Friday 30 November 2018

#BlogTour Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour for Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch. Petch shows the reader what true companionship, friendship and support is.

About the Author
A prize-winning author, Angela Petch lives half the year in West Sussex and the summer months in a remote valley in the Tuscan Apennines. She recently signed a two-book deal with Bookouture for her Tuscan novels and “Mavis and Dot” is a temporary departure from her usual genre. She has travelled all her life: born in Germany, she spent six years as a child living in Rome, worked in Amsterdam after finishing her degree in Italian, moved to Italy for her job, then to Tanzania for three years. Her head is full of stories and she always carries a pen and note-book to capture more ideas.

In May 2017, Angela Petch won PRIMA’S monthly short story competition and recently had a dozen stories published by The People’s Friend magazine.

“Mavis and Dot” was written in memory of a dear friend who lost her battle with ovarian cancer. All profits from sales of the book will go towards research into a cure for cancer.

About the book
A warm slice of life, funny, feel-good, yet poignant. Introducing two eccentric ladies who form an unlikely friendship.Meet Mavis and Dot - two colourful, retired ladies who live in Worthington-on-Sea, where there are charity shops galore. Apart from bargain hunting, they manage to tangle themselves in escapades involving illegal immigrants, night clubs, nude modelling, errant toupees and more. And then there’s Mal, the lovable dog who nobody else wants. A gently humorous, often side-splitting, heart-warming snapshot of two memorable characters with past secrets and passions.

Escape for a couple of hours into this snapshot of a faded, British seaside town. You'll laugh and cry but probably laugh more."This book is quirky and individual, and has great pathos...[it] will resonate with a lot of readers." Gill Kaye - Editor of Ingenu(e). Written with a light touch in memory of a dear friend who passed away from ovarian cancer, Angela Petch’s seaside tale is a departure from her successful Tuscan novels.

The friendship and relationship between Mavis and Dot reminds me of the friendship my mother has with a woman she met when she moved to a small seaside town. The two of them spend nearly their entire time together sniping and complaining about each other, all whilst going on regular shopping trips and excursions. When apart they complain to others about the annoying habits each of them has, and that is more or less what Mavis and Dot are like.

The differences between them seem insurmountable and yet the way each of them resigns themselves to those idiosyncrasies is what stands out in this story.

For me the core of this story is the odd couple relationship and the friendship they both grow into over time. The story pivots and shoots into a lot of different directions, which I felt was detrimental to the main plot at times, however saying that the eccentricity and the erratic nature of the storyline is also what makes this story.

Friendship happens between the strangest of couples and groups, and between the most unlikely of persons. The question is whether we are still able to do so in times when our society has become so standoffish, inhumane and uncaring towards the plight and pain of our fellow human beings. We have to accept that we are the same beneath our external differences or internal beliefs.

Petch shows the reader what true companionship, friendship and support is, and it has no problem ignoring smelly coats and a bad dress sense. It can be filled with disagreements and still be a strong supportive bond worth nurturing. At the same time, looking beyond the sad aspect of loneliness, the isolation of the elderly and the way we deal with immigrants, there is also a thread of humour throughout the story. It keeps Mavis and Dot light and entertaining.

Buy Mavis and Dot at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy Mavis and Dot at Amazon com
Tuscan Novels
Tuscan Roots: A tangle of love and war in the Italian Apennines (Tuscan Roots - to be reissued by Bookouture in 2019)
Now and Then in Tuscany:Italian Journeys

Thursday 29 November 2018

Attend by West Camel

I really enjoyed this gem of a read and I hope you do too.

Don't miss the fantastic BlogTour starting on Saturday the 1st of December and running for the entire month. Read the schedule at the bottom of this post to follow my fellow bloggers, as they take this debut book by West Camel, published by Orenda Books, for a ride through the Bloggerverse.

About the Author
Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing.  He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch.

He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.

Follow @west_camel @OrendaBooks on Twitter
Buy Attend

About the book
When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah. Seamstress, sailor, storyteller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

I think the first assumption one makes about this story is that Deborah is some kind of forlorn spirit or a ghost who is destined to wander the streets of Deptford for eternity. The truth is so much more complex. It's also what gives this story an essence of eccentric charm. You never really know for certain whether she is real, is she a figment of imagination or is she really walking among the living waiting for the right circumstances?

