The Travelers Blog Tour – Interview with Chris Pavone

 

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Today I am very happy to welcome Chris Pavone to the blog answering a few questions about his latest novel The Travelers. Thanks to Chris and you can see my review a little later this week.

The Travelers is a brilliantly twisty tale – possibly even more so than your previous novels – what inspired this particular story?

Each of my novels is a thriller that revolves around a dominant theme. The Expats was a book about marriage; The Accident, ambition. And The Travelers is about work: about the different relationships we have to different sorts of labor, as well as our different types of employers—the institutions as well as the individuals. I wanted to create a suspense novel in which characters look at labor from many different angles: middle management and upper; underlings and freelancers and a resentful stay-at-home mother who’s trying to return to the workforce; people who do whatever they want for a living and people who are merely struggling to survive. And I wanted some of these people—in fact, many of them—to have an incomplete or erroneous understanding of whom, exactly, they are working for, and why.

It was also perfectly paced – when writing a thriller of this nature how difficult is it to keep it exciting whilst still exploring character motivations and adding depth?

Thank you! I think the ideal pace for a novel is a matter about which reasonable people can have vastly different opinions. Some readers prefer constant action, a sort of uninterrupted breathless chase through 300 pages of life-and-death. Others want only tiny doses of danger, in discrete moments—if at all. I try to write the sorts of books that I want to read, which begin by developing characters and their relationships, and are back-loaded with action. As a reader, I know I’m most invested when I care deeply about the characters, about the tensions between them. It’s not usually physical threats that I find most gut-wrenching, but emotional peril. So this is what I’m trying to accomplish in my own books: develop compelling tensions among credible characters whose relationships gradually reveal themselves to be antagonistic and eventually mortally dangerous.

And also as an add on how DO you keep track of plot nuances – I’m always fascinated by the level of complexity you manage to get in there.

Alongside the actual manuscript I’m writing, I maintain a few supporting documents: a descriptive pitch; character sketches; miscellaneous notes and passages; and an outline. All this extra material helps not only to keep track of the plot complexities, but also to invent them. There’s a big difference between writing the book and writing about the book, and it’s when doing the latter that I think up most of the plot twists.

Tell us a little about you – any huge reading influences growing up, hobbies away from writing and the age old question – coffee, tea or something stronger?

I grew up in a family of schoolteachers, and I was an omnivore reader. In grade school I was most interested in art and music; as a teenager my best subjects were math and science; at university I concentrated in government and history. As an employed adult I became a book editor, and in my twenties worked on all sorts of books. Then little by little I became a cookery editor; I spent much of my thirties reading recipes. In my early forties I started writing my first crime novel, and for the past half-decade I’ve been consuming a diet that’s high in thrillers and mysteries. I still love to cook, and I’m lucky enough to have a family who enjoy what I put on the table. This never includes tea, which I think tastes like lawn clippings. I love strong coffee and red wine, which despite being on opposite sides of the stimulant/depressant divide, have very similar flavour properties.

What do you have in store for us next If you are allowed to say?

I’ve just returned from a trip to Mexico as research for my fourth novel. I’m at my favorite stage of writing, when I’ve gotten the book underway recently enough that it still feels fresh, but not so recent that I’m still lost. Every day is about invention, which is the fun part, the part that doesn’t feel like work. Revision is the part that feels like a job.

Thank you so much!

You’re welcome!—CP

About the Book:

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It’s 3:00am. Do you know where your husband is?

Meet Will Rhodes: travel writer, recently married, barely solvent, his idealism rapidly giving way to disillusionment and the worry that he’s living the wrong life. Then one night, on assignment for the award-winning Travelers magazine in the wine region of Argentina, a beautiful woman makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Soon Will’s bad choices—and dark secrets—take him across Europe, from a chateau in Bordeaux to a midnight raid on a Paris mansion, from a dive bar in Dublin to a mega-yacht in the Mediterranean and an isolated cabin perched on the rugged cliffs of Iceland. As he’s drawn further into a tangled web of international intrigue, it becomes clear that nothing about Will Rhodes was ever ordinary, that the network of deception ensnaring him is part of an immense and deadly conspiracy with terrifying global implications—and that the people closest to him may pose the greatest threat of all.

