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I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for Gunnar Staalesen’s Big Sister today, and so excited that I can share a really great post with you written by the author, which I have to admit has my stomach rumbling!

But before the guest post, lets look at what Big Sister is about and where you can get a copy.

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Description:

When PI Varg Veum is approached to find a missing girl, by a half-sister he barely knew, his investigation takes him deep into the dark web, and some personal history he’d rather forget…

Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

You can buy a copy of Big Sister via:

Amazon UK
Kobo
Waterstones

 

Are you hungry?

What does a private detective eat?

One of my Norwegian crime-writer colleagues, Jon Michelet (The Frozen Woman), who died this year, told me an anecdote once. One of his books was translated into Spanish, and when he was looking through it, he found that one of the chapters was much longer than it had been in the original version. He asked the translator why, and the translator replied: ‘I thought there was too little eating in this book, so I put in a good meal for your detective.’

This gave me some food for thought (excuse the pun). There are a lot of things private detectives never or very seldom do in books. They seldom go to the toilet. Do they brush their teeth sometimes? When do have they time to do the dishes? And before they do – when or what do they eat?

Of all of these activities, I think eating is the most interesting. Does my hero, Varg Veum, ever eat?

Yes, he does, from time to time – but not in every book, I am afraid. As he lives alone throughout the whole series, he has to fix his dinner himself. I know that he follows in the footsteps of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe in this regard (as well as many others), so scrambled eggs are always a good solution. As a Norwegian he will always have some smoked or dried meat in his fridge that he can add to the eggs. In my newest book he serves himself some smoked herring with potatoes, sour cream, beetroots and spring onions, which is a dish the writer also enjoys. As with ale and aquavit, the writer and his hero share similar tastes.

A real private detective should, of course, prefer a bloody beef steak with a lot of fried onions and mashed potatoes. Varg Veum would not say no to such a meal, but when I ask him what his preferred dish is, it happens to be the same as my own: bacalao. Bacalao is in fact a Spanish and / or Portuguese word that means cod. Fresh cod is delicious when you get it directly from the Artic Sea in January or February, but when Norwegians speak about bacalao, they are talking about a very special form of cod: in Norwegian klippfisk, originally fish dried on the cliffs and sprinkled with salt. When you buy it from the fishmonger’s, you have to put it in water for at least twenty-four hours before you can prepare the meal. Then you chop it up and cook it with onions, potatoes, olive oil, tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, olives, perhaps some red pepper, perhaps garlic, and other flavourings of your choice – I myself like to add at least oregano. I have a recipe that I call ‘Varg Veum’s bacalao’, which is very popular among my friends and family. In one of the books Varg Veum goes to Ålesund, one of the important bacalao cities in Norway, on the west coast, north of Bergen. He is served bacalao at a local restaurant there, a meal he remembers as one of his best ever!

It is not a big mystery: a man has to eat to live. A private detective has to eat to solve mysteries. Bon appetite, Varg! I share my meal with you.

 

Gunnar Staalesen

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** My thanks to Lina at Black and White Publishing for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Detective Grace Macallan is at crisis point. She’s unsure of her future, of whether she has the strength to continue with her role in serious crime. Events are threatening to run out of control, and this new investigation will test her to the limit.

An undercover officer is missing and a woman is washed up, traumatised and barely alive, on the shores of Berwickshire. She has witnessed horror on the dark waters of the North Sea, and her subsequent ordeal to survive turns her life into a nightmare.

As she untangles the woman’s story of trafficking and abuse, Grace is drawn into the world of organised crime in Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At their head is Handyside, a brutal gangland boss who’s fought hard and dirty to control his territory. But there’s a traitor in his midst, and soon the most cold-blooded criminals in the North East of England and Central Scotland turn on one another in a desperate race to destroy the evidence that will lead Grace to them.

Grace must pit her wits against Handyside, knowing he’ll stop at nothing to protect his criminal empire. She knows, too, that one wrong move could end in tragedy.

My Thoughts & Review:

From the moment I finished reading Evidence of Death I was eagerly anticipating reading the next installment if the Detective Grace Macallan series, and Peter Ritchie didn’t disappoint!

