Liz Currently Loves….Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff

23957469

Publication Date: Available Now from Thomas and Mercer

Source: Author review copy

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can’t believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of “accidents” and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.

So Huntress Moon has gone straight into the running to be in my top 10 of the year – a completely involving and utterly brilliant crime novel that takes the “Serial Killer Thriller” and redefines it  – a heart stopping and emotional reading ride that will keep you up into the early hours.

The main hook into this story is the two main characters who are superbly well drawn and utterly engaging. Matthew Roarke is an FBI agent who has left the world of profiling behind. Now working on Major Crime, a series of events throws him back into the murky world of killers and their motivations. Enter our killer, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who has been completely off the radar until a chance encounter puts her in the path of Matthew. So begins a cat and mouse chase which will have you avidly turning pages, desperate to know who she is and what she is up to.

This is so beautifully constructed, showing us first one then the other of our two protagonists, slowly drip feeding information and background to both, all the while keeping the action going and often really tugging on the heartstrings. There is a great depth to the writing that pushes this above the level of a standard thriller, a real sense of authenticity and some truly heart stopping moments, all wrapped up in an intelligent storyline that just grabs you right by the throat.

Some really intriguing strands run through it as well, haunting themes and thoughts on the true nature of evil – it just gives the whole novel an added layer that will make you shiver – frightening and atmospheric throughout this was a truly addictive novel from first page to last.

Overall then an intense and vivid crime mystery with an interesting twist and basically just a darned good yarn. It’ll get you!

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

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

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Huntress-Moon-FBI-Thrillers-Book-ebook/dp/B00NKTTDH4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429944012&sr=1-1&keywords=huntress+moon

(At time of writing – 25th April – this is only £1.00 for Kindle. It will be the best £1.00 you have ever spent!)

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….The Liar by Nora Roberts.

23666117

Publication Date: Available Now from Piatkus

Source: Publisher Review Copy

When her husband Richard dies in a freak accident, Shelby Pomeroy is devastated. But his death reveals a horrible truth – Richard was a liar and a cheat. Now Shelby is left with the consequences – huge, terrifying debts and mounting proof that her late husband betrayed her in every conceivable way.

Very much enjoyed this tale, I’m a bit of a closet fan of Nora Roberts – not my usual reading genre but I have dipped in and out of her novels and have always liked them, great storytelling and great characters, mostly with a very emotive edge.

The mystery element in “The Liar” is actually very low key in that I pretty much worked it out very early on which I did not mind at all, I was hooked into Shelby’s story – and the theme that you can never really know a person. When she loses her Husband in tragic circumstances, Shelby discovers he was not all he seemed. In fact he was not a nice man at all. Nora Roberts does a brilliant job of portraying the devastation upon top of devastation Shelby experiences before finally putting her on the path to happiness once more.

Admittedly it dipped a bit in the middle, but what you will get is an immensely well written family drama, the “romantic lead” Griffin was not your standard super good looking hero type and I really rather adored him.  Add to that a really terrifically drawn snapshot of small town life as Shelby returns to her roots and enough of a suspense element to keep you intrigued, overall a really great read. One for a Sunday afternoon in the sunshine when you fancy a bit of romance, a dash of intrigue and a darned good yarn.

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

Follow the author on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/noraroberts

Purchase Information: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-liar/nora-roberts/9780349403755

Happy Reading Folks!

What She Left with T R Richmond.

23312637

 

So today you can get your hands on “What She Left” by T R Richmond which is a superbly compelling mystery and a very interesting premise. I was lucky enough to ask the author a few questions so here we go….

 

Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the story?
The original kernel of the idea came to me when I read a tweet by someone about what piece of music they’d like played at their funeral. It struck me that if they did go under a bus that day, how bizarre/intimate that would be to read. That got me thinking, what else could I learn about this person on Twitter? That eventually took me to the idea of reassembling, jigsaw puzzle-like, a suspense story from a young woman’s digital and paper trail. More than at any point in history, each of us leaves such a ‘footprint’ nowadays, after all. If you’re wondering what the song was, incidentally – it was Angels by Robbie Williams.

Are any of the characters based on anyone you know?
No. Some writers start with their characters and have them fully formed before they have a story to put them in, but for me the starting point was structure.
I aimed for a contemporary epistolary style because I wanted readers to feel as if they are following an unfolding real-life, real-time news story, allowing them to ‘be detective’ themselves.
Now What She Left is written I do, of course, have a clear picture in my mind of what the characters look like. As for what they sound like, I’ve been incredibly lucky that Emilia Clarke and Charles Dance are playing Alice Salmon and Professor Cooke in the audio version, so their voices are very resonant to me now.
I did have a weird experience when I was about half way into the book when I saw someone and thought: That’s Alice. She was sitting on the table next to me in a restaurant and I didn’t have a clue who she was, but the way she looked, the way she spoke, the way she held her glass, everything, just shouted “Alice” to me. After that evening, it was her who I saw when I thought of Alice. So thanks, whoever you are!

