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Archive for the ‘thriller’ Category

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** My thanks to Ann Girdharry for my copy of London Noir and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Memory loss, nightmares, the urge to kill – Sophie has it all. Is it really post-traumatic stress disorder? Or something more sinister? Kal is about to find out…

After a near-fatal road accident, Kal helps Sophie, a young girl in trouble. The girl’s friends are being murdered one by one. Why? And who by? Kal must kick start herself out of her downward spiral to save the young stranger. But Kal is in the grip of the London Cartel and is someone stalking the girl, or is the girl stalking someone?

My Thoughts & Review:

Can you remember a book you read last August?  I can, it was Good Girl Bad Girl.  This was the prequel to London Noir which features Kal Medi, a photo journalist turned sleuth as she tried to track down her mother who had gone missing.  For the full picture I would recommend reading the books in order, and it gives a great insight into Kal as a character.

I want to avoid speaking about the plot too much, the usual fear of spoilers and giving anything too juicy away but I will say that this book features one of the most chilling serial killers I’ve read about in a long time.  Girdharry paints a stunning picture of a killer who can charm and beguile, is clever but also can kill without remorse.  The narration from the perspective of the killer is absolutely chilling and really had me creeped out at times.
Kal has also changed between the books, perhaps the events from the previous book have taken their toll on her, but she comes across as less sure of herself, she’s wounded from fights and has witnessed things that have left scars mentally.  This in turn makes her a little easier for readers to connect with, almost as if it takes her being vulnerable so that readers can empathise with her.  In spite of all of this, she has lost none of her intelligence and inquisitive mind, which makes for fascinating and enjoyable reading.

The author’s knowledge and experience in the field of psychology shines through in her writing, the details given on the topics of post traumatic stress disorder and the psychopath give this a credibility as well as being interesting reading. Ann Girdharry knows how to write a fast paced thriller with plenty of action that has readers racing through the chapters, and she has certainly pulled out all the stops with London Noir. 

A side note, some readers of a nervous disposition might feel a wee bit uncomfortable with the descriptions of some of the injuries suffered by the victims in this book, they’re not overly graphic but I reckon it’s only fair to let you have a heads up.

An excellent follow up to Good Girl Bad Girl and I look forward to seeing what Ann writes next!

You can buy copy of London Noir via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

Ann Girdharry is a British crime suspense thriller author.

A trained psychotherapist, she worked for many years as a manager in the not-for-profit sector, for agencies working with carers, vulnerable older people, survivors of abuse, and victims of racial attacks.

She currently lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

Her debut novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, is an ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARD Finalist 2017.

Her second crime suspense thriller, LONDON NOIR, will be published October 2017.

 

Links

Website www.girdharry.com

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

Goodreads www.goodreads.com/AnnGirdharry

Twitter www.twitter.com/GirdharryAnn

 

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Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Dead Lands, a trilling crime story set in the 1970s.  I am delighted to be able to share a guest post with you about the research behind the book so grab your cuppa and read on…..

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Description:

Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alexander Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Dead Lands is the thrilling debut of award winning short story writer Lloyd Otis, and intelligently covers issues of race, discrimination and violence in a changing 70s landscape. 

You can buy a copy of Dead Lands via:

Urbane Publications (Publisher)
Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

** My thanks to Matthew Smith at Urbane Books  for my copy of this book and to Abby Fairbrother (the immensely awesome Anne Bonny Book Reviews) for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **


Guest Post:

Dead Lands – building the story

A tremendous amount of research had to be conducted for Dead Lands and this was mainly for two reasons. The first reason:  the story is set a few decades ago and the second reason: a real-life event serves as its backdrop. I had to find out what the climate was like back then. I needed to feel it to some extent, to smell it, and to understand what the attitudes were like towards migrants, towards the police, and women. An author has to approach this sort of research carefully, which can be highly rewarding. To learn something new that will affect your story, or that you could insert into it for more realism, is an amazing feeling and I felt grateful to know what that was like.

