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Blog Tour – ‘The Family’ by P. R. Black ~ @Aria_Fiction @PatBlack9

‘The Family’ by P. R. Black was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 2nd May 2019 by Aria Fiction.  I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and have got a guest post from the author for you.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

The best way to catch a killer? Offer yourself as bait.

Becky Morgan’s family were the victims of the ‘crimes of the decade’.

The lone survivor of a ritualistic killing, Becky’s been forever haunted by the memories of that night.

Twenty years later, with the killer never found, Becky is ready to hunt them down and exact revenge. But the path to find the murderer is a slippery slope and she finds herself opening up some old wounds that should have been left sealed.

Will Becky avenge her family or join them?

 

Guest Post

Rooting For The Bad Guy

By Pat Black

The villain in The Family is not only a vicious killer, but a cruel manipulator. I think these two qualities – if we can call them that – go hand-in-hand.

Although the person behind the mask isn’t based on any real-life murderers, it stands to reason that someone who takes pleasure in ending lives would also enjoy causing chaos in a more general sense.

That craven, furtive glee in pulling the strings from behind a curtain… It’s a bit like being an author.

So let’s take a look at some other famous manipulators in the history of fiction. Be warned – this is a treacherous journey. There may be blood…

1. Lecter

Hannibal Lecter is a gourmand first of all, and then a cannibal. But even if we leave aside all the murders, he is still a nasty piece of work.

Deprived of the opportunity to turn people into flans, the imprisoned Lecter is reduced to getting his jollies by pressing people’s buttons from behind his cell door. Remind you of any unpleasant people you’ve encountered on the internet? That’s right, all of them.

Lecter first appeared in Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, where he plays the man who caught him for a complete fool after the FBI agent seeks some advice on how to catch another killer, known as the Tooth Fairy.

Its sequel, The Silence Of The Lambs, focuses on the search for another murderer known as Buffalo Bill. But it’s also about how Lecter manipulates events in order to engineer his escape from custody. He succeeds – but not before his eye is caught by Clarice Starling.

Lecter notes the FBI trainee’s qualities and relishes the contact between them. There’s a creepy hint that the killer’s admiration for Starling may be more than just cerebral. This subtle, memorably queasy idea was spoiled by Hannibal’s bonkers finale. That second sequel to Red Dragon was brilliant, but is perhaps best appreciated if you take it as the comedy Thomas Harris surely intended it to be.

Like Lecter and Starling, my heroine, Becky Morgan, has a dialogue with the villain in The Family. Except, my killer is all the more dangerous, being already on the loose when Becky makes contact for the first time since the day her family was slaughtered…

2. Danvers

I’d struggle to name anyone in all of literature so memorably wicked as Mrs Danvers. She never spills a drop of blood, but has an ocean of poison within her.

The housekeeper at Manderley in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is ostensibly a servant of the new Mrs de Winter – but she’s in charge, all right.

She has a weird, unknowable obsession with “my lady”: Rebecca de Winter, the previous mistress of the house, who died in murky circumstances. Rebecca’s narrator is an ingénue whose naivety is embarrassing to other ingénues. She simply can’t match up to her wild, bewitching predecessor. And Mrs Danvers won’t let her forget it.

The grim housekeeper’s manipulation of our heroine verges on diabolical. Her prodding and goading is beyond Iago, beyond anyone. This is most apparent when Danvers makes a phone call to Rebecca’s former chamber, preserved like the Tomb of Tutankhamun, asking for “Mrs de Winter”. This causes both narrator and reader to make the same cringe-worthy mistake when the current lady of the house is caught unawares.

Then there’s the choice of costume for the grand ball… you almost want to cover your eyes. As you sit there, reading a book.

Worst of all is Mrs Danvers’ gently mesmeric entreaty to Mrs de Winter to just step out of one of Manderley’s high windows as the fog rolls in off the sea… She makes it sound like the most reasonable idea in the world.

She is unforgettable. And I could not get enough of her. Any author who can imbue their villain with even a fraction of Mrs Danvers’ malice will have done very well indeed.

