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Archive for the tag “crime”

Book Review – ‘Fearless’ by Jessie Keane

Today I am reviewing ‘Fearless’ by Jessie Keane which was published in hardback and as an eBook on the 22nd March 2018 by Macmillan.  I unfortunately had to pull out of the blog tour organised by Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about this book.  First though here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

Josh Flynn is the king of the bare-knuckle gypsy fighters. His reputation is un-blemished; his fist a deadly weapon.

Claire Milo has always loved Josh, they were destined to be together from the day they met. Two gypsy lovers with their whole lives ahead of them. If only Josh would find a different way of earning a living instead of knocking the living daylights out of another man in the boxing ring. One day, she knew something really bad was going to happen. She could feel it . . .

Shauna Everett always wanted what she couldn’t have, and nobody, especially Claire Milo was going to stand in her way. She’s had her eye on Josh Flynn for years and she knew just how to get him. If it meant playing dirty, then so be it. What had she got to lose?

In a world ruled by violence, crime and backstreet brawls, only one woman will win in Jessie Keane’s Fearless, but how low is she prepared to go to achieve that goal?

 

My Review

This is the first novel by Jessie Keane that I have read. With nearly six hundred pages and split into three parts this is quite a long book. I like it when stories have a prologue and I was left feeling intrigued by this particular one. There were loads of chapters, all short, which mostly had me hooked. It was literally a case of just one more chapter followed by I’m sure I have time to read another one or two.

Set in both England and America from 1975 onwards this story follows Josh Flynn’s life and his undying love for Claire Milo who mysteriously disappeared, never to be heard from again. If only he had known the truth from the start then maybe things wouldn’t have happened the way they did.

There were a number of unsavoury characters in the story. For a start off I really couldn’t stand Shauna Everett. She was just pure evil. She made sure that she got exactly what she wanted whatever it took, with absolutely no thought for anyone else’s feelings. As for the Cleaver family, I wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alley. They were just scary!!

Out of all the characters my favourite one was Claire Milo. She came across as really lovely. I felt so bad for her and what she was put through.

There is a lot of swearing and violence throughout the story which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if that doesn’t bother you then I can promise that you are in for a good read.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Fearless’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fearless-Jessie-Keane/dp/144725435X/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1524911030&sr=1-1

 

About Jessie Keane

Jessie Keane is a Sunday Times top ten bestselling author. She’s lived both ends of the social spectrum, and her fascination with London’s underworld led her to write Dirty Game, followed by bestsellers Black Widow, Scarlet Women, Jail Bird, The Make, Playing Dead, Nameless, Ruthless (the fifth book to feature Annie Carter), Lawless and Dangerous. Jessie’s books have sold more than 750,000 copies. She now lives in Hampshire.

 

Links

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/realjessiekeane

 

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Blog Tour – ‘The Betrayal’ by Anne Allen

‘The Betrayal’, Volume 6 of the Guernsey Novels was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 20th October 2017 by Sarnia Press. I was invited to take part in this blog tour by Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources. I would like to thank both Rachel and Anne Allen for my review copy of this book.

This story is set mostly in Guernsey in the 1940s and 2011.

In 1940 Teresa Bichard and her baby were sent by her beloved husband, Leo to England for their own safety. The Germans were getting closer to Guernsey and could invade at any time. A couple of years later Leo, who was of Jewish descent, was betrayed to the Germans and sent to a concentration camp. Sadly, he never returned home.

When Teresa returned to Guernsey in 1945 she found out that Leo did not survive. The family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, was missing. Heartbroken, she returned to England.

It’s 2011 and 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 true 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?

I’m so glad to have been given the opportunity to take part in this blog tour. I have read and reviewed a couple of Anne Allen’s books previously which I remember really enjoying. It feels so nice to be finally reunited with this series. This book can be read as a standalone without spoiling any pleasure.

I thought ‘The Betrayal’ was absolutely fabulous. It was such an interesting read. I really like the author’s style of writing and her descriptions of Guernsey were wonderful.  It sounds so beautiful, a place to get lost in, a sanctuary. There’s also lots of mention of food throughout the story. Always a good thing even though it did make me feel a bit hungry. At the front of the book there is a map of Guernsey and the surrounding islands which is useful.

I liked the way the story switched back and forth between the present and the past. I really felt for poor Leo and what happened to him. I had a pretty good idea who the betrayer was. So very tragic. There were a number of lovely and genuine characters in this book. I warmed to Fiona straightaway and I loved her friends, especially Louisa and Paul. I also liked Michael a lot.

I really hope there are going to be many more Guernsey novels.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

Like the sound of this book?  You can purchase it from Amazon UK:- 

http://mybook.to/TheBetrayal

A Triple Celebration and a Price Reduction!

For this week only, until 18th February, the price of books 2-6 of The Guernsey Novels is only £1.99/$2.99, with book 1, ‘Dangerous Waters, remaining at 99p/99c

This is in celebration of Anne Allen’s birthday, the 6th anniversary of the publication of ‘Dangerous Waters’ and the recent publication of book 6, ‘The Betrayal’.

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway

To coincide with this blog tour a competition is being run.  The prize is 1 x signed paperback copy of ‘The Betrayal’.  To enter, click on this link – http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949460/

This competition is open internationally.

 

About Anne Allen

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was 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.

By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist, but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, six having been published and the seventh, The Inheritance, is due out in 2018.

 

Links

Website – http://www.anneallen.co.uk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Anne-Allen-Author-176883759173475/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AnneAllen21

My Top 12 Books of 2017

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve already and I really don’t understand where this year has gone.  I have had some ups and downs blogging wise and haven’t read half as much as I wanted to, but I’m pleased to say all is good with me now and I am feeling very positive.

I’ve read some fabulous books this year and it’s now time to choose my Top 12.

 

1.  ‘Deep Down Dead’ by Steph Broadribb

 

‘Deep Down Dead’ was published in paperback in January of this year by the fabulous Orenda Books.  I wasn’t too sure if this book would be for me, but I needn’t have worried as I was soon hooked.  If I remember rightly I think I was slightly late to work because of it, i.e. I couldn’t put it down.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/deep-down-dead-by-steph-broadribb/

 

2.   ‘Fade to Dead’ by Tara Moore

 

March was an incredibly busy month for my blog as it’s when I did my two week Urbane Event.  ‘Fade to Dead’ was published last year and it is the first book in the Jessica Wideacre series.  I absolutely loved it and I want to read more by this author.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/book-review-fade-to-dead-by-tara-moore/

 

3.  ‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowski

 

‘Six Stories’ was published in paperback by Orenda Books in March.  I took part in the blog tour for this book and it was so different to anything I have ever read before.  I just loved it.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/blog-tour-six-stories-by-matt-wesolowski/

 

4.  ‘The Lies Within’ by Jane Isaac

 

I had the pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for ‘The Lies Within’ which was published by Legend Press.  Until then I had never read any of Jane Isaac’s books.  I was totally gripped and I loved it from start to finish.  I am really looking forward to reading more by this fabulous author.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/blog-tour-the-lies-within-by-jane-isaac/

 

5.  ‘The Wild Air’ by Rebecca Mascull

 

Rebecca Mascull has done it again with this book, published by Hodder & Stoughton.  It was absolutely incredible and I loved everything about it.  I also was lucky enough to meet Rebecca at her book launch for which I won a ticket.  You can read my review and write up on the launch here:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/the-wild-air-by-rebecca-mascull/

 

6.  ‘Skin Deep’ by Laura Wilkinson

 

Laura Wilkinson is one of my favourite authors.  I have read and reviewed all her novels so far and was delighted to take part in the blog tour for ‘Skin Deep’ which was published by Accent Press.  This lady is so very talented and can turn her hand easily to writing about different subjects.  I could have cried with joy at being mentioned in the acknowledgements and at having my review quoted inside the book too.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/blog-tour-skin-deep-by-laura-wilkinson/

 

7.  ‘No Accident’ by Robert Crouch

 

I was given the wonderful opportunity to take part in the blog tour for this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed ‘No Accident’ and was delighted to discover yet another new author and to start reading another series.  You can read my review here:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/blog-tour-no-accident-by-robert-crouch/

 

8.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ by A.J. Waines

 

I was delighted when A.J. Waines invited me to take part in her blog tour.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ is the second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series.  I hadn’t read the first one but this didn’t spoil things for me.  I totally loved it and I can’t wait to read more by this author.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/blog-tour-lost-in-the-lake-by-a-j-waines/

 

9.  ‘No Way Back’ by Kelly Florentia

 

