When Crime Thriller Girl interviewed Daniel Pembrey….

These two. THESE TWO. Always causing trouble. Can’t take them anywhere. Now they have taken over Liz Loves Books…

**Wanders off muttering**

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When Crime Thriller Girl interviewed Daniel Pembrey, author of The Harbour Master

CTG: So Daniel, it came to my attention that you’ve got a book out!

DP: Yes, my Dutch detective novel The Harbour Master, about an Amsterdam-based copper called Henk van der Pol.

Wait, this sounds familiar. *Rummages through files*. I reviewed it this on my blog! –

https://crimethrillergirl.com/2014/10/

You did, very kindly! The first three parts of the story were launched as Kindle Singles (e-book novellas). They were then acquired by No Exit Press and have just been re-launched as a novel-length book. The concluding parts of the story will be available as a second novel-length book, Night Market – soon!

A-ha! And my sources tell me that the book just out is on special offer?

You’re good! Yes, available at an introductory 99p price on Kindle until 8th November. The print book launches November 10th.

 

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The Harbour Master is on offer for 99p here

Your police character seems to like to drink gin, I noted.

Indeed. They call it jenever over there. He likes beer as well. Beer then gin, in that order.

See, my character, Lori Anderson (Deep Down Dead), likes bourbon.

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Essential research carried out at De Druif bar in Amsterdam

 

Which is fitting, for a US-based story.

Thing is, whisky vs. gin. This is a question.

Is it? Gin’s an older drink, and the flavours are far more subtle. I’ve done research –

Excuse me, are you implying I haven’t? *hands to hips*

Maybe we need to resolve at a later date?

In Amsterdam or the USA?

Or we could do sooner in London.

Okay, less flying – that’s good. But in a whisky bar I think.

Let’s get some other crimies along. Rod Reynolds and Michael Grothaus would make excellent companions for this escapade.

Absolutely! All sorted, then?

As a matter of fact it is: January 24th at Milroy’s whisky bar in Soho. Look, I even just put it on the events page of my website! http://danielpembrey.co.uk/events/

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Ooh, yes. I see you’re doing a couple of events …

Doing a fab Halloween crime-horror special at Waterstones King’s Road on Tuesday, 1st November. That Susi Holliday is involved, which can only spell trouble. In a good way.

Sounds like a lot of fun. What will you go dressed as?

Regency-era Dracula, the full belt-and-braces. Fangs to riding boots –

*nods* Outfit approved! And you’ve been interviewing some other crime writers, too, I see from your website.

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Coming soon to Dead Good Books: Michael Connelly in London

 

That’s right. My publisher, No Exit Press, arranged some interviews with authors who have been a big influence on my writing and specifically my own cop character, Henk Van der Pol. Michael Connelly was a total inspiration. The interview with Ian Rankin was very special, too, in that – like him – I was a student at Edinburgh University, and the interview happened at the Oxford Bar:

https://medium.com/@CrimeTimeUK/ianrankin-9129e592f9ff#.md327tzdb

Excellent. Have you interviewed anyone else I should know about?

Jilly Cooper?

 Jilly! I love Jilly Cooper. She is my absolute guilty pleasure read when I play hooky from reading crime fiction!

Yes, I wrote a piece on Agas in The Field where she explained how Rupert Campbell-Black would use the oven in one of his seductions.

Ah, the fabulous Rupert CB *gazes wistfully into distance* Where can I find this article?!

Below! Just click on the image. The funny thing is, I’ve lived in all these different places – the States (for 10 years), France, Luxembourg, hubby Amsterdam and Berlin, but at heart I do still enjoy mucking around in the countryside. I grew up in a small village beside Sherwood Forest.

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Article for The Field about Agas featuring Jilly Cooper

 

And you like writing features articles?

I do. Not just because they help pay the bills … even novellas take a long time to write and publish, whereas these features articles – written to deadline – are like timed essays by comparison. I find it refreshing. Plus I get to meet all these interesting people.

