Meet Nick Quantrill…..And Joe Geraghty.

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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:

 

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Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

Liz Currently Loves….The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald.

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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.

 

Review

 

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.

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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!

 

Review

 

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

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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.

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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

 

Review

 

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!

 

COMPETITION.

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!

 

Coming Next Week to Liz Loves Books.

So the end of another week. Heading into September where is the year going? So last week was great, thanks to authors Luke Delaney and Cassandra Parkin for taking part. So what is in store in the week ahead then? Well, I will tell you…

 

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Sunday see’s the release of The Memory Game, the latest novel from Sharon Sant. Look out tomorrow for a Q&A with Sharon and the chance to win your very own copy of the book in a little competition. Its a great story and you don’t want to miss out!

 

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On Monday I will be revisiting a much loved book – What Lots Wife Saw by Ioanna Bourazopoulou. Winner of the 2007 Athens Prize for Literature this was one of my favourite reads of the year. Ioanna has answered a few questions for me about the novel amongst other things so clickety click on Tuesday to hear what she had to say and to find out about one of the best Post Apocalyptic novels to hit our shelves for a while…

 

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On Tuesday I will be talking once more about one of the books that made me cry…the stunning “His Fathers Son” by Tony Black. In a move away from Crime Fiction, Mr Black has given us an emotive tale of the relationship between Fathers and Sons as well family dynamics in general. He has also answered a few questions for me so find out all about it on Teusday. Don’t miss out!

 

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On Wednesday it will be all about “The Cry” from Helen Fitzgerald. Its obviously a tearful week – this book also had me reaching for the tissues, and in an amazing story of love and loss, Helen Fitzgerald has taken us behind the scenes of a missing child case..you won’t put this one down until you are done. Find out all about it from Helen Fitzgerald herself and read a review here on Wednesday.

 

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On Thursday you can meet Nick Quantrill and his creation Joe Geraghty…and find a review of the latest instalment – The Crooked Beat. I also managed to track Nick down to answer a few questions – find out what he had to say on Thursday and discover the world of Joe….

 

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Finally on Friday there will be an interview with Jonathan Lee all about his wonderful quirky little tale – The Radio. A novel I loved you can find out all about it on Friday and complete the week in style!

 

So there you go. Plenty of lovely booky book stuff for you to sink your teeth into. And September is going to be a busy month for Liz Loves Books – look out for even more great stuff coming soon!

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Really Loved….The Keeper by Luke Delaney. Corrigan Rocks!

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So, yesterday saw the release of The Keeper, the second of the DI Corrigan books from Luke Delaney and a book that kept me hooked from start to finish. Review and information will follow, but first Mr Delaney kindly agreed to answer a few questions for me and here is what he had to say.

 

Cold Killing was a great introduction to Sean Corrigan – was he pretty much set in your head or did he evolve with the writing process?

 

Some elements of Corrigan were set in my mind before I even started writing – I wanted him to be a tough Londoner, but not like someone off the Sweeney. I wanted him to be thoughtful and moody, but a family man too, despite not spending much time with them – which reflects the reality of the job. But it was the real smart bad guy I created in Cold Killing that caused Corrigan to evolve into the super-insightful detective he is now. He had to be special enough to catch my evil creation, and as I wanted him to be real it was important to explain how he came to be so in tune with those he hunts, hence his abusive childhood. Really good detectives do walk a line between good and evil, mentally if not morally. It’s a required tool of the trade and Corrigan pushes it to the limit. It’s not really a sense – more the ability to get into the mind of the offender through experience and imagination. It’s nothing psychic!

 

With “The Keeper” you upped the ante quite a bit, it was a stunning follow up. How much do your own experiences within the Police Force impact upon the stories you tell?

 

The Keeper was both very enjoyable and extremely draining to write, I think because it felt more real than Cold Killing. For Cold Killing I invented almost a Super Baddie, based on the meanest criminals I’d dealt with, whereas with The Keeper it was based much more on an everyday psychopath, if there is such a thing, created by his own sufferings. Because of my police background I understand these people aren’t usually monsters – just individuals who’ve been destroyed by circumstance. I felt genuinely sorry for many of the criminals I dealt with, be they murderers or shoplifters. But everyone in The Keeper felt very real – the victims, the witnesses, the families of the victims − which is why I think it was so, for want of a better word, emotional to write. A lot of people have told me they cried when they read it and I have to be strangely happy with that.