When we last encountered Grace Macallan she had just survived a bomb blast that could have killed her and the baby she didn’t know she was carrying.
The aftermath of events of her last case left emotional and psychological scars, but the birth of her son has brought her a contentment that she never knew she wanted or needed.  Despite this, Grace feels a yearning for something more, and a phonecall with news of an undercover officer having gone missing and a young woman washing up barely alive in Berwickshire is all that it takes to pull her back in.
Determined to make a decision about her future once and for all, Grace agrees to take on this case, not realising just who she will be up against and just how dangerous it will be.

As with each of the books in this series, Ritchie takes his readers on a whirlwind journey into the dark underworld, and in this case the world of people trafficking, drugs and violence.
Cleverly, Ritchie has created a character that readers will connect with and take a liking to, and the more trouble that surrounds Macallan, the more exciting the book becomes.  The danger posed by the various groups in this book makes this such a tense read, and the way that it all ties together is clever.

The action in this book is fast paced and at times does make you squirm but it works well within the bounds of the plot.  Dialogue is realistic and the added touches of slang/dialect give a wonderful authenticity to the exchanges that take place.

Another brilliant book in the series and one I would highly recommend.

** My thanks to the publisher for my review copy of this book **

 

Description:

Some things just won’t stay buried…

Logan McRae’s personal history is hardly squeaky clean, but now that he works for Professional Standards he’s policing his fellow officers.

When Detective Inspector Bell turns up dead in the driver’s seat of a crashed car it’s a shock to everyone. Because Bell died two years ago, they buried him. Or they thought they did.

As an investigation is launched into Bell’s stabbing, Logan digs into his past. Where has he been all this time? Why did he disappear? And what’s so important that he felt the need to come back from the dead?

But the deeper Logan digs, the more bones he uncovers – and there are people out there who’ll kill to keep those skeletons buried. If Logan can’t stop them, DI Bell won’t be the only one to die…

My Thoughts & Review:

I have long been a fan of the Logan McRae series that Stuart MacBride writes and make no apology for my excitement when a new book is announced.  It’s was safe to assume that the moment I heard about The Blood Road I shouted to friends to share the excitement and preorder a copy before I’d seen the cover or read the blurb!

After the ending of In The Cold Dark Ground, readers were left on the edges of their seats in anticipation of what would happen next with the much loved police officer, wondering whether he would cross to the dark side and join “the rubber heelers”aka Professional Standards.
Despite his move to a new department, McRae is still his usual inquisitive self and is soon questioning why he is present at a road accident until the identity of the deceased is revealed as DI “Ding Dong” Bell, who died two years ago.  The investigation into Bell’s apparent suicide and the events afterwards leads Police Scotland on a journey into darkness that will forever change the lives of those involved.

MacBride has the ability to take readers to the edge of their comfort zones with darkness whilst peppering his writing with humour and and dialogue that delights readers, his characters are superbly three dimensional, in some cases relatable, but nothing, and I mean nothing can take the excitement away when you discover one of your favourite characters makes a return in one of MacBride’s novels – Tufty!
The subject matter of this latest offering is dark, and at times unsettling but MacBride uses suggestion to create an air of menace and sinister chill that will leech from the pages and leave readers reeling.

As always, these books can be read without having read the series, there is ample detail to give a grounding of the backstories of the characters and their connections but I would recommend reading the series.  The books have continued to get better and better since Cold Granite in 2005 and I cannot wait to see what MacBride has lined up next!

You can buy a copy of The Blood Road via:

Amazon UK
Waterstones

 

About the Author:

SM

Stuart MacBride was born in Dumbarton, near Glasgow and moved to Aberdeen at the age of two. After dropping out of university to work offshore he went to work for himself as a graphic designer, eventually becoming studio manager for a nationwide marketing company. He gave it all up to have a go at becoming an actor, until it became clear to him that he was never going to be good enough to make a decent living out of it.

Whilst progressing through a whole new career in the IT sector, ending up as project manager for a global IT company, Stuart also wrote in his spare time. He is now the No.1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series and the Ash Henderson series.

His novels have won him the CWA Dagger in the Library, the Barry Award for Best Debut Novel, and Best Breakthrough Author at the ITV3 Crime Thriller awards. In 2012 Stuart was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Hall of Fame.

Stuart’s other works include Halfhead, a near-future thriller, Sawbones, a novella aimed at adult emergent readers, and several short stories.

He lives in the north-east of Scotland with his wife, Fiona and cats Grendel, Gherkin, Onion, and Beetroot, some hens, horses, and a vast collection of assorted weeds..

