Killer Women…Killer Crime Writing Festival. Part Two.

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So the brilliant crime writers at Killer Women are having their very first festival on Saturday 15th October – it is going to be a rocking day and you can pick up a ticket HERE.

Welcome to Part Two of my trawl around the authorscape to find out more about those you can see at the festival – I’ve been working VERY hard I’ll have you know, abseiling down cliffs and things to track them down. Or I’ve just done it all from the comfort of home but the other one sounds better….

If you missed Part One you can find it if you clickety click.

The full line up can be found HERE but today we are hearing from Sarah Hilary, Chris Whitaker and Sam Eades…

See? Already things are looking even BETTER than when I did part one…

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Tell us a little about your latest novel and what readers can expect from it?

I’ve just finished a big round of edits on Quieter Than Killing which is coming out in March 2017. It’s the fourth in my Marnie Rome series, and centres around a series of violent vigilante attacks in London during a very cold spell of winter. It also uncovers a new layer of deceit and secrets between Marnie and her murderous foster brother, Stephen.

What is the last book you read and would you recommend it? 

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land, a terrific debut that’s coming out in January, with a genuinely fresh and creepy take on the serial killer trope.

What will you be doing and talking about at the Killer Women Festival?

I’m chairing the Fresh Blood panel with four authors whose crime debuts came out recently. I’m really looking forward to chatting with them about the books and their experience of being published.

Who is your hero/heroine, fictional or otherwise, and why?

My grandmother, who survived a Japanese PoW camp with her humour and compassion intact.

Tell us two random non-bookish facts about you …

I love horror and regularly sneaked into 18-certificate films with my friends when we were, um, not eighteen. Oh and I don’t find clowns remotely scary (sorry).

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Tell us a little about your latest novel and what readers can expect from it?

Tall Oaks follows the residents of a small town in America three months after the abduction of a child. It’s as much a story about the characters that make up the town as it is the police investigation that links them. As a reader you can expect a snapshot of life in Tall Oaks over one summer, a glimpse into the lives of characters with quite different concerns, some of them humorous, some of them tragic. You definitely shouldn’t expect a straight crime novel!

 

What is the last book you read and would you recommend it? 

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I’ve read it before and it’s a book I turn to for inspiration when I’m going through a difficult writing phase. It reminds me just how powerful the written word can be.  It’s a masterpiece, and makes me want to raise my game.

What will you be doing and talking about at the Killer Women Festival?

I’m very excited to be on Sarah Hilary’s Fresh Blood Panel, and I’ll be talking about my road to publication. It’s my first ever panel so I asked my writer friend Rod Reynolds how best to prepare. He told me that you’re normally expected to perform a short dance routine (in the style of your novel) which I’ve found quite tricky to perfect. I just hope my acorn costume is ready in time, otherwise I’m going to look pretty stupid.

After my panel I’m really looking forward to the Killer Women Quiz, hosted by the awesome Simon Booker.

 

Who is your hero/heroine, fictional or otherwise, and why?

Amy Dunne. I really loved Gone Girl, and Amy is the most fascinating femme fatale I’ve ever come across. I know she’s a bit scary/a sociopath, but I love rooting for the bad guy/girl, and I really wanted her to get away with it all!

 

Tell us two random non-bookish facts about you …

I moved my family to Marbella for a year, where my landlord was the guy that threw a bottle of wee over Rogue Traders presenter Matt Allwright. I made sure to always pay the rent on time.

I once danced for Patrick Swayze, and he made fun of my moves, like his were any better.

 

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What is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
When I’m not reading submissions, crime fiction is my go to genre. Three recent novels I’ve enjoyed are LIE WITH ME by Sabine Durrant (Ripleyesque), THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware (locked room mystery) and I SEE YOU by Clare Mackintosh (twisty as f*ck). My most recent read is a bit of a guilty pleasure. I’m reading the Rutshire Chronicles series from Jilly Cooper! I’ve finished RIDERS and am halfway through RIVALS.  They are so enjoyable, and written with warmth and skill. I love the way she moves her editorial eye over a large cast of characters, and deftly juggles their storylines (and their love lives!).

What will you be doing and talking about at the Killer Women Festival?
I’m pairing up with Nelle Andrews, Agent Extraordinaire for the How to Pitch a Novel panel. Apparently we are sharing the secrets of bestsellers… I’m going to listen to Nelle and nod quite a lot. We will be talking about the importance of a good two line pitch, of knowing where your book sits in the market and how to hook an agent and an editor.

