The Sixth Window – Quickfire Q and A with Rachel Abbott.

Today to celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Sixth Window, I have a bit of an interview with the lovely Rachel Abbott.

If I had to go back in time and choose another career…

I’d be a psychiatrist. Writing psychological thrillers has made me think a lot about how people’s minds work, and to be able to understand that even better would be wonderful.

My guilty pleasure…

Chocolate gingers. I can eat a whole packet in one sitting!

The book (by another author) that I wish I had written…

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. A whole book without knowing the protagonist’s name! And somehow thinking that a murderer had done a good thing!

The one piece of advice I would give my teenage self…

Never go on a stupid diet when you absolutely don’t need to.

If I had to choose between appearing on Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor…

It would have to be X Factor – I love to sing and I’m a rubbish dancer. I’d be stretching the Overs group on X Factor somewhat, though!

My favourite city in the world…

Venice. An easy answer. I love everything about it.

If I could only have one meal for the rest of my life it would be….

Curry. A real, authentic, Indian curry – probably a chicken one with the special lemons they have there. Hot, but not burn your throat hot.

Favourite book to read again and again and again….

Gone with the Wind – the characters are all so amazing and so vivid. It may not technically be up there with the greats, but I love it.

What would be your specialist subject be on Mastermind?

Food and drink, I suspect. I love to cook (and eat) – hence the remark about diets above!

Who would play you in a movie of your life?

I would love it to be Julie Walters. I think she’s capable of laughing at herself as much as making other people laugh. It would be great to say Helen Mirren, but sadly I’m not that glamourous.

Favourite current TV show?

I’m cheating a bit here, because it’s not on right now – but Masterchef Australia. Not any of the other Masterchefs – just this one. You can probably see a bit of a theme here! I look forward to it each year – far more so than most TV dramas (although I can’t wait for more Happy Valley).

My most memorable meal…

There are SO many to choose from. Probably a meal at a restaurant called Uliassi in Senigallia, Italy. The chef is unbelievably talented, and on a terrace overlooking the beach we were served the Menu Degustazione – about eleven tiny courses of sublime food.

The best thing about being a writer…

Being able to invent characters, each of whom I understand completely (probably more than most people I know) and allowing them to do their best, or their worst.

About the book: 

THE TRUTH HURTS – BUT LIES ARE DEADLY

After eighteen months of grieving for her husband Bernie, killed in a horrific hit and run accident, Natalie Gray has found love with her husband’s best friend – Ed Cooper – and has moved herself and fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, into his home. But Natalie begins to suspect Ed has a dark side – and even darker intentions.

Desperate to get her daughter to a place of safety, she and Scarlett move to a new home that holds secrets of its own. But has removing Scarlett from one potential threat placed her in far greater danger?

DCI Tom Douglas is also chasing the truth, as his investigation into the suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett. But will he be too late to protect them from the peril they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart.

Find out More

Follow Rachel on Twitter

Purchase The Sixth Window

Happy Reading!

Cursed Thomas Enger. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: May 2017 from Orenda Books.

Source: Review Copy

When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests. Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. With the loss of his son to deal with, as well as threats to his own life and to that of his ex-wife, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.

Oh I DEVOURED this one. I’ll let you into a little secret, I’m terribly disorganised and only realised  at the beginning of this week that I was supposed to be doing this today. Good job its a damned fine bit of storytelling as I read it in 3 hours straight on Monday evening. Sssh don’t tell anyone…

What you CAN tell them is that for any fan of Nordic Noir Thomas Enger is a must read. Beautifully atmospheric, really quite addictive and although this is my first taste of this series it certainly won’t be the last – also, you don’t need to worry about not having read the previous novels. The lovely Mr Enger tells you all you need to know without generally spoiling anything.

Things I loved:

The opening – it just  drops you right into things, no holds barred this is not a book that waits to present itself.

Once it HAS Thomas Enger then takes you on a taut, immersive, highly compelling journey towards a brilliantly placed and clever conclusion.

Nora and Henning: Their shared grief over the loss of their son and their still deep feeling relationship is palpable. Clever clever characterisation with many layers that shone through despite me coming into it at book 4.

The sense of place. Terrific terrific and huge kudos to the translator as well as the author. Beautiful writing all the way.

