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** My thanks to the wonderful Abby and Urbane Publications for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Blood Rites is a Northern thriller set in Huddersfield, Yorkshire in the 1980s featuring Detective Inspector Paul Snow. DI Paul Snow has a personal secret. He is a homosexual but is desperate to keep it secret, knowing it would finish his career in the intolerant police force of the time. As this personal drama unfolds, he is involved in investigating a series of violent murders. All the victims appear to be chosen at random and to have no connection with each other. After the fourth murder, Snow is removed from the case for not finding the killer but continues investigating the matter privately. Gradually, Paul manages to determine a link between the murder victims, but this places his own life in great danger. Can Paul unmask the killer as he wrestles with his own demons?

My Thoughts & Review:

I should admit that I picked up Blood Rites without having read any of the previous books in the series featuring DI Paul Snow, and this read well as a stand alone novel.

So where to begin, well for a start the setting of the book caught my eye.  Set in 1985 Yorkshire this book jumped out at me, so too did the fact that DI Snow is a high ranking police officer with a secret that could ruin his career and life if discovered, his sexuality.   The rife homophobia at the time makes it impossible for Snow to live his life openly as a gay man, indeed the institution he works for is a hotbed of prejudice and hatred towards homosexuals and so he lives a lie, courting a local headmistress from an all girls Catholic school.
Snow’s struggles are so well written and I almost found that I was reading these passages with more interest that the crime aspect itself.  It was so thought provoking following the development of this character through his worries and thoughts.

The case of the murderer is intriguing, and the characters in this book are complex and really get under the skin of readers, and just when you think you know where it’s going the author throws in a twist that will keep you on your toes.  Whilst there seems to be less focus on the procedural side of this crime novel, it does work and makes for an enjoyable read.  Perhaps not the fastest paced crime novel but impressive nonetheless.

You can buy a copy of Blood Rites via:

Amazon UK
Urbane Publications
Wordery
Book Depository

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Hello and happy Friday!  Welcome along to another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing” and this week I’m excited to share a review of “The Scarlet Coven” by David Stuart Davis and shine the spotlight firmly into the eyes of James Silvester to see if I can make him squirm with my questions!


Book Feature:

Published: 20 April 2017

Description:

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New York 1936. Leading New York detective Simon Finch has received an unexpected inheritance and left the force to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. But a true detective is never far from finding trouble…or trouble finding him… A stranger approaches Finch in the Algonquin Hotel, asking him to help find his sister who has disappeared. When he later visits the man’s hotel room he discovers that he has been murdered – stabbed with a dagger decorated with strange markings. As Finch investigates further he discovers recently acquitted crime boss Fats Molloy is mixed up with the man’s murder and the missing sister. The trail leads him to an occult bookshop …has the missing woman been kidnapped by a group of Satanists, The Scarlet Coven? Joining forces with a black private eye, Patrick Murphy, who is also investigating the cult, they endure a series of wild adventures and close calls with demonic forces as they seek the truth about the mysterious leader of the Coven…and the nefarious plans for death and mayhem…

My Thoughts & Review:

From the moment I started reading this book I knew I was onto something good, the opening chapter piqued my interest and I needed to keep reading.  Simon Finch was a character that I wanted to know more about, what was going to happen in the court case he was part of, who was the strange man that approached him in the Algonquin Hotel,  and who murders the man just hours after speaking to Finch?

As a fan of crime thrillers this book was a perfect read for me, the fantasy element did give me a little pause but part of this feature is about me stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something different.  Thank goodness I did, not only does the plot sound intriguing, it also works really well.  There is layer upon layer of mystery within the plot, on one hand there is the investigation that Finch becomes entangled with but there is also the riddle of who the master of the secret satanic coven is and how far the reach of the coven extends, and the two become mixed together in a whirlwind of mayhem.

