Epiphany Jones – Blog Tour Review.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Orenda

Source: Review Copy

Jerry has a traumatic past that leaves him subject to psychotic hallucinations and depressive episodes. When he stands accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh painting, he goes underground, where he develops an unwilling relationship with a woman who believes that the voices she hears are from God. Involuntarily entangled in the illicit world of sex-trafficking amongst the Hollywood elite, and on a mission to find redemption for a haunting series of events from the past, Jerry is thrust into a genuinely shocking and outrageously funny quest to uncover the truth and atone for historical sins.

Well. What to say about Epiphany Jones.

First of all you should be warned that Michael Grothaus threw all the rules out of the window when writing this novel. I do like a rebel, someone who is not afraid to push boundaries and just tells a story. A dark yet often laugh out loud  humerous story.  It is vivid, irrational, punchy, intense and gut wrenching. And beautiful, insane, creatively stunning and has a touch of mad good lunacy in its prose.

In other words it is utterly brilliant.

And socially relevant. Sex trafficking. Not a pretty subject, not a fictional creation but a real world thing. If you can’t cope with reality within fiction avoid this novel because the author slaps you with the reality right round the face. Using an incredibly unusual, often unlikeable, rather twisted protagonist. And Epiphany Jones. You won’t ever look at Hollywood in quite the same way again.

Epiphany Jones is just astonishingly powerful.  As a concept, in its execution, with its characters and settings and amazingly surreal feel, you won’t read another book like it. You may wonder what you are getting into when you read the first bit but go along for the ride, it is a fast, furious, funny and dangerous one. And you know, its one of those books that come along every so often that really should be read by everyone. It honestly will blow your mind. Whats left of it by the time you reach the final page…

I’m incredibly crazy about this book. In a low down, secretly shoving it at everyone, nodding sagely and pointing at it without telling them what they are about to experience kind of way. Mostly they come out of it dazed and confused and I laugh a bit conveniently forgetting that the other side of it for me was a VERY bad hair day from all the random tugging at the roots. And wow has been used as a descriptive sense of it.

It is a wow book. But not in any way you will be expecting even having read this review that isnt really a review but more a ramble.

The upshot of it is though, you might want to read Epiphany Jones.

HIGHLY recommended. It won’t be for  everyone with its dark themes and often deeply disturbing vibe but it will also make you laugh (occasionally inappropriately) and is a journey worth taking.

Find out more HERE

Follow Michael on Twitter HERE

To Purchase Epiphany Jones clickety click right HERE

See who else was on the tour!

Epiphany Jones Blog tour

Happy Reading!

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Pigeon Blood Red – Guest post from Ed Duncan.

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Today I am pleased to welcome author Ed Duncan to the blog talking about characters in his novel “Pigeon Blood Red” and Reining Rico In…

 

Reining Rico In – Ed Duncan.

I had been a practicing lawyer at a national law firm in Cleveland for about twenty years when the idea for a novel first came to me. I was attending a legal seminar in Honolulu and I was strolling the manicured grounds of the hotel after dinner. It was a beautiful evening, as most evenings are in Honolulu, based on my limited experience.

(I’ve since returned there once and have another visit planned in the Spring.)

Sandwiched between these two trips was a visit to Maui. I had sat on a bench to admire the lush setting and the moonlit sky when the kernel of an idea sprang to mind. What if a lawyer on holiday in Honolulu, or attending a seminar as I was, had a chance encounter with a mysterious woman who was running for her life from some unknown danger, and the lawyer, against great odds, managed to save her? The woman, of course, is both vulnerable and attractive, in addition to being innocent of any wrongdoing.

This is the basic idea from which Pigeon-Blood Red arose. Eventually I was convinced by someone at a writers’ conference I attended that the lawyer and the woman couldn’t be strangers because no one would go to the lengths the lawyer goes to or would expose himself to such danger for a total stranger. Maybe, maybe not. But I made the change. Now I needed a reason the woman was in danger and I needed an antagonist who was deadly but also smart enough to match wits with the lawyer and the woman, who I decided would be a college math professor.

