Snowblind Blog Tour – my turn now!

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Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life. An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge. *Fantastic Translation by Quentin Bates*

So in true Liz fashion I have been DYING to fangirl about Snowblind but I sat on my hands until it was my turn on the blog tour and that is TODAY so here we go….

Snowblind is one of the most beautifully written crime novels I have ever come across – the depth of character, the truly gorgeous descriptive prose that puts you right on the spot – despite the claustrophobic quality of the world that Ari finds himself in I fell utterly in love with Iceland simply through the words on the page.

Story is everything though really, no matter the book you are reading – and Ragnar Jonasson has written one hell of a story – dark, unrelenting in places, magically  constructed to ramp up the tension, all the while keeping it completely character driven and authentic.

I adored Ari as a character. He is so beautifully normal yet full of depth, depicted in a way that just keeps you with him all the way. I loved how he was dropped into this small tightly knit community, leaving his girlfriend behind (that relationship was very compelling) and slowly realised how isolated it and he could be. The author gives a perfect sense of a place where everyone knows everyone else and yet somehow secrets are still buried just beneath the surface, it was endlessly fascinating. I think I would have been fascinated even without the crime element.

The mystery is the icing on the cake really – and I don’t want to give anything away but it is truly compelling, very unexpected at times and cleverly done.

Overall this was a  marvel of a read. I adored it with the true passion of a reader – it has everything you could possibly want if you want to be engaged, slightly haunted, completely entertained and I really cannot recommend it highly enough. 5 big shiny stars and some puppies for this one. Heavenly writing, stonking good story and characters that will stay with you long after putting it aside.

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

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

Purchase Information:

Beautiful limited edition signed by the author: https://www.goldsborobooks.com/product/snowblind-dark-iceland/

Standard Edition: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Snowblind-Dark-Iceland-Ragnar-Jonasson/dp/1910633038/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1432942124&sr=1-1

 

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Happy Reading Folks!

Why We Write – Guest Post from Evelyn Harrison

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Today I am very pleased to welcome Evelyn Harrison to the blog telling us why she writes…

 

Why We Write – by Evelyn Harrison

Everyone, past and present that has ever put pen to paper, have had their own reasons for writing, some perhaps for fame or some possibly for fortune. After attempting writing myself, I can honestly say, how much I admire, even more, those writers from the past, who wrote in such difficult working conditions. Writing today is so much easier with modern technology, namely the good old computer. But is that all it takes, the use of a computer to write a book? No, of course not, the most important ingredient, as far as I’m concerned, is a good and if possible, original story, one that makes readers want to turn those pages.

When did I begin to contemplate writing a novel and why? Well, to be exact, when I was eleven years old. I used to love reading as a child, especially the Famous Five, by Enid Blyton, and any books with horses. In those days, in our English lessons, we were often given the freedom to write essays, by just being given a topic title; it was these inspirational lessons that made me believe I had it in me to write a book. In one particular class, I remember with pride, the teacher reading out my essay. I had begun with the phrase, ‘I plucked up courage’, this moment of notoriety amongst my class mates, has stayed with me all my life and in each of my books I have included those words.

Of course, on leaving school, work and family living took over, and to be honest, over the years I did not give writing another thought, until ten years ago, a holiday, triggered a desire to finally write. It was August, we were ready and packed for a vacation in the USA, and then something happened which threw our entire schedule into turmoil, the British Airways caterers, chose to go on strike, the very day we were due to fly – consequently our flight was cancelled. To cut a long story short, we eventually did have a holiday, but when we came back I wrote, for fun, a news article on the events leading up to our eventual departure. My short story was passed around, not only amongst my family, but my friends as well, and to be honest I enjoyed the positive feedback I received. I even contemplated for a minute, submitting my tale to a magazine, though my confidence eventually got the better of me. Of course, not one to rush into anything, it took another four years and a trip to, this time Australia, for my journey to finally begin. I kept a diary of our trip and then in 2010, motivated by the whole experience, I began to write, ‘All for the Love of Josie’, followed by ‘A Troubled Soul’, two years later and guess what? I love to write.

