Why We Write – Guest post from V.M. Giambanco


Today I am VERY pleased to welcome V M Giambanco, author of the really terrific Alice Madison series, telling us why she writes. A review of the latest novel will be coming up on the blog soon but these come highly recommended from me – the first in the series is The Gift of Darkness – start there!

Why We Write

I don’t remember a time when – one way or the other – I wasn’t telling stories. Before I could read and write I would make up whole epic sagas for my toys to distract myself from the boredom of an enforced afternoon nap – it’s the only memory I have of being three years old but it’s a strong one.

Once I could read I read everything I could lay my hands on and was always given books as a favourite gift – fairy tales became Young Adult fiction then a long stint of Sci-Fi and Classics before safely landing on general fiction and Crime. And I don’t remember anyone ever telling me that I should not read a particular book because it was written for grown-ups. I just hopped from Jack London to Isaac Asimov to PG Wodehouse to John Steinbeck.

As a child, stories were something I could live inside and they moulded the world around me to such a degree that when I returned home from watching a film, I would continue the story from the point when the film had left the characters because I wanted to know what would happen to them next and wanted to be part of it – more often than not I changed the story and gave it a completely different ending.

Today I write crime fiction but that is almost incidental. I’m interested in writing stories that explore extreme situations and how people deal with these situations and keep, or lose, their humanity. These kinds of questions are generally answered in the crime fiction field, and so that’s where I have pitched my tent.

I still read all kinds of books, though mostly but not exclusively fiction, and in the last few weeks I’ve read two books by Patrick Ness, Nathan Filer’s ‘The Shock Of The Fall’, Charlotte Mendelson’s ‘Almost English’ and Louise Penny’s ‘The Nature Of The Beast’, and of these only the last one could be considered crime. I’m also listening to Jane Austen on audiobooks – as a treat – because I love the rhythm of the language and the dialogue.

When I was working on my first novel, ‘The Gift Of Darkness’, about a young woman who has recently joined the Homicide Unit in Seattle – a town in the U.S. Pacific Northwest – I had many influences but without a doubt Thomas Harris’s ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’ was the most important, and in many ways it still sets the bar. Thomas Harris used to be a crime reporter before he became an author and, especially in ‘Red Dragon’ and ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’, he wrote with an elegant simplicity that I found incredibly appealing: he constructed very complex characters, built an utterly compelling story and created a world that stayed with me long after I finished the books. In ‘Red Dragon’ Harris constructed an unforgettable villain – yes, I know everyone loves Lecter but I think Francis Dolarhyde is just as intriguing. With an amazing sleight of hand Harris managed to turn a monster into a human being and back into a monster right in front of our eyes. Dolarhyde had been a neglected and abused little boy who had grown up to become a serial killer and yet, thanks to Harris’s skill, we could still see him as lonely and vulnerable.

When I start writing a new book I always re-read a bit of Thomas Harris to remind myself of just how high the bar is, and when – a few weeks ago – I had lost my battered copy somewhere in the house, there were some unhappy days until it was recovered.

There is a huge pleasure in a story well told, from the tiny anecdote to the rambling epic and for me there is no greater delight than building a whole world of people and places and colours and weather and then let the story take over. It goes back to living in a cave and telling stories – often scary stories – around the fire. We have changed, sure, but not that much.

Find out more here:  http://www.vmgiambanco.com/

Follow Valentina on Twitter herehttps://twitter.com/vm_giambanco

Purchase Informationhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/V.M.-Giambanco/e/B00CWAXVFW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1444373815&sr=1-1

Happy Reading Folks!

Defiant Unto Death by David Gilman. Extract.


Today I am pleased to host an extract from “Defiant Unto Death” by David Gilman as part of the blog tour.

About the book:

The Black Prince has launched a devastating raid deep into France, laying waste to everything in his path. In response, the French have mustered an army that outnumbers the English forces 10 to 1 and and are determined to drive their hated foe from the land after years of bloody conquest.

