amzn.to/1YNRrFL

A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza – Book 3:  http://amzn.to/1YNRxgr

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7432389.Pete_Adams



Book Cover


Matthew Smith is kindly giving away three copies of ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’.  To enter just leave a comment about this interview.


Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 3rd April 2016.

The winners will be randomly chosen within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.


Good luck! 🙂


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