Shadow Man by Margaret Kirk Book Review

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Two sisters

Just before her wedding day, Morven Murray, queen of daytime TV, is found murdered. All eyes are on her sister Anna, who was heard arguing with her hours before she was killed.

Two murders

On the other side of Inverness, police informant Kevin Ramsay is killed in a gangland-style execution. But what exactly did he know?

One killer?

As ex-Met Detective Inspector Lukas Mahler digs deeper into both cases, he discovers that Morven’s life was closer to the Inverness underworld than anyone imagined. Caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, is Lukas hunting one killer, or two?

MY THOUGHTS

Shadow Man is the start of a brand new crime series set in Scotland. This was a really enjoyable read, and I’m sure that Margaret Kirk is a name that we’ll be hearing a lot from in the future.

DI Lukas Mahler has transferred from the Metropolitan police to the local branch in his hometown of Inverness. Police informant Kevin Ramsay has been killed in a brutal attack. Lukas heads up the inquiry to find his killers, but a short while after he arrives in Inverness, TV star, Morven Murray has been found murdered in her hotel room on the morning of her wedding day. Inverness has never known anything like it. Are the police dealing with one killer or two?

DI Lukas Mahler is a fantastic new addition to the crime writing world. He was an intriguing character to get to know, and I’m keen to find out more about him. I’m interested in finding out more about his past work with the met, which I hope will feature in later books. His mother’s story was also a good sub-plot, and I found parts of it heartbreaking at times.

Margaret Kirk’s writing is outstanding; I particularly liked the description that she uses for Inverness, a part of Scotland I have always wanted to visit.

This is an excellent debut novel from Margaret Kirk, an author who I will definitely be looking out for in the future.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a copy to read.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 2nd November 2017

Print length: 352 pages

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Broken Bones by Angela Marsons Extract

I’m absolutely delighted be able to bring you the opening extract from Angela Marsons latest novel in the DI Kim Stone series, Broken Bones. This is an absolutely terrific series which I can’t get enough of. But first, before I share the prologue, let’s have a look at what the novel is about.
Broken Bones: A gripping serial killer thriller (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Series Book 7) by [Marsons, Angela]
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The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers in the Black Country are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what at first looks like a tragic abandonment soon takes an even more sinister turn.

When another young woman goes missing, the two investigations bring the team into a terrifying, hidden world, and a showdown puts Kim’s life at risk as secrets from her own past come to light.

As Kim battles her own demons, can she stop the killer, before another life is lost?

PROLOGUE

Black Country: Christmas Day

Lauren Goddard sat on the roof of the thirteen-storey block of flats. The winter sun shone a grid onto her bare feet dangling over the edge. The cold breeze nipped at her wiggling toes.

The protective grate had been erected some years ago after a father of seven had thrown himself over. By the time she was eleven she had stolen a pair of wire cutters from the pound shop and fashioned herself an access point to the narrow ledge that was her place of reflection. From this vantage point she could look to the beauty of the Clent Hills in the distance, block out the dank, grubby reality of below.

Hollytree was the place you were sent if Hell was having a spring clean. Problem families from the entire West Midlands were evicted from other estates and housed in Hollytree. It was displacement capital. Communities around the borough breathed sighs of relief as families were evicted. No one cared where they went. It was enough that they were gone and one more ingredient was added to the melting pot.

There was a clear perimeter around the estate over which the police rarely crossed. It was a place where the rapists, child molesters, thieves and ASBO families were put together in one major arena. And then guarded by police from the outside.

But today a peace settled around the estate, giving the illusion that the normal activities of robbing, raping and molesting were on pause because it was Christmas Day. That was bollocks. It was all still going on but to the backdrop of the Queen’s Speech.

Her mother was still slurring her way around the cheerless flat with a glass of gin in her hand. Her one concession to the event was the line of tinsel wrapped haphazardly around her neck as she stumbled from the living room to the kitchen for a refill.

Lauren didn’t expect a present or a card any more. She had once mentioned the excitement of her friends. How they had enjoyed presents, laughter, a roast dinner, a chocolate-filled stocking.

Her mother had laughed and asked if that was the kind of Christmas she wanted.