 

Can you tell us anything about what is next for Sean?

 

What’s next for Sean – that’s an easy one as I’ve already finished the third DI Corrigan novel – The Toy Taker – which everyone seems to think is the best one yet, so that’s fantastic. I can’t give too much away other than to say it rests on every parent’s worst nightmare – their children going missing from their own homes in the middle of the night: no trace, no noise, no signs of a struggle. But all is not as we may believe! Once everyone’s read it I’ll tell you where I got the idea from.

 

Are you a big reader yourself and if so what kind of novels do you enjoy?

 

I used to be a big reader, but between writing and looking after my young children I don’t have a lot of time for reading – shocking really. In the old days I used to enjoy the early work of Thomas Harris and James Patterson, but then I drifted into historical books and autobiographies (not of tin-pot celebrities, I hasten to add).

 

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee. Good coffee! I like the occasional cup of tea, but only if I’ve made it! Can’t stand tea made by anyone else!

 

Favourite thing to do on a lazy Sunday?

 

Lazy Sunday? I refer the honourable reader to answer 4 above. Thing of the past, I’m afraid. Sundays are hard graft – really hard. In fact it’s been so long since I had a lazy Sunday I can’t even think what I used to do.

 

Thank you so much Luke!

 

Review

 

So we come to the second in the DI Sean Corrigan series from Luke Delaney (Start with Cold Killing)  and it was a corker.

This outing finds Sean investigating a missing persons case – not his usual type of case but the powers that be demand and so on he goes. Soon he realises that something sinister is going on, then another woman disappears and a body is found. So begins an emotional and heart stopping roller coaster ride while Sean uses his peculiar and intriguing senses to unearth the villain of the piece.

I liked this a lot. Cold Killing was excellent, but the standard has been raised with “The Keeper” to a very high level. Crime fiction is an overcrowded genre but Luke Delaney is going to fit right in – Sean Corrigan may not be unique but his quirks, his background, what drives him on are all very well imagined and the plotting is tight and realistic. The aftermath of the events of “Cold Killing” are dealt with and with a new addition to the “cast” who I hope we will see again (I really liked Anna) this was an absorbing read. One of the cleverest parts of Mr Delaney’s writing comes with the hidden agenda’s and the examination of each characters motivation for doing what they do – you will know as much about the criminals as you will about the police officers that hunt them and this makes for a well rounded and complete reading experience.

I am also quite fond of the fact that the author doesnt see the need to rely on dramatic license and there are no plot holes – ok its not one of those books where you will be saying “Never saw THAT coming” but neither is it predictable. In fact what makes it so good IS its unpredictability especially where Sean is concerned – you are never quite sure what he might do next and it can be edge of the seat stuff.

So all in all a brilliant read and one that I would recommend. My thanks to Kate at Harper Collins for sending me an advanced copy of this book – I’m going to have to stay on her good side because I believe there are more to come. Happy Reading folks!

 

 

You can follow Luke Delaney on Twitter here https://twitter.com/lukedelaneyuk

 

For Purchase Information clickety click http://www.amazon.co.uk/Luke-Delaney/e/B00D8H2I9S/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

 

Also Available:

079272-FC222

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Love Dr Brennan….terrific novels from Kathy Reichs.

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So today the latest Dr Brennan novel from Kathy Reichs is officially released and as I adore these books I thought it would be nice to tell you a little bit  about the Author, the books and if you havent yet picked one of these up then perhaps I can inspire you to do so…..

 

The Author

 

Taken from http://kathyreichs.com/

Where you can find out a lot more information about Kathy, the novels, and the popular tv show inspired by them.

 

Dr. Reichs is one of only eighty-two forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from American University, in Washington, DC (1971).  She earned a Masters in Physical Anthropology (1972) and a PhD in Physical Anthropology (1975). The American Board of Forensic Anthropology certified Dr. Reichs as a Diplomate (D.A.B.F.A) in 1986.

