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Blog Tour – ‘A Wash of Black’ by Chris McDonald ~ @RedDogTweets @cmacwritescrime

‘A Wash of Black’ is Chris McDonald’s debut novel.  The first book in the DI Erika Piper series, it was published in paperback yesterday the 4th February 2020 by Red Dog Press and is also available as an eBook.

I would like to thank Red Dog Press for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.  I have been hearing so many great things about this book so it is a real pleasure to be taking part.

I have an extract from ‘A Wash of Black’ for you all.  There is also a giveaway at the bottom of the page which is being run by the publisher.  First though here’s the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

IT’S NOT LIFE THAT IMITATES ART. IT’S DEATH.

Anna Symons. Famous. Talented. Dead.

The body of a famous actress is found mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, recreating a scene from a blockbuster film she starred in years ago.

DI Erika Piper, having only recently returned to work after suffering a near-fatal attack herself, finds she must once again prove her worth as the hunt for the media-dubbed ‘Blood Ice Killer’ intensifies.

But when another body is found and, this time, the killer issues a personal threat, Erika must do more than put aside her demons to crack the case, or suffer the deadly consequences.

If you like Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Cara Hunter, you will love this

 

Extract

PROLOGUE

HE WIPES HIS BROW and takes a moment to admire his handiwork – this is how it should have been done the first time around, he thinks to himself. It takes all the willpower in the world to step away from the body, the intoxicating aroma of the blood attempting to entice him back, but he knows that he must make sure it has been done properly.

He unfolds the page containing the words he has read countless times; words he could recite in his sleep, but he knows that now is not the time to become careless. He pores over the torn-out page from his favourite book, glancing up every now and then at the scene in front of him. When he is fully happy that nothing has been overlooked, he slips the page back into the plastic wallet and hides it away before making his way carefully off the ice and onto terra firma.

Before he slips out the side door and onto the deserted street, his eyes drink in the bloodbath he is leaving behind. In his head, this isn’t murder; it’s art.

 

1

THE FLASHING BLUE LIGHT disturbs the stillness of the morning, dancing over the nearby buildings. There are already three patrol cars and a fleet of vans belonging to the forensic team assembled in the car park. It must be bad, I think.

Exiting my own car, I pull my hood as far over my face as I can, to shelter from the howling wind and the unrelenting rain; not out of place on this dismal December morning.

Uniformed police officers scurry about, securing the crime scene with blue and white tape as a few early morning passers-by look on. I duck under and enter the erected blue tent, signing the log book. Looking up, I spot Liam at the door to the ice rink; he’s waiting for me, already dressed in a protective suit. I slip into my own suit and pull on a pair of gloves.

‘Morning, Erika,’ Liam calls, checking his watch, ‘Good of you to make it.’

Detective Liam Sutton has been my partner for two years now, three if you count my enforced year of absence. Liam and I gelled quickly and became a hell of a force.

He’s tall and lean with clear blue eyes. His hair is shaved tight to his scalp, through choice, not necessity, his dark stubble the same length. He has a penchant for fashion, his fitted shirts always accessorised with a well-chosen tie. If he could get away with a trilby, he’d try.

‘Nice to be back,’ I say. ‘What have we got?’

‘Let’s find John, I don’t want to spoil his fun, he’d never forgive me,’ Liam says, attempting a hug but seemingly thinking better of it mid-way through his approach. It turns into an oafish tap on the shoulder instead and I smile at his awkwardness.

We push the tent flaps aside and enter the lobby of the ice rink. It has a disused look about it, the remnants of popcorn machines and dusty hot dog ovens creating a forlorn scene, like we’ve stepped into a dystopian future.

Scene-of-crime officers are already studiously going about their job, prowling the area with cameras hanging around their necks.

Liam and I cross the foyer and push open the double doors into the ice rink, a frigid blast of ice biting at the small amount of skin foolish enough to be left exposed.

We walk towards the rink, perch on the barrier between solid floor and ice and survey the scene. A shudder courses through my body which has nothing to do with the cold. I’m used to seeing what the worst of humanity is capable of, but sometimes the sheer brutality of it all takes me by surprise. I realise my hand has subconsciously covered my stomach.

In the middle of the ice lie the remains of a woman. She may have been beautiful once, but no longer in death. Serrated blades hold her long limbs tight to the ice. Her head is angled, as if searching for an impossible escape. A gaping black-hole swirls where her neck once was.

On the other side of the rink, a broken door leading to the street is at the mercy of the wind. Police tape has been rolled across it at waist height, and a uniformed officer has been handed the short straw, tasked with keeping vigil just outside in the pouring rain.

John Kirrane is the forensic pathologist present at the scene; the best the city of Manchester has to offer. He is perhaps the thinnest man I have ever seen, as if his appetite is limited by the grisly nature of his job. Understandable really.

