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Friday’s seem to roll around so quickly, and that’s never a bad thing when it means that it’s time to share a review of another great book from an independent author or publisher. This week is the turn of Death Rope by the wonderful Leigh Russell.
Death Rope was published by No Exit Press on 26th July 2018.

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** My thanks to Katherine at No Exit Press for my copy of this book **

 

Description:

THEY SAY SUICIDE. SHE SAYS MURDER.

Mark Abbott is dead. His sister refuses to believe it was suicide, but only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel will listen.

When other members of Mark’s family disappear, Geraldine’s suspicions are confirmed.

Taking a risk, Geraldine finds herself confronted by an adversary deadlier than any she has faced before… Her boss Ian is close, but will he arrive in time to save her, or is this the end for Geraldine Steel?

My Thoughts & Review:

I think it’s safe to say that I am a huge fan of the Geraldine Steel series by Leigh Russell, and having discovered this series part way through, I wasted no time in catching up with the previous books.
Death Rope is the eleventh book of the Geraldine Steel thriller series and it’s a cracker!
Mostly told from the perspective of the detective, readers soon become swept away with the investigation of the death of Mark Abbott, what initially looked like a suicide is soon unearthed as murder and makes for a complex, head scratcher of a case.

For me, the magic in Russell’s writing comes with the clever characterisation that she weaves into her books. It never fails to impress me that each character is so real, so different and so unique. The various personalities seem to jump off the pages as you read, and you find yourself thinking of them as “real” people.
Not all of the key players in the plot are identified straight away, and you could be forgiven for thinking that this would make it hard to follow. Leigh Russell is a master at creating several separate strands to her plot, revealing small details that are just enough to give readers a glimpse at another aspect of the plot and making them wonder how it all links up. I really don’t want to say anything about the plot

As always with Leigh Russell’s writing, there is nothing gratuitous and the power of suggestion is used well. The way that tension simmers away throughout the book is key, readers are aware at times that something is very wrong, and there is an undercurrent of unease bubbling away all the time regardless of the focus being on the investigation or Geraldine’s personal life.

Whilst this is the eleventh book in the series, I would say that you can read this as a standalone. There is enough detail to keep readers in the loop of past stories without bogging down fans of the series, but I would recommend reading the previous books to fully appreciate the character and the cases she’s worked on.

You can buy a copy of Death Rope via:

Amazon UK
No Exit Press (Publisher)

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Today I am delighted to share a guest post with you by the awesome Leigh Russell for the blog tour for the publication of her new thriller The Adulterer’s Wife.

The Adulterer’s Wife was published by Bloodhound Books on 7th May 2018.

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Description:

Julie is devastated to learn that her husband, Paul, is having an affair. It seems her life can’t get any worse – until she comes home to find his dead body in their bed. 

When the police establish he was murdered, Julie is the obvious suspect. 

To protect her son from the terrible situation, Julie sends the teenage boy to his grandparents in Edinburgh while she fights to prove her innocence. 

With all the evidence pointing to her, the only way she can escape conviction is by discovering the true identity of her husband’s killer. 

But who really did murder Paul? 

The truth is never straightforward…

You can buy a copy of The Adulterer’s Wife via Amazon UK

 

 

DEALING WITH THE DARKNESS

So far in my writing career, I must have killed about sixty or seventy characters, at a conservative estimate. That’s a lot of murders plotted and executed on the pages of my books. Although my killers and their victims are only fictional characters, while I’m writing about them they have to give an impression of reality, or they wouldn’t seem credible to my readers. As a writer, I don’t want to be on the outside looking in on my scenes, I want to be there, listening to my characters talking to each other, watching their actions, and taking my readers there with me. The illusion has to be convincingly created for the writer as well as the reader.

In one of my first interviews, I said that my killer crawled off my pen onto the page. I had no idea where he came from. Fast forward to today, and I might say that he slid from my keyboard onto my screen. But the process is basically the same, and equally mysterious. Someone once questioned how a kindly old lady like the late wonderful PD James could create such monstrous characters. I have to confess, I was hugely gratified when an interviewer made the same remark about me. I may create vicious villains, but I’d be mortified to think that anyone might believe I would be capable of causing physical harm to another creature (excluding wasps and ants inside my house.)

Although it’s a serious question, it’s one I’ve tended to avoid answering, as I’m not sure I really want to think about it too deeply. Marcel Berlins, in The Times, described my writing as ‘psychologically acute’, and I seem to be able to walk around inside other people’s heads. In some way, my characters are imaginative extensions of my own humanity. But where do the thoughts come from when Im writing from inside the head of my killers? As my characters originate somewhere inside my own mind, I’m not sure I really want to know…

Do all the killers springing from my imagination mean that I have the capacity to become some kind of ruthless psychopath? The honest answer is that it’s unlikely. I’m certainly empathetic, moved and disturbed by the idea of suffering and death, besides which, I’m the last person you would want to have around in a medical emergency. I’m quite squeamish about blood, and panic if anyone is accidentally injured. I would be the world’s worst nurse. Yet I manage to write about people being stabbed, shot, hung, drowned, poisoned… my books cover every possible style of fatality, and I’ve certainly created characters who are far from horrified by the sight of blood, to put it mildly. 