So, I have written my books to fulfil a dream, initially wanting to leave behind something for my family, but now, thanks to my publisher Dave at Raven Crest Books, for anyone who cares to turn the pages. The old saying that there is a book in all of us, I believe is true, it just takes a trigger for some of us to begin – you never know, you just might be the next best selling author.

Follow Evelyn on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/EHarrisonAuthor

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/All-For-The-Love-Josie-ebook/dp/B00TVM9KDQ

 

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Josie Forrester and her Australian husband Max, have lived happily in the idyllic village of Willow Green for seventeen years until tragedy strikes, when Max is dramatically killed in a road accident. The circumstances of his death leave many unanswered questions, and the contents of his will together with a mysterious friend from his past, brings more trouble for Josie and her friend Linda.

A year into Josie’s bereavement, Linda proposes a trip of a lifetime, to Australia, in order for Josie to visit Max’s birthplace in Queensland. The women travel to Australia, but unbeknown to them they are not alone – several very interested parties are accompanying them from a distance.

How will Josie and Linda cope, when a gang of criminals, with murder and rape on their minds, finally catch up with them?

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves (with a vengeance)… Tuesday Falling by S Williams

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Publication Date: Available now Harper Collins (Killer Reads)

Source: Publisher Review Copy

You’ve never met anyone like Tuesday. She has suffered extreme cruelty at the hands of men, and so has taken it upon herself to seek vengeance. She wants to protect and help others like her, to ease their suffering. A force to be reckoned with, she lives beneath the streets of London in the hidden network of forgotten tunnels that honeycomb the city – and this is her preferred hunting ground.

Tuesday Falling is a marvel of a read, crime fiction with a techno twist, a heroine that puts Lisbeth Salandar to shame and a piece of storytelling genius that will have you up on your feet cheering as if you were at a rock concert.

It is a revenge thriller. It is also book full of social commentary done in a way that challenges the mind. There are thrills and spills, dark violence (hence I imagine why it is marketed as an adult book despite the young adult main protagonist) but also an awful lot of humour to offset those things both ironic and simply laugh out loud hilarious.

“Tuesday” is quite simply brilliant. She has power – and I don’t mean just the power she wields in the story but the power to engage the reader in an ongoing moral argument. When the law can’t or won’t stop the bad guys just what IS a girl supposed to do? And these guys are bad. I’d rather have dinner with Hannibal Lector than be within 100 miles of any one of them. She also has another kind of power – a real sense that redemption is possible no matter what you go through..

I don’t want to give any plot details away really – not more than I have to – but suffice to say from the very first pages (that scene on the Tube is one of the best openers I have seen in a novel for years) the whole thing is completely gripping and does not let up at all. Not once. I laughed, cried, cheered and held my breath at different times during the story, a book that causes a true adrenalin rush. It is also completely authentic, much as we would like to deny it, the world that Tuesday has been harmed by is all too real. This book will make you think and it SHOULD make you think – how the most vulnerable in our society are viewed and treated is one of the biggest issues we face today. In “Tuesday Falling” the author manages to say a lot about it whilst entertaining you utterly and never once falling into the trap of preaching about it. It is simply THERE ingrained into the DNA of the drama unfolding.

It may be a thriller (gosh it really is!) but the author manages to bring a deep emotional resonance to the narrative that is haunting and deeply moving. Not only through Tuesday who is oh so broken despite her power, but with the rest of the cast of characters including our police presence, brought to life by DI Loss. A man who has seen the darker side of life, who has suffered a tremendous tragedy, one that ties him to Tuesday in ways he does not yet understand. His “sidekick” Stone brings the light relief whilst also being a brilliantly intriguing character in her own right. Really, despite all the action, this novel is character driven to the extreme – a beautiful depth to every single one of them, across the board.