From under his hairnet, tight rings of short ginger hair curl around the legs of his glasses, securing them steadfastly in place. His spindly fingers hold a recorder to his lips and he speaks into it at regular intervals, when he spots something of note. He glances towards us and raises a hand in recognition.

‘Erika! Give me two minutes and I’ll be with you,’ he shouts, his voice echoing around us.

We watch him go about his work before clicking off his recording device and walking over the metal stepping plates towards us.

‘Erika, it’s fantastic to see you. You’re back for good now?’

‘Yep, and fit as a fiddle,’ I nod.

‘I’m so glad,’ he beams, ‘horrible business.’ He shakes his head, clears the emotion away. ‘Martin has done all he can on the ice,’ he says, looking over my shoulder at the head Scene of Crime officer.

He puts his hand in the air to attract Martin’s attention. ‘I’ll just talk through the body and then she’s all yours,’ he calls. Martin nods his head and stoops down, unzips his bag and readies his tools. He’s a short, squat man with the eyes of an eagle.

‘Shall we?’ asks John.

Liam and I step carefully onto the metal plates and advance towards the body.

The scene is a mess; so much blood. The crimson liquid has pooled underneath her body where the knives were plunged into her arms and legs. It has seeped slowly across the slick, icy surface from those same wounds.

Unusually, the blood from her jagged throat laceration has all spilled in the same direction. Most of it has crept a little way from her neck, while some has spurted quite a distance across the ice.

The dead woman is wearing blue skinny jeans, a yellow halter neck top and black stiletto boots. A thin gold chain sits mournfully on her chest. On her left hand, she wears an engagement ring with a cluster of diamonds.

‘Undoubtedly a homicide,’ John states. ‘Won’t know for certain on cause of death until I get her on the slab, but I’d hedge my bets on exsanguination, blood loss from the throat.’

I lean in for a closer look at the throat.

‘You’ll notice that the blood from the throat has sprayed in one direction,’ he continues. ‘Usually, you’d expect to see the blood spatter in an arc.’ He moves his hand in a slow semi-circular motion to compound his point.

‘Has something stopped her head from moving?’ Liam interrupts.

‘Someone,’ replies John. ‘If you look here,’ he motions to the left side of her face, ‘you’ll see a faint soleprint,’ replies John.

I close my eyes and picture the scene. The killer pins this poor girl down with the steel blades, stands over her. He lifts his boot and presses it onto the side of her face, pushing it down onto the ice. He cuts her throat and keeps his weight on her cheek, ensuring the blood doesn’t spray his way.

John’s voice stirs me from my thoughts. ‘Her tongue has been cut out too.’

‘Could be somewhere in here,’ I suggest, looking around the room at the foldable plastic seats facing towards the ice.

‘Or, the sick fucker who did this has taken it as some sort of trophy,’ says Liam.

I nod. ‘John, tell Martin about the tongue. He’ll get his team to sweep every inch of this place.’ John nods, makes a note.

‘Time of death?’ asks Liam.

‘Hard to tell, the temperature has slowed livor mortis but considering blood lividity I’d say roughly between seven and eight hours ago,’ replies John.

‘So, we’re looking around two this morning,’ I mutter, checking my watch.

‘It’s not the first time she’s died like that,’ says Liam, suddenly.

John and I look at each other, confused, then back to Liam.

‘What do you mean?’ I ask.

‘You really do not appreciate popular culture, do you? Don’t you recognise her?’

‘I thought her face looked familiar, but I can’t place it. What do you mean about dying the same way twice?’

‘It’s Anna Symons, the actor. She was in a film where she was killed just like this – knives through the arms and legs, throat cut. Her tongue wasn’t removed as far as I can remember, though she was naked in the film, so my attention could’ve been elsewhere.’

‘First of all; you are gross.’ He sticks his tongue out at me. ‘Secondly, why didn’t you lead with this information?’ I ask, incredulously.

‘Well, John was on a roll and I didn’t want to interrupt.’

‘Fair play,’ I say. ‘What was the name of the film?’

‘No idea. It came out a few years ago.’

‘Odd. So the killer has recreated a scene from a film, but made changes?’ I say. ‘And if the film came out years ago, why now?’

‘Beats me,’ Liam declares.

I take out my notebook. I need to find out the name of that film.

‘I’ll have more details on the body in a few days,’ says John. ‘They’ll be on your desk as soon as I’m done. Erika, it really is lovely to see you back. Take care of yourself.’ He gives me a warm smile, before turning and signalling to Martin that the body is ready to be moved.

We carefully make our way off the ice and Martin and his team assume control of the crime scene once more.

