Six Stories with Matt Wesolowski : The Beast of Belkeld.

Welcome to Part Two of Six Stories with Matt Wesolowski – today he’s talking about The Beast of Belkeld, one of the creepier elements of the novel (random shiver) – Details on the really quite wonderful book follow and look out for Part 3 coming VERY soon. And right at the end I’ll review it – but if you can’t wait I can promise that this is an incredible book and will definitely be one of my top reads of the year. And yes it is only February…

The Beast of Belkeld

By Matt Wesolowski

…the coven would dance, sometimes in their own shape, sometimes becoming animals such as hares or dogs. Anne was asked to join in the dancing, which, along with reciting the Lord’s Prayer backwards, was to please a ‘’long black man’’ who granted the witches wishes.

I was on holiday up on the Scottish coast one summer; my sister and I were visiting a dainty little folk museum. The curator, a sweet old lady, apropos of nothing sidled up to me and said.

“There used to be a witch coven up near here, you know.”

My interest in the place was sealed.

The mythology and folklore of the British Isles is never far when you visit its wild places. You can feel it in the black lands of Northumberland, emanating from the iron mountains of Wales and the rugged coats of Cornwall.

In Six Stories, I wanted to capture at least an element of this feeling. I take a great deal of influence from writers such as Algernon Blackwood and HP Lovecraft, expert purveyors of unknown rural menace. Stories such as ‘The Willows’ and ‘The Dunwich Horror’ resounded somewhere deep inside and setting a murder mystery in the Northumberland fells, I was powerless to resist the pull of the tenebrous, the eldritch…

The idea that there was something else out there on Scarclaw Fell evolved as I wrote; a shadowy figure peering out at me from between the lines. Gradually, this other became a significant force in the book.

We have a great many cautionary tales, myths and ancient lore, we also have the capacity to create a Tulpa, a being carved from a collective imagination. Cross-culturally we have similar beings, from the Hidden Folk of Iceland to the shadowy Taqriaqsuit of Inuit lore.

It’s rare you’re out alone in the wilds, but if you are, listen to the sounds on the edge of the breeze, see the darkness of the forests staring right back at you.

About the book:

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

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

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

Follow Matt on TWITTER

To purchase the paperback clickety click right HERE

Watch out for more from Matt coming soon….

Happy Reading!

 

New Release Spotlight: Behind Her Eyes Sarah Pinborough

Don’t trust this book. Don’t trust this story. Don’t trust yourself.

David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?

As Louise, David’s new secretary, is drawn into their world, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong – and how far someone might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

AT LAST you can all read Behind Her Eyes which is so brilliant in so many ways even before that incredibly wickedly evil ending that will have you wandering around in  a daze of WHY what the hell just happened. Yes you’ve all seen the hashtag if you follow social media #wtfthatending is about right.

BUT step back a moment. Lets pretend for a minute that this book didn’t have that little gem of a finale. Would it stand up against other psychological thrillers, be different, unique and all that jazz?  Yes. Yes it would. Because the story of David, Adele and Louise is utterly compelling. It is gripping from the moment you read the opening salvo. And can I just please for a moment pay as much homage to the start as I do to the finish. That opening paragraph just sucks you right in, I can almost guarantee that if you read that stood in the bookshop you’ll just want to take the book home with you and finish it. Probably in one sitting.

So outwardly we have a lot of the themes that make psychological thrillers so popular – some people all caught up in each others lives, some with nefarious intentions, forget your unreliable narrators the author has created her very own type of storyteller. I can’t think of a decent name for it but then that’s why I’m not a writer. But she has redefined this genre – I read somewhere someone called it a psychological thriller with added Pinborough – spot on that person. If you have read her before that will make perfect sense and if you have not well, I hazard a guess you will be reading more soon.

Stunningly clever characters, a twisted plot to wreak havoc with the most clever of readers, plus an addictively intelligent tale with that x factor that makes you crazily turn the pages, Behind Her Eyes will definitely be one of my books of the year. Its a book you are desperate to talk about with everyone, so much so that you feverishly beg them to read it quickly so you can be less alone with it all.

AND NOW YOU ALL CAN. I’m so jealous of those who have yet to experience it.

Get it, read it, be in on the conversation – because #wtfthatending its coming for YOU.

HIGHLY recommended. Dive in, enjoy the ride but watch out – it’ll blow your socks off.