The only trouble with magical realism is the fact it is hard to distinguish between what is real and which elements belong in the magical category. So, with that said I am off to go look for Deborah in the tunnels or in her abode by the river.

One of the most poignant moments in the book is when Deborah asks if Anne and Sam can really see her. If you set aside the story for moment, it speaks to the lack of compassion and empathy in our society. The lonely walk through our world like invisible people. We look away from and turn our backs on things that make us uncomfortable, including the homeless, the abused and invisible in our society.

Not everyone sees Deborah, which in itself says a lot about the world she lives in, and a lot about the people who can or do see her. Does she connect with Anne and Sam because they need her in exactly that moment in time? Are their inner struggles and demons like a flare in the darkness for Deborah? Or do the paths of this threesome meld because fate has dictated this path for them?

I can't tell a lie, this story drew me in further with each word. I was mesmerised by the story of the young girl in the tunnel and her magical discovery. From the claustrophobic feel of the tunnels, the mysterious piece of cloth - to the Hansel and Gretel safety thread

Attend is a nod in the direction of magical realism with a noirish quality and yet simultaneously filled with the brusque reality of our modern world. The collusion between these different worlds culminates in an extraordinary piece of fiction.

Buy Attend (Kindle) at Amazon Uk
Buy/Pre-order Attend (Paperback - pub date 13 December 2018)
Publisher: Orenda Books

Starting on the 1st of December - the Blogtour for Attend by West Camel:

#BlogTour Too Far by Jason Starr

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Too Far by Jason Starr. Starr writes crime with the improbable in mind, so expect the unexpected.

About the Author
Jason Starr is the international bestselling author of many crime novels and thrillers and his books have been published in over a dozen languages. Many of his books are in development for film and TV. Starr's bestselling crime novels include Cold Caller, Nothing Personal, Fake ID, Hard Feelings, Tough Luck and Twisted City, followed by Lights Out, The Follower, Panic Attack, Savage Lane and his latest novel, Too Far. He is one of only a handful of authors who have won the Anthony Award for mystery fiction multiple times. He was born in Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan.

Follow @JasonStarrBooks @noexitpress on Twitter
Buy Too Far

About the book
One night. One date. What have you got to lose?

Jack Harper isn’t a bad man, but he’s stuck in a loveless marriage with a mediocre job just trying to keep sober. The only good thing in his life is his son. When an old college friend introduces him to a new extramarital dating website, he tentatively reaches out to find a distraction from his misery. But when he goes to meet up with his steamy online date, he quickly realises it was a dire choice.
Soon, Jack finds himself desperately trying to prove his innocence for crimes he did not commit, and the life he once had – unhappy as it was – is nothing but a dream. Now, he’s living his worst nightmare. . .

Gripping and packed with shocking twists and turns, this intense psychological thriller plays with a basic anxiety we all harbour: What if one reckless decision could ruin your life forever?
Jack, oh Jack, what can I say about Jack? He likes to blame everything and everyone else for his failures and mistakes. At least he is consistent throughout the story when it comes to this. He never accepts any responsibility for his actions. His wife makes him unhappy, which means it's okay to look elsewhere. His friend is more successful at life, so it's fine for Jack to want more from his own life.

Clearly his friend is there holding each finger to the keyboard as Jack sets up a profile on an extramarital aka cheating hook-up site. An invisible force makes him send flirtatious and salacious messages to women other than his wife, women who are also married or in relationships. When he goes as far as arranging to meet up for a dangerous liaison he finds himself in a bit of a pickle.

Jack, who wants a bit of fun on the side, becomes Jack the murder suspect and Jack the alleged killer. Within hours he has a very displeased wife, a detective gagging to pin a death on him and his life starts unravelling before him.

Starr presents a main character with a penchant for self-pity and a knack for finding himself in difficult situations. Not exactly the perfect leading man, but certainly a good pick for this rather unpredictable crime thriller. It's a read with infuriating scenes and characters, and they inadvertently also act as red herrings in a crime story with an apparently simple solution.

The author finishes the book off with an intriguing about-turn in a direction, which leaves the story open for a possible sequel. Starr writes crime with the improbable in mind, so expect the unexpected.

