What She Left by T R Richmond. Out now in the US.

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This post today especially for readers in the US to give you a heads up that the brilliant “What She Left” by T R Richmond is now available there. One for fans of character driven psychological thrillers.

Publication Date 12th January from Simon and Shuster.

Original source: UK Review Copy

On a snowy February morning, the body of twenty-five-year-old journalist Alice Salmon washes up on a riverbank south of London. The sudden, shocking death of this beloved local girl becomes a media sensation, and those who knew her struggle to understand what happened to lively, smart, and savvy Alice Salmon. Was it suicide? A tragic accident? Or…murder?

Professor Jeremy Cooke, known around campus as Old Cookie, is an anthropologist nearing the end of his unremarkable academic career. Alice is his former student, and the object of his unhealthy obsession. After her death, he embarks on a final project—a book documenting Alice’s life through the digital and paper trails that survive her: her diaries, letters, Facebook posts, Tweets, and text messages. He collects news articles by and about her; he transcribes old voicemails; he interviews her friends, family, and boyfriends.

Bit by bit, the real Alice—a complicated and vulnerable young woman—springs fully formed from the pages of Cookie’s book…along with a labyrinth of misunderstandings, lies, and secrets that cast suspicion on everyone in her circle—including Jeremy himself.

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

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

Very Highly Recommended.

You can follow the author on Twitter here

And to purchase What She Left clickety click here

Happy Reading!

For the Most Beautiful Blog Tour – Emily Hauser – “Why we Write”

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Very happy to take part in this blog tour today for a beautiful looking (and sounding) book, for my stop I asked if the author would contribute to my ongoing “Why We Write” feature. She has written me a lovely piece and I hope you enjoy it.

Why We Write – Emily Hauser

One of the main reasons why I write is a very specific one: to get people excited about the classical world. I’m passionate about the ancient Greek and Roman past – I’m a scholar and researcher of Classics and have been studying it for over fifteen years – and I love using my expertise on the people and places of antiquity to bring them alive to modern readers. For me, fiction is one of the greatest tools available to us for bringing the myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome alive, and so to connect to the real, living people of the past. Fiction allows us to re-imagine and rebuild the ruined walls of Troy, but most of all, to put the people back into it – to imagine their hopes and fears, their dreams, the people they loved, the journeys they made. That, for me, is the peculiar magic of writing about the past: it is possible through fiction both to bring history alive, and, at the same time, to remind us that we are not, in the end, that different from people who lived thousands of years ago.

Which brings me to the second reason I write: to put women back into the picture of history. So often – and I could name any period, from ancient Greece to medieval France to revolutionary America – women have been lost from the historical record: both because they were not deemed worthy of mention, and because they themselves, often kept illiterate and uneducated, were unable to write, and so to record their thoughts and experiences. As a researcher into the lives of women in ancient Greece and Rome, I want to bring the female experience to the fore. I want to show that historical women’s experiences and women’s lives are just as important as those of the men whose stories have come down to us. In the case of For the Most Beautiful, that meant recovering the tales of two captive women during the Trojan War – Briseis, princess of Pedasus, and Krisayis, daughter of the Trojan High Priest – and telling their side of the story, with all its passion and destructiveness, revenge, love, and betrayal; stories just as powerful and worth telling as that of the rage of Achilles. One of the most rewarding things about this endeavour has been discovering just how vibrant and rich these women’s stories are, and how much there is to tell when you see the world through their eyes.

And finally, which I think might be one of the most common reasons for writing (but no less important for it) – I write simply to give readers that joy of picking up a book and losing themselves in another world, which I myself love to do. To provide another story, another time, through which to think about the things that most concern us: whether they’re love or war, grief, friendship, or death. It’s my belief that stories – and what else are myths and legends but stories? – are one of the most powerful road-maps towards understanding ourselves.

And if that’s not a good reason to write, I don’t know what is.

Thank you Emily!

About the Book:

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Three thousand years ago a war took place that gave birth to legends – to Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, and Hector, prince of Troy. It was a war that shook the very foundations of the world. But what if there was more to this epic conflict? What if there was another, hidden tale of the Trojan War?

Now is the time for the women of Troy to tell their story.

Thrillingly imagined and startlingly original, For the Most Beautiful reveals the true story of true for the first time. The story of Krisayis, daughter of the Trojans’ High Priest, and of Briseis, princess of Pedasus, who fight to determine the fate of a city and its people in this ancient time of mischievous gods and mythic heroes.

In this novel full of passion and revenge, loyalty and betrayal, bravery and sacrifice, Emily Hauser breathes exhilarating new life into one of the greatest legends of all – in a tale that has waited millennia to be told.

You can find out more about Emily  HERE

To Purchase “For the Most Beautiful” click HERE

More information and reviews if you follow the tour:

blog tour poster

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

Elizabeth Haynes – Behind Closed Doors blog tour.

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REALLY happy to join the blog tour for Elizabeth Haynes and Behind Closed Doors – I’m a huge fan (she has her very own page here on the blog so take a look HERE for her other great novels) so I’m more than pleased to share an extract from the novel, plus my original review and offer you the chance to get your very own copy (1 copy available – Open to UK and Ireland only) by doing the usual. Tweet me @Lizzy11268 or comment on this post about why you would like to read it.