Journalists as main protagonists rather than police officers. Opened up so much, made for a different feeling mystery element, allowed for some intelligent plotting that kept Cursed as addictive as chocolate – the very very best kind of book calories. A good evenings intake.

Big fan. Big big fan. That would be me.

Highly Recommended.

 

Find out more

Follow Thomas on Twitter

Purchase Cursed

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Happy Reading!

The Chalk Pit – Elly Griffiths. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Quercus

Source: Review Copy

Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich’s web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they are recent – the boiling not the medieval curiosity she thought – DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands.

Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she’s gone ‘underground’. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the rumours both Ruth and the police have heard of a vast network of old chalk-mining tunnels under King’s Lynn, home to a vast community of rough sleepers, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history – but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true?

As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart – before it claims another victim.

I’m a HUGE fan of the Ruth Galloway novels so it was a treat to be sure to receive a copy of The Chalk Pit for review and it did not disappoint. Also, caused me to randomly shiver at inopportune moments.

This novel has many layers as ever, a homeless community that may have taken refuge underground, the “Chalk Pit” of the title, some go missing and Ruth Galloway finds that the bones she has been asked to assess may not be so ancient after all. Cue the usual brilliant forensic insight that peppers the whole series, combined with those intriguing and utterly compelling mystery elements, some familiar and unfamiliar characters and basically you are good to go.

I read this in two sittings, they never stay on the currently reading pile for long, so fascinating especially the science which is written in very accessible terms and the character dynamics as built up over the course of the novels always make you really keen for the next in the series. One of my favourites to be sure and long may it continue.

As a main protagonist, Ruth Galloway is endlessly engaging, anchoring each story and keeping you right in the action. No change here – she is what keeps me coming back for more.

Excellent writing, excellent plotting, some utterly riveting detail and always a banging good story means this whole series comes highly recommended by me.

 

Find out More

Follow Elly on Twitter

Purchase The Chalk Pit

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Happy Reading!

Fear The Silence with D. Nolan Clark and Forsaken Skies.

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Today I am very happy to welcome D Nolan Clark to the site, talking about his writing process and creating aliens. Love this!

THE WRITER’S PROCESS: DESIGNING ALIEN SPECIES

by D. Nolan Clark

The writer who wants to invent an alien species faces a number of obstacles that require creative solutions. Aliens are by definition unlike anything found on Earth, and the writer needs to get that across. You can only get so far with blue cat aliens or Martians who look just like us except for a latex prosthetic on their foreheads. Aliens that satisfy readers and viewers, aliens that mean something, need to surprise or shock us with their differences from what we know. It can be a daunting task to create an alien species from scratch, but like all world-building it can also be fun and it can even open up your story, give it new dimensions you would never otherwise have considered.

I’d like to share my process for creating aliens. Obviously every writer has their own technique and this is hardly a definitive guide, but at the very least I hope it’ll spark some creativity.

My alien designs go through five main steps, each as important as the last. I tend to go through them in this order:

1) Concept: What role will the aliens play in your story? Are they violent aggressors or wise teachers? Are they a metaphor for people on Earth, or are they intended to evoke the strange and exotic? The concept of your aliens will shape the story in many ways. It may even become the crux of your tale. Do your aliens have three sexes, or seven, or none at all? Humans interacting with an asexual species could be the start of lots of interesting tales, and let a writer examine human sexuality from an outsider’s perspective—as an example. Your aliens don’t have to drive your story, but you still need to know why they’re there and how they’ll relate to your human characters.

2) Evolution: Assuming your aliens came from a planet of their own, what did that planet look like? How hot was it, how strong was the gravity? Every element you can imagine of the alien homeworld will have a massive effect on what your aliens look like now. If they evolved on a water world, they’re likely to have fins and maybe gills. If they come from a dry place they might have scales or nictitating membranes. Studying Earthly animals can be a great font of inspiration here, but make sure you don’t just lean on biology as we know it. Aliens that just look like bipedal buffalos aren’t nearly as interesting as creatures that evolved on a dark world and therefore have no eyes, but find their way around by echolocation. Knowing what senses your aliens possess will greatly shape how they perceive us. Details of their physiology will utterly define how we see them. How big are they? If they come from a high-gravity planet, they’re likely to be low to the ground and very strong by our standards, while aliens from a low-gravity environment will be frail and delicate when they come to Earth. Are they horrifyingly ugly, by human standards, or ethereally beautiful—or both?

