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Archive for the ‘thriller’ Category

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** My thanks to Abby at Knopf Publicity for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

In this gripping new work of suspense from the author of The Double Game, a young woman discovers a nefarious truth at the heart of the CIA’s operations in postwar Berlin and goes on the run for her life; years later she’s gruesomely murdered along with her husband, and her daughter begins to chase down these startling secrets from her past.

West Berlin, 1979. Helen Abell oversees the CIA’s network of safe houses, rare havens for field agents and case officers amidst the dangerous milieu of a city in the grips of the Cold War. Helen’s world is upended when, during her routine inspection of an agency property, she overhears a meeting between two people unfamiliar to her speaking a coded language that hints at shadowy realities far beyond her comprehension. Before the day is out, she witnesses a second unauthorized encounter, one that will place her in the sight lines of the most ruthless and powerful man at the agency. Her attempts to expose the dark truths about what she has witnessed will bring about repercussions that reach across decades and continents into the present day, when, in a farm town in Maryland, a young man is arrested for the double murder of his parents, and his sister takes it upon herself to find out why he did it.

My Thoughts & Review:

I love a book with a setting in the Cold War, I find it fascinating and something about the espionage and trickery that’s woven into stories set around this time are irresistible, so when I saw the description of this book I knew that I had to read it.

Upon starting this book I immediately took to Helen Abell, a young woman working in a male dominated field with the CIA in Germany.  The difficulties that she faced making her more determined and strong-willed to succeed and prove her worth.  Her superior, unhappy with having a female working in that position makes it all too clear to her repeatedly, belittling her and commenting negatively on anything she does.
Part of Helen’s role with the CIA is keeper of four safe houses which are used by their agents for various clandestine meetings, and in the course of her work she happens to overhear a conversation that sets in motion a chain of events that change her life.  Not realising the importance of what she has heard, and recorded in the safe house, Helen takes it upon herself to investigate.  But if this wasn’t enough, she later overhears something that shocks her to her very core and leaves her strongly in the sights of a very dangerous man.

Running parallel to this is another strand to the plot, the timeline this time being 2014 and featuring Anna who enlists the help of a neighbour of her parents to help her get to the bottom recent events, namely the death of her parents at the hand of her brother.    Unfortunately for Anna it seems that there is more to Henry than meets the eye, having spent time working with various departments of the acronymically named services of America.  The lessons of the past having far reaching ramifications for Anna and Henry as they try to untangle the clues to piece together the truth.

I did find the 1979 storyline the more intriguing one, but I think that’s more a personal thing than anything to do with the book.  Certainly, the action between the two timelines was wonderfully offset and where one would reach a crescendo the other would compliment it perfectly by being rife with intrigue and mystery.

Some of the characters are immediately unlikable, their actions are incredibly questionable and make the reader squirm with discomfort, but on the other hand there are characters like Helen and Anna who you cannot help but feel for.  But on the whole, they are all very well created and multidimensional, the various personalities coming to life through the great writing.
The plotting is tight and keeps readers hooked to find out what will happen next, the dialogue feels realistic and this makes for a gripping read.

A highly recommended espionage thriller!

You can buy a copy of Safe Houses via:

Amazon UK
Waterstones
Amazon.com
Book Depository

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** My thanks to Anne Cater and the folks at Transworld Books for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

The Child’s story will be told.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Child is the second novel by Fiona Barton, and features her character Kate Waters.  Barton takes her readers on a chilling journey through complex themes of mental health issues and abuse with dignity and sensitivity whilst ensuring that her wonderful writing wows readers.

Told through four perspectives, this is a story of four women and how they are affected by  the discovery of a newborn baby’s body .  The secrets that are unearthed and the impact they have on family dynamics make for some intense reading that will have readers struggling to put this book down.
As I mentioned above, there are some themes woven into the plot that could make for difficult reading, but I do believe that the author has done a good job in ensuring that they add to the story without becoming sensationalised.
The cleverness of the writing means that readers are kept guessing with the twists and red herrings dotted around.