Leaving aside those working in the medical profession, luckily I’m not unusual in my responses. People who are not horrified by their fellow human beings’ suffering and death are thankfully rare. We abhor such desperate experience in real life. So what drives us to read and write about violent death? How can we find it a source of entertainment? I’ve lost count of the number of people who tell me ‘I love a good murder!’ And it’s well known that crime writers are among the most humane people you could wish to meet.

Scenarios that would be intolerable in reality become open to exploration in fiction. Unless you visit the dark places in your mind, you cant really write about them well. So I spend a lot of my writing time thinking about the dead and the grieving people left behind. With all this killing, I do have my limits. I would never harm or kill a child in one of my books, or include a rape other than from a distance. As a mother of daughters, and a grandmother, these are areas I really don’t want to visit in my imagination. We each have our own limits within which crime writers are all exploring the darker aspects of human nature.

But of course there is more to most crime fiction than an exploration of our capacity for violence and cruelty, and the popularity of the genre isn’t based on descriptions of blood and gore. Crime writers examine the conflict between good and evil, with morally decent characters standing up against those who commit the most terrible atrocities. The more vicious the bad guys are, the more intense the conflict becomes, and the more invested the reader is in seeing the villains caught.

All literature revolves around tension of some kind. Without it, stories would lack any direction or satisfactory resolution. Whether a book is a romance, with readers rooting for two characters to connect, or a crime thriller, where the reader is trying to work out the identity of the killer and see him apprehended, narrative is by definition rarely static. The term ‘page turner’ reflects the fast pace of most modern crime thrillers. And the tension between good and bad characters is heightened when the lives of good characters are taken or threatened

Nevertheless, because this is fiction, the good characters haves to win their battles against the evil villains. As Oscar Wilde wrote, ‘The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.’ Of course in crime fiction not all the good characters can live happily ever after, as innocent victims are prematurely and violently killed. Their lives are unjustly cut short, and the characters who knew and loved them will never fully recover from their loss. But the villains are always apprehended and stopped, and moral order is restored with their containment at the end of the book.

Unlike thrillers which tend to deal with international affairs, crime fiction plumbs the depths of human nature rather than the breadth of human experience. Like diving into the ocean, the deeper you go the darker it becomes.

 

B L O G T O U R(1)

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As the countdown to 2018 ticks merrily on,  I thought I would extend my Celebrating Indie Publishing round up of the brilliant books and authors who have taken part in this feature by recapping the fantastic books by No Exit Press that I’ve had the privilege of reading this year.

As I’ve mentioned in the previous posts, it really has been an honour to work with some amazing publishers and authors this year, and without them this feature would never have been possible!   I’d like to take a wee moment to say “Thank You” to each of the publishers and authors who have taken part in this feature, who have kindly filled in the Q&A form that I sent out, have written guest posts or have kindly sent copies of books for me to read and review – your support has been invaluable and I truly appreciate you all!

Here’s some of the books from No Exit Press that have featured on The Quiet Knitter this year:

 

Reviews of each book can be found by following these links (there are also author features with Howard Linskey and Leigh Russell with the reviews of their books):

Hunting The Hangman by Howard Linskey
The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet
Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell
The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan

 

I have been lucky enough to read more than these books by No Exit Press this year, some of them have been regular reads or ones that were part of blog tours … and there are one or two on my radar to read during my January break from blogging.  These guys are bringing some amazing books to readers, check out their website for details of what’s coming up!

I hope that Celebrating Indie Publishing has helped you find some great new books to try this year, or perhaps opened your eyes to other books that you might have missed. It’s certainly been a blast for me and I’ve loved every moment of it!

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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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It’s a great honour to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Leigh Russell’s tenth novel in the Geraldine Steel series, yes, tenth novel!  As part of the blog tour, Leigh has written some top ten lists to excite and interest fans and today’s list is brilliant, “Geraldine Steel’s Top Ten Favourite Detectives in TV, Film an Book” – so lets read on!

GERALDINE STEEL’S TOP TEN FAVOURITE DETECTIVES IN TV, FILM & BOOK

Sherlock Holmes – Conan Doyle’s creation

Sherlock – as played by Benedict Cumberbatch

Philip Marlowe

Dexter

Morse

Montalbano

Jack Reacher

Kate Burrows

Frost

Dalziel

Now that’s some list, and I definitely agree with many of those on the list and reckon they would appear on my own list!

 

 

 Class Murder cover

Detective Geraldine Steel is back in Class Murder – her tenth case!

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.

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, and reunited with her former sergeant Ian Peterson, 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?

 

Order your copy via

Amazon: http://bit.ly/ClassMurderAmazon

No Exit Press: http://bit.ly/ClassMurderNoExit

 

About the Author:

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Leigh Russell studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She worked as a secondary school English teacher for many years, and is now a creative writing tutor for adults. She is married, has two daughters, and lives in North West London. She is a Royal Literary Fellow and CWA debut judge.