Sir Thomas Blackstone, the British archer knighted on the field of Crecy, has used the intervening years to forge his own war band and has hacked out his own fiefdom in central France. He knows the English are outnumbered, outmanoeuvred and exhausted… but that will not stop him from fighting his way to one of history’s greatest military victories.

But the field of battle is not only arena in which Blackstone will have to fight for his life… Although Poitiers was a great victory for the English its aftermath will cost Blackstone dear.

Here is a taster for you:

‘Throw!’ Blackstone hissed.

Ropes snaked up into the darkness, their iron claws biting into the top of the wooden wall. Twenty men, six ropes. Blackstone put his weight against one of them and tested its strength and then without another word began to climb hand over hand as his feet tried to find some grip on the slimy wood. Others were scrambling on either side of him, grunting with effort, overcoming the protests of stiff muscles and chilled bodies. Blackstone was first over the wall, crouching, lowering the outline of his body against the dark sky. The dull glow of flickering torches came from the four corners of the courtyard. The stronghold was little more than a glorified earthwork that had been fortified over the years, a piecemeal strengthening as demands dictated. Across the open expanse on the far side from where Blackstone and his men now stood the gatehouse silhouette reared up. A horse whinnied from a stable block. The men froze. Had the breeze carried their scent? A few muted voices came from one of the buildings below the wall. A dormitory door opened; torchlight flickered as a soldier stepped out and walked a few yards to another building – the latrines.

Light up the night, boy! Now!

When the soldier returned he would be facing directly where Blackstone and his men now crouched. No matter how low they tried to keep below the rampart, the shape of the wall would change and living in a garrison gave a man an animal sense of something altered.

The door opened. They could see the man’s face plainly now.

Burn it, Guillaume! Don’t wait for the damned bell! Light the oil!

Coiled in tension the men dared not move. Blackstone sensed Meulon turn to face him, waiting for his lord’s command. Better to get down into the courtyard than be caught on the wall. Was there a chance they could run for the gatehouse and seize it? Blackstone wondered, his mind weighing the odds of survival rather than the chance of success.

Better to fight and find out.

And then the night sky flared into a curtain of fire.

Find out more here:  http://www.davidgilman.com/

Follow David on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/davidgilmanuk

Purchase Information:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1781851905/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738


Tour banner DAVID GILMAN  for JENNY



Liz Currently Loves….Blood Stream by Luca Veste


Publication Date: 22nd October 2015 from Simon and Schuster

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Social media stars Chloe Morrison and Joe Hooper seem to have it all – until their bodies are found following an anonymous phone call to their high-profile agent. Tied and bound to chairs facing each other, their violent deaths cause a media scrum to descend on Liverpool, with DI David Murphy and DS Laura Rossi assigned to the case.
Murphy is dismissive, but the media pressure intensifies when another couple is found in the same manner as the first. Only this time the killer has left a message. A link to a private video on the internet, and the words ‘Nothing stays secret’. It quickly becomes clear that more people will die; that the killer believes secrets and lies within relationships should have deadly consequences …

So the third novel from Luca Veste then and each one has been an absolute joy for crime fiction fans – Blood Stream is no exception to that, I completely devoured this in two sittings, an extremely addictive and excellent read.

Two reality tv stars are discovered dead and Murphy and Rossi are under intense media scrutiny as they attempt to unravel what happened. When more couples turn up the same way, things only get more difficult. Meanwhile Rossi is in a new relationship and Murphy is still struggling to mend his own friendships after the emotive events of The Dying Place.

I just love the way Luca Veste writes – an involving, immersive style that just simply hooks you – never fails to give you a starting line that pretty much ensures you are not going to want to put the darn book down and then continuing in that vein all the way through. Gritty but not untamed there is a great authenticity to the feeling of it and the plot fairly rockets along taking you on a journey into some dark and twisted places.

