Woman Walks Into A Bar….Rowan Coleman on behalf of Refuge.



In a moment you can hear from Rowan Coleman all about her book and the things she is trying to achieve – I caught up with her and asked a few questions. Before that though….

First of all I’m going to tell you the most important thing about today’s post. You can help support Refuge and get a great story to read to boot, by clickety clicking the link and purchasing Woman Walks Into A Bar. 100% of royalties will go direct to Refuge and the aim is to raise £10,000. We can do that…right? Its a great cause and a lovely thing that Rowan is doing and if you love reading it is a fun way to help out if you can of course.



So I talked a little to Rowan about it all and here is what she had to say.


Domestic abuse is an emotive subject – were you surprised at the response you got when researching for your writing?


Surprised and shocked, and horrified. I suppose, like many people I thought that abuse with in a relationship was rare, happened to people far away, who lead very different sorts of lives. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, it affects women, men, children. And yet its still a problem that exists in the shadows and behind closed doors.


Are the characters in “Woman Walks into a Bar”  based on anyone you know?


They are not. Its funny, when I wrote that book I had Sam, the lead character very firmly pictured in my mind, she was very vivid to me. Its been nice to get responses from people who’ve read who feel sure she is a real person. Also when I wrote Sam’s daughter, my daughter was 5, she is 12 too now, and I recognise a lot of traits in her!


Tell us a little bit about Refuge – the charity that you are supporting.


Refuge was founded in the year I was born 1971, and it was one of the first organisation to seek to offer help, advice and a place of safety to women and families seeking to escape an abusive situation. It’s done amazing work in brining the problem of domestic abuse into the public eye over the decades, and continues to work hard reaching out to people who need help, giving them the support and courage they need to make the break. I am very pleased to be able to do my small bit to support them, although its mainly the bloggers who are helping me spread the word and especially the readers that download the book, that are the ones to thank. So, thank you! xxx


Thank you Rowan and good luck! I will certainly be purchasing a copy and I will review it on site soon.


Book Synopsis

A night out with the girls changes Sam’s life forever…

28-year-old single mother Sam spends her days working in the local supermarket and her Friday nights out with her friends letting her hair down at the White Horse. Life hasn’t been easy for Sam and her daughter, Beth (who always looks on the bright side) but she’s always hoped that one day she’ll break free from her past and meet The One.

But after a series of terrible dates with men she’s met through an internet dating site, that have all been as awful as her daughter’s terrible jokes, she’s starting to lose heart – until her friends tell her they’ve set her up on a blind date. Sam’s horrified but finally she agrees to go. After all you never know when you might meet the man of your dreams; just maybe Sam’s happy ending is just about to begin….

But will Sam have to face up to her past before she can find a new future?


Find out more about Rowan and the books here: http://rowan-coleman.tumblr.com/

You can follow on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/rowancoleman


To find out more about Refuge and how they help : http://refuge.org.uk/


Happy Reading Folks!



Lets Talk Serial Killer Thrillers…..Don’t be scared!

So I love a good thriller – even more so when it involves a shadowy figure whose motives are difficult to fathom…the Serial Killer. Thomas Harris and Silence of the Lambs was the first novel I read in this genre and I still shiver when I think about it. It was also one of those books that was turned into a superb movie..with Anthony Hopkins becoming the definitive Hannibal..Fava Beans and a nice Chianti anyone? I tracked down three authors who have written great books of this nature and asked them the same 4 questions. Here is what they had to say….


Lets start with Michael Marshall. Author of the superb Straw Men trilogy amongst other great books, he created a killer like no other…and he had some friends. Here is what Michael had to say.


Was your Serial Killer inspired by any real life case or book you had read?


No. In fact, what I was trying to do was collate everything I’d read and thought about a range of serial killers, to try to find unifying themes or underlying connections between their behaviours. Each killer manifests in their own way – though usually not as cinematically or glamorously as the ones we see in movies or books – and each case follows its own course, shaped and constrained by environment and happenstance. Underneath that, however, these events share a common root, something that is far more telling about fractures in human nature and fault-lines in our species’ minds, and that’s what I was trying to look at.


Is it difficult to write the “evil” characters and make them scary?


I don’t know – in the sense that I don’t know whether the ‘evil’ characters I write are scary or not – that’s for other people to judge. I think the hardest thing about making bad characters credible and affecting is making sure that they feel *real*. They can’t just be being evil for the sake of it – nobody ever is. They have to either believe in what they do, or feel compelled to do it – manifesting extreme forms of behaviour that the reader can recognise at least a little of in themselves. That’s what makes the bad guys scary – the idea that they’re not so different.


Do you have a favourite “Serial Killer Thriller” book that you have read or film you have seen?


I think the best novel about a sociopath that I’ve ever read would be THE KILLER INSIDE ME, by Jim Thompson. Spare first person style, chilling and yet oddly approachable and compelling. In terms of non-fiction, I think Elliott Leyton’s HUNTING HUMANS is the most insightful I’ve read.


Why do you think people in general are so fascinated by these types of killers?


Because they know they’re not that different to the rest of us. Worse, but not different. We find it very convenient to demonise – staring with awful fascination at Hitler, or Bin Laden, or Ted Bundy. It helps us put our own bad thoughts on the other side of a fence, where we think they’ll be safe. They’re not. We’re a great species, but we do bad things. We need to understand that and face up to it. Looking carefully at serial killers is one way of starting that process…

Thank you Michael!

You can follow Michael on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ememess


Review: The Straw Men


Ward Hopkins returns to his parents home after they are killed in a car accident. Whilst at the house, he discovers a note from his father…and so begins a journey into his past and that of his loved ones, a dangerous journey of discovery that may not end well. Meanwhile a young girl, Sarah,  has gone missing and former LA Detective John Zandt, a man fighting his own demons, begins his own journey of discovery. Is it possible that Ward holds the key to saving Sarah from her fate?

