The Green Bicycle Mystery Antony M Brown Blog Tour Extract.

Today I am very happy to bring you extracts from The Green Bicycle Mystery kicking off a series from Antony M Brown.

About the book

Don’t just read about a murder… solve it. The first of a unique set of true crime dramas. Each one tells the story of an unsolved crime in an evocative and compelling way, it presents fresh evidence, exposes the strengths and weaknesses of past theories and then asks the reader to decide on what happened. 

The series begins with the tragic case of Bella Wright. In a lonely lane running through rural Leicestershire in 1919, a solitary bicycle lies on its side, its metal frame catching the glow of the fading evening light. The back wheel slowly turns about its axle, producing a soft clicking; a rhythmic sound, soothing like the ticking of a study clock. Next to the bicycle, lying at an angle across the road, is a young woman. She is partly on her back, partly on her left side, with her right hand almost touching the mudguard of the rear wheel. Her legs rest on the roadside verge, where fronds of white cow parsley and pink rosebay rise above luxuriant summer foliage. On her head sits a wide-brimmed hat, daintily finished with a ribbon and bow. She is dressed in a pastel blouse and long skirt underneath a light raincoat, the pockets of which contain an empty purse and a box of matches. The blood-flecked coat tells a story… 

Although each book is perfectly self-contained and offers the author’s conclusion, there is a website (coldcasejury.com) for those who wish to share their own verdicts and opinions, making these the first truly interactive crime tales. Beautifully presented with uniquely illustrated covers they also contain evidence images, diagrams and maps. For lovers of crime stories, this new collection of Cold Case Jury books will not just bring a murder story to life, it will make you a part of it.

Read on for some Extracts: 

11pm. The disused chapel at Stretton Parva was a small, rectangular red-brick building with a pitched roof. Looking more like a mundane outhouse than a place of worship, the only clue to its former role was a stone plaque engraved with the words “Free Chapel” embedded in a gable wall. It was a suitable place to keep the young woman’s body overnight. As Dr Williams approached, he saw the gentle glow of candlelight issuing from its two sash windows. PC Hall was wheeling in the girl’s bicycle through the entrance to the right. He followed, closing the door behind him. In the centre of the room the men assembled around a table illuminated by four flickering candles. On it was sprawled the fully clothed body of the young woman. Cowell repeated to the doctor how he discovered the body. Hall informed him that he had inspected briefly both the body and the bicycle and had found nothing suspicious. Williams moved the woman’s head from side to side, feeling her skull and face, as if he was giving a macabre massage. “Extensive blood on the hair and the left side of her face,” Dr Williams announced, stating the obvious. “There’s also bruising on the left cheek just below the eye.” He motioned for a candle to be brought nearer to take a closer look. “Yes, it’s quite a vivid bruise, too.” “It seems to have an indentation in the skin,” Hall commented. “I can see that, Constable. She would sustain that by falling.” The cursory examination soon concluded. “I don’t think we can do any more for the poor girl,” Williams said. “What’s the cause of death, Doctor?” “Oh, I would say sudden haemorrhage and collapse, Constable.” “Can I report that to my superintendent?” “You certainly can. I really must be getting back,” he said, placing his hat on his head. “Goodnight, all.” Alfred Hall nodded as the doctor walked to the door. One by one, he bid the others goodnight until he was left alone. He straightened the body on the table and placed her arms on her chest. He wanted the young woman to have dignity in death. Hall looked at the still body on the table. The skin of the right check had a waxy, yellow appearance with a tint of a bluish-grey, the same cold hue as her lips. The left cheek was covered in dried blood. He dampened the cloth and began to gently wash the dried blood from Bella’s face. Even in death, he thought, cleansing the face was an intimate and tender act, like a mother washing a child. Slowly moving the cloth down her cheek, he lifted the veil of blood that had partially covered Bella’s face since her death. And there, below her left eye, was a bullet wound…

 