You can follow Chris on Twitter HERE

To Purchase The Travelers clickety click HERE

Find out more! Follow the tour:

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Happy Reading Folks!

Pierce on Tour – Howler Party in pictures…

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So on Monday of last week I was lucky enough to be invited by Hodder to the Howler Party, where Pierce Brown himself was mingling with the crowd, did a bit of a reading and signed what must have felt to him like MILLIONS of books and other memorabilia. He was fantastic – even more so than when Sam and I saw him last at Waterstones. The man is a legend. Incredible writer and genuinely nice guy. In a couple of weeks I shall be doing a feature on the trilogy as a whole which will include my full and frank review of Morning Star so keep an eye out because I’ve kept some images back for that. BUT here are a few pictures that hopefully capture the night somewhat with the odd comment from me. A few of you may recognise yourself in here – as ever photography credits go to my best pal and constant cheerleader Sam Hoodless, so if you would like copies (and if you think you might be in one not used here)  please contact her on her Twitter right HERE

So the scene was set…

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The room filled up…

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I met the gorgeous Becca Mundy again (that girl is a star)

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Pierce gets about a bit!

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Did a bit of reading…..

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And CUPCAKE but of course….

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Why do we love Red Rising?

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I got the task of writing out our little group Red Rising Love

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It was an emotional night…

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For me it was a week I will never forget. And these are the moments we book lovers treasure. The BIGGEST thanks to Pierce Brown and the Hodder crew for the memories of a lifetime. Here are some of mine….

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Come back and see us soon!

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2016 Spotlight: A Savage Hunger by Claire McGowan

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Publication Date: March 10th From Headline

Source: Review Copy

Alice Morgan’s disappearance raises immediate questions for forensic psychologist Paula Maguire. Alice, the daughter of a life peer in the Home Office, has vanished along with a holy relic – the bones of a saint – and the only trace is the bloodstains on the altar.

With no body to confirm death, the pressure in this high-profile case is all-consuming, and Paula knows that she will have to put her own life, including her imminent marriage, on hold, if they are to find the truth.

A connection to a decades-old murder immediately indicates that all may not be as it seems; as the summer heat rises and tempers fray, can Alice be found or will they learn that those that are hungry for vengeance may be the most savage of all?

So here we are at the 4th in the really very excellent “Paula Maguire” series and with A Savage Hunger Claire Mcgowan took it up a notch (and made me grumble madly at her on Twitter) with her usual mix of current mystery and ongoing trauma for her main protagonists. A real page turner this one, not that the others were any different in that sense, but for me I was hanging off every word this time, waiting to see what would happen.

When Alice goes missing, her family background means that the police team are under a great deal of pressure to sort it out – but nothing is as it first appears, a seeming connection to an old case muddies the waters and Paula has her work cut out for her whilst also trying to deal with a hectic and stressful personal life.

The scene is set and what follows is a twisty turny delight of a crime tale, with some really fascinating characters in the mix, a truly addictive story both in the sense of the case being investigated and in what is happening externally to Paula and her loved ones. It really is a gorgeous mix, beautifully constructed, engaging throughout, with a fair few moments that hit you right where it hurts.

There is that touch of genius, distracting you with one thing, then another – the case Paula is on is an extremely intriguing one, your head is right in that trying to work out what happened both to Alice and all those years ago in the case of another missing girl – Meanwhile Paula is getting ready for a major life event and that adds extra intrigue to proceedings especially if, as I am, you are a huge fan of that particular character. One thing that has to be said about this authors writing is that she has an absolute knack of lulling you into a false sense of security then going BAM hey take THAT! Yes I’m still grumbling now under my breath about book trauma and the ability that clever writers have to make me crazy. Claire McGowan is a clever writer.

Overall this was brilliant. Highly Recommended as is the entire series – if you are a crime fan and have not read these yet then I’d gently suggest giving them a go. I don’t think you’ll look back.

Find out more HERE

Follow Claire on Twitter HERE

To purchase “A Savage Hunger” clickety click HERE

Also Available: Catch up!

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To purchase the Paula Maguire series clickety click HERE

Happy Reading Folks!

 

New release Spotlight: Dominion. John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard

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Publication Date: Available Now from Headline

Source Review Copy

They have cheated death.
Defied their people.
Changed beyond recognition.
Their love has survived the impossible.
But now they must learn to trust again:
the future of their worlds depends on it.

