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Archive for the tag “Red Dog Press”

Blog Tour – ‘The Witch House’ by Ann Rawson ~ @RedDogTweets @AE_Rawson

Big congratulations to Ann Rawson whose new book, ‘The Witch House’ is out today in hardback, paperback and eBook, published by Red Dog Press.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be taking part in this blog tour and I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate and for my review copy.

I will tell you in a minute what I thought about ‘The Witch House’ after you have read the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Who can you trust, if you can’t trust yourself?

Alice Hunter, grieving and troubled after a breakdown, stumbles on the body of her friend and trustee, Harry Rook. The police determine he has been ritually murdered and suspicion falls on the vulnerable Alice, who inherited the place known locally as The Witch House from her grandmother, late High Priestess of the local coven.

When the investigations turn up more evidence, and it all seems to point to Alice, even she begins to doubt herself.

Can she find the courage to confront the secrets and lies at the heart of her family and community to uncover the truth, prove her sanity, and clear herself of murder?

 

My Review

Oh Wow!  I cannot tell you just how much I enjoyed ‘The Witch House’.  When I first saw the cover of this book, I just knew I had to read it.  It is simply stunning and as I found out later actually holds a lot of significance.

I loved the way the story began.  My interest was piqued straightaway.  I liked the style of writing and thought the author was very descriptive.  The plot was fabulous.  It was extremely hard to tear myself away from this book.  I was totally gripped!  When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.  Perhaps what I should have done was glue the kindle to my hand.  Then I could have read it constantly.

This was a story so full of intrigue that I just did not know what would happen next.  It kept me guessing for quite a long while.  I kept trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together but found it almost impossible to do so.  There were shocks galore and plenty of twists and turns.  It was creepy at times too.

Alice had not exactly had it easy what with her grandmother dying and then soon after having a breakdown.  To then be more or less accused of murder was not what she needed.  But things really did not look good for her and I for one could see why.

I think what happened actually helped Alice get her courage back.  I liked that not everyone judged her.  People like Professor Buckley were prepared to give her a chance whatever the outcome.

I found it hard to warm to a number of the characters.  To me they all had a motive for murder one way or another.

I loved reading about the house which Alice inherited from her grandmother and how it got its name.  I was also extremely interested in the pagan rituals.  Fascinating!

‘The Witch House’ deals with a number of topics including mental health, paganism, and greed.  If you like psychological thrillers with a difference, then I highly recommend this book.  Its one of my favourites of the year for sure.

I am looking forward to reading much more by Ann Rawson.

 

‘The Witch House’ is available to purchase from:-

Red Dog Press – https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/product-page/the-witch-house

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-witch-house/ann-rawson/9781913331405

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/31cPXgH

Amazon US – https://amzn.to/3i5oHaH

 

About Ann Rawson

Ann Rawson has long been addicted to story. As a child she longed to learn to read because she knew there was magic in those pages, the inky squiggles that turned into words and became images in her head – the stories that could transport her away from the everyday. As she grew older, she divined there was truth in books too. They were a glimpse into other minds. Her reading became the foundation of a deep and abiding interest in what makes people tick – and so she soon became hooked on crime fiction.

Age ten, she wrote to Malcolm Saville, author of the Lone Pine Series, enclosing her first short story. He wrote back and encouraged her to continue writing – and she is heartbroken that the letter is long lost. His book, Lone Pine Five, sparked a lifelong interest in archaeology, as it mentions the Mildenhall Treasure which makes an appearance in The Witch House.

A lapsed witch with enduring pagan tendencies, she lives on the south coast. She still thinks of herself as a Northerner, although she’s been in exile for many years. Almost every day she walks on the Downs or the white cliffs with her husband, plotting her next novel while he designs computer systems.

Ann’s debut novel, A Savage Art was published by Fahrenheit Press in 2016. She has published some short fiction, and in 2019 her memoir piece If… was shortlisted for the Fish Short Memoir Prize.