The reason the woman was running for her life was that a pigeon-blood red ruby necklace (worth millions, but unknown to her) innocently came into her possession. The phrase “pigeon-blood red” lends an exotic air to the novel. That description was coined by Indian gem dealers centuries ago. It refers to the color of the first two drops of blood that trickle from the nostrils of a freshly killed pigeon. Rubies with that pigmentation are the rarest and most valuable in the world.

As had the idea for the novel, the name of the antagonist came to mind without any thought on my part: Rico. It just sounded right. This is its derivation in the novel: The character’s full name is Richard Sanders. Rich is short for Richard and “rico” means rich in Spanish. Rico was the nickname given to him by some Puerto Rican kids in his neighborhood.

As I thought about the character, I wanted him to be a ruthlessly efficient hitman, but I wanted him to have a code of his own, i.e., a line he wouldn’t cross despite his vocation, and I wanted him to have a dry sense of humor. So that’s the way I wrote him.

There was a problem, however. The lawyer, Paul Elliott, was always meant to be the main character (after all, he is a highly idealized version of me!), and the woman, Evelyn Rogers, was meant to be a close second. Both have interesting back stories, but the more I developed Rico’s character, the more he fought to become the central focus of the narrative. The more I tried to rein him in, the more he resisted. Although I didn’t surrender, I like to

think we fought to a draw. By that I mean that Paul and Evelyn are at least arguably on par with Rico as the driving forces in the novel. So if the novel were turned into a movie (which I’m working on through Voyage Media in Los Angeles), I think Rico, Paul, and Evelyn would all share top billing. Incidentally, Rico has a girlfriend in the novel, Jean, a lady of the evening, and their relationship is every bit as intriguing as the relationship between Paul and Evelyn. In the movie Jean would get fourth billing.

In retrospect, Rico is in many ways an amalgam of three of my favorite movie heroes. Two appeared in westerns that were based on novels of the same name: In chronological order they are Shane, starring Alan Ladd, and Hombre, starring Paul Newman. The third is Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen. What they all have in common is that all are essentially loners and all have codes of their own. Unlike Rico, though, all three are on the right side of the law.

I didn’t start out thinking I would base Rico on these mythical characters, but the fact they he has so much in common with them probably explains why he fought so hard to be the center of attention in Pigeon-Blood Red, and why I could only fight him to a draw.

About the book:

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For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.

As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?

Find out more HERE

Follow Ed on Twitter HERE

To Purchase Pigeon Blood Red clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

 

 

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4 Awesome Authors. 4 GREAT books. First Monday Crime in July.

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First Monday Crime is fast becoming the place to be or to follow if you want to get your reading on (although not necesssarily good for your bank balance I always come home with a bag full of books) – fascinating panels showcasing some brilliant authors and their equally brilliant books. I was very happy (after a little bit of stalking in my book love way) to be able to get a short sharp interview with each of the amazing  writers appearing at First Monday in July – and I’m really happy to say they will all be back on the blog individually soon to talk more about their novels and other things in further features (or have already eh Mr Booth?)  But in case you fancy tootling along to London to hear them speak in person on the 4th July and perhaps pick up some new reads for your book heap (ticket information to follow) here’s a little taster from each of them.

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Anna Mazzola is the author of “The Unseeing”  (Tinder Press) A novel I have just finished and boy are you in for a treat.

“The Unseeing” is the novel we will be hearing about at First Monday – could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind it?

The Unseeing is based on the Edgware Road murder, which I first read about in the Suspicions of Mr Whicher. When I read through the Old Bailey transcript of the trial, I noticed that very little was said in defence of Sarah Gale, who was accused of helping her lover, James Greenacre, to conceal the murder of Hannah Brown. As Sarah Gale was facing the death sentence for her part in the horrific murder of another woman, I thought that was very strange. What was preventing Sarah from speaking out to defend herself? Why was her lawyer not denying the things said against her?

