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Archive for the tag “thriller”

Book Extract – ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’ by D.K. Hood

Bookouture are publishing some amazing books at the moment.  ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’, the first in the Detectives Kane and Alton series was released last month in paperback and as an eBook.  I have an extract from this book for all of you to read, but first here’s what it’s all about.

 

Book Blurb

Small town. Big crimes. Dark secrets.

A wave of panic rushed over her as her heart pounded hard enough to break her ribs. ‘Not a soul knows where I am,’ she thought as she took in the darkness around her.

Sheriff Jenna Alton and her deputy David Kane arrive in the town of Black Rock Falls, each hoping to escape their past for a new beginning. But instead, they find a town living in terror, and a killer on the loose…

Samantha Woodward was last seen driving towards Black Rock Falls to buy a house for her family. They haven’t heard from her since, and they fear for her life.

John Helms headed to town to watch a big game, but nobody knows if he made it or not. He was never seen again.

When a body is found, and Jenna’s life is threatened, she and her deputy become caught in a race against time to find a brutal killer, and to unlock the secret that lies at the dark heart of the town before it is too late…

Don’t Tell a Soul is a tense detective thriller that will have you guessing right up until the end, perfect for readers of Robert Dugoni, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott.

 

Extract

Prologue

Kill me. One blood-splattered cowboy boot crunched on the chipped cement floor inches away from his cheek. A sick chuckle followed by a nerve-shattering kick to broken ribs brought back the tremors. A lightning bolt of white-hot agony shot down his spine. In a desperate attempt to pull precious air through swollen lips, he spat blood and gasped precious air. Lungs burning with effort, he writhed like a worm in the dirt waiting for the death blow. His vision blurred and pain pierced his eyes. He had lost all sense of direction, and his tormentor’s peals of satanic laughter played tricks with his confused mind. Night had drifted into another day of endless torture. He tried to crawl away and puffed out a spray of red, stirring the straw on the dusty floor.

How long had it been since he walked into the stables? One day? Five days? Time had become the periods between attacks. He had suffered unimaginable torture from a man well skilled at inflicting misery, but he’d somehow survived. At first, he tried to reason with his captor and gave him the information he demanded, but he had fallen into a lunatic’s sadistic fantasy. He had had no time to retaliate, no time to bargain for his life. The first hammer blow knocked him senseless and he came out of oblivion into a world of pain, tied hand and foot at the mercy of a monster.

He hovered between reality and delusion. The mind is a wonderful organ, and his tried to compensate by taking him on trips to the beach with his family. At times, he floated into another dimension on marshmallow clouds but reality came crashing back with each round of torment. He soon discovered crying or begging for mercy made the sessions last longer. Biting back moans and pretending to be unconscious gave the wielder of pain no satisfaction.

Under him, the cold floor acted as a balm to his injuries, numbing the agony, and when darkness came, he could crawl beneath a pile of stinking straw. The fermenting horse dung kept him warm, kept him alive. He had spent the first hours in captivity gnawing at the ropes around his wrists, using his teeth to loosen the knot, but one swing of the lunatic’s hammer put paid to any hope of escape. A shadow passed over him. A boot pressed down on his spine, the heel twisting to part the vertebrae in bone-jarring agony. Sensation left his legs. He has paralyzed me. Determined not to give him the satisfaction of crying out, he remained silent. One more night naked on the freezing ground would finish him, and he would welcome the release.

A car engine hummed in the distance and Cowboy Boots bent over him, grabbed his legs, and dragged him into a stall. Straw tumbled over him, coating his eyelashes with dust. Through the golden strands, he peered out the open door and his heart pounded in anticipation. A police cruiser pulled up in the driveway and two uniformed officers climbed out. A female cop handed his captor a piece of paper. He edged forward on his elbows, dragging his useless legs behind him. Sucking in a deep breath, he screamed though his shredded lips but only a long whine escaped his throat. The woman glanced in his direction and he clawed at the ground, edging inch by inch from the stall. He had to get her attention, and fighting back waves of nausea, he tried again. “Aaaaarh.”