Murphy and Rossi are fast becoming one of my favourite crime duo’s – their relationship is well imagined and very compelling, both have an intriguing and impressively drawn background that just adds a great deal of depth to each of the individual crime stories being told.

In Blood Stream there is a really good mix of continuing the main character arcs and giving us a self contained mystery – the vagaries of social media are put under the spotlight and it’s really quite scary stuff in places. There are some edge of the seat moments, intuitively written to give maximum effect, this really is crime fiction at its very best. Impressive.

Highly Recommended.

Find out more here: http://lucaveste.com/

Follow Luca on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LucaVeste

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloodstream-Luca-Veste/dp/1471141373/ref=tmm_pap_title_0/276-1358397-8242747

Also Available:



Happy Reading Folks!

The Good Neighbour by Beth Miller. Author Interview and Review


Today I am VERY pleased to welcome Beth Miller to the blog answering some questions about her psychological thriller come family drama – The Good Neighour.

My standard opening question as it is always fascinating – what originally inspired the story told in the novel?

This is a story that doesn’t reflect well on me. I had been reading in the local paper about a woman whose child was ill, and she (the mum) was doing lots of amazing fund-raising activities. And I thought, what if she’s pretending, to get attention, and her kid’s not really ill at all? I know, I’m not a nice person, right? Anyway that gave me the initial idea for the story. I do often go round thinking badly of people, I can’t help it.

Cath is an extremely intriguing character – but she gets away with a lot, especially with the medical profession – in reality do you think she would have been stopped earlier?

Possibly. But you hear enough crazy stories to make you think that if you have enough confidence and chutzpah, you can get away with a lot before the questions start. I remember when I was at university the local hospital had a scandal when it turned out that one of its doctors wasn’t medically trained at all! It was just some guy who wandered in, put on a white coat, and no-one dared to challenge him. Rather worrying, but I reckon these sort of things happen more often than we know. Cath, being clued in to how the medical profession works, would have a good chance of manipulating various situations without being spotted.

There are two very different women taking front and centre here – tell me a little about developing Minette – she is very accepting at first of Cath’s oddities.

Minette is young, and rather vulnerable. Having been treated badly by the previous neighbours, she is ready to be over-friendly with whoever moves in, as long as they have a nice word for her. So when Cath’s so kind, Minette falls head-over-heels into friendship with her. I know that when my children were very little, I was quite fragile. Someone looking at me the wrong way could upset me for days, whereas someone being vaguely nice would make my week. I was as sensitive as if I had lost a layer of skin, and my judgement wasn’t exactly razor-sharp. That’s what I think is going on with Minette. If you then add in that she’s a bit isolated, and sleep-deprived, then you’ve got someone who isn’t going to be that quick at noticing warning signs.

Did you have more than one possible ending in mind? If so what made you go with the ultimate “resolution”?

The original ending was completely different from the final one. It was not a particularly pleasant ending, and when I read the whole thing through, just before sending it off to the publishers, I felt miserable. I knew it was too depressing to work. I didn’t want to punish a character who had really only been guilty of lust. What sort of message would that send our lusty young people, eh? It was too harsh. Though funnily enough, only today a reader contacted me to say they wished it had a less happy ending! I might send them the original last few pages.

Do you have one novel that you recommend to everyone?

I often recommend Laurie Colwin’s Another Marvelous Thing; everyone who reads it loves it. I think it’s an amazing, original and wonderfully-written book. It’s also super-readable, and has my favourite first line:

My wife is precise, elegant, and well-dressed, but the sloppiness of my mistress knows few bounds.

What is next for you? (If you are allowed to say)

Yes, I have no secrets from you, Liz! I am writing my third novel (working title, The Privacy Room), which is a love story about a woman who leads a double life. I’m doing a lot of teaching and book coaching, which I really enjoy. And I’m looking forward to the publication in October of my non-fiction book, For The Love of The Archers, which was such fun to write.