Can you give us a brief soundbite about what readers can expect from the story or that you hope they will take from it?

The Unseeing is about truth and deception – about the lies we tell ourselves as well as the lies we tell others. Mainly, I hope that people will find it a fascinating read, but maybe also that they will see things a little differently afterwards.

Which writers inspire you?

Ooh, lots. Margaret Atwood, Sarah Waters, Jane Harris, Patricia Highsmith, Christie, Dickens. My favourite books generally have crime at their centre but aren’t always classed as ‘crime’ novels: they’re explorations of why people end up committing terrible acts.

Tell us one fact about you that is unlikely to come up at the First Monday event.

My love of mystery stories goes a long way back. As a child, I was obsessed with the Riders at Black Pony Inn series by Christine Pullein-Thompson, and then with supersleuth Nancy Drew. I in fact made my poor friends act out the stories, playing the parts of Bess, George and Ned Nickerson. I, of course, was always Nancy.

Thanks so much Anna!

You can visit Anna at her website HERE

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Andrew Taylor is a Crime and Historical novelist whose latest novel is The Ashes of London (Harper Collins)  I’m a big fan of this author so very much looking forward to the new book and to hearing him talk about it in July.

“The Ashes of London” is your latest novel and the one we will all be hearing about at First Monday Crime on 4th July – you are known for novels with a strong evocative historical flavour – not all in the same period but varied and intriguing. Can you tell us a little about what inspires each setting?

It’s very simple – it has to be a setting that interests me, something I want to find out more about. It’s as simple as that. Researching the setting is one of the hidden benefits of writing – and reading – historical crime fiction. The only trouble is, the research is by its very nature open-ended and sometimes it’s so interesting that it’s hard to stop doing it and start writing.

Can you give us a brief soundbite about what readers can expect from the latest story?

A glimpse of London reduced to smouldering ruins, St Paul’s Cathedral as you’ve never seen it before, and a variety of corpses…

Which writers inspire you?

Among the dead (so much more tactful): for crime, Margery Allingham, Josephine Tey and Patricia Highsmith; for history, Penelope Fitzgerald, Mary Renault, Alfred Duggan. Almost all women…

Tell us one fact about you that is unlikely to come up at the First Monday event.

I once played in a band called The Pukes. You didn’t hear that from me.

Thanks Andrew!

You can visit Andrew at his website HERE

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Stephen Booth is the author of the long running Cooper and Fry series (of which I am a huge fan) – the latest, Secrets of Death ( Sphere) looks brilliant and I can’t wait to get to it.

“Secrets of Death” is the novel we will be hearing about at First Monday – this is number 16 in your long running series – does that feel mad?

Insane! I set out to write one book about Ben Cooper and Diane Fry originally. But all the publishers who were interested in it wanted two books. Since then, I’ve never known how many there were going to be in the series. People just seem to keep wanting more…

Can you give us a brief soundbite about what readers can expect from the story or that you hope they will take from it?

‘Secrets of Death’ explores the idea of ‘suicide tourism’ – suicidal individuals who choose to end their lives at a favourite location. Ben Cooper and his team are faced with a spate of suicide tourists in popular Peak District beauty spots, with no idea where the next dead body might turn up. And of course there’s always the possibility that one of those deaths might not have been suicide at all…

Which writers inspire you?

One of my greatest writing heroes was Ruth Rendell, who had a talent for subverting the genre and was always able to come up with something new and exciting. But I admire anyone who can create strong, believable characters with the potential take on a life of their own long after the author has gone. I think that’s the greatest achievement any writer can hope for.

Tell us one fact about you that is unlikely to come up at the First Monday event.

People still ask me about the dairy goats we used to breed (which we haven’t had for a few years now). But a fact which doesn’t come up very often is that I was once a director of an artificial insemination company. Of course, we employed specially trained people to do the technical stuff!