Who is your hero/heroine, fictional or otherwise, and why?
Harry Hole from Jo Nesbo’s books. I love him for his flaws, dogged determination and the darkness that lurks between the surface.

Tell us two random non-bookish facts about you …
One I can’t ride a bike.
Two and I’m cheating as it is bookish – I have been on tour with Hercule Poirot! Well… David Suchet. It was a dream come true.

Don’t forget to follow the Killer Women on Twitter for the latest news and updates or find out more about the organisation and subscribe to the newsletter HERE

Happy Reading!

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2016 Spotlight: The Two O’Clock Boy – Mark Hill

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Publication Date: Available Now (E-book) from Sphere.

Source: Review copy

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. Discover the gripping, twist-filled start to a fantastic new London-set crime thriller series starring morally corrupt DI Ray Drake.

There was a certain amount of angst involved in my reading of The Two O’Clock Boy – due to the fact that Mark is indeed a good friend of mine (well I say that anyway he may beg to differ and  hide under a table when he sees me coming) and also a lovely chap so the thought that I might not like it kept me up at night. I can’t lie about the books. Doesnt matter how much I love you…

Then I started reading The Two O’Clock Boy and instead THAT kept me up at night. Because I couldnt put the blinking thing down and it was entirely brilliant. I can say in all honesty that it was banging good – insanely addictive – as dark as you like (and I like it dark) with a main protagonist you might literally die for if you reside within the pages. Add in a twisted, compelling storyline with some relevant and thought provoking themes and you have a magnificent read that will stay with you for ages. And ages. Then keep you up at night some more…

ANYWAY on the due diligence front, if you love tv shows like Luther and you like the good guys to be not quite as good as all that then you’ll love Ray Drake even though he’ll possibly terrify you too. But hey I always liked the bad boys. And to be fair he’s going after a killer who is pretty terrifying too. If you like a thriller that has great depth of character, enough twists in the tail to satisfy a rattlesnake, a fantastic supporting cast and the ability to make you keep turning the pages as if they were a drug habit you just can’t quite quit then this book is for you.

Basically this book is probably for you. More if you are a crime fan. Even MORE if you just like bloody good writing which tells a bloody good story and then leaves you just wanting more. More more more. With a hugely rebel yell…

Go on. You know you want to. Just don’t blame ME for the lack of sleep and the need for much caffeine to get you through the next working day.

Follow Mark on Twitter

Purchase The Two O’Clock Boy HERE

Happy Reading!

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Getting to Know Sanjida Kay. Bone by Bone.

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Today I’m getting to know a little bit more about Sanjida Kay, author of Bone by Bone – I was lucky enough to meet her in real life this year at Crimefest and Bone by Bone is a terrific novel, available now from Corvus – more details on that to follow.

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

All over the place! I was born in Pakistan, but lived in Africa, Wales, Ireland and various places in England, ending up next to Ilkley moor. I was so excited about the move from Northern Ireland to West Yorkshire because a teacher had told me it was Brontë country. I was utterly devastated when I discovered the Brontës were writers and not dinosaurs.

As for my family, I have two sisters and a brother in the UK, and two brothers and two sisters in America.

Academic or creative at school?

Both. I did A Level Art, Biology, Chemistry, German and General Studies but sadly ended up dropping Art in my second year. A touch busy!

First job you *really* wanted to do? Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

I remember standing at the end of our garden in Nigeria when I was five years old, staring into grass taller than me, whirring with insects, and feeling scared, but telling myself I should explore it because I wanted to be a zoologist and a novelist.

Luckily I managed to do both my dream jobs, and I’m elated to be working full time on my novels now. I’m still unsure about stepping into long grass full of insects though.

Who are your real life heroes?

Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Charles Darwin and David Attenborough.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

I work as a wildlife presenter now and again, and once I was presenting a documentary with Chris Packham for BBC1 on British wildlife. I needed a wee and we were miles from any toilets. We were filming in a beautiful beech wood – so think huge trees, no undergrowth, and certainly no convenient bushes. I walked a little way away from the camera crew, hoping they couldn’t see me.