3) Culture: Your aliens will have a rich history, a story of their own—a story that could include mistakes and brilliant successes, charismatic leaders and popular movements. History, art, the games they play—these are the things that define how your aliens live now. This is absolutely crucial to know. What aliens look like is almost less important than how their society works. This is also one of the great pitfalls of science fiction. It’s an old cliché that all aliens from a given planet dress alike, have the same form of government, enjoy a single form of art, etc. It’s a cliché because it works, to a degree—homogeneous aliens are a kind of shorthand, a way for a writer to get big ideas across without muddying the waters, but in the end they feel more like a force of nature than like people. Consider creating multiple religious sects, or simply having one of your aliens stand out because they’re famous among their people for being a terrible dresser, or for their unpopular political opinions. You can spend way too much time on designing alien art movements and changing tastes in music—stuff that may not make it into the final story at all, or that makes your aliens so chaotic that they might as well belong to multiple species (which could be an interesting story in itself, of course). But a little cultural differentiation can really make individual aliens pop. Think how few things all humans agree on—other species are likely to be the same, right? If they’re not, that’s a Concept in itself.

4) Psychology: Beyond what your aliens believe, how do they think? How is their thinking different from that of humans? Most humans value individual experience and freedom. Maybe your aliens have a hive mind. Conversely, humans are social animals, who like to live in close proximity to each other. Maybe your aliens evolved from solitary predators, and they live reclusive lives where they only get together to mate or to wage war. If you want to get really trippy with it, maybe your aliens experience time differently than we do, and can spend an entire week making breakfast, or they don’t recognize individual consciousness at all, and are so confused when they meet humans that they act like we’re invisible. Make it weird—but make sure it’s not so weird that your readers feel lost. Be able to think like your aliens, and to express their ideas as clearly as you express the thoughts and emotions of your human characters.

5) Technology: The previous four steps will likely determine the kind of machines and technologies your aliens use. Alternatively, this could be part of your high concept. How do your aliens relate to humans in terms of their overall development? Are their spaceships faster than ours, or invulnerable to attack, or are they incredibly slow, designed for creatures who think a hundred year journey is a quick joyride? Are your aliens still working on discovering fire, so that first contact with humans is likely to blow their minds? Or have they been tooling around the galaxy so long, and met so many other species, that they’ve seen our like before and aren’t terribly impressed? Technology is not the only factor that defines species, but it is the primary sphere where two species are likely to first interact. Imagine aliens showing up on the White House lawn tomorrow with force fields and the ability to teleport. Even if they claim to come in peace, we’re likely to be terrified of their destructive potential. We could also want very much to trade with them, to get fusion power or the cure for cancer—but what would we have to offer in exchange? On the other hand—maybe we’re at exactly the same level. Maybe our first starship meets their first starship halfway between here and Tau Ceti—what happens next? Do we compete for habitable worlds, or do we join forces to explore the unknown?

As you can probably see, if you want to create aliens you’ve got your work cut out for you. None of these steps is easy, and none of them should be done too quickly. Think of as many cool ideas as you can, right off the top of your head—but then give them time to marinate, to let the puzzle pieces interconnect, a process which can create whole new ideas. If you take some time and let yourself meditate on these factors, you may be astounded at how many story ideas just magically appear. A fascinating, well thought-out alien species is one of the great joys of science fiction. It doesn’t happen overnight, but when it’s done right, it can be the start of something amazing.

About the Book:

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From the dark, cold void came an unknown force. Their target a remote planet, the home for a group of people distancing themselves from mankind and pursuing a path of piety and peace. If they have any chance at survival a disparate group of pilots must come together to fight back any way they can. But the best these aces can do might not be good enough.

Read my Review

You can purchase Forsaken Skies HERE

Find Out More

Follow the author on Twitter.

Happy Reading!

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20 Questions for….David Mark.

Today I am very happy to ask David Mark 20 perfectly sensible questions about really sensible stuff.

So for Cruel Mercy you sent Aector to the great US of A…what made you do that then?

I’m still not sure if it was my idea or Aector’s or simply a response to the fact I was reading a lot of great American fiction. It just suddenly felt important to broaden Aector’s horizons and mine too. I think I’ve shown that I can write convincing, compelling noir set in Hull and I was rather keen to see if I could do the same in a different location. As it turns out, it’s rather terrifying to plunge your lead character into a whole new world that neither of you are very familiar with. It left us both a little scarred but satisfied.