How much impact do you believe social media has and is it mostly a good or a bad thing?
It’s had a massive influence on the way we communicate and relate to each other. It’s also influencing the media hugely because nowadays everyone potentially has a ‘voice’. An individual with 10,000 Twitter followers is, arguably, in as powerful and responsible a position as a media outlet with the same number of followers.
Social media is like the internet generally – it can be a force for good and bad, depending on how it’s used.
I enjoy using it, although it can be a dangerous distraction for a writer – and the last thing a writer needs is an extra excuse not to write!

Can you tell us anything about your next project?

 
It’s a work in progress, so I might have to get back to you on this one…

One book you wish you had written?

 
Anything by Carol Shields. She was a wonderful – and sometimes underrated – writer.

Any writing habits?
I like early mornings. 5am to 8am is my most productive time.

7) Fictional character you would most like to meet in real life?
Holden Caulfield. I want to tell him to hang in there, that he will work it out eventually, and that life does get better…

 

Review:

When Alice Salmon died last year, the ripples were felt in the news, on the internet, and in the hearts of those who knew her best.

But the person who knows her most intimately isn’t family or a friend. Dr Jeremy Cook is an academic whose life has become about piecing together Alice’s existence in all its flawed and truthful reality.

For Cooke, faithfully recreating Alice’s life – through her diaries, emails and anything using her voice – is all-consuming. He does not know how deep his search will take him, or the shocking nature of what he will uncover . .

An absolutely brilliantly constructed story, compelling and actually really quite scary when you can see, all in one go, how much of our lives are just out there in the ether for people to see. The little things and the big, the people who know you and who do not but will speak as if they do, even the smallest of details that you would not think twice about. When Alice Salmon dies, Jeremy Cook starts putting together her life and death through a series of interviews, online information and personal knowledge. Shocking and insightful this is a book you will NOT want to miss!

There is some wonderful writing, wrapped up in an almost matter of fact documentary style story, with surprises and emotional upset along the way,, exploring some extremely intriguing themes beyond that of the digital footprint and I was entirely wrapped up in the story of Alice from start to finish. A truly great read.

Even though we only see Alice through “What She Left” her character comes to life – it truly gives you pause for thought on how much information might inadvertently be out there about you and is an intelligent look at the onslaught of social media and what that means for privacy. How easily we give ourselves away. The author has wrapped this up in a truly compelling mystery that will keep you turning the pages to find out what happened to Alice – and indeed to the man who is writing about her life.

A very intriguing tale indeed.

Very Highly Recommended.

 

You can follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/TRRichmondbooks

Purchase Information:

Special Signed Edition: https://www.goldsborobooks.com/product/left/

Standard edition: https://www.waterstones.com/book/what-she-left/t-r-richmond/9780718179366

Happy Reading Folks!

No Other Darkness with Sarah Hilary.

24307356e3141ddc85ff3125d84319e3fb6b821c

So from tomorrow (23rd April 2015)  you can get your hands on the next fantastic Marnie Rome book – No Other Darkness. I’ve repeated my review below for you but firstly I tracked Sarah down and asked her a few questions about this new instalment. Here is what she had to tell me.

 

No Other Darkness is a very emotional case for Marnie AND for the reader. Tell us a little about the inspiration behind this particular instalment.

 

It began when I read a real life first person account by someone caught up in the sort of chaos and tragedy that the book is about. I couldn’t begin to imagine the horror that this person went through — and I knew I had to try and write about it, because it’d had such an impact on me.

I’m fascinated by families, especially dysfunctional ones (possibly because I grew up in a healthy, happy family) and I wanted to explore the idea of the legacy of trauma and loss. I’d explored a little of this territory in Someone Else’s Skin and it’s at the heart of Marnie’s ongoing story, so I doubt I’m done with it as a theme just yet.

 

That said, No Other Darkness is a very different book to Someone Else’s Skin, darker and sadder. I hope readers will like the way in which it takes Marnie and Noah into new territory.

 

Did you find it difficult to write? It was certainly difficult reading in places, especially as a parent.

 

Oh hugely difficult, yes. I’m a parent too, and I wept when I wrote the opening chapter, and many more chapters after that. There’s a certain kind of story about children that I could never write, but this one felt too important not to tell. I think writing should be difficult, should be emotional. And that’s the kind of book I like to read, too. One that challenges what I thought I knew, and which tugs at my heart strings and fires me up.

 

Can you tell us anything about what might be next for Marnie?

 

I’ve just finished the first draft of Tastes like Fear, which is Marnie’s next adventure. It starts with a car crash caused by a girl who disappears. As Marnie and Noah look for her and other missing girls, they start to realise that something is very wrong. The girls have all been found by the same man, and given shelter. Of a kind. It’s a very disturbing story, exactly the kind I love to read.

 

When it comes to your own reading, do you stick mostly with Crime or do you prefer something different?

 

Everything! I read a lot of non-fiction—psychology, social politics, books about the underside of London… And I love short stories, and novels of every description. The only thing I don’t read regularly is poetry, although I’ve just picked up a book of WWI poetry that I last read at school, so I’m rediscovering that.