 

About the book:

Ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished without a trace during a family holiday to Greece. Not being able to find Scarlett was one of the biggest regrets of DCI Louisa Smith’s career and when Scarlett is discovered back in her home town after all this time, Lou is determined to find out what happened to her and why she remained hidden for so long. Was she abducted or did she run away?
As Lou and her team delve deeper into Scarlett’s past, their investigation throws up more questions than it answers. But as they edge closer to the truth about what really went on behind closed doors, it is more sinister and disturbing than they had ever imagined.

Extract:

SCARLETT – Rhodes, Saturday 23 August 2003, 04:44

To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror.

Darkness, and stifling heat, so hot that breathing felt like effort, sweat pouring off her so her skin itself became liquid and she thought she would simply melt into a hot puddle of nothing. She tried crying out, screaming, but she could barely hear her own voice above the roar of the engine, the sound of the wheels moving at speed on tarmac. All that did was give her a sore throat. Nobody could hear her.

She tried listening instead, eyes wide with nothing to see. She could hear voices sporadically from somewhere else in the vehicle – two different men – but she didn’t recognise them, nor could she understand what they were saying. She assumed they were speaking in Greek, but the harsh rasp of the words sounded different from the voices she’d heard over the past week at the resort. Lots of ‘th’ sounds, rolled ‘r’s, words ending in ‘a’ and ‘eh’.

Fear came in cycles. The first endless panicky minutes had been very bad: trawling through vague memories of the past few days, trying to identify the mistake she’d made, because this had to be her fault – this can’t be real, I’m dreaming – then the shock realisation that this wasn’t a nightmare, it was really happening. The worst moment of all.

It had been so quick.

She had arrived a bit early at the place where they’d agreed to meet, and she’d been preparing to wait – he’d said he finished work at two – and a van had pulled up beside her. She hadn’t been worried. There were still people around, drunk tourists staggering back up the road towards their hotels. The side door of the van had slid open, and a man got out. He was talking to her, friendly, a smile that showed his teeth. His accent was so strong she couldn’t really tell what he was saying.

‘No, no,’ she’d said. ‘English. I don’t understand.’

But he’d kept yammering on, standing too close to her. She had begun to feel unnerved by it, and something had made her glance to the right, to the gate which led to the Aktira Studios, and in that split second when she’d seen someone she recognised, made eye contact, she had felt something like relief – and then the man had pushed her, a hard shove that sent her sprawling into the back of the van. He’d climbed in after her, slammed the door shut and the van started moving. The man had held her down, put his hand over her mouth, pressing her head into the metal floor so hard that she’d thought her skull was going to burst.

Seconds. The whole thing had taken seconds.

Now, hours since those terrifying first moments, she had reached a plateau brought on by the monotony of driving, the panic overridden by the pain in her arms and legs and the discomfort of being tied hand and foot and having to lie still on the floor of the van. They’d stopped once, very early on, before she’d had time to get over the shock or formulate any plan of escape; by that time the man in the back with her had already tied her up. He got out, leaving her alone, and the van door shut – and they were moving again.

The noise of the engine was unbearably loud; the van would bump and jolt as it went over potholes. Her head ached as a result, sometimes so badly it made her cry. The fear made her cry. Crying made her headache worse, and then it all became pointless, so she would stop for a while and try to sleep in snatches, because sleeping, at least, gave her a brief respite.

And she would dream of him, remember, and wake with tears on her cheeks, thinking, This wasn’t supposed to happen. Then the shock and the fear would kick in, and the whole cycle would begin again.

My Review:

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So the second book in the “Louisa Smith” series and with this one, the character and the series comes into its own. The introduction (Under a Silent Moon) was a clever take on the Police Procedural, intelligently  done and highly absorbing. With “Behind Closed Doors” Ms Haynes as taken it to the next level – a darker tale for sure, some emotional themes exploring a side of humanity we rather wish didnt exist, with another cast of superbly creative characters that keep you turning the pages.

When Scarlett went missing, Louisa was part of the team and the fact that she was never found has haunted her. Now however, Scarlett has turned up – what happened to her and why forms the main part of the novel and it is fascinating, disturbing and highly addictive stuff.

On top of that we learn more about Louisa and what makes her tick – leading on nicely from what we knew of her in “Moon”  – she has a beautifully drawn emotive edge to her, her relationships and friendships are all intriguing and full of great depth so you really get a feel for her and her reactions to events around her.

It is difficult reading at times, covering as it does human trafficking and abuse, but it is highly authentic and absolutely believable – Elizabeth Haynes manages to keep a realistic slant to the tale even as she throws in some elegant little twists and turns to keep you on your toes. Scarlett is a captivating and thought provoking character, even now I’ve finished the story I’m still not sure what I think of her and some of the decisions she made. For a story to give you pause for thought and at the same time entertain you thoroughly this is spot on.

Overall then a gorgeously written slightly different slant for the Crime Fiction genre, a mix up of very interesting police procedural and character driven drama that comes highly recommended from me.

Find out more HERE

Follow the author on Twitter HERE

To purchase Behind Closed Doors clickety click HERE

Some of my fellow bloggers will be telling you more on the tour, here is a selection of lovely sites for you to visit.

www.metlinereader.wordpress.com

https://thebookreviewcafe.wordpress.com/

http://bytheletterbookreviews.com/

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

Liz Currently Loves….Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner

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Publication Date: Feb 25th from The Borough Press (Harper Collins)

Source: Netgalley

Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.

Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.

Missing, Presumed was a really excellent read – probably one of the most authentic feeling crime novels I have read recently, in that it was less mystery and more character study – of the various people caught up in the investigation of a missing woman. Police, parents, friends, boyfriends, all caught up in the vortex of not knowing, each one carefully drawn and intuitively emotional on completely different levels.