The pace of the book moves along briskly, pithy and witty dialogue between characters keeps the narrative interesting whilst giving glimpses into the personalities in play.  Both Simon Finch and his wife Laura are characters that I loved.  They work well together and they way they play off one another makes for some funny reading but there is a genuine concern between the pair that is touching to read.
The prevailing menace that emanates from the pages where Ambrose De Lacy is concerned is well written, the reader is aware that this is a character to distrust, someone who holds dark secrets as well as power.

Whilst a step away from my usual gritty crime thrillers, this was an enjoyable read nonetheless and one I would recommend to fans of thrillers with a fantasy edge.

You can buy a copy of “The Scarlet Coven” directly from directly from Urbane Publications here, or alternatively via  Amazon UK | Book Depository

 


Author Feature:

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Years after marvelling at the stories of the 1968 Spring and the Velvet Revolution, James found himself sat in a Prague Blues Bar falling in love with the city in person. A graduate of Politics and Modern History, and a long standing blues DJ for Modradiouk.net, James’s affection for the atmospheric, dark and seedy Cold War thrillers of old was reawakened by his growing affection for this cobbled land of gothic secrets and his writing bone began to itch. James’s career has covered a myriad of roles across the public and private sectors including high level technical recruitment and business development, to his current role within HR Consultancy; and it was a bad day at the office which persuaded him to finally act upon his long held dream of writing. The result was his 2015 debut novel Escape to Perdition, which reflected his love both of central Europe and the espionage genre and was met with wide spread acclaim. James has also written for The Prague Times and his work has been featured by Doctor Who Worldwide and travel site An Englishman in Slovakia. He is currently developing a number of projects across a variety of media. A diehard Whovian, Man City fan, Rum drinker and Christian, James is an unrepentent member of the 48%.

The Prague Ultimatum is his second book and will be published by Urbane in April 2017.

 

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

Good question, and there are many contenders! I’m tempted to say the moment you first open the parcel from your publisher, containing your book, and lift out that first copy; the smell of it, the feel of it, and the knowledge that the words inside it are yours… that takes some beating. But ultimately, for me at least, it’s each time a review, good or bad, is posted online, or you see your book move up the charts. That’s the moment that it hits home that people, maybe a few, maybe a lot, are reading your words and care enough one way or the other to give an opinion on them. That’s the most satisfying bit.

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

The time constraints. I still have a day job and I have young kids to look after, as well as an elderly parent whom I’m the primary carer for, so finding the time to write consistently can be difficult. I have to admit that when I’m working on a project I can be a bit of a grumpy sod and it’s inevitably the people around me who suffer my moods. I very much dislike that about myself.

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

Oooh… To be honest, my thoughts on this change quite frequently. When I look at the world today I’d say 1984 because you can see the seeds of so much in that book being sown all around us, and it becomes more important on a daily basis. From the point of view of ‘my genre’, of espionage thrillers, then I’d love to have written The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.  That remains a masterpiece which completely redefined the genre. No-one has come close to capturing the mood of that book, in my opinion.

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

Marketing the last one! In all seriousness, part of the deal when you work in collaboration with an indie publisher is that you’ll match the effort the publisher puts in when trying to get your work ‘out there’ and noticed. Matthew Smith, the Urbane Founder is an absolute superstar and the effort he puts into his authors is immense; it’s only right that I do my best to match it. So, when I’m not actively writing or planning new projects, I’m all over social media trying to sell what I’ve done, trying to give fellow authors help wherever possible and just trying to grow my network. Success is a long game and you need to be patient.

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

It’s not a deliberate routine from any kind of superstitious perspective, but I pretty much inevitably end up doing most of my writing at night. It’s only when I’ve done the tea, got the kids to bed etc. that I can finally sit down and work on something, unless I take the day off work to write, in which case I go to my local library to do it.  I have to work either in silence or if I’m in public with earphones to avoid distraction (only instrumental music, no lyrics). If I’m under more pressure time wise due to my other commitments, I try and abide by a self-imposed rule of 1000 words per day.

A huge thank you to James for taking part and for sharing some more about himself, and I definitely agree with him on “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold” – nothing has come close to that yet!
If you would like to know more about James and his books check out his website or follow him on twitter @JamesSilvester1

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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page.

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