Language and attitudes definitely change over time and I had to make a decision on how to approach that. For this story, I tried to strike a balance. With Dead Lands being set in the latter part of the 70s, it made sense that the attitudes of the times were reflected as much as possible without being an obstacle to the main story – although I gave myself more flexibility with the language. I spoke to people who were around at the time which was very important, because sometimes there is no substitute for speaking to someone who lived during a particular period. Of course you have to find those people, but when you do and you hear what they have to say, well it’s worth it. It really is.

With that part in place, I had to think about the other layers of the story and how they would interlace with each other as seamlessly as possible. Which character would have their identity pulled apart and questioned, which character would be telling the lies, and who would be hiding the biggest secrets? Setting Dead Lands in the past enabled me to highlight the complexities of proving guilt – DNA procedures as we know them today weren’t in place back then, so you really needed a good detective at the helm. Therefore, in terms of the people leading the charge, I needed strong characters.  I liked the polar opposites of a male and female investigators, and especially in that period of time, so Breck and Kearns fitted the bill perfectly. Having them operate within a fictional unit offered some flexibility with regards to what that unit was allowed to do, and in Breck, we have a bit of a maverick. A different kind of officer operating in a turbulent part of South East London. Amongst the temptations and whispers of corruption, he’ll do his job and he wants to do it the right way. That’s what he signed up for and why he joined the force. But ultimately, as the investigation progresses, he feels something is up, he’ll follow his nose and see it through to the end.

There’s a gritty underbelly to the story and life in the force is not sugar-coated in Dead Lands. Work for Breck provides a temporary escape from his feelings of discontentment and relationships are particularly important in this story. We even see this with Troy. From being a city high-flier to a man on the run, he is forced to turn to a small net of trusted people that may or may not be able to help him.

That is the landscape which I set out to create. There is no internet, no mobile phones, just a man and his limited resources, with an alibi that he can’t use and time running out.


Now I don’t know about you, but that has got me really keen to get reading and find out more!!  Perhaps I may just sneak this one up the reading pile and get lost in the world of Breck.  My review will be posted in November (sometime….)

 

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The Man Who Died new front (1)

** My thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy of this wonderful book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.

My Thoughts & Review:

Having read The Mine by Antti Tuomainen last year and thoroughly loved it, I was ecstatic to discover that he’d been writing The Man Who Died, it sounded so incredibly intriguing and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy (and pre-ordered it from Amazon as soon as the link was available!).

The poisoning idea behind the plot of this book was tantalisingly clever and ensured my attention was grabbed from the outset.  Who would want to poison our protagonist Jakko, what toxins had he been exposed to and just how was this done?  Would he discover who was behind it all in time?  These were just some of the things running through my head when I started reading this book, and I soon started trying to guess the who, the what and the why.  As usual there are no spoilers here and I will avoid speaking about the plot too much because I hate spoilers.

Jakko Kaunismaa is a character I took a liking to quickly, his dark sense of humour appealed to me, his list making struck a chord with me and he really came alive through the wonderful writing in this book.  I felt that the more I read about him, the more invested I became.  His paranoia and the spectrum of emotions he went through seemed so real and believable, and I think this in turn made him quite a relatable character as well as very interesting.  His determination to get to the bottom of the mystery behind who had poisoned him leads him to discoveries about those around him that he would never have previously imagined.
Masterfully Tuomainen merrily leads the reader down some wonderfully mysterious paths, littered with red herrings and clever misdirection that whilst clears up some mysteries, it leaves others devilishly cryptic.  The dark humour that is interwoven throughout just makes this a delight to read and hard to forget.

The translation to English by David Hackston has been done so incredibly well, none of Tuomainen’s subtleties have been lost and this reads very comfortably as if it had originally been written in English.

An excellent thriller which will have readers gripped, it is a book that stands out as being brilliantly different from the norm and is a fantastic example of why Tuomainen is the King of Helsinki Noir!