Buy Too Far at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: No Exit Press

Saturday 24 November 2018

#BlogTour A Hollow Sky by M. Sean Coleman

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour for A Hollow Sky by M. Sean Coleman, the second book in the Alex Ripley series. Coleman gives the reader an intriguing mixture of mystery, crime and whodunnit, then surrounds it with a layer of mysticism and skepticism in equal measures.

Enter the Giveaway below to win paperback copies of The Cuckoo Wood and A Hollow Sky, a cool tote bag with book quote from the publisher, a branded bookmark and some chocolates. (Open Internationally)

About the Author
Born in the UK and raised in South Africa, M. Sean Coleman developed a love for reading and writing novels in his early teens, thanks to two incredibly passionate English teachers who infected him with their love of words and stories. Over the intervening years, he has written film and television drama, cross-platform series, an interactive children’s storybook and a graphic novel series.

He finally found his niche as a thriller writer when he was asked to write a novel as part of the cross-platform project, Netwars. His first book, The Code, was published six months later, with the sequel, Down Time, hot on its heels. There was no going back.

He is obsessed with crime, mystery and thriller stories, especially those with a fresh or surprising angle. He writes novels from his home in The Cotswolds, where he lives with his husband and their three red dogs.
Follow @mseancoleman  @RedDogTweets on Twitter, on Facebook
Buy A Hollow Sky

About the book
Jane Hewitt had been miraculously healed—cured of a terminal cancer that had been eating away at her body for months. After one meeting with an incredible young woman, Jane rose from her wheelchair and walked out, believing that her lifetime of devoted faith had been rewarded. The next day, Jane died in her husband's arms, devastated that her God had deserted her. Her husband, Ian, blames her hastened death on the faith healer she visited. But that faith healer is a teenage girl called Megan, who has been in a coma for five years, and has no say over how her gift is used.

When Ian is arrested after being accused of breaking in to Megan's house and trying to tamper with her life support, he turns to the only person he knows can help clear his name, and stop this family deceiving any other victims—Dr Alex Ripley, the so called Miracle Detective.

Fascinated by Megan's case, and needing a distraction, Ripley finds herself on Holy Island, off the coast of North Wales, caught up in an investigation that will prove more sinister and dangerous than she could have imagined. Ian is not the first person to complain about Megan and her supporters, but he seems to be the only one left alive. For now.
A Hollow Sky is the second Alex Ripley Mystery

This is the second book in the Alex Ripley Mystery series. Both The Cuckoo Wood and A Hollow Sky can be read as standalone novels. One of the small scenes in the first book features a character who later becomes a main character in the second.

Dr Alex Ripley dedicates her life to exposing the charlatans who try and trick the vulnerable and the gullible. The fakes with a supposed direct line of contact to the dead and the ability to mediate between the living and their dearly departed loved ones.

Jane Hewitt visits a miracle healer, a young girl in a coma called Megan, and is dead the next day. Her husband blames the scam operation that made his wife believe she had experienced a miraculous healing, which was then ripped away again in a few minutes, for her death. In her last moments she was convinced her God had forsaken her. Now Ian wants to make sure everyone knows that coma girl is as fake as a tan on an Essex girl.

Obviously Alex comes up against quite a lot of opposition. There are plenty of religious people, who believe in miracles and the power of faith. Crying statues, sudden healing and the power of mass belief. Logic, science and plain old common sense are the last things people want to believe in when they think they are experiencing a sign from God.

Coleman gives the reader an intriguing mixture of mystery, crime and whodunnit, then surrounds it with a layer of mysticism and skepticism in equal measures. It makes for a compelling read.

Buy A Hollow Sky (Alex Ripley Mystery Book #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy A Hollow Sky at Amazon com
Buy A Hollow Sky at Red Dog Press
Read my review of The Cuckoo Wood (Alex Ripley Mystery Book #1) by M.Sean Coleman

Enter the Giveaway below to win paperback copies of The Cuckoo Wood and A Hollow Sky, a cool tote bag with book quote from the publisher, a branded bookmark and some chocolates. (Open Internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

#BlogTour And The Swans Began to Sing by Thora Karitas Arnadottir

Today it is my turn on the BlogTour And The Swans Began to Sing by Thora Karitas Arnadottir. It's a heartfelt and emotional journey. Kudos to Gudbjorg for sharing it and for looking for help.

About the Author
Thora Karitas Arnadottir studied drama in Britain and is best known for the award winning TV series, Astridur, in her home country and for hosting Unique Iceland, a highly popular travel magazine show about Iceland.

