A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “suspense”

Blog Tour – ‘The Devil’s Bride’ by Emma S. Jackson ~ @ESJackson1 @darkstrokedark

‘The Devil’s Bride’ by Emma S. Jackson was published as an eBook on the 5th February 2020 by Darkstroke and is also available in paperback.  I really liked the sound of this book and was thrilled when the author invited me to participate in this blog tour.

Read on to find out more about ‘The Devil’s Bride’.


Book Blurb

England, 1670

No one goes near Edburton Manor – not since the night in 1668, when demons rose from the ground to drag Lord Bookham’s new bride to a fiery death. Or so the locals say.

That’s what makes it the perfect hideout for the gang of highwaymen Jamie Lorde runs with.

Ghost stories have never frightened her. The living are a far more dangerous prospect, particularly to a woman in disguise as a man. A woman who can see spirits in a time when witches are hanged and who is working hard to gain the trust of the most ruthless, vicious man she has ever known because she intends to ruin and kill him.

But when the gang discovers Matthew, Lord Bookham’s illegitimate brother, who has been trapped by a curse at the Manor ever since the doomed wedding, all Jamie’s carefully laid plans are sent spiralling out of control.


Sounds great doesn’t it?  ‘The Devil’s Bride’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-



About Emma S. Jackson

Emma Jackson is the best-selling author of A MISTLETOE MIRACLE, published by Orion Dash. A devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old, she joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association on their New Writers’ Scheme at the beginning of 2019, determined to focus on her writing. Her debut novel was published in November 2019. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE is her second novel, published by DarkStroke as Emma S Jackson. She hopes to continue working across sub-genres of romance, as she believes variety is the spice of life.



Website – http://www.esjackson.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ESJackson1

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emma_s_jackson/

Cover Reveal – ‘A Wanted Man’ and ‘Morte Point’ by Rob Parker ~ #LoveBooksGroupTours #BenBracken @LoveBooksGroup @robparkerauthor @EndeavourQuill

Have I got a treat for all of you today or what!  Rob Parker’s covers for his books, ‘A Wanted Man’, the first in the Ben Bracken series and ‘Morte Point’, the second book in the Ben Bracken series, both of which have been published in paperback and as eBooks by Endeavour Quill, have had a makeover and they look absolutely fabulous.

Together with a few other book bloggers I am helping to share them for Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group, the author and the publisher.

Right, are you ready to see them?

Was that a YES??

Are you sure???

Okay, I won’t keep you waiting any longer…….


Book Blurb

It’s down to fathers and fatherhood.

Ben Bracken, ex-soldier, has just got out of Strangeways.

Not by the front door.

With him, he has his ‘insurance policy’ – a bag of evidence that will guarantee his freedom, provided he can keep it safe – and he has money, carefully looked after by a friend, Jack Brooker.

Rejected by the army, disowned by his father, and any hopes of parenthood long since shattered, Ben has no anchors in his life.

No one to keep him steady.

No one to stop his cause…

The plan: to wreak justice on the man who had put him in prison in the first place.

Terry ‘The Turn-Up’ Masters, a nasty piece of work, whose crime organisation is based in London.

But before Ben can get started on his mission, another matter is brought to his attention: Jack’s father has been murdered and he will not rest until the killers are found.

Suddenly, Ben finds himself drawn in to helping Jack in his quest for revenge.

In the process, he descends into the fold of Manchester’s most notorious crime organisation – the Berg – the very people he wants to bring down…

This action-packed and fast-paced story will keep you turning the pages. Manchester is vividly portrayed as Ben races around the city seeking vengeance.


‘A Wanted Man’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-



Book Blurb

Morte Point is a wonderful spot for a holiday. Only that’s not why Ben Bracken is here.

He’s here because in this sleepy part of England, events are now unfolding that could cause death and mayhem, and not just for the unfortunates in the plane that has just crashed into the sea off the North Devon coast.

Sent to locate the source of the problem, ex-soldier and patriot Ben finds himself both hunter and hunted. But who is after him, and why do they want to capture him so desperately?

It’s only when, on the edge of physical and mental exhaustion, he meets a young Kosovan microbiologist, that he begins to understand the scale of the plot he has been drawn into, and the weight of responsibility that the authorities have placed on his shoulders. So it’s probably just as well they don’t know about his slightly shady past.

