Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Woman Inside by EG Scott

Today is my stop on the blog tour for this great debut novel - a psychological thriller about a couple whose marriage has turned a little sour.


The Blurb:

For better, for worse... marriage can be a dangerous game.

A page-turning thriller about secrets and revenge, told from the perspectives of a husband and wife who are the most perfect, and the most dangerous, match for each other.

******

Rebecca didn't know love was possible until she met Paul, a man with a past as dark as her own. Their demons drew them together, but twenty years later, the damage and secrets that ignited their love begin to consume their marriage.

When Paul catches the attention of the police after two women go missing, Rebecca discovers his elaborate plot to build a new life without her. And though Rebecca is quickly spiralling out of control, it doesn't stop her from coming up with her own devastating plan for revenge... they made a promise to each other, after all.

Til death do us part.

******

With a Shakespearean twist that rivals the best books in the genre, THE WOMAN INSIDE is the unmissable thriller of 2019.

Perfect for fans of The Woman in the Window and The Wife Between Us, and of TV shows Big Little Lies and The Affair.


The Woman Inside was published as an eBook by Trapeze on 22nd January 2019. The paperback edition will be out in June. You can purchase the eBook, or pre order the paperback, from Amazon.

My Review:

Well, this is a twisty turny one! There's A LOT going on in this book, and you really need to keep your wits about you. Each chapter is written in the first person, from the point of view of a different character, whose name is at the beginning of the chapter. They are mainly from our married couple, but we hear from a few other folk too. And Paul and Rebecca's early chapters are divided into 'Before' and 'After', although it's not clear what is being referred to.

Paul and Rebecca have been married for nearly twenty years, and seem to have an ideal life. Rebecca is a high flying pharmaceutical rep, and although Paul's construction business went under, he is now very successful in real estate. They have a nice house, and a plot of land on which to build a forever home.

But in reality, the cracks between them are huge. Both came with baggage, Paul was married when they met and is a skilled liar, and Rebecca has a chemical dependency which is spiralling out of control. Rebecca discovers clues that Paul is keeping things from her, and makes plans for revenge.

I didn't like either of the main characters. At all. I'm not sure whether I was supposed to like them or not, but I found that they had no real redeeming factors. Fortunately, I strongly disliked them, which meant I still cared about what happened to them. The other characters we come across aren't very pleasant either, except the policemen. I liked them, especially Wolcott, but then I've always been a sucker for a man in a waistcoat! I reckon Silvestri would be better for a night out though. v

The first part of the book is quite slow, building up the story, background and characters. But hang in there, as the pace gets going and things get more tense.  As I mentioned above, it's a twisty book, and that doesn't let up at all. I enjoyed it, and will look out for other books by this duo.

The Authors:


E.G Scott is a pseudonym for two writers, Elizabeth Keenan, who works in publishing in New York, and Greg Wands, who is a screenwriter also based in New York. The Woman Inside is their first novel.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Sleeper 13 by Rob Sinclair

I am delighted to be reviewing this book, in advance of the release of the follow up, Fugitive 13, which will be published as an eBook on 7th March 2019, and on 27th June 2019 in paperback.

 



The Blurb:

An action packed and utterly gripping, globetrotting thriller - for fans of I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, Nomad by James Swallow, Mark Dawson's The Cleaner, and The Deceivers by Alex Berenson.

Smuggled to the Middle East as a child.

Trained as one of the most elite insurgents of his generation.

Forced to do things no one should, for a cause he couldn't believe in.

But as his brothers were preparing to kill, he was looking for a way out.

Now, on the eve of the deadliest coordinated attacks the world has ever seen, he finally has his chance.

He will break free and hunt down those who made him a monster.

He must draw on all his training to survive.

He is SLEEPER 13.

SLEEPER 13 is a fast-paced thriller filled with twists and turns and intrigue that will appeal to readers of big-hitting thriller authors such as Terry Hayes, J.B. Turner, Mark Dawson, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Mark Greaney, Alex Berenson, Michael Connelly, and Scott Mariani.

Sleeper 13 was published by Orion Books as  an eBook on 1st March 2018 and in paperback on 28th June 2018. You can purchase it from Waterstones or Amazon.