The police officer indicated toward the barn with her chin then moved in his direction, but Cowboy Boots blocked her way and shook his head. A grin spread across his face with the cunning of a gargoyle, evil personified. The cop spoke again but her muffled words dissipated in the wind and his tormentor’s attention moved back to the paper in his hand. Somehow, he had convinced her all was well. I have a chance to escape. He dug for his last ounce of strength and bucked to move forward one painful inch at a time.

I must crawl into the open. Spitting blood, he pushed sound through his shattered mouth. Hear me. Please hear me. “Aaaaarh.”

The woman flicked a look his way, squeezed Cowboy Boots’ arm in a comforting gesture then followed the other officer back to the car. Despair enveloped him, and all hope lost, he allowed the tears stinging his eyes to run down his cheeks. Footsteps came tapping on the cement floor like the ringing of a death knell. His cries for help had enraged the maniac.

“How dare you try to alert the cops? I own you.” Cowboy Boots spat a hot, slimy globule on his cheek. “It’s your fault the bitch scanned my yard. You are so gonna pay.”

Blows rained down on him, searing pain exploded in his head, and his vision blinked. A strange fog surrounded him and he embraced the peace of darkness.

~~~~~

Has this extract left you needing to read more?  If so, you can buy it from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2wESpf4

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vgQtva

 

About D.K. Hood

I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour, and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many wonderful vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories.

My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine tingling stories with you. D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.

Website – www.dkhood.com

 

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Blog Tour – ‘A Litany of Good Intentions’ by Andrew Harris

Congratulations to Andrew Harris whose new book ‘A Litany of Good Intentions’, the second of The Human Spirit Trilogy is out today, published by Faithful Hound Media.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour for which Andrew has written a guest post, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

A thrilling, powerful and important story of a discovery that could change the world, that some would stop at nothing to keep hidden… 

Leading oncologist Dr Hannah Siekierkowski and her partner Lawrence McGlynn are visiting New Delhi for a conference, and enjoying a well-earned break. By chance, they meet Lawrence’s old friend Toby and his passionate daughter Okki, a charity worker. She introduces them to the organisation Sanitation In Action, and its charismatic leader, the young Chinese philanthropist Jock Lim.

An end to world poverty is more than just a dream for Jock. Through his charity connections and his fiancée Nisha’s extraordinary scientific breakthrough, Jock has discovered a way to release 2.6 billion people from the imminent threat of death and disease. Caught up in their passion and energy, Hannah agrees to help present their project at a conference in Uppsala, Sweden.

But with the discovery of a dead body, they realise that someone will stop at nothing to prevent them from achieving Jock’s dream. As the clock ticks down to the conference, Hannah and Lawrence are drawn into a web of corporate greed, racial prejudice and a seething hatred of the new world order: a hatred that originates back in the Second World War, with even earlier links to Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

An urgent fast-paced thriller, about right and wrong, people versus profits, and the best of intentions pitted against the failings and greed of humanity, which fans of Robert Harris, John le Carre and Michael Cordy will love.

 

Guest Post

A Reluctant Celebrity

For most people, finding a cure for cancer or saving the world from poverty, would be a momentous achievement. For Dr Hannah Siekierkowski, CEO of New York’s own Klinkenhammer Foundation for Medical Research, it’s what she gets paid to do: just another day in the office.  Matthew Cox wanted to know how she was coping with so much media attention.   

“Wealth is like sea water: the more we drink, the thirstier we become. The same is true of fame… for most people anyway. But for me? I’ve got other things to do.” She quotes Arthur Schopenhauer like he was her great uncle. Maybe he was – the European connections run deep in her family history, according to the official bio I’ve received.

The coffees arrive with a fanfare. She waits while the table is being laid out. Restless fingers continue to drum on her stylish black skirt. She checks her watch for the third time in as many minutes.

Is this making you nervous, I ask? I offer to turn off the recorder. She shakes her head briefly, flashing a tepid smile before her attention is caught by something going on behind me.