Find out MORE

Follow Sarah on TWITTER

To Purchase Behind Her Eyes clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

 

 

Fickle – Peter Manus. Author Interview.

 

Today I am very happy to welcome Peter Manus to the blog talking about his novel Fickle – information on the book and a link to my review follow and this was one that I really loved – mainly because it offered something a little different. It has divided opinion it seems, but for me Fickle was a wonderfully twisted and evocative read. So it was fun to find out a little bit more….

 

So firstly whilst I hate the “where do your ideas come from” question and usually avoid it, in the case of Fickle I have to ask because it is so beautifully compelling. So what inspired you to write the novel as a series of blog posts and the surrounding discussions?

I get why you would ask that with this book — a blogging editorial assistant spins out noiry midnight chapters of her increasingly scary life after she witnesses a train suicide and attracts some lovelorn deviant’s attention, with the story told solely through their blogs — one of those ideas you definitely only want to spin out once as a writer.  I got the tone of the book — the concept of a bunch of people sitting in the dark, no connection except the screens in front of them, getting increasingly close and needy and flirty and risky — during a period when I was following a few blogs. People get really frank and prickly and coarse online. Disagreements get raw pretty quickly. I never joined in.  I wanted to, just to sample the interaction, but I would have lost the invisible element that I liked a lot, and also the contributors on the blogs I followed all seemed fresh and wry and I didn’t feel like I’d come off that way naturally. I’m sure the experience I’m describing is extremely common, by the way, but that in itself — the notion that there are masses of timid voyeurs hulking over other people’s ranting and sniping and sex talk all night — was kind of eerie. So I started writing about a girl who sees a guy throw himself under a train, and she’s lonely but she writes well, so she turns to the internet for comfort, and she finds what she needs and that’s great, the way people can connect and grow a sense of trust when thery’re nothing but voices, but of course she also attracts some crazies . . .   And it seemed right to pitch it as noir because it has that element of stroking the surface of seemingly normal people and finding some really raw, kinky, dangerous instincts, both in ourselves and out there.

You have managed to get a diverse range of characters in here, all compelling, but all obviously seen through the filter of “online” where people can hide their true identities and claim whatever they like. Still, you begin to get a sense of them through their comments and it is very clever – how do you go about plotting and developing those character voices. Especially within a novel as diverse as Fickle.

The bloggie voices — the group of eight or nine groupies of fickel’s blog who blog-chat with her every night — came pretty naturally.  I didn’t plot them out beforehand.  I have a lot of voices in my head, like I bet a lot of us do, and they asserted themselves right from the start.  I’m glad to hear you could sense that they all have fully developed lives that we only get glimpses of in the book, because that’s true.  Of course, they’re all pretty frank about expressing themselves — why not, when it’s the blogosphere and you’re using a snarky pseudonym? — so they’re full-fleshed even though they don’t share much about their personal lives and there’s no visual of any of them. The idea was to make the reader feel included, like as a lurker who read along every night but didn’t happen to post.  Funny story, though — the first editor who worked with me on FICKLE got to know me as we went along, of course, and near the end he started asking me whether there was some girl’s blog we’d need to ask permission to publish. I finally put it together that his issue was that I come off kind of bland in real life and he found it increasingly tough to buy that all these voices came out of me. Pretty funny — personally, I suspect that most of us polite types are simmering maniacs looking for a vent.

 

Now our blogger is a Noir fan and the whole thing reads like Noir. I loved the underlying feel to it all. Are you a fan of Noir yourself? I am a bit of a sucker for those old black and white movies and I love a bit of Noir in my reading…

I’m a huge noir fan, so rabid that I’m always surprised when I rediscover that not everyone is, which is usually when I’m nattering on about some old retro pulp and catch the fact that I’m the only breathless one in the conversation. When I was young I used to grab books out of the library, like by Cornell Woolrich or Gil Brewer, stuff you could read quick, and read them while driving. I’m not recommending this or anything, of course, but there was a lot of open highway where I was and it was part of the ritual. I thought Cornell Woolrich wrote beautifully — all about murder and gore but with a lovely light touch — and was offended when I learned that he considered himself a failure. I guess he was going for something other than the simple, dark-yet-lyrical tales he spun out so well.  I always thought that these books, plus the B films like Kiss of Death and The Woman in the Window and Deadlier than the Male, were actually meant as black humor. When I figured out that noir is a reflection of post-war moral nihilism and the lost American dream and everything, I remember thinking, yeah, but it’s all a tiny bit tongue-in-cheek, right?  I mean, Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley books are plenty dark, but there’s a black comedy element throughout — Tom’s psychotic, sure, but he doesn’t stay all that sullen and has a lot of lighthearted fun between the occasional murders.