I’ve really loved this series and now it has drawn to a close with ” Dominion” I am actually quite distraught. It has been entirely brilliant start to finish, engaging, intense, amazing characters and a gorgeously imagined mythology. I can only hope that these two writers do more together. Oh if wishing made it so…

I’m not going to talk too much about plot because I’m sure that there are readers out there still to discover this series – but in basic terms we have an Earth run by alien conquerers, a rebellion, a trip around a few other planets, a bit of a love story, a LOT of adventure and some magical writing that just makes the whole thing beautifully addictive.

One thing that struck me about The Chronicles of the Invaders as a whole was the way John Connolly and Jennie Ridyard layered the plot, adding new levels and intrigue with every book, building the story in a quite superb way towards a tense, bang on satisfying conclusion. Dominion was pretty  godarn perfect, even though things happened that made me want to throw shoes at the authors (its ok they have a suitable amount of distance and my aim is terrible)  – this is also a series that I will return to and read again, because it is one of those where you will find added joy in seeing things unfold whilst knowing what is coming.

Overall it has been a fantastic reading experience. A very adult young adult series with thought provoking themes running throughout, some truly incredible world building and some unforgettable characters.

Highly Recommended.

Find out more about the series HERE

Follow John on Twitter HERE

Follow Jennie on Twitter HERE

To purchase The Chronicles of the Invaders clickety click HERE

Also Available: Read First:

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The Earth has been invaded by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilized, yet ruthless alien race. Humanity has been conquered, but still it fights the invaders. The Resistance grows stronger, for it is the young people of Earth who are best equipped to battle the Illyri.

Syl Hellais, conceived among the stars, is the oldest alien child on Earth, the first to reach sixteen years of age. Her father rules the planet. Her future is assured. And Syl has hidden gifts, powers that even she does yet fully understand.

But all is not as it seems. The Illyri are at war among themselves, and the sinister Nairene Sisterhood has arrived on Earth, hungry for new blood. When Syl helps a pair of young Resistance fighters to escape execution, she finds herself sentenced to death, pursued by her own kind, and risks breaking the greatest taboo of her race by falling in love with a human.

Now the hunter has become the hunted, the predator become prey.

My original review HERE

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Syl Hellias: an Illyri, the first of her kind to be born on Earth. Paul Kerr: a human, dedicated to his people’s resistance of the alien invasion. Brought together by chance they formed the strongest of bonds. Now they are to be punished for that love.

Exiled to the outermost reaches of the universe, Syl and Paul must each make journeys that will lead them to the horrifying truths harbored at the heart of the Illyri Empire. And to a force with the power shake the the universe to its very core.

My original review HERE

Happy Reading Folks!

Talking The Shadow Hour – with Kate Riordan. New Release Spotlight.

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Having loved Kate Riordan’s last novel, The Girl in the Photograph, I was VERY excited to read The Shadow Hour (review to follow) and I’m delighted to welcome Kate back to the blog to tell me a little about it.

I loved hearing all about how Owlpen Manor featured in “The Girl in the Photograph” – tell us a little about the inspiration behind “The Shadow Hour”?

In terms of setting, I’ve been inspired by my home county of Gloucestershire all over again. This time, the book is set atop a hill on the outskirts of Cheltenham, where I lived for seven years before moving to the countryside last year. Fenix House is based loosely on a private house I caught a glimpse of when I was walking one day. Now, if I ever pass it in the car, it’s odd to remember that my characters aren’t actually inside.

Aside from setting, I was also inspired by books like Jane Eyre to write about governesses – and that was my starting point for this book, well before I had found the house above, or had any notion of the plot. I’ve always been fascinated by governesses in literature, and they make the perfect heroine for a novel with the sort of gothic touches I like because they were so isolated in Victorian society. As young women from respectable families without much money (generally), they occupied a peculiar sort of limbo, neither above nor below stairs. That made them very lonely, vulnerable and strangely invisible. Of course, all that makes them very interesting to write about!