I absolutely loved ‘No Way Back’ which was published in September by Urbane Publications.  I could kick myself for not having read Kelly Florentia’s first novel.  Kelly’s writing is incredible and I really can’t wait to read her next book.  You can read my review here:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/11/11/no-way-back-by-kelly-florentia/

 

 

10.  ‘You’re Next’ by Michael Fowler

Until recently I had never read any of Michael Fowler’s books.  But then I was invited to take part in the blog tour for ‘You’re Next’ and I’m so glad I took part.  Published by Caffiene Nights Publishing, this is the second book in the DS Scarlett Macey series and I really enjoyed it.  I will definitely be reading more of this author’s books.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/blog-tour-youre-next-by-michael-fowler/

 

11.  ‘Hell to Pay’ by Rachel Amphlett

 

I have read this series from the start and loved every single book, but I think ‘Hell to Pay’ has to be my favourite.  It was a real pleasure taking part in the blog tour.  I can’t wait to read more by Rachel Amphlett.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/blog-tour-hell-to-pay-by-rachel-amphlett/

 

12.  ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ by Mary Wood

When Mary Wood was looking for people to take part in her blog tour I was happy to help as I really liked the sound of ‘Brighter Days Ahead’, which was published in November by Pan Books.  It’s been absolutely ages since I have read a saga and I absolutely loved it.  I now want to read this author’s backlist.

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/blog-tour-brighter-days-ahead-by-mary-wood/

 

I hope you have all enjoyed finding out what my top 12 books of the year are.  I look forward to reading many more great books next year.

 

Extract from ‘The Secret Mother’ by Shalini Boland

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

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

 

Book Blurb

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

Not anymore.

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

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

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

~~~~~

What readers are saying about Shalini Boland:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Extract

Chapter One

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

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

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

Almost home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘And who did you come with?’ I ask.

‘The angel.’

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

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

‘The angel?’

He nods.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My heart squeezes at his politeness.

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

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

He grins and slides off the stool.

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

He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts.

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

‘Oh, okay.’

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

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

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

‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’

‘What? Now?’

‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He eagerly does as I ask.

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

He stares at the pans in the drawer.

‘Harry?’ I prompt.

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

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

No reply.

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

‘No.’

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

He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor.

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

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

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

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

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

He nods vigorously and sniffs.

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

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

I don’t have a child. Not any more.

~~~~~

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

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2xrkDu4

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vXeg3W

 

About Shalini Boland

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

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

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

Follow Shalini Boland on:-

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland

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

Guest Post by Robert Enright

I would like to welcome Robert Enright back to my blog  Last year I read and reviewed the wonderful ‘Doorways’ and I am still waiting patiently for the next book in the series.  Robert has written a guest post for my event.

 

Doorways: A new chapter

I can’t believe it’s been almost 5 months since Doorways has been published. It may not seem like a long time, but considering the book actually came out over a year after signing the contract, my concept of time has rapidly changed. And now, knowing that Doorways is sat on the shelves in places such as Foyles and Waterstones, it feels like a new chapter in my life has begun.

But before all that, let me introduce myself. I am Robert Enright, author and a recent member of the 30 club! I have been writing since I can remember, be it silly stories when I was a kid or roleplaying games during my (admittedly uncool) teens. It was when I hit 17 that I started knuckling down, properly designing characters for a comic book series and planning stories. Then I spent the next 7 to 8 years swinging from idea to idea, like Tarzan through the jungle. Then my brother gave me a boot up the backside and I started writing seriously.

First book, One by One, was met with some great critical acclaim, scoring high ratings with every reviewer who let me grace their blog and it changed my life. Not only did it show people I could do it, it showed me that I could. I pitched it to Matt, but he was more interested in Doorways, which I hinted at in my email. A phone call and a few beers later and I had signed on the dotted line, with only 4 chapters and a concept. It was daunting, because now someone else was backing my idea and I was contractually obliged to provide a good book.

Well hopefully I did. The critical acclaim that Doorways has achieved has been nothing short of mind blowing, purely because it is such a weird book. One by One was a straight revenge story, whereas this is an Urban Sci-Fi, Mystery, Crime Thriller, Buddy Cop, Paranormal Investigation. So yeah….quite a tricky one. And for my book tour, I had a batch of some of the most talented and highly regarded CRIME reviewers. None of them read Sci-Fi and many were fairly sceptical, agreeing to read it based purely on One by One (and NOT because I sent them money. Which I didn’t….because I have none!)

I almost cried at the response. Every single one of them gave Doorways a 5 Star review, all of them perplexed that they had enjoyed a Sci-Fi novel as much as they did. That was what made me smile the most, the fact that I got people to not only experience a new type of story, but to actually enjoy it. If you follow me on social media, you will know I’m pretty nerdy. Comics, computer games, films….I love a lot of Sci-Fi and Doorways was such a passion project for me, as it allowed me to create my own worlds, with their own rules and laws. The fact that Argyle, the ‘Other’ from the Otherside is such a favourite was amazing to hear.

What next? Well Bermuda is coming back!! I am nearly halfway through the sequel which see’s our hero stop decimating London and destroy Glasgow instead. I have a comic book in the works (OH YEAH!!) and whisper it, but we may be seeing One by One reach the shelves aswell. But for now I will go back to writing and slowly panicking at my first book event coming up later this month, before I head to Waterstones in April for my own evening. Seriously…..somebody pinch me!

I would also like to thank every single reader, writer, blogger and reviewer for the continuous support and inspiration you bring to writers like myself. It means more than these words I’m writing. Also, make sure you follow Sonya on Twitter because her blog and reviews are AMAZING!!

Rob 🙂

 

‘Doorways is available from:-

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

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Doorways-Bermuda-Jones-Case-File-ebook/dp/B01LOO18EW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489226001&sr=1-1&keywords=doorways+by+robert+enright

 

Blog Blitz – ‘In The Wake of Death’ by Billy McLaughlin

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I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog blitz.  ‘In The Wake of Death’ was published in paperback and as an eBook in August of this year.   Billy McLaughlin has written a guest post for my blog, but first here’s what his book is all about.

 

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Book Blurb

Sometimes waking up is only the beginning…

He was left for dead on the side of the road. Now Marc Adams is awake and he can barely remember anything about his life before. All he knows is that his meddling sister has returned to his life, whilst his partner Joel is gone.

Marc is convinced that something has happened to Joel. Why won’t anybody believe him?

As he is pulled further into the pit of his subconscious, Marc begins to remember exactly what happened on the night of his accident.

Soon, he’ll be wishing he hadn’t woken up at all.

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Guest Post

Publication Day

So, your book is being published!

Woo hoo!!

How do you spend publication day eve and the actual day?

•   What do you do the night before?
•   The morning?
•   Who are you with?
•   Where do you go?
•   What do you spend the day doing?
•   Is publication day 1 the same as publication day 2? And so on?
•   Do you have any rituals?

These questions are not set in stone; answer the ones you like and add in anything you think has been missed!

I haven’t enjoyed any of my publication dates so far. The first novelette was released when I was on my way to Birmingham on a coach. I hadn’t yet even told a single living soul that I was releasing it – not even my partner.

The publication date of my second book ‘Lost Girl’ happened to fall on a working day, so I didn’t do anything to celebrate it.

I think I will make a point of having some sort of celebration when I release the next book because it’s something I want to enjoy now that I feel more connected to it.

I have no rituals when I finish a book except to breathe. I get so engrossed in the writing that I thunder forward without really thinking about how I’ll feel when its finished. The new book is taking longer than any of the previous ones, but that’s because I haven’t given myself such a rigid deadline and because I want it to be perfect. Also, the story is brand new. It hasn’t been built on the carcass of anything that I had previously written. The only thing carried over in it is some of the characters who have now become mainstays of my books.

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Giveaway

There is a chance to win an eBook copy of ‘In The Wake Of Death’.  To enter just click on the link below:-

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About Billy McLaughlin

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Billy McLaughlin is a Glasgow born author whose first three books are based in and around the area of Glasgow. His first novelette “Invisible” was a precursor to his first mystery novel “Lost Girl” which was released in May 2016. He then followed up with “In The Wake Of Death” which saw its release date of August 2016. Both novels have received praise for their dark and pacey tone, and for their strong relatable characters. Work on the next novel has already begun, with a view to a late 2016 / early 2017 release.