On Friday 12 March, a rear wheel was recovered and matched to the green bicycle. It was not proof in itself but demonstrated that Light had dismantled the bicycle and dumped various parts over a wide section of the canal. Expectations were raised. They were met a week later when a brown leather army revolver holster was fished out. It contained treasure: wrapped inside were nearly two dozen .455 cartridges – the same calibre as the bullet found by PC Hall. When Light heard about the recovery he was reported to have cursed in his cell: “Damn and blast that canal!” If this is true, it was the only time he ever lost his composure. “So what happened? I swear whatever you say will not leave this room.” “Come on, Superintendent, you know better than that.” “I know you didn’t murder her, so what happened? If you don’t tell the truth, everyone who ever hears about this case will think you’re guilty. You know that don’t you?” “But I was acquitted by a jury of my peers.” “They will still think you did it, all the same. They will say, ‘That Ronald Light, he got away with murder!’ Friends of mine said that very thing at the weekend.” Bowley waited for his words to sink in before playing his psychological ace. “Why not get this off your chest? Then you can forget all about it, knowing you’ve done the right thing by telling someone the truth. And you’ll feel better for doing it. After what you’ve been through, surely you owe yourself that?” Light leaned forward and tapped his cigarette over the ashtray. “If I tell you, can I depend on you to keep it to yourself ?” Bowley tried hard not to show his delight at reeling in his catch. “I’ve already told you that.” “Whatever I say is strictly confidential. No one else must know. And I’m not signing anything. If you divulge what I tell you, I will just deny it.” “Of course, I understand. It’s just between the two of us.” Light leaned back in his chair and took a long draw from his cigarette as he played pensively with the box of matches. Bowley said nothing, hoping his ploy would work. When Light finally spoke there was no preamble, he simply dropped his bombshell…

 

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Latest Reads: Watching You Arne Dahl

Publication Date: Available Now from Vintage

Source: Netgalley

Someone is watching.

At each abandoned crime scene there’s a hidden clue: a tiny metal cog, almost invisible to the naked eye. Someone is sending Detective Sam Berger a message, someone who knows that only he will understand the cryptic trail.

Someone knows.

When another teenaged girl disappears without trace, Sam must convince his superiors that they’re dealing with a serial killer. As the police continue the hunt to find the latest victim, Sam is forced to unearth long-buried personal demons. He has no choice if he is to understand the killer’s darkly personal message before time runs out.

Somebody is killing just for him.

I loved this one – it was just the kind of twisty story I love with a couple of smartly drawn main protagonists, plenty of mystery, completely gripping and really right up my street.

It is a “serial killer thriller” that also sets up what I hope will be a long running series as I am at this point very attached to Sam as a character – and just as attached to his erstwhile partner in crime who’s name I won’t give you right now so as not to spoil the plot – but individually they allow for a lot of fun reading and together even more so.

The underneath mystery of it is shadowy and dangerous, I loved how the various strands came together slowly over the course of it, especially within the setting which was clearly drawn and atmospheric. It fairly raced along, perfectly paced, until those final fairly horrifying moments. A big bang of an end which made me crazy (in a good way) means that I will actually be willing to kill for the next novel…

This doesn’t have that usual feel that you get from Nordic crime, it has a quite individual tone that sits well between Nordic Noir and British based crime thrillers – this served to make me feel all the more at home with it, not sure how much kudos for that sits with the translator ( Neil Smith) but I’d guess it’s at least a bit so he deserves a shout out.

Overall an excellent thriller that will have me reading the back catalogue and indeed looking forward to all future books. Gripping, clever and unexpected.

Recommended.

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Ones To Watch in 2018: The Memory Chamber Holly Cave

Publication Date: February 2018 from Quercus

Source: Review Copy

Isobel has it all: her dream job, an immaculate home and a steady relationship. Life, and even death, is completely under her control. For Isobel’s generation death no longer means oblivion, thanks to firms like her employer, Oakley Associates. Isobel is their top heaven architect, crafting perfect afterlives for her clients built from the memories they treasure most.

Then Isobel meets handsome client, Jarek. Suddenly her disciplined life gives way to something passionate and extreme, and Isobel jeopardises everything to embark on an affair with a terminally-ill – and married – man.

