Ones to Watch in 2017 – Little Sister Isabel Ashdown.

Publication Date: April 2017 from Trapeze

Source: Review Copy

After sixteen years apart sisters Jessica and Emily are reunited. With the past now behind them, the warmth they once shared quickly returns and before long Jess has moved into Emily’s comfortable island home. Life couldn’t be better. But when baby Daisy disappears while in Jess’s care, the perfect life Emily has so carefully built starts to fall apart.

Was Emily right to trust her sister after everything that happened before?

I LOVED Little Sister. Man it was twisty brilliance with the odd moment of huh?, an awful lot of WHAT?? and a bit of emotional trauma thrown in there just in case you start to get too comfortable…

Oh we all love a good psychological thriller, but you know there are those that you read all the time that kind of blend into one big bubble then there are those like Little Sister that stay with you, maybe because of one thing maybe because of several. In the case of this particular story for me the characters resonated, made me randomly growly, occasionally murderous then Isabel Ashdown put the finishing touches on it with an evil flourish – fairly sure she was twirling a moustache as she wrote The End.

As I said at the time of finishing it – I want to marry the ending of this book it was so godarn good.

That aside it is also beautifully written, looks at themes of family, sibling rivalry, secrets and lies – and is brilliantly plotted  with those lovely hidden depths that give a story that edgy unpredictable feel – you genuinely might be up all night reading this one…

My tip? Start it early in the day. And not when you have anything else to do.

Deliciously dark, looking at a divisive incredibly cutting relationship that exists between two sisters, Little Sister is most definitely one to watch in 2017. Batten down the hatches, the next year in books is going to be a blast, at the moment Trapeze have their eyes firmly on the dynamite.

Fun isn’t it?

Highly Recommended.

Find out more HERE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Little Sister clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

Six Stories with Matt Wesolowski: Scarclaw Fell.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski is a stunning literary thriller which I will be reviewing nearer the paperback publication in March – but in the meantime I’m offering, with the help of the lovely Mr Wesolowski, Six Stories of the novel. In today’s instalment he is talking about the setting – that of Scarclaw Fell – a setting which within the book is a character in its own right. Prepare to be haunted…

Trust me this is a book you should not miss – and if once you’ve read this you can’t wait you could get it in e-book right now….

Scarclaw Fell

By Matt Wesolowski

When I was in year 5, my English teacher, a formidable woman by the name of Mrs. Scrutton read us a book called ‘The Year of the Worm’ by Anne Pilling. The book is about a bullied youngster on a walking holiday in the Lake District accompanied by, amongst others, the school bully. That story has never left me.

The location of Six Stories, a fictional Northumbrian upland named Scarclaw Fell is a major character in the novel.

The names of the mountains in the lakes are hugely evocative, other worldly even – Scarfell Pike, Skiddaw, The Old Man of Coniston. Scarclaw, I feel, does not sound out of place. When I was a child, my father often took me on walks up into the wilds of Northumberland – not quite Scotland, not quite England. Representing this part of rural England is an honour.

I lived in Lancaster for 10 years; close to the Lancashire countryside and revelled in the fact that Tolkien took a lot of influence from the Lancashire countryside for Lord of the Rings. The forests, the fells, the mountains have always resonated with something deep inside of me.

“There’s magic here, between the trees.”

From ever since I started writing, nature has often played a central role – usually some hidden horror! I don’t see the countryside as an idyll, I prefer its wildness, its untamed-ness. I like the feeling of being at the mercy of nature and am drawn to rural, wild places and often the rich mythology that surrounds them.

As a teenager, I read a lot of Niall Griffiths who uses rural Wales as a backdrop to a brutal reality; ‘Sheepshagger’ and ‘Grits’ were profound influences on that duality between nature’s majesty and the horrors of mankind. More recently, I’ve been influenced by Benjamin Myers whose rural brutality and sense of place plays a pivotal role in his writing.

All of these things were the building blocks of Scarclaw Fell; the idea that we are at nature’s mercy, that bad things happen in nature.

Nature looks on, uncaring.

About the book:

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.

2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame…

As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.

Follow Matt on TWITTER

To purchase the paperback clickety click right HERE

Watch out for more from Matt coming soon….

Happy Reading!