When I was in mid-flow, a huge stag came tearing straight towards me. I had my trousers round my ankles, and it wasn’t as if there was anywhere I could run to anyhow. The massive beast lowered his magnificent set of antlers, and continued charging straight at me. At the last minute, he did a comedy skid, halting a metre or so away. He gave a little snort, shook his head and bounded off. At least Chris Packham wasn’t watching.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

The thought of changing a bike tyre or putting up a shelf makes my brain go fizzy so I’d probably phone NASA.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

I get up at 6 a.m. every morning and exercise before anyone else in the house is awake. In an ideal world, I’d get up at 6 a.m., read books and eat donuts.

A book that had you in tears. A book that made you laugh out loud.

The book that made me both laugh and cry out loud most recently was a quirky thriller called Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

Be kind to yourself and others.

Thanks so much!

Thank you for having me on your blog. It’s been a real pleasure meeting you in person, as well as virtually

About the book

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How far would you go to protect your child? When her daughter is bullied, Laura makes a terrible mistake…

Laura loves her daughter more than anything in the world.

But her nine-year-old daughter Autumn is being bullied. Laura feels helpless.

When Autumn fails to return home from school one day, Laura goes looking for her. She finds a crowd of older children taunting her little girl.

In the heat of the moment, Laura makes a terrible choice. A choice that will have devastating consequences for her and her daughter…

Read my review HERE

Follow Sanjida on TWITTER

To Purchase Bone by Bone clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra – Blog tour Review.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Harlequin UK

Source: Review Copy

In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.  

She’d been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.

Eleven years later she is replaced. 

A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.

Soon the imposter is living Bec’s life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends’ names. Playing with her twin brothers.

But Bec’s welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter—and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.

Only Daughter is a fast and intriguing read, the kind of twisty turny thriller that keeps you turning the pages to see whats what. In this case a girl trying to get herself out of hot water finds herself in a true “Out of the frying pan into the fire” moment as she infiltrates a family that is not her own.

It was an interesting concept – the author cleverly tells us not much about this girl, the fake “Bec” – we don’t know her name or anything useful. The story is all centred around the real Bec still missing. As the imposter and the actual girl tell the story the different threads start to come together. In that sense it works really well.

There is a sense of menace throughout the read – Becs family are definitely odd – the fake Bec is not exactly a picture of normality herself. It keeps things interesting for sure as she starts to look into her counterparts disappearance. At the same time we hear from the real girl in past days leading up to when she went missing and a dark picture starts to emerge.

Only Daughter is not perfect – some suspension of disbelief is required especially in the ultimate fast and sudden resolution – but it is a page turner that keeps you immersed throughout. Things do take an even darker turn in the final parts of the novel with some violence that may disturb – the whole story has an underlying creepiness to it that I found kept me on edge, this is what I liked most about it.

If you love a good psychological thriller then Only Daughter is definitely worth a punt – cleverly twisty and not hugely predictable, I read it in two sittings and muchly enjoyed it.

Find out more HERE

Follow Anna on Twitter HERE

To Purchase Only Daughter clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

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Happy Reading!

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Lost in Static – Christina Philippou. Blog tour review.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Urbane

Source: Review Copy

Callum has a family secret. Yasmine wants to know it. Juliette thinks nobody knows hers. All Ruby wants is to reinvent herself. They are brought together by circumstance, torn apart by misunderstanding. As new relationships are forged and confidences are broken, each person’s version of events is colored by their background, beliefs, and prejudices. And so the ingredients are in place for a year shaped by lust, betrayal, and violence. Sometimes growing up is seeing someone else’s side of the story.

Lost in Static was a clever and just a little bit different take on a multiple viewpoint drama as we follow a group of friends heading towards a major event.

Ruby, Callum, Juliette and Yasmine are our main protagonists and as the story unfolds it is highly intriguing to see their different interpretations of the same event. Moving through university, heading towards something terrible and you can just feel the tension building all the way.

I loved the flavour of this one – the author has a beautiful turn of phrase that just immerses you into the tale, it is a realistic and compelling snapshot of university life – often the very first sense of freedom you get as you grow into the adult you become. Lost in Static is a multi-layered and fascinating character study which works very well.

Overall a great read. I was in it all the way and read it in two sittings over one day – one of those novels that draws you back in every time you step away from it. A great debut and definitely recommended.

Find out more HERE

Follow Christina on Twitter

To Purchase Lost in Static clickety click HERE

Follow the Tour!

