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Welcome along to my Friday post to celebrate Indie Publishing!  Today I am delighted to bring you another book from  Cranachan Publishing and share my review “The Revenge of Tirpitz” by Michelle Sloan.  I was also lucky enough to grab a few minutes of Michelle’s time so interrogated her thoroughly for the author feature!


Book Feature:

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Published: 24 August 2016

Description:

TWO BOYS. TWO COUNTRIES. ONE MISSION.

Norway 1944

When Erik strikes up an unlikely friendship with German Radar operator, Hans, the pair soon become involved in a race against time to help destroy the Nazi warship, Tirpitz.

Will their secret mission succeed?

Shetland 2014

Finn’s great-grandfather receives a letter threatening the “revenge of Tirpitz”. They escape on a fishing boat, making the perilous journey to Norway, where they realise that facing up to the past puts their future in danger…

We know what you did.

We know where you are.

Tirpitz will have her revenge.

My Thoughts & Review:

For as long as I can remember, I have held a fascination with WWII stories, whether it’s tales of heroic Resistance fighters, espionage or even just the determination to survive and so when I found out about “The Revenge of Tirpitz” I knew this book would hold a tale of some interest for me.  For those not familiar with the Tirpitz allow me to share a very brief history (if you know your German battleships then please ignore me here, or perhaps do read on and let me know if I’ve missed anything pertinent).

The Tirpitz was the largest battleship built in Germany for the Kriegsmarine (German Imperial Navy).  The specifications of such a ship were impressive and she was viewed as a great threat, she was also the sister ship to the Bismark so reputation alone was enough to strike fear into many.  After the sinking of the Bismark, the Tirpitz was sent to guard the waters of Norway (the Third Reich believing that Norway was vital to conquering Europe).  Various attacks against the ship by the British RAF ended in failure, until 12 November 1944 when the RAF carried out their successful bombing raid.
For detailed information on the raid please head over to the RAF website: RAF: Tirpitz, November 12 1944

Back to the book…..

With such a wonderfully intense and atmospheric opening this book captured my attention immediately, who was this man, why was he hiding from the Nazis, who was helping him, why did he need to get away were all questions running through my mind.  What then follows is a magnificent set of stories from different timelines that interweave perfectly, linking together the Resistance movement of Norway in 1944 and modern day Shetland.

This is a thrilling and enjoyable read, not only does the book have a cracking plot, but it has characters that readers cannot fail to care about.  Add in an abundance of detail and this feels like a book you can actually take some knowledge from, yes I am aware that “The Revenge of Tirpitz” is a work of fiction, but the way that it ties to real events is brilliant writing.  For those interested in more reading about the Shetland Bus, there is a website where information can be found (http://shetlandbus.com/), and for me the link to this added a real authenticity to the tale.

The action packed tales are ones of courage and resolve, the key aspect of the plot for me is that it’s children who are the key to the mission.  Putting a young person into this role makes the tale more accessible for readers, and I am sure the target audience (Young Readers aged 9-12) will utterly love this, the idea that even someone their age could so something so heroic and decisive and make an impact.  That said, I also think that this book is an excellent read for all ages, I might just be more than double the suggested reading age ( plus a few…..) but something about this book resonated within me.

An utterly brilliant wartime tale that I would absolutely recommend!

You can buy a copy of “The Revenge of Tirpitz” via Amazon here or Book Depository here


Author Feature:

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Michelle lives in Broughty Ferry, Dundee with her family, feisty cat Lola and silly mutt, Scruff. In between chauffeuring her small people here, there and everywhere, wiping noses and tempering toddler tantrums, she squeezes in precious writing time. Her first picture book, The Fourth Bonniest Baby in Dundee was published in July of this year (Picture Kelpies).

Michelle trained as a Primary Teacher and worked for many years in Edinburgh, before indulging her love of all things theatrical by returning to university to study Drama. After dabbling in performance art in Glasgow, and starring in a one woman show in Edinburgh, Michelle finally settled on a speciality in Arts Journalism and developed a new, unknown passion for writing! After a few reviews for ‘The List’ magazine, she turned to scribbling creatively.

When it comes to writing fiction for older children, Michelle is inspired by the stories and bravery of previous generations – particularly those connected to WW1 and WW2. Focussing on historical fiction gives her a fantastic opportunity to engage in research and to bring those stories to life with an exciting modern day twist.

 

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

It’s definitely a buzz when someone contacts you out of the blue to say they’ve enjoyed reading your book.  That is an amazing feeling! And the writing itself of course is immensely rewarding – when you’re lost in the characters and the plot. It’s blissful escapism.

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

The waiting! When you send off your manuscript it’s a long process to publication. It can be frustrating. And I can’t stop checking my email!