Possible signs of a struggle, an open front door and Edith is gone – vanished into seemingly thin air, her parents and lover frantic, a police investigation team who immediately realise this is going to be huge due to the important nature of the people involved. Taking that as a starting point, Susie Steiner then weaves a narrative web around all the individuals concerned, showing us who they are, hinting at possible outcomes and giving us a tightly plotted and intensely addictive slow burner of a story which is very realistic and highly engaging.

I liked this one for its realism – the police investigation starts with a bang then loses cohesion as leads are investigated and the trail turns cold. The author does an excellent job of showing the very real issues faced both in public expectation and budgetary issues, in how difficult it is to allocate resources correctly. Because of the nature of the plot building, focusing very much on the various personalities and how they change the dynamic, how outside influence and external pressures can change things significantly, there are a lot of thought provoking moments throughout the reading.

On a personal note – all the characters here are excellent, but I was particularly drawn to Manon and very amused by her forays into internet dating – lightening the mood but also showing her fault lines she is a very good example of why this is so good. Because the people in it are all utterly believable, shown both at their very best and their very worst.

The ultimate resolution may or may not surprise you but with “Missing Presumed” the journey is the thing not the arrival. Tense, fascinating and with true page turning appeal, this would come highly recommended from me.

You can find out more HERE

And follow the author on Twitter HERE

To Pre-Order “Missing Presumed” clickety click HERE

Happy Reading Folks!

Talk about a couple of YA Authors…Jack Croxall interviews Zoe Markham

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So a little while ago when Wye by Jack Croxall was released, as part of the blog tour I arranged for lovely Zoe Markham to have a chat  with him all about it and they had a lovely  time comparing notes – Zoe’s “White Lies” has just been released so I thought hey why not turn the tables – so Jack has had a bit of fun asking her some questions all about White Lies – and here is the result. Thank you both of you!

Jack Croxall interviews Zoe Markham about White Lies….

Schools and school life are an important part of both Under My Skin and White Lies. What makes a school such an effective literary setting?

With YA you often hear the “Get rid of the parents!” line. School tends to work really well in this respect because, whether you chose to get rid of the parents or not, it’s one of those environments where it’s all down to you: parents or no parents, from 9am to 3pm you’re on your own. And of course it’s an environment that’s familiar to all of us, whether we like it or not 😉

When you started writing White Lies did you already have the twist in mind, or did it (or maybe several different versions of it) occur to you as you went along?

I did always have the twist in mind, but it became one of those areas in which I really had to compromise, because my editor didn’t like the feel of the ending in my first draft. In the end, it went through, I think, three different variations before we found one that worked for both of us. My initial twist, and the one I was rubbing my hands with glee over when I wrote it, all came down to who was driving the car at the end…

I loved the character of Scarlet, she’s so intriguing, so well-written. Have you ever known someone like her in real life?

I went to school with an ‘almost’ Scarlett, which is where she initially came from. She started out as just a very controlling ‘Queen Bee’ figure – the classic ‘Mean Girl’ really, but again as the initial draft was edited there was a concern that she was perhaps verging on stereotypical. It was great editorial advice as it gave me the chance to think about why Scarlett acted the way she did, and it brought her background and her own story to light. It made her heaps more fun to write – and it’s why editors are brilliant J

How did you get the idea to incorporate a magpie into the story?

I really liked the idea that Abby, never quite making it as one of the ‘cool crowd’, didn’t score the big, dark, brooding raven she’s familiar with from the books she reads. A magpie felt a bit more urban, and a little quirkier – maybe even more British somehow, although I have no idea why. There’s the whole ‘One for sorrow’ aspect, which I thought went well with her character, and I remembered reading somewhere, years ago, about the whole ‘devil’s blood under their tongue’ thing, which I thought was nicely creepy. I’m all for creepy!

As a reader, what kind of story scares you most?

The ones rooted so firmly in everyday experience that they could, potentially, happen to anyone. Ones where you get the ‘That could be me’ paranoia creeping in around the edges as you read.

How have you found the experience of having your stories, your characters and what might be considered an intimate part of yourself out in the world?

Honestly? Terrifying! I’ve been massively, massively fortunate in finding people who’ve connected with both novels and been absolutely lovely about them – but there’s still part of me that seems to always be hiding in the corner, trembling. I tell myself it’s because I care about what I write, and want to get it right, but I also have to admit to the fact that I’m just a giant wimp, in general. I’ve never been the most confident of souls, and I find release days hard. I’m really going to have to try and get over that somehow!

Is there a genre you’d love to write in but haven’t yet had the chance to? Or perhaps one you never would write in?

I would love to write Epic Fantasy, it’s my favourite genre to read and I’ve been sort of plotting ideas of my own on and off for about two decades now. The world-building becomes so complex and immersive in my head though that I have the feeling I’d only ever be able to write Epic at a time when the day-job wasn’t a necessity!

One day! (A girl can dream.)

What’s next for you?

This year I’m really lucky to have two more YA titles coming out, Blood Bank with Kristell Ink, and Headcase with Tenebris. They’re both very different to my Carina titles. Blood Bank is a vampire novel (these aren’t just any vampires, there are SWINDON vampires!) and Headcase is a deeper and darker journey into teenage mental health, with a bit of a fantasy twist.

Neither of them feature schools, promise! J

Thank you SO much the pair of you!

