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Degrees 1 apple neo goth + gnuolane

** 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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House of Spines front

** 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:

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

My Thoughts & Review:

For anyone not familiar with the superb writing of Michael J Malone I would thoroughly recommend acquainting yourself with one of his books as soon as possible, a skilled author with the ability to make readers shiver and feel the coldness that flows from the pages of his books.

With writing that is almost poetic in nature, this is beautifully written book that keeps readers guessing throughout.

Ran McGhie is an interesting character that I could not help but feel for him.  His life has been far from easy or straightforward and the way that Malone captures the subtle nuances of Ran are spectacularly spellbinding.  As Ran’s life begins to take on some major changes, Malone cleverly but subtly charts the slow descent into something not being right (I won’t call it madness, that seems to abrasive a word to use, but at the same time perhaps this character does become a little “off kilter” and lean towards a form of madness….I’ll let you decide).  Inheriting a huge house in a wealthy part of town would probably be a dream come true for most people, and here Ran is no different.  Initially he is awed by the library and the books that his great uncle has bestowed upon him, but soon he feels a haunting presence and begins to question what happens around him.
I am loathe to say more about the plot, I hate spoilers and think that readers experience the full impact of the plot on their own.

This has all the hallmarks of a great read, it’s creepy and leaves the reader questioning whether that was just a shadow they caught out of the corner of their eye…but it also makes you feel a little uncomfortable as you slowly follow Ran into the darkness of uncertainty.  With the mental health issues that the protagonist suffers being incorporated into the plot, it becomes almost impossible to be certain whether Ran is suffering from delusions linked to his condition or whether these events are actually happening.
On top of all this, the descriptions of Newton Hall are utterly spectacular and I think that Malone has really outdone himself here.  I could feel the looming menace that lurked within the house, I was aware of a feeling of claustrophobia while Ran was in the house, although there was splendour and beauty it was also a place of unknown danger and mystery.

There’s a feeling of safety with a book published by Orenda Books, each book has made an impression on Karen Sullivan and in turn she and her team have lavished love and attention on each page of a manuscript  before delivering a book to readers that will wow and delight.  When I initially saw this book being dubbed a “modern day horror story with a twist” I was a little hesitant, I don’t read many horror stories, they just don’t do anything for me.  But I had faith in the publisher and the friends who recommended this book to me and I was not disappointed.

You can buy a copy of “House of Spines” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Orenda eBookstore

 

Follow the blog tour:

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Hello and happy Friday!  And you all know what Friday brings, yes,  its time to share another post to celebrate Indie Publishing and this time it’s No Exit Press, part of the Oldcastle Books Group in the spotlight!   Today I have a review of “The Unquiet Dead” by Ausma Zehanat Khan.


Description:

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One man is dead.

But thousands were his victims.

Can a single murder avenge that of many?

Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto: the body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner Rachel Getty are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton’s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?

In this important debut novel, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.

Winner of the Barry Award, Arthur Ellis Award, and Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel

My Thoughts & Review:

I don’t think I was fully prepared for the journey that this book would take me on when I started reading – it’s such an powerful and evocative read.
Beautiful descriptions of locations and the fantastic settings juxtapose perfectly with the brutal realities expertly woven throughout the plot.  Some aspects of the plot do make for difficult reading but these are important and perhaps due to my unfamiliarity of the massacre mentioned within in the pages of this book I found it all the more harrowing.

Fascinating characters really bring this book alive, each character is so vastly different from the next and their back stories are tantalisingly intriguing that I could not help but devour this book in order to find out more about them.

Khan handles the topics within this book with a sensitivity and confidence that never sensationalises or belittles the facts of what has passed.  Her writing evokes great emotion from readers in the way she deftly weaves together a plot with many strands and characters, somehow she manages to keep everything tightly bound so that the reader is kept utterly entranced by each page.
The cultural and religious details that are included within the narrative are fascinating and add a feeling of authenticity to the characters involved, I found that I was almost taking notes of things to look up once I’d finished reading to find out more.

The plot is well constructed and despite there being so much going on in this book it works so well.  This is an expertly crafted novel that has readers trying to follow the clues along with the detectives to join the dots but never quite managing to beat them at their own game.  Including quotes at the start of each chapter from the various documents such as witness statements, testimony from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and historical documents makes this stand out and is such an incredibly powerful tool to use. 