When Jarek dies and becomes the prime suspect in a murder that took place before his death, Isobel is forced to prove his innocence. But as she stumbles upon the darker side of the work she so passionately believes in, she can trust no one with what she finds.

Set in the near-future, this thrilling and original story vaults the reader into a world that is terrifyingly close to our own, where we can avoid everything we fear – even death itself. But can we ever escape the truth?

The Memory Chamber is a clever speculative fiction novel imagining a future in which you can create your own Heaven – if of course you can afford it and if you are lucky enough to get an appointment with someone like our main protagonist Isobel, who crafts heaven’s for a living and is damned good at it. The technology however does have its quirks and when she is thrown into a passionate affair followed by a murder enquiry things get much less heavenly and far more hellish.

The Memory Chamber has an intelligent and emotive premise – Holly Cave digs deep into the morally blurred world that Isobel lives in, creating a character that is not always easy to like but endlessly intriguing. The scientific speculation feels very authentic and entirely possible, what engaged me about this was Isobel’s distinct love for what she does, her utter belief in it, then watching that belief slowly picked at around the edges leaving her unsure of everything. At the same time she is dealing with a loss and as the story progresses you see the many layers to that loss and how it affects her judgment. As a main protagonist she is beautifully characterised and you are with her all the way.

The world building is gently immersive – we don’t have endless explanations just a considered understanding as we get to know the people that live there, this is a slow beautiful burn of a story that has a rather poignant and moving feel to it – after all we would all like to be sure of what comes after life wouldn’t we?

Overall a genuinely captivating story with a dark heart and an intricately drawn world not that far from our own.

Recommended.

You can find out more and follow Holly on Twitter. If this sounds like your cup of tea you can pre-order The Memory Chamber now.

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Creating Atmosphere with Sophie Jonas-Hill. Nemesister Blog Tour.

Today I am very happy to welcome Sophie, talking about creating atmosphere as part of the blog tour for her novel Nemesister. Loved reading this article! Details on the book follow.

Creating Atmosphere – Sophie Jonas-Hill

Atmosphere – chills, thrills, things that go bump in the night – how to create atmosphere when writing? A picture’s worth a thousand words, but a few well chosen words can create a thousand pictures in the mind of the reader.

The weird thing about atmosphere, is that it’s usually something we only notice when it’s not there. What I mean is the general background noise of our lives is like lift music, so ubiquitous we don’t register it any more. We live with the hum of our own bodies, our houses, our TVs and the passing traffic, so it’s often only when we’re unsettled that we notice it, actually hear it.

Imagine you’re in your sitting room, or wherever you like to sit and read. You’re happy, so you’re reading, you’re relaxed. If you bothered to think about it, you might be able to hear the mundane sounds of your life ticking away, but you’ve no cause to listen, so you don’t.

Then you hear the sound of breaking glass and everything changes. You’re alert, trying to work out where the sound came from – was it your house, or the neighbours’? Now you can hear all the sounds you usually ignore because you’re mentally checking them off – bird song, cars going past, clock ticking, radio in the next room – but these sounds are exaggerated, loud as if someone has turned up the volume on the world.

This is what you need to think about when using atmosphere in your novels – when our senses are sharpened, we become aware of what is already there, because we’re trying desperately to search for clues as to what’s coming. The world we’re in might be innocent, no bad men yet, calm before the storm, but we’re looking, trying to second guess what’s coming.

There’s an evolutionary precedent for this pattern recognition – we’ve evolved to look for patterns in the world around us as a way of looking out for danger. Imagine you’re back in pre-history on the plains of Africa, standing in shoulder high grass, wondering whether we’re about to be eaten by a sabre tooth tiger. Looking around, we can see shadows, the fall of light, movement in the grass, but are any of these a tiger, or are they just the wind? If we’re mistaken and the shadows on the ground aren’t a tiger, then that’s fine, there’s no tiger and we’re safe. But if we’re wrong and we ignore the shadows on the ground and they turn out to be a tiger, then that’s not fine, we’re lunch. So trying to interpret the world around us, being alert for danger, trying always to join the dots and second guess what’s coming is in our blood, our DNA. It’s how we’ve survived for so long as a species.