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

Argh! So many! Too many to choose just one. It seems every time I read a book I like I feel a sort of crushing disappointment in myself that I didn’t or couldn’t create something so ‘plot perfect’! Actually, I recently re read The Secret Garden with my children which is just such a beautifully crafted, complete and exquisite children’s book. Damn! I wish I’d written that! You see? It’s why we writers are our worst critics!

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

Reading, waiting and checking my email! Oh and cursing myself for not having written the last book I read….but you also might find me dancing round the kitchen with my children and dog. We’re partial to a disco night.

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

No, not really. It’s more a case of opportunistic squeezing it in between school run, teaching, cleaning, cooking and all things domestic. It’s a challenge and often I’ll procrastinate but the pay off is the reward of maybe 1,000 words on my computer screen. And that always feels like an achievement.

A huge thank you to Michelle for taking part in the author feature and telling us a little about herself (from on kitchen dancer to another!).  Michelle blogs regularly at https://michellesloan.co.uk/ and you can find her on Twitter at @michlsloan

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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page

 

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Published: 23 March 2017

Copy provided by Headline & Netgalley

 

Description:

 Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire returns in BLOOD TIDE, the fifth novel in Claire McGowan’s acclaimed series.

Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren’t welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.

With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in…

My Thoughts & Review:

“Blood Tide” is the much awaited fifth book of the Dr Paula Maguire series penned by Claire McGowan.  Having followed this character through the previous four books I was so pleased to receive the opportunity to read an early copy of this to find out what happens next for my favourite forensic psychologist.

For fans of the series, this book goes some of the way to shining light on the mysteries surrounding Paula’s personal life – the tale of her long lost mother and also what’s happening with Aidan.  But this book provides a fresh opportunity for Dr Maguire to test her skills in a case that could prove to be one of the most dangerous she’s investigated.
If you’ve not read any of the series it is possible to read this book without feeling like you’ve missed huge chunks of information.  There is detail aplenty to ensure you are kept in the loop about past events and connections, and Claire McGowan writes in such a way that it’s not repetitive or cumbersome to remind readers about events from the past.

A cleverly constructed plot ensures that readers are kept guessing what will happen next, and the inquisitive Dr Maguire soon suspects that there is more to her newest case than the locals of Bone Island would have her believe.  At first glance it would see that Dr Fiona Watts and Matt Andrews have simply vanished, a bad storm is heading towards the island so an unfortunate accident is the conclusion that the locals have come to.  Paula is not so sure, she feels there is more to this, something about this case doesn’t sit right with her and she is determined to find out the truth.
The darkness of the approaching storm does little to help the claustrophobic atmosphere in this book, menace looms from within the pages.

Narration by Paula is interspersed with narration by Fiona Watts, recounting events leading up to her disappearance.
Running alongside this is the thrilling tale surrounding Paula’s personal life.  Her partner is in jail and she is searching for clues about her long lost mother, whilst juggling motherhood and working.  Hiring a private detective to look into Aidan’s case and also find out details about her mother’s disappearance is second nature to Paula, but what she doesn’t realise is the information is coming from a source she would never have imagined or trusted.  I have to admit, part of me was more hooked by the personal storyline at times, I’ve followed it through several books and cruelly Claire McGowan is holding is captive with the smallest snippets of information, ensuring we are hooked.

I am always impressed with the skill that McGowan possesses in her writing, her ability to simultaneously write in both past and present tenses throughout the novel, with a number of voices narrating and not losing the reader along the way.  The details that are written into the plot give an authenticity to story and the setting – the way in which the Troubles are included give a great insight to readers who may not be familiar with them, but also how the aftermath of it all impacts upon the lives of characters etc.

A superb continuation of the series and one I would absolutely recommend.

You can buy a copy of “Blood Tide” via Amazon here or Wordery here.

About the Author:

Claire McGowan grew up in a small village in Northern Ireland. After a degree in English and French from Oxford University she moved to London and worked in the charity sector. THE FALL is her first novel, which is followed by a series starring forensic psychologist Paula Maguire. She also writes as Eva Woods.

 

 

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Published: 31 January 2017

 

Description:

She got into bed but sleep didn’t come easily. Every creak in the house made her alert. She was waiting for him to come and get her.

The small city of Stockleigh is in shock as three women are brutally attacked within days of each other. Are they random acts of violence or is there a link between the victims? For Detective Eden Berrisford, it’s her most chilling case yet.

The investigation leads Eden to cross paths with Carla, a woman trying to rebuild her life after her marriage to a cruel and abusive man ended in unimaginable tragedy. Her husband Ryan was imprisoned for his crimes but, now he’s out and coming for her.

As Eden starts to close in on the attacker, she also puts herself in grave danger. Can she stop him before he strikes again? And can Carla, terrified for her life, save herself – before the past wreaks a terrible revenge?

