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The River Runs Red cover

** My thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours and Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Berlin is in the midst of its worst winter in decades.

Against the backdrop of freezing temperatures, blizzards and snowstorms, the city refuses to grind to a halt. Lurking within the shadows is a Stasi victim, out for revenge against the former East German informants known as ‘The Ears’. Their dark secrets are about to be exposed.

A mix of ice and water and a single gunshot, provides the ultimate payback.

With the Millennium approaching, Hanne Drais, the criminal psychologist working within the Berlin Mitte Police team led by the irascible Oskar Kruger and his laid-back sidekick, Stefan Glockner, are seeking the perpetrator of these violent crimes.

Who is the man they’ve nicknamed Snowflake?

Who is turning the river red?

My Thoughts & Review:

I absolutely love books with a Cold War setting, something about them just makes for a thrilling and enticing read, and The River Runs Red by Ally Rose is certainly that.

With a plot that spans two different timelines, Ally Rose introduces readers to a Berlin that is rife with danger and suspicion, the Stasi are omnipresent and overpowering, ordinary citizens are turning informant on their friends, neighbours and even family, and those brave enough to defect make life difficult for the ones they leave behind. But the actions of the Stasi and their informants are the catalyst for a spree of killings some years later, someone is out for revenge for having been wronged.

The dual timeline makes this quite an interesting read, readers experience a snipped of the East German way of life, and see events through the eyes of a young man struggling with life after his father’s defection to West Germany. Whilst watching life unfolding for this character, readers also see a more modern timeline where they are privy to the actions of the killer, not the exact motives or the identity of the killer but some of their thoughts and actions as they seek revenge for events from the past.
Interestingly, Ally Rose also gives readers the view of the investigating team through the eyes of Hanne Drais, a criminal psychologist working with the Berlin Police. Drais is a fantastic character, her thought processes and actions make her stand out as someone readers will want to know more about. She is a likeable character, and one that I think many readers will connect readily with.

Plotting and characterisation are well done, the way that the story unfolds is sure to hook the interest of readers and keep them captive trying to work out of they’ve guessed the connections between events and if they’ve guessed the identity of the killer. The pace is good, I found that this was a book that I was racing through, thoroughly enjoying each chapter. Giving readers a variety of characters to get to know makes this such an intriguing read, each is well rounded and multidimensional, an whilst I may not have agreed with the actions of all of them, I definitely felt that I was becoming more invested in their tales and wanted to know more.

Although The River Runs Red is the third book in the Hanne Drais series, this can definitely be read as a stand alone book. Ally Rose gives ample background information about Hanne Drais so that you get to know this character and her history, and don’t feel on the back foot at all.
Now, I think I will go back to the start of the series to enjoy books one and two!

You can buy a copy of The River Runs Red via:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Fahrenheit Press

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the tainted vintage

 

** My thanks to Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for inviting me to part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

In the small Czech town of Vinice the mayor has been found dead in his wine cellar.

Detectives Jana Dvorska and Ivan Dambersky are called to the scene and soon realise that despite appearances, Mayor Slansky’s death was most definitely not from natural causes.

Almost immediately, the close-knit community closes ranks to try and brush the unexplained death under the carpet with the minimum of fuss.

Dvorska & Dambersky are drawn deeper and deeper into secrets that many hoped would remain buried forever and they’re forced into pursuing an investigation where their own lives are put in danger.

The Tainted Vintage is the first book in a wonderful new series set in and around The Czech Republic, an area rich in history, literature and culture that still remains largely unexplored by contemporary crime fiction fans.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I picked up this book I didn’t expect that it would be such an enjoyable and engaging read, something about the setting, the characters and the plot instantly grabbed my attention and held my attention captive.

I have to admit that The Czech Republic isn’t a setting that I am overly familiar with when it comes to books, and can’t actually think of any recently that I’ve read that even have characters travelling there, but will say that authors are missing a trick! What a fantastic location and the way that Blanchard brings it alive, the landscape, the history … it all becomes so vivid.

The story line is one that inspires intrigue, the town mayor discovered dead in his own wine cellar and everyone apart from the detectives is happy to believe a heart attack was the cause. Paired together are the most unlikely of detectives Jane Dvorska and Ivan Dambersky, who are determined to investigate the matter and find out the truth. But this pairing works, they make for great detectives and I look forward to meeting them in future novels.