Social Media links:
Twitter
Facebook
Website

 

Welcome to another Friday, and a post to celebrate another great book from a brilliant indie publisher.  Today’s book is the magnificent The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan which was published Urbane Publications on 14th June 2018.


Book Feature:

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A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris.

Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English.

But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life…..

Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve.

The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, Evie Gaughan’s latest novel is full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell. Perfect for fans of Jess Kidd and Eowyn Ivey.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Every now and again a book comes along that utterly captures your attention, takes your breath away and roots itself deeply in your heart….
I’ve been fortunate enough to have encountered a rare handful of these books, Rose McGinty’s Electric Souk, Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin, and William Ryan’s The Constant Soldier instantly spring to mind, but it’s fair to say that Evie Gaughan’s The Story Collector will be joining them.

This is a beautifully written tale that captures the heart and imagination of readers as it deftly weaves together two stories from different timelines that pull a range of emotion from the audience.  Readers first encounter a hint of mysticism, folklore and sadness from the opening pages, setting the tone perfectly for what lies ahead.

The two lead female characters in this book are not dissimilar in their struggles – both trying to find their place in the world and rebuilding after heartbreaking loss.  2010 sees the reader meet Sarah Harper, an American woman on a slow spiral of self destruction.  Life hasn’t worked out fairly for her, events have robber her of joy and happiness, her marriage has broken down and she seeks solace in alcohol.
Alcohol being the catalyst for a journey that takes her hundreds of miles from home, where she discovers a diary written by Anna, a young Irish woman in 1910.
Anna is an eighteen year old woman who lives in Thornwood Village, surrounded by tales of fairies, superstition and folklore, tales that the villagers are fiercely proud of.  An American scholar, Harold Griffin-Kraus, arrives in the village with the desire to hear the tales and collect them for publishing and soon takes Anna on as his assistant.  Their joint explorations of folklore and myth are beautifully and hauntingly captured through Gaughan’s awe inspiring writing.  The tales, whilst “otherworldly” are entrancing and having an interest in mythology and folklore, I found these utterly beguiling, wanting to read more.

Clever use of diary entries give narration from Anna’s perspective and breaks up Sarah’s story, slowly giving readers a heartbreaking tale from both of the main characters.  Only when the time is right does Gaughan reveal the full extent of the tragedy that befell her characters and by doing so, ensures that readers have become invested in her wonderfully crafted creations.

The exploration of emotion and human nature is beautifully written, at times the decisions made by the characters may not be fully understandable.  But when faced with the facts of what they have encountered, you soon begin to see that the decisions, actions etc are those of a fragile and damaged person, trying to do “the right thing”, without any concrete idea what the right course may be.  The evocative and descriptive writing is magical!  I found that I could see the grandeur of Thornwood House, the cramped but homely cottage of the Butler family, the warmth of Anna’s love for Betsy the family cow, but also the vivid rawness of Sarah’s emotional state.
Initially I struggled to connect with Sarah, something about this character felt hard and unreachable but the more I read, the greater my understanding became.  I found that I needed to know what went so wrong in her life, I want to find out more about her and I wanted her to stop and take a moment to just ‘be’.

An absolutely enchanting story that captures the heart of readers and transports them.

You can buy a copy of The Story Collector via:

Amazon UK


Author Feature:

evie-goodreads

Evie Gaughan is the author of The Heirloom, a fusion of historical and contemporary fiction set in Ireland and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris, a magical story about a French boulangerie.  Her third novel, The Story Collector, will be published by Urbane Publications in June 2018.

Living on the West Coast of Ireland, which is not renowned for its sunny climate, Evie escapes from the inclement weather into a converted attic, to write stories and dream about underfloor heating. Growing up in a walled medieval city, Evie developed a love of storytelling and all things historical. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, her stories are full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell.

Evie is also an artist and has been known to hold the odd exhibit of her works in her native Galway.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Escaping into my imagination and creating something tangible out of nothing.  Seeing my manuscript make the journey from my head, to my laptop and ultimately to a book that I can hold in my hands.  I don’t think any author takes that process for granted, because from the moment that little idea pops into your head, you’re never really sure if it’s going to make it.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?  

Aside from the crippling self-doubt??  I suppose, it’s having to fight to be taken seriously.  I think when people hear that you are a writer, but they haven’t heard of your books, they assume you’re delusional!  Lots of people are writers, it’s not some sacred vocation, we don’t wear robes (well, not all the time!)  So yes, that can get a bit tiring.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Oh my God, this is tough!  Actually, I’m going to give myself a get-out clause and choose a non-fiction book.  I wish I had written The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  It’s like a bible for creative types and has inspired millions of people around the world to pursue a more creative life.  I don’t know if I would be a writer today, had I not read that book – so yes, I would love to have written something that helps others find their inner spark!