Thank you Stephen!

You can visit Stephen at his website HERE

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Last but by no means least is Beth Lewis – her debut novel The Wolf Road  (The Borough Press)you  may have already seen me raving about here but if not here’s Beth to give you the lowdown…

“The Wolf Road” is the novel we will be hearing about at First Monday – could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind it?

The Wolf Road was initially sparked by a short scene in a TV show. It was a few seconds showing a girl and her father – who was a monstrous serial killer – and the girl’s complicity in his crimes. It made me question who was the victim, did she know what she was doing, did she willingly partake? I thought that was a fascinating psychology to explore, so The Wolf Road and Elka were born.

Can you give us a brief soundbite about what readers can expect from the story or that you hope they will take from it?

I want readers to come away feeling unsettled, not because of a gory or brutal scene but by being invested in a character who has done so many awful things and then to still be rooting for her.

Which writers inspire you?

Probably my biggest inspiration is David Mitchell. He’s just so damn good and takes so many risks, it’s hard not to be inspired.

Tell us one fact about you that is unlikely to come up at the First Monday event.

When I was 21, I spent six weeks in South Africa cage diving with great white sharks. I even touched one!

Thanks Beth!

You can visit Beth at her website HERE

I’d like to thank ALL the authors for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer a few questions and hopefully you guys reading this will have found a book or two that takes your fancy (or like me all of them!)

If you would like to come along to First Monday Crime for July  HERE is the ticket link via the amazing Goldsboro.

July’s First Monday is sponsored by the equally amazing KILLER READS where you can ALWAYS find your next Killer Read…

Happy Reading Everyone!

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Cover Reveal. Double Trouble exclusive: The 2 O Clock Boy by Mark Hill.

Today I am REALLY REALLY REALLY EXCITED, erm  I’m quite pleased to part of a “double trouble” exclusive, along with my really good friend and partner in crime that awesome author and super blogger Steph Broadribb (more commonly known as Crime  Thriller Girl ) Today we have the  cover for a new novel coming soon that just HAPPENS to have been written by another really good friend of ours the uniquely funny and talented Mark Hill.

His debut thriller is called “The 2 O’Clock Boy” and the cover is icy cold gorgeous with a touch of real glass. Erm class. Both in fact. It is a stand out cover for sure. Don’t believe me? Then LOOK.

 

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Now you want to know more right? Well its your lucky day because I have the blurb right here…

TWO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS… ONE BECAME A DETECTIVE… ONE BECAME A KILLER…

One night changed their lives
Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children’s Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home’s manager.

Cries in the fire and smoke
Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis’ favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried . . . until today.

A truth both must hide
Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O’Clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it take to stop the murders – but he will go even further to cover up the truth.

Yep sounds good right? Twisty Turny thrillers are one of my favourite things and the cover just screams READ ME which we’ll all be able to do on 17th November when it is published by Sphere. I’d mark it in your diaries if I were you…

Happy Reading!

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Justin Cronin at Waterstones Piccaddilly for The City of Mirrors

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So last night I was really excited (turns out for good reason as it was entirely brilliant) to go and see Justin Cronin speak and answer questions on the finale to The Passage trilogy – The City of Mirrors. Along with my fellow uber fan (who also happens to be my daughter) Mel and a couple of friends, we all had a great time – Turns out Justin Cronin is a bit of a star, a fascinating and wittily funny guy who also just happens to be a hugely talented writer. If you want to see what I thought of the finale and indeed of the trilogy you can see me attempting to put that into words HERE.

So I’m not going to blather on I’m just going to put up some pictures and give some highlights…

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Mr Cronin started with an atmospheric and haunting reading from the novel then  he opened it up to audience questions which came thick and fast – it was all very inclusive and took on an intimate feel – more of a chat than anything else. Some fascinating facts emerged. Plus there was a lot of laughter. And at the end he signed what must have felt to him like a million copies of various versions of the trilogy and took the time to have pictures taken and have a little chat to everyone that queued. Considering he had just done an hour of talking that was pretty amazing.