Perhaps it’s because she was my namesake, but I really loved journalist Kate.  Her drive to investigate and find out the truth was impressive and certainly could show a few fictional detectives a thing or two!  Her integrity makes her such a wonderful character, despite wanting to chase down a story she is always careful to never reveal her informants information.  All of the characters in this book felt realistic and well thought out, their backstories were intriguing and I found that the more I read the more invested in them I became.

The build up in the pace of this book is perfect, slowly building up and drawing you in.  Hinting at mystery and suspense before the conclusion that will leave readers surprised and full of emotion!  I loved the short chapters that were perfectly baited, it kept me hooked and needing to read “just one more chapter” before bedtime.

A cleverly complex thriller that will test the strength of your heart!

You can buy a copy of The Child via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

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** My thanks to the wonderful Katherine Sunderland, the folks at No Exit Press and the lovely Anne Cater for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.

Geraldine Steel is reunited with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the baffling case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

My Thoughts & Review:

Having absolutely loved the previous Geraldine Steel novel Deadly Alibi, I was delighted to find out that book 10 was coming out soon and even more excited that I had been granted the honour of reading an early copy.

Class Murder opens with our protagonist having been demoted from her position in London and now she’s in York working alongside her former sergeant and friend Ian Paterson.  Geraldine’s actions in Deadly Alibi were the catalyst for this change and unfortunately for her they caused her career progression to halt inexplicably.  She now has to learn how to work with a new team and how to take orders from superiors who don’t need to trust her instincts or hunches because she’s not earned that position of trust yet.

The case that Geraldine and the team are working on is one that is fascinating.  Who is the killer?  What is the motive?  One thing’s certain, Leigh Russell is the master of spinning a yarn so complex and deliciously tangled that readers cannot help but get caught up.  Whilst reading I was conscious of not falling into the trap of trying to guess who the killer was, whilst we have narrative from the killer’s perspective there are no outward clues as to the identity which makes it all the more intense and exciting as the case hots up and the detectives try to work it out.

The thing I love about Leigh Russell’s books is the fact that there are so many aspects to the plot but they all slot together like a perfectly formed jigsaw puzzle.  The characters are so well crafted,. the settings are so vividly described and the killer, well wow!  I felt so on edge reading about this killer, at one point I did actually go and check that all doors were locked and all windows were secure…that’s how much this killer got under my skin!

There are so many things I want to say about this book, it’s clever, it’s brilliant and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

You can buy a copy of Class Murder via :

No Exit Press (publisher’s website)
Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

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After many years teaching English in secondary school, internationally bestselling author Leigh Russell now writes crime fiction full time. Published in English and in translation in Europe, her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson titles have appeared on many bestseller lists, including #1 on kindle. Leigh’s work has been nominated for several major awards, including the CWA New Blood Dagger and CWA Dagger in the Library, and her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series are in development for television with Avalon Television Ltd.
Journey to Death is the first title in her Lucy Hall series published by Thomas and Mercer.

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** Copy purchased via Amazon UK **

 

Description:

Scott makes enemies everywhere. Powerful people want him dead. He’s coming back to Ireland to finish what he started. But first, he must make it out of Marrakech alive.

Jen knows Scott will come back. Every day, she waits. He almost killed her last time and, fuelled by hate and arrogance, he’s not a man to ever just move on. He will kill her and he will kill her young son. But her husband and friends believe she has spiralled into paranoia.

So she knows, when he returns, she’ll face the psychopath alone.

In this powerful thriller, Hogan plunges us into the world and mind of her psychopathic killer from the first line and relentlessly tightens the tension until the very last page.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

When They All Fall Down came out earlier this year I must have been on another planet, I completely missed it and missed out all the buzz about it.  As soon as I heard that Cat Hogan had another book coming out I was quick to find out what I’d missed and was racing over to Amazon to buy copies of both books on the recommendation of some very trusted bloggers.  As usual, they steered me right!