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Honestly, I’m not sure I know how to switch off properly!  Do any of us?  But when I do, I like the simple things in life like being in nature, being with people I love.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

If being disorganised is a routine, then yes!  My favourite place to write is in my attic (when it’s warm enough).  I feel high above the world up there, so I put on some music and try to escape into the world I’m creating.  I’m not so much disciplined as dedicated.

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

I’m slowly piecing together the beginnings of my fourth novel, which I’m hoping will be a bit like Cloud Atlas but not as confusing!

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be? 

Read what makes you happy – life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy.

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it?


The Story Collector begins in 1910, in a small lrish village called Thornwood, where a young American scholar undertakes a study to prove the existence of fairies.  He hires a local girl, Anna Butler, to help with his research, but before he can finish his work, he is thrown into prison and charged with murder.  One hundred years later, a young American woman arrives by chance in the same village, uncovering the true story that has been kept hidden for a century.

The Story Collector is a novel full of folklore and superstition.  It explores the unseen world that lies just beyond our fingertips, the fluttering of wings against the windowpane, blurring the lines between reality and imagination.

If you love stories that find magic in the everyday, then this one is for you!

 

Social Media Links:

Website: https://eviegaughan.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/evgaughan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/evgaughan/

 

 

There are some brilliant sounding books out there in the world at the moment, and I’m kicking myself for not having enough time to read them all!  Today I am thrilled to share a guest post by Seth Lynch about his writing process, and I have to say I am amazed, and a little exhausted just thinking about it!

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Description:

Paris. 1931.

Arty Homebrook lived and died in a world of sleaze which stretched from Chicago to Paris but never beyond the gutter.

He’d been sleeping with Madame Fulton, which is why Harry Fulton promised to kill him. So far as the Paris Police are concerned it’s an open and shut case. Harry’s father has other ideas and hires Salazar to investigate.

As Salazar gets to grips with the case he’s dragged reluctantly into an unpleasant underworld of infidelity, blackmail, backstreet abortions and murder.

Salazar is far too inquisitive to walk away and far too stubborn to know what’s for the best. So he wakes up each hungover morning, blinks into the sunlight, and presses on until it’s his life on the line. Then he presses on some more, just for the hell of it.

Seth’s books can be purchased directly from the publisher, Fahrenheit Press:

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_citizen_of_nowhere.html

A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Book 2): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_dead_american_in_paris.html

The Paris Ripper (Chief Inspector Belmont Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_the_paris_ripper.html

 

Guest Post:

After writing my first complete novel, A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar #1), I wanted to keep on writing. I settled on a simple plan, write daily and don’t look back until the end. It is pretty liberating, but I was writing with absolutely no plan at all. I had a few vague notions, a scene or two that I wanted to include, but nothing else. So I ended up with a first draft that was not only badly written (who cares, it’s a first draft) but the crime didn’t make sense, the solution didn’t make sense and a lot of the characters were wooden. Rather than solve these problems I ignored them and wrote Salazar #3 using the same method. No prizes for guessing that the result was pretty much the same.

I eventually decided to re-write Salazar #3 without Salazar. This meant developing Chief-Inspector Belmont from a secondary role into the main character. I gave Belmont his own team, a boss who doesn’t like him, a wife with some dubious sexual morals and a lover she shares with her husband. I added in a back story for Belmont and a side story to complement the main theme. The finished book contained about 10% of the original Salazar #3 draft. I renamed it The Paris Ripper and it’s available through Fahrenheit Press.

I then went back to Salazar #2, A Dead American in Paris. Belmont makes his first appearance in this book but I now knew him and his team. I started the novel again with the original draft as a guide. I’d say about a quarter of the first draft remains and the book is a lot better for losing the other three-quarters. But writing an entire novel only to use it as a synopsis is not an efficient way to work.

I still like the idea of just sitting down and writing but it’s a lot easier if you know where you’re going first. I’ve written another novel since A Dead American which, hopefully, should be out via Fahrenheit later in the year. I wouldn’t say that I planned it all out in advance, but I did have a sketched outline before I began. When I came back to re-work that first draft I could concentrate on improving the text and not cutting way whole chapters while desperately filling in the plot holes.