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20 Questions For….Mark Hill

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Today its the turn of Mark Hill to fall under the spotlight – The Two O Clock Boy is out in ebook today – I have read it. A bit like poor David Young though Mark is having to wait for a review (watch this space you MAY find it magically appears sometime in the next 48 hours but I’m awaiting my local magician) – I can say though that you do NOT want to miss this one. No no no. Go get it. Linky link at the end of the, ahem, interview. Look I was nice ok? He got to talk about his book WAY more than the other victims got to talk about theirs…

 

The Two O Clock Boy…. idea came from….?
No idea. I mean, I know I always wanted to write about a compromised protagonist, someone who is both hunter and hunted, but when you sit down and write, and the days become weeks become months, I don’t think you make too many conscious decisions, a lot of the best stuff slips in the backdoor. Ray Drake’s journey evolved as I was writing it, Flick Crowley’s journey evolved. But I did make some decisions about the book beforehand. For example, I knew I’d probably write two timelines, one set in the modern-day and one set in the past, because I wanted to make the story EPIC.

They say you’ll love it if you love Luther. Do you love Luther like I love Luther?
Clearly Luther’s influence on the protestant reformation is without question, and he undoubtedly changed the course of Western history, but I’m afraid the jury is still out on his crime-fighting techniques.

What did you have for breakfast?
A cup of coffee and avocado on wholemeal toast. Wait, if that sounds sickeningly healthy, I can confirm it’s usually cereal, or a pastry down the café… and then another pastry. My life is just a series of desperate sprints from one pastry to another, really.

Twisting the plot comes easy to you or keeps you up night after night crying?
It’s kind of a first world problem, innit, thinking about twists? It’s a beautiful anxiety. I don’t think there’s ever a moment in a day when my manuscript is not transmitting to me, or those characters aren’t whispering in my ear. Of course, all the best ideas come when I’m trying to concentrate on something else. Somebody will be giving me important information or directions – ‘whatever you do, make sure you pull the ripcord at 2,500 feet!’ – and I’m, like, whatever, because I’m too busy thinking about what terrible bit of business has befallen my characters.

Favourite character you wrote into The Two O Clock Boy and why…
There are a couple of characters in The Two O’Clock Boy who are pensioners, Myra Drake and Harry Crowley, and both are forces of nature. People who have lived life by their own rules and see no reason to change in old age. Both are strong-willed, ambiguous, manipulative characters, and neither will go gently into that good night.

What is your favourite kind of cheese?
Last time I was in your neck of the woods, Bicester, I bought some Stinking Bishop. That was a fine cheese, a very fine cheese. And, what’s the word – pungent.

The book you’ve read this year that you wish you had written if only you were better at this…

Megan Abbott’s You Will Know Me blew me away for its incredible control and laser-sharp prose. Honestly, her sentences can slice through steel. You Will Know Me is a great mystery, but it’s also a brilliant and heart-breaking tale of self-deception.

What was the last thing that literally made you laugh out loud?
I think I may have laughed out loud in 1987. I vaguely remember it. I think it may have involved a short-sighted clown and a mantrap.

Cats or dogs? Or giraffes?
My cat is lying behind my laptop right now, taking up all the space on the desk. I could watch my cat all day doing nothing. And he watches me all day doing nothing. But I grew up with dogs, and I like them both. Giraffes take up too much space on the desk, to be honest.

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In The Two O Clock Boy two children end up in very different places.  How do you feel about nature v nurture?
My goodness, that question is way above my pay grade. The famous psychologist Donald Hebb once answered the question of “which contributes more to personality, nature or nurture?” by retorting, “which contributes more to the area of a rectangle, its length or its width?”
I didn’t know that quote, by the way. I just cut-and-paste it from the interweb to make myself look dead clever.

Covering the covers. The Two O Clock Boy has a brilliant cover. Name a book that is not yours where you saw the cover and went WOW.

My god, Liz, I’ve got better things to do that go searching around my bookshelf. These pastries won’t eat themselves. But, wait, lucky for you I recently received a copy of Darktown by Thomas Mullen and its perspective-skewing cover blew me away. Funnily enough, I think it’s by the same guy as did mine. Again it’s a simple idea, well-executed. Check this out…

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Emotional hard hitting themes in your debut. how do you handle the writing of those, keeping it authentic but still entertaining.
There are some dark themes in The Two O’Clock Boy. As soon as you see it’s partly set in a children’s home you go, uh-oh, here we go. But the dark stuff is all done off-the-page. It’s very important to me that The Two O’Clock Boy is an entertainment. There’s violence, though.

