My Sisters Bones…coming soon.

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Exclusive extract from My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood (eBook publishing 1st November, Hardback publishing 9th February)

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As consciousness returns, I hear it: thud, thud.

‘Who’s there?’

As I creep down the hallway I take a cursory glance around to see if there is something I can arm myself with and I grab my mother’s old wooden clock from the sideboard. It’s the closest thing to hand.

Holding the clock tightly in my hands, I slowly make my way to the kitchen.

The sound grows louder as I approach. Thud, thud, thud. It falls in step with my heart as I reach the kitchen door and prepare to launch myself at who­ever is in there.

I take a deep breath and slowly count to three. One, two, three –

 

 

 

 

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No Place to Pray. Guest Post/Extract.

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James Carpenter.

All of the characters in No Place to Pray live troubled lives that they navigate the best they can. With turbulent pasts, uncertain futures, and limited means, they do what they can to find their way into tomorrow. Sometimes that means doing things they know are wrong. Often it means deceiving one another. In this passage, Whiskey teaches his live-in girlfriend’s son LeRoy how to steal. Whiskey convinces Agnes (a white prostitute) that the ten-year-old is ready to go coon hunting. But his real intention is to have LeRoy slip beneath the lower edge of a pole barn in which a moonshiner stores his whiskey and steal it. LeRoy tears his pants and scratches his leg in the process. On the way back, they do stop to shoot two raccoons. This brief passage illustrates in microcosm the difficulties these people face and how their personal histories have brought them to where they are and the lengths they will go to to conceal their sins. Though we may condemn their acts, we come to admire their inner strength and determination.

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The moon was high when they pulled in the driveway. Whiskey told LeRoy to go in the house so his mama could go to sleep and tell her they got the two coons and Whiskey was going to skin them before he came in. He told him she would want to know about the scratch on his leg and to tell her he got caught up in some brambles in the dark. LeRoy asked him where he was going to put the moonshine and Whiskey told him he was going to bury it. The boy went in the house and Whiskey took the stolen moonshine and a shovel and dug out a shallow trench in the soft soil in which cucumbers had grown and buried thejugs, camouflaging their grave with the sere, withered remains of the summer’s abundance. He took the coons into the barn and while he skinned them, thought of what LeRoy said about Huckleberry Finn and recalled when he himself lefthome.

They were sitting outside on the porch after Sunday dinner and Uncle George was going on again about how they got their name on account of their family was owned by kin of Jefferson Davis and that meant they carried with them the mark of Ham two times over. He told Whiskey again you got to mind your place and don’t never forget you a brack man and Whiskey had heard it one more time than he could stand and he got up out of his chair and said how the fuck could he forget with Uncle George telling him all the fucking time andbeing a brack man is just another name for a nigger and that’s all you are ever going to be, you dumb fuck, because you aint got the balls to be anything else. Uncle George came rearing up like he was going to slap Whiskey and Whiskey told him to go ahead and try and stood to his full height and Uncle George sat down looking like he was going to cry. Fuck you brack man Whiskey said and turned and walked off with just what he had on, walked off that porch and out of that yard and out of that town and out of Concordia Parish and never went back. He was sixteen.

Born and raised in rural Mercer County, PA, James Carpenter made his way through college working various eclectic jobs and, after graduating, taught middle and high school English. He then retrained as a technologist, eventually developing the Erica T. Carter software system that composed the poetry anthologized in the Issue 1 dustup. Erica’s poetry has been published in several dozen literary journals and he’s presented Erica at international conferences, including at the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, and the e-poetry 2007 conference in Paris.

 

Carpenter spent fourteen years as a member of the affiliated faculty of The Wharton School, where he lectured in computer programming, system design, and entrepreneurship before retiring to write fiction. Since then, his writing has appeared in numerouspublications including The Chicago Tribune, Fiction International, Fifth Wednesday Journal, North Dakota Quarterly, and Ambit. His novel, No Place to Pray, is forthcoming from Twisted Road Publications in September.

 

Learn more on his website, or through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads

 

No Place to Pray can be purchased on Twisted Road Publications, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Find out more at http://jackiemantey.com/ next up on the tour…

Ones to Watch in 2017 – The Intrusions. Stav Sherez

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Publication Date: January 2017 from Faber

Source: Review Copy

Would you even know?

Detectives Carrigan and Miller are thrust into a terrifying new world of stalking and obsession when a distressed young woman bursts into the station with a story about her friend being abducted and a man who is threatening to come back and ‘claim her next’.

Taking them from deep inside a Bayswater hostel, where backpackers and foreign students share dorms and failing dreams, to the emerging threat of online intimidation, hacking, and control, The Intrusions pursues disturbing contemporary themes and dark psychology.

The Intrusions is a joy to read even through the fear (switches computer off, deletes all social media never uses a credit card again fear) because as usual for this particular author it is so beautifully written both in style and substance that the world just goes away.