‘In The Wake of Death’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wake-Death-Mr-Billy-McLaughlin/dp/1535010495/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1481983372&sr=1-1-spell

 

Interview with John A. Marley

I would like to introduce you all to John A. Marley.  I met him at Goldsboro Books Crime in the Court event back in September.  His debut novel, ‘Standstill’, was published by Avocado Books on the 14th September.  I asked John some questions.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your book, ‘Standstill’ please. 

Standstill revolves around an ambitious young thief called Danny Felix who finds himself dragged into an audacious plot to pull off the biggest robbery London has ever seen, He is co-erced into this by a corrupt, psychopathic policeman called Inspector Harkness, who is simultaneously being investigated by another Detective called Christine Chance.  The robbery is huge, the characters intense and London looms large as a character in it’s own right throughout.  Expect violence, a fast moving story and the odd bit of black humour along the way.

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What made you decide to write it? 

I have always read and loved books particularly pulp crime fiction and so I just really wanted to have a crack myself.  It’s been tremendous fun and, most importantly for me, truly creative.

 

Where did you get your idea from for this book?

It was an amalgam of thoughts all born during endless commutes in and out of London by train and tube, and latterly when I met my wife and her family, some of whom are retired ex Flying Squad, the plot just gelled for me…and I was off and running…

 

I see it is the first of a series.  How many books in total will there be?

At the moment I have five books in my head…but who knows…Danny might lead us on more merry dances…

 

Did you have to do any research and if so, what did it entail?

I researched extensively.  Whilst I obviously wanted it to be entertaining, Standstill had to have an authentic core.  I met and spoke with many Flying Squad detectives, some retired some still serving.  I recce’ed most of the locations in the book, especially where the robbery takes place and I used pretty much every scrap of info, anecdote and observation that I gleaned from the many real cops (and the odd reformed villain too)… I was very lucky, lots of people were generous with their time and thoughts for me.

 

Would you like to see ‘Standstill’ made into a film? 

Ooh yes, and any crime fiction writer who says no to that is either lying or they’re lying…take your pick! Films play a huge part in Danny’s life, and indeed in mine (I started out as a film critic in Northern Ireland and I was one of Barry Norman’s producers at the BBC).

 

What do you hope people will get from your book?

Entertainment!  I want them to not notice their commute, or read just one more chapter before lights off, or enjoy it on a sun lounger somewhere hot and nice.  i want them to want to know more about Danny and I want them to laugh, cry and gasp along the way.  No pressure!!

 

Did you always want to write? 

Yes.  I love words, language, I always have, and when you have that mindset I think it becomes a compulsion, a need.  Playing, working and living through your words and use of them is to be celebrated at every turn.  My heroes (apart from Eric Cantona) are people who can take words and weave magic with them.  Funny magic like Groucho Marx or Elmore Leonard.  Thrilling magic like Michael Connelly or Denis Lehane and of course beautiful magic like James Lee Burke or Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  Words are to be played with and respected, they make our world a better place.

 

Apart from writing what else do you do? 

I love my football, travel is a great passion, I have two Cocker Spaniels, Bobby and Baxter, who really run the show and I enjoy cooking and real ale, but not necesarily in that order.

 

How has social media helped you as an author? 

I love how crime readers and writers have so much access to each other and the feeling of community that generates. Social Media helps make that happen. I love how you can discover new writers and encourage new readers especially with Twitter…I’m generally a fan of it and Facebook…

 

Have you got any advice for anyone wanting to write a book?  

Do it! Just do it.  You’d be surprised at how it happens once you have started.  It’s the old saying, a word becomes a phrase, a phrase a sentence, a sentence a paragraph and suddenly you’ve written a page.  Then you can roll from there.  Even if you never show it to anyone, just the act of committing a story or thoughts to paper or laptop screen is hugely beneficial and therapeutic.  It’s fun!  If you want to write a story in which the Queen’s pants fall down then guess what…they do!  Creativity is at its best when it is done out of sheer joy, writing a book or short story can be the release of that joy.

 

Who are your favourite authors? 

I’d need a toilet roll to get all the names on, but if pushed, James Lee Burke is my favourite.  His lyrical prose combined with hard boiled plots, just makes my heart swell.  I also like Westerns, if you have not read “St Agnes’ Stand” by Thomas Eidson, you’ve missed a gem.  Elmore Leonard…Denis Lehane, my fellow Irishman Brian McGilloway writes wonderfully, Craig Johnson’s Longmire books are fun…I could go on and on…oh, make your kids read the Asterix and Obelix books, they play with language beautifully and teach them how funny word play can be.

 

About John A. Marley

John A. Marley is a writer and TV producer with a proven track record in creating and producing distinctive, original entertainment and factual programming and formats for both a UK and international audience. His eclectic portfolio of high-profile shows include Britain’s Ultimate Pilots: Inside the RAF; Britain’s Flying Past; Staraoke; Best of Friends; Skatoony; Noel’s House Party; Through the Keyhole; SMTV:Live/CD:UK; How Euro Are You? and live coverage of The Oscars. In 2008, John set up his own production company Archie Productions. Prior to this, he enjoyed a wide and varied career in television with creative roles at Talent Television, Planet 24, Carlton Television and Walt Disney UK.

John’s writing career started with a poem about two brothers who both liked sausages. Their names were Butch and Dutch, and his Primary School teacher Mr. Murray liked it so much it made the main noticeboard at the entrance to Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast. A little older but none the wiser, he ended up as a film journalist in his native Northern Ireland, contributing to local newspapers, BBC Radio Ulster and latterly writing as the main film critic for the glossy magazine, Northern Woman.

In the course of writing his first novel Standstill, John was determined to make it ring true to the work of the Met Police’s legendary Flying Squad. He was lucky enough to be able to call upon the experiences and stories of several officers from the squad, some serving and some retired, which he found invaluable.  Most importantly, the female serving officers he met were very generous with their time and anecdotes, helping him to create the character of DC Christine Chance and rounding her out with some of the realities of being a woman in a 21st century police force.

John’s love of good stories came from the Irish predilection for telling a good yarn and the fact that there was nothing quite like sneaking away his Dad’s battered paperbacks to read. And so pulp fiction such as The Edge Westerns by George G. Gilman, the adventure novels of Alistair MacLean and the thrillers of Jack Higgins all served to whet his appetite for a good story told at pace. These days, his reading tastes still focus on thrills, spills and good plot and he can’t walk by a James Lee Burke or an Elmore Leonard without pausing to read a few pages…even if it is in a busy bookshop. Standstill is his debut, and the first in a planned series.

 

Links

‘Standstill’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Standstill-1-J-Marley/dp/0993565840/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481483684&sr=1-1&keywords=standstill

Kindle – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Standstill-J-Marley-ebook/dp/B01L5O5I74/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481483684&sr=1-2&keywords=standstill

Website – http://www.jamarley.com/

Twitter – @jamarleybooks

 

Blog Tour – ‘Exposure’ by Ava Marsh

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I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today for which Ava Marsh has written a guest post.  Ava’s new book, ‘Exposure’ was published by Corgi on the 16th June 2016.

 

Writing Sex

Every year the Literary Review holds an award for the worst sex in fiction – last year’s winner was none other than Morrissey, after turning his talents from song lyrics to a novel. While Morrissey probably took the distinction in his stride – after all, it’s just one award among many – the rest of us fictioneers dread ending up on the Review’s shit list.

So was I nervous about all the sexual content in my novels, Untouchable and the recently released Exposure? Yes, and no. Yes, because there’s a thousand ways to get it wrong, including using phrases like Morrissey’s unforgettable ‘bulbous salutation’.

And no, because there’s one hell of a difference between writing sex, and writing about it. In both my books, the bulk of the X-rated scenes are more about describing a job rather than an act of love – Kitty, the porn star heroine of Exposure, and Grace, the escort protagonist of Untouchable, both work in the sex trade, so sex for them is a somewhat prosaic, day-to-day activity – at least once they’ve got past their initial nerves. So in the main, their first-person accounts of their experiences ‘between the sheets’ tends to be more matter-of-fact than erotic.

In many ways this distance from the act – or rather, in Kitty’s case, the performance – makes these scenes easier to write. Simply a case of describing what’s going on. On the other hand, I had more difficulty with the scenes where Grace and Kitty have sex with someone they actually care about – making love rather than money.  Mainly because it’s hard to get across the emotional content of sex without resorting to clichés – or indeed going completely off-piste à la Morrissey.

I think one of the keys to writing good sex – or bad – lies within the writers themselves. Are you comfortable with your body and what it can do? Are you comfortable with other people’s bodies? Do you feel embarrassed even saying certain words? (I once met a woman who never uttered the word ‘vagina’ in her life, before training as an antenatal teacher).