One thing that struck me about The Shadow Hour was the total atmospheric sense you captured of the times once more – Is that quite difficult to achieve or does it come easy? You must have a love of history somewhere inside…

Thank you. And yes, I do so love all things old! The past is endlessly exotic and alluring to me and I love imagining myself into it. I actually found Harriet’s strand of the story, set in the 1870s, easier to write than her granddaughter Grace’s in the 1920s. I think that’s because I’ve read so many nineteenth century novels over the years and so I can just sort of switch into that more formal style without really thinking about it. The 1920s was trickier because it’s still almost a century ago, and yet I wanted it to feel different. Things were never the same after the First World War and the early twenties were a curious blend of despondency and optimism. I think conveying those general moods is just as important as getting the type of gas lamp right. More, actually.

Talk about the characters – before it started coming together who was foremost in the mind. Grace or Harriet? Or were they both hovering there…

Well, at first it was just a nameless governess who was hovering. The classic governess is Victorian to me, though, so Harriet was the first to reveal herself to me. She’s in a horrible position when we meet her as a young woman. Her father has died and there is no money and virtually no other family. She has little choice but to earn her living and, as a respectable woman, becoming a governess is one of very few options open to her. I liked her and admired her bravery immediately so she was a pleasure to write. After her, came the three children who live at Fenix House when she’s governess there. I knew I wanted to take at least a couple of them through to the 1920s, when they would be in their fifties, so I enjoyed developing them into adults who had been shaped by what happened to them. Real people evolve and change over the years according to what happens to them and so I knew I didn’t want them to simply turn into older versions of their childhood selves.

Both novels have a time shift element – do you enjoy novels with this aspect yourself?

I do, although that’s got less to do with a particular liking for time shift per se, and more to do with liking stories that stretch over several generations. Perhaps I’ll write a proper, full-on family saga one day! This is partly why both of my novels (and the one I’m currently writing) are set fully in the past. In dual narrative stories with one strand in the present, I find I’m more likely rush through that bit to get back to the past. As a result, I decided I wanted both halves of my stories to have that historical escapism. It also frees you up to go further back in time and still have characters who can realistically appear in both times. It’s those unifying characters who knit the strands together and make it one story.

Having said all that, I would like to write a contemporary novel one day – or one set in the near-past anyway. It seems very appealing on those days when you’ve got to try and look up what kind of Victorian carriage someone might have used!

Finally tell us a little more about you – when not writing or researching what do you enjoy doing? And more importantly are you a tea or coffee person?

Definitely coffee. I have one espresso in the morning and that lasts me all day. Sometimes even that stops me sleeping so I have to go easy on the caffeine. I don’t really get the tea thing, I’m afraid. I’ve probably had twenty cups in my whole life.

When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading. I always have a book on the go and feel like I’m missing something if I haven’t. A huge pleasure for me is deciding which five or six books to take on holiday to read by the pool and then just working through them in between swims. I’m a rubbish tourist in terms of museums and general sightseeing – I like to just ‘be’ when I’m away, sitting in a café with a cold glass of wine, people-watching and making up stories about them.

At home, my days are pretty low-key. I write, feel guilty for not writing, and walk the dogs. They’re both rescues – a Staffie who was abandoned and a Westie from a puppy farm who was so tiny no one bought her. They’re both really eccentric with their own funny habits and I love that. I always desperately wanted a dog as a child but my parents worked full-time. Being able to have them now is surely one of the top perks of being a writer! On summer evenings, my husband and I often take them along the river to the pub and for a drink or dinner. We’re lucky in the Cotswolds – there are so many good foodie pubs.

And what does the future hold?

I’m currently writing my next book for Penguin. Set in the summer of 1940, it’s my most modern yet – as well as having the narrowest time frame. It’s not dual narrative either, though it hasn’t felt like that much of a departure because it’s still written from various different characters’ perspectives and occasionally goes back into their pasts.

Thanks Kate!

About the book.

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Available Now from Penguin.

Source: Review copy

Nineteen twenty-two. Grace has been sent to the stately and crumbling Fenix House to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps as a governess. But when she meets the house’s inhabitants, people who she had only previously heard of in stories, the cracks in her grandmother’s tale begin to show. Secrets appear to live in the house’s very walls and everybody is resolutely protecting their own.

Why has she been sent here? Why did her grandmother leave after just one summer? And as the past collides with the present, can Grace unravel these secrets and discover who her grandmother, and who she, really is?