My Review:

"Talatashar: the number thirteen in Arabic. By birth he was Aydin, but among his people, he was referred to only by number."

Sleeper 13 is a novel for our time. There is trouble in the Middle East, immigrants are are try to find their way from the Calais "Jungle" to Britain, and the terrorist threat is high across the UK and Europe

As a young boy, Aydin is taken from Britain to the Middle East, and left at a 'school', where there are a number of other young boys. It is run by a man that the boys know only as 'The Teacher'.

The sentence quoted above, which appears early in the text, shows what kind of people we're dealing with here. They are hard line fanatics with a hatred of the West. The boys are indoctrinated, and trained on how to fight anod how to kill. But Aydin doesn't believe with the fanaticism of his peers or The Teacher, and wants out.

Meanwhile, Rachel Cox of MI6's Special Intelligence Service is convinced of the existence of a terrorist cell known as 'The Thirteen' despite any real evidence. Now Rachel is a woman I could have a drink and a blether with. Confident, determined, principled, forthright, and certainly not afraid to stand up to her male superiors and fight her case. I do hope she gets some time off though!

We learn bits about Aydin as the story progresses - each piece of information teases us until we find out more. He has his own reasons for doing the things he does, but the result he's after is not that far removed from what Rachel wants.

This is an action packed thriller that grips you from the first to the last page. It travels across Europe and the Middle East and across time, with flashbacks to Aydin's younger days. Some of that action is quite bloody and on a few occasions really gruesome, but well worth it. And as i hinted at earlier, it's a story which is sadly true to the world we live in. I really enjoyed it and very much look forward to Fugitive 13.

The Author:


Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series and James Ryker series of espionage thrillers as well as the globetrotting thriller hit Sleeper 13. His books have sold over half a million copies to date with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob's work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

Rob's website is www.robsinclairauthor.com and he can be followed on Twitter at @rsinclairauthor and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/robsinclairauthor/


Saturday, 26 January 2019

Shadows of Regret by Ross Greenwood

Today is my stop on the tour for Shadows of Regret by Ross Greenwood. A relatively new author to me, I had only read one previous book by Ross, so it was a pleasure to be able to read this one, about a woman's struggle to find her place in the world.  My thanks to Caroline Vincent at Bits About Books for inviting me to take part in the tour, and to Ross for providing my review copy.


The Blurb:

If your life was ruined, would you seek redemption or take revenge?

From the #1 bestselling author of Fifty Years of Fear, SHADOWS OF REGRET is the unforgettable story of a woman's struggle to rejoin society.

Katie committed a terrible crime. Sixteen years was the price she had to pay.  Once released from prison, she finds the world has changed. Her chances appear bleak, but Katie is a survivor.

Isolated and alone, she struggles to make sense of her new life. Starting again isn’t easy, especially after what she’s done.  Despite not feeling free or safe, Katie overcomes her fears and confronts the future.

But history won’t remain forgotten.  Gradually, memories of the past are revealed. When Katie finally exposes the awful truth and sees there are others who share the blame, she must choose her path.  Will she seek redemption, or will she take revenge?

You can purchase Shadows of Regret from Amazon.


My Review:

When I say yes to a blog tour, it's because the information about the book, the blurb,  is interesting, or intriguing, and I want to know more. But once I've agreed to a tour, I don't look at the information again, so when I come to read the book maybe weeks, or even months, later, it's completely fresh to me, and I have no preconceptions about it. Other people will do things differently, but this way works for me.

So that was the case with this book. When I started it, I couldn't remember in detail what it was about, just that I wanted to read it. And it drew me in immediately. It's written in the first person, from Katie's point of view, so it felt like I was in her head.

We join Katie as she is leaving prison after sixteen years, with just the address of a halfway house she's to go to, and the few possessions she owns.  We know nothing about her at this stage, other than her crime must have been serious, but from this point on I was rooting for her, cheering her on. She was young when she went to jail, so on her release, even after a tough time inside, there's a vulnerability, a naivety, about her, which comes across beautifully in the writing.