Sex isn’t difficult to write about, any more than eating is difficult to write about. It’s the self-conscious element that creeps in that makes the whole thing fumbly and awkward. Or overblown, in the case of Morrissey. If you’re squirmy about sex in real life, then this is going to bleed into your fiction, I believe –  best then to simply draw a curtain over what goes on in your character’s bedrooms.

Here’s my advice for writing sex scenes that don’t make readers roll their eyes or squirm in their seats – unless, of course, you want them to squirm in sympathy with your heroine and what she’s having to do (there are several scenes in both Untouchable and Exposure that are meant to make your eyes water). Write as little or as much as you feel comfortable with. If you’re not relaxed about describing things in detail, then close the bedroom door behind you; readers have active imaginations – they can fill in the blanks.

And don’t for heaven’s sake start thinking up novel and strenuous metaphors – just call a spade a spade. Or, in the case of ‘bulbous salutation’, simply refer to your character’s massive erection.

 

‘Exposure’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Exposure-Ava-Marsh/dp/0552171212/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466584863&sr=1-3&keywords=exposure

 

Cover Reveal – ‘No Turning Back’ by Tracy Buchanan

Book Cover

I am delighted to be taking part in this cover reveal.  ‘No Turning Back’ is being published on the 28th July 2016 by Avon as an eBook and in paperback.  This book sounds really good and is one I am planning to read.

 

Book Blurb

You’d kill to protect your child – wouldn’t you?

When radio presenter Anna Graves and her baby are attacked on the beach by a crazed teenager, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her daughter.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister.

A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the ‘Ophelia Killer’, responsible for a series of murders twenty years ago.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life…?

 

‘No Turning Back’ is available to pre-order from Amazon UK:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Turning-Back-Tracy-Buchanan-ebook/dp/B01BB1VMKI?ie=UTF8&keywords=tracy%20buchanan&qid=1461951070&ref_=sr_1_4&s=books&sr=1-4

 

 

‘The Sleeping Warrior’ by Sara Bain

The Sleeping Warrior - Book Cover

‘The Sleeping Warrior’ is Sara Bain’s debut novel.  Published in paperback last year, I was very kindly sent a copy by Matthew Smith.  I love crime fiction and the paranormal so really wanted to read this book, plus I was also hearing good things about it.

Libby Butler’s life is in a bit of a mess.  Working as a solicitor in a prestigious London law firm her career appears to be at a standstill.  Her rather ill-advised affair with her boss isn’t really doing her any good either.  To top it all off Libby has a terrifying encounter in a park late at night with what is presumed to be the Vampire Killer, an evil knife-wielding maniac.  She is lucky to escape but this incident obviously knocks her for six and does nothing for her confidence.

Desperate to pick up the pieces of her life, duty calls Libby to the cells of a Metropolitan police station in the darkest hours of the night.  There Libby meets mysterious and enigmatic stranger Gabriel Radley, a man who is on intimate terms with danger and who somehow manages to escape police custody.  Gabriel is searching for a Stone which he has lost, its value apparently beyond human imagining.

Libby sensing a chance at redemption agrees to help Gabriel find it, but unwittingly plunges headfirst into a series of events that threaten to tear her world apart.  A cult called the Awakened, a gangland thug, a deadly female assassin, a dedicated detective and even the Vampire Killer, all somehow become embroiled in the chase for the Stone and influenced by the elemental force that is Gabriel.  As the death toll rises will the killer be found?

I thought ‘The Sleeping Warrior’ was an absolutely brilliant read.  In fact it was even better than I expected it to be.  Sara Bain definitely tells a good story, so much so that I found myself instantly drawn to it.  I’m not actually a big fan of fantasy but it really worked in this book.

In the first chapter the reader is introduced to Gabriel Radley.  There was certainly a mystery surrounding him and I very was eager to find out what it was.  I think he was really good for Libby and helped her quite a bit.

Some of where the story was set and other areas mentioned in this book aren’t actually far from where I live at all and being that I was already totally engrossed, I found it all a little bit surreal.  It was as if the murders and other events that took place had actually happened.  That wasn’t the case though luckily.  There were a number of unsavoury characters who I really wouldn’t have wanted to meet.

This was an exciting, fast-paced and thrilling story which kept me on tenterhooks.  I’m so glad that I have Sara Bain’s next novel, ‘The Ghost Tree’ to read.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘The Sleeping Warrior’ is available to buy from:-

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

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-Warrior-Sara-Bain/dp/1910692360/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1458252319&sr=1-1

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Silent Girls’ by Ann Troup

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‘The Silent Girls’ was published by Carina on the 18th February 2016.  I really liked the sound of this book and was interested in taking part in the blog tour for it.  Today it is my turn and below is my review.

Returning to Number 17, Coronation Square in Winfield after a very long time, Edie is shocked to find that the place she remembers from her childhood reeks of mould and decay.  But she has a task to do, a big one at that.  Edie is there to clear out her recently deceased Aunt Dolly’s house.  It sounds simple enough but it isn’t.  Coronation Square, where five vicious murders took place many years ago has changed a lot and not for the best either.

At Number 17 there is misery, sin and dark secrets that can no longer stay hidden.  The truth has to come out at some stage.  Finding herself dragged into the horrific murders of the past, Edie must find out what happened all those years ago.  But as she uncovers the history of her family she had all but forgotten, she begins to wonder if perhaps it would have been best to leave things as they were.

I thought ‘The Silent Girls’ was a cracking read, absolutely fantastic.  The prologue had me totally intrigued and I couldn’t wait to get into the story.  There were some shocking revelations and secrets and it was just so hard to trust the majority of the characters.

I really liked Ann Troup’s style of writing.  There were so many twists and turns throughout this story and I found myself trying to piece everything together and work out what actually happened all those years ago.  I have to say I would never have guessed in a million years who was actually responsible for the murders.

One of the characters, Sophie is actually named after a book blogger I know.  In the story she was down on her luck, but Edie being the kind person she was took her in and looked out for her.  The real Sophie is lovely and I soon found myself warming to her as a fictional character as well.  I thought she was really gutsy and that she deserved a break.

‘The Silent Girls’ will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and it will leave you wanting more.  This isn’t a story you’ll forget in a hurry.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Ann Troup

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Ann Troup tells tales and can always make something out of nothing (which means she writes books and can create unique things from stuff other people might not glance twice at). She was once awarded 11 out of 10 for a piece of poetry at school – she now holds that teacher entirely responsible for her inclination to write.

Her writing space is known as ‘the empty nest’, having formerly been her daughters bedroom. She shares this space with ten tons of junk and an elderly Westie, named Rooney, who is her constant companion whether she likes it or not. He likes to contribute to the creative process by going to sleep on top of her paperwork and running away with crucial post-it notes, which have inadvertently become stuck to his fur. She is thinking of renaming him Gremlin.

She lives by the sea in Devon with her husband and said dog. Two children have been known to remember the place that they call home, but mainly when they are in need of a decent roast dinner, it’s Christmas or when only Mum will do. She also has extremely decent stepchildren.

In a former incarnation she was psychiatric nurse, an experience which frequently informs her writing. She has also owned a cafe and an art/craft gallery. Now she only makes bacon sandwiches as a sideline, but does continue to dabble with clay, paint, paper, textiles, glue…you name it. Occasionally she may decide to give away some of these creations (you have been warned!).

 

Links

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B015QM8AP8/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28441057-the-silent-girls?ac=1&from_search=1

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TroupAnn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anntroupauthor/

Website: https://anntroup.wordpress.com/

 

 

Cover Reveal – ‘No Longer Safe’ by A.J. Waines

Book Cover

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this cover reveal and what a gorgeous one it is.  ‘No Longer Safe’ is out on the 4th February 2016.  I for one can’t wait to read it.

 

Book Blurb

She was your best friend. Now she’s your deadliest enemy – and there’s nowhere to run…

When Alice receives an invitation from Karen, her charismatic University friend, to stay in a remote cottage in Scotland, she can’t wait to rekindle their lost friendship. But two more former students arrive – never friends of Alice’s – and as the atmosphere chills, Karen isn’t the warm-hearted soulmate Alice remembers. Barely is the reunion underway before someone is dead and the fragile gathering is pushed to breaking point.

As the snow cuts them off from civilisation and accusations fly, Alice finds herself a pawn, sinking deeper into a deadly game she can’t escape.

NO LONGER SAFE is a chilling Psychological Thriller that delivers a delicious sting in the tail.