 

Favourite fictional character (from any novel)?

 

Only one? So unfair! All right, I’m going to say Psmith from the PG Wodehouse stories. He’s funny and sweet and very, very smart.

 

Best book you have read this year so far?

 

My reading’s been limited due to getting book three done before No Other Darkness comes out. But I’ve really enjoyed spending time back with Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis in Jonathan Kellerman’s latest, Motive.

 

Thanks Sarah!

 

My Original Review:

1891142_10204423863969163_4907964179724253285_n

Publication Date: April 2015 from Headline.

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Two young boys.Trapped underground in a bunker.Unable to understand why they are there.Desperate for someone to find them.Slowly realising that no-one will…

Five years later, the boys’ bodies are found and the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome’s career begins.Her only focus is the boys. She has to find out who they are and what happened to them.For Marnie, there is no other darkness than this…

So what seems like years ago now (I read it VERY early) I first encountered Marnie Rome in Sarah Hilary’s haunting debut “Someone Elses Skin”. It has felt like a long wait for the follow up novel but it was worth every minute.

In this instalment, a horrific discovery sets off a highly disturbing case for Marnie and co that hits closer to home than anyone is comfortable with – as things twist and turn their way towards a breathtaking conclusion, it becomes obvious that nothing is as it appears and the story is at turns completely compelling, extremely frightening and often very emotional.

This time I was utterly hooked from the first page. I read it in a day, there simply was no stopping once I started – the beauty of the writing, especially for Crime Fiction is beyond compare and it sucks you into the vortex of Marnie’s world, holding you there barely breathing until the case is solved and the story is done.

Once again the author takes on the mantle of another hugely emotional issue that should be talked about more but is not – in “Someone Elses Skin” that was domestic abuse, in this story, well, I obviously can’t tell you because that would spoil it, but suffice to say Marnie is facing the darkness head on and is determined to give these children a name and a voice – in order to do so she may have to face some harsh truths of her own.

I absolutely love how Sarah Hilary writes her characters with plenty of moral ambiguity – no “good guys” or “bad guys” but just people – living life day to day and sometimes heading into dangerous territory, doing the wrong thing for seemingly right reasons and vice versa, as far as psychological depth goes you won’t find better than this. Scary in its authenticity, with a heroine at its heart that will steal yours, this was truly an amazing and evocative read.

You would say there was nothing new in Crime Fiction these days, difficult to find something fresh – as I remarked on Facebook during the reading of this, I have no idea how Ms Hilary manages to write in this genre as if she was the first person who ever did, but that is what she does. Expressive and resonant, I really cannot recommend it highly enough.

Find out more here: http://sarah-crawl-space.blogspot.co.uk/

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

Pre-Order information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/sarah+hilary/no+other+darkness/10849545/

 

Available Now: Read First:

Somone else's skin_b_pb.indd

http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/sarah+hilary/someone+else27s+skin/10146923/

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

Liz Currently Loves…..Marked by Sue Tingey

24934734

Publication Date: 7th May 2015 from Jo Fletcher Books.

Source: Publisher advanced review copy.

With no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.
But Kayla is not all that she appears.
And when Lucky is visited by a demonic assassin with a message for her friend, she finds herself dragged into the Underlands – and the political fight for the daemon king’s throne.

This is one of those books where you get to the end and think to yourself “BOY that was fun” a beautifully written well flowing Urban fantasy/fantasy with a terrific story and some really really great characters.

The premise starts off fairly simply – Lucky is a true psychic which does isolate her but she has always had her constant companion, ghost Kayla – then one day Lucky, after a series of unfortunate events, finds out that Kayla is not quite what she has always believed.  So begins a rollicking adventure set both in our world and another – where Lucky goes on a journey of discovery about her own heritage and abilities.

The world building is very clever and again a whole lot of fun, the sights and sounds of the Underlands coming to glorious life – a gorgeously lively otherworld that will absolutely capture your imagination. Likewise the characters are stunning – realistic really for a fictional bunch, their interaction and dialogue is sharp, ironically humerous at times with a touch of angst that genuinely makes for some stand out moments.

Lucky is a terrific main protagonist to anchor the tale – she is confused a lot of the time (well you would be wouldnt you!), amusingly over awed, but very intelligent and often ingenious. Kayla was my favourite though, she is so well drawn and intriguing – add into the mix the obnoxiously dazzling Jinx, the enigmatic Jamie and oh boy bodyguards Mr Kerfuffle and Mr Shenanigans (ha ha brilliant) are simply the best duo I’ve seen in fantasy fiction for a while.

Suffice to say this was a marvel and I thoroughly enjoyed it – I’m sad to leave them all behind and cannot wait for the next instalment which promises to be a corker.

Highly Recommended

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

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

Pre-Order information:  https://www.waterstones.com/book/marked/sue-tingey/9781848668942

Happy Reading Folks!
 

Normal by Graeme Cameron – Blog Tour. Author Interview.

cover58004-medium7189182_orig

Normal by Graeme Cameron is by far one of the best books I have read this year and I was lucky enough to ask the author a few questions for this blog tour – here is what he had to tell me.