One thing that makes you mad as all hell and makes you want to kill people…
Luckily, I have a job that allows me to kill people whenever I feel like it. Which is, you know, a lot.

How scary was it when you realised people (other than close family/friends or your publishing team) were actually reading that thing you’d written.
It’s just started, really. People are getting their hands on the book and it’s both a relief and a scary proposition.

Extraordinarily naughty as a child or a suck up?
I’ve always been a good boy, Liz, you know that, but maybe I was a bit distracted. I was the kid chatting at the back of the class, looking out the window, juddering his chair legs up and down, a pencil in his ear. I wasn’t exactly Bash Street naughty, and I was – am – kind of weedy. But my Dad ran a boxing club, so all the hardnuts who went there left me alone, which was useful.

If you could have any one author read, love and provide a super quote for your cover who would it be? Living or dead…
If we’re aiming high, William Shakespeare would be nice. ‘My kingdom for this book!’
Stephen King would be top of my list for living authors. A quote from him and I think I could drop dead happy, then and there. Although I’d rather not.

Favourite flavour of crisps?
Prawn cocktail, definitely.

Habitual writing spots…

My attic desk in the winter. In the summer it’s like sitting in a blast furnace, so I’ll go sit in the kitchen. And there are about half a dozen cafes in North London. I’ll go in and watch the world go by and get to know the pastries.

Post it note plotter or reliably efficient…
I use file cards to plot, and I’m fastidious about it. However, I don’t think there’s any decent idea that I’ve come up with that hasn’t stuck in my head. If something’s good, it stays with you. Which is just as well, because my handwriting is bloody awful. I’ve bought a millions of notebooks with the best intentions to write down ideas and I’ll probably buy a million more, but the truth is, I don’t use them efficiently. Can never have too many notebooks, though. If nothing else, I’m a champion doodler, as you can see.

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How much do you hate me right now?
Hate is such a distasteful word, Liz. I would never say I hate you. Loathe, maybe. Yeah, loathe has a zing to it.

You love me really! Thanks Mark!

Follow Mark on Twitter

Purchase The Two O’Clock Boy HERE

Happy Reading!

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RUN! Its nearly time for Pendulum…

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In anticipation of the release of Pendulum by Adam Hamdy (you can see my review HERE ) a short story prequel arrives in e-book format today just to wet the appetite!

I’m very happy to be able to give you an extract from RUN today – AND I have a signed copy of Pendulum to give away to one lucky reader. So if you think this book is for you (trust me its for you!) just tweet me @Lizzy11268 to put your name into the hat. I have a literal hat. Or comment on this post…

 

RUN…

The click of the shutter was the first proper sound Wallace’s ears had registered since the explosion, and it snapped furiously as he took pictures of the dead: the frozen faces of a handful of Afghan parents and at least a score of their children, all lost to violence. He photographed the shocked soldiers as they tried to comprehend what had happened. He had enough combat experience to know that Nash had been overly reliant on the intelligence assessment, and hadn’t reconnoitred the compound properly. He’d split the platoon into two squads: Charlie Fireteam had been assigned to frontal assault, while Delta had been tasked with providing cover and bringing up the rear. Wallace had seen doubt on the faces of the soldiers, and suspected that if Lieutenant Bowyer had proposed such a simplistic assault, Beatrix, the grizzled platoon sergeant, would have challenged him. But Nash was new to them all, and he’d been given a glowing, almost heroic introduction by Major Hoyle. Beatrix lacked the confidence to undermine the golden captain’s orders on his first combat deployment with the platoon, and Nash didn’t know the men well enough to read the subtle signals that they weren’t happy with his plan.

As he looked through the viewfinder, Wallace could see hindsight filling the men’s faces with regret. Those who weren’t immobilised with dismay were trying to help the badly wounded survivors, whose screams and cries filled Wallace’s ears as his hearing returned. He focused on movement in the doorway of the house. A young woman burst into the courtyard, her hijab falling away to reveal her jet-black hair, but she didn’t care; her attention was locked on a tiny figure lying in the dust, a little girl of ten or eleven whose glassy brown eyes stared directly at Wallace. The woman ran across the courtyard, and collapsed in the dirt, her tearful lament echoing off the walls as she pawed ineffectually at the child’s lifeless body. Wallace photographed every agonising moment, his fingers trembling as he changed the camera’s exposure, his body shaking as though he was about to be swept into the terrible storm of sadness that was emanating from his subject.