Lauren had innocently nodded yes.

The woman had clicked the television to the Hallmark Channel and told her to ‘fill her boots’.

Christmas meant nothing to Lauren. But at least she had this. Her one piece of Heaven. Always her safe place. Her escape.

She had disappeared unnoticed up here when she was seven years old and her mother had been falling all over the flat pissed as a fart.

How lucky was she to have been the only one of the four kids her mother had been allowed to keep?

She had escaped up here when her mother’s drinking partner, Roddy, had started pawing at her groin and slobbering into her hair. Her mother had pulled him off, angrily, shouting something about ruining her retirement plan.

She hadn’t understood it when she was nine years old but she had come to understand it now.

She had cried up here on her sixteenth birthday when her mother had introduced her to the family business and to their pimp, Kai Lord.

She’d been up here two months earlier when he had finally found her.

And she’d been up here when she’d told him to fuck right off.

She didn’t want to be saved. It was too late.

Sixteen years of age and already it was too damn late.

Many times she had fantasised about how it would feel to lurch forward onto the wind. She had envisioned herself floating to and fro, gently making the journey like a stray pigeon feather all the way to the ground. Had imagined the feeling of weightlessness of both her body and her mind.

Lauren took a deep breath and exhaled. In just a few minutes it would be time to go to work. Heavy rain, sleet, snow, Christmas – nothing kept the punters away. Trade might be slow but it would still be there. It always was.

She didn’t hear the roof door open or the footsteps that slowly strode towards her.

She didn’t see the hand that pushed her forward.

She only saw the ground as it hurtled towards her.

This is a series of books that you really need to get reading if you haven’t started them already. And if you’re already a big Kim Stone fan, you can order Broken Bones by clicking on one of the following links below. I have no doubt whatsoever that it is going to be a bestseller.

Amazon UK  Amazon Us  Kobo

 

Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis Blog Tour @LloydOtisWriter @urbanebooks

I’m thrilled to be hosting today’s stop on the Dead Land blog tour, the debut thriller set in 1970s London by Lloyd Otis.

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Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Lloyd Otis brings a startling account of the past back to life over a burgeoning ’70s landscape, and delivers a thrilling piece of crime fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

MY THOUGHTS

 

Dead Lands is a thrilling crime novel by Lloyd Otis set in 1970s London. If you’re looking for something that is a little different and if you’re a fan of gritty crime thrillers then I would highly recommend Dead Lands. Brilliant writing.

I found Dead Lands to be a fascinating insight into the decade of the 1970s. Having not lived through the decade myself, I found it interesting to see how much detective work has changed in just a few decades; only a few decades ago, detectives had to rely solely on witness statements and fingerprints to nail a suspect, now of course, we have DNA, advanced computers and CCTV but it is still amazing to think that some criminals manage to slip through the net. The novel was well researched, the crime, which is the main focus of the story, is set against the backdrop of a far right march which is taking place in the capital; this diverts a lot of police resources and makes investigating the murder even harder for the police. The novel highlights the racial tensions that there were in the city at the time which is also relevant to what is going on in today’s world across the globe.

Dead Lands opens with the murder of a high profile business woman. The case is high priority for the detectives and an employee of the firm, Alex Troy, who the dead woman was planning to sack, is arrested on suspicion of her murder. But when Alex manages to slip out of the station under the detectives noses, it becomes clear that there is more going on here than meets the eye. How can a suspect in a high profile murder investigation have absconded so easily? What is really going on here; is this a case of identity theft and is the real Alex Troy innocent of any wrongdoing?

I found both of the detectives, Breck and Kearns to be intriguing characters. Throughout the novel we get the sense that one of them is holding something back, to which their partner isn’t privy to. This was a great source of tension and kept me turning the pages as I tried to figure out what that was. Breck’s back story was also an interesting sub-plot. He spends a lot of time with his girlfriend who was the victim of a horrific attack which she hasn’t recovered from. Breck is determined to find the person who did this to her. A lot of detectives in crime fiction are ‘married to the job’ and I’m sure that this is the case in real life as well. Although Breck is rushed off his feet trying to nail the suspect and bring him to justice in the murder they are investigating, he finds a lot of time for his partner, which is what I liked about him.