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar #1), The Paris Ripper and A Dead American in Pairs (Salazar #2) are all available through Fahrenheit Press. The Paris Ripper is a standalone book but the events occur after those of A Dead American.

 

About the Author:

seth lynch

Born and brought up in the West of England, Seth has also lived in Carcassonne, Zurich and the Isle of Man.

With two daughters, his writing time is the period spent in cafés as the girls do gym, dance and drama lessons.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SethALynch

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seth-Lynch/e/B00E7SZ3FS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sethlynchauthor/

 

Dead American Paris

Today I am delighted to share a short review of a set of short stories as part of the blog tour for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected.

Box Set Cover

** My thanks to Rachel for my copy of these books for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected is an interesting collection of short stories that are filled with intrigue and suspense that show a character in some form of trouble or a dilemma of sorts.

The author’s background in psychotherapy shows through her writing where she explores the intricacies of the mind when each of her characters are in a situation that causes turmoil.  Each of the stories focuses on a different setting and different set of characters that will give readers pause for thought.  Trading with Death was one of the stories that made me really made me wonder, and it was interesting seeing how the events were portrayed to maximize impact with just enough detail to grab the attention of readers.

There’s always the danger with short stories that they might not have enough information in them or you’d want the story to be expanded on but here the tales are just right.  The information given is just enough to set the scenes and pull the reader in, and there is an unsettling edge to the tales that keeps you on edge as you read.

An interesting and quick read!

You can buy a copy of Chilling Tales of the Unexpected via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

Social Media Links –

follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnnGirdharryAuthor/

follow on Twitter www.twitter.com/GirdharryAnn

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** My thanks to the folks at Orion and Tracy Fenton for my copy of this BRILLIANT book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.

HE’S ON THE JURY…

To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

If you’ve somehow missed reading the books by Steve Cavanagh then get thee to a bookshop and remedy this immediately!  Or if you have an ereader device, then get digital copies and start reading, you will not regret it.

Fans of legal thrillers are in for a treat with Thirteen, this is an expertly plotted and paced novel that has characters that reach out to readers from the pages.
Eddie Flynn is a  reformed conman turned lawyer who can dazzle in the courtroom, his unique way of looking at facts and evidence means that he sees things differently, not accepting them at face value.  This insight proves vital for his clients, and in many instances seems to be just what he needs to convince a jury of the innocence of his client.  That is until he is brought in on this latest case, one where the evidence all points to one culprit and Flynn is expendable if it all goes wrong.

As if this weren’t enough, the author has crafted several richly detailed characters and there is one in particular that gives readers shivers.  Joshua Kane is an extremely intelligent killer, a psychopath with one of the most intricately planned modi operandi I’ve encountered in a long time.  And his determination to get a seat on the jury for the trial of movie and reality TV star, Bobby Solomon is astounding.
The real cleverness comes when Cavanagh writes from the perspective of Joshua Kane, giving readers a glimpse into the mind of the psychopath who will stop at nothing to achieve his sinister goals.   There were moments of reading what was happening in Kane’s mind that had me gasping in shock, or wanting to read with a hand over my eyes … the writing is so powerful that you cannot help but actually ‘see’ the scenes playing out in your mind like a film.

The writing is crisp and taut, the plotting is excellent and this is arguably one of my top reads of 2018.  Thirteen keeps readers on the edge of their seats and holds their attention for the duration, it’s one of those books that you actually want to read more than once, because the first read through you’re blown away by plot, but on a second read through you pick up on subtleties that Cavanagh deftly weaves throughout his writing.

Thirteen is all kinds of brilliant and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

verdict

 

You can buy a copy of Thirteen via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Waterstones

 

About the Author:

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Steve was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. At 18 he moved to Dublin and studied Law, by mistake, and went on to be a pot-washer, bouncer, security guard and call centre operative before landing a job as an investigator for a large law firm in Belfast, where he eventually qualified as a solicitor. He then moved to a smaller firm where he could practice in the field of civil rights law. Steve has been involved in several high profile cases; in 2010 he represented a factory worker who suffered racial abuse in the workplace and won the largest award of damages for race discrimination in Northern Ireland legal history. He holds a certificate in Advanced Advocacy and often lectures on various legal subjects (but really he just likes to tell jokes). Steve is also one half of the hysterically funny podcast duo, Two Crime Writers and a Microphone.