‘Who found the body?’ I ask Liam.

‘A Mr. Farrier, he’s the manager. He’s waiting in his office for us.’

We walk back through the foyer and up the stairs. A uniformed officer is waiting at the top of the stairs, to prevent anyone from leaving or entering. We walk past him and enter the manager’s room.

It’s a small room with a window overlooking the ice rink, though the blinds have been pulled as far across as they can. Behind a flimsy desk sits a man with a trimmed goatee and short, cropped hair.

‘Mr Farrier,’ I say, extending my hand.

‘Please, call me Tony,’ he says, getting up from his seat and giving my hand a limp shake. He’s as white as a sheet. He motions to two empty chairs in front of him and we take him up on his unspoken offer.

‘Tony, I’m Detective Inspector Erika Piper. This is my partner, Detective Sergeant Liam Sutton. Please can you run us through what happened?’

‘Well, I got to work at seven this morning as normal. The ice rink doesn’t open until later, but there is so much to do; stocktaking, making sure the ice skates are clean, paired and ready to go and what have you.’

He waves his hand as if he knows his information is boring.

‘I usually come up here first but I was drawn to the rink, thought I could hear a banging. When I went in, the light was on which was unusual ‘cos I always turn them on last. I saw the door smashing against the frame. Broken into, I thought.’

He wipes sweat from his brow with his forearm. Smacks his dry lips together and takes a sip of water. As he sets it down, the plastic bottle springs back into shape with a crack that makes him jump.

‘Sorry, I’m a bit on edge.’ He barks an embarrassed laugh. ‘Anyway, as I walked towards the door I glanced at the ice and saw… it. Her. I ran up to the office as fast as I could and called the police.’

‘Was anyone else here?’ I ask.

‘No, just me,’ he replies.

‘Wouldn’t an alarm go off, if the door was kicked in?’ Liam enquires.

He grimaces. ‘A few years ago, yeah. But the people who own the rink stopped paying for that service. They don’t give a shit about this place, not anymore. No security, CCTV up the duff. It used to be amazing; multi-screen cinema, soft play for the little ones. Now the only part left open is the rink. Reckon it’s on the way out too, along with my job,’ he adds, glumly.

‘Worked here long?’ Liam asks.

‘I’ve given twenty years of my life to this fine establishment. It was state of the art when it opened. I started straight out of school, not got the brains to do much else. Though, I worked my way up to manager so I suppose that’s something.’

‘Has anything like this happened before?’

‘God no,’ he says, ‘we’ve had a few break-ins over the years, but nothing like this.’

I change tack.

‘Where were you last night?’

‘I was at my brother’s house. He had a bit of a party. I was sensible though ‘cos I knew I had to get up early this morning. Hate working with a hangover.’

‘And people could verify this?’

‘Absolutely, I was there with my wife. Loads of friends there too.’

‘Thank you, Tony, you’ve been very helpful. Obviously, this place will have to stay closed for the time being. If there is any other information you think of, please let us know.’

He takes my proffered card and we leave his room, walking down the stairs to the foyer again.

‘What do you reckon?’ I ask Liam.

‘Can’t see why he’d lie,’ offers Liam, ‘I’ll look into his story and make sure he was where he says he was.’

He scribbles in a notebook before replacing it in his pocket. The doors of the rink open and Martin walks out, holding an evidence bag.

‘Found a page from a book on the far side of the room,’ he says, holding the bag aloft for me to see the contents. ‘It seems to be from a crime book, detailing this murder.’

‘Good work, Martin. I’d like a copy of the page on my desk as soon as you can.’

‘Right-o’ he says, already marching towards the door.

‘Any sign of the tongue?’ Liam calls after him. He stops where he is and turns to face us again, the look on his face suggests he thinks we are wasting his precious time.

‘Don’t you think I would’ve mentioned that?’ he asks, sarcasm dripping from every syllable. ‘No, I think the tongue has gone with whoever has done this.’

He turns around once more and leaves the building.

’I think we’re done here,’ I say to Liam. ‘The SOCO’s will let us know if anything else turns up.’

Liam nods in agreement. ‘Aren’t you glad you picked today to come back to work?’

‘Delighted,’ I mumble.

 

‘A Wash of Black’ is available from:-

Amazon – mybook.to/AWOB

Red Dog Press – www.reddpgpress.co.uk/shop – paperback and hardback editions

Also available in all Libraries and Bookstores – Independent or otherwise!

 

About Chris McDonald

Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure, before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime.

He’s a fan of 5-a-side football, has an eclectic taste in music ranging from Damien Rice to Slayer and loves dogs.