A haunting and moving book with a story that will stay with you long after you’ve put the book away.

 

You can buy a copy of The Unquiet Dead via:

Amazon

My thanks to No Exit Press for sending me a copy of this book to read and enjoy.

 

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Published: 2 November 2017

 

Description:

JOHN WALLACE IS A TARGET
Hiding off-grid after exposing the shadowy Pendulum conspiracy, Wallace is horrified to discover he is still marked for death.

THERE ARE ONLY TWO PEOPLE HE CAN TRUST
DI Patrick Bailey is still reeling from the murder investigation that nearly cost him his life.
FBI Agent Christine Ash is hunting a serial killer with a link to an unfinished case

HE MUST FIND THE TRUTH
The death of a London journalist triggers an investigation that brings them back together, hurling them into the path of an unknown enemy.

BEFORE THE KILLER FINDS HIM
Hunted across the world, they are plunged into a nightmare deadlier than they could have ever imagined.

My Thoughts & Review:

Freefall is another tantalisingly explosive instalment in the Pendulum trilogy that picks up right where book one finished and fans of the first book will definitely not be disappointed by this fast paced and compelling read.

John Wallace is a broken man and seems hell bent on a path of self destruction, his life has been thrown into a vortex of danger and desolation ever since he first encountered the killer known as Pendulum.  It’s also good to see the return of Christine Ash and Patrick Bailey, their appearances bring a fantastic edge to the plot as well as offer superb scope for character development.  A lot of Christine’s back story came out in the first book, and so readers new to the series won’t have the full details reading this book alone, but that’s not to say they won’t get a good idea about her past and who she used to be.  Patrick on the other hand, is slowly unravelling after the events previously and cannot seem to get off this path, seeing his slump played out so clearly on the pages is sobering to see.

The plot itself (no spoilers here!), is akin to brilliance.  It makes for addictive reading and I can see why the screen rights were snapped up by Tom Hardy’s production company, Hardy Son & Baker.  This is a series that would make for excellent viewing as well as reading!

A fascinating narrative gives the reader the feeling that they are caught up in the momentum of the book, and make no mistake, this is addictive reading with clever nuances and subterfuge woven tightly throughout.  Adam Hamdy blew me away with his first book and I’m so pleased to say that the series has got even better with Freefall, I didn’t think it would be possible, but he’s done it!  ]

Everything you need in a good thriller is in this book, gripping plot, action, brilliant characters and an underlying menace that keeps you reading long into the night!

My thanks to Headline Books for the opportunity to read an early copy of this.

You can buy a copy of Freefall via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

 

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Published: 10 August 2017

 

Description:

How do you solve a murder when you can only remember yesterday?

There are two types of people in the world. Those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police? Can you trust your husband? Can you trust yourself?

My Thoughts & Review:

The concept of this book is very intriguing and one that I was desperate to find out more about after reading such a fascinating blurb.  I did wonder whether I might struggle to get my head round the mono/duo concept, but found I accepted it unquestionably which meant I could get caught up in this deliciously clever thriller.

The idea that people can either remember the day before yesterday, or just yesterday is strangely interesting but at the same time could be fraught with danger.  Depending on how the characters record their thoughts and the events of the day in their diary means their memories may becomes skewed.  Some characters noting that because they perhaps did not keep a full detailed account of one day meant they had grey areas and could not be entirely certain about why something may have happened.  Which in turn made for some wonderful unreliable narration for readers to revel in.

There are characters are difficult to understand, granted when you are only seeing them through the eyes of another character the view is somewhat one sided.  I have to admit to not being the biggest fan of Mark, and as the plot progressed I found I was liking him less and less.  I wanted to try and understand Claire, but because it seemed that she wasn’t sure what memories she could trust or rely on what she had been told it left me feeling some sympathy towards her and wanting to find out what was being hidden and why  .  The very idea that none of the characters could really be relied upon or trusted to tell the truth makes this all the more thrilling to read.  The timescale element to the investigation turns this into a frantic page turner – the detectives trying to solve the case whilst the suspects can still remember the details without having to rely on their diary entries.

A very original plot, with superb writing and one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year, I cannot recommend it highly enough!

My thanks to the good folks at Wildfire Books for the opportunity to read this book.

 

 

 

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