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Archive for June, 2018

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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:

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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

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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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** My thanks to Melanie at Mirror Books for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

SHORTLISTED FOR THE CRIME WRITERS ASSOCIATION DEBUT DAGGER AWARD 

‘The dark heart of Putin’s Russia beneath the glitz of St Petersburg provides the heady setting for this excellent and gripping debut… A Child 44 for Putin-land, this classy page-turner oozes with atmosphere.’
DAVID YOUNG, bestselling author of STASI CHILD and STASI WOLF

‘Gripping, authentic and fast-paced this is a fine thriller that will delight fans of Martin Cruz Smith.’
WILLIAM RYAN, author of the CAPTAIN KOROLEV series

‘Senior Detective Natalya Ivanova does for St Petersburg what Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko did for Gorky Park… taut, fast-moving and compellingly believable.’
TOM CALLAGHAN, author of A KILLING WINTER

Motherland is the first in a gripping series of contemporary crime novels set in contemporary St Petersburg, featuring sharp and intriguing policewoman, Captain Natalya Ivanova.

Student Zena Dahl, the daughter of a Swedish millionaire, has gone missing in St Petersburg (or Piter as the city is colloquially known) after a night out with a friend. Captain Natalya Ivanova is assigned the case, making a change for Natalya from her usual fare of domestic violence work, but, because of the family’s wealth, there’s pressure for a quick result. But as she investigates she discovers that the case is not as straightforward as it may seem. Dark, violent and insightful, Motherland twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic conclusion. 

Motherland will appeal to fans of Jo Nesbo and scandi dramas like The Killing and The Bridge.

My Thoughts & Review:

I love scandi thrillers, and have to admit that I have a soft spot for anything with a setting behind the Iron Curtain, so Motherland really stood out to me when I read the description.

Motherland is a gritty and intelligently written, thrilling read.  The author paints a fantastically vivid picture of both the settings and the characters, and it’s not hard to become utterly wrapped up in the narrative.  The underlying corruption that is rife in society adds an interesting arc to the plot, the tentacles of it are far reaching and it almost makes the reader pause to consider which of the characters are corrupt to the core, and which are the ones that offer bribes as a means of getting through life in a corrupt state.

When I started reading this book I was curious to see how the events at the beginning of the book would link up with the plot and was thrilled to see how skillfully the author wove it all together.
The details about the way that police departments work adds a level of authenticity and gives readers a glimpse in to a world they may know very little about.

The character of Captain Natalya Ivanova is crafted so well, she is one that many readers will instantly take a linking towards and will want to find out more about.  The case that she’s working on throws so much at her and leaves her questioning who it’s really wise to speak to and the secrets she uncovers are enough to shake her to the core.

A very enjoyable read that keeps readers hooked throughout!  Highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of Motherland via:

Amazon UK
Wordery

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Today I am delighted to welcome you to another Friday’s “Celebrating Indie Publishing” feature, and share a review of George Costigan’s The Soldier’s Home.  George has also kindly taken some time out of his busy acting work to join me for a quick author Q&A to talk all things books, writing and what’s coming next.

Book Feature:

Description:

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‘The Soldier’s Home’ is the stunning sequel to the bestselling debut, ‘The Single Soldier’, by renowned actor and writer George Costigan.

The war is over and his home was re-built … but a home is just a set of empty rooms without people and love. After surviving the war under German occupation, can a community now rekindle their lives, and rediscover their reasons for surviving?

As the soldier waits for the return of his love, the world keeps moving, threatening to leave his hopes and dreams behind.

History, secrets and painful truths collide in his troubled soul until peace arrives finally from a very unexpected source …

My Thoughts & Review:

For those who fell in love with Costigan’s writing last year when The Single Soldier was published then you will be delighted to know that the follow up is available to purchase now.

In this book, the tale of Jacques has moved on, and the reader picks up the story of Simone in 1940s America.  Through a series of heartbreaking and frustrating letters, readers share in Simone’s heartache at being separated from her love Jacques, they read about her worries about raising their child alone and her irritation that there are few letters being sent in return.  Her desperation for word from Jacques is almost painful at times for the reader, even word about the works of the house he is rebuilding or the people she once knew in France would suffice.  Her letters take on an almost one sided conversation tone, the easy flow of them making them all the more readable and you sense a passing of time despite there being no indication of dates given throughout.

Time moves on to 1988 and we then meet Enid, a woman on path that she no longer wants to be.  She makes the decision to move to France and from here the stories of Jacques, Simone and Enid intertwine.  Enid’s journey to the life of peace and solitude is beautifully written through a series of recollections.

I am loathe to say too much more about the plot, this is a book that’s best discovered at your own pace and it’s one that you want to read at a relaxed pace to fully absorb the wonderful writing.  The themes of relationships and love is carefully and intricately explored through some incredible writing.  The use of the letters in the first part of the book is clever and allows readers to see more than what’s on the surface, allows them to peek into the minds of characters to try and understand them.  The writing is powerful and complex but at the same time there’s a beautiful poetic feel to it.

An entrancing read, and highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of The Soldier’s Home via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
The Book Depository

Author Feature:

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George Costigan has been a motor-parts storeman, a trainee accountant, another trainee accountant (both failed) a steel-worker, an insurance clerk, a wood-cutter, a bookseller, a record salesman, a book-keeper for a wedding-dress business – and then someone asked him to be in a play. College followed and a career that started in children’s theatre, then took in Butlins Repetory Theatre in Filey and eventually landed him at the Liverpool Everyman theatre. It was here he met some hugely inf

luential people – Chris Bond, Alan Bleasedale, Alan Dossor and above all, Julia North. His acting career has included working with Sally Wainwright, Willy Russell, Alan Clarke and Clint Eastwood. He has directed Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite, and his writing for the stage includes several Liverpool Everyman pub shows and ‘Trust Byron’, for which he was nominated for Best Actor at the 1990 Edinburgh Festival. He and Julia North have three sons and one grandson.

 

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

The notion that a total stranger might be reading – and enjoying – something I wrote. That’s a fantastic, nourishing, thought.

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

I haven’t yet discovered a negative. Well, realising some criticism is valid and the re-write will have to be total – that’s not jolly; but must be done…

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

I’m reading Sebastian Barry’s ‘Days Without End’ Awesome. To have written a sentence of it would do me.

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

The only answer to this is – with the rest of my life … I have a career as an actor, I’m a parent, a grandparent, I love to play the guitar, the piano … the garden is a mess – etc etc

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

Absolutely none. Except that when I’m on it I’m on it and can get {and want to be} tunnelled…

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

A strange love-story I need to re-write/re-arrange and then a thriller. No, a who-dun-it. Then there’s a musical for the theatre I need to sort out. That’s been waiting about seven years. I suspect it’s just jolly bollocks and utterly unfixable.

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

‘To my readers’? Nothing at all. To anyone thinking of writing I must quote Noel Coward’s advice, ‘Do not write on a type-writer {aka computer} – because it looks finished – and it isn’t…’

 

 

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

My latest, ‘The Soldier’s Home’ –  is a continuation/completion of the story I began with ‘The Single Soldier’.

It’s a long love story about a house…

The House that Jacques re-Built.

You ask why should we go read it?

In ALL honesty I have no answer to that – except I suppose – I believe you might enjoy it.

And I truly hope you do.

 

My thanks to George & Urbane Publications for taking part today to Celebrate Indie Publishing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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