Like Jilly!

I’ll confess, I do like her. Not just her Rutshire Chronicle books, but her as a person. She’s so full of life. You keep horses, don’t you?

*looks stern* I ask the questions, Mr Pembrey. So what are you reading at the moment?

D’you know, I just finished a great bounty hunter yarn set in the US. Lots of vivid scenes there, and brilliant characters. Just a shame they drink bourbon and not gin.

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Deep Down Dead, now out in e-book format (print: 5 January)

Ha! So what are you looking forward to?

Aside from our whisky event now booked in for 24th January?

Yes.

I’d love to see my Henk character turned into TV, one day. Like Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch. The Dutch version of.

Wasn’t Hieronymus Bosch originally a Dutch painter?

He was! You know your Michael Connelly. I’m also looking forward to the second part of the Harbour Master saga, Night Market, plus a standalone novel I’m working on, part-set in Berlin. The working title of this is Shadow Play. It’s a Robert Harris-type thriller switching back and forward between the war years and present-day Los Angeles.

That sounds good. Lots to look forward to then!

For you too … I can’t wait for the next Lori Anderson instalment. When will that be?

Well, I’m currently elbow deep in the first draft of book 2 in the Lori Anderson series – so watch this space!

Fantastic. Well thanks so much for interviewing me, and we should thank Liz, too, for having us!

You’re very welcome, Mr Pembrey. It’s been fun. Cheers!

The Harbour Master e-book will be at the introductory offer price of 99p until 8th November, here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01I4ALTDE/

The print book launches on November 10th. Find out more about Daniel via his website, www.danielpembrey.co.uk

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Ones to Watch in 2017 – Rattle by Fiona Cummins

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Publication Date: January 2017 from Macmillan

Source: Review Copy

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

So if the serial killer thriller is going to make a come back (which for me would be fantastic as I DO love a good serial killer thriller) then Fiona Cummins and Rattle will be leading the way – because this is how you make it fresh, scary, make readers check under the bed and still manage to tell an often emotional, always compelling and very addictive story.

Rattle works on many levels, firstly if you are the type of reader who enjoys a novel that has you randomly looking over your shoulder to see who might be following you then this will certainly do that. If you like character depth within a crime story with clear voices, differing agenda’s, unpredictable actions then Rattle gives you that too. If you want something that makes it stand out from the rest, that hook, that little extra x factor something that takes a read from good to great then there is a fascinating angle here – which obviously I’m not going to tell you.

I rattled through it (yes I couldnt help that one had to be done) because to start Rattle is to need to finish Rattle – it gave me that nervous energy, that need to find out what happens in the end – not least because Fiona Cummins gives you characters you care about, are invested in and then puts them in all kinds of peril both personal and professional. Aargh!

Then of course there is our killer. Who is anything but one dimensional, eternally creepy yet strangely occasionally sympathetic despite his utter disregard for life in his pursuit of what he believes he needs. I was enthralled and terrified at the same time, scared for those he was targeting, intensely involved from first page to last. Beautiful writing, classic storytelling, bang on target.

Basically Rattle was great! Imaginative yet realistic this one will crawl into your subconcious and stick with you through the darkest hours. Don’t forget to check under that bed!

Follow Fiona on TWITTER

To Purchase Rattle Clickety Click HERE

Happy Reading!

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The Shoguns Queen Lesley Downer – Blog Tour. Extract.

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Today I am very happy to kick off the blog tour for Lesley Downer’s “The Shogun’s Queen” by offering you an extract to wet the appetite. Enjoy! The Shogun’s Queen is published on the 3rd November from Bantam Press.

 

Prologue

 

Third day of the twelfth month, Year of the Dog, Kaei 3

 

(15 January 1851): Crane Castle, Kagoshima, in the Satsuma domain

 

‘Halt! Who goes there?’