But then, as Ben is rapidly finding out, those in authority aren’t always what they seem, either.

Morte Point is an original, non-stop action tale with twists and turns that will keep you enthralled from start to finish, and a memorable lead character who is far from the typical action hero. Fans of Lee Child and Andy McNab will be hooked!


‘Morte Point’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-



Coming Soon….


About Rob Parker

Robert Parker is a married father of three, who lives in a village near Manchester, UK. The author of the Ben Bracken books A Wanted Man and Morte Point, and the standalone post-Brexit country-noir Crook’s Hollow, he enjoys a rural life on an old pig farm (now minus pigs), writing horrible things between school runs.

He writes full time, as well as organising and attending various author events across the UK – while boxing regularly for charity. Passionate about inspiring a love of the written word in young people, he spends a lot of time in schools across the North West, encouraging literacy, story-telling, creative-writing and how good old fashioned hard work tends to help good things happen.




Twitter – https://twitter.com/robparkerauthor


Twitter – https://twitter.com/EndeavourQuill

Blog Tour – ‘The Note’ by Andrew Barrett

Having thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Barrett’s last book, ‘Ledston Luck’, I was thrilled when I found out that he was publishing a short story and jumped at the chance of taking part in the blog tour. ‘The Note’ was released as an eBook on the 5th May.

Eddie Collins is at a murder scene. It’s raining, it’s late and he’s feeling uncomfortable. He feels like he is being watched but when he turns around no one is there.

Back at the office Eddie finds a death threat on his desk amongst his paperwork. Scary! He can’t think who could have sent it to him but he’s about to find out.

I don’t often read short stories but I so needed to know what Eddie Collins was getting up to. I really like the way Andrew Barrett writes and this book definitely did not disappoint. It was an exciting and gripping read and for a short story there was a lot to it. In ‘The Note’ you get to learn a little bit more about Eddie Collins and what he went through in the past. So descriptive is this story I could actually feel the atmosphere in Eddie Collin’s house. This is spine tingling stuff.

Eddie Collins as a character is great. He doesn’t take any nonsense from work colleagues and he stands his ground. I’m sure a lot of us wish we could be like that.  Perhaps Eddie could give us some lessons.

I really hope that Andrew Barrett writes more short stories as I think Eddie Collins has a lot more to reveal.

I give this book 5 out of 5.



‘The Note’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Note-Eddie-Collins-short-story-ebook/dp/B071RTLBZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494267964&sr=1-1&keywords=the+note+by+andrew+barrett

Website – http://www.andrew-barrett.co.uk

Facebook – AndrewBarrett.author

Twitter – @AndrewBarrettUK


Guest Post by Nicky Wells


Congratulations to Nicky Wells whose new book, ‘Dead Hope’ is out today.  I am reading it at the moment and I can tell you now that it’s good.  Nicky has written a guest post for my blog which I hope you all enjoy.


From the mundane to the sublime

It often takes people by surprise to hear that I’ve got eight published novels to my name. ‘That’s so cool,’ is the most common reaction. ‘How did you get into writing?’ The answer to that question is simple. I didn’t really get into writing. I’ve always written. I submitted my first masterpiece, a children’s book, to a publisher at about age eleven. Cue first rejection letter: while we publish books for children, we regrettably don’t publish books by children. Ah well.

That didn’t really stop me, although it altered my focus for a few decades while I went through school and university and eventually found myself a job writing informative books for business. And all the while, my first set of romance novels was begging to be written. When I quit my job to await the birth of my first child, the novels wouldn’t be silenced any longer, and Sophie’s Turn emerged first of all. That was twelve years ago, although it took another four years to bring the novel to market via Sapphire Star Publishing.

‘Eight books,’ I’m asked next. ‘Where do you get the ideas?’ Random flashes of inspiration, is the short answer to this one.

A chance remark from my husband parachuted the ‘rock star romance trilogy’ into my head. It went something like this. ‘Gosh, if Bon Jovi came knocking on our door one day, you’d be off for good.’ That night, I started drafting in my head… What if?

Spirits of Christmas came to me one January morning. I stumbled across ‘A Christmas Carol’ when I was tidying up and suddenly saw the whole story cast in rock stars. Fairy Tale of New York was a natural continuation of the story.