I’ve loved all the books but I am particularly fond of the Carrigan and Miller series because of the beautifully flawed, memorable characters – and I’m not just talking about the main pair here – the gritty yet gorgeous realism ingrained into the storytelling and the fascinating, socially relevant subject matters covered. In the case of The Intrusions my eyes were opened to many many things and this one kept me up at night. Is still keeping me up at night. Will probably keep me up at night for a while.

Its not always about the crime when you read a crime book – not with the good ones anyway and oh boy is this a good one – but often about what lies beneath the crime – within the people, victims and others, a kind of peeling back of the layers of humanity, something which Stav Sherez does all too well. Razor sharp and brilliantly insightful, The Intrusions will take you to the dark side, a place that is sadly all too real.

The plot twists unexpectedly without having to shout about it, the characters who we know progress down an ever more challenging path, the ending is subtle but stunning in its impact and the entire thing is just a little bit epic. That was my smallest childs word by the way – I asked him how he would describe something that he thought was one of the best things ever  – his answer, “that was epic”

The Intrusions

That was epic…

Follow Stav on Twitter HERE

To Purchase The Intrusions clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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20 Questions For……William Ryan.

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Next participant and very brave author facing the 20 Questions today- that would be William Ryan, who funnily enough will be appearing at First Monday Crime on the 3rd October and you could get yourself a ticket and come along if you like. It’ll be a great night they always are. He is likely to be much more sensible at that point. Probably. We’ll see. Also appearing – Stuart Neville, S J Watson and Antonia Hodgson – so don’t miss out.

And huge thanks to the inevitably brilliant Mr Ryan for agreeing to this.

The Constant Soldier is your latest sacrifice to the Gods of the reading masses – Fairly sure I’ve already told everyone in the world about it but just in case I missed Bob from Brighton, could you tell us a little about the background?

The Constant Soldier is based on an album of photographs taken at a rest hut for the officers and men who worked at Auschwitz. The photographs were taken towards the end of 1944 and at the beginning of 1945, at a time when the war was lost and the Germans were preparing for the arrival of the Red Army. It’s about an injured soldier, Paul Brandt, who returns from the war to find a fictional version of the hut built close to where he grew up – and someone he knew working there as a prisoner. The Constant Soldier is about what he does next.

Having done the book question we can get onto the important stuff. Biscuits. Now I have random cravings for Custard Creams and Bourbons – what is your biscuit of choice?

I like ginger nuts. Although I’m always confused by their not actually containing any nuts.

If you could choose one piece of technology to blast off the face of the earth never to be invented again what would it be and why?

The smart phone because I can see us all communicating with our phones when we should be communicating with each other. Mind you, I am slightly introverted. Maybe they’re kind of a good thing.

One book to rule them all…

Too difficult! And whatever answer I gave today would be different tomorrow.

Number of times you are likely to swear in a week and do you get told off about it?

I don’t know – not as much as I used to. Having a six year old with an expanding vocabulary wandering around the house tends to put a stop to it. But, it has to be admitted, all bets are off when I’m in the car.

Are you a focused practical writer or an emotionally charged procrastinator?

Somewhere in between. What frustrates me, sometimes, is that a lot of being a writer involves not writing. It’s not exactly procrastination as having to constantly remind myself to focus on what I’m meant to be doing and not the stuff that isn’t essential.

Favourite type of cheese…

I like a nice, tangy goat cheese. I persuade myself it’s healthy when I eat it with red grapes.

If you were having a Crime Writer dinner party which 5 would you invite and why?

Stav Sherez, because he’s so passionate about what he reads (and he’s read so much). James Ellroy, because, aside from being a wonderful writer, he’s a controversialist and that will keep things moving along. Raymond Chandler because – well – who wouldn’t? The small fact that he died in 1959 can surely be overlooked this once. Sharon Bolton, because I think she’s quite mischievous and would give Ellroy a run for his money. And Belinda Bauer who aside from being a lovely person is also a brilliant writer – I may well go over all fan-boy.

And which one of you do you think would be the sole survivor should it turn into a horror movie moment…

Hmm – I think it would be a toss up between Belinda and Sharon. If you’ve read their novels, you’ll know why. Tricky customers …

You have another series of books out there (Of which I still have the latest to go) Historical Crime I think is the accurate description if we must put things in a genre box – tell us a bit about that. Yes we will actually plug the books a bit in this…

The Captain Korolev novels are set in 1930s Moscow – where truth, justice and morality were all pretty flexible concepts. I suspect Korolev’s investigating murders to the best of his abilities is, in its own way, an act of resistance. Not that he sees it that way. He’s quite loyal to the Revolution – and I think the novels are about him trying to stay true to himself and what he thinks Communism should be about. The Soviet Union was a pretty fascinating place and Korolev, I hope, is an engaging guide to some of its eccentricities, as well as its darker side. Does that work as a plug? I’m not sure

Last thing that made you mad as hell…and did you have a good rant.

There was a referendum recently. I may have occasionally shaken my head in disappointment.