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Wye is losing hope. Sixteen and travelling through a rich wilderness with three other teenagers, she should be having the time of her life. And she might be if it weren’t for the thing hunting her; the tireless creature desperate to tear her and her friends limb from limb.

Through the remembered lessons of her favourite writers, Wye has been trying to make sense of the cruel world she’s found herself inhabiting. But it’s not working. Wherever she turns there are monsters and memories, both of them poised to devour her if she can’t find a way to live with herself. What follows is Wye’s last chance at salvation, what follows is her journal.

You can purchase Wye here

And see my original review here

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Everybody hurts

For Abigail, a new school could be the fresh start she so desperately needs. With her parents in the army and her sister Beth too far away to run to, she knows this year needs to be different. She’s never been part of the cool crowd and for the first time Abby wants to fit in. And all it takes is just one little white lie…because some truths are too painful to share.

Everybody lies

But at Cotswold Community College, Abby isn’t the only one with a past she’d rather forget. And when she stumbles across a closely-guarded secret, Abigail realises that her one little white lie could reveal everything she’s worked so hard to hide…

You can purchase White Lies here

And see my original review here

Happy Reading Folks!

Dead Pretty. Meet the Characters with David Mark.

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So “Dead Pretty” the 5th DS Aector McAvoy book is out later this week – it is simply brilliant (you can see my original advance review further down the page) as they all have been so if you havent tried them yet do – if however you fancy diving right in, I tracked David Mark down and asked him to tell us a little about the characters you’ll meet within the pages –  our returning main protagonists and a little about what drives them (No Spoilers)  Huge thanks to him for taking the time.

The series is set around Aector McAvoy – tell us a little bit about him. How he came into being and what readers can expect from his personality?

Aector is about as far from your hard-drinking, rule-breaking maverick as it’s possible to get. I love the many books in which the lead character is a rough diamond who doesn’t let anything get in their way but having spent many years as a journalist, I can’t suspend my disbelief far enough to write those sort of people into books that are intended to be relatively authentic. Aector is like the detectives I used to know – family types who want to get through the day unscathed and hopefully make it home in time to read their kids a bedtime story. They’re clever, not geniuses, and dogged, not obsessive. Aector is, of course, the best example of his archetype. He believes that it is his job to bridge the gap between sorrow and goodbye. He has to redress the balance. He doesn’t think of himself as a hero but he most certainly is one to me. He ploughs headlong into situations that he’s scared of. He blushes when he gets nervous or exasperated. He tries not to get too big for his boots and above all else, he wants to hold his wife and children and keep them safe. It helps that he’s a giant Scotsman with red hair, muscles like a popsock full of turtles, and the kind of eyes that make people want to be better humans.

If you had to name one thing that drives Aector – what would you say?

Family. That’s the only thing he’s completely sure about. He lives in the same place that he is tasked with catching killers. He likes to think of murderers as an aberration; that if he catches this one, the world might not throw any more his way and he can go back to playing cowboys with his son and daughter. It hasn’t worked out that way yet.

Another mainstay of the series is Trish Pharoah – Aector’s boss but also his friend. Tell us a little bit about her, her attitudes and relationship to Aector?

Trish is the boss of the Serious and Organised Unit within Humberside Police. She’s motherly, affectionate, sexy and hard-as-nails, though I cringe when I have to explain her subtleties in a few words because she’s so much more than all that too. She’s basically the best cop imaginable. She knows how to get the best out of people – when to put her hand on somebody’s shoulder and give it a squeeze, and when to kick them in the unmentionables. She’s a mum of four and her husband is long-term disabled following a stroke, which he suffered when his debts became too much and his family lost everything. Trish has picked the family up and risen through the ranks largely because she needs the money and doesn’t like being told what she can’t do. She’s a bit of a legend among the detectives and it helps that she is more than willing to bite your fingers off if you put your hands on her. She thinks Aector is wonderful gets annoyed that she has feelings for him so she constantly teases him. She’s like a kid in the playground, kicking the shins of the boy she likes.

She’s obviously a very different kettle of fish – what would you say is the most important thing to her in her life?

Keeping going. She’s from a town in South Yorkshire and everything she has, she’s earned. It’s not about measuring up to anybody else or impressing anybody, it’s about measuring up to her own vision of who and what she should be. She allowed one man to dominate her and ended up with four kids and lots of debts. She’s utterly self-reliant now. Of all the coppers I write about, she’s the one who could most easily kill and get away with it. She knows that about herself, and as such, has a very strict code as to how far she’s willing to go. In the new book, Dead Pretty, she plays some dangerous games with that line in the sand.

Of course Aector would not be who he was without Roisin, his wife. Talk a little about her. For me she is one of the most fascinating characters and the one I relate to the most.

Roisin is everybody’s favourite! She’s only in her mid-twenties and she first met Aector when she was a youngster. She’s a Traveller and Aector – then a very young police constable – saved her life. She came back into his life years later and their relationship is the heart of the series. She adores him the way he adores her but she has a totally different idea about rules and the law to her earnest husband. She allows Aector to be what he must and supports him wholeheartedly. She’s also very astute and often helps him see things from different perspectives. On top of this, she has a deep knowledge of herbalism and gypsy medicines and superstitions, which come in rather handy given how much time Aector spends recovering from wounds.

Would you say that you based any of them on real life people you know or are they all entirely fictional?