Lanterns flicker outside the wooden walls of the palanquin. Feet stamp, metal clangs on stone. The palanquin hits the ground with a bump. Inside it is pitch dark apart from the thread of light that rims the door. The traveller looks down at her small white hands, twisting them apprehensively. She left home at cockcrow and the sun has long since set. She has been sitting in this cramped wooden box all day with her legs curled under her, pitching back and forth on the shoulders of the bearers. She’s chilled to the bone and exhausted but she’d far rather stay huddled for ever in her miserable conveyance with its nauseating odour of lacquer than step out and face these hostile men.

The gruff shouts drum into her head. She smells smoke and tallow, hears the crackle of torch flames. She braces herself, pats her hair into place and smoothes her kimono skirts, badly creased by now. She’s never been away from home before. She wonders what will happen when the door slides back, what these sentries – she assumes they’re sentries – will do when they discover who she is and why she is here.

She takes a breath, tries to still the beating of her heart. ‘My name is Okatsu, daughter of Tadataké Shimazu, Lord of Ibusuki,’ she says, as clearly and loudly as she can. Her voice sounds high-pitched and tremulous in the night air. The last thing she wants is for these men to discover that she is only fourteen years old or –worse – that she is afraid. ‘I have a letter for His Lordship,’ she adds in as firm a tone as she can manage.

The sentries suck their breath through their teeth and confer in mutters. ‘If you’d be so good as to hand it out, Your Ladyship, we will ensure it reaches him,’ says a wheedling voice in deferential tones.

‘I have been instructed to deliver it directly into His Lordship’s hands,’ she says sternly. She has rehearsed her words again and again during the long journey here. ‘I am charged to see that His Lordship, and only His Lordship, opens it. I request to be admitted into His Lordship’s presence.’

‘Apologies, Your Ladyship. We have orders to check the identity of all visitors before they enter the precincts.’

The door to the palanquin rattles. Before she can utter another word it slides back. Faces peer out of the shadows, as hideous as demon masks in the lantern light. She blinks, dazzled by the sudden glare.

The sentries’ eyes widen. There’s a long silence, an intake of breath. ‘Well, what do you know!’ says one, shaking his head. ‘A child!’

‘And what a beauty!’ says another.

The lanterns and faces close in. A cold wind swirls. She shrinks back. On her knees, swaddled in futons, she feels small and vulnerable. She is a lord’s daughter, she reminds herself. She draws herself up. ‘I require to be admitted into His Lordship’s presence,’ she snaps with as much dignity as she can muster. The men grunt and back away and the door slides shut. Once again she’s cast into darkness. Footsteps retreat across the court-yard, staves clang on cobblestones. She bites her lip. Will they arrest her, lock her up, take her hostage? Her father and His Lordship are bitter enemies. The sentries may suspect she is a decoy, that she plans to assassinate His Lordship, that the letter is poisoned.

She curls her fingers around the hilt of her dagger. Like all women of the samurai class, she carries it tucked into her sash at all times and she knows how to use it, to fight if necessary or, if she is captured, to kill herself.

Winding her way along the coast, dozing in her palanquin, she’s been trying not to think about the events that have brought her on this freezing winter’s night from her peaceful home in the seaside town of Ibusuki to the towering gates of Crane Castle in the city of Kagoshima. Now images flash through her mind – the gatherings, the raised voices, the doors slamming late into the night. She screws her eyes shut as she remembers that fateful day when soldiers arrived to arrest her father, shouting as they slammed their staffs against the door. He was lucky, he’d been put under house arrest. But several of her friends’ fathers had been sent into exile and two were executed. She blinks back tears as she thinks of it.

And there was worse to come. Her father‘s closest friend, a much loved uncle, had been ordered to commit ritual suicide and her father had been commanded to witness it. She pictures her father’s face when he came home that night, his shoulders slumped. He’d brought back her uncle’s white linen underrobe, black with blood. He gathered the whole family together and held up the robe so that everyone could see it. She hears his voice, hoarse and ragged, ringing in her ears.