 

‘No Longer Safe’ can be pre-ordered now from:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ebooks-No-Longer-Safe-J-Waines-ebook/dp/B018UAAAW4

 

Interview with Barbara Copperthwaite

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Barbara Copperthwaite is a bestselling author of psychological crime fiction. Her debut, INVISIBLE, went on sale last year and became an Amazon Top Ten best seller in the UK. FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD has been equally successful, charting as soon as it was released.

Barbara kindly agreed to being interviewed for my blog.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your latest book please?

Flowers For The Dead is a psychological crime thriller where the killer is as much a victim as the women he murders. Adam is a man who will do anything to make the woman he loves happy – even kill her.

The plot follows him in the present, as he stalks his latest victim, making her wonder if she is losing her mind; and in flashbacks explains how an innocent child was so tragically warped that he became the serial killer he is today.

His latest victim, Laura Weir, is already struggling with her own demons after witnessing her entire family being wiped out. She’s spent most of the last four years wishing she had died with them. Her vulnerability makes her exactly the kind of woman Adam can’t resist.

But only now that Laura is about to die does she realize how much she wants to live.

 

How long did it take you to write?

My first book, Invisible, took me almost two years to write, because I only had time to work on it during my daily commute to the magazine I edited. Now, I’m a freelance journalist, working from home, so it was much easier to concentrate on Flowers For The Dead. I started working on it in January 2015, and the first draft took me six weeks. But then there were further drafts, and then it had to be sent to my editor, it had to be proofread, etc, so the whole thing wasn’t perfected and ready to print until August. During June and July I was also working with my partner, Paul, on the cover. He’s a professional artist, so I’m very lucky.

 

What research was involved?

I have reams of research on my laptop. As a journalist, research is second nature to me, and so I’ll do a mixture of things:

* Look at real life case studies: for example, Adam dyes his hair a shade darker, in order to look paler when grieving. This is actually something UK killer Jeremy Bamber is believed to have done after murdering his family. It was so melodramatic yet calculating; I couldn’t resist using it.

* Talk to contacts in the police and legal world.

* Check with therapists, counselors and psychologists I know, to ensure I’m getting the correct motivations and reactions in my characters.

* I also Google like crazy, reading FBI reports on serial killers and so on.

Learning the meaning of flowers was particularly fascinating. It’s a very genteel language that was great fun to subvert to more sinister use.

What genuinely shocked me during my research, though, was how easy and cheap it is to buy locksmith equipment and surveillance items. I was also stunned to discover that it is possible to turn a mobile phone or any other device with voice recognition software or a microphone into a ‘bug’. So that includes televisions that you ‘speak’ to, many laptops and tablets, smartphones etc.

Back in 2006 the FBI used a crime family’s devices against them, in order to gather evidence then successfully prosecute in court. These days anyone can do it by buying the right software on the internet. The programme will allow someone to eavesdrop on phone calls, get details on text messages, remotely control the phone using SMS, track the location of the phone with GPS and log the phone’s activities. It will also allow them to use the phone as a listening device and hear what is happening in the surrounding area. Scary stuff!

 

Would you like to see your books made into dramas or films?

If Hollywood were to contact me, I wouldn’t say no! It would be a surreal but incredible experience to see Flowers For The Dead play out in front of me on a big screen.

The hardest person to cast would be Adam, because he is so incredibly complex. It would have to be someone who has the ability to convey not just a cold-blooded killer but also a certain amount of vulnerability. Benedict Cumberbatch could probably do a great job of it, as he is a fantastic actor, but I’m not sure if he’s right for the role physically. It’s a bit random, but I think my top choice would be Daniel Radcliffe. He has the innocence – we’ve all seen that in his role as Harry Potter, but I’ve watched him in plays and he has the range to show an evil side, too. Playing a serial killer would definitely be a different direction for him!

 

Can we look forward to more books from you?

My next novel has been outlined, and I’ve just started writing it. I’m itching to see how it works out, as I’m very excited by it.

It’s about a woman coping with the murder of her child, which is threatening to tear her marriage apart. Inevitably, nothing is as it seems, especially when an old friend appears from her past. There are a lot of twists and turns in this one – and not all of them I know about yet!

 

Where do you like to do most of your writing?

I have an old-fashioned writing desk I sit at, in one of the bedrooms I’ve turned into an office. It’s the kind with the writing area that folds down, and I absolutely love it. Most of my writing is done there, with my dog, Scamp, sat patiently at my feet.

Writing is a solitary experience though, and I like being surrounded by people. So in summer I will often head outside with my laptop, and write in my local park. In winter, I can often be found sipping hot chocolate in a café whilst typing.

 

I see that you’re a journalist.  How long have you been doing journalism as a career?

I’ve spent over twenty years as a journalist, writing for national magazines and newspapers in the UK. Celebrities don’t hold a lot of interest for me, on the whole, instead I prefer interviewing ordinary people; people who have found themselves thrust into extraordinary situations.

Through my work, I’m very privileged to have met people from all walks of life, who have experienced all manner of things happen to them – but in particular, those who have been victims of crime, either directly or through the loss of loved ones. As a result of them bravely and generously sharing their experiences with me, I know a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrongdoing. This depth of experience lends my novels psychological insight into the characters, and a feeling of reality for the storyline. It’s also why my novels are not simply about the criminal act, but the repercussions they have. People are always at the heart of my thrillers.

 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to write their first novel?

Just do it! The hardest part is starting, so force yourself to begin, don’t let yourself get distracted, and definitely don’t listen to your fear telling you it isn’t any good. Write, write, and write some more, until you have finished it – don’t give up halfway through!

What you’ll have at the end is a first draft. It will be rough, and will need a lot of work, so don’t beat yourself up about it. There isn’t a single writer, no matter how experienced and successful, who doesn’t have to improve their first draft. With that in mind, recognize what has to be worked on in your own book, and then go through it again and again until it is the best you can possibly make it.

 

Describe a day in your life.

One of the things I love about my life is that every day is different. Some days are all about being a journalist. Researching a story, putting someone at ease, and getting them to open up to me, a total stranger, about the worst moments of their life. It’s a tough job, but such a privilege.

Other times I’ll be writing my book, doing in-depth research for part of the story I’ve just come up against. I might simply be staring into space, seemingly aimlessly, whilst trying to think out a problem in the plot.

Whatever my day involves, though, I always have to find time to walk my dog, Scamp.

 

How useful is social media for you?

Incredibly! Not only is it a fabulous way of getting word out about my novels, but far more importantly, it’s a way of readers being able to contact me. I love hearing from them, and being able to chat to them on Facebook or Twitter. They are so friendly, and their feedback is very important to me.

 

I am absolutely intrigued by your nature website, Go Be Wild.  What’s it all about?

Juggling journalism, writing a novel, and doing publicity, plus running a home, can get a bit hectic and stressful sometimes. I constantly have ever-growing lists in my head of things I must do, and am always thinking three steps ahead with everything. But when I’m watching nature, all of that is left behind.

My nature website, www.gobewild.co.uk is something I do purely for pleasure. I’m no expert, and don’t claim to be, I just love keeping track of what I’ve seen on the blog, and write some features on the site, too.

I particularly love taking wildlife photographs. It really takes my mind off everything and focuses me on living in the moment. There is no past, no future, only that perfect time when I’m barely breathing as I focus my camera on something beautiful, such as a butterfly, and take the snap.

Hopefully, in addition to be a lovely, relaxing thing for me to do, Go Be Wild also resonates with other people.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

The best way for me to relax is to spend some time with Scamp and Paul. We like being out and about, going on long walks while I photograph wildlife. Catching up with friends and family is the best use of spare time, definitely.

I also enjoy drawing (again, mostly nature) and do a spot of knitting, sewing, or baking.

And, of course, I read – a lot!

 

Who are your favourite authors?

I’ve always been a bookworm. As a child I used to climb a tree so I wouldn’t be disturbed while reading! I’m one of those people who loves to re-read favourites: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens; Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen; Far From The Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy; Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert; The Talented Mr Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith.

I’m also a huge fan of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. In homage to Rebecca, I chose never to name my character in Invisible, which was a fantastic device for showing just how invisible she had become in her own life.

Although I do have these favourites, I also love discovering new authors such as: Clare Mackintosh (I Let You Go), Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train), Ben McPherson (A Line of Blood), and Claire Kendal (The Book of You). I recently finished Peter Swanson’s ‘The Kind Worth Killing’, which I thought was brilliant.