Aector is an amalgam of a couple of coppers I knew as a journalist, coupled with a healthy dash of Rob Roy. He’s noble and decent and would die for a stranger, but his flaws are drawn from my own personal well. Trish, again, has a lot in common with a senior female officer I used to know, and is a swirl of the many strong, independent females that I’m proud to call friends. Roisin is a work of complete fiction, but I get emails and Tweets from people who think they were the inspiration so perhaps I’ve stolen somebody else’s personality and not realised it.

If you were to write a “spin off” book which of your main cast would you choose and why?

I’d love to write about Trish when she was still a young officer, fighting her way up the ranks with young children in tow and sexist bastards above and around her. But I fear that Lynda La Plante has rather scuppered that for me with Tennison so if I do write a spin-off it will probably follow Helen Tremberg, a Detective Constable who has managed to overcome some career-threatening situations to become a very competent officer, and who may be the only person who knows the truth about the criminal gang which has orchestrated so many atrocities throughout the books to date.

Thank you SO much!

About the Book:

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Hannah Kelly has been missing for nine months. Ava Delaney has been dead for five days.

One girl to find. One girl to avenge. And DS Aector McAvoy won’t let either of them go until justice can be done.

But some people have their own ideas of what justice means…

Review:

This is book 5 in the McAvoy series and I’ve been a pretty quiet fan of it throughout to be honest, I have a little collection on my (one of many) bookshelves and when I got the chance to read Dead Pretty early there was just no way I was turning that down.

There is a peculiar brilliance to David Mark’s writing that just gives this particular crime series an oddly magical edge over most of the others out there – addictive quality in spades but also deeply fascinating character studies and a main protagonist to die for -the uniquely defined gentle giant that is DS Aector McAvoy. His personality and that of those around him (particularly wife Roisin and his boss Trish Pharoah) really resonates – you will be immersed before you know it into their world, where violence is often rife and walking the moral line is not always easy.

In “Dead Pretty” Aector is searching for a missing girl, resolutely and with determination. Then another girl is found murdered, a body is discovered on another estate – on top of that Trish is behaving quite oddly after her career has taken a hit from a rather enigmatic and intriguing recently released prisoner. This sets the scene for a truly riveting story, absolutely chocka block full of nail biting moments (I’m not even exaggerating I did really bite nails!) but also plenty of the more contemplative and thoughtful introspection that I’ve come to expect and love from this author.

Its a heady mix for sure for any crime fiction fan – and actually for anyone, why limit the field – they are intuitively done so you can start anywhere but also will be completely rewarded by reading in order, so take your pick. Having followed Aector from his first appearance back in The Dark Winter I am still completely in love with him and his supporting cast of highly alluring friends and family – with Dead Pretty David Mark has taken it up a notch if that is even possible so all of these come highly recommended from me.

And do hurry along another one. Yes I do sometimes wish there was a magic book fairy who could grant book wishes. This is one of those times – I finished this earlier today in a rush of adrenalin and a lot of crossed fingers for the outcome I hoped for – what I got was **redacted** and it was blinking brilliant!

Find out more about David here:

Follow him on Twitter here:

To Purchase Dead Pretty click here:

Happy Reading Folks!

 

After you Die – Eva Dolan. Review and Giveaway

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Publication Date: Available Now from Harvill Secker

Source: Review Copy

Dawn Prentice was already known to the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit.

The previous summer she had logged a number of calls detailing the harassment she and her severely disabled teenage daughter were undergoing. Now she is dead – stabbed to death whilst Holly Prentice has been left to starve upstairs. DS Ferreira, only recently back serving on the force after being severely injured in the line of duty, had met with Dawn that summer. Was she negligent in not taking Dawn’s accusations more seriously? Did the murderer even know that Holly was helpless upstairs while her mother bled to death?

Whilst Ferreira battles her demons, determined to prove she’s up to the frontline, DI Zigic is drawn into conflict with an official seemingly resolved to hide the truth about one of his main suspects. Can either officer unpick the truth about mother and daughter, and bring their killer to justice?

This is the 3rd novel from Eva Dolan, the best one yet (and the previous books ain’t exactly shabby) also the one that put this author firmly on what I call my “chronic impatience” list – as in hurry along another one or I might collapse from chronic impatience….

So in this instalment we move in a slighty different direction mystery wise, giving Zigic and Ferreira an opportunity to spread their wings so to speak as they look into the emotionally horrific deaths of a mother and daughter. This is one that will haunt you as it haunts our main protagonists – the “what if” elements , especially as far as Holly, left to slowly starve to death goes, really did touch my thoughts during random parts of my day and still does even weeks after reading it. The writing is beautiful, digs deep into your subconcious and that is at least one of the reasons why I can quite firmly say that I loved this one. If a book touches me to that degree then as far as I’m concerned it simply demands that I shout about it. Yes, I’m sorry. (Not really sorry)

Even if that was all it would be quite enough but that is not all. The mystery elements aside, the characters we have come to know a little through the previous two novels absolutely shine in this one – fast becoming one of my favourite crime duo’s Zigic and Ferreira have a huge amount going for them in the crime series stakes. Eva Dolan has a keen eye for character development, a way of drawing you in and slowly allowing you to see different aspects of their lives and thoughts in a way that just makes you want to know them better – they are raw, real and absolutely believable in every way. I think it bears saying that even with some of the top crime series out there, you don’t get this level of emotional engagement with the characters you meet in each book – this really is top notch first page to last.

The plot is tightly woven, real enough to hit home, incredibly moving at times and madly addictive. It IS hard to put down, genuinely, as proven by the amount of muttering I did during reading it –  when I had to do really annoying things like go to work. Apparently it is frowned upon to take a random reading day, honestly – we really do need to sort that out.

