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Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Paul Finch’s latest thriller to feature the legendary DS Heckenburg.  I am so excited to be able to share an extract from “Ashes to Ashes” with you, and at this point I will forewarn you that there is some ‘colourful’ language used in the dialogue between characters so if this is likely to cause you offence please feel free to skim over it.

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John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous.

A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again.

But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrorised by a lone killer who burns his victims to death. And with the victims chosen at random, no-one knows who will be next. Least of all Heck…

 

You can buy a copy of “Ashes to Ashes” via Amazon here or via Wordery here

 


Extract from Ashes to Ashes:

Calum and Dean did all these things because they could.

There was no other reason. It gained them nothing except perhaps more notoriety.

But that didn’t matter where Calum and Dean were concerned. It was a very personal thing for these two lads. It was about being who they were – exactly who they were. Expressing themselves in precisely the way they wanted to, with no one else doing anything to stop it.

But eventually even they had to draw the line somewhere. They’d been drinking since lunchtime after all, and were completely sozzled even by their normal standards.

They ambled away from club-land, the Saturday night hubbub fading behind them, the jaunty music gradually losing all definition, dwindling into a dull, distant, repetitive cater­waul.

In the Parish Church yard, they took a minute out.

This was a cut-through between shops and offices during the day, but now it lay quiet under the phosphorescent glow of a single streetlamp, which glimmered eerily on the flag­stones where so many epitaphs had once been engraved and yet now were almost indiscernible through age. Bradburn Parish Church dominated the peaceful scene, its innumerable gargoyles jutting out overhead. To the right of it, the so-called Bank Chambers, a row of counting houses, brokerages and solicitors’ offices, led away down an arched passage, the entrance to which was opaque with night-mist.

The sight of that reminded them both, even if only inter­nally, that their bodies were rapidly cooling. Unconsciously, Calum scratched his itchy blubber before pulling his sweater back on. Together, they slumped down onto the War Memorial steps in the middle of the yard, Calum licking at the fresh but stinging notches on his knuckles. Before long, a soft snore issued from Dean’s puckered, spittle-slathered mouth. Dead to the world, he’d tilted back against the orderly lists of heroic names inscribed on brass plaques around the base of the Memorial’s obelisk.

‘Dean! . . . fuck’s sake!’ Calum nudged him with his elbow. ‘Gi’ us a fucking smoke!’

Dean muttered in response, and slapped at his right hip pocket.

Calum rummaged in there and found a single crooked joint. It was half-smoked already and bent at a right angle. He straightened it out, stuck it between his lips and dug deeper into his friend’s pocket, finding and discarding all kinds of crumby, sticky, manky crap, before retrieving a lighter.

And only then did he become aware that someone was standing in front of him.

Calum glanced up, vision blurring as his eyes tried to focus through the late-night gloom. The newcomer blotted out all light from the single lamp, casting a deep shadow over the lads. But he wasn’t completely in silhouette. Calum could distinguish dark clothing and the bland, bespectacled features of someone he thought he’d spotted a couple of times in the bars earlier.

‘Good evening,’ the newcomer said.

‘Who the fuck are you supposed to be?’ Calum sniggered. ‘Clark fucking Kent?’

‘I’ve got a message for your boss.’

‘Who the fuck are you?’

‘Here are my credentials.’ The newcomer jammed a black-gloved hand into his overcoat pocket, but when he brought it out again, it held a wadded rag, which, as he leaned down, he squashed against Calum’s face, using his other hand to clamp the back of Calum’s head, allowing no room at all for manoeuvre.

The young hoodlum tried to struggle, but what remained of his strength and awareness deserted him remarkably quickly.

‘Now, don’t breathe too deeply,’ the man said, lowering him to the ground. ‘I need you conscious again very soon. And you –’ He turned to Dean, who, more through some basic animal instinct than anything else, was trying to shake himself awake. The newcomer reached for something he’d laid against the steps. It was half a pool cue, the slimmer end neatly sawn off. ‘You can have a longer snooze.’


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for reviews, guest posts and extracts!

Blog tour(4)

HOOKEDONHECK

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I’m very excited to welcome you to my stop on Paul Finch’s #Strangers blog tour.  It was published by Avon Books (part of the HarperCollins family) on 22nd September and is available in both electronic and paperback formats from Amazon.

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Description:

Unknown, alone, and fearing for your life.

As PC Lucy Clayburn is about to find out, going undercover is the most dangerous work there is. 

But, on the trail of a prolific female serial killer, there’s no other option – and these murders are as brutal as they come. 

Lucy must step into the line of fire – a stranger in a criminal underworld that butchers anyone who crosses the line. 