Thank you!

No, thank YOU!

My review:


Publication Date: Available Now from Randomhouse/Ebury

Source: Netgalley

Everyone has secrets. How far will you go to protect yours?

After living next to the neighbours from hell, Minette is overjoyed when Cath and her two children move in next door. Cath soon becomes her confidante, a kindred spirit, even her daughter’s babysitter.

But Cath keeps herself unusually guarded and is reluctant to speak of her past. And when Minette witnesses something unspeakable, she begins to question whether she really knows her new friend at all…

The Good Neighbour is a multi layered family drama with a dark underbelly, looking at one little street community and focusing on the new arrival and her relationship with those around her.

Minette is extraordinarily happy to have a new next door neighbour – her relationship with the previous occupants had been fraught and confrontational and as a new Mum, Minette already had enough on her plate. At first Cath seems like the perfect replacement, friendly, willing to help with the baby and someone Minette can rely on. But as time goes on, she realises that something is not QUITE right about Cath…

It was very easy to get drawn in to this story – two equally fascinating but very different women, both of whom annoyed the heck out of me at times, Minette especially in the beginning when she is accepting everything Cath says and does at face value. At the same time she is drawn into a situation that could destroy her own family, seriously there were times when I wanted to slap her.

We hear from both Cath and Minette and it quickly becomes clear that Cath is, well to put it mildly, a bit odd and definitely hiding secrets. In the midst of all this we also hear from Davey, Cath’ s son who is disabled – he too knows that there is something wrong with his Mum and his situation but struggles to know what to do as he is so young. This made up some of the most compelling parts of the tale, especially the relationship he has with both his Mum and his younger sister.

As things come to a head this is very addictive reading – I loved how Beth Miller managed the layers of the story especially the friendship between Min and Cath as it begins to break down, Min realising that there really is something very wrong here. There is a lovely depth to the characters and some terrific writing that puts you right on the spot.

The ultimate resolution is one that opens up debate – and whilst some suspension of disbelief is required in the things that Cath gets away with, it is a very authentic look at mental disorder and the masking of true character – how well after all do we really know those closest to us. A very enjoyable and thought provoking read.

Find out more here: http://www.bethmiller.co.uk/

Follow Beth on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/drbethmiller

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0091956331/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Happy Reading Folks!


Liz Currently Loves….The Hidden Legacy by Graham Minett


Publication Date: 5th November from Bonnier Publishing/Twenty7books

Source: Netgalley

1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.

2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why . . .

Bearing the scars of a recent divorce – and the splatters of two young children – Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she’s invited to travel all the way out to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman’s will, she can barely be bothered to make the journey.

But when she arrives, the news is astounding. Eudora Nash has left Ellen a beautiful cottage, worth an amount of money that could turn her life around. There’s just one problem – Ellen has never even heard of Eudora Nash.

Her curiosity piqued, Ellen and her friend Kate travel to the West Country in search of answers. But they are not the only ones interested in the cottage, and Ellen little imagines how much she has to learn about her past . .

The Hidden Legacy is an atmospheric and beautifully written novel, a place where past and present collide – the type of story that keeps you hooked into the narrative all the way, some great characters and a really intriguing mystery angle.

So we have Ellen then, who after a letter from a solicitor travels to the West Country, only to find she has been left a cottage by a woman she has never heard of. Further investigation will reveal hidden secrets – at the same time we learn about the most horrific of acts committed by a child long ago and as the two sides of the story merge it is fascinating and compelling reading.

We have three different viewpoints and three different timelines within “The Hidden Legacy” all of which are written with a descriptively intuitive style, after just a few pages I was hopelessly addicted. Mr Minett manages all of the different threads perfectly, drip feeding clues and information, adding depth to his characters throughout and making you avidly turn the pages to discover the final resolution.