“I didn’t think this place really existed,” she continues, back with me, at least for now, “yet it’s only a few blocks from our office. Even the cab driver didn’t believe me.”

I’d chosen the location for our interview carefully. My boss said Number Sixty Nine was classy and discreet. There was no signage on the outside. Entrance was by keypad through an unmarked door in the back alley. My best friend said it was an upmarket knocking shop for the rich and famous when they were in town….well, Getting It Off Broadway’s what he actually said.

“How was Scandinavia? Good Conference?” I tried to get her talking about her recent trip. Her A-list status was pretty high before the live TV appearance from Sweden. What we all witnessed that day had shaken the world and rocketed her into the media stratosphere.

“Look, I know you’ve got magazines to sell. I have a copy in my apartment. And I know why people are interested in what I’ve been doing. But do they really want to know what razors I shave my legs with or how I take my coffee?” she smiles, warmer this time, sips another mouthful of espresso. “This is good by the way, thank you.”

“OK, try this.” Her bio said she’d been brought up in Brooklyn so I went for the more direct approach. “It isn’t about you. Our readers want to meet the person behind the job title. Someone they can relate to. Someone they can believe in. Someone they can trust with their hard-earned cash.”

She goes quiet. I’ve finally got her full attention. “This article will be syndicated into the business press and picked up by the pharmaceutical companies, the trust funds, the healthcare corporations, the investment bankers. They want to know if you can make a fast buck for them. If you can maximise the return on their investment, as they say. That’s what this is all about.”

She leans back into the sofa and pulls the cuff down over her watch. She looks me full in the face for the first time. I feel her warmth wrapping itself around me. Somehow I’ve crossed a threshold. What will come next will be from the heart. From the heart of a woman who has saved so many hearts from a lifetime of misery and suffering.

“Making money has become an obsession at the expense of really matters.” She holds up her hand before I have a chance to speak, “and before you jump in, I know, I’m just as much a part of a money-making machine. Our medical research could not continue without it.”

Her hands are running over the soft chintzy material. She’s starting to relax.

“Lawrence was right. There never was an economic argument against slavery.” Any pretence at playing the media game has now gone. This was the person I really wanted to meet.

“People used to be more religious, more connected to a spiritual world of right and wrong, of good and evil. It wasn’t economics that led to the abolition of slavery. It was the moral argument. Nowadays, the moral argument has been washed away in a world of accountancy, financial investment, banking….a world of purely making money.”

Lawrence was the new man in her life. Her Head of Diabetes Research at the Foundation: he was also her partner, her live-in lover. Her colleagues told me she had taken fierce criticism over his appointment. Lawrence was under-qualified for the job. He’d had no previous medical training. Accusations of favouritism were thrown at her. It had been a challenging year, she pointed out.

“We have lost touch with our own humanity. People have become resources again to be bought and sold. Even in my own world of medical research, we are developing more and more profitable drugs to treat disease rather than trying to find out what causes the disease in the first place or how to prevent it.

She tells me that Alexander Fleming never profited out of the discovery of penicillin. The most important medical breakthrough in our history was his gift to world, she explains. Such an act of human kindness today would be unthinkable. What’s changed, she continues, is our attitude. For Fleming, it was about how he could save lives. Today is about me and how I can benefit financially, often at the expense of others.

“I can’t change the world. But I can lead by example. I feel very privileged to be who I am.” She checks her watch again. Times up. The ordeal is over. Her media obligation is fulfilled. We shake hands.

And one last question. What about the future? Her work in finding a cure for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes is reaching a tipping point, so her PR agency reports. Would she like to comment?

The smile says it all. I’ll have to wait. We’ll all have to wait until she is ready to tell us. She may be a reluctant celebrity but I’m hooked – she is one fascinating, enigmatic woman.

 

About Andrew Harris

Andrew Harris moved from the United Kingdom to New Zealand in 2008. He was born in Liverpool, survived a grammar school education and graduated with a first class honours degree from the University of Leeds. He had a successful career in people management before running his own executive search consultancy. In this capacity, he travelled extensively and has been privileged to meet some remarkable and influential characters around the world.