Fallen for Rock presented itself as a kind of antitheses to the rock star romance trilogy. What if my leading lady absolutely hated rock music? What events would have to transpire to make her fall for a rock star?

My romantic comedy, Seven Years Bad Sex, was conceived at an authors’ gala dinner. My table neighbour raised a glass and made a toast, but I was distracted. He admonished me, quite seriously, that not looking at someone while they’re toasting you gives you seven years bad sex. Ka-bang! The novel was in my head, just like that. I guess it’s a bit like dreaming—you get a whole movie’s worth of visuals inside a few seconds.

Dead Hope sprang on me whilst travelling into town on the bus. I was idly wondering about the lives and routines of the commuters when I suddenly thought, what if one of them is a celebrity in hiding? What if they’re only on the bus for bizarre and complicated reasons definitely worthy of a novel? In fact, Dead Hope was born under the working title of ‘Deep Cover’ but later morphed from a romance into a thriller, hence the darker title.

Speaking of bus, the idea for my next two novels—also thrillers—came to me not on the bus, but at the bus stop. (I should probably mention at this stage that as a non-driver, I am public-transport dependent and can frequently be seen hanging around the local bus shelter!). I’d had a spectacularly rough night with a poorly child and I felt pretty dead on my feet. Cue idea. By the time I got into town, I had the whole novel worked out in my head. By the time I arrived home six hours later, I had a whole alternative novel in my head. And those are the two novels I am writing right now.



Book Blurb

Cat Hope doesn’t want to go to prison. She needs a job, and she needs it fast: judge’s orders.

Kay Mahon, office worker by day and hacker by night, is on the run from a past life that he’d rather not remember.

When their paths cross, they discover that the night that derailed Cat’s future nineteen long years ago also changed the path of Kay’s life. Confused and intrigued, they begin to investigate the truth behind the deaths of the successful rock star couple Jackie and Adam Hope. Little do they know that their quest is putting Cat in grave danger.


About Nicky Wells

Nicky Wells writes captivating romance and breathtaking thrillers featuring famous (or infamous!) feisty heroes and extraordinary villains. DEAD HOPE is her eighth book and the first published novel in her “Wake Up Dead” themed thriller series, with the next two books scheduled for release through the course of 2017 and 2018. Nicky has previously published seven works of romantic fiction both with US publishing house, Sapphire Star Publishing, and independently.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. She loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s hopelessly addicted to reading crime novels by the truck load.



‘Dead Hope’ is available to buy from Amazon:-


UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Hope-thrilling-suspense-romance-ebook/dp/B06WD89J1V/

US:  https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Hope-thrilling-suspense-romance-ebook/dp/B06WD89J1V/


UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Hope-Nicky-Wells/dp/1542376157/

US:  https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Hope-Nicky-Wells/dp/1542376157/


Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas | Fallen for Rock | Fairy Tale in New York | Seven Years Bad Sex

Join Nicky: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest | Google+





‘Someone Is Watching’ by Joy Fielding

‘Someone Is Watching’ is out today in paperback and as an eBook, published by Zaffre Publishing. I was very kindly sent a copy to review.

Bailey Carpenter is young, confident and a very savvy private investigator. Or at least she was. A violent attack leaves her living in fear and crippled with paranoia. Bailey is a prisoner in her own home, totally unable to leave her Miami high-rise apartment.

Everywhere Bailey looks she sees her attacker, including in the apartment directly opposite her where she is sure someone is watching. Is her mind playing tricks on her or is something more sinister at play?

I have never read a book by Joy Fielding before. I hadn’t even heard of her! One of the joys of blogging and reviewing is that you get to discover loads of new authors including ones who have written lots of books. I thought ‘Someone Is Watching’ to be a gripping and exciting read. I liked the writing style and I think the author has portrayed what Bailey Carpenter went through after being raped really well. There was much more to this story than I thought there would be which I was pleased about as at first I feared that it would drag on a bit. I have to say I was really quite surprised and shocked by the ending.

I liked Bailey and hoped that she would be able to get on with life eventually. She naturally wanted to find her attacker and took some risks which could have landed her in a lot of trouble. Though I understood why she did what she did, I could have given her a good shake at times. I took an instant liking to her niece, Jade. She was wise beyond her years and was really good for Bailey.