Worst habit…

I get distracted very easily which leads me to being very forgetful. Basically I’m thinking about something else while I’m typing this. It makes life difficult.

Perhaps we should mention First Monday Crime somewhere in here – you are on the next panel and it’s your brainchild (with others ) – what inspired you all to start these evenings?

I was chatting to David Headley from Goldsboro and we both thought London needed a great crime writing festival, but that anyone trying to pull that off would have to build the audience first. So First Monday is a bunch of us trying to do just that. Our pitch was “a crime writing festival in an evening” and it does kind of work that way. We put some great writers on a stage and let them chat about books and then everyone goes to the bar. We’re moving to a great new venue – The Library on St Martins Lane – which actually has a bar in the same room as the event. So I think we may be on the right track.

Musical taste in 3 favourite songs…

Girls Aloud’s Love Machine, Nirvana’s Smells like Teen Spirit and Dallas by The Flatlanders. Make of that what you will.

The last film you watched and did you enjoy it?

Toy Story 3 – I’ve probably watched it about 40 times with my son. I did enjoy it. I think it’s a work of genius, in fact.

Which writer would you like to lock in a basement so you could steal all their work and pretend you wrote it yourself. (if that was something you would EVER consider which of course you would not)

Martin Cruz Smith. If he ever goes missing, I would like to point out that I don’t have a basement.

He’ll probably be in the attic instead.

If you were stuck in the wilderness (yes everyone has to answer this one in some form or another) which survival skill do you possess which would prevent you from dying within a few hours?

I have a passable sense of direction. But, let’s face it, most writers would be toast in the wilderness. Our sedentary lifestyle doesn’t bode well for fighting off predators.

Last thing that made you laugh…

Boris Johnson being made Foreign Minister. There, you see, it made me laugh again.

How many times do you reckon you’ve told people where your ideas come from by now…and are you at the point of insanity yet?

I never get asked where my ideas come from. Ever. I wish someone would – just once.

How much do you hate me right now?

Is that the time? Must dash. See you later and thanks!

Gosh who knew he could run so fast?

About The Constant Soldier.

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The pain woke him up. He was grateful for it. The train had stopped and somewhere, up above them, the drone of aircraft engines filled the night sky. He could almost remember her smile . . . It must be the morphine . . . He had managed not to think about her for months now.

1944. Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army, returns wounded and ashamed from the bloody chaos of the Eastern front to find his village home much changed and existing in the dark shadow of an SS rest hut – a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps, run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who – against all odds – have so far survived the war.

When, by chance, Brandt glimpses one of these prisoners, he realizes that he must find a way to access the hut. For inside is the woman to whom his fate has been tied since their arrest five years before, and now he must do all he can to protect her.

But as the Russian offensive moves ever closer, the days of this rest hut and its SS inhabitants are numbered. And while hope – for Brandt and the female prisoners – grows tantalizingly close, the danger too is now greater than ever.

And, in a forest to the east, a young female Soviet tank driver awaits her orders to advance . .

Read my review of The Constant Soldier HERE

A slightly more sensible interview with William Ryan (questions from Rod Reynolds) HERE

And you could find out more about things here

Or follow Mr Ryan on Twitter  here

To Order “The Constant Soldier” clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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Killer Women…Killer Crime Writing Festival. Part Two.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us two random non-bookish facts about you …

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Tell us two random non-bookish facts about you …

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Reading!

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

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

Source: Review copy

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

One night changed their lives Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children’s Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home’s manager. Cries in the fire and smoke Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis’ favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried …until today. A truth both must hide Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O’Clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it take to stop the murders – but he will go even further to cover up the truth. Discover the gripping, twist-filled start to a fantastic new London-set crime thriller series starring morally corrupt DI Ray Drake.

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Mark on Twitter

Purchase The Two O’Clock Boy HERE

Happy Reading!

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Getting to Know Sanjida Kay. Bone by Bone.

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

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

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

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

Academic or creative at school?

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

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

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

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

Who are your real life heroes?

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

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

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

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

DIY expert or phone a friend?

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

Sun worshipper or night owl?

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

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

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

One piece of life advice you give everyone

Be kind to yourself and others.

Thanks so much!

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

About the book

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

Laura loves her daughter more than anything in the world.

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

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

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

Read my review HERE

Follow Sanjida on TWITTER

To Purchase Bone by Bone clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra – Blog tour Review.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Harlequin UK

Source: Review Copy

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

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

Eleven years later she is replaced. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more HERE

Follow Anna on Twitter HERE

To Purchase Only Daughter clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

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Happy Reading!

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Lost in Static – Christina Philippou. Blog tour review.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Urbane

Source: Review Copy

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more HERE

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20 Questions For….Mark Hill

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favourite flavour of crisps?
Prawn cocktail, definitely.

Habitual writing spots…

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

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

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

You love me really! Thanks Mark!

Follow Mark on Twitter

Purchase The Two O’Clock Boy HERE

Happy Reading!

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