 

Tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this character?

 

A radio interview with a criminal profiler, back when I was young and thought I wanted to write pulp detective novels. It set me off reading everything I could find about serial killers, and I knew for years I wanted to write about one, but I was also aware I didn’t really want to write a whodunnit or a forensic procedural or a slasher story. In the end, Normal happened entirely by accident, as a result of an exercise in writing a gruesomely gleeful first-hand account of a terrible crime in an effort at eliminating ideas that couldn’t possibly work!

 

Do you   base your characters on people you have met in real life, and did you in this case (minus the killing aspect I assume!) ?

 

It’s hard not to pick up on people’s character traits and ways of presenting themselves and store them for future use, but there’s no one character that’s directly based on a real person. Although there might be one or two names in there that didn’t get changed to protect the innocent (no, I won’t tell you which ones)!

 

How much of the plot was planned as opposed to how it changed when the character came to life?

 

I hate to say it, but the book was a quarter done before there even was a plan! The only thing that really changed from that point on was the ending, which I originally conceived as a big overblown set-piece that didn’t fit the characters or the tone of the story as a whole and therefore fell by the wayside.

 

The relationship between Erica and our unnamed protagonist is one of the highlights. Was it fun to write?

 

Their relationship is the core of the story for me, and in a way yes, it was fun to write as the dynamic between the two of them changed and things became increasingly charged. But it also proved a valuable learning experience, because beneath the literal reading of that story are a number of truths about relationships in general that I’d never examined before, and that a good number of people who read Normal are living with every day. So in that respect, I’d say it was more illuminating than fun.

 

Do you have any writing habits /superstitions?

 

My biggest and worst writing habit is stopping to check my Twitter. 

 

One book you recommend to everyone.

 

Jar Baby by Hayley Webster.

 

3 People living or dead you would like to invite to a Dinner party?

 

Burt Reynolds, Bob Monkhouse, and my dad. Just to be absolutely sure.

Thank you Graeme!

Review

cover58004-medium

Publication Date: 9th April 2015 from Mira (Harlequin UK)

Source: Netgalley

He is the man who lives on your street. The one you see in the supermarket and nod hello to. He’s also a serial killer. Killing is what he’s good at. And you’ll want him to get away with MURDER….

Right. So where to start. First of all for me, this was one of those books that grips you so utterly that you practically live in it. In fact I probably have lived in it for the last couple of days even whilst doing the usual life type things like picking up the kids from school…hang on, wait, where are my kids? I’ll be back….

Seriously though, this was a marvel of a twisted tale, so addictive that a warning sticker on the front of the book would not go amiss, most horrifically fascinating and with at least two characters I will never ever forget. And I don’t even know the name of one of them.

Told from the point of view of the killer, a man who has few if any boundaries and yet is strangely in tune with his own lack of normality, you never know his name, hardly find out anything about his background and have no clue what he looks like. Yet you will get to know him well and quite possibly hope that he gets away with murder.

When I started this story I was wondering how he had managed to evade capture for so long, wanting the police to nab him and giving due consideration to how they might do that. By halfway through I was totally committed to every evil act he was involved with and by the time I was heading towards the end I was sitting on the edge of the seat PRAYING that he would get away with all of it. Yes I’m aware that this is wrong on SO many levels but Graeme Cameron has created an anti-hero so beautifully drawn and cleverly constructed that I  simply could not help myself.

You can’t even really justify it by his choice of victims – I mean we all love Dexter because he may be a serial killer but the people he kills are hardly worth the effort it takes to feel sorry for them. Mr Cameron’s serial killer is almost the anti-Dexter, his victims are innocents for the most part, certainly not deserving of their fate. And yet…somehow through sheer force of  a personality that creeps up on you, you gloss over all that and become complicit in his life.

Then we have Erica. Who I’m not really going to talk about beyond saying that I adored her with a fiery passion that only comes once in a while, you’ll have to meet her for yourself. Added to that there are a plethora of other people crossing the path of our unnamed unknoweable everyman, all seen through his eyes they take on a life all of their own. I had a soft spot for one or two of them, would not have been sorry to see at least one served up to our killer’s appetites, but every one adds to the whole and makes it a simple yet brilliant twist on an often done genre.

I am aware that this  will probably divide opinion and not everyone will react the same way – certainly if this was on television you would more than likely see the odd “glorifying violence” attitude towards it that happened with “The Fall”. Whilst both The Fall and Dexter are useful tools to try and explain whether or not you may like this book, do not think for one moment that “Normal” is anything at all like them. It is entirely its own thing, unique and terribly intelligent whilst also being a stonking good read. For me this has immediately gone onto my list of favourite books ever, simply because of my ongoing reactions and emotions to the events within the pages. And that ending. Boy oh boy! Loved it. Start to finish.

Eminently readable, more delicious than chocolate, elegantly imagined and utterly utterly captivating –  I dare you to read this and hold the moral high ground.

Highly Recommended!