There are twists and turns to be had along the way, an interesting take on how we view child killers which really gets you thinking and the whole story was riveting to say the least. There is a thoughtful and vivid writing style here which really appealed and overall I thought this was a really really excellent debut.

Will definitely be looking out for more from this author.

Highly Recommended.

You can follow Graham on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/grahamminett511

Pre-Order information (e-book) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-Legacy-Graham-Minett-ebook/dp/B013IILOF0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1443861314&sr=1-1&keywords=9781785770081

Paperback available March 2016.

Happy Reading Folks!

A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody.


A murder most foul
When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered in the peaceful village of Langcliffe . . .
A village of secrets
But it just so happens that Freda’s nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton, who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her indomitable teenage niece, Harriet. When Harriet strikes up a friendship with a local girl whose young brother is missing, the search leads Kate to uncover another suspicious death, not to mention an illicit affair.
The case of a lifetime
As the present mysteries merge with the past’s mistakes, Kate is thrust into the secrets that Freda left behind and realises that this courageous woman has entrusted her with solving a murder from beyond the grave. It soon becomes clear to her that nothing in Langcliffe is quite as it appears, and with a murderer on the loose and an ever-growing roster of suspects, this isn’t the holiday Kate was expecting . . .

8 february 2010. Author Frances McNeil, of Crossgates.

8 february 2010.
Author Frances McNeil, of Crossgates.

A Death in the Dales, set in the 20’s is an old school mystery story with shades of Christie and a lead female investigator who is great to follow along with.

The sense of place is terrific as is the sense of time and I really enjoyed this offering from Frances Brody – the first of hers I have read.

The mystery elements are well imagined and it is beautifully written – I loved Kate as a character and I loved Ms Brody’s descriptive style when it came to setting and the attitudes and outlook of the time.

The author has a sharp eye for human nature and the best parts of the story come within the interactions between all the characters, as Kate unravels the clues it is really fun to read.

Overall a great book – I’ll definitely be reading more.

Find out more here: http://www.frances-brody.com/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/FrancesBrody

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0349406561/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Find out more: Follow the tour.



Happy Reading Folks”

Author Interview: Olly Jarvis on Death By Dangerous.


Very happy to welcome Olly Jarvis to the blog today talking about his Crime Thriller “Death by Dangerous”.

Tell us a little bit about the original inspiration behind “Death by Dangerous”

I specialise in defending people who have killed whilst driving their car – otherwise law-abiding citizens facing the emotional and mental pressures of a criminal trial, let alone the prospect of prison. Often, trying to come to terms with what they have done, destroys them. I had to write about this. But there are also other issues I wanted to explore, in particular the way in which so many of us live busy, exhausting lives, working virtually all the time, constantly worrying about paying the bills. Feeling guilty for spending so little quality time with our children. Death by dangerous is about realising what really matters before its too late.

Your background means you have a great knowledge base to draw from in the writing of a legal thriller – Can this also be a hindrance in wanting to keep it authentic but still writing a page-turner?

Yes – this is a fundamental consideration in my writing. It must be authentic – my colleagues at the Criminal Bar would expect nothing less! There is a fine balance between weaving in enough legal detail for the story to make sense and yet still maintaining the flow. I wrote several drafts and repeatedly edited until I felt I had a believable novel that moved at break-neck speed. I ‘m sure the success of American legal thriller writers is due in large part to their ability to strike the right balance.

What made you want to write? Who are your reading influences?

I always wanted to write but believed the demands of my job were so all engulfing that it would never happen. One day, after just finishing a multiple fatality death by dangerous trial, I decided that it was now or never – and I couldn’t continue to defend people, week after week, without any down time. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

John Grisham, particularly his earlier books. I am also a big fan of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin who wrote the movie A Few Good Men. I love films which is probably why I write in a filmic style with short chapters.

Can you tell us anything about your next project?