Fickle is what I call an interpretive novel – in that you leave a lot of room for the reader to filter it through their own thinking so to speak. Deliberate? What do you hope readers take away from it?

The way I saw it, I was, first and foremost, writing a novel which takes place only in the blogosphere. It wasn’t to be a gimmick and I so had to be true to the big empty cheat that the blogosphere is, ultimately.  People lie in FICKLE — scalding, evil whoppers — and I wanted readers to resist their growing realization that there was a manipulator in the mix.  People whose voices you love online can disappear, and people can take on fake personae — it’s all there, waiting to snare you and jerk your faith around.  There are three intended interpretations readers can take from FICKLE, depending on their own need for logic or level of cynicism, and also depending on how hard they fall for the dominant voices in the book. What should readers do with that puzzle when they finish? One woman who read it told me she went to a diner counter, ordered a soda, and watched it lose its fizz while she revived some of her own imaginative conjurings. That sounded about right to me.

What kind of novels do you yourself love to read? Is there a book you’ve read this year you would like to recommend?

Well, as I said above, I read a lot of noir. I tend to like epistolary novels, for some reason. When I was a kid, I thought that epistolary novels were written for women (like CLARISSA) but then I read THE MOONSTONE and also FANNY HILL and I was hooked. I think it’s because I enjoy the voice most about a book I’m reading, and with epistolary stories all the descriptions are actually expressing the speaker’s unwitting viewpoint, so you get this character who thinks he’s giving a straightforward accounting but is actually revealing all sorts of prejudices and aspirations and ignorance and other stuff.  Lately I’ve been motoring through some contrasting noirs, because I was asked to write an article about the role of law in crime fiction so I’ve been collecting prominent cop and lawyer tales in noir. I just finished CLANDESTINE, which is James Ellroy’s first novel. My guess is that most Ellroy fans who love the L.A. Quartet (the basis for the movie L.A. Confidential) already know this, but I did not know that CLANDESTINE is kind of a trial run for the L.A. Quartet themes and characters, with Dudley Smith (a psychotic cop) actually in the book. It was a cool discovery. I also just reread THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (James M. Cain) — it’s truly bleak — and BUILD MY GALLOWS HIGH (Daniel Mainwaring writing as Geoffrey Homes) and found another really quick read, IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE (Sherwood King), where the bad guy is a lawyer and there’s a courtroom scene that totally distorts the law, so it was useful for my theme.

Finally are you able to tell us anything about what is next for you in the writing stakes?

My second novel’s called FIVE DEAD GUYS AND A GIRL.  It’s Boston-based, like FICKLE.  It’s about a serial killer — a strangely impassive, retro style lady with a French accent — and a young go-getter lesbian homicide cop who’s after her, and I did it as the two characters’ journals, which of course presents a huge contrast in the two voices.  It gallops along pretty nicely, and my goal is to have the reader be torn about which of the main characters to root for — killer or cop.  I named it FIVE DEAD GUYS AND A GIRL, to make it clear that there’s a black comedy element running through it, but there’s a lot of tension and some seriously excellent murders as well.  Diversion picked it up, and I’m really grateful about that, and we’re pretty far through the editing process so I’m looking forward to seeing it come out in 2017.

Thanks so much.

Hey, thank you!  It’s hugely gratifying for any author to have someone read their work and be curious enough to ask some great questions about it.

About the Book:

 

One winter night in Boston, a man falls to his death in front of a subway train. The sole witness, a shaken young woman, explains to the police how the man pushed by her as he made his way to the tracks. But when her blog turns up in the dead man’s computer, the cops begin to look for other connections. Was the man a cyber-stalker, charmed to the point of desperation by the irreverent musings of a 20-something blogger? Or are the connections between subway jumper and innocent bystander more complicated?

Read my review of Fickle HERE

Find out more via Diversion Books

To Purchase Fickle clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

 

Walk Into Silence – Getting to Know Susan McBride

Today I  am very happy to welcome Susan McBride to the blog in the latest of my “Getting to Know You” features.

Susan is the author of Walk into Silence – more details on the book and my review to follow.

Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it.

Walk Into Silence is kind of a darker mystery for me. My detective-protagonist, Jo Larsen, had a crappy childhood, though it’s what propelled her into law enforcement. She really wants to make a difference and help those who can’t help themselves. She’s tough on the outside and seems to have it all together. But, on the inside, she’s very much a work-in-progress. When a concerned husband shows up at the Plainfield, Texas, PD to report his wife missing, Jo isn’t really sure if the woman is in danger or if she left of her own accord. Jenny Dielman was also a woman with a lot on her plate. She was on her second marriage after her first dissolved following the tragic death of her only child. As Jo begins to hunt for clues regarding Jenny’s disappearance, she unravels truths about Jenny—and the people around her—that shake up the case and her own life along with it.

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

I grew up all over. My dad worked for IBM, which we called “I’ve Been Moved.” Every two or three years, he would pick us up and shift our lives somewhere else. So I was born in Kansas City then lived in Indianapolis, Chicago, Kansas City (again), Greenwich, Houston, and Dallas. Even though moving was hard and I hated it every time, I have a lot of good memories, particularly of spending time with my grandparents in the summers and for holidays (they were from St. Louis, which is how I ended up here). My grandfather was awesome and taught me so much. I wish he was still around so he could meet my daughter. He would love her. She’s as funny as he was.

Academic or creative at school?

Both. I was a serious overachiever. I loved school and the learning aspect. I was a test-taking fool. I also loved art (and still do!).

First job you *really* wanted to do?

When I was a kid, I loved to give my siblings tests and pretend to be a teacher. I also made pockets for books with index cards that I could time stamp so they could check books out from my library. There is no fun like forcing your bro and sister to check out books and take tests on the weekends! Maybe that’s why they’re not big readers to this day. Hmm.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

In the womb. Seriously, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love books and, once I could hold a pencil, I was writing stories. I have the three books I wrote in fifth grade: two mysteries and a children’s book. I should have realized then it was in my DNA, but it took a while for me to realize, “This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.”

Who are your real life heroes?

My mom and other stay-at-home moms and dads! After becoming a first-time mom at 47 (a post-breast cancer miracle, not IVF!), I’ve realized what a struggle it is to balance everything, because…well, you

can’t. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices in my work life and social life because my daughter comes first. It’s a hard gig, but so rewarding. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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

I was at a writers’ conference, waiting for my handler to pick me up and chatting with other folks attending the event. When I glanced down, I realized I had a trail of toilet paper from one shoe (I’d stopped to use the potty after getting off my flight!). No one had said a word. Ah, well, see below where my life advice is “don’t be afraid to be a goofball.” I’ve had lots of practice!

DIY expert or phone a friend?

Phone a friend. It’s more fun to muddle through anything together.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

I’m a morning person, for sure. At about 10 o’clock at night, my brain starts turning off. By midnight, my mind is Jell-o.

A book that had you in tears.

Maybe I just haven’t read enough tear-jerking books recently (or maybe it’s ‘cause I’m mostly reading kids’ books with my daughter, and the Paw Patrol doesn’t exactly make me want to cry), but I’m going to say Walk Into Silence, even though it’s my own book and that might not be kosher! But the ending makes me tear-up to this day. Writing it was the same way.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

All time favorite LOL book is One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. Most recently, Matthew Norman’s We Are All Damaged.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay to be a goofball, and it’s okay that everyone’s not going to like you, whether you’re a goofball or not. Just enjoy the ride!

Great advice! Thanks so much Susan.

About the Book:

Publication Date: Available Now from Thomas and Mercer

Source: Netgalley

A woman vanishes from a Texas town. Did she simply run off, or is something darker at play?

When Patrick Dielman shows up at Detective Jo Larsen’s desk insisting that his wife, Jenny, is missing, Jo wonders if it’s a case of a bored housewife running away.

But as she digs deeper into Jenny’s life, Jo learns that Dielman keeps a stranglehold on the family finances, down to the last nickel, and that Jenny’s first marriage dissolved following the death of her young son. By all accounts—including her doctor’s—she never recovered from the loss. Between a controlling husband, a tragic past, and a callous ex-husband, Jo can’t be sure if she should suspect foul play or accept that the woman may have wanted to disappear.

For Jo, whose own demons are shadowing her every step, finding Jenny becomes more than the typical protect-and-serve.