3. Monte Cristo

“But he’s the hero, isn’t he? The wronged avenger. The Count of Monte Cristo is no villain!”

Except… he is. In considering Alexandre Dumas’ work, we probably think of the Musketeers first. They are four very different characters, but all very noble. Their swords might be keen, but they have justice and virtue on their side. Thanks to some memorable movie adaptations, some might think of The Count of Monte Cristo in the same light – an adventure novel, with loads of swashbuckling and romance.

The book has some exciting scenes and intrigue, but it has a very dark heart. And there are none darker than that of the mysterious man in the title.

Its plot can be summed up by some philosophical questions: When pursuing revenge, is it the same as justice? In moral terms, does the price paid measure up to the satisfaction gained?

Sure, the young, guileless Edmond Dantes is a wronged man. His future is stolen from him after a conspiracy by men who rival him in matters of commerce, politics and the heart – their motivations being greed, expediency and jealousy.

And then there’s the tailor… he’s just a bit of an idiot. There’s an old saying about confusing malice with stupidity.

But the guy who swims out of a body bag from the Chateau d’If is very different to the 20-year-old who was first locked up there, many years before. And the man who appears in Paris later, rich as Croesus, may in fact be Edmond Dantes’ polar opposite.

The Count of Monte Cristo appears as a guardian angel at first, saving the lives of his enemies’ loved ones, and even stepping in to save them from ruin with his inexhaustible wealth. But this is only done in order to weasel his way into their trust, and even their affections. It’s all part of a long, clever game.

Monte Cristo has a plan, and he will not be swayed from it, no matter who gets trampled on or what he destroys in the process. That includes the heart of the one he truly loves.

The man’s grievance is understandable. But after a while we ask the same questions as his loyal manservant: “You’ve suffered – but now you have everything you could ever want out of life… Why are you still doing this? Is it honourable?”

The truth is: Monte Cristo has become the villain. Instead of dragging injustice into the light, he operates in the shadows, and engineers awful fates. He is devious and dishonest; he is malevolent; his plan ensnares the innocent as much as the guilty.

Is he evil? Many people think so when he makes his first appearance in high society. His saturnine good looks get the fans flapping double-time when he makes his bow at the opera. A somewhat diabolical appearance and the fact that he only ever appears after dark, and never seems to eat or drink, sees him compared to Byron – and by extension, to a vampire.

We are left in no doubt that our hero is a deeply flawed, morally ambiguous figure. And his wrongs cannot be righted by something as crude as a sword thrust. To paraphrase Bane in The Dark Knight Rises: the conspirators’ punishment must be more severe. The kind delivered with a smirk, not a snarl.

Becky Morgan is an avenging angel in The Family, and her quest to catch the person who committed that terrible crime is a long time in the planning. But in seeking revenge, what price is she prepared to pay?

 

About P. R. Black

Author and journalist PR Black lives in Yorkshire, although he was born and brought up in Glasgow. When he’s not driving his wife and two children to distraction with all the typing, he enjoys hillwalking, fresh air and the natural world, and can often be found asking the way to the nearest pub in the Lake District. His short stories have been published in several books including the Daily Telegraph’s Ghost Stories and the Northern Crime One anthology. His Glasgow detective, Inspector Lomond, is appearing in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He took the runner-up spot in the 2014 Bloody Scotland crime-writing competition with “Ghostie Men”. His work has also been performed on stage in London by Liars’ League. He has also been shortlisted for the Red Cross International Prize, the William Hazlitt essay prize and the Bridport Prize.

 

Links

Follow P.R. Black:

Twitter: @PatBlack9

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HGgIn4
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2MG8XfV
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2SgG7rA
iBooks: https://apple.co/2VR9Aa4

Follow Aria:

Website: www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

 

Don’t forget to catch up with all the previous posts.

 

Blog Tour – ‘Shadows of Regret’ by Ross Greenwood ~ @CarolineBookBit @greenwoodross

‘Shadows of Regret’ is Ross Greenwood’s new book.  It was published as an eBook on the 20th January 2019 and is also available in paperback.

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank Caroline Vincent of Bits about Books for inviting me to participate.  Thanks also to Ross Greenwood and Caroline for my review copy.