My next novel, Cutthroat Defence, out next year, is an underdog story. The main character is straight out of pupillage. Totally out of his depth, he gets caught up in a very high profile trial. Another fast-paced, twisting legal thriller, but also a coming of age story, which I hope will show the reader how difficult it is to make it at the Criminal Bar.

Favourite thing to do on a lazy Sunday.

Going to the movies with my kids and my partner – if I don’t have a brief to prep for Monday!

One book you recommend to everyone.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

3 people alive or dead you would like to have a drink with.

Martin Luther King

Mao Tse Tung

Richard III (I am fascinated by quirky, driven people).

Thank you Olly!

My Review:


John Anderson is one of the North West’s most dedicated and successful prosecution barristers. His career is going from strength to strength and he is on the verge of becoming Queen’s Counsel. But the life he once knew suddenly comes crashing down following a fatal road traffic accident…

“They’re saying it was your fault. Someone died.”

Recovering from his injuries, he has no memory of the collision. Was he responsible for the death of a child? Who was his female passenger?

Clever book this, I do like a clever book.

So anyway, John is a barrister who is in a car accident in which people die. Trouble is he can’t remember a darned thing and has no idea who was with him in the car and why or, well, anything. Criminally charged, a fight to prove his innocence begins.

Really enjoyed this – fast paced and intriguing – I was particularly fond of main protagonist John who had a great authenticity about him, becoming more likeable as the book moves along, I really did get involved with all his problems.

Wider characterisation is great as well, this pops along, I was utterly engaged throughout. Not saying much about the plot beyond the blurb because in this case its seriously hard to do without spoilers I WILL say that it is very cleverly constructed and addictive throughout.

The author obviously has a wide knowledge base and brings that to this tale of woe, giving it a great layered feel and a great perceptive depth to the nuances.

Overall a really great read. Looking forward to more from Mr Jarvis.

Find out more here: http://ollyjarvis.co.uk/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/OllyJarviso

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=x_gr_w_bb?keywords=9781784623494&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21

Happy Reading Folks!

Sarah Lotz on Why She Writes – And Pompidou Posse


The first novel that Sarah Lotz wrote – Pompidou Posse – is being re-released in the UK – I asked Sarah about why she writes (love this answer) and about the book – here is what she had to say.

Why we Write

Sarah Lotz


I wish I had a clear-cut answer for why I write. It’s not for money (there are far easier and more reliable ways of making a living), or fame (I can’t even do twitter properly – thank god for book bloggers!), so I suppose the reason I write is because I am as mad as a snake, and because I love it – I’m addicted to it, in fact. Life-style wise, it suits my personality. I like being alone in a room in my pjs for days – and sometimes weeks – at a time. There’s something deliciously terrifying about starting a novel and having absolutely no idea where it’s going to end up or if it’s going to work. And I only ever know if a novel is any good or not after it’s been out for a while.

For example, my first novel, Pompidou Posse has just been re-released in the UK. Based on a year I spent living rough on the streets of Paris when I was a teenager in the 1980s, I wrote it almost ten years ago, and it was first published in South Africa where it received good reviews but only three or four readers (most of whom were related to me). Thanks to Jared Shurin of Pornokitsch.com – who is a great supporter of South African fiction – my brilliant Hodder editor Anne Perry read it and decided to re-publish it, and I was given the chance to go over it again and edit it out the crappy bits. I’m not sure that writers should ever be allowed to go back and edit their earlier work, as part of me thinks that this is cheating, but I did it anyway. Some appalling writing slipped through the net the first time around (my favourite bad line is ‘sorry, she said apologetically’ – cringe cringe). But it was fascinating, if painful, to revisit the novel and see how I’ve hopefully improved as a writer. So I suppose that’s another reason why I write: to get better at doing something I love. And because it keeps me out of trouble.

Thank you Sarah – although I’m not sure on the out of trouble thing! I’m intrigued to read the novel now and I’m sure everyone else is too so here are the details:


Paris is eternal. Art is love. Friendship is forever. Except when it isn’t.