About Pendulum

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You wake. Confused. Disorientated. A noose is round your neck. You are bound, standing on a chair. All you can focus on is the man in the mask tightening the rope. You are about to die.

John Wallace has no idea why he has been targeted. No idea who his attacker is. No idea how he will prevent the inevitable.

Then the pendulum of fate swings in his favour. He has one chance to escape, find the truth and halt his destruction. The momentum is in his favour for now. But with a killer on his tail, everything can change with one swing of this deadly pendulum…

You have one chance. Run.

To purchase Pendulum clickety click HERE

About Run:

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Embedded with the British Army in Afghanistan, recording the devastation that the war on terror has brought to the country, photo-journalist John Wallace’s endurance is about to be put to the ultimate test.

A planned assault on an insurgent compound has gone wrong with devastating consequences. Now Wallace has only one option if he is going to get justice for those involved. He can expose those responsible. But to do that, he will have to RUN…

To purchase Run clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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Killer Women…Killer Crime Writing Festival. Part One.

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So the brilliant crime writers at Killer Women are having their very first festival on Saturday 15th October – it is going to be a rocking day and you can pick up a ticket HERE.

Many panels, much fun, lots to attend and I’ve been out and about (ok maybe not about so much as lying under my duvet – the wonders of technology) and have had a chat to various participants in the main events, authors and other bookish professionals, to find out a little more about what they will all be up to. A few little questions to wet the appetite.

The full line up can be found HERE but today we are hearing from Paul Burston, Erin Kelly and Emma Kavanagh.

See? Already things are looking good…

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Paul Burston

Tell us a little about your latest novel and what readers can expect from it?

The Black Path is about a young woman named Helen who suffered a major trauma as a child and is still living with the consequences. It’s a story about facing the truth and finding courage, about family secrets, love and lies. 

What is the last book you read and would you recommend it? 

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant. It’s a brilliant book

What will you be doing and talking about at the Killer Women Festival?

I’ll be taking part in the Fresh Blood panel, talking about how I turned to crime and got my first crime novel published. 

Who is your hero/heroine, fictional or otherwise, and why?

David Bowie. He taught me to be brave and to imagine worlds beyond my own.

Tell us two random non-bookish facts about you …

I once dived with great white sharks in South Africa. I’ve nearly died twice. These two facts are entirely unrelated. 

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Erin Kelly

Tell us a little about your latest novel and what readers can expect from it?

He Said/She Said – out February 2017 – is about a young couple who witness a rape during a festival. Laura is so sure about what she saw that she lies in court. After the trial, all hell breaks loose, but she can’t admit her lie, even when her life might be at stake. It’s set in the eclipse-chasing scene – a small but passionate band of people who travel the planet to witness total solar eclipses – and it’s about the big and small lies we tell ourselves, each other, and the world.

What is the last book you read and would you recommend it? 

The Ha-Ha by Jennifer Dawson. It’s a semi-autobiographical novel about a young woman who was sectioned in the 1950s. I suppose it’s the British equivalent of The Bell Jar. The book I’m writing now is set in an old asylum so I’m reading everything I can about women in psychiatric care. Generally, the more accurately a book portrays madness the more hard-going it is, but this one’s really accessible with beautiful spare prose.

What will you be doing and talking about at the Killer Women Festival?

I’ll be teaching a workshop on how to write a killer opening. And I’m chairing a panel with four authors I love – KW’s own Paula Hawkins and Alex Marwood, SJ Watson and Louise Doughty about how it feels having your book adapted for film or TV. And I’ll be mingling with the readers – that’s the bit I’m looking forward to most of all.

Who is your hero/heroine, fictional or otherwise, and why?

Kate Bush because she never compromises, whether that’s artistically or disappearing from view for years to raise her family. I nearly combusted when I saw her live two years ago. I still don’t understand how all that creativity fits into one little head.

Tell us two random non-bookish facts about you …

As a very young wannabe undercover journalist, I auditioned to be a lapdancer at Stringfellow’s for a story. I didn’t get the stripping job, but it did launch my writing career.

I can’t wink.

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Emma Kavanagh

Tell us a little about your latest novel:-


I’ve just finished writing my fourth book – The Killer On The Wall. It is the story of a village that gained notoriety 20 years previously following a spate of serial murders. The murderer was eventually caught & imprisoned, but the scars of those days remain. Then the deaths begin again.

The last book I read:-


The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this historical thriller and I loved it. Extremely atmospheric & fabulously dark.