So, we’re alone in our room after the sound of breaking glass; what we’re doing is picking up on a thousand unconscious clues which might give us a chance at survival, or might just mean that the cat has knocked your grandmother’s glass vase off the shelf in the kitchen.

Of course, your setting will really help the atmosphere of your writing. Often, you can create the most memorable ones by playing with tradition; think about the added dimension of horror that comes with choosing a usually safe place for your gun fight, or comedy by having your prat-falls take somewhere somber as a crematorium. I love it when the setting becomes a character in its own right, something I’ve tried hard to do in my novel ‘Nemesister,’ where the opening location, a house in the swamp, develops a personality almost as if it’s working to it’s own agenda, sometimes helping, sometimes hindering the action.

Wherever you set your writing, just as you must know your characters better than themselves, you must know your locations as completely as possible. Often the very best writing comes from containing your characters and action, putting them in a box or a maze or a lone house, where you have complete control over their physical limits. Think of the house in ‘The woman in black,’ or the Ice bound hotel in ‘The Shining,’ – these places are rooted in our minds because they are so clearly drawn that their background hum so quickly becomes familiar, we can start to sense when that falters, when danger approaches – we start listening too.

Use google earth to visit places you can’t get to physically, read travel writing – good travel writing – eat the food, collect the images and construct pintrest boards. If you can, draw floor plans of your locations, work out on which side the sun rises and sets, and go back and re-visit them so you can make them work for your story. This is your world and if you need there to be a river outside, then go back and draw one on your map – remember you’re in charge!

A final tip if you want to get a feel for creating an atmosphere, try this exercise. Close your eyes and listen to your world; describe every sound, feeling, smell, texture you can sense. Then listen again and try and go further away from yourself, or back inside yourself – keep going as far as you can. Try doing this at different times of day, during different weather conditions, see how these word pictures evolve and change. Once you’re used to it, you can take yourself off to different locations and try it again, seeing how sensitive you can become. This will be a lot of

information, far more than you need for your writing, but once you get used to doing this, you can imagine what you need in your novel and pick out the dots you want your readers to join for you, to create the right picture in their minds.

About the Book:

Publication Date: Available Now from Urbane

A psychological mystery where the female protagonist stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. There she meets an apparent stranger, Red, and the two find themselves isolated and under attack from unseen assailants. 

Barricaded inside for a sweltering night, cabin fever sets in and brings her flashes of insight which might be memory or vision as the swamp sighs and moans around her. 

Exploring in the dark she finds hidden keys that seem to reveal her identity and that of her mysterious host, but which are the more dangerous – the lies he’s told her, or the ones she’s told herself?

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Ones to Watch in 2018: If I Die Before I Wake Emily Koch.

Publication Date: January 2018 from Harvill Secker

Source: Netgalley

How Do You Solve Your Own Murder?

Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen.

But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger.

As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go.

Still a fair few to go in my “Ones to Watch in 2018” feature and next up we have a tense and brilliantly edge of the seat psychological thriller – If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch.

Now this is one of those books that grips you from the outset to the point that you ignore everything else until you are done. Told entirely from the point of view of Alex, in a coma with everyone believing he is to all intents and purposes gone, he is still in there and can hear what’s going on around him and feel what is happening to him. He has had an accident – or was it? As we get drip fed snippets of information from those around him we come to realise that all is not as it seems. Possibly not even Alex himself..

What I loved about this one was the very strong emotional core Emily Koch brings to the storytelling, really digging into the trauma Alex suffers and how it affects his psyche. Torn between wanting to die and wanting to live, all the while trying to work out what the heck happened to him and why, you really feel for him, lying in that bed, unable to communicate –  and even worse realising that the danger has not passed.