Find out more here: http://www.graeme-cameron.com/

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

Order information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/graeme+cameron/normal/11458741/

 

Normal_BlogTourBanner

 

Criminal Minds with Neil White – Interview.

19569558neil

http://www.neilwhite.net/

So kicking off the new “Criminal Minds” feature which will run occasionally on the blog and involve many great Crime and Thriller authors, is Neil White – one of my favourite crime writers and recently I threw a few questions at him. Seriously, the man practically interviews himself. Here is what he had to say..

 

First of all, new book coming out soon – tell us a little bit about it and the inspiration behind the Parker brothers and for this particular instalment.

My next paperback, The Death Collector, is out in July, and it tells the story of a young man who protests his innocence from behind bars and a man who preys on married women so that he can control them, but won’t ever let them leave.

 

The inspiration for the Parker Brothers really goes back to the first five books I had published, because in those I had two lead characters, a crime reporter called Jack Garrett and a detective called Laura McGanity, and what I felt worked about them was the conflict. They were romantically-involved, but Jack the reporter wanted to know about Laura’s cases, and Laura wanted to keep Jack out of them. I liked the push and the pull between them.

 

It was a pure fluke. My initial intention was to write a book about a reporter, but as I wrote it, Laura McGanity came into it more, and I realised that I liked the way they rubbed against each other, if you can excuse the potential double entendre.

 

When I decided to write a new series, as a criminal lawyer of twenty years, I wanted to give it more of a legal background. Not courtroom dramas but thrillers with a legal theme.

 

I had avoided legal thrillers when I started writing because I found myself becoming more obsessed with accurate detail rather than the story, trying to explain the reality of working in the legal system. I found that my desire to explain the detail, so that a lawyer would recognise the scene, got in the way of the story, so I wrote from a reporter’s perspective instead. All the fun of the crime but less of the procedural hang-ups. Now I’m more experienced as a writer, I feel more equipped for spotting where detail is obscuring the plot.

 

Having decided to write thrillers with more of a legal background, I wanted to keep the conflict between the two main characters, and I hit upon the idea of having two brothers, with one a defence lawyer and one a police officer. That creates natural conflict, and I wanted to use that in the books.

 

The inspiration for the Death Collector was actually a song by The Jam, the b-side to Strange Town called The Butterfly Collector, with some lines I loved, like:

“And I don’t care about morals

‘Cause the world’s insane

And we’re all to blame anyway”

 

The song is actually about a well-known punk figure, not a musician, who tried to tag onto The Jam entourage when the Sex Pistols packed in, and is about how some people try to live off others, but I liked the notion of collecting people, albeit not in a murderous way. After many meandering thoughts, the plot ended up as being a man who wants to collect women by making them emotionally dependent on him. When they wanted to leave him, however, well, you can guess how that goes from the title.

 

My initial thought for the title was No One Leaves, which is a bigger give away, but my editor and I decided that it had a dual meaning, sort of, because of the visual image of leaves. But the working title No One Leaves is a hint as to the plot.

 

 

In the real world you work as a lawyer- something I’ve always wanted to know, those dramatic type scenes you see on the television and in films (I won’t ask you about Broadchurch!) – is it ever like that or mostly calm and collected?

The honest answer is that it can occasionally be very dramatic, but often routine. It is not unrealistic to have a dramatic legal thriller, because of course those would be the stories worth telling. The argument for a character like Rumpole would be that his cases aren’t always dramatic but he only ever tells you about the dramatic ones.

 

Some cases can become dramatic because they take an unusual turn, or things happen behind the scenes that changes things. There can be problems getting some cases to court because of the nature of the defendants, with people scared to give evidence, or sometimes the stakes can be high.

 

I can remember doing once an overnight remand court in Blackburn, where a group of students were trouped into court to watch. They stayed there for around an hour or so. The hour preceding their arrival had been dull, mainly low level crimes and procedural issues. They arrived and suddenly the good cases came up. I can’t remember what they were now, but I do recall there was a long bail fight over something serious, and there might even have been a murder or something (which in the Magistrates Court is a very quick procedural hearing to send to the Crown Court with no bail hearing, but the court is usually packed with relatives and emotion). Once they left, we got back to the humdrum. It was a pure fluke, but they must have thought I had the most exciting job in the world!

 

Despite being involved in criminal law, I’ve never lost my enjoyment of it. I’m still as horrified and amazed by the things people do, as well as being occasionally amused by their sheer stupidity.

 

I do have a thing about accuracy though. I don’t have a problem if something “could” happen like how it’s portrayed, even if it probably wouldn’t. All too often, however, things are shown that are legal impossibilities, or just plain wrong. Why? Because it’s good drama? Legal proceedings have the capacity to be dramatic and there is no need to add elements to them to make them more so; just find a different way of telling the story.

 

You have two careers. Do you see yourself as a lawyer with a sideline, or a writer with a dayjob?

It does feel strange sometimes. My lawyer job is down to just three days a week now, and certainly writing provides the major part of my income and consumes the most part of my time. Despite this, if we met at a party and you asked me what I did, I would probably say I’m a lawyer.