Overall then, quite simply brilliant. You can read “After you Die” as a standalone, it works well on that level, but equally I would not want you to miss out on the others as every book is just a bit of a marvel. But if you fancy giving these a go and have not yet then HANDILY I have 3 copies to giveaway. I’m not even going to make you work very hard to be in with a chance of nabbing one….

So if you fancy a copy of THIS

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Then you can do one of any number of things

Comment on THIS post

Tweet me @Lizzy11268  using #AfterYouDie and tell me you must have it

Comment on my Facebook link here

All names will go into a literal hat and Harry will pick 3 out at random.

Good luck! Don’t miss it!

Find out more about Eva here

Follow her on Twitter here

If you are not lucky in the giveaway you can purchase After you Die here

FOLLOW THE TOUR

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Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

The Enemy Series – Rob Sinclair

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Anyone looking for a thriller series to look forward to in between the necessary Reacher Hope gaps might do well to take a look at Rob Sinclair’s “Enemy” series which features main protagonist Carl Logan – and in fact might even decide that Reacher and Hope will provide reading sustenance during the necessary gaps in these.

I read the first two back to back and am very much looking forward to the third shortly, so now seems the perfect time to talk a little about books one and two and give people a chance to catch up..

 

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Carl Logan was the perfect agent. A loner, with no real friends or family, he was trained to deal with any situation with cold efficiency, devoid of emotion. But Logan isn’t the man he used to be, or the asset he once was. Five months ago his life changed forever when he was captured, tortured and left for dead by Youssef Selim, one of the world’s most violent terrorists. When Selim mysteriously reappears in Paris, linked to the kidnapping of America’s Attorney General, Logan smells his chance for revenge. Pursuing his man relentlessly, oblivious to the growing trail of destruction that he leaves in his wake, Logan delves increasingly deep into the web of lies and deceit surrounding the kidnapping. Finally, he comes to learn just what it means to Dance with the Enemy.

Dance with the Enemy is the perfect introduction to a series for many reasons  – Rob Sinclair builds his characters and their backgrounds in an intriguing and engaging way, but first shoves you straight off a cliff as far as action goes so you are immediately hooked – this appeals to me particularly because I find thrillers that do it the other way round can sometimes drag. Not so here – I was bang in it from page one.

The plot is intricate enough to keep the intelligent side of your brain happy, thrilling enough for the adrenalin moments and twisty enough to keep you on your toes, all wrapped up in a great novel that has a high readability factor. Bang on the money, with a dark side that appealed to me, descriptively speaking it can head into scary territory, some is not for the faint hearted.

There have  been Bond comparisons floating about – personally I think that Logan is as far from being Bond as I am from being a brain surgeon but I get the point with the spy/thriller aspects – however Logan for me was portrayed as far from perfect, flawed to the point that you can genuinely believe in him and therefore much more real. The dynamics between him and other characters within the book are given depth and focus at points of the tale, offsetting the action sequences nicely and giving some quieter moments, so all in all cleverly done to draw you in.

You can purchase Dance with the Enemy here.

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Everyone has a breaking point. Carl Logan might just have found his.

For the past 19 years, Agent Carl Logan has devoted his life to his work for the Joint Intelligence Agency; an intelligence agency controlled jointly by the USA and the UK. Policing, espionage and elite armed forces combined in one secretive and powerful network.

When the JIA sends Logan on a routine mission to Russia it should have been simple. But when his cover is blown, he’s transported into a world of hell he thought he would never see again.

Something is different this time, though, and before long doubts begin to surface in Logan’s mind as to why the assignment went so wrong. Logan has never been short of enemies. And sometimes the enemy is closer to home than you think.

Rise of the Enemy (or as I put it YAY more Carl Logan) carries on in the same vein but for me was even better – this one I read in a single sitting, it was intense and very enjoyable (in a hang on to your hats type way).  Rob Sinclair comes into his own here – it is addictive, brilliantly flowing and with Rise of the Enemy the series kicks into high gear both in quality and storytelling, it was well nigh on impossible to put down – the author and the characters both having found their feet.

I like how the mythology is building, there are some beautifully placed surprises in the second book, along with the very best bits of the first as far as action and thrills and spills are concerned. Logan himself is becoming more fascinating with every page read and the specific story in this novel is often breathtaking.

It is always interesting to see the early books of a series you feel could run and run despite the fact that this is supposedly a set of 3 – for me the first two did a great job of hooking me in and ensuring that I’ll read more – perhaps this one more than the first, having now really jumped on the runaway train. The fact that I’ve got another to read soon means that Rob Sinclair will not YET have to have me bugging him about more. Because you know, when I’ve run out of these its possible I’ll have to go into Twitter stalk mode (I’m lovely really).

If Carl Logan is bowing out after the finale to the “Enemy”  novels  I shall be disappointed, but on the other hand, the way these are going so far, with lots of elements that could lead into something else, who knows what might happen. Makes it kind of exciting.

You can purchase Rise of the Enemy here.

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The breathtaking and action-packed finale to the bestselling Enemy series. The Hunt is on. They’ve erased his past. Wiped out his very existence. But Carl Logan isn’t finished yet. On the run in a harsh Russian winter, Logan – once an invaluable asset but now branded a traitor – has been framed for murder. His own firm, the secretive Joint Intelligence Agency, have labeled him a rogue operative after two decades of loyal service. The agency is hunting him down… and they’re not the only ones. But there’s much more at stake than just Logan’s life. One by one, agents and informants from all sides, all allegiances, are dying. And Carl Logan is the only man who can put a stop to it, once and for all.