 

Links

Twitter handles:

https://twitter.com/RedDogTweets

https://twitter.com/cmacwritescrime

Instagram handles:

@red_dog_press

@macreviewsbooks

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/reddogassociates

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Details: The prize is a signed Hardback edition of A Wash of Black, along with a Go Away I’m Reading Tote Bag and a Luxury Bookmark.

The giveaway runs from 28th Jan to 11th Feb, and we (Red Dog Press) will announce the randomly chosen winner on the evening of the 11th Feb (GMT)

Routes to entry are all on the giveaway link, but basically, sign up to Red Dog Press Reader’s Club (which also gets you discounts in our store, a free eBook, and latest news from us), following us on twitter. Entrants who tweet our promo tweet get two bonus entries.

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YjU5MzljNjFlYTUzNDc2MTg3MzU5ZGUxYTgwMDU2OjI=/?

 

Blog Tour – ‘Payback’ by R.C. Bridgestock ~ @DomePress @RCBridgestock

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Payback’ was published in paperback on the 9th January 2020 by The Dome Press and is also available as an eBook.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy of the book.

I will tell you in a minute what I thought about ‘Payback’.

 

Book Blurb

Charley Mann left Yorkshire for the Met and a fast-track career – but now she’s back, she’s in charge and the area’s first young, female DI.

Her hometown, the Yorkshire countryside, and her old friends all seem unchanged but appearances can be deceptive.

When a brutal murder is discovered, Charley is forced to question everything, and the interest of her ex – reporter Danny Ray – doesn’t make it easier.

 

My Review

I have been hearing so much about R.C. Bridgestock’s books but have never read any of them. So, when I saw that there was a new series being published, I jumped at the chance of reading ‘Payback’. The verdict? I LOVED it. It was everything I expected and much more.

I really liked the writing style. I found ‘Payback’ to be a gripping and fast-paced read with quite a few shockers.

I enjoyed meeting DI Charley Mann and her team and getting to know them all. I actually felt as if I was there in the incident room with them at times watching them working and listening to the occasional banter. I thought the murder investigation was excellent and the police procedurals were really quite fascinating.

DI Charley Mann is officially my new favourite detective. She’s feisty and doesn’t take any nonsense whatsoever. I really admired the way she dealt with one of her officers. I felt like cheering her on and saying good for you! The other thing I liked about her was her open mindedness.

My other favourite character was Annie and then of course there was dear Winnie. She was just lovely.

Out of all the characters I really didn’t like the journalist, Danny Ray. Something about him just gave me the creeps. He was so pushy and didn’t like to take no for an answer.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and am looking forward to catching up with DI Charley Mann and her team again. I am excited to know what their next investigation will be.

If you are a fan of crime fiction and police procedurals, then I highly recommend that you read ‘Payback’. You won’t be disappointed. I will definitely be checking out R.C. Bridgestock’s earlier novels.

 

‘Payback’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Payback-Charley-Mann-Novel-Bridgestock/dp/1912534177/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1579201353&sr=8-1

 

About R.C. Bridgestock

R.C. Bridgestock is the name that husband and wife co-authors Robert (Bob) and Carol Bridgestock write under. Between them they have nearly 50 years of police experience, offering an authentic edge to their stories. The writing duo created the character DI Jack Dylan, the ninth book of which was published by The Dome Press in 2019, along with their backlist.

Bob was a highly commended career detective of 30 years, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent. During his last three years, he took charge of 26 murders, 23 major incidents, over 50 suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults. He was also a trained hostage negotiator with suicide interventions, kidnap, terrorism and extortion. Bob was seconded to a protracted enquiry investigating alleged police corruption in another force. He worked on the Yorkshire Ripper and Sarah Harper murder, and received praise from Crown Court Judges and Chief Constables alike for outstanding work at all ranks, including winning the much-coveted Dennis Hoban Trophy.

As a police civilian supervisor, Carol also received a Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work.

The couple are the storyline consultants / police procedural on BAFTA-winning BBC1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott and Bailey, and are presently working with Scott Free Production scriptwriters on two commissioned TV drama series.

The couple pride themselves on being up-to-date on past and present day UK police procedures, and as a result, Bob is regularly sought by UK television, radio and national and local newspapers for comment on developing major crime incidents etc. They have also taken part in BBC Radio 4 (Steve) PUNT P.I.

Carol and Bob are also patrons and ambassadors for several charities.

 

Links

Website – http://www.rcbridgestock.com/

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/rcbridgestock

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/rcbridgestockauthor

Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/rcbridgestockauthor

 

Blog Tour – ‘Blue Night’ by Simone Buchholz

‘Blue Night’ is the first book in a brand new series. It was published as an eBook last December by Orenda Books and is out on the 28th February in paperback. Today it is my turn on this blog tour along with another blogger. I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Through My Letterbox for inviting me to take part. Thanks also to Anne and Karen Sullivan for my review copy of this book.