Take a long, hard look,’ he’d croaked. ‘This is the price of justice and loyalty. ’

‘Justice and loyalty . ..’ No one tells women anything and especially not fourteen-year-old girls, but she’s worked out that there is a power struggle between His Lordship, the veteran Prince of Satsuma, and her father’s cousin, Lord Nariakira, His Lordship’s son. Lord Nariakira is Okatsu’s favourite uncle and her father his most loyal ally. There is no doubt which side of the struggle she and her family are on.

She shuffles and grimaces as blood comes flooding back into her legs, numb from kneeling for so long. A couple of months have passed since that terrible night. The maple leaves had fallen and there was a dusting of snow on the ground. Then – just yesterday – her mother had come in search of her. Okatsu had been in her room, bent over her books. Her mother took her aside, her elegant face pale and drawn. She had a task for her, she’d said hesitantly. She was to go to Crane Castle, the seat of His Lordship the Prince of Satsuma, to deliver a letter.

Okatsu was startled that her own mother would send her into a hornets’ nest, into the enemy camp. But when she tried to ask, her mother raised a finger. ‘Not a word,’ she said.

Okatsu understood. The less she was told the less she’d be able to give away if she were captured and tortured. She drew herself up, proud that she’d been entrusted with such a vital mission.

‘I have faith in you, Okatsu- chan ,’ her mother had said, handing her a scroll box. ‘I know you will do your best.’

Okatsu had been taken aback to see tears in her proud mother’s eyes. As she’d stepped into her palanquin at dawn that morning the whole household had lined up to see her off. Even her father and brothers were there to wish her a safe journey, as if they weren’t sure they would see her again.

There are footsteps outside the palanquin. The sentries. The young lady may enter but she is to leave behind the attendants and guards who have come with her from Ibusuki. The bearers take her in her palanquin up to the great entrance hall of the castle. There she gingerly unfolds her legs, first one, then the other, and steps out into the dark hallway.

A bevy of stern-faced women sweeps out of the shadows, exuding musty perfume. They grip her elbows and usher her through long corridors and into a side chamber. Muttering, they remove her heavy kimonos one by one until she is naked and shivering. She grits her teeth, trying not to recoil as they poke bony fingers into every crack and cranny of her fourteen-year-old body. She is of samurai stock, she reminds herself. She must not disgrace her family by showing the slightest humiliation or fear. The women take away her dagger and remove her hairpins and her hair falls in a glossy black curtain around her bare body. They check that she has no other sharp objects then tell her brusquely to dress herself and give her a ribbon to tie back her hair.

About the book:

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Only one woman can save her world from barbarian invasion but to do so will mean sacrificing everything she holds dear – love, loyalty and maybe life itself . . .
Japan, and the year is 1853. Growing up among the samurai of the Satsuma Clan, in Japan’s deep south, the fiery, beautiful and headstrong Okatsu has – like all the clan’s women – been encouraged to be bold, taught to wield the halberd, and to ride a horse.
But when she is just seventeen, four black ships appear. Bristling with cannon and manned by strangers who to the Japanese eyes are barbarians, their appearance threatens Japan’s very existence. And turns Okatsu’s world upside down.

Find out more HERE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase The Shoguns Queen clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

the-shoguns-queen-blog-tour-banner

Happy Reading!

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Final Girls…….Revealing the cover. First there were three…

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VERY EXCITED to be revealing part one of the cover for one of next years stand out thrillers “Final Girls”  – and I have two brand new special edition proofs to giveaway (you’ll have to wait and see what the new ones look like!) if you would like one either comment here or tweet me @Lizzy11268 and I shall pick 2 names out of the proverbial hat…

I’ve read it. Trust me you want it…

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Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead…

They were called The Final Girls.

Three young women who survived unimaginable horror. Three victims of separate massacres grouped together by the press. Three strangers bound by similar traumas.

Lisa. Quincy. Samantha.

When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

Head over to Very Berry Cosmo shortly for Part Two of this feature….its going to be fun!

Happy Reading!