Yes well, I’ve not read this one yet. So like me you’ll have to wait. Sigh. But a review will come very soon. And hey, I’ve given you a heads up….

Find out more about Rob here

Follow him on Twitter here

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

Talking Blood Tracks….Interview with Matt Hilton

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Very happy to welcome Matt Hilton to the blog today talking about his new series – Blood Tracks kicks off the Tess Grey thrillers and is a great book (already a  Joe Hunter fan here, if you haven’t read those and are a fan of the genre you should certainly take a look)

 

I’m a huge fan of the Joe Hunter series – tell us what inspired you to start a new series, something a little different.

To date I’ve written 11 books in the Joe Hunter series, plus a bunch of ebook exclusive short stories, since 2008, so you could say that I’ve kind of had Hunter on the brain quite a lot. But like most authors, I have other stories to tell, and some of them don’t fit in the Joe Hunter style. The Hunter books are typically fast-moving action thrillers, and for some time now I’d been thinking of stretching my literal wings to try something slightly different, putting more of an emphasis on the mystery elements of the plots. In the past I’ve pitched other books to my publishers, but have been warned off changing genres to avoid “reader confusion” – I’ve still written those books but have self-published them under my own imprint – so knew I had to do something similar but different. Occasionally my Hunter books have been wrongly described as “Men’s adventure novels”, and because of this I believe I’ve missed out on hooking as many female readers as I possibly could have. So, when I sat down to come up with an idea for a new series my first impulse was to write a female lead, and I immediately knew that she could not simply be a female version of Joe Hunter. In fact, I wanted Tess Grey to be at the opposite end of the spectrum: Hunter is a lawless vigilante with elite skills, whereas I decided that Tess should be an ex-cop, carrying a debilitating injury that has slowed her down and left her with emotional baggage to contend with, then throughout the course of the book show her coming to terms with her weaknesses as and developing into a strong, intelligent woman. I then decided I’d throw Tess into similar situations as I’d normally place Hunter and see how she would contend with them in her own way. I knew though that I’d need a foil, to allow certain actions to occur in the books without the constraints that Tess places on herself, so gave her a shaky partnership with Nicolas “Po” Villere, an ex-con from Louisiana. Through the old “opposites attract” idea, I thought it would cause a nice love/hate dynamic between the two, that would keep readers entertained, while also delivering similar thrills my readers had come to expect from my other books.

Talk a little about your two main characters, Tess and “Po” – how you saw their dynamic developing and whether things changed during the writing.

Tess Grey, despite the misgivings of her mother, followed the male family tradition of serving in law enforcement, but it all ended badly for her when she accidently killed an innocent man, and was severely injured during a robbery. Maligned by the media, she left the Sheriff’s Department (in Portland, Maine), and is making ends meet as a genealogist and low end private investigator when we first meet her in Blood Tracks. She has feelings of insecurity and failure hanging over her, but can’t turn down the offer of a job working on behalf of her local District Attorney’s office to trace a witness of a serious crime, but feels she will be seriously out of her depth when discovering the witness has fled to the bayous of Louisiana. Therefore she hires the services of Nicolas Villere, who relocated to Maine many years before. Nicolas is known as “Po” to his friends, a shortened nickname derived from “Po’boy”. He left Louisiana after serving thirteen years in the high security Angola Prison, also known as The Farm. But although Po is a convicted and time-served killer, conversely he is not a bad man. He served time after killing the murderer of his father, and then left home to avoid a continuing blood feud with the killer’s family. At first their relationship is a spiky one, and they both find it difficult coming to terms with each other’s methods, but their bond, and admiration for each other begins to grow as they both begin finding their way back to the kind of people they should have always been. I’ve always enjoyed books or movies where the lead characters bicker and fight, but learn that not only do they need their partner but they come to love and respect their differences too, and that was what I aimed for with Tess and Po’s relationship – hopefully I’ve pulled it off. Throughout the writing of the first book I never lost sight of the dynamic I wanted to play out between them, while contending with life threatening situations, so things didn’t really change in my mind. By the end of the book, I hope that Tess and Po have successfully gone through the changes to appease readers who will accept them as a solid pairing despite their shaky start.

There is a great mix of action and drama – how difficult is it to keep the balance and also, which parts do you enjoy writing most?

I think in any good action book you need a hefty dose of drama through which you come to know and understand the motivations of the characters, in order that the reader grows to like and care for them. Having written a bunch of Hunter novels, I’ve been able to ingratiate him with my regular readers, and have drip fed information about him throughout the span of around a million words or so, but with Tess and Po I knew I needed to establish their histories much earlier on, to show what they were and how they needed to change, and the best way I saw to do that was through the drama played out via their burgeoning relationship. It was great fun writing the action scenes, it’s kind of my forte, but also my bread and butter, but equally enjoyable, and for different reasons, I loved writing the parlay between Tess and Po, through which I was able to inject some much needed humour and emotion into an otherwise pitch-black scenario. I hope that the depth of the book satisfies readers who demand more from their action heroes than a continuous stream of high-jinx.

And one thing I have to ask…will Pinky make a return? Great character. They all were.