The Shadow Hour is really quite wonderful, atmospheric, beautifully written and with some gorgeously drawn characters that will stay with you long after reading.

I do love a past/present vibe in a novel especially when done really well as it is here – the yin and the yang of Grace and Harriet as they face their particular issues, I was particularly drawn to Grace as she went on a journey of discovery, finding out the truth in her family history.

Descriptively speaking this is lovely, Kate Riordan manages to once again capture a sense of the time and place about which she is writing and give a real feel for the places where her characters live and breathe. You are drawn in and held there, as the story unfolds, a beautiful literary touch within a novel that is quite the page turner.

I loved it again. I think I’m a Kate Riordan superfan. Really looking forward to what she gives us next.

Highly Recommended.

Find out more here:

Follow Kate on Twitter here:

To Purchase The Shadow Hour clickety click here:

Happy Reading Folks!

Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts – A Sense of the River with A K Benedict

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Today I am very happy to welcome A K Benedict to the blog – her latest novel Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts is available now from Orion and a bit further down you can read my review – party of the story within involves the River Thames, almost a character in its own right, so I asked a few related questions and there are some fascinating answers….

The River Thames features in the novel and is very much a character – how did you go about getting such a great sense of it into the story?

I thought London itself would be a character when I started writing but then the river kept twisting into view. It insinuated itself into the heart of the novel and the city retreated. I’ve got a preoccupation with water. I live by the sea and feel landlocked if I spend too much time away from it, or can’t get to a river. When I’m in London, I love walking by the Thames, watching its personality change according to the weather. It takes on so many colours, wearing as many different coats as the commuters that rush over it.

Peter Ackroyd’s excellent books on London and the river were a great start for research and then I dived into more. The most effective and fun part of my research came when interviewing the brilliant London Mudlark. Lara is a well-known mudlark with many followers of her foreshore exploits. I went to her house and she kindly answered my qestions then showed me her collection of foreshore finds. She also showed me how she cleans coins and other metal items, the process that Maria uses in the book, and gave me some of the precious artifacts to take away, some of which made their way into the book.

I then went mudlarking myself, well, not properly, just sitting and feeling out the top layer of shingle, sand and history. I found lots of pipes, pins and Victorian pottery and got a feel for the tides. It is so quiet on the foreshore, as if the city falls silent in case you discover its secrets.

The river, for me, acts as a narrator, hiding some things, revealing them at another point. All secrets will be washed up in time. Lara told me was that there is a strata of the foreshore that was burned during the Great Fire of London. Every now and again, it rises to the surface and everything is blackened and charred. And then it is folded back into the Thames. Like the ghosts that sit by its banks, the river takes everything in, watching the skyline change and generations live and die. As a character it has an awful lot to say.

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Do you know the areas talked about in the book well?

I’ve spent a lot of time in London in the last five years, particularly Spitalfields and the foreshore. Much of my pre-writing thinking time was spent walking from the Southbank to Rotherhithe and back again, weaving around the streets. I learned Maria’s route down to the river without use of my eyes, bumbled around markets, sat on the beaches and wrote on the gorgeous balcony of The Angel pub.

Spitalfields has intrigued me since reading another excellent Peter Ackroyd book, Hawksmoor. I loved it on first visit, of course, has dark undertones with its association with the Whitechapel Murders but it is also full of life and joy. The market may be gentrified now but you can still feel the bustle, calls and centuries of stories. The street that Frank and Jonathan live on is a close facsimile of the real Folgate Street. I fell in love with it on a visit to the brilliant Dennis Severs’ house and spent a lot of time wandering up and down at all times of day and night. The residents probably think that a pale writer woman, dressed in black, haunts their street.

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Maria uses her sense of touch to discover the secrets held by the River when she is out on the mud, she has friends who use sight. Can you tell us a little about utilising those two very different senses with the heart of the novel?

Maria arrived very early on in the planning stage when I heard about a woman who had an operation to give her sight, and found she didn’t want it. I then did research into others who saw for the first time late in life then and rejected that reality. I could really understand how Maria could feel like that. We all construct a reality through sense impressions. Sight is given supremacy in society but ten people seeing the same thing would probably remember it differently. I wanted to show Maria’s world through smell, touch, taste and sound, as well as a suggestion of a sixth sense.