The reason for that, I suppose, is that I went to college to be a lawyer and trained to be a lawyer. Writing was just some pipedream I had, some dream that I’d be able to pull it off, and to describe it as a job demeans it, because it is something that I love doing. I enjoy being a lawyer, but it is very much a job, about paying the bills, something that I walk away from at five o’clock and that I won’t think about when I retire. Writing, however, is something I do because I want to, and want to carry on doing.

So yes, I’m a lawyer by profession, but I have a side to my life that provides me with immense satisfaction that isn’t just about paying the bills.

 

When it comes to your own reading, do you stick mostly with Crime or do you prefer something different?

 

I do tend to stick to crime, although I enjoy true crime as well. I’ll sometimes read a travel book, or a biography, but my default is crime fiction.

 

I’m a bit of a lazy reader. I read in the same way I watch films.

 

If I watch a film, I like the lights off, headphones on, and for the film to draw me into the story. I’m the same with books. I don’t want to have to work at it, to plough through some heavy literary tome. No, just give me a book that just turns the pages on its own, where I look up and a few hours have gone by and I’m on page 200.

 

Favourite fictional character (from any novel)?

There are so many to choose from, but I’m going to go with Lisbeth Salander, because what I recall from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that I wanted more of the girl with the dragon tattoo, which is a good sign that I’ve engaged with the character. Also, Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, because he’s the lawyer I wish I was.

 

On the whole, I don’t tend to follow characters. I’ll buy books by authors I like or because I like the sound of the book. I wouldn’t, for example, be counting the days to the next Rebus book, but I would buy one if I saw one because I like Ian Rankin, if that makes any sense. Similarly, I would buy a James Lee Burke regardless of whether or not it was a Dave Robicheux book. For me, it’s about enjoying the author’s ability to tell a story rather than following a particular character.

 

Best book you have read this year so far?

Oh man, that’s a tough one. I’m going to say The Girl on the Train, because I thought it lived up to the hype.

 

 

Thanks Neil. The Domino Killer – the latest Parker Brothers instalment is out later this year:

91P44kDIg9L._SL1500_

When a series of shocking and seemingly random murders shocks Manchester, criminal lawyer Joe Parker and his police detective brother, Sam, must work together to solve the case. And before they know it, they’re in way over their heads…

The first book in the series is available now:

16204568

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Next-Die-Neil-White/dp/0751549460/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429161651&sr=1-3

Find out more here:

http://www.neilwhite.net/

Follow Neil on Twitter here:

https://twitter.com/neilwhite1965

Neil will be back on the blog alongside Nick Quantrill for another Criminal Minds feature soon – don’t miss that one!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Release Spotlight: Prison of Hope. Interview with Steve McHugh.

185878621003657_10151701911066054_1269474088_a

Very pleased to welcome Steve back to the blog today talking about the latest adventure for Nate Garrett.

 

Tell us a little bit about what inspired the character of Nate Garrett

Nathan Garrett was someone who lived in my head for years while I very, very slowly made my way through about a dozen drafts of the first book in the Hellequin Chronicles. I was 25 when I first decided I wanted to take my writing seriously. Nate was the first character I created. I wanted a man who would do whatever it took to get the job done, no matter how nasty and ruthless that was. Nate became that person.

 

Do you ever base your characters on people you have met in real life?

Sometimes. There have been a few people I’ve used for the smaller roles, but none for the bigger parts. I’ve friends ask if they can be killed off in future books, I promise to get round to each and every one of them.

 

 

How does a plot tend to start to evolve for you?

I tend to think of a scene or idea, and it builds from there. So for Crimes Against Magic it was the ending, and Born of Hatred it was the fight between Nate and the two ghouls outside of the police station. Things get filled in pretty quickly from there as the idea gets fleshed out. It doesn’t usually take me long to go from a brief outline to a fleshed out story. Unfortunately that story usually changes a few times while I’m writing it, which is always fun.

 

And what is up next for Nate?

After Prison of Hope, there’s Lies Ripped Open, which is out in Aug. That has a lot of answers about why Nate left Avalon, and what happened between him and Merlin. It asks some new questions too, but I wanted the 5th book to be an Avalon centric one.

After that, well we’ve got a ways to go to complete his story. And things are going to get a lot worse for Nate before they get better.

 

I know you have another project in the works – can you give us a hint?

I’m working on a Science Fiction book, which currently doesn’t have a finished title. I’m calling it Warbringer, but seeing how that’s changed a dozen times since I started, it’ll probably be named something else by the time I’m finished. I’m also working on a fantasy/sci fi book called Chimera. Chimera is a book I’ve had in my head for years and tend to go back to it when I get some time. There was a lot of world building and details involved for it, so it’s taken some time. It’s nice to be able to do different things though.

 

 

Best book you have read this year so far.

See, I’m dreadful at reading books when they come out. I tend to end up reading last years books and playing catch up. I really enjoyed In Dark Service by Stephen Hunt, and the Copper Promise by Jen Williams. I always have so much to read, sometimes I think I’d be better off not buying any new books until I’ve read them all… but that’s stupid and I could never stop buying new books.