You also get a real feel for the characters around him – his Sister, Father, close friends and most of all his girlfriend Bea who is fighting a battle of her own – should she remain loyal or move on – as things progress you get to know them all well, even though you are only getting random snapshots.

The mystery element is brilliantly imagined and the plotting is excellent – there are twists along the way, emotional resonance to the haunting sense of loss and an ending that absolutely kills – one of those that will keep nagging at the edges of your mind for a long time afterwards.

Overall a really excellent, often nail biting, always engaging read and a page turning addition to the genre.

Recommended.

Follow Emily on Twitter for updates and/or pre-order If I Die Before I Wake.

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Ones To Watch in 2018: The Night Market Jonathan Moore.

Publication Date: January 2018 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Source: Netgalley

It’s late Thursday night, and Inspector Ross Carver is at a crime scene in one of the city’s last luxury homes. The dead man on the floor is covered by an unknown substance that’s eating through his skin. Before Carver can identify it, six FBI agents burst in and remove him from the premises. He’s pushed into a disinfectant trailer, forced to drink a liquid that sends him into seizures, and is shocked unconscious. On Sunday he wakes in his bed to find his neighbor, Mia—who he’s barely ever spoken to—reading aloud to him. He can’t remember the crime scene or how he got home; he has no idea two days have passed. Mia says she saw him being carried into their building by plainclothes police officers, who told her he’d been poisoned. Carver doesn’t really know this woman and has no way of disproving her, but his gut says to keep her close.

A mind-bending, masterfully plotted thriller—written in Moore’s “lush, intoxicating style” (Justin Cronin)—that will captivate fans of Blake Crouch, China Miéville, and Lauren Beukes, The Night Market follows Carver as he works to find out what happened to him, soon realizing he’s entangled in a web of conspiracy that spans the nation. And that Mia may know a lot more than she lets on.

Brilliant. The last book in the loosely connected Noir San Francisco trilogy and probably my favourite of the three, The Night Market is creepy and intense, set years after the events of the previous books and throwing us into a world that is the same but also quite quite different.

Beautifully descriptive both in character and setting the San Francisco we find in “The Night Market” has a tangibly different feel to it than before. Carver lives here, is part of the law here and so through him we can see the different nuances and the sense of feeling Mr Moore brings to the narrative is wonderfully absorbing.

From the very first chapters where we, the readers, feel the full impact of what happens to Carver, then watch him haunted by the missing memories, determined to find out the truth, it is utterly gripping and plays on your mind while you are away from it  -It never really lets up  until that very last page, with its beautifully emotive ending. The theme running through it is scarily authentic, a possible future that is far from beyond the realms of possibility – a thought provoking nightmare journey that Carver takes us on with him.

An unpredictable story told with razor sharp edges and deeply felt impassioned moments, The Night Market cleverly and rather brutally yet beautifully brings an end to this show – With The Poison Artist you get a psychological thriller with a classically layered unreliable narrator, with The Dark Room you get a tense, nail biting police procedural and character drama, with The Night Market you get a speculative dystopian tale and holding all of these together is that city – San Francisco – in all its glory – and the people that live there.

If you’ve not read The Poison Artist or The Dark Room yet then I recommend them – whilst each novel stands on its own, read all together they make a complete work of art.

Highly Recommended.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter for updates, you can Pre-Order The Night Market or if you can’t wait why not catch up with The Poison Artist and/or The Dark Room.

Readers in the US click here.

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Ones to Watch in 2018 – The Confession. Jo Spain.

Publication Date: January 2018 from Quercus

Source: Review Copy

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

So moving on in the “Ones to Watch in 2018” feature we have Jo Spain’s “The Confession” her first psychological thriller and with any luck for us readers, not her last.

I am used to this type of book by now, I enjoy the majority that I read but these days I look for those that do something different or something special. I wouldn’t say that The Confession necessarily has a whole new hook in to the psychological thriller genre but what I WOULD say is it has that X-Factor, that indescribable something that makes it stand above the rest.