It made me slip into a different mode of writing. I couldn’t rely on visual images when narrating from her point-of-view so I spent a lot of time typing with my eyes shut, listening to what was going on all around. I also stuck out my tongue like a snake to taste the air and acted scenes out to hear how actions sounded. I spent at least ten minutes shaking my partner’s hand over an dover till I found an appropriate description for the sound. Smells, however, weren’t an issue. I have an obsession with fragrance. I never stop sniffing at things. It’s not my sexiest trait.

On the other side of the narrative, I had the stalker, who is all about watching. It felt very creepy to be looking at Maria through his eyes. I tried to stay in his brain for as short a time as possible and loved switching back to the way Maria sees the world.

Thank you so much!

About the book:

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Maria King knows a secret London. Born blind, she knows the city by sound and touch and smell. But surgery has restored her sight – only for her to find she doesn’t want it. Jonathan Dark sees the shadowy side of the city. A DI with the Metropolitan Police, he is haunted by his failure to save a woman from the hands of a stalker. Now it seems the killer has set his sights on Maria, and is leaving her messages in the most gruesome of ways.

I’m a little in love with this book. It is something different, and not so much about the surface of it but oh so much about the many layers underneath, thought provoking, haunting (sometimes literally) and full of descriptive authenticity that shines from every page.

Jonathan Dark is a police detective with a difference who is determined to save Maria from a stalker who has killed before. Maria has regained her sight but finds she does not wish to use it – meanwhile another London is hidden just beneath the bright lights and both of them come to know it..

Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts is a remarkable read in a lot of ways, a definite page turner but also often gently lulling you along – like the river running through it, the narrative bends first one way then another, taking you on a dark yet often humerous journey, focused on the senses and the writing is really quite beautiful.

Add to that a bit of a rip roarer of a plot that is highly engaging and works its way up to a frantic chase to the finish, some really strangely wonderful and eclectic characters and a genuinely intriguing and atmospheric styling and you have a really marvellous read.

I was a fan of The Beauty of Murder, this authors first novel – with Jonathan Dark she has continued that gorgeous speculative storytelling and created a wonderful new mythology – hopefully one that we will learn more about in future novels.

Yep I’m definitely a little in love with this book.

Highly Recommended.

You can find out more HERE

Follow the author on Twitter HERE

To Purchase Jonathan Dark or The Evidence of Ghosts clickety click HERE

Happy Reading Folks!

Blueprints – Barbara Delinsky

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Publication Date: 26th Feb from Piatkus

Source: Review Copy

Jamie MacAfee’s life is almost perfect. She loves her fiancée, even if she hasn’t quite worked out why she won’t set a wedding date and she certainly adores her job, working as an architect on their family home renovation show. Meanwhile, her beloved mother Caroline has built up her confidence after a painful divorce, working closely alongside her daughter as the very successful host of Gut It!. Everything is going to plan, until the lives of both women are changed overnight.

Blueprints was a wonderful read, digging into love, loss, family and those events that define us, Barbara Delinsky has written a fabulously engaging drama that hooked me all the way through.

The focus on a tv show was an interesting concept  – built around that the characters and their ongoing drama, often heart warming, always thought provoking and sometimes very sad. It speaks to time passing by and opportunities missed, something everyone can understand and relate to and that gives it an added sense of feeling when you are following along with Jamie, Caroline and the rest.

This is the first novel from this author I have read – I am definitely encouraged to read more. The writing is beautiful and I enjoyed it very much. Not perhaps something I would have picked up on my own, those ones are always the best.

Definitely recommended for fans of family drama.

Find out more here:

Follow the author on Twitter here

To purchase Blueprints clickety click here

Happy Reading Folks!

The Hollow Men by Rob McCarthy. Interview and Review

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Today I’m VERY happy to welcome Rob McCarthy to the blog telling us a little more about The Hollow Men – a really brilliant medical thriller that I highly recommend.

 

The Hollow Men is fantastic – I’m genuinely crazy about Harry already. As a medical student how did you manage to fit in the writing around what must be a hectic life?