 

Steve McHugh is the author of the popular Hellequin Chronicles. The fourth book, Prison of Hope, is out on April 14th. He lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games.

Prison of Hope: http://www.amazon.com/Prison-Hope-The-Hellequin-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00OV403VM/ref=pd_sim_kstore_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=10B2CDBW7GEYQ94K2VDP

Blog: https://stevejmchugh.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevejMchugh

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

Review:

18587862

Publication Date: 14th April 2015 from Amazon/47 North

Source: Netgalley

Long ago, Olympian gods imprisoned the demon Pandora in a human—Hope—creating a creature whose only purpose was chaos and death. Remorseful, the gods locked Pandora away in Tartarus, ruled by Hades. Now, centuries later, Pandora escapes. Nate Garrett, a 1,600-year-old sorcerer, is sent to recapture her and discovers her plan to disrupt the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, killing thousands in a misplaced quest for vengeance. Fast forward to modern-day Berlin, where Nate has agreed to act as guardian on a school trip to Germany to visit Hades at the entrance to Tartarus. When Titan King Cronus becomes the second ever to escape Tartarus, Nate is forced to track him down and bring him back, to avert a civil war between those who would use his escape to gain power.

Prison of Hope is book 4 in the (wonderfully addictive) Nate Garrett series from Mr McHugh, once again I loved it – they are always the most tremendous fun, with magical mayhem, thrills and spills and a hugely intelligent mythology that borrows from our own.

In this instalment Nate goes on a school trip which turns out to be somewhat stressful – the witches are playing up, there is an escapee from Tartarus and once again he finds himself caught up in the political maelstrom that is Avalon..

I always enjoy the Hellequin Chronicles books SO much, so readable and beautifully done as far as flow and storytelling goes, with some marvellously drawn characters, all of which are enigmatically brilliant. I’m absolutely in love with Nate, although I would not want to get him mad..

The mythology is rich and full of depth, descriptively speaking the author has the knack of putting you right on the spot, making this whole world seem as real as our own, the action is always edge of the seat stuff and with each new instalment the relationships between the characters ebb and flow meaning you are always desperate for the next part.

Overall then a really great read, all of them, another strength being that you can read any one on its own, you don’t necessarily  have to read in order. A series that I hope will run and run.

Highly Recommended

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

Hidden by Emma Kavanagh – Blog Tour.

HiddenHidden Blog TourEmma Kavanagh 2014 © Matthew Jones

I’m VERY happy to be part of the blog tour for Emma Kavanagh’s “Hidden” – review to follow – a brilliant psychological thriller that will keep you hooked until the end. Firstly, Emma tells us about characters in crime…

 

Crime From The Inside Out – Characters in crime

 

When I read, what interests me is the characters on the page. I want to see them come alive before me, watch them move through their world as whole, coherent individuals. When I write, I want the same thing. Whilst I write crime, it is rarely the crimes themselves that interest me, but rather the people involved in them.

 

Hidden tells the story of events leading towards a mass shooting, and one of the narrative threads comes from the shooter himself. Because what interests me is what pushes an individual to commit such an atrocious act, to inflict so much harm onto those that surround him.

 

Often what we concentrate on is the headlines – Maniac kills eight; psychotic killer slays ten. That’s not surprising because our ability to digest information is finite and, particularly in a story in which there is a great deal of trauma, our capacity to process can be diminished. So we take what we read at its face value. The man was a monster. He was insane.

 

But behind that insanity, underneath the nightmare of what they have done, is a real person, someone who talked with friends, was held by parents, someone whose existence extends beyond the atrocity. People make decisions. Often people make shockingly bad decisions. But uniformly they have made decisions for a reason. They chose the courses they chose because in some way it made sense to them. What fascinates me is in digging beneath the skin and understanding what it was about these people that made them choose to kill.

 

Hidden

Publication Date: 23rd April from Century

Source: Netgalley

A gunman is stalking the wards of a local hospital. He’s unidentified and dangerous, and has to be located. Urgently.

Police Firearms Officer Aden McCarthy is tasked with tracking him down. Still troubled by the shooting of a schoolboy, Aden is determined to make amends by finding the gunman—before it’s too late.

So anyway, some people may remember what a huge fan of “Falling” I was, so it was with some trepidation I started reading “Hidden”. It is the usual thing of course, will you love it as much, what if the first one was a fluke, oh what can I say if I hate it? So I count myself lucky for more than one reason that within about 5% of this novel I was hook, line and sinkered.

A lot of that had to do with the haunting and rather exciting starting point – we see an aftermath. Horrific and heart pounding, it will draw you straight into the story and that will be that.

Going back then to prior events, we start to meet some of the people involved, find out more about them and about what has led up to this awful outcome. In true Emma Kavanagh style (once more and I’ll call it trademark) the characters become the skeleton key. Beautifully drawn and intriguing, from various walks of life but all with that line between them, a story starts to unfold, connections are made and slowly but surely that day is approaching when it all comes to a head.