What will you be talking about at the killer women festival:-


Inside a killer’s head – we’ll be chatting about the psychology of those who kill, a fascinating subject, which is right up my street.

Who is your hero?:-


Frodo Baggins – I think the world is always in need of heroes that remind us that even the most unlikely person can do incredible things, with enough determination.

2 random, non-bookish facts:-


I love to swim & whenever I feel the stress building, I head straight to the pool.
My first career ambition was to be an astronaut. Don’t laugh. There’s still time!

Thanks so much to everyone for taking the time!

So many great things happening so come along if you can.

Don’t forget to follow the Killer Women on Twitter for the latest news and updates or find out more about the organisation and subscribe to the newsletter HERE

Happy Reading!

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20 Questions For….David Young.

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Today’s victim in my 20 Questions For feature is the rather lovely (occasionally lovely depends what he’s currently being forced to do by random book reviewers) David Young, author of the brilliant Stasi Child. Don’t worry I was nice….

So the book you wrote is Stasi Child. Personally I thought it was pretty good. Ok you know? You can probably sell it better. 5 sentences to tell us about it – go!

Stasi Child is a historical crime thriller set in communist East Germany (the German Democratic Republic, or GDR) in the mid 1970s. Its main protagonist is Oberleutnant Karin Müller, who’s the youngest and only female head of a murder squad in the GDR. When a teenage girl’s mutilated body is found next to the Berlin Wall, Müller and her team are tasked with finding the girl’s identity – but are told they mustn’t challenge the official version of events: namely, that the girl had been shot by western guards while trying to break into the East. Keeping tabs on them at every turn is the GDR’s infamous secret service – the Stasi. I think it’s got broad appeal – not just to fans of Child 44 etc – and it was longlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year and is on the shortlist for the CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger.

I’m asking the cheese question early in this one. Favourite cheese. Try and stick to one – I’ve had a few interviewees banging on about cheese for ages…

Goat’s cheese. Or should that be goats’ cheese? Or goats cheese without an apostrophe? Are they the same thing? Which goat or goats, if any, owns the cheese? These are the things that trouble writers …

How do you feel about reviewers who read your book then don’t review it for a year or so? (She says from her place of safety hiding in a cupboard)

I feel that they will be so ashamed they’ll be guaranteed to give the next in the series, Stasi Wolf (due February 2017), five stars whether they like it or not, and that they’ll review it in a timely fashion.

Are you an efficient type when it comes to the writing? Routine or just total chaos?

Most of the time I sit daydreaming, or checking Hull City message boards on the internet. But when I do kick myself into action, I enjoy immersing myself and writing quickly. And I am very much a planner. So if I have a draft to write, I’ll set aside a couple of months, stick to a daily word count, and arm myself with a chapter plan for the whole book.

What is the best night out you’ve had this year (so far)

Although this sounds slightly narcissistic, it was my own launch in February. I pushed the boat out, booked a 80s/90s cover band, and was dancing (badly) on my own until the drummer forgot to switch off his smoke machine, thus setting off the fire alarm and bringing a premature end to the proceedings.

Last really stupid thing you did.

I have a habit of doing stupid things. The most recent was admitting to some other authors on my imprint that I wrote the first draft of my Book 3 in 19 days – at one point doing 50k words in a week. This was then revealed at a book festival attended by my editor, who I’m sure wasn’t impressed.

What are you writing at the moment? (Yes yes APART from answers to these questions)

Trying to knock the Book 3 draft mentioned above into shape. I’m also toying with an idea for a stand alone historical novel based on an 18th century sex scandal.

How many Crime writers do you reckon it takes to screw in a lightbulb?

I have no idea, but once you find some that can, please send them to me as I have three in my kitchen that need replacing.

Stuck on a desert island (yes one day we may all actually get stuck on a desert island at least we will all know who to cuddle up to and who to stay away from) what skillset do you have that would help you survive?

I’m very good at lying in the sun, doing nothing. This will ensure I get plenty of vitamin D.

On that note who would you like stuck with you – you can go for just good company but might be worth considering what they would bring to the table. You can take 3 of them..

My wife and two children (I had to say that because I’m in trouble for not including a dedication to them in Stasi Child).

Last book you read that you genuinely loved…

The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by my Bonnier Zaffre stablemate Lesley Richardson. It deserves to be winning prizes.

One thing that irrationally irritates you.