One of his passions is crime fiction. Andrew strongly believes this genre provides the perfect vehicle for stimulating debate and challenging the status quo. He writes thrillers with a social conscience, putting fictional characters in real life situations.

A Litany of Good Intentions is the second book in Andrew’s The Human Spirit Trilogy, a series of thrillers with a social conscience based on exciting scientific discoveries in medicine, physics and biology. The second book follows The C Clef, published in April 2016 and available on Amazon.

In The Human Spirit Trilogy, Andrew combines the factual world of science with pacey, action-packed thrillers to explore urgent questions faced by humanity. Why isn’t there a cure for cancer? How do we end world poverty? What will eradicate addiction? How are we going to feed 9 billion people without destroying our precious planet?

Each book is a standalone novel and features the main characters of Dr Hannah Siekierkowski, leading American oncologist and Lawrence McGlynn, British project manager.

 

‘A Litany of Good Intentions’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Litany-Intentions-Human-Spirit-Trilogy/dp/1911195492/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1507744547&sr=1-1

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Hell to Pay’ by Rachel Amphlett

I am more than just a little bit excited today.  In fact I am thrilled as I can at last reveal the cover for Rachel Amphlett’s new book, ‘Hell to Pay’, the fourth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series.  I swear the covers just keep getting better and better.

‘Hell to Pay’ is being published on the 16th November 2017 by Saxon Publishing and will be available in paperback, as an eBook and in audiobook.  Here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?

Hell to Pay is a gripping fast paced crime thriller, and the fourth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH

2. WILL TO LIVE

3. ONE TO WATCH

4. HELL TO PAY

A page-turning whodunit for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and James Patterson.

 

‘Hell to Pay’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hell-Pay-Detective-Hunter-Thriller/dp/0994547943/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506969985&sr=1-1&keywords=hell+to+pay+by+rachel+amphlett

 

Blog Tour – ‘The One That Got Away’ by Annabel Kantaria

‘The One That Got Away’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 21st September 2017 by HQ Stories.  I am delighted to be closing this blog tour along with Creative Misfit and I have for you a guest post by Annabel Kantaria.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Everyone has one. An ex you still think about. The one who makes you ask ‘what if’?

Fifteen years have passed since Stella and George last saw each other. But something makes Stella click ‘yes’ to the invite to her school reunion.

There’s still a spark between them, and although their relationship ended badly, they begin an affair.

But once someone gets you back, sometimes they’re never going to let you go again…

 

Guest Post

On the mixed emotions of school reunions

Hello Sonya, and thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour.

How do you feel about school reunions? Have you been to one? Avoided one?

‘The One That Got Away’ begins when a couple who used to date at school meet up at their fifteen-year school reunion. As the story begins, you see the protagonist, Stella, who’s now a successful businesswoman, taking a moment to gather her thoughts before she goes into the venue. She’s not sure if she wants to go: she knows that her ex-boyfriend George – who’s now a bit of a celebrity – will be there. They parted on bad terms when they were eighteen, and Stella hasn’t seen him since. In fact, as she sits in the taxi, she’s not sure why she clicked yes to the invitation in the first place. Her life’s sorted now… but then, there always was something special about him. He’s ‘the one that got away’, and a part of her wants to show him what a success she’s made of her life.

My own year group had a reunion a few years ago and I knew at once that I wanted to go: aside from hoping that no-one would remember the incident involving the music teacher and a scotch egg, I had no need to avoid anyone, and I’m very nosy, which is ultimately what it’s about, isn’t it? You want to see how everyone’s really turned out without the benefit of Instagram filters and Facetune. And, despite experiencing last-minute nerves just like Stella, I’m glad I went. It was fun to see everyone again. It was really good to meet them all as adults, and to realise that, no matter who was in the ‘in’ crowd and who was geeky back in the day, we’re all treading the same paths now: even the coolest kids are just pretty normal adults dealing with partners, families, jobs and aging parents.