This is a beautifully crafted story. One part leading to another to another a bit like Russian dolls – as Ward moves ever closer to learning the truth about his life, so John perhaps moves further away from himself and his own conscience….the terrible things they both face draw them together but also tear them apart. The mystery itself is well imagined – Serial Killer Thriller? Yes. And No. Or maybe. You decide. Certainly the author has created a rich mythology here – using real life events that we will all recognise he has woven an intricate tale and its extremely clever. Ward’s growing incredulity at what he is discovering will mirror your own as reader and looker on of events as they unfold. The supporting cast all do their bit – but its Ward and John that will interest you. And perhaps The Upright Man….

All in all fantastic. This is probably the third time I have read this book and each time I discover something new. Mr Marshall may smile when he learns that I’ve only just got the point of Sarah’s “safety” blanket – how many times have I read the name and it didnt sink in. You know what Im talking about…Don’t you Mr Marshall?

I’m not waiting. The Lonely Dead is next. Bring it on – what will I discover that I missed this time? You’ll have to await my next review.

Happy Reading Folks!



Next up is Joe Conlan. With this debut Thriller “Nameless” he created a wonderful example of a fictional killer – with a very cold heart…..

Was your Serial Killer inspired by any real life case or book you had read?


I can’t say that Shem Chassar was modeled after any one real-life serial killer.  A lot of his characteristics and personality traits were purely a figment of my imagination.  I did draw inspiration from some of my favorite serial killer authors such as Thomas Harris and movies such as Copy Cat and Seven.  With regard to Shem’s penchant for blood and other gruesome qualities, there were a few serial killers of the past such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Denis Nilsen whose disturbing and vicious MO’s were always a fascination.


Is it difficult to write the “evil” characters and make them scary?


Yes and no.  I wanted to stretch my imagination to the limits to create the most evil character possible.  Many ideas came easily, especially those related to the development of Shem’s personality.  Describing  the murders did get very difficult.  For instance, there were several times while writing the scenes involving Hannah’s murder that I had to stop and settle myself.  Believe it or not, I wouldn’t harm a fly and I have a soft spot for older ladies.


Do you have a favourite “Serial Killer Thriller” book that you have read or film you have seen?


I’ve already mentioned Copy Cat, Seven and Untraceable.  I found the serial murderer in each of those stories quite chilling and compelling.  I’m especially intrigued with the brilliant ones.  I can’t forget Jeffrey Deavers’ The Bone Collector either.  Great stuff.  I absolutely loved all 4 books and movies.  The Hanibal Lecter series is right at the top of my list as well.  I would have to say that he is my favorite fictional serial killer.


Why do you think people in general are so fascinated by these types of killers?


That is a very good question.  I have often wondered about that especially with regard to my fascination for them.  It has made me worry about myself.  I’ve read some articles about the subject.  There are all kinds of theories.  For me, it’s kind of like one of those horrible or disgusting things like a terrible accident on the road that you really don’t want to look at but you can’t keep your eyes off of it.  I also love to hate them.

Thanks Joe

You can follow Joe on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/conlan_joe


Review: Nameless


A terrific twisted tale of a serial killer and the FBI agent bound and determined to catch him, this novel is a no holds barred ripping yarn bound to keep you up at night. For once you get a proper background for the killer – the novel is as often told from his point of view as it is from the view of the main protaganist and I strangely ended up feeling at times quite sympathetic towards him despite the fact that he is evil personified. Not for the faint of heart – the violence is properly violent as all real such acts are – and adds a nuance to the story often missing in this type of novel where the authors worrying about the sensibilities of the reader may overcome the more natural urge to write it as it is. Don’t get me wrong – the violent scenes are not overtly intrusive, and only there when the telling of the tale requires it, but they do ensure that your reading heart is entirely with FBI Agent Falcone as he follows the trail, often to his own detriment, to the bitter end. It twists and turns – the “filling out” of each major character you meet is cleverly done – you are left in no doubt as to the motivations for their actions, even when you are screaming at them to stop being so completely idiotic (as some of them, most especially for me Daniel’s wife, often are). The ending was superb and very unexpected – therefore this authors next book is high on my list of reading priorities. If you like crime fiction, most especially “serial killer” thrillers then I would say they don’t come much better than this



Finally I caught up with Luca Veste – His debut novel Dead Gone will be released towards the end of the year and I was lucky enough to be one of the first to read it. His Serial Killer is dark indeed….


Was your Serial Killer inspired by any real life case or book you had read?


The overall idea came from one of the first psychology lectures I attended. It took a little longer than others, but I eventually started studying a couple of years ago as a mature student. It was one of those lectures which is designed to ease you into the course and ended with the lecturer talking about a whole bunch of experiments which psychologists carried out in the past. Most of these were carried out on animals, which (in my crime writer/reader mind) instantly led to the thought “what would happen if these experiments were on humans instead?” Thus the book was born. The serial killer is inspired in part by fictional creations (real-life serial killers are far too f*cked up to be believable!). John Doe in Se7en was an influence, as was Stuart Nicklin from Mark Billingham’s ‘Scaredy Cat’.


Is it difficult to write the “evil” characters and make them scary?


There’s a fine line between scary and ridiculous, I found. It’s difficult to stay on the right side of that line, but some of the most enjoyable parts of writing the book involved the evil parts. I was also very aware that I was entering a crowded genre, so I had to get the “evilness” right. Hopefully that’s the case.


Do you have a favourite “Serial Killer Thriller” book that you have read or film you have seen?


I have one of each. Favourite serial killer book would be Dark Room by Steve Mosby. A highly original idea, combined with some of the best prose in crime fiction. A stunning novel, which I wish I could describe more, but I don’t want to spoil it. It’s fantastic. Read it.



Favourite serial killer film is Se7en. I love the bleakness of it, the fact it rains pretty much throughout the film until the final (heartbreaking) scene. It’s relentlessly dark and has one of the best endings committed to film.



Why do you think people in general are so fascinated by these types of killers?


Well…this is just my opinion, which probably isn’t shared by all! I think we as a species are, in the main, terrified of randomness. Serial Killers are the embodiment of randomness, killing a whole range of people, strangers the vast majority of the time. That scares people. The idea that they could be targeted without realising, not seeing something coming…it’s scary. Combine that with the idea that people use fiction to safely explore their fears, it’s no wonder serial killer books are so popular. It also gives the reader the chance to peak behind the curtain; to see what the motivations of those killers are. It’s a way of investigating our fears from behind a veil of safety. We know, for the most part, that “good” will conquer “evil” so all will be satisfactory at the end. It’s that safety in reading fiction which attracts readers to these types of stories..