Lots and lots of things irritate me. My current bugbear is barking dogs in neighbouring gardens and owners who claim dogs can’t be trained not to bark inappropriately. Although I would contend it’s a perfectly rational irritation.

One thing about you that you reckon irrationally irritates others.

My intolerance.

Which fictional or real life person would YOU elect as Prime Minister if it was solely down to you…and why?

I wouldn’t have a Prime Minister. I’m in favour of a benevolent dictatorship with me in charge.

Ok you can talk about Stasi Child again now but briefly. What would you say to that person over there who is considering reading it?

My usual trick if I see anyone anywhere near it in a bookshop or supermarket is to point it out, and offer to sign it if they buy it. This has worked two or three times.

Assuming the safety of friends and family and cats and dogs and any living thing is there anything you would risk re-entering a burning building for?

My proof copy of Stasi Child. It was the first time I’d held it in my hands and it’s got a great minimalist cover.

One piece of life advice you live by…

That which does not kill you makes you stronger.

A cat or a dog person?

Cat (see barking above). Although since our two (unrelated) cats died within days of each other, both aged seventeen, I haven’t had the heart to replace them. And that was ten years ago …

Last time you laughed until you cried. Or almost cried if you are not a crier..

My wife and I were with one of her best friends and husband in a restaurant. She (best friend of wife, who like me at that time also worked for the BBC) said something – probably something about my commitment to the BBC (or lack of) – which had me choking on my food with laughter. I had to rush out of the restaurant, and was doubled up on the pavement unable to breathe. Sadly, that friend has since died at a tragically young age. She was a lovely woman and an irreplaceable loss to all who knew her.

How much do you hate me right now?

Less than when you didn’t review Stasi Child on time.

Great I can come out of the cupboard…

Read my review of Stasi Child (I did EVENTUALLY do it!) HERE

Find out more here

Follow David on Twitter here.

You can purchase Stasi Child by clickety clicking right HERE

Happy Reading!

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Ones to Watch in 2017: Sirens – Joseph Knox

 

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Publication Date: January 2017 from Transworld.

Source: Proof copy

The runaway daughter of a dirty politician.
The unsolved disappearance of a young mother.
The crime lord who knows the city’s secrets.
The disgraced detective on the edge of it all.

Many questions. Not many answers. Not yet.

Ok so I’ve been sat here for a while having no earthly idea what to say about Sirens that could possibly get across how emotionally traumatised I am right now having been put through the wringer by debut author Joseph Knox – with whom I shall be having words. Serious words. Here we are (at time of writing) gone 11pm on a Sunday night and I seriously doubt I’ll be sleeping anytime soon. Someone for the love of everything send me all the ice cream…

I can’t remember the last time I read a crime novel that was quite definitively a crime novel but at no point felt like one to me -from the opening salvo until I finally put it down my life was irrevocably linked to the lives of the characters that live within the pages, to Manchester where they reside and to the story unfolding before me. The writing is stunningly immersive, dark yet beautiful, violently gripping and the emotional resonance does not let up for a single second.

The whole thing will haunt me, I just know it will – you always know when those books come along, the ones that stay with you, this one will do that. If you are going to ask me why then the answer is no idea.

Possibly it lies with Detective Aiden Waits who outwardly is your usual damaged detective but don’t let the blurb fool you, there is nothing standard about this character. Just wait. Yes I did that.

Possibly it is the Sirens of the title – the girls who live a dangerous and knifes edge life within the drug trade – it might even be the dangerous men at the heart of THEM – maybe just maybe its the city. The living city which breathes around them.

Take your pick.

The plotting is taut and authentic, nothing is unlikely, everything is horribly gorgeously realistic but the writing talent comes often in the sparsity of prose used to create a mental image. With a few sentences Joseph Knox creates a whole world of emotion, often less is more – he hits you right in the gut dammit, not just occasionally with a twist or a turn but every blinking moment. There were times during the reading of it that I literally forgot to breathe and had to take a sudden gulp. Look now I’m back in it, where is that darned ice cream already…

For those of you reading this who know me just think back to the last few books I’ve been fanatical about and accept your fate – you WILL be reading Sirens whether you like it or not. YOU WILL THANK ME I PROMISE because…

Sirens is intense, twisted, gorgeous and heart breaking on so many levels that I cannot even begin to speak to them here.

HIGHLY Recommended.

Follow Joseph Knox on Twitter  HERE

Order “Sirens” by clickety clicking right HERE

Happy Reading!

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