But, more than that, it was wonderful to meet up with people with whom I have a shared past. I realised that night that, whether or not you liked them at school, you have a unique bond with your classmates. No matter where you all live and what you do now, there’s a pot of really special memories that you can share only with them. Memories of teachers, of catch-phrases and of silly things that happened in the classroom – that time you projectile-vomited on the biology teacher’s shoes / set fire to your pencil case with a bunsen burner / fell flat on your face collecting an award in assembly – no-one else remembers these things and it’s fun to reminisce.

So, yes, for me, the reunion was a good thing, but for my fictitious Stella, the reunion’s a catalyst that kicks off a chain of increasingly dark events. I’d go as far to say that, if you’ve got a reunion coming up – and especially if your ex will be there – you might want to save reading ‘The One That Got Away’ until after you’ve been!

 

About Annabel Kantaria

Annabel Kantaria is a British journalist and columnist who’s written prolifically for publications in the UK and the Middle East. She lives in Dubai with her husband and two children. Her debut novel, Coming Home, won the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the 2013 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Her second novel, The Disappearance, was published in Spring 2016.

 

Links

‘The One That Got Away’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-That-Got-Away-ebook/dp/B01NCMVD8U/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1506016748&sr=1-2

Website – http://annabelkantaria.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bellakay

Instagram – http://instagram.com/dubaipix

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Fifty Years of Fear’ by Ross Greenwood

I am absolutely thrilled to be revealing the cover for Ross Greenwood’s new book.  I totally love it and think that it’s really eye catching.  ‘Fifty Years of Fear’ is being published on the 1st October 2017 and to coincide with its release there will be a blog tour starting on the same day.  All very exciting!  In the meantime though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

A childhood accident robs Vincent of his memories, causing him to become sensitive and anxious around others. His differences attract bullies, and he comes to rely heavily on the support of his family.

After the devastating loss of his parents, a remarkable woman teaches him to embrace life, and, little by little, he realises the world is far more forgiving than he imagined. When fragments of his memory return, he begins to unravel his past.

Who was his mother? What kind of man was his brother, Frank? And why does death surround him?

Fate is cruel. History is dark. Things are not as they seem.

Perhaps he should’ve stayed at home.

 

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 soon, Fifty Years of Fear, will be out. All his books are thought provoking, and told with a sense of humour.

Ross Greenwood hopes you enjoy reading them.

 

Links

‘Fifty Years of Fear’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fifty-Years-Fear-Ross-Greenwood-ebook/dp/B075FFQVK9/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504811305&sr=1-1&keywords=fifty+years+of+fear

Website – http://www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

 

Blog Tour – ‘Last Stop Tokyo’ by James Buckler

‘Last Stop Tokyo’ is James Buckler’s debut novel. It is being published on the 24th August 2017 in hardback and as an eBook by Doubleday and Transworld Digital. The lovely Anne Cater invited me to participate in this blog tour and I would like to say thank you for my review copy.

Alex thought running away from all his mistakes would make everything better. He decides to move to Tokyo where he’ll have a new life.

The bright lights and dark corners of this alien and fascinating city intoxicate Alex and he finds himself transfixed. Not long after he arrives in Tokyo, Alex meets the enigmatic and alluring Naoko. He doesn’t realise it at the time but the peace he is after is about to slip even further from his grasp.

Alex is about to discover that there’s no such thing as hitting rock bottom. Things could get even worse.

Wow! Are you sure this is really a debut novel? It was absolutely fantastic and had me totally hooked. This was such an exciting and fast-paced read and I felt as if I had come off a rollercoaster by the end of it. I loved the author’s writing style and the storyline. I also enjoyed reading about the events which led to Alex deciding to make a new life for himself.

It was interesting reading about Tokyo. Life there seemed to go on non-stop and it sounded like a very modern city. This book is such a good example of being able to travel to another country without actually leaving your seat.

Out of all the characters Alex was my favourite. He thought starting off afresh in another country would solve his problems but unfortunately things weren’t that simple. He found himself in an extremely difficult situation and one that to me seemed impossible to get out of. I didn’t really know what to make of Naoko. She appeared to be nice at first, but there was just something about her. I admired her though for her gutsiness.