 

 

Book Cover

Book blurb

Adam Bourne is a serial killer who thinks he is a saviour. When he murders young women and cuts off their lips, he believes he has done it to make them happy.

How did he become warped from the sensitive four-year-old who adored his gran and the fairy tales she read to him? What turned him into a monster who stalks his victims? And what is he trying to say with the bouquets he sends?

When he meets Laura Weir, Adam weaves a fairy tale romance around them. A tale she has no idea she is part of. As he hatches his twisted plan for their fairy tale ending, can anyone stop him before he creates the ultimate sacrifice to love?

 

You can buy ‘Flowers For The Dead’ from Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Dead-Barbara-Copperthwaite-ebook/dp/B014LDUJZ2/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1443168422&sr=8-1&keywords=flowers+for+the+dead

 

To find out more about the novels INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD go to www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite or follow @BCopperthwait on Twitter. To find out more about Barbara go to www.barbaracopperthwaite.com

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Hiding Place’ by John Burley

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I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour. ‘The Hiding Place’, published by Avon, is out today in eBook and on the 27th August will be released in paperback. I was kindly sent a proof copy of this book. Read on for my review.

Dr Lise Shields works for Menaker State Hospital, an institution which houses some of the most dangerous criminals in America. These patients have all been found guilty and there is little chance of any of them ever leaving.

Jason Edwards is admitted to the hospital without any paperwork, not even a transfer order. When Lise questions this she is immediately fobbed off, which makes her all the more suspicious. Is Jason really guilty of the crime he has supposedly been sentenced for or has he been set up? Lise is determined to find out the truth but soon finds herself caught up in something very sinister indeed.

I love a good psychological thriller so couldn’t wait to start reading this book. Hooked from the start, I was intrigued by Jason Edwards and wanted to know more about him and why there was so much secrecy. ‘The Hiding Place’ was really hard to put down. It was fast paced, exciting and just so addictive. I also really liked John Burley’s writing style. Split into five parts with the majority of chapters being fairly short it really was a case of just one more chapter. You are also given a good insight into both Lise’s and Jason’s past which helped to solve the mystery a bit. I could not wait to get back to the book.

I did find myself questioning a couple of things throughout the story but I was still totally unprepared for the ending. I have to admit that after the journey I was taken on I was a little bit disappointed. It was like coming back down to earth with a bump. This story was well thought out and very cleverly written and it is one that will say for me for a while.

If you want to read a book that keeps you up late, takes you on a rollercoaster of a ride and messes with your head then ‘The Hiding Place’ could well be what you are looking for. I will definitely be reading more of John Burley’s novels.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

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Now for an extract from ‘The Hiding Place’…..

Menaker State Hospital is a curse, a refuge, a place of imprisonment, a necessity, a nightmare, a salvation. Originally funded by a philanthropic endowment, the regional psychiatric facility’s sprawling, oak- studded campus sits atop a bluff on the eastern bank of the Severn River. From the steps of the hospital’s main administration building, the outline of the U.S. Naval Academy can be seen where the river enters the Chesapeake Bay some two and a half miles to the south. There is but one entrance to the facility, and the campus perimeter is demarcated by a wrought- iron fence whose ten- foot spear pickets curve inward at the top. The hospital is not a large central structure as one might imagine, but rather an assortment of redbrick buildings erected at the end of the nineteenth century and disseminated in small clusters across the quiet grounds, as if reflecting the scattered, huddled psyches of the patients themselves. There is a mild senseof neglect to the property. The wooden door frames sag like the spine of an old mare that has been expected to carry too much weight for far too many years. The diligent work of the groundskeeper is no match for the irrepressible thistles that erupt from the earth during the warmer months and lay their barbed tendrils against the base of the edifices, attempting to claim them as their own. The metal railings along the outdoor walkways harbour minute, jagged irregularities on their surfaces that will cut you if you run your fingers along them too quickly.

Twenty- two miles to the north lies the city of Baltimore, its beautiful inner harbor and surrounding crime- ridden streets standing in stark contrast to each other— the ravages of poverty, violence, and drug addiction flowing like a river of human despair into some of the finest medical institutions in the world. Among them is The Johns Hopkins Hospital where I received my medical training. Ironic how, after all these years, the course of my career would take me here, so close to my starting point— as if the distance between those two places was all that was left to show for the totality of so much time, effort, and sacrifice. And why not? At the beginning of our lives the world stretches out before us with infinite possibility— and yet, what is it about the force of nature, or the proclivities within ourselves, that tend to anchor us so steadfastly to our origins? One can travel to the Far East, study particle physics, get married, raise a child, and still . . . in all that time we’re never too far from where we first started. We belong to our past, each of us serving it in our own way, and to break the tether between that time and the present is to risk shattering ourselves in the process.

Herein lies the crux of my profession as a psychiatrist. Life takes its toll on the mind as well as the body, and just as the body will react and sometimes succumb to forces acting upon it, so too will the mind. There are countless ways in which it can happen: from chemical imbalances to childhood trauma, from genetic predispositions to the ravages of guilt regarding actions past, from fractures of identity to a general dissociation from the outside world.

 

About the author

John Burley attended medical school in Chicago and completed his residency in emergency medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Centre’s Shock Trauma Centre in Baltimore. He currently serves as an emergency medicine physician in Northern California, where he lives with his wife and daughter, and their Great Dane and English bulldog.

 

 

‘The Hiding Place’ is available to buy on Amazon UK:-

http://amzn.to/1eC5VGr

Ringwood Publishing

Ringwood Publishing

I am very interested in learning about various publishers and what they do.  Ringwood Publishing kindly took the time to write a guest post for me.

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First of all, we would like to thank Sonya for giving us the opportunity to write a piece for her blog.

Ringwood Publishing was founded by a group of Scottish friends who appreciated the difficulty of getting published in Scotland when you don’t have an agent or are not already known to the public. Creating Ringwood was an alternative to self-publishing for Managing Director and author Sandy Jamieson. His first published book, “Own Goal”, became a best-seller which allowed the company to go forward.

Ringwood quickly opened itself to other authors and has now for central mission to nurture and support new talented Scottish writers and established writers wishing to change the focus of their work. Its mission is to get their initial work published and then continue to support them and publish their further work, until such time as bigger, better–resourced publishers wish to publish them. All profits are directly re-injected in the company, in order to make future projects possible.

Ringwood is dedicated to publishing work of fiction and non-fiction, with a focus on Scottish key themes: politics, football, religion, money, sex and crime. Our catalogue contains a wide range of books, which include, amongst many fascinating titles: Carol Fox’s “Memoirs of a Feminist Mother”, a powerful and fascinating story about the author’s fight to become a single parent through infertility treatment; Sandy Jamieson’s “A Subtle Sadness”, an exploration of Scottish identity and politics; Stephen O’Donnell “Scotball”, a searing examination of the current state of Scottish football and the various social, political and economic forces that combine to strangle its integrity and potential; Jonathan Whitelaw’s “Morbid Relations”, a darkly comic take on modern Scottish life and family relationships; but also Gordon Johnston’s “Calling Card”, a crime novel which explores the impact of stress and trauma on individuals, encompassing their resort to addiction, recovery, and denial.

For more information, please visit www.ringwoodpublishing.com, where all our books can be ordered. Paperbacks and e-books are also available on Amazon.

Laure Deprez
Managing Director

Blog Tour – ‘The Liar’ by Nora Roberts

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‘The Liar’ by Nora Roberts is being published by Piatkus on the 16th April 2015 in both hardback and eBook.  I am one of a number of book bloggers taking part in a blog tour to celebrate its release.  Below is my review.

Just imagine being betrayed by the one you love.  You thought you knew everything there was to know about him or her and you trusted that person immensely.  Then one day you find out you have been living a lie.  Horrible thought isn’t it?  For Shelby Pomeroy this is exactly what happened.

When Shelby’s husband Richard dies in an accident she is naturally devastated.  Left widowed with a three-year-old daughter Shelby is in for a very nasty shock.  She finds out that Richard wasn’t the person she thought he was.  Having lied to her from the start he has left her with huge debts.  Shelby is absolutely heartbroken but is determined to sort this mess out for the sake of her daughter, Callie.

Returning home to Tennessee to her family who she thought she had lost after running away with Richard, Shelby finds that they welcome her back with open arms.  Being back home really helps and gives her a new sense of strength and freedom as well as hope when she meets the lovely Griffin Lott.  Things are peaceful for a while until a shocking act of violence is traced back to Richard’s shady business and it becomes clear that her life is in danger.  Will Shelby be able to put the past behind her and move on?