There is a different London to be found here as well – Tuesday haunts the tunnels underneath the place that we know, she lives in an entirely different and gorgeously depicted world that the author builds slowly but surely as we follow along with her tale. The historical aspects are stunning, the city that Tuesday inhabits is almost a character in its own right – a really fascinating backdrop for a fascinating novel.

I really must say a HUGE thank you to Kate Stephenson from Harper Collins Killer Reads for sneakily popping this one in the post to me – she knows me too well, I loved it with a passion and without Kate it would probably have passed me by.

Overall then I guess you could say I liked this one. Just a bit. Highly HIGHLY recommended.

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

Follow on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/tuesdayfalling

The author  on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/5w1ll1am5

Purchase Information : http://www.amazon.co.uk/S.-Williams/e/B00TNEL8EQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Happy Reading Folks!

Dodger of the Dials and the Newgate Novel – Guest Post from James Benmore

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Today I am very happy to welcome James Benmore to the blog with a really interesting guest post all about Dodger and the Newgate novel.

Dodger of the Dials and the Newgate Novel

“Of course crime fiction is literature. Only posh, pretentious people think otherwise” – Liz Barnsley.

Imagine never having heard of Oliver Twist before. Better yet, imagine that you were one of that book’s first potential readers when it was published back in the late 1830’s. Everybody is talking about how gripping the story is but you’ve missed the first half because it’s serialised in a magazine called Bentley’s Miscellany along with a number of other running narratives and now you can’t get hold of any back issues. You’re heartily sick of hearing people going on about the Artful Dodger, Fagin and Bill Sikes – meaningless names to you but they seem to cause great excitement in the Bentley’s reader. And so you think OK – I’ll start in the middle. After all, you’ve read plenty of other novels. You’re bound to get the gist of things.

Lets say then that you enter the world of Twist around 100 pages before the end. You start at Chapter XLIII – Wherein is Shown how the Artful Dodger got into Trouble. This would be your first meeting with the infamous Jack Dawkins and there he is in front of the magistrate on trial for stealing a silver snuff-box and he’s every bit as irreverent, outrageous and as funny as you’ve been promised. Actually, you wonder, why isn’t Dodger the title character? This Oliver Twist person is barely in it. But Dodger is not the lead character and he’s promptly sentenced to Australia and never mentioned by the author again.

However, the rest of the book is also almost entirely concerned with the fates of the remaining criminals. Oliver Twist – who you now discover is a poor workhouse orphan but talks like he’s been educated at Eton – is in the clutches of a vile London gang and it is they who are driving the story forward not him. It is of course Oliver’s life and innocence that’s at stake but he’s a surprisingly passive participant in his own final act. He’s soon rescued by a prostitute – of course it doesn’t specifically say that Nancy’s a prostitute but you’re a worldly reader and you know what the author is getting at -who is subsequently murdered by the brutish Sikes. Sikes is then hounded to his death and that whole section of the story is focalised from his perspective which means that at this late stage a desperate murderer is getting more attention from the reader than the titular Oliver. Then the book ends with the lead villain Fagin being hung outside Newgate prison.

So, as you shut the magazine after having finished the final installment, you might reflect upon what a superior piece of crime fiction those last chapters really were. Indeed, you think as you pour yourself a well-earned brandy, that was probably the best example of a Newgate novel you’ve read yet.

The Newgate novel was a genre term used to describe a controversial yet vastly popular set of crime stories published throughout the 1830’s in which the villain was also the hero. They typically would often be set among the slums of the city and are populated with burglars, thieves and prostitutes just as those last 100 pages of Oliver Twist are and they too would often culminate with a charismatic crook finally facing the rope. Classic examples of this genre would be Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s Paul Clifford (1830) and Jack Sheppard (1839) by William Harrison Ainsworth. Paul Clifford concerns a fancy gentleman who leads a double life as a highwayman and is notorious for its turgid prose style. Jack Sheppard though is about the real life thief from the previous century who famously escaped from a condemned cell in Newgate prison before his execution in quite spectacular fashion, only to be captured again and hung some months later. It too was serialised in Bentley’s alongside Oliver Twist and both books shared the same illustrator George Cruikshank. So no wonder those early readers couldn’t see the difference between the two tales and considered Oliver Twist not to be a sacred text in English literature – as we tend to see it now – but as just the latest example in popular crime fiction for the masses.