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Reading from “The City of Mirrors”

Some random titbits.:

The novels are heading for television (I blanked the next 10 questions in my excitement)

On writing tips we were told “You must put some dirt on the heroes and some sun on the villains”

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Answering Questions

Zombies apparently are always dressed for work (yep)

His daughter was concerned that his books might be “boring” and told him to write a book about a “little girl who saves the world” – and hey look what happened!

Mr Cronin is apparently very domesticated and definitely not a serial killer (phew) but just sits down and writes about terrible things.

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Fully engaged with the audience

There was so much more but you kind of had to be there – one thing for sure, it was a fantastic event, Justin Cronin is hugely likeable and very grateful to his readers which came across in his absolute willingness to engage and entertain. I may be a little in love (again. Ok I’m fickle)

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It was a packed house

I should say a huge thanks to Orion, Waterstones Piccadilly and of COURSE the man of the moment Justin Cronin for such a great evening. And for bringing us The Passage Trilogy – a truly remarkable writing achievement. Some moments will stay with you…

Special thanks to Angela who has accepted my random shrieky emails about these novels with good grace and a metaphorical pat on the head. She is a star.

And there we were….

Here are my companions for the evening ready to get their books signed.

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Here is Orion’s Angela keeping an eye on proceedings and doing a stellar job! (Also taking what must have felt to her like a million pictures on behalf of attendee’s)

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Then the moment (Sorry Kelly I know you were pointing at me NOT to take your picture but I ignored you) that the guys got their books signed.

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Then there was a real moment for me (one of those I’ll never forget)

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Then sadly it was home time. But we had a fantastic evening and whatever Mr Cronin has up his sleeve for us readers next you can bet that I’ll be first in the queue!

If you have not read the trilogy yet then take a hop skip over to HERE and rectify that if you can. You really shouldn’t miss the epics. And trust me this one is Epic. With a capital E.

Happy Reading!

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A Tiding of Magpies. Guest post from Peter Sutton.

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Very happy to welcome Peter Sutton to the blog today with a guest post on writing. Thanks so much Peter!

Write whatever you like – Peter Sutton.

Writers like constraints and borders, rules and deadlines, word counts and themes. Well I do anyway. I was at an event recently where an editor was talking about an anthology he’d put together. He told the audience that he’d given the writers the loosest of briefs and for some this was liberating, for others, terrifying. I fall more in the second category than the first I think. My first collection of stories – A Tiding of Magpies – comes out on the 28th June. The stories were written over a three year period and themed upon the counting magpies song – One for sorrow…

Each story is inspired by a particular line. I never set out to write a themed collection. I was writing stories to prompts, either online or for anthologies . I wrote a story for Visual Verse called Waymarker which was inspired by a picture. In it a serial killer is named – “The seventh magpie”, I liked the image and the name and used it again in a fantasy setting – Tales for the Ferryman – for Far Horizons Magazine.

Sometime later I had to write a flash for a reading and I revisited the concept of “A secret never to be told” and wrote a story called Roadkill (published in The Speculative Book) which tells of a small boy obsessed by roadkill, and with the counting song.

It wasn’t until I wrote a third story – Thunder and Magpies – that I decided that I was writing to a theme. Again and again my mind came circling back to it. I realised that unconsciously my other work prior had also featured birds – An Unexpected Return, which won the Hodderscape dodo story competition, featured dodos of course, and my first published story – Artifice Perdu – (published in Airship Shape) featured pigeons.

And once I’d realised I had a theme I could riff off it. I could use the constraints as inspirations. I could put my stories in conversation with each other.

Where I live there are often magpies and their strange clacking song is an accompaniment to my writing. And they have snuck into my storytelling consciousness now and I wonder if they’ll ever leave.