For me this is the first novel by Nora Roberts that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  This was a very hard book to put down.  I really liked the writing style throughout and thought that the descriptions of the characters and places were just wonderful.

I warmed to Shelby straightaway and I loved her little girl, Callie.  She was left in a terrible situation but instead of giving up she got up and fought.  Shelby’s family were lovely too my favourite being her grandmother, Viola.  Griffin was such a nice man and so good for Shelby.

I read this book on my kindle but it is worth getting the hardback.  The cover is just so beautiful.  It will look great on any bookshelf.

I will be going on the hunt for Nora Roberts’ previous novels.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

About Nora Roberts

Romance novelist Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is the number one New York Times bestseller of more than 200 novels.  With over 450 million copies of her books in print, she is indisputably one of the most celebrated and popular writers in the world.  Her last three hardback novels were all top ten bestsellers in the UK and in 2013 alone Little, Brown Book Group sold over 1.2 million net copies of Nora Roberts’ books.

Interview with Trace Conger

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I would like to introduce you all to Trace Conger.  He recently contacted me regarding his book and was keen to be interviewed for my blog.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your book please?

My novel, THE SHADOW BROKER, introduces the world to Finn Harding (Mr. Finn to his clients), a PI who recently lost his PI license.

To make ends meet he begins working for criminals who pay in cash and don’t care if he’s licensed or not. Finn gets ensnared in a plot to take over a black market information brokerage and finds himself entrenched deeper in the criminal world than he ever expected.

With his own clients gunning for him, Finn (and his family) must evade a psychopathic killer, special agents from the FBI’s cybercrime unit, and a Detroit mob boss.

 

Did it take you long to write?       

I outlined the novel in November of 2013 and then began writing in January 2014. I completed the first draft in May. From there it went through review with my beta readers, editing by me, review from my editor, more editing by me, and then I had the final version published in October of 2014.

So it took about five months for the first draft and then another five months for reviews, editing, and all the other responsibilities (cover design, formatting, etc.) that comes with publishing a novel.

 

Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere. I find most of my ideas come while I’m writing or reading, as if those acts open up the part of my brain that generates ideas. The original idea for THE SHADOW BROKER came to me several years ago, and at the time, I thought it would be a short story. I wrote the story several times, but never really liked it, so I shelved it.

About a year or so later I had a conversation with a retired PI who explained that she used to work as a black market information broker for a very short time to make ends meet. In that role, she acquired illegal personal information for her clients who paid top dollar. After learning that these shadowy individuals exist, I was intrigued and disturbed at the same time.

I combined this plot point with some of the other plot elements from the original short story and THE SHADOW BROKER was born.

 

Did you have to do any research for your book and if so what did it entail?

I try to be as accurate in my work as possible and that can entail a lot of research. The “Mr. Finn” series is set in Cincinnati, and since I live there, scouting out the locals is pretty easy. I also have a few private investigators and law enforcement contacts who I work with at times to flesh out specific situations.

There is one scene in THE SHADOW BROKER where two FBI agents interview my protagonist at the FBI office in Cincinnati. I tried to get a visit through the FBI so I could see the inside of the building in an effort to capture it accurately (within reason) in the book, but as you can imagine the FBI didn’t go for it. They did hook me up with a contact though who answered a lot of my questions and helped me visualize the setting for the novel.

I understand that most readers wouldn’t know if I’m painting an accurate picture or not, but I’ve always tried to be as accurate as I can. It doesn’t matter if I’m describing how to pick a lock or how to steal a specific drug to cut heroin. It needs to be real.

 

Would you like to see your book made into a film or drama?

I think every author would love to see his or her work on the big screen (not to mention the cash that comes with it). I’ve visited several book clubs to discuss my novel and during every meeting someone has said they could see THE SHADOW BROKER as a movie.

It’s very fast paced, so I think it would lend itself well to film, but it was never something I considered while writing it. Of course, if Hollywood comes knocking, I’ll answer the door.

 

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the follow-up novel to THE SHADOW BROKER. It’s called SCAR TISSUE and picks up a few weeks after the previous novel ends. It’s been a lot of fun to write, and with my first novel out of the way, I feel much more confident about my writing process. The second novel dives deeper into the characters’ background and readers will learn a lot more about some of the ideas brought up in THE SHADOW BROKER.

In addition to SCAR TISSUE, I’m also outlining the third novel in the Mr. Finn series as well as researching a standalone novel that leans more to the horror side of suspense than the crime side.

I also enjoy writing short stories, so I have a few of those in the works as well.

 

What made you want to start writing?

It sounds hokey, but I’ve always enjoyed writing and never really saw myself doing anything else. I cut my teeth in the PR business in New York and my responsibilities included a lot of writing. It wasn’t the writing I wanted to do—I always gravitated toward fiction—but it was great experience and helped me discover my voice and taught me how to pitch journalists and work under the pressures of a deadline, all things I still have to do as an author.

 

Describe a day in your life.

That’s a tough one, because with two children, my days are anything but typical. As far as writing is concerned, since I’m also a freelance writer, I split my time between writing for clients, promoting THE SHADOW BROKER, and writing the follow-up novel, SCAR TISSUE.

I try to keep an even split with 50% of my week writing fiction and the other 50% writing copy for clients, but this ebbs and flows as any freelancer will attest. For me, one of the most important aspects of a writing career is to be consistent. While I strive to write fiction every day, sometimes life gets in the way and this isn’t possible, but at a minimum, I try for 1,000 words of fiction every day.

 

Where can readers connect with you?

The best way is through my website at http://www.traceconger.com. I love hearing from readers and answer all of my email (though it can take some time).

Readers can also connect via Facebook at (www.facebook.com/tracecongerauthor) or Twitter @TraceConger.

Readers can also sign up for my newsletter on my website or through my Facebook page to get updates on my work (and a free short story).

 

About Trace Conger

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Trace Conger is an author in the crime, thriller and suspense genres. His Mr. Finn series follows disgraced private investigator Finn Harding as he straddles the fine line between criminal investigator and criminal.

Conger is known for his tight writing style, dark themes and subtle humor. He lives in Cincinnati with his wonderfully supportive family.

Find out more about Trace Conger and the Mr. Finn series on his official website, http://www.traceconger.com.

 

‘The Shadow Broker’ is available to buy on Amazon:-

UK – http://alturl.com/6toob

US – http://alturl.com/8phqx

‘The Liar’s Chair’ by Rebecca Whitney

The Liar's Chair

‘The Liar’s Chair’ is Rebecca Whitney’s debut novel.  It was published on the 15th January 2015 by Mantle.  I was kindly sent a proof copy to review.

This story is set in and around Brighton.  Rachel and David appear to have a good solid marriage.  They’ve got everything; a successful business, a big house, nice cars.  What more could they possibly want?  However, things are not as they seem.  David likes to be in control of everything including his wife.

Unknown to David, Rachel has been having a fling with someone else and drinking heavily.  One Saturday morning on the way home and still under the influence of alcohol, Rachel hits a man with her car causing instant death.  She doesn’t know what to do and is terrified so she confesses to David about what she has done.  David destroys all evidence of the accident and insists that they carry on as normal.  But Rachel finds it impossible to do that and can’t switch off at all leading to her behaviour becoming increasingly self-destructive, which doesn’t please David at all.  Will Rachel be able to sort herself out?  That’s for you to find out.

I was looking forward to reading ‘The Liar’s Chair’ as I like a good psychological thriller, especially one where the author has really got into her characters minds.  I thought Rebecca Whitney did an excellent job of this with Rachel.

I found that I couldn’t warm to any of the characters.  None of them were particularly likeable.  I did feel a little bit sorry for Rachel even though what she did was wrong.  David was a nasty character and the way he treated Rachel was appalling.

There are three parts to this book.  I like the way the chapters have been set out, giving you a good insight into Rachel’s past which explains a few things.

‘The Liar’s Chair’ is a sombre, shocking and bold story.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

Blog Tour – ‘Hellbound’ by David McCaffrey

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I was invited by Crime Book Club to take part in this blog tour.  Below is an extract from ‘Hellbound’ which David McCaffrey has given me.  I hope you enjoy reading it.

 

‘All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible’                                  

T.E. Lawrence

 

Chapter Fourteen

17:32

He felt empty. Emptiness he had never before experienced. And it filled him with another feeling he had never known. Dread.

Obadiah had no idea where they were going, only that Eva had said this morning that they needed to get away. He needed to get away. She believed wholeheartedly that his seemingly flashpoint aggression and descriptions of murder were simply the end result of a man trying to come to terms with a terminal illness. And though Obadiah had allowed her to believe that, he knew his eruption of anger was due to the conflict going on within him, a conflict with the prize his very soul.