She is currently completing a memoir and working on her third novel.

You can follow her on Twitter @AE_Rawson (where she doesn’t go far, to be honest), find her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/aerawson/, and her blog is at www.strawintogold.co.uk

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Whispers in the Dark’ by Chris McDonald ~ @RedDogTweets @cmacwritescrime

Today is all about the cover love.  Yes, together with a number of fellow book bloggers I am helping to reveal the cover of Chris McDonald’s new book, ‘Whispers in the Dark’.

This is the second book in the Erika Piper series and it is being published in hardback, paperback and as an eBook by Red Dog Press on the 14th November 2020.

So, I guess you’ll be wanting to see the cover now won’t you?  Well, without further ado here it is.

 

 

Isn’t it just fabulous?

 

Book Blurb

Who will heed the call when Death comes whispering?

Small time drug dealer, Marcus Stone and DCI Clive Burston had never met until one night in August. But by the end of that night, both had been shot dead in a small bedroom in the heart of gang territory.

DI Erika Piper is called to the scene but is at a loss to explain what’s happened. How did these two even meet, let alone end up dead in what appears to be a strange murder-suicide? As Erika leads the investigation, another two bodies are found, killed in a similar fashion. One murder, one suicide. But who is controlling this macarbre puppet show?

As Erika delves deeper into the lives of the dead, the pieces begin to fit together and a number of nefarious characters crawl out of the woodwork – one of whom is almost certainly pulling the strings.

A catastrophic event and a personal miracle threaten to derail the investigation. Erika must find the strength to continue, before the whispers catch up with her too…

‘Whispers in the Dark’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Red Dog Press – https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/shop

Amazon UK – http://mybook.to/WITD

 

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

Competition – ‘Death of a Painter’ by Matthew Ross ~ @RedDogTweets @mattwross

Hi Everyone.  I hope you are all well and are staying safe during these strange and worrying times.

I have something very special for you today.  The publisher, Red Dog Press, are giving away a hardback copy of ‘Death of a Painter’ by Matthew Ross, the first book in the Mark Poynter series.  The link is towards the bottom of the page.

To give you a taster of ‘Death of a Painter’ here is the book blurb followed by an extract.

 

Book Blurb

IN THE BUILDING GAME TIME IS MONEY AND MONEY IS EVERYTHING. UNFORTUNATELY FOR MARK POYNTER, HE’S RUN OUT OF MONEY AND HE’S FAST RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

When Mark Poynter discovers a murder on his worksite all of his financial problems suddenly seem a lot closer to home: was this a warning his debts are overdue?

Suspected of being the killer and worried at being the intended victim, the murder only makes Mark’s money problems worse, leading him to turn to the local villain, Hamlet, who has his own unique repayment plan in mind for Mark.

When two more deaths plunge him even further into debt, Mark finds himself faced with a choice – help the police and clear his name or help the villain and clear his debt.

Set in the Medway Towns on the grey margins of criminality, where no job’s too big, no dodge’s too small …

Death Of A Painter is the first in a new series of darkly comic crime fiction novels featuring the beleaguered builder Mark Poynter, aided and hindered in equal measure by his trusted crew of slackers, idlers and gossips, and the lengths they go to just to earn a living.

 

Extract

-1-

SOME SAY BEING in the building trade isn’t a job, they say it’s a way of life. What they never tell you about is the problems – every day of every week of every year – nothing but problems.

Everyone you work with wants money off you, everyone you work for wants to keep money from you, and everyone – and I mean everyone – wants it done by yesterday. It’s problem after problem after bloody problem.

And right now, I seem to have more than anyone. I’ve got a hysterical woman screaming down the house, a dead man on her kitchen floor, and I’ve got absolutely no idea what’s going on. All I do know… there’s no way now this job’s going to be finished by Friday.