Thora is currently working on her first novel, which will be released in Iceland in 2019.
Thora Karitas is an Icelandic actress and author and this is the English translation of her Icelandic debut. It's a narrative non-fiction about her mother's life in Iceland. Throughout her childhood Thora's mother, Gudjborg was raped on a regular basis by her grandfather.

Follow @ThoraKaritas @Wildpressed on Twitter
Buy And The Swans Began to Sing

About the book
The swans on the pond, quite abruptly began to sing. It was a singing so loud they were almost screaming. The swans were screaming, screaming as if they saw the horror of the world.

Gudbjorg Thorisdottir has been hiding from the ghost of an ugly secret for most of her life. When she finally faces the truth of what happened throughout her childhood, the ghost floats away. Painting an evocative picture of her life in Iceland, this is the story of a little girl who didn’t know how unnatural it was to experience both heaven and hell in the same house.

Thora Karitas Arnadottir (b. 1979) studied drama in the UK, and is a producer as well as appearing on stage and television. And the Swans Began to Sing is her first published book; her mother’s story, and formed the final dissertation for her MA in Creative Writing. The book was nominated for the Icelandic Women’s Literary prize Fjoruverdlaunin in 2016.

This is the story of Gudbjorg Thorisdottir, the grandmother of Thora Karitas Arnadottir. In a way it is her way of healing the wounds of the past by telling the world her story in her own words, even if it is through the pen or medium of her granddaughter. She is facing the gossips and the tellers of tales head-on.

I think this is one of the things that seems to hurt her - the fact others have taken it upon themselves to tell her story, her secret. People, and I am thinking of her ex-husband in particular, who believe it is their secret to share just because they think it is their knowledge to control. Gudbjorg is an adult, who has confronted her abuse, has worked through it in therapy and is trying to come to terms with it, so it is her secret to share with others.

It would be entirely different if we were talking about an ongoing situation or someone who needed help to deal with the abuse. If you do suspect a child is being abused, especially if it is a gut reaction, then don't wave it aside. The majority of sexual abuse is ignored because adults would rather not confront a taboo or label someone by mistake. Believe me you will know, but our instinctive reaction is to ignore what we find impossible to believe. This is definitely the case when the abuser is a family member.

The other element of this tragic story that shines through is the relationship Gudbjorg has with her mother, and the question of whether she knew what was going on. I think Gudbjorg is well aware, after talking to friends and family many years after the fact, that her grandfather was a known abuser, which then leaves her with the difficult truth that her family left her in a vulnerable position. Her mother chose to ignore her instinct, and her family members turned a blind eye, because placing the truth on the table would have broken the family apart. Difficult to acknowledge, but often the case in family abuse and incest.

I think it is incredibly brave of Gudbjorg to speak out, even after all these years. I hope it brings her some peace and lessens the guilt. The guilt that doesn't belong anywhere on her shoulders by the way. The drink didn't make him do it, the grief didn't make him do it, and I can guarantee you he had more victims than Gudbjorg realises.

All of that is irrelevant though, because the most important thing is that she was a child and he stole her childhood, her innocence and many first moments from her. It's time she stopped letting him steal from her.

It's a heartfelt and emotional journey. Kudos to Gudbjorg for sharing it and for looking for help.

Buy And The Swans Began to Sing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for an other retailer.
Publisher: Wild Pressed Books (10th January 2019)

Friday 23 November 2018

#BlogTour Good Samaritans by Will Carver

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Good Samaritans by Will Carver. Carver defines the kill in killer and the clean in crime scene in a whole new way.

About the Author
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

Follow @will_carver @OrendaBooks on Twitter
Buy Good Samaritans

About the book
One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.

But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

I really do appreciate the kind of opening chapter or pages that seal the deal in an instant. It sounds like such an easy task, however it is surprising how many authors can't deliver the 'slap to the face' approach. It's usually a case of casting a line, waiting for a bite and slowly drawing a reader in, which is equally compelling, and yet it doesn't have the same feel or appeal to it.

Sean loves his wife and hates his wife, despises his job and is being driven just a wee bit insane by his insomnia. His only moments of joy are when he connects with strangers in the middle of the night via random phone calls. Hadley is one of the strangers he connects with when she reaches out to find someone to talk to. Someone who will keep her from harming herself. Their story is one of coincidence and also one of fate, then again it might just be fateful for one of them.