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A Suitable Lie – Michael Malone. Blog Tour Review.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Orenda

Source: Review Copy.

Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match, and she loves his son like he is her own. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it—a dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.

A Suitable Lie – apt title for a novel that speaks to the horror and realities of domestic abuse, the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell other people – in this novel Michael Malone puts the rare twist of fate into his narrative showing it from the opposite angle to that which is much talked about.

There are many books that show the sheer psychological affects of violence against women in domestic situations, but when that is flipped on its head and it is the man who endures, the sad truth is it is not much talked about. Like it couldnt happen. Like the male will always have dominance over the female in strength both mental and physical and will always be able to walk away. We question it far more in that scenario, make assumptions, say well look he can just fight it off, defend himself, its ridiculous to think that he couldnt. Right?

Wrong.

Michael Malone with his Tour de Force of a novel throws you into a marital war zone and quietly but steadily breaks down your defences, shows you a harsh reality, breaks your heart. Andy thinks he has found happiness but his new wife Anna is damaged, badly, her bubbly outer image hides a dark and twisted internal reality that comes out in violent and unimaginable ways. Manipulative, controlling, hiding behind a facade, Anna will indeed change Andy’s life forever.

It is a tough read. You do want to shout. As Andy is broken down, steadily losing a grip on himself, becoming more isolated and distraught this is hard hitting and emotionally traumatic. Even more so because there is a child involved, there were times when I cried for him. For all of them actually, yes even Anna.

I wanted to put it down. Then I had to pick it up again. The writing is intense, clever, thought provoking, indelible. A Suitable Lie is a harsh yet compelling reality check, a story that will grip you, throw you under a bus, pick you up again then chuck you off a cliff. A slow burner with a dark soul, this is a Grimm fairytale there is no Disney here. But it speaks truth. No matter how much you wish it didnt.

Happily Ever After. Nope not so much.

A truly incredible novel. I doubt I’ll ever forget it. Mr Malone needs to be writing more like this. I like the books that break me.

Highly Recommended

 

Find out more HERE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase A Suitable Lie clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

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Happy Reading!

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2016 Spotlight: Murderabilia Craig Robertson

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Publication Date: Available Now from Simon and Schuster

Source: Purchased copy/Review Copy

The first commuter train of the morning slowlyrumbles away from platform seven of Queen St station. Everyone on board is sleepy, avoiding eye contact, reluctant to admit the day has begun. And then, as the train emerges from a tunnel, the screaming starts. Hanging from the bridge ahead of them is a body. Placed neatly on the ground below him are the victim’sclothes. Why?
Detective Inspector Narey is assigned the investigation and then just as quickly taken off it again. Tony Winter, now a journalist, must pursue the case for her.The line of questioning centres around the victim’s clothes – why leave them in full view? And what did the killer take with them, and where might it appear again?
Murderabilia – the practice of collecting items from crime scenes. Items only available on the dark web. The collector must be prepared to pay a high price. As Narey is about to find out.

Blimey this book was banging. Highly entertaining, seriously addictive and so entirely fascinating I’m almost tempted to go find out stuff on the internet. But then common sense kicks in, today is NOT a good day to die.

So anyway as a fan of Narey and Winter I’ll just say that they are put somewhat through the wringer in this one, like really I shouldn’t have expected that – but there were points in this that I actually did go NO really don’t do that. But then it happened anyway. Because Craig Robertson is evil. Or something.

The subject matter at the heart of Murderabilia, that being the collection of all things crime, no matter how macabre, by people some of whom you would not want to meet in a dark alley at night, is such an entirely gripping premise that I have been sat here for the past few hours totally immersed – paper cut type immersion, its that good.

It seems funny to call a novel with such dark happenings wildly entertaining but that is what Murderabilia is – wildly entertaining. And scary. And relatively sad in places. All the good things. Top notch crime fiction of the type all us avid crime fans devour with the fervour of true fanatics. And its great writing. GREAT writing. We all know how I love the great writing.