You can buy a copy of The Man Who Died via:

Orenda eBookstore
Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

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** My thanks to Sarah at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read a copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Can you really tell the difference between madness and sanity?
Mark Randall goes to great lengths to get himself admitted to an acute psychiatric ward and, despite being mute, convinces professionals that he is psychotic. But who is he and why is he so keen to spend time in a psychiatric hospital?
When Mark is admitted, silent and naked, the staff are suspicious about his motives.
Dealing with this, as well as the patients on the ward, Mark’s troubles really begin once he is Sectioned under the Mental Health Act. When decisions about his future are handed to Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Giles Sharman, Mark’s life is about to go from bad to worse.
Drugged, abused and in danger, Mark looks for a way out of this nightmare. But he’s about to learn, proving that you are sane might not be easy as it seems…

My Thoughts & Review:

When you read a description like the one for A Justifiable Madness you can’t help but be intrigued.  What on earth is going on in this book?  Why would you want to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital voluntarily with no need to be there?!  The minute I saw this I just knew I had to get reading immediately!

Mark Randall is a very strange character, who from the outset seems to be a little (ok big bit) odd, his actions and public nudity get him arrested and committed to a psychiatric ward in hospital, but all the while readers are aware of something else, something under the surface that’s so cleverly just out of reach that they can’t quite reach it.  Whilst the narration from Mark clearly makes him appear fully compos mentis and self aware, he is doing his damnedest to ensure that the staff on the ward believe he is mentally ill and in need of treatment.
Astutely, the author includes narration from other perspectives in this book to increase the tension and intrigue.  The two nurses on duty when Mark is admitted to the unit are wonderfully bright and interesting characters, and it is from the viewpoint of one of these nurses that we “see” Mark.  Monica gives a great insight into the care and treatment of the patients in the unit and there were a few moments that I found were quite eye opening to read about.

Without saying too much about the plot, I will say there is a creeping unease throughout the storyline, and as a reader you are aware that danger lurks ahead.  You can almost feel something isn’t right and that things could well go wrong for Mark but at the same time you can’t put the book down.  You want to know what happens and the way that this is written is superb at hooking you in and holding your attention.

A fantastically gripping read that I struggled to put down!

You can buy a copy of A Justifiable Madness via:

Amazon

 

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** My thanks to Sarah at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read a copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Pre-teen girls are being abducted from their homes and their families murdered. When Frank Rogers, once a DI with the Met and now running his own debt collection agency, is told that his own daughter is missing, his son murdered, he naturally wants to become involved with the case.

Soon Frank’s face is all over the news. In an unexpected turn of events, the killer contacts the police and says he is willing to talk, but only to Frank.

When the body of the first abducted girl is discovered, Frank realises it is a race against time to save his daughter.

In order to solve the case, Frank must work out how the killer is picking his victims.

But how do you catch a murderer who is hiding in plain sight? And can Frank solve the mystery, when he has so much to lose?

 

My Thoughts & Review

Beginning with such a petrifying opening chapter, Tony J Forder sets the tone quickly for a chilling and claustrophobic thriller.  The panic and fear felt by Laura was so well written that I found myself worrying for her and on the edge of my seat desperate to find out what was going to happen next.  What then follows is a deviously twisted case with one of the most twisted killers out there, that draws the reader in and holds them effortlessly.

The plot of this book is wonderfully crafted, and I loved the way that narration switched between Laura, Frank and the killer.  Switching just at the right time to keep tension high and readers on edge – perfect!  There were moments that I did squirm and wanted to hide behind a cushion, this is a seriously abhorrent killer and not one that can be underestimated or outwitted easily by the Police or his captives.
I really appreciated the creeping unease that Forder wove through his book, making me worry for the safety of the characters and their families, something so small but effective from the perspective of a reader.