It's kind of ironic that the story suggests that trust is a forgotten character trait and no longer something we can automatically rely on. The message is trust no one, because you just never know who might be hiding behind the seemingly innocent exterior.

The more poignant message in this story, in my opinion, is the one about loneliness. The depths of despair we keep hidden from others, the feeling of being completely and utterly lost and not knowing why or how to fix it. The smiles we fix upon our faces to greet the world every single day, whilst wanting to disappear from the world in equal measures. I think the author captures that particular essence of humanity and relays it, albeit through the eyes of potential killers, in a way we can all relate to.

I'm not quite sure whether it's a compliment or not, but based on his plot, and all-round worryingly creepy and accurate descriptions of both the killing and the killers, Carver would probably make a highly efficient serial-killer. Just putting that out there into the universe. You just never know when you might need a new career.

Don't expect it to be pretty or romanticised, this is not only the hardcore reality of pleasure induced by killing, it is also a snapshot moment of the systemic misery and darkness hidden in our society. It's the kind of psychological thriller that makes you feel sorry for the killer and dislike them all at the same time. Carver defines the kill in killer and the clean in crime scene in a whole new way. Note: One shall no longer be singing three bottles of beer on the wall, from now on it's bleach...

Buy Good Samaritans at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Orenda Books (15 Sept. 2018)

Thursday 22 November 2018

#BlogTour Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willett

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willet. It has the feel of a rural mystery with a whiff of sadism and a screwed up killer.

About the Author
Anna Willett is the author of Backwoods Ripper, Retribution Ridge, Forgotten Crimes, Cruelty’s Daughter and the best-selling thriller, Unwelcome Guests. Her new release, Small Town Nightmare is available on Amazon. Raised in Western Australia Anna developed a love for fiction at an early age and began writing short stories in high school. Drawn to dark tales, Anna relishes writing thrillers with strong female characters. When she’s not writing, Anna enjoys reading, travelling and spending time with her husband, two children and their dogs.

Follow Anna Willet: On Facebook on Goodreads on Pinterest Amazon Author page
Buy Small Town Nightmare

About the book
A young drifter is in deep trouble, his sister is his only hope...

Lucy’s younger brother has gone missing. When she sets out to find him, the trail takes her to Night Town. It’s a rural backwater deep in the forests of south western Australia. Lucy tries to enlist the help of the local police, but she is met with hostility. She befriends a man who might help her cause. Yet he is not quite who he says he is.

As the locals begin to resent her presence in the town, danger quickly mounts. The town has secrets and they seem to centre on the enigmatic Samuel Nightmesser, its wealthy benefactor.What connects her missing brother to this grim boondock? And why do the townsfolk want rid of Lucy?

As the story unfolds we are immersed in a creepy, claustrophobic drama in which everything is at stake. If you like books with a strong female lead that keep you on the edge of your seat, you’ve found your next favourite read

Lucy is looking for her brother, a drifter who has gone missing. One of the invisible people nobody cares about and not many miss when they just disappear from the face of the earth. Luckily she can pinpoint where he was when he made his last phone call, a small rural town in Western Australia called Night Town.

The attitude Lucy comes across is in the title. Small town mentality, to be more specific, the small town cop mentality. Nothing exists outside of the parameters of the town. They make their own rules, follow the law if and when they choose to. When the safety of their secrets is compromised then all bets are off - to the detriment of any stranger or person just passing through.

I have to say I think Lucy is naive and trusts easily, especially when it comes to strangers. Just because Damon just happens to be searching for a missing person too doesn't mean he is harmless. The search connects the two of them, as does the lack of care they have for their own safety.

I'm not sure anything can prepare Lucy or Damon for the bizarre and insane truth hidden behind the allegedly peaceful exterior of Night Town. The brutal and unapologetic madness of the criminal machinery funded by privilege and wealth, and by the constant 'look the other' way attitude of others.

It has the feel of a rural mystery with a whiff of sadism and a screwed up killer.

Buy Small Town Nightmare at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy Small Town Nightmare at Amazon com or at  BookBub
Published on 29th August 2018 and available in paperback and eBook formats.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

#BlogTour And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott

It's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour And So It Begins by Rachel Abott. This is without a doubt Abbott's best book yet. It is the perfect combination of crime and psychological thriller.