He glanced over at Eva in the driver’s seat before pulling down the sun visor and flipping open the mirror. He saw himself; his emerald eyes seemingly alight with crimson flames as though the battle within him were reflected there. The monster that was Obadiah Stark – or had been Obadiah Stark – felt lessened somehow, as though every breath he took expelled one more part of who he had been.

Before he found himself here, the shadowy corners of his heart had been sated with his desires and projections of strength and power. Now, in a place where he was powerless, with those wants and desires taken from him, he no longer knew how to fill those empty spaces. Even if what he thought he felt for Eva and Ellie was something abstractedly related to caring or even love, he had no concept of how to use those emotions for anything other than manipulation and suffering.

“Where do you want to go, Obi?” Eva flicked on the windscreen washer, scraping away the dead insects that had accumulated on the screen.

“I don’t know,” he replied distantly. “Where could we go?”

“Well, we could check into a hotel for a few days while we work out what we’re going to do,” she replied, trying to be cheerful. “Or there’s my parents cottage on Beginish. I mean, you know there’s not much to do for Ell’s, but she loves the grey seals and the Artic Terns, so she would be okay for a few days. I don’t mind sweetie, it’s up to you. Whatever you want, we’ll do. I just want to understand what’s happening.”

Obadiah remained expressionless. “You and me both.”

Staring out the window, he tried to focus on the images rushing past, their inherent images blurring into one, coalesced backdrop that seemed almost painted onto the window. Ellie sang a Disney tune in the back of the car that Obadiah recognised as ‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin.

It most certainly is, he thought, turning to look at her.

She stared back at him, beaming a huge smile that threatened to split her face open. Obadiah tried to remain stoic, expressionless. Over the years he had perfected the art of a crocodile smile, able to produce a perfect image of kindness and compassion that ultimately served his goal of manipulation. Yet here, in the back of a car in this ethereal no man’s land, he found himself unable to stop the genuine response that was forming on his face. And he felt discomfort at the fact it didn’t feel unnatural. He knew he shouldn’t be having these reactions to such basic stimuli, but Ellie’s genuine look of love and adoration was a force more powerful than Obadiah had ever experienced. His smile quickly faded as he caught himself unconsciously enjoying a human moment, Obadiah quickly turned around and back towards the window.

“Obi, I think maybe we should speak to someone else,” Eva announced with a sigh. “The things you said, maybe they mean you’re getting worse. It’s something I don’t even want to think about, but we have to face that possibility.”

Obadiah nodded, but remained silent. That’s a fucking understatement.                    

“Obi,” Eva asked gently. “Please talk to me.”

“You want to talk?” He asked quietly without facing her. “Okay, we’ll talk. Did I ever tell you that when I was young I was always bored. Nothing really held any interest for me; girls, skipping school, smoking, none of it. The only thing I found could control my boredom were the holidays we used to take. We used to camp in the Black Valley near Lough Leane. I would spend a lot of my time climbing along the Hag’s Glen and then up Devil’s Ladder to the col between Carrauntoohil and Cnoc na Péiste. The lake there was home to hundreds of bullfrogs. I used to spend hours stabbing them with a pair of scissors or catching them in nets and lying them on their backs, stabbing their little bulging stomachs and turning them over to see their jelly eyes mist over as they died. Then I used to see how far I could throw them into the lake.”

“What? Obi, you’re not making any sense.” Her voice trembling slightly, Eva briefly glanced back at Ellie as though seeing her would make her feel secure and safe.

“Just listen,” Obadiah said, turning to face her. “Later on, I learnt that fireworks strapped to their backs made the most amazing sight, blood and lights all combined, flowerlike shapes in the sky. And do you know how that made me feel?”

Eva had pulled over onto the hard shoulder, her face one of incredulous shock at what she was hearing.

“Nothing,” Obadiah continued flatly. “I felt nothing. I realised I couldn’t feel anything, from that day onwards. And I never thought anything of it. Everything I ever did, I did without any consideration of the consequences, because, as far as I was concerned, there were none. But I was paying a concealed price for my actions. That was the tradeoff. I see that now. Everything I ever did required me to be emotionally bankrupt. I could never have achieved the things I did otherwise. But, now I wonder was the price to high? Was it a price I didn’t even know I was paying?”

Eva had shrunk as far towards her door as she could go, trying to place as much distance between her and husband as possible without leaving the car. She glanced furtively at Ellie, playing on her tiny laptop, the little girl unaware of what was being discussed before her.

“Oh my God, Obi.” Glistening tracks snaked down Eva’s face, her tears coming in slow intervals. “I’m trying to understand, but you’re scaring me. These things you’re saying…they’re terrible. I mean, you’re talking like you’re a monster.”

Obadiah dropped his head as he spoke. “I am.”

Eva reached out and touched his face gently. “No, you’re not. You’re sick, but we can get through this. You just need to let me in. Please, Obi, let me in.”

Reaching up, Obadiah placed his hand over hers and held it on his cheek for a moment before gliding it back towards her lap.

“You got in. You make me feel stronger than I have ever felt before, and yet I’m weak around you. And I should hate you for it, but I don’t.” Obadiah shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “You want to know the closest I’ve ever come to being afraid? Being here, with you and Ellie. And you know why….because you don’t see me. Everyone I’ve ever met, they all gave me a look, like they could see the real Me, the Me waiting to come out. The bad Me. The one not here with you.”

Tears in her eyes, Eva looked at Ellie, as though trying to get some comfort from seeing her daughter. “Obi, this is insane.”

“Just listen. Feeling that fear makes me relieved, relieved that someone can see something else in me besides evil. It makes me believe it could be real. It makes me believe that even someone like me can feel things. A little bit…a tiny piece of empathy. I always believed empathy was the greatest weakness mankind could possess, a vestigial limb, making people vulnerable. But I see now it isn’t a weakness, it’s your greatest strength.  Where it makes you strong, my lack of it left a hole in my psyche that I know now I can’t fill. Where I should have had the most evolved of all human functions, I ended up with emptiness.”

Eva looked as though her world were collapsing around her, but Obadiah held his gaze, as though trying to burn Eva’s face into his memory before turning to look at Ellie. He saw she had fallen asleep, her head resting against the side of the window. He wanted to remember this moment and their faces, feeling sudden apprehension for reasons he couldn’t explain. He realised that right here was his opportunity to experience something that he had never thought possible, a chance to exist outside the dark life he had fashioned so carefully for himself over so many years. But he knew now that it would be something he could never accept as anything other than a distraction. Obadiah had made his peace with who he was a long time ago. How could he ever expect anyone else to do the same?

“Compassion, Eva,” he said softly, as he looked at Ellie before turning back. “That’s what I should have, where instead there was…is…nothing.”

Smiling softly at her, he opened the car door and stepped out. The evening air was bracing, a cold breeze washing over him like a sign of approval at what he was doing.

Obi, where are you going?”   She gasped, moving hurriedly into the passenger seat.

“I have to leave,” he replied. “I know you don’t understand, despite what I just told you, but I do. It’s for your own safety, yours and Ellie’s. You need to leave me.”

“Why?”

“Because, if I stay…I’ll hurt you.”

About David McCaffrey

David_Suit

I am thirty-nine, live in Redcar in the North East of England and currently work as an Acting Lead Nurse in Infection Prevention and Control at a local acute hospital where I have worked for thirteen years. I have a Jakey, a baby Liam and a Kelly!!

I have always dreamt of writing a story and when the opportunity arrived I decided to put my money where my mouth was! Hellbound retains only one aspect of the story I originally had in mind, but through that and with some guidance from one of my favourite authors, I was able to craft my story into something more, something different. A serial killer story where lines of morality are drawn around the killer himself. Crafting the world of Joe O’Connell and Obadiah Stark was an exciting journey for me and I hope the reader finds it just as enjoyable.

 

Visit http://kdforsman.com tomorrow for the next stage of this blog tour.

Competition – ‘A Tap on the Window’ by Linwood Barclay

A Tap on the Window

Last week I reviewed ‘A Tap on the Window’ which was published by Orion on the 10th October 2013.  You can read what I thought about it in my last post.

I am now giving away 10 copies of this book.  To enter, just leave a comment telling me which books are on your wish list.

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 31st October 2013.

Winners will be notified within 7 days and their details will be passed on to Orion who will send out the prizes.

Good Luck everyone! 🙂

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