 

2017 Book Watch: Everything But The Truth Gillian McAllister

Publication Date : 9th March 2017 from Penguin MJ

Source: ARC

It all started with the email.

It came through to her boyfriend’s iPad in the middle of the night. Rachel didn’t even mean to look. She loves Jack, and she’s pregnant with their child. She trusts him. But now she’s seen it, she can’t undo that moment, or the chain of events it has set in motion.

Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn’t Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost?

Everything But the Truth is a bang on target domestic noir, a page turner of the highest order and, thank the book Gods, manages to avoid all the dull as ditch water standard cliches of the genre whilst playing brilliantly into all the reasons why we readers love this stuff.

Jack and Rachel have not been together that long, but for Rachel it has been one of those “this is right” life moments – so an early in the relationship pregnancy does not seem as daunting as it might have done. Preparing to settle down to domestic bliss, one night Rachel catches a glimpse of an email, one that suggests there may be horrific hidden secrets in Jack’s past.

Now here’s what I loved – we all have secrets and that is true – Gillian McAllister  uses that to great affect, Jack may be hiding something but so is Rachel and the yin yang of how much honesty is actually required for a successful relationship was at the heart of this for me. Rachel becomes obsessed, perhaps even going slightly mad in her quest for the truth but her own truth lies hidden in the mire also. Everything But the Truth is a beautifully drawn character study, a love story with a twisted path and an occasionally haunting glimpse into human psyche.

There is real depth to the plotting, exploring all the layers underneath that one thing we are waiting to find out, this is not a novel that sets out to shock with THAT moment (the one that, lets face it, most of us see coming a mile off these days) but more a slow unwinding of the personalities involved until they face themselves head on. It is that gentle yet utterly gripping unravelling that will keep you reading this long into the night. Cleverly done, genuinely compelling.

Excellent. Really excellent. Highly Recommended.

Find out more HERE

Follow Gillian on TWITTER

To Purchase “Everything But the Truth” clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

Merry Christmas!

Liz Loves Books is taking a few days break for the Festive season (even though we all know I’m not really a Christmas person y’all have that covered)

So have a great time! Hope you have a happy bookish festive few days and I’ll be back next week. When you will find more reviews, a little treat to wet that appetite for Six Stories which is going to be a stand out novel coming soon and various other bookish things. We’ll see. Some new reviews may even appear on some of these bookish pages you never know. It’ll be magic or something.

Here are a few things that will be keeping me occupied..

Back on  Tuesday!

Happy Reading.

Authors’ Top Reads of 2016 – Part Two.

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I am delighted to share this end of year 2 part special feature, in conjunction with Vicki Goldman, with the second group of authors giving us their top pick of 2016.

Today I have Johana Gustawsson, Sarah Stovell, Rebecca Thornton, James Swallow, GJ Minett, David Young, Rod Reynolds, Rory Dunlop and Chris Whitaker and Neil White telling us their one top pick from 2016.

Pop over to Vicki’s place http://off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.co.uk/ to see who she has for you today!

Johana Gustawsson, author of Block 46 published by Orenda in 2017 picks:

I would say “In her wake”, a soul touching book

Book blurb:

A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own.

A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life.

Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.

Click HERE to purchase In Her Wake

Click HERE to purchase Block 46

Follow Johanna on TWITTER

Sarah Stovell, author of Exquisite publication date tbc from Orenda picks:

Mine was Garth Greenwell’s novel ‘What Belongs to You’ which is a wonderfully lyrical story about homosexual prostitutes and syphilitic willies. It’s amazing. My next best was This is how You Lose Her, a short story collection by Junot Diaz.

Book Blurb:

On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher walks down a staircase beneath Sofia’s National Palace of Culture, looking for sex. Among the stalls of a public bathroom he encounters Mitko, a charismatic young hustler. He returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, and their trysts grow increasingly intimate and unnerving as the enigma of this young man becomes inseparable from that of his homeland, Bulgaria, a country with a difficult past and an uncertain future.

Garth  Greenwell’s What Belongs to You is a stunning debut about an American expat struggling with his own complicated inheritance while navigating a foreign culture. Lyrical and intense, it tells the story of a man caught between longing and resentment, unable to separate desire from danger, and faced with the impossibility of understanding those he most longs to know.

Click HERE to purchase What Belongs to You.