Pinky Leclerc began as a throwaway character in my mind, an old friend and contact of Po’s down in the bayous, but as soon as he made his appearance on the page he was fully formed in my mind and I couldn’t let him go, so I fleshed out his involvement in the tale and even had to rein him in at times. He’s an oddly endearing character, flamboyant, camp, and dangerous, with a very strange speech pattern. I’m thinking of trademarking the term “Pinky Me”, because that’s mostly who readers want to know more about. Of course Pinky will be back – I’m not sure the series would be the same without him.

Finally tell us a little about how you see the series developing and what is next for you?

Would you believe that this very morning I’ve just sent off the completed second novel in the Tess and Po series (or should that be Tess, Po and Pinky?) to my agent? It’s tentatively tilted “Painted Skins”, though that might change before publication, and picks up a few months after the events in Blood Tracks. In this one we find Tess investigating the disappearance of a young woman, who she comes to discover is in far more peril than from the men she first runs from. Again, I’ve mixed drama with action, and hope that the series continues to enthral readers, and grows from strength to strength. There’s so much more I have in mind for Tess and Po down the line, and might have hinted at a future direction I want to take the story arc in. For my Joe Hunter readers, fear not. Joe Hunter 11 – No Safe Place – is also written and I’m awaiting publication details on that one. I intend continuing to write Joe Hunter and Tess and Po books, and who knows, maybe somewhere down the line – if there’s enough demand – they might just bump into each other.

Thank you!

Thank you, Liz, it was my very great pleasure.

About the Book:

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Introducing private investigator Tess Grey and Southern renegade ex-con Nicolas Po Villere in the first of a brand-new series of fast-paced action thrillers.


When her local District Attorney offers her a considerable sum of money to track down state witness Crawford Wynne, private investigator Tess Grey is in no position to refuse. Wynne is one of the few men still alive who can help the State nail vicious drug lord Alberto Suarez. But Tess is not the only one trying to track Wynne down. Suarez s psychotic brother Hector has been hunting and butchering anyone who is a danger to his brother.
Tess needs help and there s only one man she can turn to: Southern renegade ex-con Nicolas Villere, known to all as Po. Po always gets his man, but he has never been teamed with a woman before. Both have their own agenda for taking on this case, and neither fully trusts the other. But of one thing they are sure: if they don t cover each other s backs, they are both going to die.

Blood  Tracks has that same addictive quality I’ve come to expect from this author – with thrills and spills, edge of the seat action and the rest, but also has a quieter quality to portions of the tale in which the relationship developing between Tess and Po is developed and its entirely possible these two may become one of my favourite duo’s.

Matt Hilton has always had a sharp eye to characterisation, not letting it get lost amongst the more full on portions of his books – but it was interesting to see him write a female lead, pulling it off with some intuitive sense and making her beautifully realistic. An interesting and slightly different dynamic to the main protagonists, this was beautifully drawn.

Its a great mix – I’ll admit to being wary – when you love a series and the writer of that series then offers something new, that fear of change can kick in and things might work out well or they might not. In the case of Blood Tracks it worked out VERY well. I’ll be following this series as avidly as I follow Hunter – and if you are new to Matt Hilton’s writing, hey perfect opportunity to jump in right here. Definitely recommended.

You can find out more right HERE

Follow Matt on Twitter here

To Purchase Blood Tracks clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading Folks!

 

A Little Taste of Fear….

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Proof cover shown: Not Final Cover.

Publication Date: April 7th 2016 from Headline

You’ll never be out of Harm’s way

The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He’s the head of her new family.

He’s Harm.

DI Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl’s disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she’s about to face.

Because when Harm’s family is threatened, everything tastes like fear…

Whilst we are way too early for me to write up a full review of Tastes Like Fear – the 3rd book to feature DI Marnie Rome, a character once met, never forgotton – it seemed reasonable to post a few thoughts on it and if you continue down I’ll give you a little reminder of what came before (no spoilers). If you have not read these and are a fan of the crime genre, then hey look, you’ve got a couple of months to catch up and my default position when it comes to Sarah Hilary these days is “Read, read now”

Tastes Like Fear is a bit of a triumph. Sublime writing with a socially cutting edge, DI Marnie Rome speaks to the hidden fears in all of us – she allows us to delve into the hidden darkness within society and see what is right in front of our eyes yet mostly only ever seen out of the corner of them – bringing a sharp focus to genuine issues whilst telling an entertaining, addictive and cleverly twisted story.

Its not the easiest thing to pull off, but Sarah Hilary makes it LOOK easy – with a sensitive eye to the emotional details, a fascinating character study in multiple layers and well to be honest just a darned good yarn that will have you up until the early hours bleary eyed and quite possibly tearful. If you let it settle into your subconcious too much it is truly terrifying. This is scary. The scariest thing about it is how likely it is. That is Marnie Rome in a nutshell.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

You can pre-order Tastes Like Fear by clickety clicking right here

Where did it begin? Well right here…

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Winner of the 2015 Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year

Called to a woman’s refuge to take a routine witness statement, DI Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder.
Trying to uncover the truth from layers of secrets, Marnie finds herself confronting her own demons.
Because she, of all people, knows that it can be those closest to us we should fear the most . . .

Read an interview with Sarah and what I said about “Someone Elses Skin” here:

To purchase click here:

Then came this….

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

Five years later, the boys’ bodies are found and the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome’s career begins.

Her only focus is the boys. She has to find out who they are and what happened to them.

For Marnie, there is no other darkness than this…

Read a further interview with Sarah and what I said about No Other Darkness here

To purchase click here

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

Don’t forget…in April everything “Tastes Like Fear” …..

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Happy Reading Folks!