A really enjoyable read. Lloyd Otis is a talented writer, I’ll certainly be looking out for more from him in the future and I’m hoping that we’ll see the return of Breck and Kearns. Thank you to Abby Slater-Fairbrother for organising the blog tour and to Urbane publications for sending me a copy of the book to read.

Publisher: Urbane Publications

Publication date: 12th October 2017

Print length: 360 pages

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Shadows by Paul Finch blog tour

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Shadows by Paul Finch blog tour, the second book in the brilliant DC Lucy Clayburn series.

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The SUNDAY TIMES bestseller returns with the second book in the PC Lucy Clayburn series – a must for all fans of Happy Valley and M.J. Arlidge.

As a female cop walking the mean streets of Manchester, life can be tough for PC Lucy Clayburn. But when one of the North West’s toughest gangsters is your father, things can be particularly difficult.

When Lucy’s patch is gripped by a spate of murder-robberies, the police are quick to action. Yet when it transpires that the targets are Manchester’s criminal underworld, attitudes change.

Lucy is soon faced with one of the toughest cases of her life – and one which will prove once and for all whether blood really is thicker than water…

MY THOUGHTS

I recently finished reading the first book in the Lucy Clayburn series which I thoroughly enjoyed so I jumped at the chance to sign up to the blog tour for the second book in the series. I have loved every single one of Paul Finch’s books; he is a writer who grips you from the first page right up until the last. I would recommend that you read the first book in the Lucy Clayburn series before reading this one as you will get a better understanding of her character and family history; there are a few references made to the plot of the first novel which some readers may find hard to understand if they are coming to the series for the first time.

In Shadows, the Manchester underworld is being targeted by a gang of fearless robbers. The victims are left shell shocked when they realise that their attackers have got away with it. This proves just how dangerous these people are, they will stop at nothing to get what they want. DC Lucy Clayburn finds herself thrown into the middle of it all. There are some who say that the criminals deserve what they get but Lucy is determined to see the perpetrators brought to justice. But Lucy begins to sail close to danger once again and she realises that she may have to rely on the help of a person who she would rather never see again.

Wow, what a brilliant book. What I’ve always enjoyed about Paul Finch’s work is his attention to detail and his brilliant action scenes. You can always tell that his novels are impeccably researched, particularly when he takes you on a whirlwind of a ride through Manchester.

Lucy is a strong lead and a force to be reckoned with, I wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of her. What I think gives this series a unique flare is that her father is a gangster wanted by the police. They both know that if anyone was to find out about their relationship then both their reputations would be ruined. This is a great source of tension in the book, I’m intrigued to see how this will pan out.

I also really enjoyed the scenes featuring Lucy’s mother. Poor Cora often finds herself thrown into the middle of it all, she is trying desperately hard to win over her daughter’s affection, I’m hoping that they’ll soon be able to patch up their past quarrels, even if there are things that they don’t always agree on.

As with all of Paul’s books the pacing is excellent, it only took me a couple of sittings to read it and by the second day I was finished, if only I didn’t have work to go to, then I’m sure I would have devoured the whole thing in one. I really liked how Paul pulled the plot together and I was left feeling gobsmacked by the final twists. Exceptional writing.

Paul Finch is a writer who I’m sure I will continue to follow, another outstanding read. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance review copy and to Sabah Khan at Avon for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 19th October 2017

Print length: 464 pages

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Dead Souls by Angela Marsons Book Review

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The truth was dead and buried…until now.

When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy – and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late?

An addictive, sinister crime thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seat.

MY THOUGHTS

I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to get round to reading Dead Souls, but with book seven on the way, I thought I’d better get round to it soon. Dead Souls is another thrilling addition to the Kim Stone series which keeps getting better and better. Since I read Silent Scream, Angela Marsons continues to prove that she is a writer at the top of her game. Whenever a new Kim Stone novel comes out I know that I am in for a treat; very rarely do I read the blurb before I click the purchase button, I already know that it is going to be brilliant.