A lot of my stories feature child protagonists, or narrators. Many are ambiguous with the possibility of the supernatural and many feature death. Maybe the playful nature of magpies, and the childhood TV show lend them a reason to feature. Maybe it’s their psychopomp nature?

As I said, birds feature in my short work (and in both the novels I have written too, just not so centrally). So is it a constraint or a freedom to write with that in mind? Not every story features birds of course, so there is freedom. But when I am given an open writing brief my mind circles back to the feathered kind. Thus , for example, when responding to a call for submissions for After Lines; for an exploration of – “the before, the after, and the un-spoken in fairytales, myths, and legends.” My mind naturally turned to a fairytale with lots of birds in it and I wrote Swan, Wild a sequel to Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen.

But is that constraint done with now that the collection is coming out? I don’t know. Maybe. I have spent most of this year working on a novel – Sick City Syndrome – which hopefully will be coming out towards the end of the year. I haven’t written may short stories so far this year. The last I wrote – Twelfth Night – did have birds in it, and psychopomps and creatively interpreted the brief I was given, to write a ghost tale. There was a constraint, a clear brief, a ghost tale taking place on a significant date, that became much looser as I wrote. But, if the brief had been – write whatever you like – would I ever have come up with that story? I doubt it.

Pete Sutton is a writer, book blogger, magazine editor and literature festival organiser. You can see more about Bristol Festival of Literature here: http://unputdownable.org and Far Horizons Magazine here: https://farhorizonsmagazine.wordpress.com/

He is a contributor to the Naked Guide to Bristol and you can read his latest published story – – The Detectives Tale – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/637833

published by The Refuge Collection (with all proceeds going to refugee charities)

You can follow him on Twitter @Suttope and read his book blog here: http://brsbkblog.blogspot.co.uk/ & his website here: http://petewsutton.com/

Pete’s books A Tiding of Magpies and Sick City Syndrome will be released by Kensington Gore in 2016 – for details see: http://www.kensingtongorepublishing.com/

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This ‘Deliciously Dark’ collection of stories written by Pete Sutton, tells tales themed on the counting magpies song – “One for sorrow… “

A Tiding of Magpies is an enchanting short story collection which will give you a pleasurable shiver up the spine. Whether it is waking up to unmentionable sounds in Not Alone, or taking a trip to the land of stories in Five for Silver, the surprising use of a robot butler in I, Butler or competition winners It Falls and An Unexpected Return, these thirty one tales, ranging from tiny flash fiction to long stories of several thousand words, always entertain, even when they unnerve. These darkly fantastical tales have been published in anthologies and magazines or written especially and collected here for the first time by Kensington Gore Publishing.

“Pete Sutton has a talent for the fantastic.” – Paul Cornell (Shadow Police series, This Damned Band, Doctor Who, Elementary)

“…there is a sweet and subtle music to Sutton’s stories. They take you to strange places.” – Mike Carey (Lucifer, The Unwritten, The Girl with all the Gifts, Fellside)

“As if Raymond Carver turned his hand to writing science fiction.” – David Gullen (Clarke Award Judge)

The Last Days of Jack Sparks. You can run but you can’t hide.. (2016 Spotlight)

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Publication Date : 28th July from Orbit (available now on Kindle)

Source: Review copy. And netgalley. Jack REALLY wanted me to read this book. From beyond the grave he insisted.

Jack Sparks died while writing this book. This is the account of his final days.

In 2014, Jack Sparks – the controversial pop culture journalist – died in mysterious circumstances.

To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors, he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone.

It was no secret that Jack had been researching the occult for his new book. He’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy.

Then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack’s final hours.

Warning: It is entirely possible that while reading Jack Sparks you’ll metaphorically die of laughter. Or of fright. Or possibly a mixture of both. But it’ll be worth it. Also keep lots of coffee handy coz this one will keep you up all night. And I am talking AFTER you have read it..