About the Author
Rachel Abbott began her career as an independent author in 2011, with Only the Innocent, which became a No.1 bestseller on Kindle, topping the chart for four weeks. Since then, she has published five further psychological thrillers, plus a novella, and sold over 2.75 million copies. She is one of the top-selling authors of all time in the UK Kindle store (published and self-published), and her novels have been translated into 21 languages. This is her first traditional publishing deal, though she’s been approached many times.

Follow @RachelAbbott @Wildfirebks on Twitter
Or RachelAbbott1Writer on Facebook
Visit and
Buy And So It Begins

About the book
So this is how it ends. It is clear to me now: one of us has to die.
Mark and Evie had a whirlwind romance. Evie brought Mark back to life after the sudden death of his first wife. Cleo, Mark’s sister, knows she should be happy for him. But Cleo doesn’t trust Evie...

When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her
injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.

Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As the accused stands trial, the jury is forced to consider - is there ever a proper defence for murder?

And So It Begins is a darkly compulsive psychological thriller with all the hallmarks of a Rachel Abbott bestseller - a provocative dilemma, richly-layered mystery, knife-edge tension, and brilliant characterization.

Once is a coincidence, twice is a pattern. Mark and Evie have a seemingly happy relationship on the surface. They live in a fantastic house and are parents to a healthy beautiful baby. Everything is hunky-dory except for the dark cloud hanging over the house, because that's where Mark's first wife fell to her death.

Then there is Cleo, the obsessive and manipulative sister of Mark. The woman who hates all of his girlfriends, and Evie is no exception. Cleo loves Mark, Lulu and Cleo, of course.

As if it that wasn't enough to muddy the clear waters, Evie also suffers from an unfortunate proneness to accidents. Unfortunate in a sense that said accidents always seem to happen just after Mark has left for a business trip. Is there an abusive controlling man hidden behind the perfect exterior?

Cleo doesn't think so, in fact she vehemently denies any wrong-doing when it comes to Mark. She is willing to go to any length to keep him safe, coddled and wrapped up in a bubble of sisterly protection.

It's never quite clear who the guilty party is, even after one of the main characters meets an unfortunate end. Is there some element of self-defence? Did they deserve to meet the grim-reaper or is the inadvertent killer playing a double-game?

The entire story is filled with questions. Guilt isn't defined within the parameters of black and white borders. The grey areas are coloured with such a variety of shades that it is difficult to determine who the real villain is, which is the magic of this story, and it also creates the taut tension throughout.

This is without a doubt Abbott's best book yet. It is the perfect combination of crime and psychological thriller. I love the fact she always works to improve her craft in order to deliver a great read. It's full of twists and turns, nobody is free of doubt or guilt, which is what makes this such an excellent story, and one I highly recommend.

Buy And So it Begins at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Wildfire (15 Nov. 2018)

Read Kill Me Again, Read The Back RoadRead Nowhere ChildRead Stranger ChildRead Come a Little Closer or Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott

Tuesday 20 November 2018

#BlogTour The Fourth Victim by John Mead

It's my turn on the BlogTour The Fourth Victim by John Mead. The story combines police procedural with a rather controversial psychiatric disorder.

About the Author
Born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built. I was the first pupil from my local secondary modern school to attend university.

I have travelled extensively during my life from America to Tibet. I enjoy going to the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that I am an avid ‘people watcher’ and love to find out about people, their lives, culture and history.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in my novels are based on real incidents and people I have come across. Although I have allowed myself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

Follow @JohnMeadAuthor @BookGuild on Twitter
Buy The Fourth Victim

About the book
Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of peace, tranquility and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder.

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight.  And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with her head bashed in, down to a mugging gone wrong.  The victim deserves more.  However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out - the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

The body of a young woman is discovered in a park. The police are able to establish that her death was very recent and that there doesn't seem to be any witnesses or possible suspects. That's after they make a lot of assumptions about her. Turns out she isn't the only victim of a confused and erratic killer.

There was this blasé attitude to the investigation in general and a lot of consorting with witnesses or people who then skew the narrative. Not exactly professional, despite the explanations towards the end of the story. I think the emphasis on all the horizontal tangoing, flirting and romantic relationships detracted from the crime element of the story. The focus should have been on the why and the whom, instead of the sexual escapades of the police detectives.