 

MRS WILKES SQUEEZED my hand and sobbed. I looked at the mess that was once Tommy and couldn’t help wondering – had he been having a bit of a dabble with Mrs Wilkes? It wouldn’t be the first time he’d entertained the client, and it would explain the overly dramatic wailing that quite frankly was starting to give me the hump.

I figured he probably had been. He definitely had a magic touch with married stay-at-home mums harbouring secret fantasies for no-strings with a rascal – and he was that alright, all smiles and laughs and a little bit of teasing to make them blush – it was as though he’d walked straight out of a crappy 70s sex comedy, only now it wasn’t so funny – Carry On Dying.

There is a Mr Wilkes. We’d greet him every morning as he headed off in his smart suit and sense of self-importance. It was no wonder the wife treated herself to a bit of fun with a cheeky painter when she was married to such a miserable belligerent arse. He does something in the City and thinks he’s very busy and important; maybe he is, I don’t care. Mrs Wilkes was alright, but he’d been a nuisance since the job began, in fact since before the job began – he’d insisted on having a proper contract between us.

So far, he’d tried and failed to knock our money for genuine variations, and tried (and failed) to refuse us an extension of time after his wife’s changes of mind added a fortnight to the job. His contract wasn’t really working in his favour and it only seemed to add to his general state of ill-temper. However, we’d run out of smart excuses. We had to finish by Friday, and Mr Wilkes was exactly the sort who’d want his penalty payments out of principle. I could picture him willing us to fail just so he can feel like he’s won something. But I don’t know where the contract stands on when the work’s delayed by the site becoming a crime scene – is that force majeure? It was certainly a force of something, looking at the damage done to poor Tommy.

This wasn’t a fall or an accident on site, this was violence, this was brutal. Just below his ear, his head yawned open wide, smashed white bones and grey jelly. His face had been rinsed red by the steady flow of blood, now pooled and tacky like spilled paint on the granite tiles beneath him.

He was the best decorator I’ve ever worked with; morally questionable, but he’d do a lovely job, which is why, as soon as I saw his brushes on the side, I knew something was up. They hadn’t been washed out, he’d still been working, must have been interrupted and put them down for a moment. If he’d intended leaving them for a while, he’d have wrapped them in clingfilm to keep the bristles soft. That’s what he always did. I knew his brushes would stiffen and become brittle, like the bloody wound in the side of his head that was turning black around the edges. Thankfully I was pulled out of these dark thoughts by a voice beside me.

‘I said, what are we going to do?’ asked Mrs Wilkes.

‘Police… I suppose,’ was my rather feeble response.

No doubt Mr Wilkes and his swaggering pomposity would have thrived in such a moment, issuing commandments left right and centre, but my immediate reaction – and it probably doesn’t show me in any great light to admit it – was Thank God she found him first, as I could just imagine how the police’s questions would go if she hadn’t, although it didn’t seem to matter because, twenty minutes later:

‘He worked for you for how long, roughly, would you say?’ the uniformed copper asked me. He looked so familiar, I’m sure I’d seen him before, maybe from one of the Sunday league teams that drink at the Golden Lamb post-match; he looked the football sort – tall, slim, bit of a swagger. ‘And were there any disagreements? Disputes about money?’

There it is, that’s the one I’d been waiting for – the sub-contractor’s dead, must’ve been an argument over payment, must’ve been me; brilliant, well done Medway’s finest for jumping to the bleeding obvious!

A man entered the room, a small man with a face like a fox – all dark eyes, pointy nose and teeth, with white hair. He was very smartly dressed and obviously took a great deal of pride in his appearance judging by his shiny shoes and even shinier cufflinks. The uniform stopped his somewhat insulting questions, looked at the dapper little fellow, gave a respectful nod and moved away.

Mr Cufflinks approached me, reaching into the inside pocket of his tailored suit jacket. ‘I have been appointed investigating officer here,’ he informed me in a monotone voice, pulling out a warrant card and holding it six inches from my face. I tried to read his name, unusual, never seen it before but I decided to give it my best shot.