 

Her novels are inspired by her life which gives them a unique authenticity – For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec.

 

Dr. Reichs has travelled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC (Formerly CILHI) she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Reichs also assisted with identifying remains found at ground zero of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

 

One amazing Lady I would say.

 

The Novels

In the beginning….

 

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Synopsis

Her life is devoted to justice — for those she never even knew.

In the year since Temperance Brennan left behind a shaky marriage in North Carolina, work has often preempted her weekend plans to explore Quebec. When a female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in trash bags, Tempe detects an alarming pattern — and she plunges into a harrowing search for a killer. But her investigation is about to place those closest to her — her best friend and her own daughter — in mortal danger. . . .

 

Review

My first foray into Dr Brennans world and one I remember fondly to this day. One of those books that along with Stephen King’s “The Stand” and John Connolly’s “Every Dead Thing” made me realise that this was an author I was going to be following forever, I was hooked from the beginning. Its perhaps not for the faint hearted – the nature of the work Dr Brennan takes on can make for some gruesome reading, but its all very realistic and completely entralling.  I especially loved that Dr Temperance Brennan is by no means perfect…moody yet dedicated, as a recovering alchoholic she has her own demons to fight…and yet she will place herself in very real danger to achieve justice for the dead. Kathy Reichs has a terrific writing style…and to this day that has not lost its charm for me. I look forward to each new Brennan adventure with a great sense of excitement. You can start here…I envy you the journey!

 

And the latest…..

 

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Review

 

One of my favourite Authors would be Kathy Reichs, I have followed Dr Brennan’s adventures from the get go so thank you kindly for the advanced copy from netgalley.

This instalment finds Doc Brennan investigating the hit and run death of an unidentified young girl, whilst trying to help a soldier in Afghanistan who is accused of an unlawful killing during an assault on a local village. Reluctantly leaving her “Jane Doe” behind she travels to the war torn country to investigate…

Following many strands in that unique way that Ms Reichs has, as usual this was brilliantly done. Its no surprise given her background that these are some of the most authentic tales you will find in this genre and her knowledge and experience as always shines through during the more technical portions of the book. And yet even someone who has zero knowledge will know what is going on – there is always a handy character hanging around who is dim witted in these matters that the good Doctor has to explain things to in common language – Slidell usually, a character I have what is close to adoration for, he brings a lot of light relief to the drama as always.

Another thing I’ve always loved about this particular style of writing is also prevalent here – Each chapter ends with a short, snappy sentence that somehow, someway, even if its mundane, means you have to read at LEAST a page of the following chapter before putting the novel down. If you can. As usual I found this hard to do! Its not even that there is a cliffhanger at the end of each portion – its just something. It can be an addiction – I did read late into the night again…its a side effect Ms Reichs books have on me. At least now I’m used to it. And I look forward to it.

I have the greatest admiration and respect for this author anyway. She has done an awful lot with her life, not only just for a career but as a calling and has helped an awful lot of people. And hey, she can write. A great story, a terrific page turner, and now you can watch Temperance Brennan on the small screen in “Bones”. A different incarnation again – don’t expect the books – and a terrifically entertaining show.

 

The End?

 

Well no of course not….because we also have…

 

The Television Series.

 

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Bones

I remember being so excited to hear that a set of books I loved so much was going to be the basis for a new tv show…and starring none other than David Boreanaz, an actor who I had a secret girlie girl crush on since his “Buffy” days…so I sat down to watch with great anticipation.

I was surprised by what I found…and kind of delighted.  The Temperance of the tv show, whilst having the same background as her book counterpart was actually completely different. Surrounded by a whole new cast of eclectic and hilarious characters she may be a forensic anthropologist who helps out on the most gruesome of cases but she is also quirky, unpredictable and completely annoying in the best way possible. Perfect chemistry between Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz makes for some sizzling and downright brilliant scenes – and the mysteries are always terrifically imagined and intriguing.

I am a couple of seasons behind now – an error I will need to rectify as soon as possible….