‘Someone Is Watching’ is a psychological thriller which will keep you in suspense.  It will have you turning the pages.

Will I read any more books by Joy Fielding? I certainly hope to.

I give this book 4 out of 5.


‘Someone Is Watching’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-



Interview with Tara Moore

Author Picture

Tara Moore’s new book, ‘Fade to Dead’ was recently published by Urbane Publications and is the first of a series.  I asked Tara some questions about it.


I have been hearing good things about your new book.  Can you tell me a bit about it please?

Book Cover

My books generally originate with a character that pops into my head in the dead of night, setting up such a clamour that sleep becomes impossible. It’s annoying, but exciting too, and when that character is pretty much fully formed – for which read loud and insistent – I know there is a book to be written. Indeed, Jessica Wideacre, the lead character in Fade To Dead, arrived a full ten years ago. Back then, she just wasn’t the right fit for the contemporary novels I was working on, but I knew, beyond shadow of a doubt that, someday, she would emerge kicking and screaming into the light. Actually, kicking and screaming is something Jessica does rather well.

In Fade To Dead, she’s tasked with apprehending a vicious serial killer. Self-styled, The Director, he’s snatching young girls off the street to star in his movies. Armed with the perfect script, he’s got a role to die for. Literally. With a rising body count and clues scarcer than hens’ teeth, Jessica’s back is right up against the wall.  Time is not on her side. Neither is her boss, who doesn’t hesitate to turn the thumb screws. In the perfect storm, Jessica’s home life is also disintegrating around her ears. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that something or somebody subjected to sustained pressure will eventually crack. However, going to pieces is a luxury Jessica can’t afford. Whatever it takes, whatever the personal cost, she will not rest until The Director is behind bars.


How many books in the series are there going to be?

I’m leaning towards seven books, the second of which, Babyshoes, is currently underway. That may change, of course. I’m not the one calling the shots. Jessica is!


What made you decide to write a series?

As I was writing Fade To Dead, it became clear that both Jessica Wideacre and her team had a lot more to give. An expression you will hear time and time again amongst authors is that the characters became like family. I want to know ALL about them and ALL their secrets. I’m nosey like that.  Jessica, in particular, piques my interest. She’s prickly, wears her pride like armour, is sometimes misguided, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She’s definitely no angel and will bend the rules if circumstances warrant it. That said, her heart is in the right place and her sense of justice unshakeable.  I would want a Jessica in my corner (especially in a boxing ring!).


Was any research involved?

South London where Fade To Dead is set was my old stomping ground for twenty years and so I have a good knowledge of the area and its surrounds. It is also the place where my two sons were born. That alone, means it will always have a special place in my heart, Tooting Broadway in particular.

Regarding the police procedural aspects – (although Jessica is not a by-the-book copper) – I called on the knowledge of an ex policeman friend. As is the norm these days, I also consulted with the great and all powerful Wizard of Google, read lots of books and watched lots of films.


Can you relate to any of your characters?

Yes, to certain aspects, otherwise I could not write them convincingly. Sometimes there is the urge to make one or other the mouth-piece for one’s own favourite hobby horses. Luckily, they tend to arrive with their own set of characteristics, baggage and prejudices and I have to lead the horse back into the stable.


Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

I like to work on two projects at a time on the basis that if I get stuck on one, I can then move on to the other.  It works – sometimes!  When I get stuck on both, I simply go away and drink wine.  After the second bottle, I don’t much care.  As touched on above, I am currently working on Babyshoes, the second book in the Jessica Wideacre series, as well as a standalone thriller, Get Set, Kill! (working title).


When did you first start writing?

I’ve been writing for almost as long as I could hold a pen and join letters together. The whole of my teenage years were documented in cringe-making, angst-filled poetry, short stories and half-written novels. I yearned to become a writer and follow in my own ‘umble way those writers who so enriched my own life with their wonderful books. I learnt the power of the written word early and am still firmly under its spell.  Sometimes, I want to jump up and down like a lunatic shouting, “I am not a number, I am a writer.”  Then, I take my pills and go and lie down in a dark room until the feeling passes.


What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given about writing?