In Dead Souls, a shocking discovery is made when a group of students unearth a collection of bones on a piece of land. Kim Stone arrives at the scene but there is an issue that needs to be dealt with before the investigation can begin. The bones were discovered on the border of her patch and their neighbours; Kim fights to take control of the investigation, but she is put together with an old colleague, Detective Travis. Kim fell out with Travis a few years earlier, and the animosity between them is clear, they must put aside their feelings towards one another and work together to reach a successful outcome. The investigation heats up when a series of shocking hate crimes begin to emerge, and Kim and her team know that they are dealing with a sadistic, terrifying killer.

What I loved about Angela’s latest work is the fresh approach she took in this book. I really liked the idea of pairing Kim up with Travis although Kim may not agree with me on that. It was interesting to see how they would work together, given their recent history and it also added another layer to the dynamics of her team. While Kim is working with Travis, the rest of her team really begin to break out of their shells; one character who I particularly admired was Stacey who works alongside Bryant and Dawson. She really struck me as a strong individual especially when she was determined to see the case through. I also loved Dr A, particularly when she sides with Kim and belittles Detective Travis. I’d love to see her return in future books.

There is no doubt that Angela knows how to keep her readers hooked. The tension in this book had me reading well into the night as I raced to find out what the final outcome would be. After the end of each book, Angela always leaves me wanting more, which is why I’m sure that the Kim Stone series will continue to be a hit with readers.

This is, by no doubt, the best book in the Kim Stone series so far, but I’m sure that the next one will be even better. I know I will be first in the queue to read her next book. A brilliant, five star read.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 25th April 2017

Print length: 412 pages

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The Binding Song by Elodie Harper Book Review

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FROM THE WINNER OF THE STEPHEN KING AND GUARDIAN SHORT STORY COMPETITION.

A chilling debut for fans of Mo Hayder and Sharon Bolton, THE BINDING SONG takes you on a trip to Halvergate Prison. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to leave…

‘Splendidly unsettling’ John Connolly

Dr Janet Palmer is the new lead psychologist at HMP Halvergate in a remote, bleak area of Norfolk. At first, she was excited by the promotion. Then she starts to see how many secrets are hiding behind the high walls.

A string of inmates have committed suicide, leaving no reasons why, and her predecessor has disappeared – along with his notes. The staff are hostile, the threat of violence is ever-present, and there are rumours of an eyeless woman stalking the corridors, punishing the inmates for their sins.

Janet is determined to find out what is really going on. But the longer she stays and the deeper she digs, the more uncertain she feels.

Halvergate is haunted by something. But it may be a terror worse than ghosts…

MY THOUGHTS

The Binding Song is an outstanding, atmospheric novel from debut novelist Elodie Harper. It is a novel that will give you genuine chills as it takes you into the heart of an isolated prison in Norfolk. If you’re lucky you’ll get to leave.

Dr Janet Palmer is the new lead psychologist at Halvergate, an isolated Prison in Norfolk. Janet works with some of the most dangerous criminals. She tries to help them understand their actions and to understand the minds of their victims at the time of the attack. But all is not what it seems at Halvergate. There have been a spate of recent suicides at the prison and reports that prisoners have been terrorised by a demon, a woman in white, which ultimately results in their deaths. Can Janet get to the bottom of what is going on in Halvergate before more deaths occur? And can she make sure that she doesn’t go mad herself?

Elodie has created a cast of intriguing characters in her debut novel. Although the criminals in this book are inside for committing heinous crimes, Janet has to believe that she can make a difference to their lives and she has to believe that to some extent, that they deserve a second chance. One particular prisoner who we are introduced to is Michael Donovan, a creepy character who will really get under your skin. Elodie did a brilliant job of creating an extremely unlikable character but she also created an intriguing individual in him. I even felt sympathy for some of the other prisoners as Janet got to know them.

Elodie’s description in this book is top class! I found myself utterly absorbed in her writing as she took us on a journey through the bleak Norfolk landscape to the isolated prison. Elodie is a writer with a huge talent and I can’t wait to read  more from her.

An outstanding debut!