The strong survival instincts of Laura were something I wanted to applaud at times, and at her young age were commendable.  Her ability to stop and think coherently was something that helped her and made her stand out as such a strong character.  Her father Frank was also an interesting character.  He was a broken man after the murder of his son Gary and his ex wife Janet, but his determination to get Laura back kept him functioning.  The comradeship between Frank and his ex police colleagues was one of great respect (well most colleagues….), and in particular the relationship with his ex partner on the force was wonderfully written.  Their easy conversations about the case acting as a therapy for Frank as well as helping the investigation.

Such a brilliant, frenetic read that kept me on the edge of my seat and lingered in my head when I did manage to prise my kindle out of my hands (only when I had to do the dishes or something I needed to pay attention to).  Would highly recommend this book!

You can buy a copy of Degrees of Darkness via:

Amazon

 

About the Author:

On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who published his edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone in spring. It is the first in a series.

Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.

Tony has been writing stories since childhood, but it was only when he won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books, that he realised he might actually be half decent at this writing business.

The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale.

During a book singing for Dark Voices 2, Tony was seated next to author Brian Lumley. At one point, Tony revealed to Brian that he felt out of place alongside all the proper writers. Brian then told Tony something he has never forgotten: “The moment you sat down and pulled a story out of your imagination and put it to paper, you became a proper writer.”

Subsequently, Tony began to focus on novel writing. He admits that his initial attempts were exploratory and somewhat derivative, although there was some interest from an agent – who oddly enough turned out to be Brian Lumley’s wife, Dorothy.

Tony wrote Degrees of Darkness, which he was happy with. He wasn’t so happy with a follow-up, so that never saw the light of day.

As a part-time writer with a full-time job, plus some ill-health, life got in the way and, although Tony continued writing, it took a back seat to making a living.

This year, however, Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017.

Connect with Tony:

https://www.facebook.com/tonyjforder/?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/TonyJForder?lang=en-gb

 

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I am so excited to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for “99 Red Balloons” by Elisabeth Carpenter (stop singing the 1980s pop song by Nena!) and share an extract from this gripping thriller!

Description:

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Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

This is a gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist that will take your breath away.

You can buy a copy of “99 Red Balloons” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository


Extract: Chapter 20 p.105-107

The bingo restarts, but I still can’t concentrate. Without saying, Jim has taken over my next card. I look at him from the corner of my eye. He never was a looker, bless him, but he looks better now he’s older. What’s it they say about growing into your face? It must be the case with Jim. I think about what’s happened over the last couple of days and I don’t know what I’d have done without him.

‘Come on then, let’s get your winnings,’ he says.

‘They can’t have played three games already.’

‘They have indeed. You’re away with the fairies. But I don’t blame you. You’ve enough on your plate.’

Jim’s up and ready in seconds. He kept his coat on the whole time we’ve been here. He must have cold bones these days. He stands waiting, patiently. I know I’m being slow, but there’s something about that woman that unnerves me. I’m in no rush to get to her.

He almost drags me there; my feet are so heavy. She watches us while we walk and stands when we reach the table.

‘It’s nice to see you, Maggie.’

She holds out her hand. I’ve never seen her before in my life. Her hair is too dark for her age; she must dye it – there’s not a grey in sight. She’s wearing a velvet blouse in maroon that reminds me of my great-grandmother’s curtains.

‘Do you two know each other?’ asks Jim.

‘I’ve never met you before,’ I say to her.

‘Sorry about that, love,’ Jim says to the stranger. ‘Not one for niceties, isn’t Mags.’

‘That’s okay. Sorry,’ she says. ‘I could’ve sworn we’d met before.’

She sits back down. I look at the table and what I thought were playing cards have strange pictures on them, rimmed with gold.

‘I’ll just get your prize ready.’

She counts out five ten-pound notes and puts them in an envelope. Before she seals it, she puts in what looks like a business card. She looks up. ‘Just in case you need to contact me.’

I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous. Why would I need to contact her?

Jim rubs his hands, again. ‘I’m just off to the gents while we wait for the taxi. Won’t be a min.’