‘Inspector Senior, I’m—’

‘Sen Ya’ he interrupted ‘Senia, it’s pronounced Senia, Detective Chief Inspector Senia. It’s Italian.’ His patronising tone was already beginning to annoy me.

‘So, you’re Italian?’ I still don’t know why I asked that, ease the tension I suppose.

‘Do I fucking look Italian?’

Well, that threw me, no-one’s ever asked me that before; what does an Italian look like? I could only think of Pavarotti and he didn’t look anything like him. I must have pondered for too long as he barked his next question at me.

‘You’re the one that called it in? Mark Poynter?’

I confirmed I was both of those, and then started explaining that Tommy worked for me and the job we were doing. He didn’t seem to understand.

‘But you’re an electrician?’

‘Yes.’

‘And the deceased was a painter?’

‘Yes.’

‘So why does an electrician need a painter?’

‘Err, to paint.’

‘I know a painter does the bloody painting, don’t get smart with me. Why is an electrician employing a painter?’

‘Because I’ve been fitting the new kitchen here, and I had him decorating.’

‘Fitting a kitchen? Isn’t that a carpenter’s job?’

‘Yes, but the carpenter’s finished, the plumber’s finished, the plasterer’s finished so now it’s just the decorator to finish.’

‘But you’re an electrician!’

I thought carefully about my next words, he was starting to wind me up, but the last thing I wanted was to annoy the Law when they were looking for someone to blame a murder on.

‘Yes, I’m an electrician. Most of my work is electrical. But on occasion people have asked me to take on bigger projects because they know I know all the right trades and it’s easier having me manage the thing start to finish.’

‘Like a main contractor?’

‘Yes, like a main contractor.’

‘Well, why didn’t you say that to begin with instead of farting about saying you’re an electrician?’

I didn’t know how to respond to that, so I didn’t.

‘So, you two were friends, good friends?’

I felt a bit guilty – to Tommy not to this foxy-faced fuckwit – to find myself denying we’d been friends for, must be, fifteen years now. Instead I gabbled around the edges staying nondescript, I told him we’d done a lot of work together – he’d get jobs and recommend me, I’d get jobs and recommend him – and that’s how things tend to go in this industry.

‘Can you think of anyone that’d want to harm him, or bore a grudge?’ asked Senia.

I immediately thought of Tommy’s tendency to dabble, and wondered whether Mr Wilkes had found out he’d been dipping more than his brushes whilst he was at work. But I didn’t say anything, firstly because Mr Wilkes may have been a petulant nobhead but I knew he was nothing more than bluster and bullshit, also it didn’t make sense to accuse him of murder when he still owed me a month’s money. I’ve got the bill for his granite worktops due this week, they’re the price of a new car alone, the last thing I wanted was to risk him knocking my payment, so I told Senia no.

Senia stared patiently at me, for ages, unblinking, like a crocodile. ‘Did he work for you as a direct employee?’

I explained, again, he was a sub-contractor; this was beginning to feel like hard work.

‘Well why in that case,’ the frustration in his voice matching mine, ‘are you both wearing the same shirt?’

He was right. We were both wearing a purple sweatshirt with my silver ‘MP Electrical’ logo. I tried explaining the concept of corporate branding: ‘my job, my firm, my rules’, meaning Tommy would wear my shirt when on my project.

‘So, if you can’t think of anyone that may have wanted to harm him,’ said Senia, ‘what about you? Your job, your firm – your shirt. Could it be mistaken identity and it was, in fact, you they were after? Has anyone threatened you, anyone bear a grudge against you?’

‘No,’ I lied, but by the way those dark eyes stared back I don’t think he believed me.

 

About Matthew Ross

Matthew Ross was born and raised in the Medway Towns, England. He still lives in Kent with his Kiwi wife, his children and a very old cat.

He was immersed in the building industry from a very early age helping out on his father’s sites during school holidays before launching into his own career at 17. He’s worked on projects ranging from the smallest domestic repair to £billion+ infrastructure, and probably everything in between.