Anyway to the point, I loved this. I read it in a day. Not even a day. A matter of hours. It is utterly gripping and darkly witty to the point that you will laugh out loud and scare anyone in your general vicinity but thats fine because whilst you are scaring THEM Jason Arnopp will be scaring YOU. Quietly and without warning. The Last Days of Jack Sparks creeps up on you. One minute you are giggling at Jack’s anecdotal witticisms then you suddenly realise its very quiet where you are right now…and what was that noise? Hang on it IS daylight right? (At this point switch all the lights on just in case it gets dark while you are busy being absorbed into this horrifically addictive world – don’t say I didn’t give you fair warning)

Reading this book is akin to being insanely tickled then randomly hit on the head with a blunt object. Repeatedly. One then the other. Over and over until you emerge, blinking, back into reality. This is reality right?

Yep thats how it gets you.

So the thing is you get a lot of bang for your buck with this story. Supernatural shenanigans. Many many surprises. A lot of laughs. Chapter six-six-six just made me giggle. That just before I was hit with another creepily insane moment. Descriptively this is gorgeous, the characters are vividly alive, even the dead ones, it rocks along to THE most terrifically and horrifically imaginative conclusion and whilst you know things are not going to turn out well for Jack the author still manages to keep you on a knifes edge. I’m actually *really* happy I don’t live inside Mr Arnopp’s head right now.

Or perhaps I do.

Perhaps we all do.

Gulp.

No no…don’t look behind you. Or down there. OR up there. Just be very still. All may still be well.

Creepily, stealthily, hilariously, inventively brilliant.

Highly Recommended.

I would absolutely NOT go and find out more here (oh go on then…)

Or follow the author on Twitter here ( perhaps you’d better, might be safer)

If you are brave (and very savvy ) you can purchase Jack’s story HERE

Happy Reading!

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2016 Spotlight: False Hearts by Laura Lam

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Publication Date: Available Now from Macmillan

Source: Netgalley

Raised in the closed cult of Mana’s Hearth and denied access to modern technology, conjoined sisters Taema and Tila dream of a life beyond the walls of the compound. When the heart they share begins to fail, the twins escape to San Francisco, where they are surgically separated and given new artificial hearts. From then on they pursue lives beyond anything they could have previously imagined.

Ten years later, Tila returns one night to the twins’ home in the city, terrified and covered in blood, just before the police arrive and arrest her for murder—the first homicide by a civilian in decades. Tila is suspected of involvement with the Ratel, a powerful crime syndicate that deals in the flow of Zeal, a drug that allows violent minds to enact their darkest desires in a terrifying dreamscape.

False Hearts was a dream read in more ways than one. Tagged as “Orphan Black meets Inception” that is actually not a bad analogy – but as well as all the scifi geekery and gorgeously imagined settings both in and out of the mind, this is also the story of two sisters and their changing relationship.

This is one of those novels that comes alive, not only because Laura Lam has a deft and extraordinarily imaginative eye for the small details that create a vivid world but because it has a surreal vibe and a totally addictive flow. Taema and Tila are a right pair, growing up within the confines of a (very creepy at times) cult then being thrown out into a real world that changes their entire existence. No longer are they joined but separate. And what a world it is.

False Hearts walks the line between hugely entertaining story and decent character development really well – it seems as if this is a part one, I do hope so because I need to know what comes after – this was a really banging story, so wonderfully descriptive. The dreamscape portions taking on a nighmarish quality that does stay with you and some of the wildly dark imagery is beautiful in its complexity. I do love a book that really digs deep into your subconscious and this book has that in spades.

The relationship between the sisters is classically absorbing, the realities of being so close and then so far is a theme that embeds itself into the wider story as well as defining the two girls themselves – I loved how we were drip fed their upbringing against the backdrop of one trying desperately to save the other. Once they had no secrets, it was impossible, now though secrets abound and Laura Lam takes the reader on a deeply delicious, darkly immersive journey of discovery, with identity very much a running theme.