I want to follow him, but that would be a little undignified.

‘I’ll wait in reception,’ I say, trying not to look at her.

I only get a few feet away when I feel a hand grab my elbow.

‘Wait, Maggie.’

I turn slowly, knowing it’s her. ‘How do you know my name?’

She glances at the floor, before looking me straight in the eye.

‘I’m sorry,’ she says. ‘My name’s Dee. I remember you from years ago. When your poor granddaughter went missing.’

‘Right.’

I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before, but strangers haven’t approached me for years. I knew they meant well, but it was mortifying, heartbreaking. It was why we hardly went out.

‘I’d better be going,’ I say.

‘Maggie, please wait a minute.’

‘Hang on. Why do you keep calling me Maggie? I was always Margaret in the newspapers.’

She comes closer to me; I step back.

‘I know you probably think I’m insane – I get that a lot. But . . .’ She takes a few breaths and taps her chest. ‘Zoe’s still alive.’

 


I don’t know about you, but that’s got be seriously intrigued and desperate to know what happens next!

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

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37 hours

 

** My thanks to Noelle & Kate at Thick as Thieves Book Publicity and Promo for the opportunity to read and review this book, and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **

 

Description:

The only way to hunt down a killer is to become one.
Imprisoned by MI6 for two long years in solitary, Nadia suddenly finds herself free again. But there is a price to pay for her release. Another dangerous and near impossible mission – retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her old nemesis, the deadliest of terrorists.
But he is always one step ahead, and soon Nadia finds herself at the front line of preventing London from disappearing into a cloud of ash. Only this time, she is ready to pull the trigger at any cost.
And with the clock counting down from 37 hours, time is running out…
My Thoughts & Review:
You know that feeling when you finish a book and cannot wait to get started on the next one in the series?  Well that’s a tiny bit like the anticipation I had for this book, 37 Hours is the second in the Nadia Laksheva series and it begins with a bang that sets the pace throughout.
For readers new to this series, you can read 37 Hours straight away, there is more than enough information included in the narrative to explain who people are and the connections between them, but I would highly recommend reading 66 Metres first as the writing is fantastic and the small details you will pick up from that book will absolutely enhance your enjoyment of 37 Hours.
As always, I won’t say too much about the plot, there is a blurb above to give you some idea of what goes on in this book, and suffice to say Nadia seems to be back in the middle of a dangerous situation that will push her to the limits of her abilities and mental capacity.
When I read 66 Metres I was astounded by how strong a character Nadia is (you can read my review here) and this instalment has firmly cemented my liking of this character.  Her tenacity in the face of danger is almost chilling, she’s calculating and careful in some aspects, but at other times she will take risks which increase the tension and enjoyment of the book.  Her strong connection to her family makes her that little more relatable, often a female protagonist such as this ends up being portrayed in a less realistic way.
I am a big fan of Kirwan’s writing style, it’s easy to follow despite it covering some topics I have no knowledge about.  I don’t profess to know anything about diving and yet I was able to read this book and not feel that I was missing any details because of the care that the author has taken to ensure that all of his readers will be able to grasp the facts of what is happening.  The vivid images I could conjure of scenes were down to the wonderful descriptions included, and for me this makes a book more enjoyable as I feel that I can “see” everything as it plays out.
Now to wait patiently to see what happens next……….
You can buy a copy of 37 Hours via:
 
About the Author:

In his day job, J. F. Kirwan travels worldwide, working on aviation safety. He lives in Paris, where he first joined a fiction class – and became hooked! So when a back injury stopped him scuba diving for two years, he wrote a thriller about a young Russian woman, Nadia, where a lot of the action occurred in dangerously deep waters. It was the only way he could carry on diving! But as the story and characters grew, he realised it was not one book, but three…

You can connect with the J. F. Kirwan via:
Follow the blog tour & pop over to my tour buddy’s blog to check out what Meggy has to share with you at  Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles
37 Hours Blog Tour

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