Rebecca Thornton, author of The Exclusives published by Bonnier picks:

So many, I spent ages thinking about this but my choice is The Girls by Emma Cline, for it’s sublime writing. And the fact she is in her MID-TWENTIES. I still think about some of her writing now! (amidst my own second novel despair. ).

Book Blurb:

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat.

Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls.

And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

Click HERE to purchase The Girls

Click HERE to purchase The Exclusives

Follow Rebecca on TWITTER

James Swallow, author of Nomad, published by Bonnier picks:

“My top pick of 2016 has to be Rowland White’s INTO THE BLACK, retelling the story behind the very first Space Shuttle mission and history behind the creation of that remarkable endeavour. White has a great ability to dramatize true-life tales and his take on this “right stuff” narrative is compelling, page-turning stuff!”

Book Blurb:

On 12th April 1981 a revolutionary new spacecraft blasted off from Florida on her maiden flight. NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia was the most advanced flying machine ever built – the high watermark of post-war aviation development. A direct descendant of the record-breaking X-planes the likes of which Chuck Yeager had tested in the skies over the Mojave Desert, Columbia was a winged rocket plane, the size of an airliner, capable of flying to space and back before being made ready to fly again. She was the world’s first real spaceship.

On board were men with the Right Stuff. The Shuttle’s Commander, moonwalker John Young, was already a veteran of five spaceflights. Alongside him, Pilot Bob Crippen was making his first, but Crip, taken in by the space agency after the cancellation of a top secret military space station programme in 1969, had worked on the Shuttle’s development for a decade. Never before had a crew been so well prepared for their mission.

Yet less than an hour after Young and Crippen’s spectacular departure from the Cape it was clear that all was not well.

Click HERE to purchase Into the Black

Click HERE to purchase Nomad

Follow James on TWITTER.

GJ Minett author of The Hidden Legacy picks:

‘For me it would have to be This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell. Because no one handles emotional intensity or the workings of the heart as well as she does. Mesmeric . . . and I’d just love to meet her!’

Book Blurb:

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.

He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

Click HERE to purchase This Must Be The Place

Click HERE to purchase The Hidden Legacy

Follow Graham on TWITTER

David Young, author of Stasi Child, published by Twenty7 picks:

Unrivalled storytelling and a fantastic portrayal of a brutal and terrifying period of European history.

Book Blurb:

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 . . .

Click HERE to purchase The Constant Soldier

Click HERE to purchase Stasi Child

Follow David on TWITTER.

Rod Reynolds, author of Black Night Falling published by Faber picks:

I’ve read some incredible books in 2016, but the one that made the biggest impression on me is The Rules of Wolfe by James Carlos Blake (No Exit). I can only assume the alternate title was ‘A Book Written for Rod Reynolds’ because it encapsulates everything I love about modern American noir. It’s short, brutal and vivid; the setting is part of the story but not a replacement for story; there’s not a word wasted anywhere; and everyone operates somewhere in their own moral shade of grey. Brilliant.

Book blurb:

Eddie Gato Wolfe is a young, impetuous member of the Wolfe family of Texas gun-runners that goes back generations. Increasingly unfulfilled by his minor role in family operations and eager to set out on his own, Eddie crosses the border to work security for a major Mexican drug cartel led by the ruthless La Navaja.

Eddie falls for a mysterious woman named Miranda, whom he learns too late is the property of an intimate member of La Navaja’s organization. When they’re discovered, the violent upshot forces Eddie and Miranda to run for their lives, fleeing into the deadly Sonora Desert in hope of crossing the border to safety. But La Navaja’s reach is far and his lust for revenge insatiable. If La Navaja’s men don’t kill Eddie and Miranda, the brutal desert just may. Their only hope: help from the family that Eddie abandoned.

Click HERE to purchase The Rules of Wolfe

Click HERE to purchase Black Night Falling

Follow Rod on TWITTER

Rory Dunlop, author of What We Didn’t Say published by Bonnier picks:

Spring by David Szalay. I’m a sucker for beautiful prose and this is the best written novel I’ve read this year, full of witty observations about the reality (as opposed to the ideal) of relationships.