Thanks Luca!

You can follow Luca on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LucaVeste


Review: Dead Gone


In Dead Gone we meet DI David Murphy – a man who has suffered a terrible loss – as he attempts to track down a killer. Not unusual you might think. But actually it is. This is a new breed of serial killer and David, alongside his partner in crime DS Laura Rossi will find themselves entering the darkest recesses of the human mind.

So lets talk for a moment about that group of books commonly known as “serial killer thrillers”. There are many out there – good ones, bad ones, scary ones…go into a bookshop and you will find plenty. To my mind the best ones have been written by Thomas Harris, John Connolly and more recently Joe Conlan.  I would also like to give a nod to The 50/50 Killer by Steve Mosby – a fairly stunning example of its genre. Now you can happily add Luca Veste to that list…This I can say with certainty. Its not easy to avoid cliche when writing a book of this kind, its also not easy to give it a new “voice” but this is what Mr Veste has managed to do and with terrific success. Engaging, frightening, genuinely shocking in places it will grip you to the last. Flowing storyline, terrific writing and a nod to those that have come before, this is an amazing debut.

So. Characters. You all know I love great characters yes? You will find a fair few in the pages of this novel. David Murphy, haunted, searching for reasons, has great depth to his character. I loved that he often set off down the wrong path – made assumptions then had to correct – not the perfect policeman who you are always sure will eventually solve the case but a realistic nod to investigative technique.  He is open to development – a great thing especially when you know that this is the start of a series. Laura is intriguing also, especially in her background and ties to family. I look forward to finding out more about them.

The mystery elements are well imagined and will keep you guessing – the very heart of any crime read. Its complex – no easy trail to follow here but always intriguing and never dull. The resolution will not disappoint. This is going to be a terrific addition to the genre. And if this is the first book, gosh, what is to come? I will wait to find out. Impatiently.


Happy Reading Folks!


Thank you to all the authors who took part today – some terrific answers there, fascinating stuff! Please see below some purchase/pre-order links.

The Straw Men:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Straw-Men-Michael-Marshall/dp/0006499988/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378712019&sr=1-1&keywords=the+straw+men

Nameless: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nameless-ebook/dp/B00BTIMY0Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378712062&sr=1-1&keywords=nameless

Dead Gone: http://www.amazon.co.uk/DEAD-GONE-ebook/dp/B00E31D9J6/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1378712096&sr=1-1


All 3 come highly recommended from me! I will be getting Mr Marshall back on site soon to talk about his other great novels and Luca Veste will tell us some interesting things again upon the release of Dead Gone.

In the meantime…Happy Reading Folks!























Liz Currently Loves…..Cross and Burn by Val McDermid.



Coming October

First of all, thank you to the author and publishers for the advance copy of this novel via netgalley. I was overjoyed to receive it as I’m a long time fan of Tony Hill and indeed all books from Ms McDermid. My beautiful Hardback copy remains on pre- order. Hey, Bookshelf OCD. Can’t have a missing one from the collection…

So, the latest instalment finds Tony and Carol at odds in the aftermath of “The Retribution”..meanwhile Paula Mcintyre takes front and centre as she takes on the case of a missing friend…and also begins the hunt for a killer alongside her new Boss, someone she is not sure of. Paula can’t  resist getting Tony involved, this must mean that Carol will not be far behind….surely?

I’m used to a high standard from these novels – I will admit to some slight concern about what would come next, The Retribution having had such an emotive storyline for those of us who are fans of the Carol/Tony pairing…and leaving us with such huge consequences for their relationship. How could she top that I wondered? I kept the faith though and my faith was more than justified. Here we have not only a top notch mystery as usual but a wonderfully written continuation of our favourite characters ongoing story.

By cleverly giving more focus to Paula, a character I have always been inordinately fond of anyway, and for at least the first portion of the book putting Tony and Carol very much in the background of the story as it relates to the current investigation, Ms McDermid created for this reader, a thing of beauty. I was equally enthralled with the new case and with Paula’s struggles to come to terms with new relationships..both personal and professional. And then flipping the coin and seeing just how Carol is coping with her life and how Tony is trying to cope in his world that simply, at this moment, does not have Carol in it.

Other characters, both old and new make an appearance, a little twist to Paula’s case gives us some unease and I had to make myself slow down a little and appreciate the writing  – I could happily have read this one in a few hours straight when as usual it is a thing to be savoured….

Pulling together the strands of the story, Ms McDermid polishes things off in her indubitable style and gives us, her constant readers, a satisfactory conclusion and yet…a very real need to find out whats next for Tony, Carol et al. Oh dear, here comes my chronic impatience again…

So for the readers. If you are already immersed in this world then this instalment will more than satisfy you..I have no doubt. If you have yet to meet Tony Hill and Carol Jordan then don’t start here – you COULD, in fact you could start anywhere, but I would highly recommend that you start at the very beginning. Tony and Carol have had a whole life before this. “The Mermaids Singing” begins their story…where it will end we have yet to discover.

You can find out more here: http://www.valmcdermid.com/

Follow Val on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/valmcdermid

To Pre-Order Cross and Burn : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cross-Burn-Tony-Hill-McDermid/dp/1408704560/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378641068&sr=1-1&keywords=cross+and+burn

And to start from the beginning: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mermaids-Singing-Val-McDermid/dp/0007344678/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378643240&sr=1-1&keywords=the+mermaids+singing


Happy Reading Folks!









Coming Next Week to Liz Loves Books.

So yet another week over and its been terrific! Thanks so much to all the authors that took part in the various interviews and thanks for the amazing reads! So what do we have for you next week I wonder?




On Monday I am doing a “Serial Killer Thriller” feature about that terrific sub genre of books that include the scariest of killers. Taking part will be Joe Conlan, Michael Marshall and Luca Veste all of whom have written great titles in this vein. I have asked them all the same questions and you can find reviews of the books as well.