Give up and become a nun!  Clearly, I didn’t listen. The next bit of good advice was very simple – apply butt to chair, switch on computer and write! You may have the best idea in the world and the greatest plot, but if it remains trapped in your head it’s just another idea among millions.

A more useful piece of advice was to get the skeleton down first rather than edit and re-edit the same piece over and over. Seeing the book progress is a great psychological spur. You can go back, flesh it out and polish it to perfection after that. You cannot, however, work on something that has yet to be written.  Get it writ. Then, get it right!


Have you got any good advice for anyone wishing to get published?

I’m tempted to say, give up and become a nun. You get four square meals, don’t have to bother about bills, have a roof over your head and are supplied with a nice smart habit. What’s not to like? Barring the shoes! So, drawing a veil over that (see what I did there) here’s a list  – in no particular order – of what I think are non-negotiables for anyone wishing to get published.

  • A thick skin – rejection is not for the faint hearted and with a very few exceptions, you are bound to get knocked back and often with great regularity. A friend of mine has wallpapered her downstairs loo with rejection letters, which is really putting a positive spin on things. Last seen entering a convent.
  • Just because one hundred agents/publishers may reject your manuscript, it doesn’t mean that the 101st won’t leap on it with the fervour of one who has just found the Holy Grail.  Walk into any bookshop, look around, and remind yourself that thousands of books by new authors are published every year – you can bet your life most of those will have suffered their own share of knockbacks on the path to publication.
  • This probably should have been number one and it’s so obvious you would think there would be no need to say it – DO NOT DREAM of submitting your MS until it is as polished as it possibly can be. Have it proofread; have it edited, have it correctly formatted. That is part of your job. Yes, it costs money, but ask yourself how much you want this. Do without the new shoes, the weekend in Cornwall, the bottle of wine each night (okay, not that one!). Sacrifice whatever you need to give yourself the best possible chance of getting your manuscript picked up. Do not imagine that an agent/publisher will merrily discount the shortcomings on the basis that it is an earth-shattering story and it can all be sorted out later.  Your book is a product, just like any other product. If at first sight it presents as careless and unprofessional, the agent/publisher will never get around to discovering your amazing opus and it will be consigned unread to the reject pile. Think of it as the supermarket principle. No one wants the torn package, the rotten tomato, or the mouldy bread.
  • Speaking of submitting, do your research first. Arm yourself with the Writers And Artists Yearbook for a comprehensive list of agents and publishers in the UK or abroad. Another useful site is agenthunter.co.uk . For a modest sum, this gives you year-long access to an up-to-date list of literary agents. It lists the genres they represent, the kinds of books they particularly enjoy, and whether they are actively looking for submissions. There is also a wealth of free information available on the internet. Draw up a list of those agents/publishers who are most likely to be receptive to your book and get submitting. Always follow the submission guidelines.
  • Write the story you want to write and not what you think the market is looking for. There really is no guessing what is going to be popular in eighteen months/two years from now. Twilight spawned a rash of vampire novels and 50 Shades a rash (probably not the best use of the word here) of erotica novels. By the time you have produced your own Twilight or Fifty Shades, the vampires will have flown off into the twilight and the handcuffs will be gathering dust in the nation’s bedroom drawers.
  • Before you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard, before you write the first word, be crystal clear as to genre and target audience. This is a cardinal rule. It serves not only to keep you, yourself, focused, but also allows you to pitch clearly to an agent/publisher.” It’s a kind of Western/meets sci-fi/meets Alice Through The Looking Glass/with overtones of Pride And Prejudice, mixed with a splash of War And Peace, which will appeal to all ages,” simply won’t do. I have seen too many people fall at this hurdle and end up with an unpublishable manuscript. The agent/publisher needs to know exactly how to categorise and market a book. And, yes, some books do successfully straddle more than one genre, but the book should be able to fall comfortably into one or other.
  • Now here’s something that has become increasingly important in recent years; I’m talking marketing and social media. Every author nowadays is expected to have a significant online presence with a view to marketing and publicity. Websites, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest et al, as well as participation in reading/writing forums is essential. Some agents/publishers are now asking for these details in their submission requirements. Regardless of whether you are published by one of the Big Five publishers with a large marketing budget or a smaller independent publisher of lesser means, you will be expected to take an active role in marketing your book. Gone are the days when an author could squirrel themselves away in their lonely garret, popping out only to cash their royalty cheques. Techno/social media phobes, be warned, there is no place to run, no place to hide. See you on Facebook!
  • Finally, the old refrain, do not give up. There is a school of thought that there are only so many story lines. Perhaps, but you have a unique slant and a unique voice and only you can tell your story your way. That makes you an original.