Book Blurb:

James and Katherine meet at a wedding in London in 2006, towards the end of the money-for-nothing years. James is a man with a varied past now living alone in a flat in Bloomsbury; Katherine is separated from her husband and working in an interim job in a luxury hotel. They exchange phone numbers at the wedding, but from then on not much goes according to the script…

Click HERE to purchase Spring

Click HERE to purchase What We Didn’t Say

Follow Rory on TWITTER

Neil White, author of The Domino Killer published by Sphere picks: 

“Not only did it have a great plot but the narrative voice made the reading of it an absolute pleasure”

Book blurb

Since the Damn Stupid turned the clock back on civilization by centuries, the world has been a harsher place. But Elka has learned everything she needs to survive from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her in when she was just seven years old.

So when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.

Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past.

Click HERE to purchase The Wolf Road

Click HERE to purchase The Domino Killer

Follow Neil on TWITTER

Chris Whitaker, author of Tall Oaks, published by Bonnier picks:

My book of the year is Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman. The toxic friendship between Lacey and Dex is as hypnotic as it is terrifying, and as the two bulldoze their way through adolescence I was left reading the last couple of chapters through my fingers. Dark and brutal and beautiful, I loved every page.  

 Book Blurb:

Girls on Fire tells the story of Hannah and Lacey and their obsessive teenage female friendship so passionately violent it bloodies the very sunset its protagonists insist on riding into, together, at any cost. Opening with a suicide whose aftermath brings good girl Hannah together with the town’s bad girl, Lacey, the two bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it’s a secret that will change everything…

Click HERE to purchase Girls On Fire

Click HERE to purchase Tall Oaks

Follow Chris on TWITTER

SO that is your lot!

Hopefully you will have found some inspiration for additions to your to be read piles.

Remember to pop by Vicki’s  blog http://off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.co.uk/ to find some more Authors’ Top Reads of 2016.

Join Vicki and I again NEXT YEAR as I’m sure we will do this all over again. Becoming a bit of a tradition.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

 

Ones to Watch in 2017: The Marsh King’s Daughter. Karen Dionne

Publication Date: June 2017 from Sphere

Source: Review Copy

‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’

When notorious child abductor – known as the Marsh King – escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

I’m busy getting ahead of myself on reading (who can resist 2017 so far, not me that’s for sure) so this is a bit of an early review but trust me I’ll be talking about this one again nearer to the publication date – having finished it late last night though I can’t resist saying a few words now.

Talk about addictive quality – this book has that in spades and then some, once I started I could barely put it down, if it wasn’t for the fact that I kind of need to keep my job I would have dumped everything in favour of doing this in one sitting – Karen Dionne weaves a beautifully intense story here, with a strong and unique character voice and a twisted fairy tale vibe that is utterly gripping.

The Marsh King’s Daughter is both pacy and considered in its construction – Helena and her unconventional upbringing form the heart of the story, the emotional core, whilst in the present day we are treated to a thrilling hunt through the wilderness as Helena tracks her Father determined to return him to his jail cell. The two strands of the story, all seen through Helena’s eyes, are both totally compelling whilst the descriptively alluring setting comes alive in the telling.

The soul of this one is in the father/daughter relationship – and indeed the blurred lines of Helena’s relationship with her mother – divisive and fascinating, I loved how the author made it all so real and unpredictable. Helena, after all, has a different worldly view, nature AND nurture – watching her come to terms with the realities of her situation, wondering and deciding who she is going to be, creates a strong bond between reader and novel that is intriguingly irresistible.

The Marsh King’s Daughter is, put simply, an exquisite page turner.

Highly Recommended.

Find out MORE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase The Marsh King’s Daughter clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

Authors’ Top Reads of 2016 – Part One.

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I am delighted to kick off this end of year 2 part special feature, in conjunction with Vicki Goldman, with the first group of authors giving us their top pick of 2016.

For Day One I have  Mark Hill, Daniel Pembrey, Lisa Hall, Alex Caan, John Connolly, Paul Hardisty, Thomas Enger, David Ross, Yusuf Toporov and Matthew Blakstad telling us their ONE top pick from the books they read in 2015. Well mostly their one. SOME OF THESE GUYS ARE REBELS…

Pop over to Vicki’s place http://off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.co.uk/ to see who she has for you today!