After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, Chastity Riley’s career as a hard-bitten state prosecutor has taken a nose dive. She has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital, with almost every bone in his body broken and a finger cut off and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles, Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in.

‘Blue Night’ has been translated by Rachel Ward. Set in Hamburg this is a gritty and exciting story. It has been well written with some catchy chapter headings. I really like the author’s way with words and her descriptions. At the end of each chapter the reader gets to meet several different characters and finds what has been going on through them, leading up to current events. It certainly makes for interesting reading.

When Chastity Riley is given the case of a man who has been admitted to hospital having had his bones broken and a finger cut off, she doesn’t know exactly what she is taking on. He is giving virtually nothing away and Chastity finds that she has her work cut out, but then he does start talking a bit and gives her a clue as to what’s going on. Chastity finds herself being led her into the dark world of drugs and what she sees isn’t exactly pretty. With the help of Wieczorkowski, a narcotics officer, and her colleagues they will hopefully be able to stop something big.

I liked Chastity from the very beginning and I think we all could do with someone like her in our lives. She’s not had it easy and it’s obvious that she has suffered a lot in the past, but she’s not given up. She’s got a lot of fight in her and is one gutsy lady.

A promising start to a new series, I am looking forward to reading more by this author and finding out what Chastity gets involved in next.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Blue Night’ can be purchased from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Chastity-Riley-Simone-Buchholz-ebook/dp/B075YPPHB3/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1519193051&sr=1-1&keywords=blue+night+by+simone

 

About Simone Buchholz

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up for the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

Website –  http://simonebuchholz.com/

Guest Post by Pete Adams

It’s a pleasure having both Pete Adams and his famous hat back on my blog again.  I recently asked Pete where he was going with his writing and after seeking some good advice from his hat (it talks you know and is a real hatleman) he, or rather they, came up with an answer.

 

Life after

Kind Hearts and Martinets

 

“There is no limit to my creative ability, provided I am not required to be coherent”

Someone said that, didn’t they, not sure who…was it me?

Sonya Alford, your inquiry for an update on my writing is opportune. Although book 4 of the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, Ghost and Ragman Roll, is only recently published, you are correct that all the originally planned 8 books have been completed. You ask good questions, astutely probing:

So, what is next? Is it hard to start something new after living with Kind Hearts for so long? Where do you go when you have written a long series over an extended length of time? Do you look to the supporting characters, who over time, have developed, and maybe deserve a leading part of their own? I love a series, and love also spin-offs, where a new book might relate to characters and storyline extensions. So, what of:

 

Your Readers?

An author is aware when readers like to hear what happens to the people who have populated the books they have enjoyed. The difficulty, if there is one, is when some of the characters have become so popular, the reader demanding more, coinciding with a writer wanting to move onto pastures new. I often think this of authors who have a long running series with a detective or a detective pairing; how do they cope?

Your Publisher?

A Publisher likes to have a series that readers can become wedded to. It means they will buy the next book. I believe that the reading public are intelligent beings and do not want to be spoon fed a diet of more of the same. Characters can be taken on, maybe in different directions, provided there is a satisfactory coherence, and the storyline extensions are in context and believable.

…and You, the Writer?

As an author I like to explore different characters, and often find they can  drive a new narrative. I worry about becoming stale. I love it when I fall upon a new storyline and direction, with or without established characters. Balancing that with demand from my Publisher and my readers, now, that is a different matter.

Your Advisors, do you have any?

Yes, and lately I have been quiet, but not inactive. After nearly nine years writing, I have made good friends, and acquired positive critical colleagues and advisors who I will listen to, even if sometimes their probing is uncomfortable. I have completed eight books in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, books 5 to 8 awaiting publication. However, following up on often insightful suggestions, and thinking long and hard, I have distilled a new direction I want to take. I intend to create a line of books that will develop into 3 separate (new) series:

 

Book 5 – Merde and Mandarins, when published next year, will be the final book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series. There is a natural conclusion, but, as in life, it opens up new directions and opportunities to be seized.

Over the past few months I have been rewriting books 6 to 8, and they are now adapted to the future I am striving toward. These books will form the start of two separate series, albeit there are extensions and linking references back to the narratives in Kind Hearts, and some of the previously secondary characters take on a life of their own. Having said that, the central protagonists in Kind Hearts have become very popular, and appropriately, they will continue in another of the series, retiring from the police to form, DaDa, an eccentric Detective Agency. The character of Jack (Jane) Austin is just so radically fluid, if that is not an adumbration, the emphasis on the  dumb, and so long as he continues to be expertly steered by his intelligent wife Amanda, he opens up so many possibilities for real and surreal narratives, much as I believe life is, if only we would stop to look.