My Thoughts & Review:

“Don’t Look Behind You” sees the much anticipated return of Detective Eden Berrisford, who first appeared in Mel Sherratt’s “The Girls Next Door”.  I have to admit to being one of the many fans that eagerly awaited news of the follow up to the first book in the series and Sherratt did not disappoint with this one.

Despite containing some harrowing and disturbing crimes, Sherratt still draws her readers in with enough detail to give disclosure of the menacing and horrifying situations faced by her characters but without becoming gratuitous.
The escalating violent attacks mean that Detective Berrisford needs to catch the culprit before it’s too late, so she and her team have their work cut out for them.  Throw in personal issues for our protagonist and you’ve got the workings of a brilliant plot that weaves together brilliantly.  I found it hard not to become emotionally involved with this book when reading about Carla, it’s “hold your breath” reading.

As always with Mel Sherratt’s books, her ability to create characters that are realistic and engaging is second to none.  Eden Berrisford is a superb character that breaks from the stereotype female detective, there is so much more to her and with each new book the readers find out a little more about her history.  The survivors of the vicious attacks were all brilliantly drawn characters, the way in which their experiences are written is eye opening.

Whilst this can be read as a stand alone book, I would thoroughly recommend reading “The Girls Next Door” first, this is a series not to  miss out on!

My thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for a copy of this book to read and review.

You can buy a copy of “Don’t Look Behind You” in the UK here, and in USA here

 

About the Author:

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Mel writes gritty crime dramas, psychological suspense and fiction with a punch – or grit-lit, as she calls it. Shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in Library Award 2014, she finds inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes. Since 2012, all nine of her crime novels have been bestsellers. Four of her books have been published by Amazon Publishing’s crime and thriller imprint, Thomas and Mercer and she has a new series out with Bookouture.

Mel lives in Stoke-on-Trent, with her husband and terrier, Dexter, named after the TV serial killer, and makes liberal use of her hometown as a backdrop for some of her books.

Website: www.melsherratt.co.uk

 

Hello and welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for Maxine Barry’s “Imposters in Paradise”.  Today I have the pleasure of sharing a Q&A with the author, so without further ado lets get to the questions!

 

What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you?

Alice in Wonderland – my father reading it to me when I was ill.

Who is your favourite literary character?

Heathcliffe, from Wuthering Heights! (But Hercule Poirot, Nero Wolfe and Maud Silver all run him a close second.)

Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?

There aren’t any – if I want to read a book, I make sure I read it.

If you could only take one book with you on a desert island, which would it be?

The Bible.  If I was stranded alone on a desert island, I’d probably need it!

What are you currently reading?

Elizabeth Peters – I love the Amelia Peabody/Egyptian historical crime series.

Who would be at your dream dinner party (alive, dead or fictional)?

Crikey! Now I’ve got to think. Alan Rickman (good-looking, talented and interesting,) Salvadore Dali (don’t claim to understand surrealism in art, but I’d like to), Agatha Christie (she inspired me to write my crime novels, any of the Bronte sisters (goes without saying) Jane Austen (ditto) David Tennant (he’s just gorgeous and I’ve always loved Doctor Who) and … from the     fictional pantheon … hmm … probably Dorothy L Sayer’s fictional sleuths Lord Peter Wymsey and Harriet Vane (she was an Oxford woman!)

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

Get an agent (literary), as regards my working life. Generally – always look right, then left, then right again when crossing the road!

What’s the worst advice you have ever received?

Don’t get mad, get even.

Who is your hero or heroine (real or fictional)?

Crikey again. Now I REALLY have to think! Hereward the Wake springs immediately to mind – you have to love an Anglo-Saxon rebel defying the Norman conquerors – and winning! As does Mother Theresa.  And every medical doctor who’s ever lived who’s played a part in curing diseases.  There are just so many.  Fictionally, I have the same problem.  In the criminal field,  I love everyone from Sherlock Holmes down to Flavia da Luce! Romantically, the same problem.  From Elizabeth Bennett (you’ve got to admire a woman  with a hard head and clear eye) to Catherine Earnshaw (what’s life without passion?) and possibly any of the heroines of my own novels.

A huge thank you to Maxine for joining me today and answering those questions, it was lovely chatting with you.


Description:

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When Imogen Dacres’ brother, Robbie, dies in mysterious circumstances, she travels to Bermuda in search of the truth. From the minute she sets out on her journey, Imogen is plunged into a web of secrets, lies and mistaken identity. She soon realises that beneath the glamour of Bermuda, there are unseen forces intent on doing her harm. When she meets Morgan Dax, her brother’s boss, and one of the richest men on the island, there is a powerful attraction between them. But did Dax have a hand in Robbie’s death, and can Imogen trust him with her own life?