Walk into Silence is a tense and absorbing psychological thriller and Susan McBride writes with a sharp edge and a clever eye towards characterisation that just draws you in.

I liked how there was hidden common ground between the woman who has disappeared and the woman who is trying to find her – the plot is solid and addictive and the question of whether Jenny has gone by choice or by force is one that keeps you reading. The lines are blurred, there are some dark themes and current issues underneath the outer narrative and the whole story was riveting.

It is at times thrilling then melancholy, the storytelling is solidly compelling and its one of those books where you just want everything to be ok but realise that it probably won’t be. As a reader I became emotionally invested in the characters quite early on, always something that needs to happen for me to enjoy a novel.

Overall I thought it was very good indeed. And I’m happy that it seems this will become a series. I would love to read more.

Recommended.

Find out MORE

 Follow Susan on TWITTER

To Purchase Walk into Silence clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

Six Stories with Matt Wesolowski: Scarclaw Fell.

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

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

Scarclaw Fell

By Matt Wesolowski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nature looks on, uncaring.

About the book:

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

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

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

Follow Matt on TWITTER

To purchase the paperback clickety click right HERE

Watch out for more from Matt coming soon….

Happy Reading!

 

Merry Christmas!

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

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

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

Back on  Tuesday!

Happy Reading.

Authors’ Top Reads of 2016 – Part Two.

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

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

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

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

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

Book blurb:

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

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

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

Click HERE to purchase In Her Wake

Click HERE to purchase Block 46

Follow Johanna on TWITTER

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

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

Click HERE to purchase What Belongs to You.

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

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

Click HERE to purchase The Girls

Click HERE to purchase The Exclusives

Follow Rebecca on TWITTER

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

Click HERE to purchase Into the Black

Click HERE to purchase Nomad

Follow James on TWITTER.

GJ Minett author of The Hidden Legacy picks:

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

Book Blurb:

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

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

Click HERE to purchase This Must Be The Place

Click HERE to purchase The Hidden Legacy

Follow Graham on TWITTER

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

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

Click HERE to purchase The Constant Soldier

Click HERE to purchase Stasi Child

Follow David on TWITTER.

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

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

Book blurb:

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

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

Click HERE to purchase The Rules of Wolfe

Click HERE to purchase Black Night Falling

Follow Rod on TWITTER

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

Click HERE to purchase Spring

Click HERE to purchase What We Didn’t Say

Follow Rory on TWITTER

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

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

Book blurb

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

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

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

Click HERE to purchase The Wolf Road

Click HERE to purchase The Domino Killer

Follow Neil on TWITTER

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

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

 Book Blurb:

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

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

Click HERE to purchase Girls On Fire

Click HERE to purchase Tall Oaks

Follow Chris on TWITTER

SO that is your lot!

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

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

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

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

 

Authors’ Top Reads of 2016 – Part One.

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

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

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

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

Click HERE to purchase You Will Know Me

Click HERE to purchase The Two O’Clock Boy.

Follow Mark on TWITTER.

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

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

Book Blurb:

East Berlin, 1975

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

Click HERE to purchase Stasi Child

Click HERE to purchase The Harbour Master

Follow Daniel on TWITTER

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

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

Book blurb

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

Click HERE to purchase Tall Oaks

Click HERE to purchase Between You and Me

Follow Lisa on TWITTER

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

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

Book blurb:

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

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

Click HERE to purchase BloodLines

Click HERE to purchase Cut to the Bone

Follow Alex on TWITTER

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

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

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

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

Click HERE to purchase the latest Charlie Parker novel

Follow John on TWITTER

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

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

Click HERE to purchase Epiphany Jones

Click HERE to purchase Jihadi

Click HERE to purchase The Evolution of Fear

Follow Paul on TWITTER.

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

 

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

Book blurb:

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

Click HERE to purchase Crooked Letter Crooked Letter

Click HERE to purchase Cursed.

Follow Thomas on TWITTER

 

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

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

Click HERE to purchase The Reflection

Click HERE to purchase The Last Days of Disco

Follow David on TWITTER

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

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

Book Blurb

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

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

Click HERE to purchase A Very British Ending

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

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

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

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

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

Click HERE  to purchase Heroes of the Frontier

Click HERE to purchase Our Endless Numbered Days

Click HERE to purchase Wolf Road

Click HERE to purchase Sockpuppet

Follow Matt on TWITTER

SO that is your lot for today!