A lifelong comedy nerd, he ticked off a bucket-list ambition and tried his hand at stand-up comedy. Whilst being an experience probably best forgotten (for both him and audiences alike) it ignited a love for writing, leading to various commissions including for material broadcast on BBC Radio 4 comedy shows.

Matthew moved into the longer format of novel writing after graduating from the Faber Academy in London in 2017.

Death Of A Painter’ is his first novel and the first in a planned series of stories featuring Mark Poynter and his associates.

Matthew enjoys reading all manner of books – especially crime and mystery; 80s music; and travelling and can’t wait for the next trip to New Zealand to spend time with family and friends.

 

Links

Publisher

Website – https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/RedDogTweets

Author

Website – https://mattwross.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mattwross

 

Competition

So, as mentioned earlier, Red Dog Press are giving away a hardback copy of ‘Death of a Painter’.  This competition is open worldwide from now until 4:00 p.m. on the 10th May 2020.  The winner will be chosen by the publisher.  Click on the link below to enter:-

Rafflecopter Giveaway.

 

 

If you are not the lucky winner but like the sound of the book, you can buy it from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Painter-Mark-Poynter-Matthew/dp/1913331431/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=death+of+a+painter&qid=1588345687&sr=8-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Death-Painter-Mark-Poynter-Book-ebook/dp/B086P6Q8ZH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=death+of+a+painter&qid=1588347186&sr=8-1

 

There is also a blog tour taking place which you might want to check out.

 

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 – ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ by Heleen Kist ~ @RedDogTweets @hkist

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’, Heleen Kist’s new book, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 19th November 2019 by Red Dog Press.  I would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book.

You will find out what I thought about ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ in a minute.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.

Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.

Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.

Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.

As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.

But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?

 

My Review

Gosh! How do I even begin to review this book? It’s virtually impossible. I am just blown away.

This was such an amazing read. I really liked the author’s style of writing and the way the story began was just great. The chapters were clearly set out showing which character was the narrator. I found ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ to be extremely gripping. There were just so many shocks and surprises, so many twists and turns. I also liked the dark humour throughout.

As the storyline developed, I found myself reading on with bated breath. I was totally intrigued and was dying to know what would happen next. I had all sorts of scenarios running through my head. Luckily, I was patient and didn’t skip to the end.

I have to say I found it very hard to warm to any of the characters. Out of all of them I really only took to Laura and Suki. I could somehow imagine spending hours with Laura talking about books and hopefully getting the chance to admire her collection. I think both her and Suki would be great fun.

I really think a number of women will recognise themselves in this book. In a world where women should be treated equally, i.e. the same as men this unfortunately doesn’t always happen. I really didn’t blame Laura, Suki and Claire for wanting to plot their revenge. They were all one way or the other discriminated against and it just wasn’t fair.

Social media and cyberbullying played quite a big part in this story. It is actually quite scary what can happen online, and I thought the author did a good job of portraying this.

If you like thrillers set in the financial world then ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ could be for you. I definitely recommend you give this book a go.

 

‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ is available from:-

Amazon UK – http://mybook.to/StayMad

Hive – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Heleen-Kist/Stay-Mad-Sweetheart/24474068 – You can buy this book from Hive and have it delivered to your local indie bookstore

Publisher’s Website – https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/product-page/stay-mad-sweetheart

 

About Heleen Kist

Throughout her life, Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’, a feminist tale of revenge, out November 19th 2019.Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel’s setting, its theme of insidious harassment and discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women.

Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, ‘In Servitude’ won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.

A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she’s raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.

 

Links

Twitter:

Red Dog Press – https://twitter.com/RedDogTweets

Heleen Kist – https://twitter.com/hkist

Facebook:

Red Dog Press –  https://www.facebook.com/reddogassociates

Heleen Kist –  https://www.facebook.com/heleenkistauthor

Instagram:

@Red_Dog_Press

 

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