The fascination of Dadaism? It was an arts movement that flouted the conventional by producing works marked by incongruity. For me, in this series, it is about writing books with an idiosyncratic narrative, but with a grounded underlying concept, albeit it may appear at first skewed, there is a rational intendment, and, a significant ending.

Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real”, and that is the joy of the DaDa books, in the writing, and, I suggest, will be in the reading.

 

——

 

The Dada Detective Agency books:

Book 1 – The Duchess of Frisian Tun, writing as my female pseudonym, Susan Narmee, is a pivotal novel that embraces Kind Hearts as well as setting the scene for the subsequent Dada books. New characters join Jack (Jane) Austin, and his wife Amanda. The story, with a World War 2 twist,  is loosely, though lavishly, based upon the Canterbury Tales, except the characters go nowhere, the story set principally in one room in a house on Frisian Tun:

An au courant, romantic comedy, crime thriller. A droll and saucy insight into the Middle Class, Haute Monde, and Geography. Tales of a reclusive England with: The Journalist, The Professor, The Synchronised Swimming Instructor, The Fish Wife, The Dame, The Actress (really Jack Austin), The Geography Teacher, The Gossip Columnist, The Spy, The Police Inspector, The Man from the Council, The Priest, The Knight, The Super-grass (deceased), The Gangster, and, The Lady Blanche.

I see this also as a script that can readily become a stage play, something I would love to see.

Book 2 – Umble Pie – the Nun’s Orchestra, continues the genre, crime thrillers with an idiosyncratic narrative, the generative concept being Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. A spiraling, intertwined DNA of a real and surreal plot that exposes a conspiracy within a spate of sacrificial religious murders, featuring, the Vatican Intelligence Agency, The Pope  with his parrot Claudio, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Numpti of Cairo, and, heaven forefend, The Holy Barbaras. And what of Dada, rescuer, narrator, or maybe instigator? This novel establishes progressive new characters and storyline threads for future DaDa novels.

Book 3 – currently in my head and will NOT keep quiet:

DaDa and the Man from the Council.

 

——

 

Series 2: The Rhubarb Papers – Nakka of the Yard.

Rhubarb in the Mammon – is a crime thriller that picks up a popular secondary character from Kind Hearts, a Priest, who subtly steers this, the first book in the Rhubarb Papers series, that ranges from Portsmouth, and firmly places itself in London, where the series will be based.

An inept grandfather becomes a recluse in Portsmouth, to protect his granddaughter, Juliet; his wife, daughter and her husband, killed in a London car bomb ten years ago, a bomb that permanently disfigured his granddaughter. Juliet grows into a precocious 16 year old, and with her boyfriend, they stir a hornet’s nest when she tries to find out what really happened to her parents and Nan. A Scotland Yard Detective Inspector, landed with the old case notes, visits Nakka and his granddaughter in Portsmouth. Juliet’s unofficial, mysterious, back door inquiry, has been flagged at the Yard, opening a can of deadly worms thought buried; multiple murder, conspiracy, a corruption riddled Met Police, linked, tenuously at first, to an Establishment Bank in the City of London.

The second book in the Rhubarb Papers series has the working title:

A Misanthrope’s Toll – Wigs on the Green.

 

——-

 

Series 3: Completely new, will be a saga, from 1966 to modern day.

Book 9,  Larkin’s Barkin’, A Midsummer Night’s Chutzpah, is written, and is completely different to my other books. It is a sober, dark, crime thriller, set in 1966, East End of London. Two family gangs, a woman police detective sergeant, a  Palestinian Doctor, and a mysterious Irish detective inspector, who turns out to be looking to disrupt a planned IRA campaign in London. The link, a ceaselessly bullied and abused runt of a schoolboy, Chas Larkin, who through his experiences, and love of Roisin Dubh, the Black Rose, discovers his chutzpah, and asserts himself in a most unusual way, with unpredictable results.

This book stirred my emotions during the writing, often causing me to question where the story came from, it not having the light touch, of my previous books. It introduces a number of characters, both sides of the law and order divide, and gives the reader an insight into their personalities and circumstances. I see this opening up a long series of novels, with swings in character focus, that will eventually take us to modern day. A saga, following two families, The Larkins and Saints, The Police, MI5, the clergy, as they lose their grip on the hearts and minds, and a multitude of East End of London characters popping in and out, and their reaction to the politics and news of the day.

The tenth book and sequel, Flummery, A Syncopated Palaver, is underway, and we are in 1969 (the first IRA bomb in London was 1970).

And what of the Black Rose, I hear you ask, myth or reality? Wikipedia describes a Black Rose: “The symbolism in many works of fiction usually contrives feelings of mystery, danger, or some sort of darker emotion, like sorrow and obsessive love.” Now what is there not to like about that?