Describe a day in your life.

I have recently discovered that I am a ‘pantser’, not to be confused with a ‘prancer’, which is some daft form of exercise where one gallops Shergar-like through a local park losing both calories and credibility (more of the latter, I suspect). Look it up on Youtube – it’s good for a laugh. Pantser. I’m guessing, derives from seat-of-the-pants. In other words, I do a lot of winging, writing mainly when inspiration hits and when deadlines loom. I wish I could say I get up at 6.00 a.m. every day and work tirelessly till the moon comes up, but that would be to paint a false picture. A nice picture, but utter rubbish. My muse is a slacker. She’s off shopping and surfing the internet when she should be at home whipping me into shape. So, really, there is no writing routine to my days, no magic formula. I write when the mood and inspiration is upon me. I am a fully paid up member of the Society of Pantsers (SAP). Simple as that.


Who are your favourite authors?

Too many to list, but here’s a few and an eclectic lot they are:

The Brontes (to whom I am always true)
Jane Austen
Charles Dickens
Maeve Binchy
Edna O’Brien
Stephen King
Harlen Coben
Philippa Gregory
Marian Keyes
Linwood Barclay
Catherine Cookson
Thomas Hardy
James Patterson
Patricia Cornwell
Walter Macken
John Steinbeck
William Golding
Robert Louis Stephenson
Mark Twain
George Elliott
Dean Koontz
Val McDermid
Sheila Flanagan
Sheila Quigley
Gaye Shortland

. . . and on to infinity


What do you prefer; long or short chapters?

I don’t have a preference. I find the type of book generally dictates the length of the chapters and I sometimes forget to stop. Just like now!


Thank you Sonya for allowing me the opportunity to bore on.



About Tara Moore

Tara Moore is a Dublin-born writer, now living in Ramsgate, Kent. She is the author of several books, including RSVP and Blue-Eyed Girl (Orion Publishing). Her first crime novel, Fade To Dead (Urbane Publications) was published in March 2016.



Website – http://www.taramoore.com

Twitter – @TaraMoore2

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tara.moore.7731


‘Fade to Dead’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/fade-to-dead/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fade-Dead-Tara-Moore/dp/1910692778/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1467025330&sr=1-1&keywords=fade+to+dead+tara+moore

Please note that ‘Fade to Dead’ can be downloaded for free today on Kindle via Amazon UK.


Blog Tour – ‘No Longer Safe’ by AJ Waines


‘No Longer Safe’ was published on the 4th February 2016.  Today it is my turn on this blog tour.  I have been given an extract but first here’s my review.

When Alice receives a totally unexpected invitation in the post from a friend who she hasn’t heard from in several years, she is keen to accept it.  Karen, who she was friendly with at University has invited her to come and stay with her in a remote cottage in Scotland.  Alice sees this as a chance to rekindle their lost friendship.  What she doesn’t expect though is two former students to also turn up, people she was never exactly friendly with.  This instantly changes everything.

As the snow keeps falling and the atmosphere in the cottage chills, Alice notices that Karen isn’t like how she used to be.  Then someone dies and she finds herself caught up in a tangled web with no way of escaping.  What happens next is for you to find out.

I really enjoyed reading ‘No Longer Safe’.  Well written, this was a very exciting story and one which was hard to put down especially later on.  I could feel the atmosphere and what it must have been like staying in the cottage with no way of getting away with all that snow.  I would have found it very claustrophobic I reckon.

To me it was obvious from the start that things weren’t what they seemed.  Things just didn’t add up.  Personally I think Alice jumped the gun a bit too quickly, but then I guess when you get an invitation out of the blue like that it is hard to resist.

I just knew there was something fishy about Karen and I didn’t trust her at all.  She wasn’t the nice person Alice thought she was.  I would never have guessed in a million years what she was planning though.  I wasn’t particularly keen on the other two people staying in the cottage.  I especially didn’t like Mark.