Mark Hill, author of The Two O’Clock Boy published in 2016 by Sphere picks:

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott. It’s a menacing and heartbreaking story of corrupted ambition and how, sometimes, we barely comprehend the ruthless desires of the people closest to us. Watch your fingers, people, the prose is diamond-sharp. 

Book Blurb:

Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate.

Click HERE to purchase You Will Know Me

Click HERE to purchase The Two O’Clock Boy.

Follow Mark on TWITTER.

Daniel Pembrey author of The Harbour master series published by No Exit picks:

It would probably be David Young’s Stasi Child. I have a fascination with that setting — former GDR, in the shadow of the Berlin wall. It features a great lead character in Karin Müller and is a cracking story, well told.

Book Blurb:

East Berlin, 1975

When Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.

Click HERE to purchase Stasi Child

Click HERE to purchase The Harbour Master

Follow Daniel on TWITTER

Lisa Hall, bestselling author of Between You and Me published by Harper Collins picks…

The short answer is Tall Oaks by my foxy little mate Whitaker!

Book blurb

When three-year-old Harry goes missing, the whole of America turns its attention to one small town.
Everyone is eager to help. Everyone is a suspect.
Desperate mother Jess, whose grief is driving her to extreme measures.
Newcomer Jared, with an easy charm and a string of broken hearts in his wake.
Photographer Jerry, who’s determined to break away from his controlling mother once and for all.
And, investigating them all, a police chief with a hidden obsession of his own . . .

Click HERE to purchase Tall Oaks

Click HERE to purchase Between You and Me

Follow Lisa on TWITTER

Alex Caan, author of Cut to the Bone published by Twenty7 (Bonnier) picks..

If you haven’t discovered the Kim Stone series yet, you are in for one serious treat. She is one of the most exciting characters to come out of the crime universe in recent years, and her creator, the amazingly talented Angela Marsons, deftly weaves her through some thrilling/harrowing cases. Bloodlines is the latest, and it brings back Kim’s arch nemesis Alex Thorn. Seriously, when these two are on the page it’s electric. You will love to hate Alex (but read Evil Games first!) and will learn to love Kim. It’s a masterpiece of a page turner, and quite simply a must read. 

Book blurb:

How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?
A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.

When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Click HERE to purchase BloodLines

Click HERE to purchase Cut to the Bone

Follow Alex on TWITTER

John Connolly (the first of the rebels) , author of the Charlie Parker novels published by Hodder and Staughton picks…

“Mine is something of a dual recommendation. One of the most pleasant literary surprises of the year for me was Becky Chambers’s The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, which I’ve passed on to people who don’t usually read science fiction with the assurance that it’s science fiction for people who don’t like science fiction, or just think they don’t. I thought it was funny, and moving, and beautifully imagined, and therefore I was very much looking forward to the sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit, which wrong-footed me – in a good way – by evoking a very different mood in the same universe. It managed the considerable feat of being both intimate and epic, and left me with a smile on my fact. She really is a talent to be reckoned with, and has made my year a brighter one with her work.”

Book Blurb:

Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.

But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.

Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

Click HERE to purchase The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Click HERE to purchase the latest Charlie Parker novel

Follow John on TWITTER

Paul Hardisty (another rebel) author of the Claymore Straker thrillers published by Orenda picks…

My favourite reads of 2016 (tied) were Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus and Jihadi by Yusuf Toropov. Both bend the genre, are intelligent, well written, and just well different from your normal fare.

Book Blurb:

EJ – Jerry has a traumatic past that leaves him subject to psychotic hallucinations and depressive episodes. When he stands accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh painting, he goes underground, where he develops an unwilling relationship with a woman who believes that the voices she hears are from God. Involuntarily entangled in the illicit world of sex-trafficking among the Hollywood elite, and on a mission to find redemption for a haunting series of events from the past, Jerry is thrust into a genuinely shocking and outrageously funny quest to uncover the truth and atone for historical sins.

J – A former intelligence agent stands accused of terrorism, held without charge in a secret overseas prison. His memoir is in the hands of a psychologist with her own agenda, and her annotations paint a much darker picture. As the story unravels, we are forced to assess the truth for ourselves, and decide not only what really happened, but who is the real terrorist. Peopled by a diverse and unforgettable cast of characters, whose reliability as narrators is always questioned, and with a multi-layered plot heaving with unexpected and often shocking developments

Click HERE to purchase Epiphany Jones

Click HERE to purchase Jihadi

Click HERE to purchase The Evolution of Fear

Follow Paul on TWITTER.