Elodie Harper will be appearing at First Monday Crime on the 6th November. A regular night of murder and mayhem for crime fiction folk in London and you can book your FREE ticket by clicking HERE

Publisher: Mullholland Books

Publication date: 29th June 2017

Print length: 304 pages

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Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister Book Review

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Gone Girl meets Sliding Doors in this edge-of-your-seat thriller

Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly.

But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it’s him; the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor.

Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most – make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?

MY THOUGHTS

A man lies before you, dying, you’ve pushed him. What do you do, call for help? Check that he’s alright? Or do you run, is there a possibility that you could get away with it? Could you live with the consequences? These are the questions that are explored in this brilliant, addictive and highly entertaining novel.

Anything You Do Say is the second novel by bestselling author Gillian McAllister, and it is a fascinating, character driven drama. It will make you think back to past events in your own life and it will make you wonder how things could be different today, if you’d taken a different path. It is a very different psychological thriller that explores a unique idea, and that’s why I enjoyed it so much. I loved her first book, Everything but the Truth and her second novel is even better.

When Joanna goes to a bar on a night out with her friend, she has no idea how big an impact the evening will have on the rest of her life. A man begins to make her feel uncomfortable, and when she leaves the bar, she can hear someone following her. She tries to keep calm, but as the man approaches her, she makes a quick, rash decision. She attacks  him and he falls down a flight of stairs to his death. This leaves Joanna with an almost impossible choice to make.

What I really liked about this book was how Gillian explored the two different scenarios facing Joanna at that moment. When I’m reading a book I often wonder what would have happened, if a character had decided to take another path, instead of the one the author chose for them, and we often wonder this in real life too. In this book, Gillian explores two sides to her character; I found it fascinating to see the impact that one decision can have on a person and on others around them. This, for me, is what made this novel really unique. Utterly gripping from the first page to the last. The idea didn’t at all make the book confusing, which is what I was worried might happen when I first read the blurb.

Gillian McAllister is going from strength to strength with her writing, and I can’t wait to see what she does next. This is a thriller that you don’t want to miss. Thank you to the publisher, Michael Joseph, who provided me with an advance copy of the book to read via Netgalley.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 19th October 2017 (kindle) 25th January 2018 (paperback)

Print length: 400 pages

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Beneath the Skin by Caroline England blog tour @CazEngland @AvonBooksUK

I’m excited to be taking part in the Beneath the Skin blog tour today and as part of the tour I’m delighted to welcome Caroline onto my blog to share her Road to Publication.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Three women. Three secrets.

Antonia is beautiful and happily married. Her life is perfect. So why does she hurt herself when nobody’s watching?

Sophie is witty, smart and married to the best-looking man in town. She likes a drink, but who doesn’t?

Olivia is pretending to be a happy wife and mother. But her secret could tear her family apart.

Their lies start small, they always do. But if they don’t watch out, the consequences will be deadly.

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CAROLINE’S ROAD TO PUBLICATION 

Caroline England

  • Do you find that inspiration strikes you in specific places or do ideas come to you everywhere?

In the bath, when I’m driving or running are favourites. I guess they’re all opportunities for blank thought, but none of them are good for jotting down notes! Otherwise pretty much anywhere.

  • What do you usually do after you get the first spark of a fresh idea, is it straight to the computer to write the first chapter or straight to a notebook to start planning?

Though I’d love to have everything plotted out on a spreadsheet, I’m not much of a planner. I might jot down an idea, but mostly I sit at the laptop with a vague end point in mind and see what happens.

  • How long does your first draft usually take to write?

My first draft of Beneath the Skin was several years ago now. I think I wrote it quite quickly, along with another two or three novels. But they were all fairly short and I abandoned them for short stories and poetry. Then eventually, when I felt more confident in my writing, I came back to the novels, built them up and fleshed them out.

  • Do you celebrate when you finish your first draft and if so how?

For several years I was a closet novelist, so I kept celebrations to myself! Finishing a first draft does feel wonderful, though. I probably went around looking insufferably smug and everyone will have wondered why!

  • Is it straight to editing or do you leave your manuscript a while before you pick up the red pen?

I know the best advice is to step away and let a manuscript brew, and sometimes I’ve had to do that because life has intervened. But I’m an ‘iron is hot’ type of person. If I leave it too long, I forget what has happened or forget the novel’s ‘voice’ and I have to get to know it again.