On Tuesday I shall be talking to Rowan Coleman, all about “Woman Walks Into A Bar” – a novella I am going to be encouraging you all to download onto your Kindle as 100% of royalties are going to Refuge. I will tell you a bit about the charity and why they need our support. What a great cause, lets get behind it!



On Wednesday at the request of great Twitter friend Susi Holliday, I shall be answering the A-Z questions on my “My Life in Books”.  Find out what my answers are and see Susi’s here as a little taster. http://sjiholliday.com/




On Thursday I shall be talking to Joanne Graham all about the wonderful novel Lacey’s House – a favourite recent read of mine from the amazing Legend Press. Looking forward to that one and don’t miss the book!




On Friday I shall be returning to a very popular subject- that of a good twisty tale – and doing a feature called “Beat the Author”. This is a game I play with all twisty tales and so far the only living authors to absolutely beat me are the ones who will be taking part. Erin Kelley and Tina Seskis. They will answer some questions for me and I will also be giving a nod to Agatha Christie – the Queen of Crime- another author who got me every time…


So thats next week. Have a great weekend everyone.


Happy Reading folks!

Liz Currently Loves….The Radio by Jonathan Lee



So, when the lovely Mr Lee contacted me and offered me the chance to read his book “The Radio”, although it was out of my immediate comfort zone I thought it looked kind of interesting so I accepted with thanks and gave it a go. And I loved it. Funny, insightful and a great read, with some sequels to come, this is definitely one I would recommend. I caught up with Jonathan and asked him a few highly intelligent (ok, well, things I wanted to know anyway!) questions and here is what he had to say.


George Poppleton is a wonderful character? Is there any part of you in him or was he based on someone you know?

Thank you.  George is an amalgamation of three different people that I have met throughout my life. Although George is around twenty years my senior, there is a good proportion of me in him, albeit an exaggerated version of me. I do think that George really only wants to do what’s right for everyone having spent his lifetime putting himself last.


Which Character from “The Radio” was the most fun to write?

It’s interesting because all the characters have elements of people I have met. Its a difficult question to answer because some of the characters are not necessarily fun, but their some of their traits gave me the most enjoyment in translating their characters to the written word. For pure fun, it would have to be David, or the inimitable Auntie Lesley.
Where did the idea to use a Radio to kick start such a wonderful story come from?

Without giving too much away and spoiling the story, I wanted to be able to use the radio as a way of escape for somebody who has issues that they have yet to deal with properly. There is a good proportion of The Radio which echo my own real life experiences and the use of the radio fitted perfectly with that.
Can you tell us anything about your next project?

The Radio is a a trilogy and as such the ending leaves enough open for people to want to know more of what happens to George and the rest of the Poppletons. At the moment however, I am writing The Page, a thriller and another with a twist.  The story goes…
Following a tragic car accident, Michael Sewell is alone and lost for the first time. The loss of his wife, Margaret after thirty years of marriage has left a hole far greater than Michael could have imagined.
Persuaded to go on holiday alone for the first time since this accident, by his daughter Jane, a page blown from a book crosses the pool and sticks to his chest.
The words from the page resonate with Michael, describing in detail the recent events in his own life.
Now, Michael must delve into his past and face his future, taking him and his family on a horrifying and tragic journey toward the truth.

Do you have a favourite genre that you read in?

Generally I would read contemporary fiction. I love Mark Haddon, Iain Banks and Nick Hornby. Every day stories appeal to me, stories that could actually happen. My all time favourite book is Roald Dahl’s unexpected tales and I have a minor obsession with stories that have a twist in the tale. I also have a keen interest in miscarriages of justice and read a lot of true crime. At present I am reading A M Homes’ magnificent May We Be Forgiven.

Dogs or Cats?

Cats. I am not a huge animal fan, but my kids harangued me into keeping a kitten from a litter born to a family member. So now we have Cate (namely simply after cat with an ‘e’ on the end).

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?

That’s a difficult one.  I’ve travelled extensively and loved New Zealand and Canada. However, I suppose the answer would be simply wherever my children and loved ones are, so for now I suppose the answer is Yorkshire!

Thank you so much and I look forward to the rest of the Poppleton story!

So we come to “The Radio” perhaps a book I wouldnt normally pick up but it was wonderful. Thank you so much to Mr Lee!

Meet George Poppleton. Henpecked husband and father and one of the most loveable characters you are ever likely to meet,one day he finds an old transister radio in his loft. As it becomes a bit of an obsession, we learn about his life, whilst in the background daughter Sam and Wife Sheila plan a wedding….

This book made me laugh so much, I’m glad I didnt have stitches anywhere because I would surely have been on the way to the hospital….equally it was in places terribly sad and poignant as we learn about the loss George has suffered. A real snapshot of family life but with an eye to the ironic, it was perfect reading. Black humour pervades the pages, you may inappropriately giggle at times but as George moves ever further away from reality and things go wrong you will not want to stop reading. Oh and I will NEVER look at a garlic baguette in the same way again…

The writing flows from the page in terrific style – one of those books you live while you are reading it, and will stay with you when you are done…I am quite sad it is over.

Peppered with amazing characters quite aside from George himself – wait until you meet Auntie Lesley – never the less it is bittersweet. A beautiful novel to read and let yourself get absorbed into, I am assuming (and hoping) that we will meet them all again one day. Please read it. You won’t be disappointed.


Find out more about Jonathon Lee here: http://jonathanleeauthor.com/


You can follow on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/J0n4th4n_Lee


Purchase information clickety click: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Radio-ebook/dp/B00CA5JURC/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1378451289&sr=1-1


Happy Reading Folks!

Meet Nick Quantrill…..And Joe Geraghty.



Nick Quantrill is a Hull based writer of short stories that have been published in Volumes Eight, Nine and Ten of “The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime” and the Joe Geraghty series of novels, which I love. This week saw the release of the third book in the series, The Crooked Beat, and I caught up with Nick and asked him some questions. Here is what he had to say.


I love Joe – Is he based on anyone or did he come solely from your creative mind?


That’s very kind. Joe’s very much defined by what he isn’t. I was conscious that writing about a PI in Hull wasn’t necessarily going to be an easy task, more that I had to make him relevant in some way. I wanted to move away from the PI clichés of femme fatales walking in with cases to solve, bottles of whiskey in the desk drawer and wise cracking when the chips are down. Joe is a fairly regular, if resourceful, northern man.