At the time of writing these it is coming up to Christmas. Which will thankfully be a distant memory by publication date as I’m not a Christmas person. Are you a Christmas person?

I try to be. I have happy, wacky kids and as such it’s impossible not to get caught up in all the carols and mulled wine and egg-nog (my second favourite nog, behind Noggin) but there will forever be a Scrooge element to me that scowls about all the hassle and expense and the people pretending they like each other. It would probably work better if we moved it to the summer holidays.

If you could suck the creative genius out of any other crime writer and use it as your own who would it be and why?

I think I would rather suck the marketing genius out of certain writers so I could work out how to become a juggernaut bestseller. But if you’re really asking, and you think she counts as ‘crime’, then Margaret Atwood all day and every day, as she is simply sublime in both character, story and delivery.

Favourite flavour of crisp.

Smoky bacon, unless it’s Seabrook crisps, in which case prawn cocktail.

Which of the McAvoy novels has been your favourite to write to date and what was it about that one that stays with you?

The fourth book (and least read) was Taking Pity and I very much enjoyed that one as it had more of a split narrative and allowed me to write about crimes and personalities from the 1960s, which is an era that fascinates and inspires me. I’ve enjoyed writing all of them, to be honest. Editing, on the other hand …

Do you think you could pull off the perfect murder?

It’s very easy to pull off the perfect murder. Just kill somebody you don’t know. The trouble is, the only people I have ever wanted to kill are the people to whom I have quite an obvious connection so it hasn’t been worth the risk, as yet.

Who would you trust as your partner in crime?

I don’t trust anybody. Probably my daughter, Elora, as she has a dark soul and can lie very convincingly. But even she would blab in exchange for cake.

Favourite type of cheese. Everyone gets the cheese question…

Shropshire blue.

We were (fairly) recently together at the launch for Susi Holliday’s Willow Walk which is a brilliant crime novel. How much do we love Susi?

She’s great. Ace writer, lovely person, quite the stunner and generally a fabulous girl. I’m quite fond.

I apparently have terrible taste in music (when in doubt I put on Taylor Swift) – what is your taste in music like, when in doubt what do you listen to?

I like most things and have always had a fondness for jazz, but I guess my era is mid-nineties, so it’s a lot of Britpop and banging Indie tunes. Anything that makes me feel 17 again. I don’t listen to music when I write as it turns everything into an overly dramatic scene with soaring strings and panning shots.

Name a book you’ve read in the last year that you put down and went “Wow”

Probably The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor, though I’m not one for ‘wow’. Expletives, possibly, or extraordinary jealousy at somebody’s literary superiority.

On a desert island that you’ve randomly crashed on for no likely reason whatsoever, which 5 people would you like for company and why? Assume you’ll be there for a while before rescue…

For a long time, my answer would have been that I wouldn’t any company at all. But I’m lucky to have found somebody who makes everything seem more tolerable, so my fiancée would be there. Elora, too, though she would be getting booted into the lagoon if she moaned about being hungry. After that, I’d take Monica Bellucci, Ray Mears and Nigel Farage. Monica to look at, Ray to keep me alive, and Nigel because it would bring me pleasure to see him deal with the existential crisis of being a foreigner on uninhabited shores.

Ok you can talk about the book a bit more now. Cruel Mercy indeed. You get 5 sentences to sell it. Go!

Three Irishmen went to America. One’s dead. One’s as good as. One is missing. The missing man is Valentine Teague. Petty criminal, bare-knuckle fighter – and DS Aector McAvoy’s brother in law. Back home, Val’s being held responsible for the blood spilt in the snowy woods of upstate New York. If McAvoy doesn’t find out the truth, all hell will break loose, putting his own family in the crossfire. Investigating proves harder than he could have imagined. New York City is a different world, with different rules. Soon, he finds himself up against squabbling cops, mafias old and new, and the culmination of a brutal crime forty years in the making. All McAvoy can do is the right thing. Even if it kills him…

Dinner menu of choice…

Scallops and black pudding, followed by fillet steak with peppercorn sauce, then sticky toffee pudding, a cheese course, a coffee, a brandy, more brandy, an after Eight, maybe a Bailey’s, then onto the whisky. Actually, can I see a wine list …?