Basically its *really* very good and comes highly recommended from me. Indeed.

You can find out more HERE

Follow the author on Twitter HERE

To Purchase False Hearts clickety click right HERE

Or you COULD get a lovely signed copy via  the fantastic Goldsboro HERE

Happy Reading!

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50 Years of Valley of the Dolls

9780349008325SusannJacqueline

Dolls: red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight—for Anne, Neely, and Jennifer, it doesn’t matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three women become best friends when they are young and struggling in New York City and then climb to the top of the entertainment industry—only to find that there is no place left to go but down—into the Valley of the Dolls.

Very happy to join in the nostalgic love for this novel – one I read in my teens and reread recently for this tour – because it is coming up on 50 years since it was originally published and is one of those rite of passage books that many many read as teenagers and beyond.

A classic one might say – and for good reason. First published in the 60’s it is kind of ageless. Rereading it recently I was struck by how it is actually not terribly well written and yet somehow holds you enthralled. A rags to riches to rags tale full of not particularly nice people doing not particularly nice things a lot of the time. The author wrote it with a kind of gleeful exuberance not worrying too much about nitty gritty but banging out an authentic and addictive story of 3 women, used and then abused by the entertainment industry, shining a spotlight on the things that hide below the glamour. A cautionary tale and one that has just as strong message today as it did 50 years ago.

I was struck by different things reading it now rather than back when I was young and stupid. I’m now not young but probably still as stupid in a lot of ways but lets gloss over that fact a bit like the characters gloss over how they are actually being treated in the novel – now I’m looking at it through different eyes I see how intense and in places hard hitting it is. More understanding of the issues that Ms Susan brought into the light, it has a pretty dark vibe going on. I can see why it caused such a stir when originally published although these days nobody is going to bat an eyelid.

Valley of the Dolls is superbly entertaining. It speaks to a moment in time that is entirely fascinating and feels surpisingly modern. If you missed out on this particular book you might want to give it a go.

You can purchase Valley of the Dolls HERE

Happy Reading!

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The Fire Child – S K Tremayne. Blog Tour Review.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Harper Collins

Source: Netgalley

When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:

‘You will be dead by Christmas.’

First of all – creepy child alert. This author seems to excel on that subject because Jamie is most definitely a creepy child. Shiver. Seriously. I’ve been eyeing my own two children suspiciously since reading this book – clever writing.

Rachel marries David after a whirlwind romance – and heads off  to start a new life in Cornwall. Determined to help Jamie get over the loss of his mother she has all the good intentions – but there is something strange about the death of Davids previous wife, Jamie starts to act oddly (seriously I would have headed straight back to the big city and dang the consequences but I guess that would have been a very quick read – main character acts sensibly in nefarious situation) and the house and area in which she is living begins to take on a sinister vibe.

The sense of place in The Fire Child is brilliantly executed – the wilds of Cornwall, the beauty and the danger, come to vivid life around Rachel as she tries to navigate the maze of her new life, this for me was one of the strongest aspects of this particular story. Tis a twisty tale also, and as I mentioned earlier Jamie is a very creepy child – but also strangely sympathetic. The author plays on a possible supernatural aspect against the more likely scenario that the lad is just suffering the traumatic aftermath of losing his mother and it is extremely addictive reading.

Whilst of the two novels I probably preferred The Ice Twins simply because I related more to the characters in that one, The Fire Child is immersive reading with some beautiful descriptive prose and an atmospheric, sometimes quite lyrical flow. The author plays with your perceptions and overall it was a classically executed psychological thriller with what feels like a bit of a homage to “Rebecca”  – but I may be making that up.

Recommended if you like creepy haunting tales that may not necessarily go where you are expecting them to go.

To Purchase The Fire Child clickety click right HERE

Or I have 2 copies to give away – tweet me @Lizzy11268 and maybe your name will come out of the hat.

Follow the Tour!

The Fire Child blog tour banner

Happy Reading!

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