 

So there you go. Read one of the books, watch some of the show, and enter the amazing, sometimes horrifying, always compelling world of Temperance Brennan. And by proxy…Dr Kathy Reichs.

 

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

 

Purchase info http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kathy-Reichs/e/B000APED9E/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1377767639&sr=1-2-ent

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

From the very Beginning….Meet Amie.

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So today I want you to meet a lovely friend of mine, Amie Johnson. As well as being an amazing singer with her acoustic band “In Your Honour” and a teacher she is also attempting to embark on a writing career. Reviewing both books and bands she is already making a bit of a name for herself.  I’ve read bits and pieces of her preparation so far and I think she might write rather a good novel. As a blogger, reviewer and lover of all things books I thought it might be interesting, and something a bit different, to follow the writing process from initial decision to writing to (hopefully) success. Equally its possible that things may not go as planned. Either way lovely readers, we will be with Amie all the way, with updates over the months and for all the ups and downs that are to come.

 

So I will hand over to Amie – she will tell you about her idea, her decision to write and her process so far. Enjoy!

 

Amie – From the Beginning

 

However cliche this may sound, or however silly, the idea for my current book came to me in a dream…

I was on a summer holiday in Gran Canaria and I remember waking up, crying for my brother. I don’t think I’d drank many cocktails previous to me going to sleep! And within seconds the dream came flooding back to me in vivid detail. I knew at that moment it was something I wanted to write. I wanted to turn my dream into a written piece of art.

I don’t know how well my dream will translate on paper, if well at all, but I want to try, to make those tears seem worth while. To make them mean something more than just another nightmare.

 

NanoWrimo is what awakened a passion in me to write novels. At university, in my last, year I wrote a very “in-yer-face” script set around the theme of prostitutes and drugs. It was performed by my class mates on a large scale production – tickets were sold and everything – and it was a great success. So, after being challenged to the great NanoWriomo … -That is to write 50,000 words in 30 days – I decided I would turn my play into a street drama novel. Unfortunately, that year (2011) I did not achieve the full 50,000. So, I made it my goal to accomplish it for 2012. And, after many sleepless nights and anti-social days, I did. I wrote a chick-lit book titled ‘The Other Side’ and it was a very proud moment for me. It was about an actress who lead a perfect life in front of the camera, but behind the camera everything was going wrong. I would love to share this novel with you but due to my lack of backing documents up and my friends lack of computer skill (you know who you are!) I lost the whole novel. 50,000 words gone, vanished into a cyber space and never to be read again. Of course I had other, shall we say more experienced, people look to find it but alas, it wasn’t to be.

Now I want to avenge my story with another and this dream couldn’t have come at a better time – and don’t worry, I’ve learnt to back up my stuff!!

 

In the future, once a great war has settled and there are only two islands left, a new Government ‘The Regime’ is in play and with elections around the corner, there is a lot going on. Annie works for the local school helping people with disabilities to read and write. She is happily settled with her boyfriend who saved her from a, common, street attack. Her Father, after being recruited into the Regime’s army ‘The Crafters’, went missing and Annie’s Mother joined The Crafters as a communications officer in search of him. Annie’s brother works in a warehouse by day, but by night he is part of a much more life threatening group – ‘The Rebels’. They work against The Regime with hopes of one day performing an overthrow. Annie has a good friend in The Regime, Eman, who is favourite to win the election, but once he does, many of the dependents opinions change. Eman calls for a human cleanse, meaning anyone who, in his eyes, do not contribute enough to their society will be outcasted.

How badly will the cleanse affect Annie and her life?

Do the Rebel’s succeed in an overthrow?

Or will humankind be altered again?

 

When I started to write a plan it honestly just flowed. Every spare second I had on my holiday I was on my phone typing away, letting my imagination run wild, and it felt great. Once home, I typed it all up and printed out a chapter by chapter synopsis. Names for characters come easy to me and as I began writing the story, naturally the plot changed slightly. Two chapters would merge into one, things like that. The first ‘bump in the road’ I reached was names for things like the new Government and even now I am unsure of what to call my two remaining Islands. My first idea was to have ‘districts’ but this is becoming very popular in young adult novels and so I moved on from that, deciding I should create a name – so this is still a working progress.