Social Media Links:

Twitter @SSCav
Website http://stevecavanaghbooks.com/
Two Crime Writers & a Microphone (Twitter)

 

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Today I’m delighted to bring you not one but two posts to celebrate Indie Publishing, one is an author feature and one is a review.  The author feature (should have) posted earlier and now it’s time to share my review of the prequel novella Bermuda which is published today!

Book Feature:

Description:

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Discover how it all began…

Franklyn Jones is a devoted husband, a loving father and a middle manager working in London. His only secret is he can see ‘The Otherside’, a world that hides in the shadows of our own. After his claims of these creatures leads to the loss of his family and his commitment to a mental health facility, Franklyn’s life came to a complete stand still.

Eventually, Franklyn is recruited by the BTCO, a secret agency that monitors and maintains the truce between both worlds. Thrust into an advanced training regime based on his ‘gifts’, Franklyn soon finds himself out on his first case, investigating the disappearance of several people in Elvedon Forest in Suffolk.

Closely monitored by his trainer, Denham, Franklyn edges further into this new world, hunting a violent entity that lives within the trees, whilst also being watched by a mysterious warrior.

The explosive prequel novella to DOORWAYS and THE ABSENT MAN, BERMUDA takes you back to where it all started.

Are you ready for the answers?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

I have been a huge fan of the Bermuda Jones series since I first discovered it last year and I was ecstatic when I heard that the author had been working on a prequel novella that explained the details of how our protagonist came to the attention of the BTCO and how his world was turned upside down by what he learned from his introductions to their ways.

The exploration of this character has always been one of the things I loved about Enright’s writing most, he has a way of bringing his characters to life and making them real for readers.  Franklyn “Bermuda” Jones is a troubled and broken soul, events in his life have conspired against him, he can see things that others cannot and this in turn makes everyone around him think that he’s lost his mind.  He’s lost those closest to him and the pain is almost too much for him.  His recruitment to the BTCO is his saving grace, the training her undergoes is the start of turning his life around, giving him a reason to live for.

The great thing of reading the prequel after reading the other novels is that it refreshed my memory of events and gave me answers for things that I had wondered about whilst reading the books.  Just how Bermuda got his nickname, what was the root cause of the hatred between Bermuda and Hugo were some of the things I had wondered about and I was so pleased to see that they were answered here, and it was brilliant getting to see more of Denham, a character that I found fascinating in previous books.

With all of these books, you can read them as stand alones, there is enough detail given about back stories etc to explain events and connections between characters without leaving readers feeling adrift as to previous events.

Highly readable and enjoyable series and one I would recommend!

You can buy a copy of Bermuda via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

Author Photo

Born and raised in North West London and now residing in Hertfordshire, Robert Enright has been writing for over 10 years. His debut novel – ONE BY ONE – was self published on Amazon in March 2015, receiving critical acclaim and was nominated for Books Go Social Book of the Year 2015. The violent, revenge thriller gave Rob a path into crime fiction, but the constantly embraced geek within him went a different way. 2016 will see the release of DOORWAYS – published by Urbane Publications – the first in the Bermuda Jones series, a dark sci-fi about an agency dealing with the threat of a parallel world. He can’t wait to write the whole series – if he can put down his Xbox controller or his Nerf Guns!

For more information about Rob and his upcoming books, feel free to check him out on social media:

Twitter – @REnright_Author
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robenrightauthor

I am so honoured to be welcome Mark Tilbury to join me today on The Quiet Knitter.  Mark has written some truly marvellous books that I’ve absolutely loved, ones that have left me feeling the heebie-jeebies, ones that have creeped me out but each of them has wowed me and left me keen to read more!

Mark Tilbury’s titles include: The Abattoir of Dreams, The Liars Promise, The Revelation Room, The Eyes of The Accused and The Key to Death’s Door.  All of these titles are available to purchase via Amazon UK now.


Author Feature:

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Author Image & bio courtesy of Amazon

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have his fifth novel, The Key to Death’s Door published along with The Liar’s Promise,

The Abattoir of Dreams, and The Ben Whittle Investigations relaunched, by Bloodhound Books.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Being in total control of the worlds I create. It’s like being God, and I get to choose who inhabits that world and what they do. I also have the ultimate say over what happens to the bad guys, and I get a lot of satisfaction from that.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Editing. I have to constantly tell myself that it’s necessary, but the biggest downside is realising that I need to remove large chunks of text due to my tendency to ‘let it all go’ during the first draft.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Misery by Stephen King. I just love the simplicity of the plot and the suspense created as Paul Sheldon tries to escape the clutches of his number one fan, Annie Wilkes. Her contradictions showed me the antagonist in a different light. I just love the way she deplored swearing, but could chop off a man’s foot without missing a beat. Priceless!