Thomas Enger, author of Cursed (Henning Juul novels) published by Orenda picks...

 

For me it must be Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. The opening sentence alone is worth buying it for. Listen to this: «The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house”  It’s just a great story, told both brilliantly and beautifully. What more could you possibly ask.

Book blurb:

In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left townMore than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they’ve buried and ignored for decades.

Click HERE to purchase Crooked Letter Crooked Letter

Click HERE to purchase Cursed.

Follow Thomas on TWITTER

 

David Ross, author of The Last Days of Disco published by Orenda picks..

Hugo Wilcken’s ‘The Reflection’. I even broke with all form of tradition and wrote some words in praise of it.

‘It’s a very simply but beautifully written book with a straightforward, if cyclical structure. Paradoxically, it’s plot is complex and contradictory. It messed with my head. It explores the fragile relationship between trauma, reality and the often fluid nature of identity. It is never less than fantastic from beginning to end.’

Book Blurb:

When psychiatrist David Manne is asked by a friend who’s a New York City Police detective to consult on an unusual case, he finds himself being asked to evaluate a criminal who’s the exact opposite of himself—an uneducated laborer from the Midwest who seems overwhelmed by modern day Manhattan circa 1948. But when that laborer tells David that he’s not who the police say he is, David slowly begins to believe it may be true

Click HERE to purchase The Reflection

Click HERE to purchase The Last Days of Disco

Follow David on TWITTER

Yusuf Toropov, author of Jihadi, published by Orenda picks..

My favorite read this year was Edward Wilson’s brilliant A VERY BRITISH ENDING. Devastating, all too accurate examination of Cold War paranoia.

Book Blurb

An MI6 officer, haunted by the ghosts of an SS atrocity, kills a Nazi war criminal in the ruins of a U-boat bunker. The German turns out to be a CIA asset being rat-lined to South America.

As a hungry Britain freezes in the winter of 1947, a young cabinet minister negotiates a deal with Moscow trading Rolls-Royce jet engines for cattle fodder and wood. Both have made powerful enemies with long memories. The fates of the two men become entwined as one rises through MI6 and the other to Downing Street. It is the mid-1970s and a coup d’état is imminent.

Click HERE to purchase A Very British Ending

Finally for today, the most rebellious of all, Matthew Blakstad, author of Sockpuppet published by Hodder picks…

This year I’ve chosen three very different books which are all in their own ways about escaping into the wilderness. Why, I wonder, have I accidentally landed on that theme at the end of a year like 2016? Hmm… *strokes chin* Anyway, the titles are:

Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers. Top of my list. A story about a woman who scoops up her two young kids and tries to escape from an American dream gone sour. Eggers is master of an effortless, joyful prose that’s uniquely American in register and this book pinpoints the present moment with smart-bomb accuracy.

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. A dark, uplifting coming-of-age tale about a survivalist father who takes his daughter into the woods and persuades her the rest of the world has come to an end. It manages to be both compassionate and bleak about individual obsession and family love. Highly recommended.

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis. Man, I loved this book. A classic adventure story of the West, except this time it happens in a post-apocalyptic America that might almost have come to be. Plus the shoot-from-the-hip protagonist is not some grisly male gunslinger, but a sharp-witted girl named Elka with a sharp knife and a dark secret in her past.

Click HERE  to purchase Heroes of the Frontier

Click HERE to purchase Our Endless Numbered Days

Click HERE to purchase Wolf Road

Click HERE to purchase Sockpuppet

Follow Matt on TWITTER

SO that is your lot for today!

Remember to pop by Vicki’s  blog http://off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.co.uk/ to find some more Authors’ Top Reads of 2015.

Join Vicki and I again on WEDNESDAY for some more great picks!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

Ones to Watch in 2017 – The Breakdown B A Paris.