History is something that plays an important role in this plot of this book, and I will say that it is written in a way that really gives the reader pause for thought. Tracing back to the war, there are crimes buried in the histories of characters that shock not only those around them but the reader too.

Well written, well paced and a great start to what looks to be a very exciting series!

You can buy a copy of The Tainted Vintage via:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Kobo

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I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Sarah Ward’s third DC Connie Childs novel, A Patient Fury.  This is a series that I was late to discover, but when so many friends have raved about it, I simply had to find out if it was as good as they claimed, and as usual they were spot on!

A Patient Fury PB.jpg

** My thanks to the folks at Faber & Faber for my copy of this and to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for inviting me to part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Three bodies discovered.

A family obliterated.

All evidence seems to point to one murderer: the mother.

DC Connie Childs, determined to discover the truth about the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane, realises that a fourth body – one they cannot find – must hold the key to the mystery. But what Connie fails to realise is that her determination to unmask the murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career.

My Thoughts & Review:

The DC Connie Childs series is one that I’ve read away from my blog, one that I read purely for enjoyment and have to say that so far it grabbed my attention, there are brilliantly created characters, impressive writing that grabs your attention and utterly beguiling descriptions of settings that give the reader the sense of being in the middle of the scene with the characters.

A Patient Fury begins with an uneasy and chilling opening, it sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the novel and leaves the readers a little unsettled and unsure of where the danger lies, who the culprit is and the motive for their actions.
The creeping menace that lurks throughout this makes for an entertaining and gripping read, and the way that Sarah Ward has linked the current case to another timeline makes this an irresistible book for me.

Whilst the case is a tricky one, for me one of the most impressive aspects of this book, and indeed the entire series is characterisation.  Connie Childs is a superb creation and there’s something about her that readers will take to, her tenacity, her work ethic, stubbornness all make her stand out.  She has a tendency to break rules and go off on her own investigations, seeing past the obvious and asking the questions that others haven’t considered.
Connie contrasts well with George, a family member of the deceased.  His obnoxious and rude ways had be wanting to shout at him at times, such was the intensity of the writing.  I do love when an author can evoke strong emotions from readers when they write their characters, the detail that they weave into their work makes the characters come alive and feel multidimensional.

I particularly appreciate the setting of a book when I know where it’s set, and in this case, I really enjoyed the trip to Derbyshire.  I’ve visited Derbyshire many times and felt that Sarah Ward instantly took me back there with her writing, the descriptions of the landscapes were perfect.  I loved the descriptions of the caves that Julia worked in, reminding me of Peak Cavern in Castleton.

Sometimes with thrillers and police procedurals you try to solve the case along with the detectives, or even have a sneaky suspicion about who the killer is or what the motive might be, but with this book it was so difficult to pin it down.  There are enough red herrings to keep you guessing and suitably unsure until Ward decides to reveal all and leave her readers wondering.

A great read and I eagerly await the next book!

 

You can buy a copy of A Patient Fury via:

amazon.co.uk

amazon.com

Waterstones

Book Depository

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There are some brilliant sounding books out there in the world at the moment, and I’m kicking myself for not having enough time to read them all!  Today I am thrilled to share a guest post by Seth Lynch about his writing process, and I have to say I am amazed, and a little exhausted just thinking about it!

A Dead American In Paris cover

Description:

Paris. 1931.

Arty Homebrook lived and died in a world of sleaze which stretched from Chicago to Paris but never beyond the gutter.

He’d been sleeping with Madame Fulton, which is why Harry Fulton promised to kill him. So far as the Paris Police are concerned it’s an open and shut case. Harry’s father has other ideas and hires Salazar to investigate.

As Salazar gets to grips with the case he’s dragged reluctantly into an unpleasant underworld of infidelity, blackmail, backstreet abortions and murder.

Salazar is far too inquisitive to walk away and far too stubborn to know what’s for the best. So he wakes up each hungover morning, blinks into the sunlight, and presses on until it’s his life on the line. Then he presses on some more, just for the hell of it.

Seth’s books can be purchased directly from the publisher, Fahrenheit Press:

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_citizen_of_nowhere.html

A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Book 2): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_dead_american_in_paris.html

The Paris Ripper (Chief Inspector Belmont Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_the_paris_ripper.html

 

Guest Post:

After writing my first complete novel, A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar #1), I wanted to keep on writing. I settled on a simple plan, write daily and don’t look back until the end. It is pretty liberating, but I was writing with absolutely no plan at all. I had a few vague notions, a scene or two that I wanted to include, but nothing else. So I ended up with a first draft that was not only badly written (who cares, it’s a first draft) but the crime didn’t make sense, the solution didn’t make sense and a lot of the characters were wooden. Rather than solve these problems I ignored them and wrote Salazar #3 using the same method. No prizes for guessing that the result was pretty much the same.