Her first novel, Cut Short, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award in 2010. This was followed by Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring and Deadly Alibi in the Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel series. Cold Sacrifice is the first title in a spin off series featuring Geraldine Steel’s sergeant, Ian Peterson, followed by Race to Death and Blood Axe.

Social Media links:

leighrussell.co.uk/

facebook.com/leigh.russell.50

twitter.com/LeighRussell

Goodreads Leigh Russell

Black banner LEIGH RUSSELL (1)

 

 

 

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Hello and welcome along to The Quiet Knitter!  It’s Friday, and that can only mean one thing (well for here anyway!), it’s time for another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”.
This week I am delighted to bring you a book from No Exit Press and I thoroughly recommend checking them out both as they have some cracking books to offer!  Today’s book in the spotlight is “Deadly Alibi” by Leigh Russell and she’s kindly taken some time out to face a grilling for the author feature.


Book Feature:

Description:51lfv5n1xkl

A hand gripped her upper arm so suddenly it made her yelp. Biting her lower lip, she spun round, lashing out in terror. As she yanked her arm out of his grasp, her elbow hit the side of his chest. Struggling to cling on to her, he lost his footing. She staggered back and reached out, leaning one hand on the cold wall of the tunnel. Before she had recovered her balance he fell, arms flailing, eyes glaring wildly as he disappeared over the edge of the platform onto the rails below. . .

Two murder victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt… Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which threatens not only her career, but her life. And then her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, with problems which are about to make Geraldine’s life turn toxic in more ways than one.

For fans of Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsons and Robert Bryndza

Look out for more DI Geraldine Steel investigations in Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring and Deadly Alibi

 

My Thoughts & Review:

I think it’s only fair to admit that I broke my own rule with a series….I started this series on book 9!  But I will be going back and binge reading the previous 8 as soon as I can as I loved Geraldine Steel and want to know more about how she got to this point in her life and career.  So rest assured, if like me you are impatient to read this book, it can be read as a stand alone.  Leigh Russell has included ample detail to give readers a good grounding of DI Steel as well as the events surrounding her to make this an enjoyable read for new audiences but adds in details that will delight fans of the series.

To rehash the plot in this review would do this book an injustice, suffice to say that I don’t think I could without giving mammoth spoilers!  There is so much going on in this book that it’s like being on a rollercoaster.  One moment you’re gently putting the pieces together to try and work out who’s behind the heinous acts and the next you’re on the edge of your seat, frantically speed reading to find out what’s going to happen next!  It’s the sort of book you need to give all your attention to, and I was fortunate that I managed to read this in one day so I could feel the tension woven through the plot, become immersed in desperation and frustration being felt by the characters as they were led into a whirlpool of doubt caused by the suspicions around them.

A superb crime thriller with so many exciting and intriguing plot points, the case that DI Steel works on fast becomes addictive reading, and as readers try to piece together the clues it’s impossible not to start jumping to conclusions.  I will admit to being fooled by the red herrings that were cleverly placed in the plot, I thought like the police initially and could have kicked myself once I realised…..fantastic writing!!.

I would absolutely recommend Leigh Russell’s DI Steel series based on this one book alone, it’s fair to say she’s secured a new fan!  Now off to No Exit’s website to buy all the other books!

You can buy a copy of Deadly Alibi via:

No Exit Press (publisher’s website)
Amazon UK


Author Feature:

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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.

 

 

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

What I like most about being an author is not having to get up early to go to work. I love writing. Nothing will stop me when I’m feeling creative – or if I have a publisher’s deadline looming – but now I can start my working day in bed if I feel like it. For me, that is pure luxury, especially on a cold winter’s morning.

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

This is a hard question to answer as I genuinely love everything about the writing process, from typing the first words of a new book, to completing final edits. It can be hard. Sometimes a plot doesn’t work out in a realistic way, a character refuses to behave as I had intended, or my editor points out a gaffe, and I invariably have to spend time sorting out my muddled timelines. But on the whole I love every aspect of writing and consider myself extremely fortunate to have fallen into a career I enjoy so much.

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

That is an impossible question to answer, as it’s equivalent to asking which is my favourite book. There are so many to choose from that I can’t pick just one.

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

Is there ever a time for a writer when he or she is not plotting a book? Eugene Ionesco said “A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of writing or thinking about writing.” That tends to be my experience. Other than that, I love spending time with my family.

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

When I started writing I had essential rituals, certain pencils, and particular locations, but with fifteen books to my name, I have become far more relaxed about external props. All I need is my ipad, my keyboard, and my ideas, and I can write anywhere. I have a desk at home where I do most of my writing, but I’m equally happy writing on a train, a plane, a beach, in a coffee shop, in bed, in my garden – because I carry my writing space with me in my head. And when I’m writing, I’m not really in any of those external locations, I’m thinking and feeling as a character in a fictitious world. I’m Geraldine Steel, puzzling over enigmatic clues, or a killer working out how to dispose of a body without being caught….

 

A huge thank you to Leigh for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.
If you would like to know more about Leigh and her books, check out the following links:

On Twitter:  @LeighRussell @LeighRussell
Website: http://www.leighrussell.co.uk/


 

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