Publication Date: February 9th 2017 from HQ

Source: Review Copy

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods and the woman who was killed. Since then she’s been forgetting everything. Where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby. What she can’t forget is the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt. Or the silent calls she’s receiving and the feeling that someone’s watching her…

I was a huge fan of Behind Closed Doors, the first novel from B A Paris, it was intense and haunting so I was extremely interested to see what she would give us next…

The Breakdown follows Cass, who one night makes a decision that haunts her life – we’ve all done the “what if” thing but Cass is genuinely guilt ridden. This seems to be tipping over into all aspects of her day to day routines as she forgets the simplest of things and believes she is being stalked. But is it all in her head?

Again, BA Paris messes with your perception, keeping the story twisting and turning throughout, it is absolutely gripping stuff as Cass sinks further into the mire – but is she having a breakdown or is someone trying to break her? This is the question the reader keeps reading to find out and there is a beautiful unpredictability to proceedings and a lovely depth to Cass as a character which keeps you rooting for her.

With the explosion of the psychological thriller it is hard to keep track  – if like me you are a fan of them as long as they are not boringly cliched – in the case of The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors  B A Paris brings us two true page turners that are  very different kettles of fish, yet each extraordinarily compelling in their own way. Plus I like that they make sense. Those who read widely in this genre will know what I mean!

Beautifully constructed, cleverly discombobulating, The Breakdown is a read in one sitting, paper cut inducing, emotionally haunting story. Loved it.

Highly Recommended.

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase The Breakdown clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

Scared to Death – Rachel Amphlett. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Saxon

Source: Review Copy

A serial killer murdering for kicks.
A detective seeking revenge
When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.
But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.
When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.
With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.
For the killer, the game has only just begun…

Scared to Death is a fast paced intriguing crime thriller that I read in one huge gulp of a sitting, addictive and occasionally quite hard hitting this is the start of a new series from Rachel Amphlett and one that I will be following along with.

Things I really liked: Or main protagonist Kay Hunter. A genuinely strong female character with, yes, some flaws and a semi mysterious backstory, but realistically so which made her highly believable and sucked you into the ongoing story. The opening foray is classically involving, setting the reader up for a fascinating read, it is hold your breath and wonder where its going time, something that always keeps me reading..

Rachel Amphlett writes with a gritty, unrelenting style and touches on some really difficult subjects here. At the same time she has created a divisive villain who is honestly scary and unpredictable, the plotting is clever and cohesive with a dash of twisty turny goodness and the story fairly rocks along to a hugely satisfying conclusion that gels well with what has come before.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It emcompasses a lot of what I read crime fiction for and has some very good writing, great characters and as the start to a series works on all levels.

Recommended.

Follow Rachel on TWITTER

To Purchase Scared to Death clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

The Girl Who Had No Fear – Quizzing Marnie Riches.

Today I am very happy to have an interview with the lovely Marnie Riches, author of The Girl Who novels the latest of which is The Girl Who Had No Fear. Questions via Gordon owner/occupier of Grab This Book.

 

You were spotted chilling at Crimefest with AK Benedict and at Harrogate last year you photo-bombed Lee Child. Do you enjoy getting to the Book Festivals or is it just part of the job?

I absolutely adore going to CrimeFest and Harrogate, though these are really the only two festivals I can afford to attend at present. I have designs on Bloody Scotland but might only be able to justify it if I’m asked to be on a panel. We’ll see… In the first year that I went to CrimeFest & Harrogate (2015), I was fascinated by the topics discussed in the panels and buoyed by the interesting chat from my contemporaries. What an impressive and welcoming bunch they are. I met so many bloggers as well as other authors. People’s generosity of spirit was a revelation. I had a scream! I won an award! I drank my own body weight in champagne, thanks to the former publishing director from Avon, Eli Dryden! But in 2016, I now know so many other authors on the circuit that it has really become a social thing for me, more than anything. At Harrogate, there was even a crime writers’ trip to the Viper Rooms (Harrogate’s night club) and yes, there was bad twerking among the dry ice. I’m still interested in hearing discussions at festivals, meeting new people and I’m very much looking forward to participating on a panel at CrimeFest 2017, but these events give me the best opportunity to hang out with my crime-writing family, to catch up with my publisher and to talk crap with my agent after drinking my bodyweight in gin.

What book should I read next? And The Girl Who Had No Fear is a given!