This standalone, gripping romantic adventure is the first in the Romantic, Passionate, Thrilling Escapes

series. Fast-paced plots with strong heroines, sexy heroes and sinister villains in exotic locations – they’re the perfect escape!

You can buy a copy of “Imposters in Paradise” via Amazon here


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour!

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Just for the Holidays

PUBLISHING IN EBOOK AND PAPERBACK: 18TH MAY 2017

The #1 bestselling author returns for summer! Grab your sun hat, a cool glass of wine, and the only book you need on holiday…

In theory, nothing could be better than a summer spent basking in the French sun. That is, until you add in three teenagers, two love interests, one divorcing couple, and a very unexpected pregnancy.

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the relaxing holiday Leah Beaumont was hoping for – but it’s the one she’s got. With her sister Michele’s family falling apart at the seams, it’s up to Leah to pick up the pieces and try to hold them all together.

But with a handsome helicopter pilot staying next door, Leah can’t help but think she might have a few distractions of her own to deal with…

A glorious summer read, for you to devour in one sitting – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

You can pre order now via Amazon

I am so incredibly excited to share the cover of J.A. Schneider’s latest thriller to feature Detective Kerri Blasco – the book is due for release on 25th April and I will have a review as part of the blog tour, but until then, feast your eyes on this gorgeously atmospheric cover!!

A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

Cover image

Description:

A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Kerri isn’t convinced.

Until another random young woman is killed in the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life. 

You can preorder a copy of “Watching You” here

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Published: 2 March 2017

 

Description:

The last time Tess de Vere saw William Benson she was a law student on work experience. He was a twenty-one year old, led from the dock of the Old Bailey to begin a life sentence for murder. He’d said he was innocent. She’d believed him.

Sixteen years later Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger’s in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson’s life. The price of his rehabilitation – and access to the Bar – is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge. He’s an outcast. The government wants to shut him down and no solicitor will instruct him. But he’s subsidised by a mystery benefactor and a desperate woman has turned to him for help: Sarah Collingstone, mother of a child with special needs, accused of slaying her wealthy lover. It’s a hopeless case and the murder trial, Benson’s first, starts in four days. The evidence is overwhelming but like Benson long ago, she swears she’s innocent. Tess joins the defence team, determined to help Benson survive. But as Benson follows the twists and turns in the courtroom, Tess embarks upon a secret investigation of her own, determined to uncover the truth behind the death of Paul Harbeton on a lonely night in Soho.

True to life, fast-paced and absolutely compelling, Summary Justice introduces a new series of courtroom dramas featuring two maverick lawyers driven to fight injustice at any cost.

My Thoughts & Review:

“Summary Justice” is a legal thriller with a difference, the criminal defence barrister has a criminal conviction and is out on licence.  Perhaps it’s through ignorance, but I always assumed that if a person possessed a criminal conviction they would not be permitted to practice law , especially when that conviction was for murder.  However in this novel it is explained that this is not necessarily the case and more so it is vital to the plot.

When I started reading this book I initially thought I would read a chapter or two to see what I thought, perhaps finish the ironing and do some knitting….I underestimated the pull of this book.  From the opening chapters I was utterly hooked by the the intricately woven plot, clever storytelling and fantastic characters.

William Benson is an interesting character, having served a custodial sentence before being released on license, he had all the time he needed to study the complexities of law to enable him to step towards a career in this field, the major issue for him being access to the Bar.  His passion for law and determination to succeed is great reading, as is his performance in court – if they ever decide to turn this into a tv series I would absolutely love to see that played out!  His inner struggles make him more endearing towards the reader, feeling some sympathy towards his plight but at the same time, without concrete proof of his innocence the reader cannot be entirely sympathetic as there is still a chance he may be a murderer.
Tess de Vere is also very interesting, she wants to do the right thing, fight the good fight and believe the best in some people but this is not always the case and her wariness towards Benson causes her to reinvestigate his case to find out whether he really is as innocent as he told her 16 years ago.

I found the pace of this book relentless, in a good way of course.  I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened with the case, what happened with Benson (both professionally and personally) and how the tale would unravel.  There were plenty of red herrings to keep me guessing along the way and I absolutely loved it!

Now I just have to hope that there will be another book out soon, billed as a “new series of courtroom dramas featuring two maverick lawyers driven to fight injustice at any cost” means we should have more fantastic books to come, and I cannot wait!

My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review.

You can buy a copy of “Summary Justice” via Amazon here or Wordery here

 

About the Author:

John Fairfax is the pen name of William Brodrick who practised as a barrister before becoming a full-time novelist.

Under his own name he is a previous winner of the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award and his first novel was a Richard and Judy Selection.