As a sequel, There Was a Crooked Man works so well, it continues the story of Scott, Jen, Andy and Danny and is deliciously thrilling reading.  I loved that there were chapters from Scott’s perspective at the beginning of this book, it makes it all the more dark and intense, and reminded me just how much I loved to hate this character (in a good way!).  It was interesting seeing how Jen was coping in the aftermath of the events in They All Fall Down.  The past events playing heavily on her mind, and in her heart she fears that Scott will return.

The way that Cat writes takes readers on a rollercoaster of emotion, being able to see events from the perspectives of such differing characters really hits the audience.  There’s also a few red herrings cleverly thrown into the narrative to keep you guessing what way the story will go next, increasing the tension and leaving you on the edge of your seat.  I loved the way that the plot drew me in and had me utterly transfixed, I needed to keep reading, I had no idea where the story would end up but I couldn’t put it down! 

As always, with a series I would recommend reading the books in order, it makes a lot more sense to have read They All Fall Down to get a better grounding of the characters (especially psychopathic Scott), but I guess you could read this one as as stand alone if you really wanted to.  Cat Hogan does give plenty background to give readers an idea of what has happened previously but to get a fuller picture I say head back to book one and enjoy!

A tense and dark thriller that will knock your socks off!

You can buy a copy of There Was a Crooked Man via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

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

 

Description:

How does a mother protect her child from the unknown?

During a visit to a local theatre, four-year-old Chloe Hollis becomes hysterical. But her mother, Kim, doesn’t realise that this is just the beginning of the nightmare. In the coming weeks, Chloe talks of The Tall Man – Of death.

At her wits end, Kim confides in Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school where she works. But what Kim doesn’t know is that Charles is linked to what is happening to her daughter.

Will Kim learn the terrible truth? And can she overcome her own tragic past and save her daughter before it’s too late?

The Liar’s Promise is a story of past lives and future torment.

My Thoughts & Review:

If you were ever in doubt of the power of the imagination I would strongly urge you to read any book written by Mark Tilbury.  This is an author that can chill the coolest of readers, his imagination can creep even the hardest of crime fiction fans out and I absolutely LOVE it!! There’s disturbing and then there’s Mark Tilbury disturbing, if you’re of a nervous disposition I would recommend finding some images of kittens playing with yarn for the next wee while….

This was quite an intense read with some very intriguing characters, the most powerful being Chloe, a four-year-old girl.
Her mother, Mel, takes her to the local theatre and young Chloe becomes hysterical.   Thinking this is a normal tantrum they leave.  Mel could never have imagined what would come next.  Her young child begins behaving strangely, speaking about The Tall Man, talking about death and destruction, uttering phrases a four-year-old should not know, and worse still, it would seem that she’s the reincarnation of a murder victim.  Mel, is beside her self with worry and has no idea who to turn to.  She seeks advice from Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at school, unawares that he is connected to all of this.
The Tall Man was a character that I held equal fear and fascination for, so creepy and chilling, Mark Tilbury knows just what words to use to set hearts racing and have you questioning whether it was a shadow you saw out of the corner of your eye, and with this character Tilbury has nailed it.  I was on edge, wanted to hide under the covers, hell, I wanted to put this book in the chest freezer and stick railway sleepers on top of the freezer!!  That’s how much it creeped me out, and I LOVED IT!

There’s so much about the plot of this book that screams out to be spoken about but that would be doing it a disservice, this is one book you have to read to understand it all.  It’s such a gripping and complex plot that grabs readers and refuses to let go.  The pace of this works well, it’s a frantic page turner, I found that I was almost speed reading this to try and find out what would happen next.

If you’re a fan of Mark Tilbury’s books already then you are in for a treat with The Liar’s Promise, his usual brand of exciting, supernatural twisted thriller with the shock factor is here in spades.  But for those new to his writing, you are lucky to be discovering a genius!  Highly recommended read!

You can buy a copy of The Liar’s Promise via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author :

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 fourth novel, The Liar’s Promise, along with The Abattoir of Dreams, published, and The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused re-launched, 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.