I think you should read Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb if you haven’t already. It’s a cracker! I’m a slow reader, so I’ve only just read Peter Swanson’s A Kind Worth Killing and Graeme Cameron’s Normal – both wonderful reads. In my to be read pile, Julia Crouch’s forthcoming Her Husband’s Lover is top of the pile, along with Jenny Blackhurst’s Before I Let You In and Joseph Knox’s Sirens. Personally, I do tend to prefer something thrillery or historical to a police procedural or psychological thriller, but there are some terrific books out there in these perennially popular sub-genres of crime. I can’t wait to read A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys (Tammy Cohen)!

If you could pick one highlight from your writing career to date which memory brings the biggest smile to your face?

Winning the Dead Good Reader Award for Most Exotic Location at Harrogate 2015. I couldn’t believe my luck. The evening went a little tits-up by about 1am, but before that, I really can’t remember a better night.

Which book has made the best transition to film or a tv series?

The Silence of the Lambs. Definitely. I loved the Swedish adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy – Noomi Rapace was the perfect Salander. I was left a little cold by the later Hollywood adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as a result, though it was a quality film. Similarly, I loved the slick Norwegian adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters. I think the Scandis do books to film very, very well. I’m not aware of an awful lot of British crime fiction making it to TV or the big screen, despite much being optioned. I think it doesn’t often get made, sadly. I haven’t seen The Girl on the Train because I haven’t yet read it. Much of my favourite TV to have come out of the States in the last ten years is purpose-written TV drama, like The Wire, Breaking Bad, Fargo, Atlantic Boardwalk etc… Similarly, the wonderful Scandi Noir series, Forbrydelsen and The Bridge are not based on novels. If I’m honest, I don’t go to the cinema very often, so I can’t say my views on these things are very current. I can’t wait to see what Scorsese makes of Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman, though.

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

Star Wars – The Force Awakens. See? Told you I don’t go to the cinema very often, which is a shame, because I love films. The cinema’s too bloody expensive and I couldn’t drag my kids along to the sorts of things I want to see, though I might have to pay a babysitter when Bad Santa 2 comes out!

Lots of discussion on whether the next James Bond and also the next Doctor Who should be a woman.  Do you agree (and if you do – who should get the roles)?

I don’t agree that the next James Bond should be a woman. I think it should be Idris Elba. If the big studios are looking for a big screen heroine, I think it’s lazy merely to cast a woman in the well-worn role of Bond – a concept and character that has been knocking around since the novels were first published in nineteen hundred and frozen to death. Instead, they should be optioning and adapting a new novel written by a woman – so a woman’s heroine, not another man’s heroine like Salander – that’s genuinely about a kickass female. *coughs, clears throat and does eyes-right at own books. OK. Basically, if there are stories knocking around like those in my George McKenzie series, there’s no excuse for relying on hackneyed Bond stories as vehicles for strong heroines. You can’t stick a pair of tits on Bond and make her a believable heroine, because that character is simply a man’s man. I have no opinions on Doctor Who. I’m not a fan. But the same arguments apply. New ideas, please, telebox peoples!

At the end of a long frustrating day how do you unwind?

I like a nice drinky. I’m also rather fond of sticking my electric blanket on and getting into bed early with a good book. I’m THAT exciting.

Are you a fan of comic books (or the current wave of comic book movies)? 

I love super-hero films that have been adapted from comics – Spiderman with Tobey Maguire was superb. But otherwise, I struggle to read graphic novels. My daughter would disagree with me. She’s an animé and manga addict.

What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?

Stop questioning your gut instincts and better judgement. If you feel strongly that you’re right, you’re probably right. Believe in yourself. You are good enough.

What is the best job you have ever had?

Being an author, of course! It’s by far the best job in the world. I’ve never worked so hard and I haven’t earned so little since I was in my early twenties, but for all its troughs, the dizzying peaks of creativity, the response of readers, the company of my author compatriots, the friendship and support of my agent, the enthusiasm and passion of my editorial team and the kind flag-waving of bloggers make this job so worthwhile. And best of all? The stories. Making them gives me thousands of hours of entertainment. Watching you guys read and enjoy them gives me a wonderful rosy glow. It’s a little bit of magic in a disenchanting world!

Thanks Guys!

About the book:

Amsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals – and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?
Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?

Find out MORE

Follow Marnie on TWITTER

To Purchase The Girl Who Had No Fear clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!