Are you a daytime person or more of a vampire?

I write during the day and think during the night so it’s hard to say. I’m not a great sleeper and I don’t have to go to an actual job so I’ve never really had to make that distinction. I’m certainly never going to be the last person to leave the bar and still be up drinking at 5am. I prefer to be in bed by 11 with a book – preparing for eight hours of gnashing my teeth and dealing with heartburn.

Talking of which if someone sat you down and made you watch ALL the Twilight movies do you think you could cope?

I can go into a happy place in my head and tune out reality so I can probably get through it. Twilight is the one about a teenage girl’s choice between necrophilia and bestiality, yes?

Yep that’s the one.

And moving on from that name a film you’ve watched multiple times and probably will watch again…

Grosse Point Blank, over and over. Rocky, The Untouchables, Amelie, The Godfather, Dances With Wolves, The Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Arsenic and Old Lace, His Girl Friday … I could go on.

One piece of technology you would find it difficult to live without…

Does the kettle qualify as technology? I hate technology, to be honest. I have to use the damn stuff but I’d be delighted to go back 20 years and steer the world away from its obsession with phones and tablets and websites. I do think we’ve taken a wrong turn as a people.

Your personal favourite crime series….tv or book. Or both.

The Charlie Parker books by John Connolly are perfect. On a TV front, anything by HBO, though the BBC’s Waking the Dead was brilliant and should have continued. I think it should be given new life in novel form but nobody has made me an offer for the idea. I’m all ears.

How much do you hate me right now?

I remain largely fond of you, though I do find myself yearning for all the foodstuffs I just listed and I’m aware my movie list will not get The Culture Show ‘Originality Prize’ people knocking on my door any time soon.

Thanks David!

About the Book:

Three Irishmen went to America.

One’s dead. One’s as good as. One is missing…

The missing man is Valentine Teague. Petty criminal, bare-knuckle fighter – and DS Aector McAvoy’s brother in law.

Back home, Val’s being held responsible for the blood spilt in the snowy woods of upstate New York. If McAvoy doesn’t find out the truth, all hell will break loose, putting his own family in the crossfire.

Investigating proves harder than he could have imagined. New York City is a different world, with different rules. Soon, he finds himself up against squabbling cops, mafias old and new, and the culmination of a crime forty years in the making.

All McAvoy can do is the right thing. Even if it kills him...

Find out MORE

Follow David on TWITTER

To Purchase Cruel Mercy clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

 

Aye Write – Getting to Know the Authors. With Rod Reynolds.

Today I’m getting to know Rod Reynolds (Yes everybody can have a good laugh at that one) but he’s appearing at Aye Write and so he has to do this interview. Because I said so. And sometimes he lies! (Nothing is my fault)

Thanks Rod!

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

Black Night Falling is the second book in the Charlie Yates series, sequel to The Dark Inside. Charlie is a disgraced reporter from New York City who gets a call from an old acquaintance begging him for his help in investigating the murders of two young women. The kicker is that Charlie it means going back to the south, to Arkansas, a place he barely escaped with his life just months earlier. Reluctant as he is, his conscience gets the better of him and he accepts the call.

On arrival in Hot Springs, Charlie finds his contact has disappeared and that the town is a den of crime and corruption, run by mobbed-up politicians and racketeers. More than that, there is no record of the murders his friend talked about. Sensing the place is rotten to the core, Charlie investigates anyway, but the closer he gets to the truth, the closer it takes him to danger – and to the past he thought he’d outrun…

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

I grew up in Camden, in north London, with my mum and two sisters. Family life was really normal – I was a pretty typical boy, in that all I wanted to do was play football or computer games. No one in my family wrote books or anything like that – it was never something I thought about as a kid. I was always a big reader, though, and my mum always encouraged that. The first books I really remember being obsessed with were The Famous Five.

Academic or creative at school?

Academic, definitely. I was a decent student but never really had much interest in creative subjects. At university I studied history, which was my favourite subject.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

Professional wrestler.

**Pauses a moment to laugh quite a lot**

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

When I read my first James Ellroy book, The Cold Six Thousand. I’d never read anything like it and it completely blew my mind. I remember thinking if I could ever write something a fraction as powerful as that, I’d be thrilled.