Charles Dickens hated his novel being described as part of `the Newgate School’ however as he felt that his talent and growing reputation was being slandered through association with lesser authors. And, in all honesty, there is a lot that separates Oliver Twist from those other books, most notably that it is significantly better written and far more interested in modern social commentary than the usual Newgate period drama was. But despite that I can’t help but feel that Twist promises and delivers much of what genre fans would expect from such a book. Even the title is a tease as to what dark avenues the story will be going down. In Victorian slang to `twist’ meant to hang so many readers would have followed the story expecting it to be poor Oliver who would ultimately be taken to the gallows. So it seems that Dickens was courting the crime readership for all his protestations to the contrary and that Oliver Twist is indeed a Newgate novel. Just because it’s the best one by some distance does not mean that it doesn’t fit snugly within that genre.

In particular the Artful Dodger is a character that seems very at home within the dirty yet sensational world of Newgate fiction. So much so that I decided that I wanted the events of Dodger of the Dials – the second installment in my series of novels continuing the story of Jack Dawkins – to mirror the events of Jack Sheppard, the very novel that Dawkins shared the pages of Bentley’s Miscellany with. Like Sheppard, Dawkins is an irrepressible but likeable thief who gets into deep trouble when he begins allying himself with far more dangerous criminals who cannot be trusted. And like Sheppard he finds himself caught at last and thrown into the condemned cell at Newgate. Dodger has a small amount of time before he can escape from this medieval prison but, as a keen reader of Newgate fiction himself, he knows that if Sheppard could liberate himself from the hellish place then so can he. However, he soon discovers that people only write books about those criminal heroes who successfully leap from a high prison wall to the neighbouring houses without falling to their deaths in the street below. But there are countless more escapees who nobody wrote about and those are the kind that all went splat on the cobbles below. And in any case, even the most successful heroes of a Newgate novel eventually become unstuck in the end.

Unlike Charles Dickens I’m actually quite proud to call my book a Newgate novel. Because Dodger of the Dials is about a famous criminal hero set in a previous century and with a plot that revolves around the now demolished prison it has a lot in common with Jack Sheppard, even if the principal character does come from Oliver Twist. And I’d be extremely thrilled if my book delivers even a fraction of the excitement that the authors of the Newgate school – the famous as well as the forgotten – were capable of providing for their loyal readers. I even like to imagine that the Artful Dodger, a character associated with all that is great about English literature, could even be the one capable of bringing that now fairly obscure subgenre of the crime novel back to C21st bookshelves.

You can follow James on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/jhenrybenmore

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/James-Benmore/e/B00IWTQWJE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1.co.uk/-/e/B00IWTQWJE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Snowblind Blog Tour with OMG that Book!

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Today as part of the blog tour I welcome David to the blog with his review for Snowblind (Come back and see me again on the 30th when I will be giving my thoughts!

 

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

 

Ragnar Jonasson’s debut Snowblind is a brilliant new thriller with storytelling that is clear and crisp. The setting is northwest Iceland amongst the dazzling white snow and artic chill of winter. Siglufjordur is a remote fishing village lying between the sea and the mountains with the only access by road through a small tunnel in the rocks. But suddenly the village is shaken when there’s a killer on the loose and young rookie policeman Ari Thor is on the case. This is a friendly close-knit community ‘where nothing ever happens’ and so traditionally doors are left unlocked…but not anymore!

This is the first novel in Ragnar Jonasson Dark Iceland series and after reading it I can’t wait for the second book Nightblind due out next year again from Orenda Books.