Which book did you enjoy writing the most?


I think the right answer to that one is always the current one. Once a book is finished, I quickly lose interest in it. I want to be pushing on with something new. In terms of the Geraghty novels, I’ve enjoyed writing all of them so far. “Broken Dreams” was the first one, so by definition it was exciting and different. Having the death of the city’s fishing industry in the background was a real opportunity for me to engage with my home city, too, and its history. “The Late Greats” looks at a reforming band, and given music is one of my passions, I had a lot of fun with that novel. Probably too much! “The Crooked Beat” instinctively felt more complex, both in terms of plot and the moral ambiguity in it, so the challenge felt that bit bigger.


Do you have any writing habits?

Only so far as trying to do a bit every day, be it editing or research if I’m not writing, every single day. If you do that, you keep your head in the story and you’re always making progress. In terms of place and time, I try and make the best use of what’s available.


Kindle/E reader or Print Book?


Tough question. Can I have both? No? I’m going to say my Kindle, but only because I don’t get to bookshops all that often these days. Kindle is just too convenient and easy, isn’t it? Weirdly, if I’m reading for research, it has to be print.


Ye Olde Dinner Party Question – top 3 favoured guests dead or alive and why?


Seeing as I’m a writer, I should invite a wordsmith. John Steinbeck is my absolute favourite, so he’s a must. His books are full of warmth and compassion, so I’d really like to confirm he was the same. I suspect he was. I’d also really like to invite my dad. He died just before my first book was published, and although he knew it was happening, it would be nice to tell him about all that’s happened since. Lastly, I would definitely want Billy Whitehurst to join us. He was my boyhood hero as a Hull City AFC supporter. He’s what you’d politely call ‘old school’. Alan Hansen is quoted that although he’d played against the likes of Maradona, it was Billy he feared the most. Literally. If we had any problems with the service or the food, Billy would sort it for us.


What one item would you save from a burning house?


We’ll assume my wife, daughter and cat aren’t ‘items’, so I’m looking at my pile of precious things, books and music, and what not. I really don’t want to sound like a raging egotist, but I have a box of cuttings and posters that I want my daughter to see when she’s a bit older. I’d hate to lose that. I’d also hate to lose my signed copy of Luca Veste’s debut novel, “Dead Gone”. It’ll be worth a fortune soon! Other things are just ‘stuff’. I also back my work up regularly to a SkyDrive, so no worries there…


Thanks Nick!


Review: The Crooked Beat.


The third in the “Joe Geraghty” series finds Joe all at sea and unsure where his life is going – when his brother ends up in trouble though his immediate path is clear. Find the truth. Make things right.

This series has been steadily getting better and better and hey it was terrific in the first place. I particularly loved the use of past and present timelines in this outing – Buried secrets always make for a great reading experience and Joe is going to discover plenty. Cleverly intertwined, the two tales slowly come together to form the whole – with many surprises along the way.

The sense of place is fantastic..I have never visited Hull but after reading this and the previous novels I really feel like I have – and thats a talent to be sure. The backdrop adds great depth to the story and gets you involved.

As I’ve said before, the “private detective” in fiction is rarely used as successfully as your standard “DI with a past” but Mr Quantrill, like John Connolly and Robert Crais before him has managed to write a character you can get behind. And he’s British – whats not to love?

I would recommend these novels to anyone with a love of crime fiction. Perhaps slightly overlooked in the genre, that should be rectified. Start with “Broken Dreams” and take it from there…..

My thanks to the author for the copy of this book for review.


Find out more about Nick here: http://www.nickquantrill.co.uk/


Follow him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/NickQuantrill


Clickety Click for purchase information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nick-Quantrill/e/B003QNKHO2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1


Also Available:




Happy Reading Folks!



Liz Currently Loves….The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald.



So today its all about “The Cry” from Helen Fitzgerald, a book that touched my heart and made me sob. Beautifully written and evocative, you can see my review shortly, but Helen kindly agreed to answer some questions for me and here is what she had to say.


Was the cry difficult to write from emotional point of view?


It was torture. I’ve never been inside someone’s head to this extent, and Joanna’s head was a bad place to be. I had to imagine I’d lost my child, that I believed it was my fault, and that the only person at my side was the wrong person, a bad person.  I intended to write the whole novel from her point of view, but after 50 pages I realised I had to get out. So I introduced the ex-wife, and alternated between the two of them. I’m glad I did – a large theme in the story is about the relationship between two women who’ve been hurt by the same man.


How much, if at all, did real life stories of abduction influence the story?


I think we all grow up with one particular crime story. Mine was the Lindy Chamberlain case. While holidaying at Ayers Rock in 1980, a dingo took her baby from the tent while she and her husband were socialising with other campers. She was the first huge trial by media over there. It’s all anyone in Australia talked about for months, years even. And everyone thought she was guilty as hell. The courts agreed, only to discover her innocence after she’d done three years in prison.

The Cry is different – we know the parents are guilty very early on in the book, albeit by accident – but I drew on the trial by media of the Chamberlain case, and on the terrible tendency we have to accuse and crucify women who don’t fit our perception of the “good mother” and the likeable woman.


Did you always know how it was going to turn out?


Yes. I usually know the ending, even the last line, when I start writing. I think that’s what made it hard to write all the way to the end, because I knew I’d probably cry a lot.


Can you tell us anything about your next project?


I’m editing the next thriller with Faber, out Sept 2014.  I remember visiting my grandmother when she was in Nazareth House in Melbourne. Whenever I visited she’d say “That nurse is trying to kill me.” I look back on it now and worry that I dismissed her panic as the ramblings of a woman with dementia, when the nurse could well have been trying to kill her. My next book is about an 82 year old with dementia (Rose) who believes something sinister is going on in her care home. Rose was a children’s author and illustrator, and draws pictures when she’s connected to remind her of what’s going on so she can alert people. Of course, no-one believes her… and there is something very sinister going on.


The top 3 authors you like to read currently?


Alissa Nutting (Tampa). Clare McGowan (The Lost), Karen Campbell (This is Where I am).