Who are your real life heroes?

James Ellroy, David Peace, Hunter S Thompson, Eddie Vedder, Scott Weiland, David Simon, Michael Mann…and on and on and on. Although in truth I’m not much of a hero-worshiper. A lot of my family work in the public sector and, I know it’s a cliche to say it, but people who do jobs like doctors or nurses or teachers – people who literally change other people’s lives every day – are the people I admire most. Not least because I don’t think I could ever do what they do.

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

Well there was that time at CrimeFest…no, wait, you were involved in that. So what about that time at Crime In The Court…er, no, wait, you again. How about First Monday when…nope, still you.

Let’s go with when my ‘friends’ took me to a Spanish water park in a ginger Morph suit on my stag do. That was pretty embarrassing.

I refer you all to the “not my fault” comment in the introduction…

DIY expert or phone a friend?

Phone a friend. I detest DIY and am terrible at it.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

I could get a sunburn from a reading lamp, so let’s say night owl.

A book that had you in tears.

I don’t think a book has ever made me cry. Which is odd because since I became a dad, I cry at the drop of a hat.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

Tall Oaks by Chris Whittaker and Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

You’ve met me – do you seriously think anyone would listen to advice offered by me?!

Well no not anyone with the sense they were born with anyway…

About the Book:

And now I stood here, on a desolate airfield in the Arkansas wilderness, a stone’s throw from Texarkana. Darkness drawing in on me. Cross country to see a man I never imagined seeing again. On the strength of one desperate telephone call…’

Having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast, reporter Charlie Yates finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it’s less of a story Charlie’s chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it’s too late.

Read my review HERE

Follow Rod on Twitter here:

You can purchase Black Night Falling by clickety clicking right HERE

Purchase Tickets to Rod’s event at Aye Write HERE

See the full Aye Write Programme HERE

Happy Reading!

 

Say Nothing Brad Parks – Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: March 2nd from Faber and Faber

Source: Review Copy

Judge Scott Sampson doesn’t brag about having a perfect life, but the evidence is clear: A prestigious job. A beloved family. On an ordinary Wednesday afternoon, he is about to pick up his six-year-old twins to go swimming when his wife, Alison, texts him that she’ll get the kids from school instead.

It’s not until she gets home later that Scott realizes she doesn’t have the children. And she never sent the text. Then the phone rings, and every parent’s most chilling nightmare begins. A man has stolen Sam and Emma. A man who warns the judge to do exactly as he is told in a drug case he is about to rule on. If the judge fails to follow his instructions, the consequences for the children will be dire.

The tension in Say Nothing is palpable – and that is what you want from a decent thriller, for it to actually feel like you are right on the edge of a cliff..

This novel featured many nail  biting cliff hanging moments and is written beautifully to drag the reader into an impossible decision making process taking place within the pages. Judge Scott Sampson is stuck between a rock and hard place, from the moment he and his wife Alison realise their children are gone, you are hook line and sinkered into the rest of the tale which bangs along at breakneck speed, barely giving you a chance to breathe.

At the heart of it is an intriguing and thought provoking theme – how far as parents would you go to save your children, well all the way of course, but this tale also has a lot of twists and turns that make it more edgy and dynamic – and the ultimate resolution was perfectly plotted to maximum effect.

It is the ultimate moral dilemma – whatever Scott does there will be consequences and as the couple try to find a solution, you will be utterly gripped and totally rooting for them. Great characterisation, genuinely riveting storytelling and a bang on target writing style means Say Nothing really is a top notch read.

Recommended.

Find out MORE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Say Nothing clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

Happy Reading!

Latest Reads: Kings of the Wyld – Nicholas Eames

Publication Date: Available Now from Orbit.

Source: Review Copy

GLORY NEVER GETS OLD.

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.

Rock and Roll.

This book is brilliantly entertaining, rip roaring fun and adventure, set in a fantasy world that is extraordinarily creative, beautifully engaging characters plus Moog. MOOG. I say no more – read it live it love it.

ANYWAY fans of fantasy need to look out for this novel – it is old school in its thinking but bang up to date modern in its writing, as such it will appeal across many levels. The pop culture humour is spot on (not the easiest to pull off and actually be hilarious) all mixed in with dark  fantasy elements that personally I love, some deep set themes running through the narrative and a banging good ending.