Our story begins with Ari Thor leaving behind his home and girlfriend in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. He’s jumped at the chance of his first police role in Siglufjordur much to the dismay of his lover. Soon he’s missing his girlfriend and questioning his decision. The claustrophobic scenic village and the sense of being an outsider begins to leave Ari Thor feeling isolated, lonely and full of doubt.

But a seemingly accidental death of a well-known author and a bloody attack on a local woman changes everything. The quiet village becomes rife with gossip and everyone is on edge. The weather worsens and the village is cut off by snow. The police investigation becomes more compelling as old secrets come to light. Ari Thor and his girlfriend back home seem to be drifting apart and when he becomes attracted to a local girl his love life also becomes confused adding to the intrigue. The plot twists and turns as the tension and intensity builds and we are treated to an excellent ending to the book.

Ragnar Jonasson makes this murder mystery complex and hard to fathom who the guilty party is for both Ari Thor and also the reader. It keeps us all guessing providing an entertaining read and challenging our ‘whodunit’ skills right to the last few pages. Overall this is a damn good thriller and I am more than happy to recommend it to you.

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/39964946-david-atomgthatbook

Thank you so much David 🙂

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark – Blog Tour

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I am SO happy to be part of the blog tour for this simply beautiful and poignant novel. I was even more happy to be able to ask the author some questions about it – I found the answers absolutely fascinating. Here is  what she had to tell me about Sophie Stark – and following that are my thoughts on the novel. Enjoy!

Even though we only see her through the eyes of other characters, tell us a little about the inspiration behind the Sophie Stark character.

At first I wanted to write about a female character who was a sort of political documentarian — someone who made movies about a Latin American socialist leader. I knew her name would be Sophie Stark and I wrote a tiny bit about her, but I put it away for years while I worked on my first book. When I came back to Sophie I realized the political angle wasn’t what I was most interested in. I was interested in Sophie — I wanted to explore this brilliant, sometimes cruel character and how she was remembered by those around her, how her art and life went down in history.

Was it interesting to explore the impact that a single life can have on so many others?

Definitely. At first I was most interested in Sophie — how did all the different characters see her, and what did their perceptions reveal about her? But as I wrote from their points of view, I got really invested in their lives too — I got interested in Jacob’s mother, George’s ex-wife, Allison’s husband. By the time I finished the book, it wasn’t just about how the main character influenced the others; it was about a group of people, all of them bound together to some degree by Sophie, but all of them with joys and sorrows of their own that are just as important as hers (even if she doesn’t always recognize that).

Through their interactions with Sophie we also learn a lot about the characters telling the story – Did you feel that any one of them (or more than one) might have been better if she had not crossed their path?

I definitely think the characters vary in how much Sophie helps or harms them. Allison explicitly says she’s better off for having met Sophie (but that Sophie might not be better off for having met her). I think Daniel’s clearly better off too — I think Sophie helps him understand himself in a fundamental way. Sophie helps Ben Martin form his aesthetic as a critic, and she helps George decide he wants to direct. With Jacob, I’m not so sure — she seems like she’s helping him at first, but I don’t know if he’d ultimately say she did. And poor Robbie — it’s possible he’d be better off without the influence of Sophie in his life, but then again, he wouldn’t be who he is.

Do you think “The Life and Death of Sophie Stark” would translate well to screen (I am in no doubt that it would and would love to see it done) considering that it has creativity through film right at the heart of the story?

I’d love to see a film adaptation, but I think it would actually look pretty different from the novel. The different points of view would be difficult to capture on screen; the directors might have to collapse some of them. I also think it would be interesting to see Sophie’s movies on screen, though I think they’d probably look very different than they do in my imagination. A work of fiction about a film is going to be really different from the film itself; it’s almost hard for me to imagine how the films would look if they were really made, even though I saw them in my head dozens of times.

Sophie is really an enigma start to finish. Did you ever really get a handle on her?