First thing, apart from loved ones and pets, you would rescue from a burning building.


Nothing. If my husband and kids are safe, I wouldn’t care about anything else at all. I’d just run very fast, making sure they’re ahead of me.


Thank you so much Helen.




Thank you kindly to Helen Fitzgerald and the Publisher for the advance copy of this novel.

Baby Noah goes missing from a roadside in Australia and the media attention is intense and extreme. Battling their loss and the attention, Noah’s parents Alistair and Joanna slowly start to fall apart. As the search heads ever closer to the truth of what happened to Noah, the blame game begins…

I’m not sure how best to describe “The Cry”. The blurb calls it a “psychological thriller” and yes I suppose it is in a way. But I have to say I read it more as a family drama – the characterisation is pure and oh so realistic and Ms Fitzgerald has used real life to great effect – we have all seen on the news many high profile missing children cases where first sympathy abounds then suspicion begins…and how social media can play such a huge role in the pressure put upon parents and the police in these situations. What she has done is put a human face on it – the public can’t see what goes on behind closed doors when the 24/7 news cycle goes mad but in this fictional story thats exactly what we get. Brilliantly done.

Timeslips are used to great effect – we see Joanna and Alistair’s journey with Noah from leaving Scotland, on various legs of the flight to Australia, at the same time hints and teasers about what is actually going on now. As the strands come together the whole picture emerges…in a fascinating way. There is no real attempt at hiding secrets here – although what you see may not always be what you get – its very much about the emotion behind the mask and how you can never know what really goes on in someone elses head. As Joanna heads further and further into what could almost be called insanity, you will feel for her…and for those around her.

Its an amazing book to be sure. I have read some fantastic books lately, this has been a terrific year for terrific novels – yet I sense that this is the one that will stay with me for a long time. Beautifully written, characters you will relate to and feel for and a story that could so easily be truth you should certainly not miss this one. Cry? Oh yes. Indeed I did.

Happy Reading Folks!


Find out more here: http://helenfitzgerald.wordpress.com/


You can follow Helen on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/FitzHelen


To purchase clickety click here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cry-Helen-FitzGerald/dp/0571287700/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378274587&sr=1-1&keywords=the+cry+helen+fitzgerald


Happy Reading Folks!

His Fathers Son by Tony Black. Wonderful.



So, a departure from Crime Fiction for Tony Black and a wonderful novel all about family. A book I loved a great deal, you can see my review shortly, but first Tony kindly answered a few questions for me and here is what he had to say.

 “His Fathers Son” is a huge departure from crime writing – is it something you have wanted to do for a while?

I have to say, yes. Much as I love the gritty crime stuff there’s only so far down that one particular rabbit hole that you can go. I started off writing more general fiction and sort of drifted into crime and much as I’ve enjoyed exploring the world through Gus Dury’s eyes, and a few others, I’ve just got too many ideas outside the crime genre not to explore those too.
It’s a heartfelt story – does it resonate on a personal level for you?

Yes. My publicist describes it as ‘semi-autobiographical’ and much of it is lifted straight from my real-life experiences. I was born in Australia, like Marti, and grew up in Ireland; moving to Galway on the west coast at the same age as Marti. I used a lot of those early experiences to colour the novel and the time period is the one I remember.


I loved the settings especially – what made you choose emigration and Australia in particular as a backdrop to Joey’s story?

Well, they were both countries that I know and love, and luckily on opposite sides of the world – that kind of contrast was heaven sent for this story. When Marti arrives in Ireland the rain and the cold and the grey of the buildings is a shock compared to the blue-skies and sunshine of Oz. I also had a family background of immigration to draw upon, my own parents being ‘ten-pound poms’ in the 60s so again, a lot of the book’s content is my story too.


Are you intending to write more books that are outside of the crime genre?
Yes, definitely. I have a non-crime book coming out next year called The Last Tiger which is quite similar to His Father’s Son in the themes it explores. It’s about a family of Lithuanian refugees who think they’re en route to the USA but wash up in Van Diemen’s Land, the once notorious prison island of the British Empire. The infamous Tasmanian tigers are running wild and the father of the family utilises his old skills to trap and kill them for the government bounty, much to the upset of his young son, Myko. It’s a bit of a heart tugger too and draws again on an earlier generation of my family who were Lithuanian immigrants.


Which one book would you like to have if stuck on a desert island?

Probably the Yellow Pages, it would be most use for fire-lighters. But if I couldn’t have that then, A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemingway.

 Food: Healthy or CHIPS!

Chips. With pizza.

Favourite thing to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Chill out with the papers, I don’t buy them through the week but still manage the Sundies. Then, maybe a long walk with the dog – we have a Cairn terrier puppy right now and he just can’t get enough exercise.


Thank you so much Tony!




First of all my grateful thanks to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this wonderfully moving book. Tony Black, well known for his outstanding crime fiction takes a break from that and I for one am very pleased that he did.

Joey Driscol moves his family to Australia in the hopes of a new beginning. For a time the family live happily but when Joey’s wife disappears back to their native Ireland, taking their son Marti with her, Joey is forced to follow if he is to see them again.

This is such a beautifully written story – the characters and the settings come to life and the ups and downs of daily life and those things that can haunt us are brilliantly imagined but oh so realistic. The relationship explored between father and son is magnificent, not just Joey and Marti but Joey and his own father- heart wrenching and appealing, the demons Joey must face from his past in order to secure his and his families future will keep you turning the pages until you are done. My heart was with his wife – Shauna – she suffered as I suffer – a lot of what she has to face to deal with the “Black Dog” are things that I have had to face myself. What made this all the more wonderful for me was seeing the other side. Joey lives with Shauna’s issues – decisions they take and have taken both separately and together make up the world that Marti finds himself living in….if the family are ultimately going to find redemption, its going to be a hard road. I felt for each and every one of them.

This is an emotional story to be sure. Poignant yes. It also has its humour – cleverly paced and bittersweet I highly recommend that you pick a copy of this up as soon as it is available. Mr Black can write more than crime fiction thats for sure. I hope he continues to do so.