You’re seventeen. One night, more or less by accident, you set fire to a garden shed.

Naturally, you pack up and run off to Paris, certain you can make enough money off your art to get by. You’re young, you’re talented, you’re full of life, and you have your best friend in all the world by your side.

What could possibly go wrong?

Down and Out in Paris and London for the internet era, POMPIDOU POSSE is the hilarious, heartbreaking first novel by Sarah Lotz, author of THE THREE.

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=x_gr_w_bb?keywords=9781473613980&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21

Find out more about all Sarah’s novels here: http://sarahlotz.com/home/

Follow Sarah on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SarahLotz1

Happy Reading  Folks!

Dead Star Island Blog Tour

25540396Andrew Shantos b & w

Today I am very happy to welcome Andrew Shantos to the blog – telling us about the “why” when it came to his idea to write Dead Star Island.

Dead Star Island: the psychology of an idea

Andrew Shantos on not how, but why, he had the idea for his book.

I remember very well from a young age my dearest hope. An impossible dream, my first (and very innocent I should add) fantasy.

It was this:

I already played in a football team from the age of eight, and I used to dream about me and my friends – eleven or twelve of us – living together in an articulated lorry. A luxurious lorry, with arcade machines, table football and a snooker table; and each of us had a single bed with a Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club duvet (or whatever club each person wanted; it was a very tolerant fantasy). We’d travel round the country, stopping at various places, playing football matches (against Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal or whoever), then back on the luxury lorry to have dinner and play computer games.

It was a simple, innocent dream, perhaps born of a rather solitary disposition, of someone who always found himself in with the out-crowd and wanted to be part of a select gang.

There’s something really quite compelling about exclusive clubs. You often find them in books. Take Donna Tartt’s The Secret History: millions of readers (including me) were bewitched, gripped by the desire to join an intimate group of students and find out their secrets. Or Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five, or her Secret Seven. We read on because we want to be one of them, find ourselves becoming one of them.

As I got into my teens, football morphed into music. But the dream followed the same pattern. Now the lorry was simply my bedroom, my private refuge, which I shared with my heroes. A life-size poster of Jim Morrison gazed, Christ-like, from my bedroom wall. On the opposite side was Jimi Hendrix, looking cool and stoned and just really pleased to be there. I would play computer games late into the night while listening to The Stones, Elvis, Marc Bolan – someone young, beautiful, and almost always dead, martyred to rock and roll.

In my twenties I lost my way. I joined a real gang, an actual top-secret elite. I found myself part of a religious cult. (I really did by the way, I’m not making this up!) I don’t really know how it happened. But I think I know why.

Partly it was spiritual quest: being a seeker, as so many are in their lost and confused early twenties, fresh out of university, trying to make meaning of the world. Partly it was finding something else to tell me what to do, after sixteen years of passive comfort, each day directed by parents and teachers.

But above all, this cult (a rather nice one actually, nothing too nasty, only a very gentle forty degree brainwash) allowed me to become part of an exclusive club. It was another iteration of the fantasy. Quite a full-on iteration admittedly. I’m glad I saw through it, lightened up and started having fun again.

All this time – before, even, that early age when in my mind I was living in a lorry – above all things I loved books. Even more than the heroes on my bedroom wall. I knew I wanted to write a book, or two, or more. And now, having written Dead Star Island, and at the time having just had an idea and writing it, now I’ve been thinking quite deeply about the idea behind it. And not on how I had the idea, but rather why I had the idea.

I’m very much with Stephen King, who describes writing a novel as akin to excavating a fossil: uncovering it little by little, until it is fully exposed, and you lovingly restore it to its full glory. But it was always there to begin with, or, at least, formed over many, many years.