I did and I didn’t. On the one hand, I think I learned certain key things about Sophie as I was writing. She does care what other people think, in some ways — at least, she cares how people remember her. And she sort of feeds her own personal myth — in some ways, she encourages people to feel they can’t truly understand her. On the other hand, I don’t think she truly understands herself — I don’t think she knows why she is the way she is, why she can’t (or won’t) be more connected to people. And I think it was important that there was a part of her that remained enigmatic, even to me.

 

When you are not writing yourself, what type of novels do you love to lose yourself in?

I think I tend to like books about characters’ inner lives, especially female characters and especially characters who are on the brink of big life changes or decisions. Recently, I’ve loved Samantha Harvey’s “Dear Thief,” Rachel Cusk’s “Outline,” Helen Oyeyemi’s “White Is For Witching,” and Elisa Albert’s “After Birth.” All of these are about girls and women at pivotal times in their lives, wrestling with scary questions of love and family and identity.

Thank you SO much Anna – completely fascinating!

Review:

“It’s hard for me to talk about love. I think movies are the way I do that,” says Sophie Stark, a visionary and unapologetic filmmaker. She uses stories from the lives of those around her—her obsession, her girlfriend, and her husband—to create movies that bring her critical recognition and acclaim. But as her career explodes, Sophie’s unwavering dedication to her art leads to the shattering betrayal of the people she loves most.

Told in a chorus of voices belonging to those who knew her best, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is an intimate portrait of an elusive woman whose monumental talent and relentless pursuit of truth reveal the cost of producing great art, both for the artist and for the people around her.

Firstly I would like to say about “The Life and Death of Sophie Stark” that not only is it one of my favourite books that I have read this year, but it has also gone immediately onto my favourite books of all time list. So there is that.

I was not sure about it originally – but the thing with this novel is that it sucks you in with some poignant and gorgeous writing and every single character is full of depth, realism and an often ironic edge that is just simply brilliantly done.

Sophie Stark is a film maker. We never hear from her directly in the story but we do hear from an ensemble cast of characters who have been deeply effected by their interactions with her. She is an enigma, we meet her only through the eyes of others, still a profound picture starts to emerge of a troubled creative soul. Even so is this the real Sophie? Well that is the unique twist to this novel, we may guess but can never know…

The author uses her characters to give both a public and private view of Sophie – from her lovers to her family and beyond. Sometimes only peripherally touching a life, Sophie still seems to have formed some part of it and for me she felt like a whirlwind of a human being, touching down briefly then drifting away, tempestuous and suddenly changing lives without warning.

Imaginatively speaking this is alluring, I melted into the descriptions of Sophie’s films, I wanted to watch every single one and indeed felt like I had. Then of course, through the telling we learn so much about the characters who are talking, their hopes dreams and fears, their lives both with and without her. As a character piece this is a truly impressive and magnificently constructed story – Anna North knows how to weave words around the reader and bring them into the world that she has created.

I was quite simply heartbroken at the end of this. Even now it is bittersweet. A book I shall return to again and again I’m sure, I really cannot recommend this highly enough.

This is what storytelling is all about.

Purchase Information: 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Death-Sophie-Stark-ebook/dp/B00URSDCLO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432226482&sr=1-1&keywords=the+life+and+death+of+sophie+stark

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New Release Spotlight: In My House by Alex Hourston

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Publication Date: Available Now from Faber and Faber

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Maggie lives a life of careful routines and measured pleasures. But everything changes when, walking through Gatwick a few days shy of her fifty-eighth birthday, a young woman approaches her and whispers a single word: ‘Help.’
Maggie responds, and in that moment saves a stranger, earning Anja her freedom and ensuring the arrest of a brutal trafficker.
But when the story gets picked up by the papers, Margaret is panicked by the publicity, as well as the strange phone calls she begins to receive.

In My House is a wonderful debut – a true character piece that surprises in unexpected ways.

Maggie helps a stranger one day and by doing so sets off a chain of events that she is not sure how to handle, On the surface In My House looks like it will be a mystery story, a tale with a hidden secret to be revealed. And in a way it is that yes, but more than that and at the heart of it is an ensemble cast, headed by Maggie, that allows the author to explore life and love in all its forms.