Really excellent construction here, tight plot, clever expansion of the characters, hugely addictive and just like a little book dance of joy. I was up all night with this – laughing out loud at times, enjoying the adrenalin rush of the fight scenes but mostly just caught up with this merry band and their ongoing quest.

Kings of the Wyld is a character driven, high octane, full of beans fantasy epic. Loved it.

Highly Recommended.

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March Book Watch: Follow Me Down Sherri Smith.

Publication Date: March 21st From Titan Books.

Source: Review Copy

Mia Haas has built a life for herself far from the North Dakota town where she grew up, but when she receives word that her twin brother is missing, she’s forced to return home. Once hailed as the golden boy of their small town, Lucas Haas disappeared the same day the body of one of his high school students is pulled from the river. Trying to wrap her head around the rumors of Lucas’s affair with the teen, and unable to reconcile the media’s portrayal of Lucas as a murderer with her own memories of him, Mia is desperate to find another suspect.

All the while, she wonders, if he’s innocent, why did he run?

Big fan of this one. I seem to be on a run of really excellent books at the moment.

Follow Me Down is a taut and atmospheric psychological thriller/small town drama which is enhanced by its main protagonist, Mia, who is divisive and multi faceted – as she hunts for the truth surrounding her brother’s disappearance she will challenge your ability to sympathise with her whilst absolutely making sure that you do.

Set in its majority over 16 days, each day brings Mia new challenges, both personally and in her search for Lucas, that will keep you utterly gripped as events unfold. The author writes so beautifully, both in her portrayal of a sibling relationship haunted by the secrets of an unstable mother and in the deep seated mystery elements surrounding the death of a teenager – all levels of Follow Me Down bring something new to the table.

The character dynamics are all hugely fascinating – from the tiger mother to the pot head student who nobody pays attention to, all of those you will meet within these pages whether peripherally or more deeply have emotional resonance – in a town full of secrets Mia faces down a wall of assumptions. Her own actions are informed by her own demons, her familial relationships and the small town vibe she thought she had left behind her – as the puzzle begins to unravel  Sherri Smith takes you on a twisted and eloquent road to the truth.

Nuanced and riveting, Follow Me Down intrigues and enthralls from first page to last.

Highly Recommended.

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Latest Reads: Walk Away by Sam Hawken

Publication Date: Available Now from Mulholland

Source: Review Copy

Former combat medic Camaro Espinoza is trying to put her past behind her. She knows she’s done bad things – but they were always for good reasons.

Then her calm, anonymous life is interrupted by a distress call from her sister Annabel. She’s become trapped in an abusive relationship with petty criminal Jake Collier, and she needs Camaro’s help.

Camaro has always protected Annabel, and she won’t stop now. But the situation is more dangerous than she realises. Jake has a sibling of his own, an ex-Marine named Lukas who is as unhinged as Camaro is uncompromising. And he and Jake are planning a much bigger crime.

As the federal marshals pick up Lukas’s trail, and a bounty hunter with a debt to settle closes in, Camaro’s smart enough to know that standing her ground is the last thing she should do. But even with a freight train like Lukas barrelling towards her, if there’s one thing she can’t do, it’s walk away.

Loved this – it was fast, thrilling, addictive and totally cool beans.

It has to be said that I have not read the first in this series but that genuinely made no difference, in fact it felt like it could easily be the lead in, also Camaro is a bang on main protagonist – loved her. I’ve seen the comparisons to Reacher everywhere, but I would ignore that if I were you – seriously, Camaro, she’s got her own game going on thank you very much.

ANYWAY moving past that, the main story involves a sister in trouble, a pair of brothers that ARE trouble, a hot headed out of control Marshall, various other players and Camaro. Who will take the lot of them on and not even need a sit down.

I love thrillers like this because they are truly involving, you rock along with the characters, immersed in every moment, then Sam Hawken throws the odd unexpected spanner into the works making you crazy, then you head into a rapidly escalating conclusion that is proper edge of the seat stuff.

Its not rocket science – it is an adrenalin rush of entertainment with some well drawn and compelling characters, a proper dose of storytelling and a beautifully deft touch when it comes to dynamics and dialogue.

Definitely recommended for fans of ye good olde thrilling thriller with huge doses of that x factor thing that no reviewer ever had actual words for.

Enough said.

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