Social Media Links:
https://twitter.com/MTilburyAuthor

http://marktilbury.com/

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The Prisoners Wife Cover

 

** My thanks to Rachel at Authoright for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for this **

 

Description:

From the CIA headquarters to the danger zones of Morocco and Pakistan, undercover agent Shawn Maguire is embroiled in a sinister conspiracy and an unlikely romance in this exhilarating debut spy thriller.

Shawn Maguire, unemployed American spy, has been paid to find a young Iranian now being interrogated in one of the CIA’s black prisons. The prisoner’s location remains unknown – he may be in Fes, Cairo or even Peshawar – but Shawn has every confidence that he’ll find his man eventually. Based on his time as an agent, it’s an assignment he knows he can handle. But there’s one person he’s not sure even he can handle:  the prisoner’s wife.

The Prisoner’s Wife is a political thriller ripped from today’s headlines; a tense trip through the murky worlds of state–sponsored terrorism, nuclear politics, secret American jails and lawless rendition. Conspiracies abound in this sophisticated and suspenseful novel, with its crackling dialogue and evocative, lawless landscapes. Maguire is a first-rate protagonist, complicated and heroic, and writer Gerard Macdonald does an expert job of capturing the casual ambivalence of the American intelligence officers in their rendition campaigns and keenly observes the cynical manner in which operatives prop up or depose criminal leaders depending on America’s own needs.

A pulse-pounding account of political intrigue in the Middle-East starring complex hero Shawn Maguire, The Prisoner’s Wife is the perfect next read for fans of espionage and international thrillers.

Extract:

Outside the gate, the mustachioed chauffeur had reversed the Lexus, turning it around. He stood by the car, bending his head, speaking to the veiled woman within.

‘Your enemies, and your dead. Keep them close,’ Abbasi said to Shawn. ‘I believe in that.’ He stood by the slate-roofed summerhouse, scanning the walled garden. ‘So peaceful.’ He considered his host. ‘Your face. You lost a fight?’

‘That was last week,’ Shawn said. ‘Skinny drunk kid. Thought I could teach him a lesson. I was wrong.’

Abbasi said, ‘We all get old. You attacked one of your colleagues, did you not?’ Shawn nodded. ‘Suspended from active service, I hear. No longer an American spy.’

‘They call it extended leave. I behave, take anger management class, they let me back.’

Abbasi covered his mouth, disguising what might have been amusement. ‘You think?’ His attention elsewhere, he asked how Mr. Maguire spent his time.

‘You’ll laugh,’ Shawn said. ‘It amuses people. What I ask myself these days – what I try getting my head round – is, what the hell was I doing out there? Last twenty-some years.’

‘What you were doing as a spy?’

Shawn nodded. ‘I mean, I know what I actually did, minute by minute, most days. Unless I was drunk. What I don’t know is why. Why they told me, do whatever I did. Why I did it.’

‘Protecting America from its enemies, were you not? So Mr. McCord would say.’

‘Yeah,’ said Shawn, ‘right. It’s what I tell myself. It’s what I try believing.’

He opened a bottle and poured two glasses of sparkling water. Abbasi, an observant Muslim, did not touch alcohol.

‘My turn for a question, Mr. Abbasi. You employ people. A lot of people. Import-export, it’s what I hear.’

‘In the past tense. I did employ. Like its owner, business is not what it was.’

‘I seem to remember offices, AfPak, Morocco, Kandahar, Miami. Am I right?’

‘Sadly, Afghanistan, no longer. Nor Florida. But still, we are in Islamabad. Tenuously, in Fes. And Peshawar, on the AfPak border. As you call it.’

‘So why? Why would you need me?’

‘I have a problem,’ Abbasi said, looking around him. ‘A problem with your people. CIA, Office of Special Plans, CIFA – one or all. I never know. And a problem with my people. My Pakistani, would you say, compatriots?’ He pointed to a table and chairs midway across the lawn. ‘Might we sit over there?’

Shawn stood, moving out of the summer house. A cloud of white doves spread high through still air, planing and gliding in leaderless synchrony.

‘I don’t believe this. You’re worried about bugs? Here? An English village? Do you want to pat me down?’

‘If you would not mind. To be sure you do not wear a wire.’