  • How long do you spend editing before your book is handed over the printers?

Any half decent novel has to be edited and polished a million times. I have got better at doing this over time, but it’s a learning curve. I’m in a great writer’s group who’re hot on spotting editorial goofs, so I’ve picked up a lot from them. I’m so lucky to have a book deal with Avon HarperCollins, but I think those who intend to self publish or want to improve their manuscript should pay for a professional edit. It won’t just massively lift the book, it will teach you too!

  • At what point, prior to publication do you find the nerves start to kick in or do you not get nervous in the approach to publication?

This is my debut, so it’s all new to me. Of course I’m tremendously excited to be traditionally published, but the ‘will anyone like it?’ worries kicked in a long time ago!

  • How does it feel when the early reviews start to come in?

The first review I saw was 2 stars! Not a good start. The reviewer said it had a good plot but complained it didn’t have the pace of a crime thriller. A little frustrating as Beneath the Skin is at the ‘domestic noir’ end of the crime spectrum, so it’s a slower and more nuanced read than traditional crime. Still, I know there will be plenty more 1 and 2 star reviews in the pipeline, so I’m making the most of the tremendously uplifting reviews I’ve had so far.

  • How long do you wait after finishing your book before starting on your next project?

I would like to crack on with a new project now, but there’s so much to do in the build up and after publication of Beneath the Skin. At the same time I’m going through the paper proofs of  my new book, My Husband’s Lies. Not that I mind at all. I love being busy and doing what I love.

  • And finally how do you celebrate publication day?

Just before the book’s release, I’m going away for a long weekend with friends. When I return and wake up the next morning, it’ll be publication day! I think some bubbly with my family will be in order.

 

Thank you so much Caroline for taking the time to answer my questions and thank you to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me to take part in this tour.

 

MY THOUGHTS

Beneath the Skin is a gripping book from debut author, Caroline England. It is a brilliant, character driven drama that will keep you hooked from page one.

We focus on the lives of a group of characters and the book is told from their perspectives. Each character is very well developed and they all have their own sets of issues which play out in the book, the one thing that binds them all is that they all have secrets. I didn’t find any of the characters in the book particularly likeable but I was keen to find out more about them as the story progressed.

The plot of the book is very hard to talk about without giving anything away so I won’t say anymore here as I don’t want to spoil it but there were some surprising twists and turns along the way. Parts of the novel I did find a little slow but I raced through the last quarter of the book and I found the final revelations surprising.

When I first started reading I did find the storyline hard to follow at first, particularly as it was jumping from one perspective to the other and to different times as well, but once I knew who everyone was and what problems they were facing in their lives it made for a very enjoyable read.

If you’re looking for a character driven drama full of plenty of intriguing characters then this is the book for you. Overall, a very good read, I’m sure I’ll be looking out for more from Caroline in the future. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance review copy.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 5th October 2017

Print length: 362 pages

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The Second Son by Andy Blackman blog tour

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As the second son of the Duke of Hampshire, Grenville St John Hampton isn’t likely to inherit his family’s title or estate, leaving him pondering an empty, aimless future. During the summer break from university, he impulsively decides to go backpacking with one of his oldest friends, Johnathan; their destination is Belize.

One sultry night on the Central American coastline, Grenville and Johnathan meet Tom. A game of darts takes a vicious turn. Realising he has nothing to look forward to back at home, Grenville decides to stay on in Belize with Tom, in pursuit of adventure. Together, the new friends establish an import business, and for the rst time in his life, Grenville has a sense of purpose.

But back in England all is not well. The sudden death of his brother leaves Grenville with an unexpected – and now unwanted – inheritance, with new consequences and responsibilities. He will return to claim the family’s seat with a dark secret in tow.

Andy Blackman is the author of For the Love of Grace (published by Clink Street, 2016).

MY THOUGHTS 

The Second Son was an enjoyable read by Andy Blackman. He has created a novel with gripping characters that will hook you from the first page in a story that explores the English upper class.