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Playing guitar (badly), going for walks in the lovely county of Cumbria and seeing family.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

I can only write in the afternoons. I’ve tried to in the mornings and the evenings, but it just doesn’t seem to happen for one reason or another. So I start at around two, close the curtains, turn on loud music and aim for 2,000 words.

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it? 

The Key to Death’s Door is a dark thriller to be published on 16th April by Bloodhound Books.  It’s a tragic story of death and cruelty, and two friends bound together by a fate spanning several decades. Teenager Lee Hunter nearly drowns after spending the night at a derelict boathouse with his best friend, Charlie Finch. After leaving his body and meeting a mysterious light, Lee is sent back to relive the final days of another life. A life that ended tragically.

After recovering from his near death experience, Lee begins to realise that he is part of two lives linked by the despicable actions of one man. I think it’s my best book to date. It’s original, harrowing and something I’m really proud of.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be? 

To always believe in yourself and try to enjoy what you do.

 

My thanks to Mark for joining me today and sharing some really interesting things about himself, I love the idea of The Key to Death’s Door, it sounds absolutely fascinating!  For more information about Mark’s books, follow him on social media or follow his blog.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MTilburyAuthor
Blog: http://marktilbury.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marktilburyauthor/

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** My thanks to Clara for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

 

Description:

Magical, heartbreaking, beautiful – Days of Wonder reminds us that stories have the power to save lives.

Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that both of them know will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen on the brink of adulthood, that time is coming.

With the theatre under threat of closure, Hannah and Tom have more than one fight on their hands to stop the stories ending. But maybe, just maybe, one final day of magic might just save them both.

A tale about growing up, the beauty of a special bond between father and daughter, and finding magic in everyday life, Days of Wonder is the most moving novel you’ll read all year.

My Thoughts & Review:

There are the books that you read and fall in love with and then there are the book that you read and stay in your head and heart for a long time afterwards.  Days of Wonder is definitely a book in the latter category.

Having read Keith Stuart’s previous novel A Boy Made of Blocks, I wasn’t sure if it would be possible for me to appreciate his writing any more than I already did, but his second book really blew me away.  There’s something so magical and rich about the way that he writes that he makes the world around you cease to exist, almost like creating a wee portal for his readers to step through when they open his books.

Days of Wonder centres around the story of Hannah and her father Tom.  Hannah is a fifteen year old girl that desperately wants to be like every other fifteen year old girl, but she has a heart condition that means her father is incredibly protective and cautious about what she does and where she goes.  Tom is a single father and tries to battle the need to wrap Hannah in cotton wool to protect her, but he also realises that he needs to let her live a life, let her be young and do the things that young people do, before it’s too late.  Their relationship is one of openness and frank honesty on the most part.  There are the usual parental issues of trying to hide the dangers and horrors of the adult life from your children, or appearing like a fun sucking wet blanket, but on the whole Tom and Hannah work well together.
Hannah’s personality shining through when the narration is from her perspective, her attitude understandable and relatable.  Equally, when reading from Tom’s perspective, you get a wonderful insight into what drives this character and it really brings him alive from the pages.

The plot flows effortlessly, and the pace is perfect.  Despite being a fairly chunky read, I found that I breezed through it and didn’t want to put it down, I wanted to see if they could save Willow Tree Theatre, I want to see how events would pan out and most importantly I kept hoping for a miracle for them all.

Often, when you read such a poignant and moving story you feel a lump in your throat, or even the odd sniffle will escape as you encounter a particularly emotive moment, but I found that the depth emotions I felt reading this took me by surprise.  I laughed aloud at times, I snorted at Hannah’s retorts to her father, I felt frustration for characters as events unfolded, and I wept.  I said before that Keith Stuart has the ability to stop the world around you, but it’s more than that, it’s almost like he makes the book part of you, and you it.

A beautifully written, heartwarming story that will stay with me for some time and most definitely a book I will revisit soon!

Very highly recommended!!

You can buy a copy of Days of Wonder via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

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