And, unknown to Lucy, she’s already treading it…

Always gripping. Always gruesome. Paul Finch will leave fans of Rachel Abbott and MJ Arlidge gasping for more.

My Thoughts & Review:

Shockingly, Strangers is the first book by Paul Finch that I have read, something I will be looking to remedy in the very near future – I’ve looked up the Detective Heckenburg series and will be downloading them at the weekend!

The reader is introduced to Lucy Clayburn, who has served 10 years as a uniform police officer and is keen to get into CID.  However the path to promotion is not as direct as she would have hoped after a mistake she made earlier in her career left her with a huge black mark against her name.  Seeing Operation Clearway as a way to prove her worth to her superiors, Lucy signs up despite the dangers involved.  She is determined to help catch the serial killer before she strikes again.

Refreshingly, the lead character in this crime fiction novel is a young and determined female officer.  It’s nice to deviate from the tried and tested formula of a middle aged male detective, who has issues with alcohol abuse and/or smokes like a chimney, and Lucy’s character works well in this novel.  Her maverick approach makes for a thrilling read, whilst leading her into some of the most dangerous settings.  She is a very determined police officer, but sometimes her enthusiasm can be interpreted as feckless or irresponsible, there are instances where she takes action before being in full possession of the facts.  That said, having a character that acts in this way makes the story more intense for the reader, avidly reading on to see how perilous the situation will become, utterly hooked to find out what will happen next but more importantly, if her cover will be blown.

The clever plotting of the storyline means this is a fast paced and thrilling read.  It’s the sort of book you will find keeps you reading well past bedtime – don’t make the mistake I did, thinking it would be possible to read a few chapters before bed……yes, I ended up reading into the wee hours of the next day!
The violent scenes in the narrative are well written, providing powerful detail about the criminal underworld and it’s hierarchy.  The characters involved in this were all incredibly fascinating (especially the villains), the misdirections in the plot make this a brilliant read – there is so much to keep the reader guessing and all the while Finch sneakily keeps the serial killer well hidden.

I really hope we see more of Lucy Clayburn, we need to know if she ever gets back into CID…..

You can buy a copy of Strangers here.

About The Author:

Paul Finch studied History at Goldsmiths, London, before becoming a cop in the north west of England. He then let his passion for writing allow him to follow a career in journalism. Now a full time writer, he first cut his literary teeth penning episodes of the British TV crime drama, THE BILL, and has written extensively in the field of children’s animation. However, he is probably best known for his work in thrillers and horrors.

His crime debut novel, STALKERS, was a no 1 ebook best seller in 2013 and introduced DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg. This was followed last July 2013 by the sequel, SACRIFICE, and May 2014 by the third in the series, THE KILLING CLUB. The fourth, DEAD MAN WALKING, will follow in November 2014, with the fifth, HUNTED, in February 2015. The Heck series is also to be published in Germany, Poland, Turkey, Hungary, and Japan.

In addition to his Heck novels, Paul has had twelve books and nearly 300 stories and novellas published on both sides of the Atlantic. His first collection, AFTER SHOCKS (Ash-Tree Press), won the British Fantasy Award in 2002, while he won the award again in 2007 for his novella, KID. Later in 2007, he won the International Horror Guild Award for his mid-length story, THE OLD NORTH ROAD. His short novel, CAPE WRATH (Telos), was short-listed for the Bram Stoker Award in 2002, and several other collections of his stories and novellas have been published since, all of them well received by fans and readers. His horror novel, STRONGHOLD, was published by Abaddon Books in 2010, and the same year Pendragon Press published his highly rated festive terror tale, SPARROWHAWK. Paul has also written three DR WHO audio dramas for Big Finish – LEVIATHAN, SENTINELS OF THE NEW DAWN and HEXAGORA, and THRESHOLD, the pilot episode for the DR WHO spin-off series, COUNTER MEASURES. Paul’s DR WHO novel, HUNTER’S MOON was published by BBC Books in 2011.

Paul is no stranger to film either, having written scripts for several horror movies. Two of these, SPIRIT TRAP and THE DEVIL’S ROCK, were released in 2005 and 2011 respectively, while his short story THE BELFRIES, is currently being adapted in Hollywood, and his movie script WAR WOLF is under development by Amber Entertainment.

Wearing an editor’s hat, Paul is also responsible for the TERROR TALES series from Gray Friar Press, a collection of ghost and horror anthologies exploring the folklore, history and geography of the various regions of Britain.

Paul Finch lives in Lancashire, UK, with his wife Cathy and his children, Eleanor and Harry.

For Paul’s blog go to www.paulfinch-author.blogspot.co.uk
For twitter follow Paul – @paulfinchauthor

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for some interesting posts by Paul as well as more about #Strangers

blog-tour

 

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