The story rocks along, the settings are vivid, the plotting is perfect, the resolution in no way predictable, not sure there is anything else really to say.

I’ll just echo Martina Cole and say I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Find out more HERE

Follow Craig on TWITTER

To Purchase Murderabilia clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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Getting to know you with Tom Roberts…

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Today I’m getting to know Tom Roberts, author of  The Kingdom of Men, The Horse Lord, Rose’s Story and soon to be released The Riders of the North: The Games. You can try Chapter One for free on the Kindle HERE. Thanks so much to Tom for answering my questions – fascinating stuff in this one and in a few days on the blog he’ll be back talking about the inspiration behind the latest release. Look out for that one too, its great!

 

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

I grew up in Ruabon, a village in North Wales, near Wrexham and lived there until I was 12 when I moved to a border town in Shropshire. My family life was pretty typical; my mum is a teacher and my dad a physio technician at the local hospital. I have a younger brother, who like all siblings can be a pain but he has kept me going when things got tough.

When I moved to secondary school life changed because my mother started a new job as Deputy Head at a private, independent school so I went into year 7 (as staff children get a discounted place) That was a culture shock for me, growing up in a working class village in Wales, to suddenly finding myself in the same school as a Duke!

Academic or creative at school?

Neither really. I was sporty and the class fool. I played rugby, cricket, and football and through most of my schooling I messed around in class and was at times disruptive, culminating in me being suspended in year ten. I learnt my lesson from that so buckled down and passed my GCSEs. I went onto 6th form at Ellesmere and got three good A-level grades so went off to university to study history. Post-education I think I have finally got to the point where I am academic and creative as I run my own business, I write novels, so I got there in the end but my early years of secondary schooling weren’t best used. My mum will argue that it was because I wasn’t challenged but I say I was just a bit of a tool!

First job you *really* wanted to do?

The first job I really want to do when I was a child was to be a fire-fighter, as lots of boys do, and that did stay with me for a while and then I switched to wanting to be a fighter pilot but due to my dyslexia and my dislike of maths, that wasn’t going to happen. I was in the army cadets so I decided to aim at getting in as an Officer and that’s what I pursued all the way through until past graduation. I went through the first stages of selection but unfortunately due to the level of my dyslexia I didn’t get through the selection process and that put an end to that – so as you would expect, I left the country and travelled whilst I thought about what I really wanted to do.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

I never set out to be a writer; it wasn’t something that came on my radar. Being severely dyslexic (and I am in the top 1% of severity – not the top 1% you want to be in but those are the cards dealt to me) it wasn’t something open to me. I was good at English Literature in school, I always enjoyed exploring the different texts and characters as reading had not been the issue; it was writing/spelling that was the problem for me, so much so that my version of spelling words was a language of its own! After university I took a gap year and travelled, going across America, and on my return I decided to try and find a way to improve my writing so I started to write for myself, not for anyone else and not because I thought it would lead to anything. For the first time I could let my imagination run free to write what I wanted – no exam constraints – and so the characters walked into my life, the stories came and, strangely, I felt really happy when writing – which was a complete contrast to everything I associated with writing up to that point – when I finally shared my stories with others they were well received and things developed from there – now I just love it.

Who are your real life heroes?

I don’t really have real life heroes; I never really had a role model as such, except obviously my parents. Mainly because although I played a lot of sports I never really followed a particular sportsperson or team, or was that interested in movies or anything like that. I did always enjoy history, which is why I pursued it to degree level, so if you asked me who is one of my heroes but not alive it would have to be either Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan, which might seem peculiar, I don’t admire what they did but I do admire the conviction with how they did it.

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

I am sure there will be more to come, and there are too many to share them all, as I do get myself in some fixes, but one of the funniest moments (well for everyone watching!) was at a New Year’s Eve party at my friend’s house. Her fiancé asked me to help him sort the outdoor lights and fireworks and, happy to help, I jumped over the fence as a shortcut, so didn’t spot an open cesspit on the other side, and landed right up to my chest in excrement! I had to spend the rest of the evening in a pair of rugby shorts that he gave me to change into whilst my jeans went into their washing machine. That is just one of many that my friends bring up when we start the ‘do you remember ….’