Thank you – I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s a challenge at times. I wrote the first draft during my first two years at university when I had a bit more free time, but now I’m in clinical years the time pressure does start to build. I tend to write either late at night,on trains and buses, or during the holidays. Peripheral placements where I’m stuck in hospital accommodation without internet connection help as well… All that said, I do really enjoy writing and find it bizarrely relaxing. It’s a chance to escape and be creative, which I don’t really get to do in my day job.

Is there a bit of you in Harry or is he based on anyone you know?

I would say no, but some of my friends who’ve read the book would disagree… I guess one similarity is that we’re both medics who have an interest in the criminal/forensic world. I would also hope that I have a bit more self-control than he does! I think we see the world in a similar way, though. The things that make Harry angry are the things that anger me, too. I get so frustrated seeing vulnerable people in hospital with drug or alcohol problems who I know will be back again, because society’s got no solutions for them. I guess part of writing the book was to create a character who could, and did, do something about those injustices.

Is it difficult to keep authenticity within the medical details AND make it exciting? Because it was exciting…

It’s challenging sometimes, yeah. I really wanted to keep the medicine as realistic as possible, as it does annoy me on TV shows when someone’s gravely injured, the doctors swoop in and they’re walking and talking the next day. In reality, those miracles can happen, but it takes teams of dozens of people and weeks or months before the patient is back to normal, if that’s ever achieved. That’s difficult to portray in a dramatic sense, though, so sometimes in the book I cut down the number of people who would be involved just so it’s easier to follow.

Can you tell us anything about what is next for Harry Kent?

Absolutely. His investigation of Zara carries on, and by the start of the second book he’s managed to get a Scotland Yard detective interested and they’ve recorded a TV appeal. He’s also ended a stormy relationship with Frankie Noble, who drags him into a case involving the

suspicious death of a whistle-blowing doctor at a children’s hospital under investigation for a high mortality rate.The case is obviously close to home and despite lots of good reasons not to, Harry finds himself getting heavily involved… I hope that readers will really invest in the characters, as I’ve got lots of places I’d like to take them!

 

Finally tell us a little about you – coffee or tea drinker? Anything exciting on the bucket list (if you have one) ? Any writing heroes?

Coffee drinker, strong and often – cups of tea are luxuries reserved for Sunday afternoons with feet up and the football on. And asking a writer, or indeed a reader, their writing heroes is inviting an essay, so I’ll give you a few: Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke and John Sandford for series that conjure up something new with every book, Arnaldur Indridason and Henning Mankell for creating truly real characters and being unafraid to pull them apart, and Thomas Harris and Mo Hayder for scaring the living crap out of me.

About the book:

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Publication Date: 25th Feb from Hodder and Staughton

Source: Review Copy

Dr Harry Kent likes to keep busy: juggling hospital duties with his work as a police surgeon for the Metropolitan Police – anything to ward off the memories of his time as an Army medic.

Usually the police work means minor injuries and mental health assessments. But Solomon Idris’s case is different. Solomon Idris has taken eight people hostage in a chicken takeaway, and is demanding to see a lawyer and a BBC reporter. Harry is sent in to treat the clearly ill teenager…before the siege goes horribly wrong.

When Solomon’s life is put in danger again from the safety of a critical care ward, it becomes clear he knows something people will kill to protect.
Determined to uncover the secret that drove the boy to such desperate action, Harry soon realises that someone in the medical world, someone he may even know, has broken the doctors’ commandment ‘do no harm’ many times over…

The Hollow Men managed to do something that hasn’t been done for a while – engage me in a thriller that included medical elements, I’ve found for a while now that when I pick one of those up the threads of the tale that include that side of things has either been too complicated or not that authentic. Then comes Rob McCarthy and The Hollow Men which is exciting, dramatic and manages to make medicine seem both uber cool and easy to understand.

Harry Kent is the anchor holding all this together – he is likeable yet flawed, like all the characters within the pages of The Hollow Men, very realistic and intriguing to follow. I may have fallen a little in book love here not only because this is a rocking story but because every element of it feels real and like something that could be happening just around the corner. Those are always the best ones because the emotional pull is so much greater.

Rob McCarthy manages to make this both character driven and fascinating, whilst adding in some real edge of the seat moments, thought provoking social themes and has created a real page turner that absolutely has heart and soul. I loved it. Roll on the next Harry Kent novel. Long may he be around.