I would never have guessed how the story was going to end and I was left quite shocked. I didn’t know who could be trusted anymore.

‘Last Stop Tokyo’ is not a story I will forget in a hurry. It is definitely going to be on my list of favourite books of the year. I am looking forward to more from James Buckler.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About James Buckler


James Buckler grew up in the South West of England and currently lives in London. In the past he lived in America and Japan, where he worked as an English teacher, providing inspiration for Last Stop Tokyo. He studied Film at the University of Westminster and worked in film & TV for many years, most notably as a post-production specialist for MTV and BBC Films. Last Stop Tokyo is his debut novel.

 

‘Last Stop Tokyo’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Stop-Tokyo-James-Buckler/dp/0857524968/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1503130393&sr=1-2

 

Blog Tour – ‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowski

‘Six Stories’ is Matt Wesolowski’s first crime novel. It was released as an eBook last December by Orenda Books and was published in paperback on the 15th March 2017. I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to say thank you for my copy of ‘Six Stories’ to review.

In 1996 during a trip to Scarclaw Fell, Tom Jeffries, a member of a group called The Rangers disappeared under mysterious circumstances. A year later his body was discovered. Was he murdered or was it an accident?

It’s now 2017, twenty years since the body was discovered. It seems someone isn’t convinced that Tom Jeffries died due to accidental death. Scott King is an elusive investigative journalist whose podcasts examine complicated cases. His concealed identity has made him something of a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death.

I so enjoyed reading ‘Six Stories’. Never before have I come across a book like this. I really liked Matt Wesolowski’s style of writing. He has a way of drawing you into the story and then just like that he delivers a shocker when you least expect it. I thought the idea of the podcasts was totally wonderful and unique.

The podcasts really came to life and it felt as if I was actually listening to them rather than reading them. I guess that’s what the author’s aim was and it certainly worked. The further in I got the more fascinated I was. The interviews were a real eye opener and I learnt a lot about the various characters. I found myself trying to work out who if anyone was responsible for Tom Jeffries death. I think the podcasts definitely opened up a can of worms and I would love to have known what if anything happened next.

‘Six Stories’ has been beautifully written. It is a thought provoking, haunting and thrilling read which will keep you guessing. This could well be one of my favourite books of the year.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Matt Wesolowski


Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. He is currently working on his second crime novel Ashes, which involves black metal and Icelandic sorcery.

 

‘Six Stories’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Six-Stories-Matt-Wesolowski/dp/1910633623/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490721953&sr=1-1&keywords=six+stories

 

Extract from ‘The Prague Ultimatum’ by James Silvester

It’s time now for a taster from ‘The Prague Ultimatum’.  I hope you all enjoy it.

 

Book Blurb

Fear stalks the newly reunified Czechoslovakia, the terror wrought by international terrorism and violent extremists overshadowing the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary of the Prague Spring, and threatening to burn the country in its wake.

Into this arena steps Captain Lincoln Stone, a disgraced British officer, humiliatingly scapegoated by his government for his role in the disastrous on-going Syrian Conflict. Plucked from his purgatory, Stone is teased with exoneration by British Foreign Secretary Jonathan Greyson, in return for his ‘off the books’ aid of Czechoslovak Prime Minister, Miroslava Svobodova. Stone, resentful of his treatment and determined to prove himself, is driven by deeper motives than the casual platitudes of his superiors, and finds himself at the epicentre as the country descends into chaos.

Cut off from the international community and isolated in the face of an expansionist Russia, and with the sinister Institute for European Harmony ever present behind the scenes, Czechoslovakia’s fate, and that of the world, hangs on the outcome to the Prague Ultimatum.

 

Extract

Extract from ‘The Prague Ultimatum’

 

Guest Post by James Silvester

I would like to welcome James Silvester back to my blog.  His new book, ‘The Prague Ultimatum’ is out on the 13th April.  James has written a guest post for this event.