Ayub Abbasi ran his hands over Shawn’s body. ‘You are very fit.’

‘For your age,’ Shawn said. ‘That’s usually how the sentence ends these days. I’m fifty one. I lose fights.’

‘I know your age,’ Abbasi said. ‘I read the file. You are fifty-three. You still attract women.’

‘That,’ Shawn said, ‘I’m seriously trying to give up.’ He unpacked a new box of shells. Abbasi eyed the rifle and the pear tree.

‘I know that you trained as a sniper. I had not realized you were such a shot.’

Without looking down, Shawn reloaded the M24.

‘I used to be good. Trying to get back there.’

‘For your own amusement? Or some other reason?’ Abbasi seated himself at a wrought-iron table set on a mower-striped lawn. ‘You may know I also worked for your agency. Your former agency.’

‘Langley?’

‘Indeed. I was, as you say, on the payroll. Liaison between America and Pakistan.’

‘Not Pakistan as such,’ Shawn said. ‘Liaison with Inter-Services Intelligence, is my guess. ISI was always the target. Always the problem.’

‘For our purposes,’ Abbasi said, ‘and your purposes, ISI is Pakistan. You know, we all know, they are not just a spy service. Invisible Soldiers Incorporated, we call them. They take the dollars your Congress sends. They run my country. And much of Afghanistan, of course. Taliban is their creation. As is the drug trade.’ Abbasi smoothed his lightly oiled hair. ‘Sadly, now, those invisible soldiers wish to kill me.’

I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely piqued my curiosity!

You can buy a copy of The Prisoner’s Wife via:

Amazon UK

About the Author:

Author Gerard MacDonald lives in West London and is currently working on a short series of political fiction books.

Website: http://gerardmacdonald.net/

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** My thanks to Sarah at Bloodhound Books and Rob Sinclair for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Still tormented by the disappearance of his wife, ex-intelligence agent James Ryker sets out on a personal mission of revenge, prepared to go to any lengths in search of the truth.

The trail takes him from the crystal waters of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, back to a place he thought he would never set foot again – his country of birth, England. But there he discovers more than even he bargained for. Stumbling across a terrorist attack targeted against his old employers – the secretive Joint Intelligence Agency -the faint clues to many events in his recent past are all seemingly linked to one mysterious character; The Silver Wolf.

But just who is the Silver Wolf, and why is he hell bent on punishing not just Ryker, but his closest allies at the JIA too?

Has Ryker finally met his match?

My Thoughts & Review:

James Ryker is back!! This is a series that I took a gamble on, not 100% sure that it was for me but I was so pleased to be proved wrong by Rob Sinclair’s adrenaline packed writing, and have ended up a huge fan of the James Ryker books! After the ending of The Black Hornet, I was frantically hoping the wait for the next book wouldn’t be too long, how could Sinclair keep us holding on too long to find out what would happen next?!

The whole series does read rather fantastically, but I do think that this installment has more globe trotting and action packed into it, and it would be amazing to see this on the big screen.  There’s just something about the writing that makes a film play in my head so I can see the action playing out, it’s quite brilliant!
Sinclair has upped the ante with The Silver Wolf, there are some intense moments that will have readers peeking through their fingers as they read, the notion that even Ryker was shocked at what he was seeing took me by surprise (she says as she bravely read passages whilst hugging a cushion/hiding behind said cushion).  This all just adds to the intensity of the plot and makes for a thrilling and exciting read that keeps readers hooked.

As with most books in a series, I would recommend reading these in order, it makes more this way, means that the story flows naturally and the sequence of events will make sense.  But if you do want to read this one as a stand alone, then it is possible as there is more than enough detail included throughout the narrative to ensure you know what has happened previously in The Red Cobra and The Black Hornet without becoming bogged down.

A fast paced, action packed and absolutely bloody brilliant!!
Please don’t ever end this series!

You can buy a copy of The Silver Wolf via:

Amazon UK

 

About the author:

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Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series and James Ryker series of espionage thrillers. His books have sold over half a million copies to date with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

Links:
 

 

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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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** 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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