Grenville is content in the knowledge that he won’t inherit his family’s estate, that job is for his older brother, Stephen, to worry about. Grenville is  a carefree character who would rather spend his days seeking adventure rather than looking after his family’s estate. Over the summer he travels with his school friends to Belize where he meets Tom, who he instantly warms to, they soon become firm friends. But Grenville’s trip is cut short when his brother is killed in a car accident and he returns to England to take up his place as the next Duke of Hampshire.

Andy Blackman has created a cast of intriguing characters. I think his main writing strength is in his dialogue which made the book a fast paced read. The characters are all very well developed and it was interesting to see how they changed after the first section of the book, particularly Grenville. I was impressed at how he took on his charge after his brother died, I expected him not to take the news that he was destined to be the next Duke of Hampshire too well but he handled the sudden change with dignity and pride.

When we were first introduced to Grenville’s brother Stephen I really didn’t like him at all and I have to say that I was glad to hear the news that he had been killed and I think secretly, his family must have felt the same as well.

An enjoyable read from Andy Blackman, I’ll be interested to see with what he comes up with next. Thank you to Rachel Gilbey for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing me with a copy to read.

Publisher: Clink Street

Publication date: 5th October 2017

Print length: 284 pages

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Bad Sister by Sam Carrington blog tour

I’m delighted to be taking part in the Bad Sister blog tour today, the thrilling new book from bestselling author Sam Carrington.

BLURB

‘A gripping exploration of twisted family secrets’ Cass Green, author of The Woman Next Door

‘A gripping crime thriller that keeps you guessing right to the end’ Sue Fortin, author of Sister Sister

The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Saving Sophie.

Stephanie is scared for her life. Her psychologist, Connie Summers, wants to help her face her fears, but Connie will never really understand her. Stephanie’s past has been wiped away for her own protection. Stephanie isn’t even her real name. But then, Dr Summers isn’t Connie’s real name either.

And that’s not all the women have in common. As Stephanie opens up about her troubled relationship with her brother, Connie is forced to confront her own dark family secrets.

When a mutilated body is dumped in plain sight, it will have devastating consequences for both women.

Who is the victim?
Who is to blame?
Who is next?

Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Bad Sister will have fans of Sue Fortin, B A Paris and Linda Green hooked till the final page.

MY THOUGHTS

I have been waiting for the release of Sam Carrington’s second novel Bad Sister since I finished Saving Sophie last year. Sam Carrington’s writing is taut and full of suspense; the only problem now that I have finished Bad Sister is that I have to wait for her next book. Please, Sam don’t make us wait too long!

Connie Summers has recently started up her own consultancy. She is treating her consultant, Stephanie who comes from a damaged past. She slowly begins to reveal what has happened to her to Connie. Stephanie’s father was killed in a fire which destroyed her home when she was a child and the tragic event has scarred her ever since. Connie is desperate to help Stephanie and her young son Dylan and help her to form a better life for them both. But Connie’s life is soon thrown into the spotlight with the discovery of a body, a prisoner who Connie has helped in the past. After her judgement on that case Connie has had to rebuild her career and now everything that happened is about to come flooding back. Why was he killed and who killed him? Can Connie continue to help Steph when her own life begins to fall apart and is her own life in danger?

What I like about Sam Carrington’s writing is the tense atmosphere that she creates. In one day I read more than half the book and I was desperate to pick it up and start reading again. Connie was an intriguing character, she is someone who is not without her own set of problems but she strives to make life better for other people, this is especially the case at the beginning of the book with Stephanie and Dylan.

I also really liked Connie’s friendship with the detective who is working on the case, DI Lyndsey Wade. There were times when I felt that Connie needed to have a good friend by her side and for this point in Connie’s life, Lyndsey filled that gap perfectly. Lyndsey featured in Sam’s previous novel and I was excited to learn that she would be returning as I was keen to find out more about her and her colleagues. It was interesting to see how her character has developed since her previous case in Saving Sophie.

Bad Sister is another thrilling read from Sam Carrington; I can’t wait to see what she does next, I will definitely be first in line to read her next book. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a copy to read and to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 5th October 2017 (Kindle) 14th December 2017 (paperback)

Print length: 368 pages

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