A multi-stranded story taking in three separate narratives – Julie, the wife who sits aghast and unable to move as she watches her Husband brutally beaten, JP, the attacker and Alice, the detective determined to get to the bottom of things – The Confession slowly and intelligently reveals the intersecting lives that have lead inevitably to this one brutal moment.  JP Delaney says of this book “Enthralling, Spain dissects her character’s secrets with razor-sharp precision” – That is spot on and exactly what happens over the course of the story and you cannot look away. This is yet another one sitting (relatively speaking) read for me, the whole thing was entirely fascinating.

I can’t give too much away, this book has twists of character so beautifully done that I would not want to even risk letting anything out before you read it yourself – but you’ll find out about Julie, about Harry who we only meet in retrospect and through the filtered eye of others, about JP and even about Alice, the author bringing this eclectic group dynamic to incredibly authentic life.

Viewed through a glass darkly, the true nature of the players in this drama slowly emerges, their realities and their consequences – it is gripping gripping stuff and takes the notion of a “Whydunnit” to whole new levels.

You’ll find out who did it on the very first page. On the last page you’ll find out why…

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To Kill The President Sam Bourne – Blog tour Interview and Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Harper Collins.

Source: Review Copy

Today I am very happy to have an interview with Jonathan Freedland (AKA Sam Bourne) all about his controversial and timely thriller To Kill The President. It is a banging good read and my review follows.

Do you find it more difficult to write political thrillers when some aspects of today’s political landscape are seen as even more outlandish than fiction?

It’s definitely a challenge when the nightly news can seem to twist and turn as dizzyingly as a thriller. Think of, say, the makers of the new House of Cards series: how could they compete with reality?

To give one very concrete example, most thrillers rely on an assumption that certain behaviours are out of bounds. If a character is revealed to be involved in corruption or sexual violence, that – the reader assumes – will prove terminal for their career. You can build a whole plot on that assumption: a politician who will stop at nothing to prevent the truth coming out.

But Donald Trump has upended all our beliefs about what revelations a politician can or cannot survive. The notorious “pussy” tape, in which he was heard bragging about having apparently committed sexual assault, was meant to have destroyed Trump. All the old rules of politics said it would be a fatal blow. But he survived it and won the presidency. That means novelists like me have to rethink what kind of revelation or scandal can lie at the heart of a story: what used to be terminal might be terminal no longer.

How close to reality do you think To Kill the President might end up being, particularly considering the current tensions between the US and North Korea?

The book opens with my fictional president, who is never named, ordering a nuclear strike against North Korea and China. When I wrote that, conflict with North Korea seemed wholly hypothetical. It does, I admit, seem a lot less hypothetical now.

What are your three top tips for budding novelist?

1. Read a lot.

2. With the books you like, read them once, then read them again – to see how the author did it.

3. Be nosy. Ask people questions; get them to tell you their stories. Eventually one of them will spark an idea.

Have you read anything recently that you would like to recommend?

It’s not a novel, but it reads like a thriller: All Out War, Tim Shipman’s brilliant account of the Brexit referendum.

The unthinkable has happened. The United States has elected a volatile demagogue as president, backed by his ruthless chief strategist, Crawford Mac’ McNamara.

When a war of words with the North Korean regime spirals out of control and the President comes perilously close to launching a nuclear attack, it’s clear someone has to act, or the world will be reduced to ashes.

Soon Maggie Costello, a seasoned Washington operator and avowed liberal, discovers an inside plot to kill the president and faces the ultimate moral dilemma. Should she save the president and leave the free world at the mercy of an increasingly crazed would-be tyrant or commit treason against her Commander in Chief and risk plunging the country into a civil war?

My Review:

Brilliantly current and really quite scary To Kill The President asks some very important questions and is a real genuine thrill of a thriller.