We have Maggie who is beautifully drawn – she’s an odd duck (I’m channeling my mother there somewhat) who on the surface just does not really like people. Then we have Anja, running from her past and into her future. When these two collide and develop a relationship it expands and contracts, ebbs and flows, starts to involve others and it is all endlessly gorgeously fascinating.

I loved every minute of it. It is a story of friendship. of how these develop sometimes despite ourselves. It is a story about the choices we make and how those choices form our personality. It is a tale of family and background and influences and most of all it is a story about the unexpected life events that can change everything.

Totally compelling, beautifully written and absolutely chock full of heart, this comes highly recommended from me.

Follow Alex Hourston on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/alex_hourston

Purchase Information:

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

Standard Edition:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-House-Alex-Hourston/dp/0571316662/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432158170&sr=1-1&keywords=in+my+house+alex+hourston

 

Happy Reading Folks!

New Release Spotlight: Day Four by Sarah Lotz

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Publication Date: 21st May from Hodder and Staughton

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Four days into a five day singles cruise on the Gulf of Mexico, the ageing ship Beautiful Dreamer stops dead in the water. With no electricity and no cellular signals, the passengers and crew have no way to call for help. But everyone is certain that rescue teams will come looking for them soon. All they have to do is wait. 
That is, until the toilets stop working and the food begins to run out. When the body of a woman is discovered in her cabin the passengers start to panic. There’s a murderer on board the Beautiful Dreamer… and maybe something worse.

The Three was in my top 10 of 2014 so I was really looking forward to “Day Four” a standalone horror thriller that also works as a sequel. In fact my honest opinion is that whilst you could quite happily read Day Four first, if you start with The Three you will get added oomph to this novel, a greater depth – so that would be my recommendation.

Onto Day Four then, I guess the truth is it freaked me out a little. Ok, a lot. In the best way possible. It is dark, scary, atmospheric and beautifully done so that you are constantly on edge..also you will never find me setting foot on a cruise ship. Ever. Just in case. The problem (or the genius)  is that whilst Sarah Lotz has  written a fantasy, a world that is ours but in which strange things are occurring, she writes it so realistically and with such fervour that it is amazingly and frighteningly believable.

Very basically then as I truly think the less you know of the plot before diving in the more you will get out of it, the story starts off fairly low key as we meet an eclectic group of passengers and staff on board the Beautiful Dreamer cruise ship. The author sets her characters up beautifully, by the time things start to go wrong you will probably already have decided who to root for and who you would like to see nasty things happen to – then the nasty things start happening and boy will it mess with your head.

Day Four is thoroughly haunting and gorgeously creepy – Sarah Lotz builds the tension with some elegant writing and cleverly obscure foreshadowing, a really most marvellously constructed story that stayed with me long after finishing it – and boy does this author know how to set you up and then throw an ending at you. Simply brilliant.

If you are expecting The Three again that is not what you will get. There is a different style to Day Four that is equally as compelling – Sarah Lotz is carefully and alluringly building her world, a world that is slightly off kilter and very very intriguing. There is a flow to it,  shrouded in mystery, I’m not sure I’ve seen a “series” done quite in this way before and it is just superb. I do wonder (all the time godarnit!) what she has up her sleeve for us next, but whatever it is I’m going to be right there. Whether there is a plan to bring these two and future stories together eventually into some kind of grand finale, I do not know. I hope so because with a creative mind such as this author obviously has (strange as it may be) I can imagine that it would be a wonder to behold. No pressure Sarah!

Highly Recommended

Find out more here: http://sarahlotz.com/home/

Follow the author on Twitter here:  https://twitter.com/SarahLotz1

Purchase Information: 

Special Signed Edition: https://www.goldsborobooks.com/product/day-four/

Standard Editon: https://www.waterstones.com/book/day-four/sarah-lotz/9781444775365

 

Also Available: Read first 

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Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he’s right?