Find out more HERE

Follow Rob on Twitter HERE:

To Purchase The Hollow Men click HERE

Happy Reading Folks!

Pierce Brown at Waterstones Piccadilly..An event and a half.

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Photo’s of Pierce by Sam Hoodless. Great friend and now official blog photographer. Follow her on Twitter HERE

So last night Sam and I hopped on a train to London to see Pierce Brown appear at his very first UK event with Dark Societies- it really was a superb evening, filled with laughter and, well frankly an awful lot of awe and respect for the man behind the Red Rising trilogy, who turned out to also be one of the nicest authors and human beings I have had the pleasure of meeting since I’ve been doing this.

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We started off with a few questions from the interviewer with Dark Societies (and you have to forgive me because in all the excitement of the evening I completely failed to get her name but she was brilliant and hopefully when this post goes live somebody will be able to fill in that blank) in which Pierce talked about the inspiration behind the trilogy (with a nod to Plato amongst others, entirely intriguing, such an intelligent and knowledgeable guy who knows how to inform and fascinate), character development, the upcoming movies and more. He also managed to be extraordinarily funny and engaging – not sure I’ve laughed that much at any book event I’ve been to. Lets talk about a whole new world of swear words for a while – that was fun!

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Then we opened up to questions from the audience, which took various forms, from the publishing journey to whether or not Pierce literally gets howled at (the answer to which he asked us not to put on Social Media but was so funny that I’m still giggling now when thinking back to it) When asked if Mustang was based on anyone he knew and if so, could they have her number he responded “No you cannot have my Mom’s number” which cracked up the room, thats one funny moment I can tell you about. He did expand on that answer and then took another from the same person – once again making the entire room fall for him further. I asked a question on popular characters (please don’t ask me to remember the exact question – the lovely Mr Brown thanked me for it afterwards and I just melted into a starry eyed mess so frankly, a lot of the evening is a blur)

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The audience was engaged, the author was engaged, it was a great event that managed to feel really intimate – Pierce Brown is incredibly personable and genuinely gave full attention to everyone he spoke to, passionate about his storytelling, passionate about writing and that whole world.

I, of course  got some books signed (not Morning Star because hey I’m lucky enough to get to do this all again on Monday when I attend Hodder Towers for the blogger event and I will certainly be taking my beautiful copy of it there for signature) and I spoke to Pierce again briefly about one particular moment in the finale (no spoilers!) which had me distraught. He was lovely, I just may have fallen a *little* in love.

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Sam did an incredible job on the pictures as I’m sure you will agree – Pierce also took the time to talk to her about that (she is now his newest stalker, her book is signed in brilliant fashion) – whilst Sam’s passion is photography rather than books, she is a sometime reader who is now determined to read this entire trilogy and that is the power of the man and speaks to the power of the night itself.

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Sam here with Pierce, this picture taken by the lovely Fleur.

The Red Rising trilogy is, for me, the best trilogy that I’ve ever read. Taken in its entirety it is a magnum opus, an epic of vibrant, intense and beautiful writing, a complete powerhouse and unlikely to be beaten. Oh no..wait…turns out Mr Brown is embarking on a new trilogy – set 10 years after the events in Morning Star, the “Iron Gold” trilogy will touch on themes of a broken society trying to rebuild. So maybe in a few years I shall return from an event such as this one and say wait…the Red Rising trilogy is nothing compared to this. We’ll see. No pressure Pierce!

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If you get a chance to hear this author speak  take it – whether you have read the books or not. If you have not read the books then do. I promise you it will not matter whether you are mostly a crime fan or mostly a romance fan or somebody who doesn’t look at anything in the Young Adult market. This trilogy is for any real reader a moment in the world of books to be treasured. Go treasure it!

Now the wait begins for Iron Gold. Because in the words of Sevro…

Shit Escalates….

Find out more HERE:

Follow Pierce on Twitter HERE

To purchase the Red Rising Trilogy clickety click HERE

Happy Reading Folks! And to finish here is me. An unforgettable moment. #LoveRedRising

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Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner. Blog tour/Review

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Publication Date: Available Now from The Borough Press

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.

Find out more HERE

Follow Susie on Twitter HERE

To Purchase Missing Presumed Clickety click HERE

Read more – follow the tour.

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Happy Reading Folks!