Keeping in mind that the whodunnit aspect is quite complex, it needs a lot of explanation and veers into a quite a few different directions. At the same time sometimes less is more, which means although the story needed attention to detail perhaps the wrong details were presumed more important than others. It is a wee bit disjointed and confusing at times, nothing a nip, tuck, tighten and edit couldn't fix.

Mead combines police procedural with mental health issues or rather a controversial psychiatric disorder. The controversy of the diagnosis allows for a certain amount of freedom in the plot development and the level of crazy in the story.

Buy The Fourth Victim at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy The Fourth Victim at Waterstones
Publisher: The Book Guild (24 Oct. 2018)

Monday 19 November 2018

What Was Lost by Jean Levy

About the Author
Jean Levy has worked in genetics research, the pharmaceutical industry and in academic publishing. She is currently completing a doctorate in Linguistics. She studied Creative Writing at the University of Sussex and lives with her husband in the South Downs. This is her first novel.

Follow @JeanELevy @DomePress

About the book
Something terrible has happened to successful children's writer Sarah, but she doesn't know what it is. All she knows is that it was enough to wipe her mind of memories.
Without her past she is lost, drifting, friendless, her life reduced to the protected one of a child. Specialists tell her that she must retrieve her memory of what brought her to be found, unconscious, bloodied and frozen, on a beach miles from her London home. And the police are interested too. But perhaps some things are best left forgotten...

Sarah was found on a beach, miles away from her home, with no memory of how she ended up there. Since then she has been under a stringent set of rules to aid her recovery. She is more or less under constant surveillance by her doctors and needs daily help to remember the smallest things.

When she remembers fractured memories she isn't sure whether or not it's real or imagined scenarios. Even the simplest action has become a series of questions and fills her with doubt. From picking cereal in a supermarket to making a hot drink, every action seems to be a complex process and a mystery Sarah doesn't have the answers to.

Every person she meets is a stranger, every street she has walked before has become a path into the unknown. Her world is a bubble with little or no content on the inside and everything else, including her memories, is on the outside looking in.

The methods the specialists use are debatable. Keeping Sarah completely isolated and treating her like a child with no power seems counter-productive to the healing process. It is also incredibly intrusive to forbid contact with prior friends, remove any physical object which could evoke a memory and have adult babysitters checking up on you nearly every day.

Levy creates a tense steady paced thriller from a blank slate. Her main character can't fill in any of the details, the secondary characters either refuse to or aren't allowed to, which means the reader assumes the majority as the tale unfolds. It's a bit like sailing into the sunset without a paddle, sail or motor, and it's also what gives this story the edge.

Buy What Was Lost at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Dome Press

Sunday 18 November 2018

#BlogTour The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday

Today it's my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday. It has a gothic vibe, and yet simultaneously it has the feel of pulsing modern crime story, both elements feed on each other to create a captivating read.

About the Author
S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December.

Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls has
been described by David Mark as 'Dark as a smoker's lung.' She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

Follow @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks on Twitter,Visit sjiholliday.comBuy The Lingering

About the book
Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

At first it appears as if Ali and Jack are just seeking a place to find some peace. A secluded old hospital with a suspicious reputation, now run by a small cult-like group, sounds like just the right place to do exactly that.

Bit by bit the reader learns that Ali and John have their own secrets to protect, and that a secluded isolated house fits into their plans to keep certain aspects of their lives hidden. Instead of connecting with the others Ali is stand-offish and behaves as if Jack is a ticking time-bomb only she can control.

Angela tries to connect with her, perhaps more so out of morbid curiosity and with her own slightly stalkerish and creepy research in mind. Ali's odd behaviour makes Angela take a closer look at the strange couple, which sets off a tragic sequence of events.

Holliday combines layers of paranoia, fear and suspicion from the past and the present to create an unstable environment, which keeps the reader on their feet. Are we dealing with unhappy souls walking the halls looking for a semblance of revenge or is the cold calculating ruthlessness of a possible killer skewing the aura of the so-called peaceful commune environment?

This is an intriguing mixture of crime and the paranormal. It has a gothic vibe, and yet simultaneously it has the feel of a pulsing modern crime story, both elements feed on each other to create a captivating read.

Buy The Lingering at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Orenda Books