 

——-

 

How will these new series progress to Publication? You are a prolific writer, what else is there?

I would like to see my self-published first two books of Kind Hearts and Martinets, brought out by my Publisher with coordinated covers to go with the series (I love the Urbane designed covers). The first book, Cause and Effect, was originally titled Kind Hearts and Martinets, and I would revert to that. Then, book 5, Merde and Mandarins, published to conclude the story and set the platform for the future divergent series of books. However, all this will depend largely on the Publisher, but the books being all written, offers a tantalising next few years, and not unusually, I find myself in the hands of others, while I teeter on the precipice.

In the meantime, I just write. Outside my novels, my short story collection is growing, and I have written and illustrated 3 Whopping Tales. I would like to find a Publisher for them, and as you can see, things are moving along nicely at the gym:

 

 

Links

‘Cause & Effect’ (Kind Hearts and Martinets Book 1) can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/CAUSE-EFFECT-Kind-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B00BG12YO2/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

‘Irony in the Soul’ (Kind Hearts and Martinets Book 2) can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Irony-Soul-Kind-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B00G6OP8TW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ (Kind Hearts and Martinets Book 3) can be purchased from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/a-barrow-boys-cadenza/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-detective-Martinets-ebook/dp/B01080YCJQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489138659&sr=1-1&keywords=pete+adams

‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’ (Kind Hearts and Martinets Book 4) can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Ragman-Roll-Hearts-Martinets/dp/1911583034/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489138659&sr=1-3&keywords=pete+adams

 

Pete and his hat can be found on Twitter – @Peteadams8

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Other Daughter’ by Sara Alexi

It’s a brand new month and I am absolutely delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Sara Alexi’s new book, ‘The Other Daughter’ which is out today as an eBook.  Set in Yorkshire this is the first of a series.

I have an exclusive extract for all of you to read.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

The Other Daughter by Sara Alexi is a compelling and gritty tale, set amongst the wild moors and crooked streets of a Yorkshire Village, following one woman who finally untangles herself from the clutches of a painful past and a self-centred mother.

More than a decade after leaving home Dawn finds herself stuck in a dead-end job, in a rundown flat, while her sister has it all – the husband, children and prestigious job in sunny Australia. Their mum’s favouritism is palpable, and even as she has a terrible fall leaving Dawn to pick up the pieces, nothing Dawn does can live up to her perfect, absent sister.

But still Dawn persists with taking care of her aging and fragile mum, until one day it begins to feel like the only thing standing between Dawn and her happiness is her mother’s continued, pitiful existence…

 

Extract

There are more paintings in there, too – ones that Dad collected. It’s strange to remember him when he was alive. Even when he was alive, it was like he wasn’t. Her memory is of a hunched-over man in a drab dressing gown, moping his way from one room to another. Always in that dressing gown. There was another man, too, of whom she only caught brief glimpses – a man who was almost never there. He wore a white shirt, and always a tie and jacket, and he worked long hours. Mum has never been one to talk about the past, or emotions, or say anything worth actually saying, but Dawn has pieced it together, and it came as a bit of a shock that these two men were one and the same. Both were her father: one when he did nothing but work, and the other when he was depressed. He died of lymphatic cancer when she was thirteen, on the day of the school dance, which she had been so excited about, and because he had died she was not allowed to go. She did not need telling she could not go; a death is a shock. She was not very upset, though; he had never been around anyway, and what difference did it make to her? The word ‘father’ meant nothing to her, and surely it was better to live whilst she had the chance. Of course, now she can see why they stopped her going: it was a matter of respect. But at the time it had felt unfair.

 

Links

Hopefully the extract has left you dying to read ‘The Other Daughter’.  If so, it is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://snig.gr/13

Sara Alexi’s Amazon Page – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sara-Alexi/e/B008M6D60K/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1503513777&sr=1-2-ent

Website – http://www.saraalexi.com

Twitter – @SaraAlexi

 

Cover Reveal – ‘No Accident’ by Robert Crouch

This is the brand new cover for ‘No Accident’, the first book in the Kent Fisher series which is being re-released this month.  Isn’t it just fab!  I will be taking part in the blog tour so you’ll find out what I think about ‘No Accident’ then.  In the meantime here’s what its about.

 

Book Blurb

Nothing happens by accident, according to Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. When he ignores a restraining order to investigate the death of Syd Collins in a work accident at Tombstone Adventure Park, he clashes with the owner, playboy millionaire, Miles Birchill, who has his own reasons to block the investigation.

Determined to uncover the truth, Kent casts aside procedure and defies suspension when he becomes convinced that Collins’ death is no accident.