DIY expert or phone a friend?

Definitely expert as I helped my dad when I was 16/17 with the self-build of our house so I feel very confident with most DIY things, at a basic level there is not much in the house I can’t put back together or fix

Sun worshipper or night owl?

Both. I love being up and about in the daytime doing stuff and for those who don’t like mornings I can be annoying, one of those chirpy ones! But, I don’t need that much sleep so I like going out at night and hanging out with friends so I am happy to burn the candle at both ends

A book that had you in tears.

I read historical fiction or fantasy so although there isn’t a book that has had me in tears I do invest in the characters and the plot. There have been TV shows or documentaries that have moved me, particularly when friendship and loyalties are stretched or when someone is left isolated. I do hate that.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

There were sections in Richard Ayoade’s autobiography that made me chuckle.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

Spend an hour a day not thinking about yourself, think about the people around you, and the world, and put your troubles in perspective. Remember that in the end, when we shuffle off this mortal coil, it isn’t the stupid things you’ve done that will bother you, what you will regret is the things you didn’t.

Find out more HERE

Follow Tom on TWITTER

Purchase links can be found HERE

Happy Reading!

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An epic fantasy series to take you into a world of adventure and intrigue, where the Elders control their Kingdoms, but it falls to the young warriors to protect the world.

2016 Spotlight: Lost in Nashville. Neil White.

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Publication Date: Available Now.

Source: Review Copy.

A father and son, the open road, and Johnny Cash.
Number one bestselling ebook author Neil White has penned an emotional journey through the life and songs of Johnny Cash, as told through the eyes of a fictional English lawyer, James Gray, whose life is a success. Or, at least, he thinks it is.
It has something missing though: a bond with his father, Bruce.
Bruce Gray is old, tired and estranged from his family. He spends his time drinking and drifting in the small seaside town in England that James once called home.
James decides to take Bruce on a road trip, to try to connect with his father through the one thing that has always united them: a love for Johnny Cash and his music. Together, they travel through Johnny Cash’s life; where he grew up, the places he sang about – a journey of discovery about Johnny, the South, and each other.

Lost in Nashville then, a bit of a departure for Neil White whose crime novels I have always loved, this time instead of freaking me out he made me cry. CRY dammit.

Lost in Nashville is an emotional read but it is also an informative one in a very entertaining way. I had a very peripheral knowledge of the Johnny Cash story before going into this, afterwards I had a real sense of the man and his music, learning about it through the eyes of our two main characters here, James and Bruce, whilst they try and rebuild their broken relationship.

This is a road trip in more than one sense, an actual journey and a life journey through the lives of these two, a Father and Son who have fallen apart but for whom there is hope. A journey through the life of Johnny Cash and a literal road trip through the places that informed him. Descriptively speaking this is absolutely gorgeous, you’ll get the sense of time and place, you’ll live this one. I love it when I live through a book rather than just read it. Happens less than you might think.

Lost in Nashville is also strangely gripping – I say strangely because being used to this authors twisty crime plots I didn’t imagine that he could also grip emotionally for an entire narrative but that is what happened here. I was rooting for these two, whipping through those pages hoping they could reconcile their differences, all the while being fascinated by the actual journey they were on. At the end I was a bit of an emotional wreck.

As a non country music fan this was entirely brilliant. If you want a different perspective, that of someone who knows the backdrop try Crime Thriller Girl’s review HERE

I fell in love with this story. It is a story of life, of family, of the things that separate us and the things that bring us back together. A beautiful story, an intensely emotive one and a story that will stay with me.

Who would have thought it? I think the indomitable Mr White might want to consider writing a few more like this in those moments between. He’s got the magic touch.

Read it, live it, love it.

Highly Recommended.