What I did in my book was create yet another exclusive club (unwittingly, there was nothing in my conscious mind that brought this about). I restored the heroes from my bedroom walls, and from my record deck, back to life. Not just some of them. All of them. Together, living on a secret tropical island. Not dead at all, but very much alive, having staged their deaths to come here.

But regardless of this concept, and how it forms the background for a detective novel, I see now there was an irresistible compulsion for doing this, one single reason my mind created this top secret gang.

It was so I could go there. So I could be on the island, live with them and be part of it.

About the Book:

Dead Star Island, a remote tropical paradise, home to sixteen rock and movie superstars the world thinks are dead.

Elvis is there, so are Jimi, Marilyn and others. They’ve all lived for decades in luxurious, isolated anonymity. But someone is murdering them one by one in bizarre reconstructions of the deaths they staged to leave the real world.

Christian Adhis, the island’s mysterious Director, is worried. Brian and John have been murdered in copycat killings, and that’s bad for business. The remaining residents are living in fear, and demanding the killer is caught before he strikes again. So Christian calls in his old school friend Mario Gunzabo.

Dead Star Island, published by APP, can be ordered through Amazon priced £4.99 for Kindle and £8.99 paperback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Star-Island-Andrew-Shantos/dp/0992811627


To get in touch visit him here….


w:  http://andrewshantos.com/


t: @andrewshantos




New Release Spotlight: The Watchers by Neil Spring.


Publication Date: Available Now from Quercus

Source: Review Copy

The Havens, Wales

My Name is Robert Wilding.

Since childhood I have been running from my parents’ deaths. From my grandfather Randall Llewellyn Pritchard – his fanatical omens about fires in the sky. From what happened at Broad Haven.

But now my memories have returned to haunt me.

The Watchers is an utterly gripping, brilliantly imaginative and often rock on scary tale of weird and wonderful (?) happenings in Wales.

Set around actual events that took place in the 70’s, Neil Spring constructs an eerie and atmospheric tale of lights in the sky, nervous inhabitants of a small community, all seen through the eyes of Robert Wilding – a character on the edge who may not necessarily be relied upon.

It’s an interesting twist on the genre, bringing in a touch of folklore to proceedings and all told with a very spooky underlying feel, the prose is tight and compelling with a nerve wracking edge to it that really speaks to the darker fears that lie in all of us. Very clever, very readable and very intense.

A beautifully layered tale, you have your conspiracy stuff and your usual government shenanigans, a hotchpotch of characters all filtered through Robert’s eyes – this makes for some intriguing moments, as you try to work out what is actually going on. Superbly atmospheric, The Watchers had me sleeping with the lights on.

A really really great book with hints of horror, mystery and a definitive sprinkling of suspense, the author having a real eye for his subject matter in an authentic case that obviously captured his imagination. It certainly captured mine and with the absolute genius storytelling on display here, this is a novel that will stay with me and certainly encourages speculation and more than a few shivers in the soul.

Excellent stuff. Highly Recommended.

Find out more here: http://www.neilspring.com/

You can follow Neil on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/NeilSpring

Purchase Informationhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Neil-Spring/e/B00EGKE088/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Also Available:


Welcome to Borley Rectory, the most haunted house in England.

The year is 1926 and Sarah Grey has landed herself an unlikely new job – personal assistant to Harry Price, London’s most infamous ghost hunter. Equal parts brilliant and charming, neurotic and manipulative, Harry has devoted his life to exposing the truth behind England’s many ‘false hauntings’, and never has he left a case unsolved, nor a fraud unexposed.

So when Harry and Sarah are invited to Borley Rectory – a house so haunted that objects frequently fly through the air unbidden, and locals avoid the grounds for fear of facing the spectral nun that walks there – they’re sure that this case will be just like any other. But when night falls and still no artifice can be found, the ghost hunters are forced to confront an uncomfortable possibility: the ghost of Borley Rectory may be real. And, if so, they’re about to make its most intimate acquaintance.

Happy Reading Folks!