~~~~~

A huge thanks firstly to Sonya for kindly allowing me back onto her site, and thanks also to Matthew at Urbane Publications for his continuing confidence in me.

Getting the nod from your publisher that he wants to commission your second book and that you need to start work is like downing a cocktail composed of wildly different elements.

First is the elation; sheer and complete. The idea that your work has been well received and the bloke you’ve been working so hard to impress has enough belief in your ability to invest in a future offering, brings with it a joy of a kind all its own. But shortly afterwards, once that has sunk in, comes the clawing spectre of self-doubt along with all its nagging chums. Whereas your first book might well have been written over several years, without deadlines or pressures other than those self-imposed, this time it’s a different kettle of fish. Now there is someone investing in you, both with money and time, and along with the investment comes expectation, deadlines and the deeply ingrained worry that you’re not really up to this…

Of course, you ultimately pull yourself together and crack on, but there’s no denying that some of the challenges are just that little bit harder this time; and this is nowhere more apparent than when designing your new characters. My second book, The Prague Ultimatum, serves as a sequel to 2015’s Escape To Perdition, although not so blindly that it can’t be read as a stand-alone story. But even though a number of characters make return appearances, the focus is on someone entirely new, and putting the pieces of the new protagonist together was one of the most challenging aspects of the entire process.

While in some respects it would be nice to slip back into writing for a familiar and established character, one for whom you have already developed a back story, motivations and relationships, in this case (all spoilers aside) it simply wasn’t an option. This new book required a new Lead, someone who could view the landscape with fresh eyes, less attuned to the political intricacies and moral ambiguities than Peter Lowe, the anti-hero of Escape To Perdition. I needed someone who could fill the role of a Stranger in a Strange Land, someone above the political intrigue and dark deeds that typify the espionage genre, and desperate to remain so. Rather than a repentant spy, ashamed of himself and his work in an unseen and murderous underworld, the story called for an honourable character, used to fighting his battles in more open territory; unwilling to be corrupted by the seedy world he has been thrust into, but slowly being overpowered by it nonetheless.

One of the questions I was often asked after my first book was how much of ‘me’ was there in the main character, and the truth is a sometimes disappointing ‘bits and pieces.’ Peter Lowe certainly shares my tastes in sixties music and fashion, and I can certainly give in to the occasional foul mood and desire for the odd tipple, but the character wasn’t intended as some sort of literary reflection. Besides which, I’m not sure a thriller about a balding writer with an ever expanding waistline, would make for good reading… If I’m honest, I’m guilty of peppering several characters with a few more ‘bits and pieces’ of myself and that’s true as well of The Prague Ultimatum’s chief protagonist, Captain Lincoln Stone, though I hope not in a self-serving or obtrusive way.

Though the story is fictional, it draws heavily on the political realities of today’s world, with the tensions and crises that occupy it very much present, whether in the form of international terrorism, populism or political instability. As must we all, Stone has little choice but to adapt to these tensions if he is to survive and move on, and he does so by falling back on his military training and experience. But as precarious as the international situation fast becomes, nothing is as important to Stone as the personal crisis he daily struggles with, having been unfairly scapegoated by his government and desperate to prove his honour to the world, and more importantly, to his son.

Putting together a new cast of characters is always a challenge; trying to keep them fresh and engaging enough to hold the reader’s interest and carry the story often feels a somewhat gargantuan task. The rewards though, when reading a kind review or listening to people’s reactions to characters, speak for themselves, and hard though it sometimes it, it’s a challenge I hope I never tire of.

And while Captain Stone fast becomes an essential cog in the mix, I hope his reactions and motivations reflect those of a good many readers in coming to terms with the issues of the day.

 

Links

‘The Prague Ultimatum’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-prague-ultimatum/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prague-Ultimatum-James-Silvester/dp/1911331388/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489603671&sr=1-1&keywords=the+prague+ultimatum

‘Escape to Perdition’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/escape-to-perdition/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Escape-Perdition-Could-nation-himself-ebook/dp/B01GW71G70/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489603846&sr=1-2

Twitter – @JamesSilvester

 

Interview with Richard Whittle

I’m delighted to have Richard Whittle on my blog.  His new book, ‘The Man Who Played Trains’ is being published next month.  I asked Richard some questions.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘The Man Who Played Trains’ please?

The Man Who Played Trains is a crime novel and thriller in which two stories, apparently separate, run side by side. In one, mining engineer John Spargo is distraught when his mother is attacked in her home and later dies from her injuries. In the other, wartime U-boat captain Theodor Volker, on leave after a gruelling mission, is accosted by a stranger while waiting for a train to take him to the south of Germany to see his young son.

Though the stories appear to be separate, the reader gradually becomes aware of connections between them. John Spargo, desperate to understand who murdered his mother, and why, finds a link between his late mine-manager father’s wartime mine and the wreck of a U-boat found off the Scottish coast. The connection deepens when he discovers the diaries of the U-Boat captain and a wartime mission to spirit Göring to safety, along with a fortune in stolen art.