You can Purchase Lost in Nashville HERE

Visit Neil at his website HERE

Try some of his top crime fiction

Or follow on Twitter HERE

Happy Reading!

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Ones to Watch in 2017: The Roanoke Girls Amy Engel.

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Publication Date: March 2017 From Hodder.

Source: Review Copy

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.


After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.
Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse?

Oh what to say about those Roanoke Girls. I’m still a little stunned if I’m honest. This one just dug down deep into my soul, then wrung it out and I came out the other side feeling rather ragged. IT JUST GETS YOU THAT WAY.

Beautiful writing with a hard hitting and emotionally resonant storyline, The Roanoke Girls covers some very dark subjects – on that I have to warn that not everyone will cope with this as a novel. Whilst I can’t give anything away there is a truth about what can happen behind closed doors and an insightful but unflinching examination of the fallout on so many lives that these things can have that is utterly gripping but intensely anger inducing at times. I cried great big buckets of tears and felt randomly stabby during parts of this tale –  and Amy Engel has a considered and beautifully intense eye for prose that pulls you right into the heart of things.

Is it a thriller? Do you know thats the one thing that I have to be quite firm on, I don’t think it IS a thriller. The mystery element, what happened to Allegra, where did she go, that yes gives this a crime twist – but for me it simply serves the ongoing story. The history behind the Roanoke Girls is revealed, each little nugget of truth informing the whole, whilst we stick mainly with the latest two, Allegra and Lane, the book covers generations of a family in turmoil and that, THAT is where the heart of this is. It will break your heart. It will make you crazy. It will force upon you things you maybe don’t want to hear about but absolutely should.

Sometimes we are blind to that which goes on around us, either because we genuinely don’t see beneath the surface or because we don’t want to. In The Roanoke Girls Amy Engel forces us to look, into the depths of human nature and right at those things that we wish were a lie.

Everyone wants to be a Roanoke Girl. But be careful what you wish for…

I want to say I loved it but loved is not the right word. I’m never going to forget those characters, that place and time that the author evokes so incredibly well, it was utterly utterly gripping, at the end I was destroyed. Any book that can do that is a book that should be read. Don’t you think?

Highly HIGHLY recommended.

Find out more HERE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase The Roanoke Girls clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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The Mountain in my Shoe Louise Beech. Blog Tour Review.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Orenda

Source: Review Copy

A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself. On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all.

Having had a very strong connection to “How to be Brave” the debut novel from Louise Beech I was particularly keen to read her next novel – this novel – The Mountain in my Shoe. I sat down with it one day and that was that. I was pulled into this most extraordinary tale with its emotionally resonant characters and utterly gripping story. When I think about how many books I’ve read in my life so far and how many more I’m hopefully going to read in the years to come I can say hand on heart that this one is going to stay with me. You get it. There are always a few that you know will not let go of you, for various reasons, this is one of those.

I’ve seen a lot of people go into the story detail so we’ll skip over that for the most part – but The Mountain in my Shoe is a stunning and immersive narrative about a boy – Connor – his life in the care system, the people he finds, their lives and the relationships we have that end up defining us. There is a psychological/mystery element that just makes the whole thing more addictive and oh my word there is some beautiful writing to be found here, Louise Beech just has a way of grabbing you right in the heart and  not letting go – darn her!

The narrative here has a gentle, probing touch  that just speaks truth – it is terrifically effective you absolutely do fall into the world the author creates and genuinely feel every emotion along with the characters. The mystery element serves the story in a way that not many writers can pull off – it is not the mystery it is how the characters deal with it that counts here, the slow emergence of their own acceptance and their own life journey.

Clever writing. Beautiful storytelling. Louise Beech is one of only a handful of authors out there at the moment that I genuinely believe people will still be reading in 100 years long after we are all gone.

Gorgeous. Unforgettable. Emotional.

Highly Recommended.

Find out more HERE

Follow Louise on TWITTER

To Purchase The Mountain in my Shoe clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

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Happy Reading!