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

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

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

The Girl Who Had No Fear – Quizzing Marnie Riches.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the best job you have ever had?

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

Thanks Guys!

About the book:

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

Find out MORE

Follow Marnie on TWITTER

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

Happy Reading!

 

The Marriage Lie – Kimberley Belle. Author Interview.

Today I am very happy to welcome Kimberley Belle to the blog and thank you to her for allowing me to question her all about her novel, The Marriage Lie. Details on the book follow and its a good ‘un!

The Marriage Lie explores themes of love, trust and how well we actually know those around us much like your previous novels. Tell us what it is about that side of people that fascinates you.

I build my stories around themes of love and trust because these are emotions that are universally relatable. Everyone knows what it feels like to love, and everyone knows what it feels like to have your heart crushed. The same goes with trust. I think every reader can relate to believing in someone who in the end proves us wrong.

But emotions aren’t always logical; we see what we want to see. In The Marriage Lie, it took Will’s sudden death for Iris to see the man she’d been living with all these years for who he really was. Yes, the action is suspenseful, but for me, the real meat of the story is around Iris’s emotions–her grief and denial and feelings of betrayal. This is what makes the story interesting.

Iris is an emotionally resonant character who even in her grief is determined to find the truth. One of the things I was particularly taken with in The Marriage Lie was the way you walked the line between portraying grief realistically but also allowing it to move the mystery elements along. How hard is it to keep authenticity yet still entertain the reader?

There’s nothing more frustrating for a reader than a character who acts, well, out of character. I work really hard to get in my characters’ heads and to justify every decision they make. This is a big part of the reason I gave Iris the profession I did, as private school counselor. She understands grief both logically and academically, and then she’s forced to live through it emotionally. I liked the push-pull this gave her experience, the way her emotions were often at odds with her rational thinking.

In every story I write, I try to strike a balance between the thrill of the action and the emotions the action conjures up. How does the drama affect the people involved? How do they respond, and why? This is what makes a story come alive for me, the human emotion that comes as a result of the action, and the action that happens as a result of the emotion. The action and the emotion go hand-in-hand to move the story forward.

What does your writing day look like? Forward planner or go with the flow?

I’m a planner, but I don’t plot every chapter out beforehand. When I start out with a story, I have a good handle on the characters, the conflict, and the major plot points along the way, but my story doesn’t really fill in until I start writing. This means I sometimes fumble around until I’ve hit on the right voice and tone, but it’s part of my discovery process so I try not to sweat it. I’m very disciplined, though, and hyper-focused when I’m writing a story. I’m generally behind my computer for a good eight hours each day. I even dream about my stories sometimes and, if I’m lucky, wake up with ideas or solutions to plot problems I’ve been obsessing over.

As a reader as well as a writer what type of novels are your “go to” when you are looking for that bit of escapism?

I am always, always in a book. I love suspense, of course, but I’ll read pretty much anything—from women’s fiction to historical to paranormal romance to memoir. Do I need a laugh or a good, hard cry? My “go to” depends largely on my mood when I pick up the book.

And everything I read has an influence on my writing, from how the author builds suspense to their tight and fast-moving plotlines to the clever ways they lighten up dark subjects with humor. It’s every writer’s affliction; I read with an eye to writing.

Are you able to tell us anything about what is next for you?

Absolutely! My next story is about the disappearance of eight-year old Ethan, who vanishes from a cabin in the North Georgia mountains while on an overnight trip with his second-grade class. At first, police assume his disappearance is an abduction, until another mother receives a mysterious call demanding ransom for her son, a little boy who’s safe and accounted for. Both mothers are thrust in a race to save Ethan, where the greatest dangers turn out to be not in the threats of an anonymous stranger, but the everyday smiles of people closer to home.

Thanks so much!

Thank you for having me!

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle is out 29th Dec (HQ, £7.99)

About the book:

Are you ready to question if everything in your life is really as it seems?

When a plane crashes, Iris Griffiths watches the news unfold with horror…and then relief. Her beloved husband Will had just flown out from the same airport, but he was on a different flight. So why is his name on the list of victims? Surely there’s some mistake – her husband would never lie to her. Would he? But wading deeper into the truth of her husband’s deception, Iris begins to think the unthinkable. Maybe she’s glad that he’s dead…

Read my review on GOODREADS

Follow Kimberley on TWITTER

You can Purchase The Marriage Lie HERE

Happy Reading!