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

 

Book Blurb

If your life was ruined, would you seek redemption or take revenge?

 

From the #1 bestselling author of Fifty Years of Fear, SHADOWS OF REGRET is the unforgettable story of a woman’s struggle to rejoin society.

Katie committed a terrible crime. Sixteen years was the price she had to pay.

Once released from prison, she finds the world has changed. Her chances appear bleak, but Katie is a survivor.

Isolated and alone, she struggles to make sense of her new life. Starting again isn’t easy, especially after what she’s done.

Despite not feeling free or safe, Katie overcomes her fears and confronts the future. But history won’t remain forgotten.

Gradually, memories of the past are revealed. When Katie finally exposes the awful truth and sees there are others who share the blame, she must choose her path.

Will she seek redemption, or will she take revenge?

 

“If you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant’s journey but prefer your stories darker, this is perfect for you.”

There are writers, good writers and ones that have the power of words to captivate you in an instant. Ross Greenwood has this in spades.”

 

My Review

This is the third book I have read by Ross Greenwood. I really do like his style of writing and I found ‘Shadows of Regret’ to be extremely thought provoking. The chapters were mostly very short which was great because it meant I could sneak in a couple here and there.

The story starts with Katie who is being released from prison after sixteen years, having committed a terrible crime. I was intrigued as to what exactly she had done to have been given such a long sentence. Through her memories I learnt about her childhood and what led to her being imprisoned. I felt so very sad for her. At one point it seemed that her life was changing for the better. She at last had the same opportunities that other children had; a loving family, days out, and then just like that her happiness was snatched away from her. Tragic really.

Out of all the characters I liked Sally and Katie the best. I was really routing for Katie and wanted her to be able to start afresh and make some sort of life for herself. Easier said than done though as she was about to find out. Sadly she can’t forget the past and as memories of what happened to her surface, she realises that others were also at fault. She has to decide what to do and it’s not an easy decision to make.

Although what Katie and other women like her did was unacceptable in the eyes of the law, they were actually just as much victims as they were criminals. What some of them went through was horrific. You can surely only take so much before you snap.

‘Shadows of Regret’ will keep you reading on. It’s dark, gripping and a real eye opener. Ross Greenwood certainly knows how to tell a good story. I hope that there will be many more books from him.

 

About Ross Greenwood

Ross Greenwood was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until he was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. He then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

Ross found himself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually, so he says “when things had gone wrong.” It was on one of these occasions that he met his partner about 100 metres from his back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. And, according to Ross, he is “still a little stunned by the pace of it now.”

Lazy Blood book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave the author the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep he completed it in the early morning hours.

Ross Greenwood’s second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by Bloodhound Books, and in September 2017, Fifty Years of Fear was published. The year 2018 saw the publication of his next psychological thriller, Abel’s Revenge. All his books are thought provoking, and told with a sense of humour.

Ross Greenwood hopes you enjoy reading them.
Please feel free to get in touch on www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

 

Author Links

Author Website: www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

Amazon Author Page: Author.to/RossGreenwood

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/ross-greenwood

GoodReads: bit.ly/RossGreenwood-GR

 

Books by Ross Greenwood

The Dark Lives Series:
#1 Fifty Years of Fear – Getbook.at/FiftyYearsofFear
#2 The Boy Inside – Getbook.at/TheBoyInside
#3 Lazy Blood – Getbook.at/LazyBlood

Abel’s Revenge – Getbook.at/AbelsRevenge
Shadows of Regret – Getbook.at/ShadowsofRegret

Blog Tour – ‘Rings of Smoke’ by Diane O’Toole

Rings of Smoke

‘Rings of Smoke’ is being published by Britain’s Next Bestseller on the 24th September 2015. I am one of a number of book bloggers taking part in this rather exciting blog tour.

Erin Fallon is the eldest of her siblings. Her father, an Irish immigrant, naturally wants to do the best by his family. So when he gets a promotion at work he agrees to his wife’s request to move to a bigger and better house. But Erin’s mother is never happy and always expects more, which leads to her father having to work really long hours.