Find out more about Tony Black here http://www.tonyblack.net/

Follow him on Twitter here https://twitter.com/TonyblackUk

To purchase clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/His-Fathers-Son-Tony-Black/dp/1845026365/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378196453&sr=1-1&keywords=his+fathers+son


Happy Reading Folks!


Liz still REALLY loves….What Lots Wife Saw by Ioanna Bourazopou​lou



So I was lucky enough to be one of the first in the country to read this amazing novel from Ioanna Bourazopoulou, where she has created a mad and wonderful post apocalyptic world filled with wonderful characters and strange goings on. Winner of the 2007 Athens Prize for Literature you are unlikely to have read a book quite like it before. You can read my review shortly, but in the meantime I caught up with Ioanna and asked her a few questions. Here is what she had to say…


What Lots Wife Saw has a post apocalyptic setting and a unique one. Where did the idea come from?


I am not really sure, I’ve never been able to trace the origins of a story and discover the first thought or feeling behind it. Probably because the original idea undergoes so many transformations as the book progresses, generating new interpretations and dilemmas, that it metamorphoses completely. All I can say is that I love creating dark, dreamy or even grotesque settings, where characters find themselves in strange and ambiguous situations facing unexpected challenges. Consequently, they are forced to become resourceful and daring and, through them, I am forced to become resourceful and daring too –which perhaps explains why I adore this type of fiction


This is very much a character driven novel – Do you have a favourite?


The main characters are two types of ‘survivors’ who have struggled to create new lives after losing everything that mattered to them –their family and country, their dignity, their faith, their self-esteem. Some are full of anger and hatred, others of guilt and self-pity. The first type of survivors reside in the Colony and serve the Consortium of the Seventy-Five, an international company which has found a way to benefit from human desperation. The second type encompasses people like Phileas Book –too weak to fight back, too hurt to recover, too small to make a difference. Although being on opposite sides of the Mediterranean –and opposite sides of morality– these two types of survivors will manage to communicate and change their fate. I feel closer to Phileas Book, I confess he is my favourite, but I acknowledge that without the screams of the damned, his virtuous prayers would have never been answered.


How did you come up with Phileas Book’s peculiar brand of “crossword”?


By making a series of poetic assumptions –a freedom this type of fiction allows. I wanted to invent a way of communication between people who have never met, but have similar needs and desires. Assuming deep feelings which words fail to express create certain vibrations that are detected only by sensitive recipients, Book can communicate with his crossword solvers, as a writer can communicate with his/her readers: between the lines. It’s not scientific assertion, rather wishful thinking; Book, as his name suggests, embodies many of my literary pursuits and fantasies.


The mystery element of the novel is clever, complicated and compelling – did you always know the ultimate outcome or did the characters tell you on the journey?


I usually know the end, it is a knowledge I consider vital in order to have a destination and avoid wandering in the fog without a purpose. I never know how to get to the end, it is a state of ignorance I consider equally important in order to become resourceful and productive. My aim is to get to the end using the roads less travelled, walk down strange and dim-lit paths, following deceptive signs and misinterpreted clues, which will lead to many dead ends and false leads, and will hopefully make the journey interesting for both the reader and me.


You won the 2007 Athens Prize for Literature. Can you put into words how that made you feel?


Surprised, thrilled and a little worried, to be honest. The book was nominated for other prizes also but failed to win and I was beginning to feel very comfortable with that; it was an ideal situation, being among the better but not the best, I had the publicity and the credit of the nominee but not the responsibility of the winner. When awarded I wondered what that would mean for me, how much freedom I would lose, would everything become too serious? I soon realized that winning is not so bad after all – it only relates to the specific book; a new book has a new and untested writer behind it, who is eager to challenge the previous one, invent new writing techniques, experiment, take risks and surprise. All in all, winning was a very pleasant and useful experience.


Can you tell us anything about your next project?


It’s a peculiar adventure set in a lake which belongs to three different countries, and which is the birthplace of a sea-monster. I feel very privileged and moved because the National Book Centre of France has given me a scholarship for this specific book, as part of a generous scholarship programme supporting Greek writers, a financial and, more importantly, moral aid and encouragement which I will never forget. I so hope the book will satisfy both them and the readers.


Thank you SO much to Ioanna for taking the time to answer these questions. And I am VERY excited to read what she brings us next.


Review What Lots Wife Saw.


Well. What can I say. Having just finished this sprawling wonderful expanse of a novel, peppered with the most unlikely characters you will ever have the joy to encounter, and set in a future where the world we know has changed in indescribable ways, I am feeling quite honoured to be amongst the first in this country to read it. Winner of the 2007 Athens Prize for Literature, quite deservedly so in this reader’s opinion, this is post apocalyptic fiction at its best. Not only that, Ioanna Bourazopoulou has managed to write a mystery, a thriller and an adventure all tied up into one wonderful package.

Rising oceans have engulfed much of the planet and changed the landscape forever. From amid this new world a strange “salt” peppers the earth, addictive and hallucinogenic, and controlled by the mysterious “Consortium” of the 75. In their strictly controlled Colony, their employee’s live and work to a tight, unyielding rule of law, overseen by the governer and his six star bearers. When the governer is found dead, it is clear that chaos may well ensue, but what exactly are the 75 up to?  Meanwhile, away from the colony, Phileas Book creates and publishes his strange and wonderful “crosswords” made up from letters sent to The Times, until one day, approached by a representative of the 75, he finds himself thrust into the mystery of what exactly happened in the immediate aftermath of the death of Governer Bera. By reading the letters of the six, he is asked to extrapolate a theory by using his “crossword” methods…but Book is suspicious. Of the Consortium, of the Six and of the motives behind the request. Was it murder? Or even something more sinister….

This is an extremely clever story…utterly insane in its concept in the best way possible, it will have you tied up in the most amazing literary knots – and the ultimate resolution may well take your breath away. It certainly did mine, because really, despite all the information being freely available I never actually came to the correct conclusion whilst engrossed in its pages. A lot of that may well be to do with the brilliant writing – the scene setting is superb and a lot of your head will be wrapping itself around this strange new world…and perhaps even imagining what your place in it might have been. And so the author distracts you from the clues you might otherwise have picked up on – with hindsight it was all perfectly clear but I would like to bet that the majority of you will scratch your heads just as much as I did both during and after reading the book. Which you must. Don’t miss it! Phileas Book is perfect – through his eyes you will discover what went before – as one of the original survivors of the change, he leads us through the terror and the emotion – and why he now stagnates, creating his puzzles, but not really living in any real sense. The six all have their own brilliant mindsets – I wonder which you will sympathise with, hate or love….When you have read it come back and tell me. Enquiring minds want to know. This is inspiring writing – originality and the ability to surprise and delight has definitely not been lost as far as this author is concerned. I hope to see many more marvellous creations in the future.