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.

Dubbed ‘The Three’ by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioural problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children’s behaviour becomes increasingy disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival…               

 

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-three/sarah-lotz/9781444770384

 

Happy (and scary) Reading Folks!

A Night with some Killer Women…

KW-online-logo

 

So last Wednesday night I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of those Killer Women – it was a brilliant night, informative and fun with more than a little wine flowing. I was lucky enough to meet two of my favourite authors who I have been reading for years – Jane Casey and Erin Kelly – to say my fangirl side went into overdrive is putting it mildly. But Jane and Erin are just two of this beautifully eclectic group of Crime Writers who have formed a collective to provide a unique and innovative service. The full list of those involved can be found here:

http://www.killerwomen.org/who/

I met Louise Voss, Helen Smith and Helen Giltrow again which was wonderful, I stalked Tammy Cohen a little and was very happy to meet Colette McBeth for the first time – I did not get around to everyone, it was a busy and very sociable evening plus I was busy nabbing some new signed books for my collection. Sneakily. Or maybe not that sneakily but with a great deal of enthusiasm.

So what is next for these Killer Women?

They will be involved in a wide range of activities it seems including interviews and workshops, attending events and debates and  honestly if I could go to everything they did I absolutely would – as a group they are intelligent, witty and enthusiastic, also extremely dedicated to the reading and writing community. Life is about to get very exciting.

1-Killer-Women-Launch-300x200Those Killer Women

 

 

10410652_10205447625922572_3692323674959241789_nwith Jane Casey

11058310_10205447625642565_7144621256148198433_nwith Erin Kelly

I think this is a really most terrific idea – I highly recommend you sign up to the newsletter and see what is going to be going on – you can do that here:

http://www.killerwomen.org/newsletter/

And indeed peruse the website to find out more…

http://www.killerwomen.org/

And follow them on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/killerwomenorg

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/killerwomencrime?fref=ts

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Liz Currently Loves…..Untouchable by Ava Marsh

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Publication Date: Available Now (Kindle) Paperback August from Transworld

Source: Netgalley

They know who she is. She knows too much.
Stella is an escort, immersed in a world of desire, betrayal and secrets. It’s exactly where she wants to be. Stella used to be someone else: respectable, loved, safe.
When a fellow call girl is murdered, Stella has a choice: forget what she’s seen, or risk everything to get justice for her friend. In her line of work, she’s never far from the edge, but pursuing the truth could take Stella past the point of no return
.

This is a terribly addictive character driven thriller with a hard sexy edge and a really intriguing and clever storyline.

Grace is a prostitute – known in the business as Stella, she caters to the whims and desires of her clients daily. When another girl is found murdered Stella becomes embroiled in the mystery of her death and as she moves ever closer to the truth, things are about to get very dangerous.

What I loved most about this is the beautiful mash up of mystery, thriller and real life drama and the sheer depth of character Ava Marsh brings to the people you will meet within the pages. It is dark for sure, unrelenting in its descriptive prose, with an authentic look at life for a call girl, touching on realistic issues and yet also managing to tell a stonking good story at the same time.

Multi-layered, it is endlessly fascinating as we peel away the surface to what lies beneath especially with relation to the motivations and personality traits of the characters. Grace is such an alluring and provocative character to follow as she tells her story and you begin to understand her more.

If you are not a fan of graphic sexual content this one will definitely NOT be for you. The author has not pulled any punches when it comes to the realism of the world she is showing you, whilst it is never gratuitous and always speaks to the story, it IS gritty and honestly described which some may find disturbing. For me it was extremely necessary to the plot and indeed gave the whole tale a definitive and credible edge which would have been lost should the author have tried to mollycoddle.

Overall a really really terrific debut – almost impossible to put down once you start I sincerely hope that we will meet Grace again. She has, I think, a lot more to say.

Highly Recommended

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

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

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Untouchable-Ava-Marsh-ebook/dp/B00RWKNA5S/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Happy Reading Folks!