Leonard Fitch spent his childhood being tormented and ridiculed. At school the girls would make fun of him and at home his mother made it clear that she never really wanted him around. The only person who ever showed him any love and kindness was his father, so when he died Leonard blamed his mother whose constant demands had him working all hours. This leads to Leonard swearing to exact revenge on women, in particular mothers.

When young girls start going missing never to be found alive again, police are left baffled. Will they ever be able to solve the case?

‘Rings of Smoke’ was a really good read and so very hard to put down. I really liked the author’s writing style. Exciting and fast-paced, it was also very shocking and graphic and at first I thought I was reading something out of a horror novel. It did make me shiver a bit.

I felt sorry for what Leonard went through in his childhood, but I couldn’t believe the lengths he would go to in his revenge against women. What he did was totally despicable. A successful surgeon, it just shows that appearances can be deceptive. I certainly wouldn’t want to be alone with him.

If you enjoy crime then you should probably read ‘Rings of Smoke’, but I warn you, it isn’t for the faint hearted.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

~~~~~

Now for an extract from ‘Rings of Smoke’.

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

Erin was still only half way along Bleaksedge Lane when the fog descended; a thick, freezing cold blanket of nothingness and it had all too quickly become difficult for Erin to see much further than a few feet in front of her. It was quiet, eerie in fact. She started thinking that perhaps she should have waited until a little later in the day when the weather might have improved. It’s a bit too late now; I’m halfway there.

She pulled her lime green scarf securely over her ears and buried her gloved hands deep inside her coat pockets. Lost in thoughts of how she would react and the first thing she would say to her mother if she found her, she was unaware of the car that was parked out of sight at the back of the derelict petrol station, engine purring quietly, ready to move.

Just as Erin was passing the petrol station, the car appeared out of the thick fog right along side her. She was stunned, rigid with fear, like a rabbit caught in headlights. The driver was leering and mouthing words at her that she couldn’t make out. He leaned over into the passenger seat, his hooknose almost touching the window as his dark bird-like eyes drank in every inch of her. He waved at her beckoning her to the car.

Erin tried to scream but the freezing cold air took her breath away, nothing came out. She set off running for her life and as she ran she could still hear the hum of the car’s engine but couldn’t tell whether or not he was coming after her; she was too terrified to look back and so she just kept running. The ice-cold air burned the back of her throat and her lungs as she gasped for breath.

From out of nowhere she was grabbed from behind and lifted off her feet, then a hand came across her face and she choked as the pungent smelling rag was pushed and held firmly against her mouth and nose. The Chloroform was fast; it took less than a minute to do the job. She was out cold – Fitch had his next victim; a little older than most of the others, it couldn’t be helped, he’d wanted this one badly and although he’d missed her birthday by a couple of days this time, he’d make sure that her birthday card reached it’s recipient on time next year.

He lifted her effortlessly over his shoulder and carried her to his car, the engine still running quietly, he opened the boot and dumped her inside. Not a single vehicle had passed down Bleaksedge Lane to witness the abduction – it was so much easier than he had anticipated – just perfect! He chuckled as he slammed the boot shut and climbed back inside his vehicle.

She’d be unconscious for a couple of hours or more, long enough for him to get her back to the lodge and settled in. He slowed as he drove past the girl’s house for one last time wondering what the girl’s mother was doing inside. Well, whatever you’re doing, your little girl won’t be coming home today, or ever again. The car sped up and disappeared into the fog.

 

About Diane O’Toole

Author Pic

Diane O’Toole  was born in Manchester into a large family of seven brothers and five sisters. As a child her playground was Belle Vue, one of the largest amusement parks in Europe. As a very young girl, I developed a voracious passion for books, and she read all of the classics: Dickens, Eliot, Trollope, and Hardy. During her teens it was Stephen King and James Herbert, and then Diane got a taste of the political thriller with Daniel Silva’s “Moscow Rules”. For “Rings of Smoke”, Diane drew on real life experiences, particularly in respect of the protagonist Erin Fallon. With stalkers, a runaway mother and abduction, she  had the bones of what she believed was a good story.

 

 

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