To finish I must thank the publisher for sending me an advance copy of this novel, and I hope that the above review has done it justice. If you follow me on Twitter I will be talking about this one a lot – and pointing you in the right direction to find out more. Happy Reading Folks!


What Lots Wife Saw was brought to us by Black and White Publishing. You can follow them on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/bwpublishing


If you fancy getting yourself a copy clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Lots-Wife-Ioanna-Bourazopoulou/dp/1845025474/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378108364&sr=1-1&keywords=what+lots+wife+saw


Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves…..The Memory Game by Sharon Sant.



So today see’s the release of “The Memory Game” By Sharon Sant ,a book I absolutely adored and that had me reaching for the tissues. A review plus a little competition for you to win your very own copy will follow shortly – first however I tracked Sharon down and asked her a few questions and here is what she had to say.


The Memory Game was an emotional read. Was it just as emotional to write?


When I’m writing I tend to be quite focused on what I’m doing from a technical perspective, particularly during the first draft, so although I must be getting emotionally involved, I’m not really aware of it. When I read it back is when I notice a draft affecting me emotionally, probably because I try to read it with fresh eyes, almost as though someone else has written it. I’ve read The Memory Game back three times now to edit and proofread and each time I’ve found myself crying. There’s another proofread to go, so I need to get some tissues to hand this time!


Was the ending set in your mind from the start or did it evolve with the characters?


Yes, the ending was pretty much set from the start. I remember discussing it with my writer friend, Mel Sherratt, on a train journey last year when I was telling her about the story that was in my head, and I mentioned the idea I had for the ending back then. For me, I don’t think there could have been any other ending that would have made as much sense.


Bethany was a wonderful emotive character – was she based on anyone you remember from your schooldays?


Thank you!  Actually, I think you mentioned in your review that we all knew someone like Bethany at school and I think most of us did (or do if we’re lucky enough to still be at school!).  I had a best friend (in fact, we’re still best friends now) at school who, while she wasn’t quite bullied in the way Bethany is, still got a really hard time.  Her parents were quite strict and were also devout Christians, which made her stand out immediately.  My friend has this staggering IQ, she’s incredibly witty and interesting, a talented artist, and generally very cool, but people at school didn’t see that, they just saw this slightly old fashioned girl who wasn’t allowed to do the stuff the rest of us could. When she did get picked on, to my shame, I didn’t defend her like I should have done.  Looking back, I think I was afraid that if I did, I would become that girl instead.  I only ever just managed to stay on the right side of socially acceptable myself – my parents struggled for money and I was never one of the cool kids.


Tea, coffee or cake?


Um, can I have tea AND cake?  I don’t drink coffee very often; it makes me go caffeine crazy!


If you could take one book to a desert island, what would it be?


This is so hard, why only one?  I’m not sure, honestly, but my first instinct is the book I always mention, The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I should probably say War and Peace – it would last me longer!


3 people alive or dead you would like to go for a drink with?


Oh dear, I’m sure I’m supposed to give an answer that includes people like Alfred Nobel or Einstein.  But I’m going to show just how shallow I really am now by saying Colin Morgan, Matt Smith and Bob Mortimer!


Thanks Sharon!


You can follow Sharon Here: https://twitter.com/SharonSant

Find out more about her here: http://sharonsant.com/

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Memory-Game-ebook/dp/B00EU7R1GA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378024812&sr=1-2&keywords=the+memory+game




First of all thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book for review. No REALLY thank you it was amazing.


David died at 15. But he is not gone. Weeks after his death, he wanders his home village, unable to interact with anyone or anything…and unable to understand why, as he seems to be the only ghost around. Suddenly he realises that there IS one person that can see and hear him…her name is Bethany. An outcast and loner, they had no contact in life so why is she the only one who can see him now?


This was such a beautifully written story it tugged at my heartstrings. David was not a particularly nice person in life – certainly not in his attitude to girls like Bethany – and as he watches his best friend behave appallingly he comes to some understanding of who he himself was and how different things would be now if only he could get that life back. In the relationship with his Mother, his Stepfather and with Bethany. I suppose in a way, you could call it a coming of age story..except of course David will not have the chance. The relationship that develops between the two youngsters – one living, one dead, is almost what I would like to call “Anti Twilight”. No angst, just a rather strange friendship and mutual respect that you wish with all your heart they could have in life. And yet…if David was alive they would never speak.

As Bethany tries to help David discover just why it is that he is stuck, they learn more about each other and themselves. She really is an amazing girl who has suffered her own share of tragedy…and we all knew girls and boys like her at school, some of us WERE those people – the slightly odd, and seemingly sad misfits. What Sharon Sant has done is give you a glimpse behind the mask – a possible reason for being. It makes you wonder….what if you had simply spoken to a girl like that rather than avoiding them or making fun – what hidden depths might you discover and who knows what friendships are missed because this simply doesnt occur.

And of course its a darn good story to boot – you will WANT to know what David’s purpose is, why he is the only spirit, why is Bethany the one chosen to be able to see and hear him. There are some humerous moments as David tries to accomplish those things that film ghosts always seem to be able to do – moving things, scaring people..but mostly it is an emotional and heart wrenching ride towards the final resolution. Will David be doomed to walk forever with only Bethany for company? I would suggest you read and find out!



Win your very own copy of The Memory Game by commenting on this post with the answer to this question.

If YOU died and only one person could see and hear you, who would you choose and why?

Please also state whether you would prefer Ebook or Paperback and be aware that Paperbacks will be despatched at the end of this month (UK only for Hard Copy)   Entries will be judged by an impartial observer and the winner announced on Facebook, Twitter and here on site.


Happy Reading Folks!