But as Kent rushes to identify the killer and prevent more deaths, he faces even more unpleasant surprises when his professional and private worlds collide with devastating consequences.

Set in and around the beautiful South Downs of East Sussex, No Accident is the first novel in a new series that brings a fresh and irreverent twist to the traditional whodunit.

 

About Robert Crouch

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

To discover more, visit http://robertcrouch.co.uk.

 

Links

The new paperback version of ‘No Accident’ will be available towards the end of this month.  You can buy ‘No Accident’ as an eBook from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2wxmiOk

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2ufP4WZ

Twitter: @robertcrouchuk

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Journey to Death’ by Leigh Russell

Blog Tour Banner

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  I have read a couple of Leigh Russell’s books, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Below is an exclusive prequel from Leigh.

~~~~~

Lucy and her father were sitting at the kitchen table in her parents’ house.

‘Lucy?’

‘Shall I make some tea?’

‘No, sit down again. I want to talk to you. You know your mother and I are going on holiday?’

‘Yes, of course.’ Lucy smiled at him. ‘And you’re going to have a lovely time.’

‘The fact is, your mother’s worried about going away and leaving you here on your own.’

Lucy sighed. ‘I’ll be fine. You can’t possibly cancel your trip. You’ve both been looking forward to it for so long and anyway, it must be costing you a fortune. Don’t worry about leaving me here. Just because I’m on my own now, doesn’t mean you have to change your plans. You go ahead, and have a lovely time. I’ll be fine, really.’

Her father shook his head. ‘No, you don’t understand. We’re planning to go, but we want you to come with us.’

‘What?’

‘We want you to come to the Seychelles with us.’

‘Are you serious?’

‘Yes. Absolutely.’

‘Wow! That’s generous of you.’ Lucy hesitated. ‘But I’m just not in the mood for a holiday right now. I’d only spoil it for you. You don’t want me to come.’

Her father fidgeted with a salt grinder that was on the table and brushed a few grains onto the floor, before raising a troubled face to her.

‘The fact is, your mother refuses to go without you. She thinks the change of scene will do you good, and I completely agree with her.’

Lucy was not sure what to say.

‘Anyway,’ he went on, ‘she says she won’t go without you, so I hope you’ll agree to come with us.’

Lucy nodded her head. ‘Seems I don’t have much choice in the matter, then,’ she said, and gave an anxious smile.

Her father smiled back. ‘That’s agreed then.’ He stood up, and went to tell his wife.

Watching him leave, Lucy already regretted having agreed to go on holiday with her parents. She was annoyed with them for putting pressure on her to accompany them, and with herself for giving in. But, at the same time, she could not help feeling excited about her trip to the Seychelles.

 

‘Journey to Death’ is available to buy on Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/1QJqcqx

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Wickham Hall: Part 1’ by Cathy Bramley

Wickham Hall Part 1 Hidden Treasures

This is the gorgeous cover of the first part of ‘Wickham Hall – Hidden Treasures’ by Cathy Bramley.  Read on to find out more.

 ~~~~~

I’m so excited about the launch of my new series Wickham Hall this month; it introduces a brand new set of characters and a beautiful new setting in a stately home just outside Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s a story of love and friendship, family secrets and heartache and ultimately learning to love life and live for the moment! I’ve packed the story full of my favourite things such as the English countryside, exquisite gardens (including topiary – I adore topiary!), weddings, summer festivals, lots of tea and cake, bonfires and Christmas parties!

The series will be published digitally in four parts this year and then in a complete novel both digitally and in paperback in 2016:

Wickham Hall Part One – Hidden Treasures 25 June

Wickham Hall Part Two – Summer Secrets 23 July

Wickham Hall Part Three – Sparks Fly 24 September

Wickham Hall Part Four – White Christmas 26 November

 

Here’s the blurb!

Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up. Not only does she get to organise for a living and work in stunning surroundings, but it will also put a bit of distance between Holly and her problems at home.

Holly loves the busy world of Wickham Hall – from family weddings to summer festivals, firework displays and Christmas grottos. But life isn’t as easily organised as an event at Wickham Hall (and even those have their complications…). Can Holly learn to let go and live in the moment?

After all, that’s when the magic happens…

 

Cathy Bramley Bio

Cathy Bramley Marsh Agency

Cathy is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby farm and Conditional Love. She lives in a small Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two teenage daughters and Pearl, the Cockerpoo.

Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has always been an avid reader, hiding her book under the duvet and reading by torchlight. Luckily her husband has now bought her a Kindle with a light, so that’s the end of all that palaver.

Cathy loves to hear from her readers. You can get in touch via her Facebook page or on Twitter.

 

Amazon Link (either one – they are the same):

Wickham Hall Part One Hidden Treasures

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