It is all so addictive, so elegantly constructed and once again I found myself deep deep into the emotion of it – especially with Charlie who I related to on a very basic level. She wants to do the right thing yet often ends up doing the exact opposite, I can definitely stand by that one, so for me she was my favourite. All of them are brilliant and it really gives a wonderful emotive edge especially as you know at least some of what is coming.

I was especially fascinated by the portions of the story relating to armed officers – it felt terribly authentic, unsurprising really – not only on points of procedure but also on the feelings and issues that can arise. Aden is a really excellent protagonist here, torn sometimes but with a good heart and a determination to protect.

Overall then what was I worried about? Turns out if anything this was better than Falling – certainly if you love a psychological crime thriller that is mostly character driven, you’ll love this. The ending was pitch perfect and may surprise you. Don’t miss it whatever you do. Oh and maybe put a pot of coffee on before you start….

You can follow Emma on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/EmmaLK

Purchase Information: https://www.waterstones.com/book/hidden/emma-kavanagh/9781780892047

You can read an extract from Chapter One here: http://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/index.php/extract-hidden-emma-kavanagh/

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

Today I am a VERY HAPPY READER.

11150320_10205247946010699_5844733832478410005_n

This beautiful tome of a novel arrived on Saturday – I am currently re-reading the first in this Penn Cage trilogy – Natchez Burning – one of my top reads of 2014. I am enjoying it again ready to jump into The Bone Tree after which you may not see me for a while.

 

Here is what I thought of Natchez Burning…

 

18735918

Penn Cage is facing a son’s worst nightmare – having his father stand accused of murder. Worse, each effort to defend the legendary Dr Tom Cage unearths new, shocking secrets, leaving Penn to question whether he ever really knew his father at all.So for those of you who have not read the previous Penn Cage novels from Greg Iles (the first being “The Quiet Game” ) I would encourage you to do so, however you CAN start here – the first part of a planned trilogy featuring the character, as there is enough information for a new reader without actually spoiling the previous books.

There are reasons why this is one of the best “presents” I have received since reviewing seriously – a few years back I read the last Penn Cage novel, “The Devils Punchbowl” which was as brilliantly addictive as all the rest. When it ended there was a hint, a taster if you like, for what might happen next. In the notes Mr Iles told us that, unusually, there would be a further Penn Cage novel the following year (usually there is a bigger gap – he also writes TREMENDOUSLY gripping standalone books and never actually intended to write a series but Penn wouldnt go away) then of course disaster struck. Mr Iles was involved in a serious accident – all that mattered after that was recovery. I, for one, am extremely grateful that recover he did over a period of time, otherwise the world would have lost another great writer on top of the obvious horror of personal loss for his family.I prayed. I’m sure his other readers did as well. And now here we are..

And what a glorious, once again addictive, seriously mind blowing read we have here. Absolutely gripping. A deeply involving story about the effects and events surrounding racial tension in the Deep South Mr Iles blends fact and fiction with terrific effect. Past leaks into present with terrifying results and as well as being a most fascinating tale, for this reader it was also an education. These subjects are dealt with in previous books but for me this was a revelation.

On top of all that, there is the well drawn, compelling story of the relationship between father and son. Tom Cage is a local hero, known as a moral man, loved by many, the backbone of his community and a much admired Doctor. He grew up during the troubled times where the colour of your skin determined how you were treated, viewed, what you were allowed to do with your life, where you could eat, sleep, drink. Always assuming him to be on the side of truth and justice, Penn has always had the greatest love and affection for his Dad and an instinctive trust about who he is. All that is about to be thrown up into the air, who knows where the pieces will land or what will be left of this trust when it is all over.

Amazing. The only word that springs to mind. As dark secrets begin to emerge, you will be swept along with the sheer beauty of the writing, the absolute emotion of each moment and often sitting on the edge of your seat awaiting answers to, frankly, unanswerable questions about the way human beings treat each other. Will Tom Cage ultimately turn out to be exactly who Penn thought he was? Or is he as fallible as the rest…

I am in awe. And I cannot wait for the next part of the story, it has buried itself deep within my reading soul and I imagine that overall this is one that will stay with me for life.

Read it. Love it. Live it.

And next up:

10169600

Penn Cages father, Dr. Tom Cage, stands accused of murder, and each effort to defend him unearths new, shocking secrets, leaving Penn to question whether he ever really knew his father at all. At issue is the murder of Toms former nurse, Viola Turner. The district attorney is quick to point the finger at Tom, citing his decades-old relationship with Viola. When Tom is taken into custody, Penn must explore the dangerous territory of Tom and Violas shared history, set squarely in the most harrowing years of civil-rights-era Mississippi. What was the relationship between Tom, Viola, and the Double Eagle Club, an ultraviolent group of hardened men who considered themselves smarter, tougher, and more elite than their peers in the FBI-infiltrated Ku Klux Klan? In Natchez, Mississippi, where the past is never truly past, long-buried secrets tend to turn lethal when exposed to the light of day. For Penn Cage, the cost of solving this case is no exception.

 

EXCITEMENT LEVELS ARE HIGH

 

Happy Reading Folks!