Utterly absorbing from the very first page, where the world is almost tipped over into all out war, you are completely gripped by the narrative here, not least because it is all so scarily possible given the current political climate and the absolute madness that seems to be overtaking the world lately.  You kind of want to clap your hands over your eyes and not look but you just can’t help it. In life as with reading this novel…

I’ve met Maggie Costello before in previous thrillers from Mr Freedland’s alter ego – in this story she truly is on the edge of reason – can she possibly let a plot against the President go ahead, could she even tacitly help it along?  It would go against everything she has ever believed – with that moral dilemma lies the soul of the story, whilst the rest of it is often heart stopping edge of the seat moments, all entirely character driven, digging deep into an all too likely and very dangerous scenario.

I’m not going to give anything away at all – you just have to read this one and absorb it – it is a madly addictive page turner and a hugely thought provoking drama, written with perfectly poised prose and telling a fascinating, frightening, yet completely entertaining tale, startlingly authentic and completely mind blowing.

Highly Recommended.

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Little Boy Found L K Fox – Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now (E-Book only release) from Quercus

Source: Review Copy

One rainy morning, just after Nick drops off his young son Gabriel outside the crowded school gates, he has a minor collision with another car. The driver won’t surrender his insurance details, so Nick photographs the licence plate. When he gets home, he enlarges the shot on his phone and spots something odd about the picture-Gabriel in the back seat, being driven away by a stranger. Nick needs to know what happened to his boy, but losing Gabriel turns out to be far less terrible than the shock of finding him. Now, to discover the truth, he must relive the nightmare all over again…Be warned, this is not another missing child story: what happened to Nick and his son is far more shocking. 

A slightly different take on the “child missing” concept much seen recently – a page turner that was actually rather predictable but great reading none the less.

We have two different anchors here, Nick, whose son goes missing (difficult to say too much about his portion of the tale without spoilers) and Ella (same applies!) The author does a great job of telling two very separate stories and then bringing them together to show how they intersect with each other – the writing has a strong, emotive edge especially within the relationship Nick has with his partner and with Gabriel and within the layers of Ella’s personality. Psychologically speaking this was clever and engaging – despite having worked out the basic resolution there were still things that surprised me and it was a fast paced, intriguing read.

I loved it for its different focus but if I had one bugbear I thought the final final part of it was overkill. For me the story ended in a much more subtle and satisfying way before, I guess, someone decided it needed more of a shock. We don’t always need a shock you know, sometimes less is more. However that is a subjective comment and doesn’t detract from the overall reading experience which was really good.

Recommended for fans of psychological drama. I hope the author tries his hand at it again away from his usual genre because this worked on a lot of levels and I’d be interested in what else he could come up with.

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Ones to Watch in 2018. The Feed. Nick Clark Windo

Publication Date: January 2018 from Headline

Source: Review Copy

It makes us. It destroys us. 

The Feed is everywhere. It can be accessed by anyone, at any time. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it.

Tom and Kate use The Feed, but they have resisted addiction to it. And this will serve them well when The Feed collapses.

Until their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing.

Because how do you find someone in a world devoid of technology? And what happens when you can no longer trust that your loved ones are really who they claim to be?

Warning: The Feed is ludicrously addictive so take the day off when you know it’s coming!

So the second of my “Ones to Watch” for next year is this one,  “The Feed” by Nick Clark Windo – and it is a dream of a read, speculative fiction set in the real world and incredibly current considering how fast technology is advancing and what it is becoming capable of – the author writes a cautionary tale about our reliance on such things and manages to make it beautifully authentic, often very emotional and always always fascinating.

In Tom and Kate we have two very engaging and different characters, struggling in a world left bereft. trying to do the best that they can. Then they lose Bea, their 6 year old, the rest of the book is made up of their desperate attempts to find her, it is a “road trip” of extreme danger and frustration – and boy do you feel it.

I loved the very human feel of this – the layers and the nuances – it is one reason for it’s highly addictive quality and the writing is stunning in its descriptive sense and terrific character building. There are a few spanners thrown in the works that will have you on the edge of your seat and there is an ending that may tip you over.

I devoured this story barely putting it down. Great concept, great execution, plenty of book trauma with a huge emotional rush of an ending. Left me vaguely tearful.

Highly Recommended.

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Happy Reading!

#NeedTheFeed