‘No Longer Safe’ will take you on a rollercoaster of a ride with a very unexpected and shocking end.  This is an ideal book for fans of psychological thrillers.

I give this book 4 out of 5.


It’s time now for an extract from the book.


No Longer Safe by AJ Waines
Chapter 1 (part only)

15 November
You were the last person I expected to hear from. After all this time. After all the cards and letters that had come back marked ‘return to sender’.

I drifted from the hall into the sitting room, carrying the envelope on both outstretched palms, like a piece of newly discovered treasure. One slice from Dad’s paper knife and it was open. At first I thought it was an invitation to a wedding, but there was no card; instead it was a letter wrapped around a glossy brochure of a castle nestling amongst snow-capped mountains.

It was your handwriting for certain. I looked straight down to the bottom of the second sheet to confirm it. Karen Morley. That’s when I had to sit down. My head was suddenly too big for my body and I couldn’t trust myself to read without feeling giddy. Was it really you? I checked the address – Brixton – in London-terms that meant you were practically on my doorstep. No distance at all.

I made my brain slow down so I could trail my eyes across the curves of your fountain pen. That was a novelty in itself – the personal touch – when nearly everything that landed on our doormat these days was typed. But that was very much your way of doing things, Karen – making people feel special, making that extra effort to show you cared. Would be wonderful to see you again…remembered your birthday…love to invite you…important time for me…

I read the first part again. It was an invitation, but not to a wedding. You were inviting me to a cottage in the Highlands – on holiday.

I slid from the arm of the sofa into the seat. Nearly six years without a word and now this. I tried to reach you after we finished Uni, of course I did. You were the one who stood out, the friend I thought I’d found for life. Once Uni was over, other associations tailed off and calls were replaced with Facebook updates with the odd round-robin email. But ours was different.

To be honest, I hadn’t expected you to fall away like you did, Karen. We’d established a real bond – or so I thought. Afterwards, you moved to Bristol while I moved back to London, but I was certain we’d visit each other; I’d travel one weekend, you’d travel the next. I had my heart set not only on keeping in touch, but staying best friends.

I did go to stay with you at the start – just once, remember? You replied to my emails for a while, sent a cheery card that first Christmas, but then, like the rest, you drifted away from me and I never heard from you again. Until now.

I held the letter under my nose, stupid I know, just to see if there was a trace of you left on the paper. Then I held it to my chest and allowed your presence to sink into me again. You were my inspiration, the person I wanted to be. I’d never felt that kind of admiration about anyone before. You brought everything alive and coaxed me out of my shell.

With no siblings and a small disjointed family, my only proper relationships were with my parents and I’d always found them impossible to talk to. It had never occurred to me to bare my deepest feelings to them. You were different. I knew straight away the first time I spoke to you. All my doubts and failings came tumbling out, because you made me feel so safe, without any sting of judgement. No one had ever offered that to me before. No one else ever seemed to notice when something was wrong. I’d spent most of my life going it alone, because I was awkward and shy and people didn’t know what to do with me.

I brought my hand to my mouth. It must be a mistake. You must have mixed me up with someone else and posted the invitation to the wrong person. That would explain it. This was too much to expect after almost six years of silence; it was too big a deal. An invitation to spend fourteen days together out of the blue, without any preamble? But then that was you, Karen – always surprising people, keeping us all on our toes.


About AJ Waines

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AJ Waines has sold over 100,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in 2015 with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany (Penguin Random House) and USA (audiobooks).

In 2015, she was featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and was ranked in the Top 20 UK authors on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Southampton, UK, with her husband. Visit her website and blog, or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


‘No Longer Safe’ is available to buy on Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ebooks-No-Longer-Safe-J-Waines-ebook/dp/B018UAAAW4


Blog Tour – ‘The Hiding Place’ by John Burley

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

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

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

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

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

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

I give this book 4 out of 5.




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

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

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

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


About the author

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



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


Interview with Trace Conger


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


Can you tell me a bit about your book please?

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

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

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


Did it take you long to write?       

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

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


Where do you get your ideas from?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


What are you working on now?

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

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

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


What made you want to start writing?

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


Describe a day in your life.

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

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


Where can readers connect with you?

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

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

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


About Trace Conger


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

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

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


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

UK – http://alturl.com/6toob

US – http://alturl.com/8phqx

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