 

So far I am on 6,314 words and am still thrilling over the idea of getting it all down. A lesson I have learnt on a writing course I am currently studying for is to write down your story, having planned each chapter, and then go back to each chapter and turn your drafted words into a masterpiece. Whether I have the skill to produce a masterpiece is another question! For me, I struggle with filling chapters. Most of mine are about 1,000 words which, when I think about your average book, should be more. Maybe once I have finished the big job of writing the book in its entirety, before going back to chop and change things, and on completion of my writing course, I will be able to master this technique better and produce lengthy chapters, after all practice makes perfect!

 

I did have a moment of weakness however, which i’m told is apparent in most writers careers. I lacked the confidence to continue, my characters stopped talking to me and I didn’t know where to take them. I know what I want to happen in my story but finding the words was proving difficult. My problem is I ramble on and although I have 1,000 words a chapter, it becomes too wordy. My style of writing at the moment is blogging, but it needs to be better. Say three lines in one sentence kind of thing. This is something I am now working on to advance at. Wish me luck!

 

And that brings you right up to date with my process. It’s a working one and no one is perfect, but I hope you have 1. learnt something 2. were excited by my book blurb and 3. look forward to my next entry here. That latter hope is a big one, I have to say, but please do.

 

With thanks to Liz, as always, an inspiration and influence to my passion. x

 

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

And her blog here: http://amielou89.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Thanks Amie. I look forward to hearing more….and reading more as we go!

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….Black Chalk by Christopher Yates

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So a few weeks ago I read the amazing “Black Chalk” by Christopher J Yates.  This title will be released on the 19th September by Random House UK Vintage Publishing and on that day on Liz Loves Books you will be able to find an interview with the author where he talks about the origins of the story amongst other things – don’t miss that its interesting stuff! In the meantime, to wet your appetite here is my review for the book and some links for you to find out more…

 

Review

 

One game. Six students. Five survivors.

At University, six friends come together and play a game. Its a silly little game imagined by two of their number – a game of actions followed by consequences growing ever more intricate in nature…with one winner to remain standing at the end. Fun. Oh yes. Or no. As the game becomes ever more involved, the stakes higher, the opponents becoming ever more competitive and adversarial, friendships will be destroyed and tragedy will strike. Watched over by the ever mysterious Game Soc, the players are pushed to their limits….just how far will they go and how much of their future will they sacrifice?

This story will sink into your subconcious…..written in a clever and compelling way the lines between fantasy and reality blur and you will never be quite sure where you are. The game itself is brilliantly imagined – it seems so innocuous and yet its insidious…when is the game being played exactly…and just how serious will the consequences be?

Another extremely clever aspect of this novel for me, is the way that the usual “twists” you would be expecting to come at the end, or as game changers somewhere in the middle are all over the place and intricately placed. In a way this is very much a character driven novel…Jolyon stands out as perhaps one of the most enthralling and unusual characters you will find in fiction – and the rest of the students in their own way are just as fascinating. Any one of them can walk away at any moment…but will they? Psychologically speaking they are all captivating – are any of them quite as they appear? Its very cunning writing…Insidious indeed.

As a mystery, it works on several levels. It will keep you guessing but not about the usual things perhaps. You will want to work out what is going on but every time you think you do, something changes. Someone talks, someone else listens and the whole playing field shifts…if you were to ask me to sum up this novel in a sentence I would perhaps say “The Twilight Zone on Acid” and yet it is all very much grounded in reality. After all, we all play mind games…don’t we?

I will say without a doubt this is one of the best books I have read this year. It will be going into Highly Recommended. As Sherlock Holmes might say. Come Watson….The Game is Afoot.

 

Find out more about Christopher Yates here : http://www.christopherjyates.com/

 

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

 

To Pre-Order Black Chalk clickety click here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Chalk-Christopher-J-Yates/dp/1846557275/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1377586936&sr=1-1

 

Happy Reading Folks!