A mysterious consortium contacts John to say they have abducted his daughter, Jez. Unless he can meet their unreasonable demands, her life is at risk.

 

When I first saw the cover I was fascinated by it and I still am.  Where do those steps lead to?

The Man Who Played Trains has two main characters. Both are ‘underground men’. John Spargo is a mining engineer. The steps might well represent John Spargo about to come out from darkness in so many different ways. Also, perhaps, Theodor Volker emerging from a basement in Berlin. Or, possibly, from Hermann Göring’s Carinhall bunker…

 

Where did you get the idea for this book from?

This is a difficult one, and quite personal. Before WW2 my mother had a German boyfriend, the son of a ship’s captain. Just before the outbreak of war her father banned her from seeing him. I believe the boyfriend died in the war. I have often wondered what would have happened had my mother married that first boyfriend (apart from me being years older than I am now!). Having said all that, The Man Who Played Trains is not in the least bit autobiographical. Nor is it a war story. You asked me where I got the idea from. You will have to read the book to find out how that little bit of history fits the plot.

 

How long did it take you to write?

Several years ago, before setting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – to write The Man Who Played Trains, I did almost a year of background research. Then, after drafting around 50,000 words, I put it aside and started another novel, returning to The Man Who Played Trains some months later. It is difficult to say how long it took to write, as I rewrote it at least twice.

I always have two or three novels in the pipeline, revisiting them every few months to add chapters and to revise and rewrite. Writing this way has advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that I seldom get ‘writers’ block’. Almost invariably, in the intervening months, the next part of the set-aside novel has developed in my head. Another advantage is that when I restart, I have to read, and therefore edit, everything that I have written so far – though some would call that a disadvantage. Happily, it seems to work for me.

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

I am always in my characters’ heads. I have to be, it is the only way I can see what they see, think what they think, and say what they say. I try to make my lead characters ‘victims of circumstance’, who become entangled in situations not of their own making. From a professional point of view I can relate to John Spargo: as a geologist and engineer I spent time working underground, in mines, tunnels and caverns.

 

Do you have a favourite place where you do your writing?

Always in coffee shops, seldom at home. I have a favourite café in a small, family-run garden centre south of Edinburgh, where they leave me alone and let me write.

 

Would you say that you are a people watcher?

Not really. I am more of a people rememberer. I have been a policeman, a diesel engine tester, a mature student, an engineering geologist and director. I can recall situations, individuals and conversations, even from way back. It is rather like having my own Aladdin’s Cave.

 

What has your experience of getting published been like?

The Man Who Played Trains will be published by Urbane Publications this April. Matthew Smith and his staff at Urbane have been a godsend because they have taken away the pressure I felt when I self-published my first novel, Playpits Park, with Amazon. For that novel I formatted the whole book, I even designed the cover. My previous attempts to find a publisher had elicited responses such as this does not fit with our current list. Or, more often, it is difficult to place your work in any genre…

 

Will there be any more books?

Undoubtedly. I am writing two others. In no way are they alike. Depending on my mood, I bounce between them. Is that weird? Maybe, but it works for me.

 

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

Just keep writing! – advice given to me by Ian Rankin when he presented me with a prize when I was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

Kate Atkinson, Michael Connelly, Graham Greene, John Grisham, Robert Harris, Shona Maclean, Peter May, Ian Rankin. Note the alphabetical order, not order of preference.

 

Do you actually like trains?

I have always been interested in engines of all kinds. Like many boys of my generation I was a ‘train spotter’, standing on railway station platforms, ticking off engine numbers in a small book. Modern diesel and electric trains do not appeal to me in the same way.

Despite my novel’s title, railways play a very small part in the story, though the small part they play is crucial to the plot. Also, the man who played trains is not John Spargo…

 

Links

Amazon: https://goo.gl/a4lWwY

Waterstones: https://goo.gl/8riR5d

Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/richard-whittle/

Richard Whittle’s blog:  https://playpitspark.wordpress.com/

Richard’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/richard1whittle

 

 

 

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