I eventually decided to re-write Salazar #3 without Salazar. This meant developing Chief-Inspector Belmont from a secondary role into the main character. I gave Belmont his own team, a boss who doesn’t like him, a wife with some dubious sexual morals and a lover she shares with her husband. I added in a back story for Belmont and a side story to complement the main theme. The finished book contained about 10% of the original Salazar #3 draft. I renamed it The Paris Ripper and it’s available through Fahrenheit Press.

I then went back to Salazar #2, A Dead American in Paris. Belmont makes his first appearance in this book but I now knew him and his team. I started the novel again with the original draft as a guide. I’d say about a quarter of the first draft remains and the book is a lot better for losing the other three-quarters. But writing an entire novel only to use it as a synopsis is not an efficient way to work.

I still like the idea of just sitting down and writing but it’s a lot easier if you know where you’re going first. I’ve written another novel since A Dead American which, hopefully, should be out via Fahrenheit later in the year. I wouldn’t say that I planned it all out in advance, but I did have a sketched outline before I began. When I came back to re-work that first draft I could concentrate on improving the text and not cutting way whole chapters while desperately filling in the plot holes.

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar #1), The Paris Ripper and A Dead American in Pairs (Salazar #2) are all available through Fahrenheit Press. The Paris Ripper is a standalone book but the events occur after those of A Dead American.

 

About the Author:

seth lynch

Born and brought up in the West of England, Seth has also lived in Carcassonne, Zurich and the Isle of Man.

With two daughters, his writing time is the period spent in cafés as the girls do gym, dance and drama lessons.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SethALynch

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seth-Lynch/e/B00E7SZ3FS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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

 

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Rubicon Cover

** My thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours & Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Two cops, both on different sides of the law – both with the same gangland boss in their sights.

Sam Batford is an undercover officer with the Metropolitan Police who will stop at nothing to get his hands on fearsome crime-lord Vincenzo Guardino’s drug supply.

DCI Klara Winter runs a team on the National Crime Agency, she’s also chasing down Guardino, but unlike Sam Batford she’s determined to bring the gangster to justice and get his drugs off the streets.

Set in a time of austerity and police cuts where opportunities for corruption are rife, Rubicon is a tense, dark thriller that is definitely not for the faint hearted.

My Thoughts & Review:

Rubicon is a book that you pick up when you have a free day, it’s the sort of book that once you start, you will not want to put it down again.  It’s gripping, it’s dark and it’s utterly thrilling!

The narrative is seen from the perspective of two characters, DS Sam Batford and DCI Klara Winter, and for all intent and purposes they are on the same team but their end goals are vastly different.
Batford is an undercover agent with Metropolitan Police, and the impression he gives through his somewhat narcissistic narrative is that he’s a renegade, a damned good one though.  He’s a bit of a loose cannon, but he seems to get results, even if he doesn’t follow the rule book.
Winter on the other hand is the polar opposite, she follows the rules, she works as part of a team, and there’s no question as to whether she may be rogue or not.  Through a series of diary/journal like entries, the reader is privy to her frustrations and anger at how the current case is progressing and the politics between police departments.

It’s clear from the snappy writing that the author has experience of policing and his ability to say so much without overdoing it is superb.  The plot is pacy and taught, the characters are the sort that you almost want them to be caught out, you almost want to see Batford get caught out at times … even just to see him talk his way out of it.

It’s an action packed, thrilling read that grabs the reader from the outset and leaves you wondering who exactly the bad guy is.  It’s clever, the plotting is great and characterisation spot on!
Ian Patrick is an author I will be keeping an eye on from now on and Rubicon is highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of Rubicon via:

Amazon UK
Fahrenheit Press (Publisher)

 

About the Author:

Educated in Nottingham, Ian left school at sixteen. After three years in the Civil Service he moved to London for a career in the Metropolitan Police.

He spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command. A career in policing is a career in writing. Ian has been used to carrying a book and pen and making notes.

Now retired, the need to write didn’t leave and evolved into fiction.

Ian’s Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IPatrick_Author

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ian-Patrick/e/B075VB1MP4/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

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