I loved reading as she grew in confidence and made new friends. Some of her decisions are bad ones, but I totally understand why she makes them. Life after jail isn't how she imagined it would be.  And some of what takes place later in the book is violent and bloody. I found it interesting that many of the people who helped her were foreign, maybe immigrants. I don't know if that was deliberate, but in the political situation we currently find ourselves in, it struck me as positive.

In between the chapters about Katie's current life, there are memories, some good, some bad, of her childhood and teenage years. And eventually, we learn what she did, and the circumstances surrounding it. Funnily enough, it was her happiest memory which broke my heart the most - you'll see what I mean when you read it.

We meet some colourful characters along the way, mostly with good hearts, even if their life choices are a little unusual. I loved Radic and his wife, but everyone is beautifully drawn by Ross - I could see them in my mind.  But I pray there aren't probation officers in the real world like the one described here. I don't know about Katie, but I wanted to do him physical harm! And that's testament to the great writing.

I was rooting for Katie right up to the bittersweet end, and the last line is beautiful. I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more by this author.

The Author:


Ross Greenwood was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until he was 20, attending The King's School in the city. He then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

Ross found himself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually, so he says “when things had gone wrong.” It was on one of these occasions that he met his partner about 100 metres from his back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. And, according to Ross, he is “still a little stunned by the pace of it now.”

The Lazy Blood book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave the author the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep he completed it in the early morning hours.

Ross Greenwood’s second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by Bloodhound Books, and in September 2017, Fifty Years of Fear was published. The year 2018 saw the publication of his next psychological thriller, Abel’s Revenge. All his books are thought provoking, and told with a sense of humour.

Author Links:

Author Website: www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com 
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/RossGreenwoodAuthor/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/greenwoodross
Amazon Author Page: Author.to/RossGreenwood
BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/ross-greenwood GoodReads: bit.ly/RossGreenwood-GR

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Changeling (Six Stories 3) by Matt Wesolowski

So my Matt Wesolowski binge comes to an end with my stop today on the tour for Changeling (Six Stories 3), and I am bereft. Sad that there's no more to read - for now, anyway. But I loved Changeling, and I want to thank the lovely Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and the ever awesome Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my review ebook.


The Blurb:

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little boy…

Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is the latest in the critically acclaimed, international bestselling Six Stories series, written as six Serial-style podcasts, and which are being adapted for TV by a major US studio.


Changeling was published by Orenda Books as an ebook on 15th November 2018 and is released as a paperback today! Happy Publication Day Matt! You can purchase it from Waterstones or Amazon.

My Review:

Matt Wesolowski is a genius! Nothing else to say, really.

Seriously, I am running out of superlatives to describe this man's work. I read the three Six Stories books in order, one after the other. I thought Six Stories (review here) was phenomenal, then Hydra (review here) was even better and I think this is the best of the three. Awesome.

It's structured in the same way as the previous two books - Six episodes of a podcast, each featuring a different person linked in some way to the crime, the people involved or the location. This time, Scott King is looking into the disappearance of a young boy thirty years ago. This one touched me from the beginning, and I think it's because it was about a child. I was more invested in the outcome, knew what I wanted it to be and desperate to find out what happened. It kept me up very late (or maybe that should be early)!

Scott knows of the case, but for some reason has been reluctant to investigate. But he is intrigued by a letter he receives from someone claiming they were close to the case, and could maybe shed some light on it. The sender is an old lady, Anne, of whom Scott grows fond.

The location of the disappearance is the Wentshire Forest, and it's another creepy one. And yes, I checked Google again to see if it exists. It's dark and dense, and known as a UFO hotspot. Local folk tell takes of the Wentshire Witch, faery folk and strange sightings and noises.

Now if you have been following my reviews over the last couple of days, you'll know I was seriously spooked by the first two books. Well, this tops them both! It seems that everyone who goes near the forest has a scary story to tell, and we hear many of them from the different interviewees on the podcast. The stories from the construction site particularly sent a shiver down my spine.

I find the podcast presentation works brilliantly - it's totally immersive. I hear the voices, as though I was actually listening to them. The people are so real and often emotional, and this comes across perfectly in the writing. The interview with Sonia was hard to read in some places. And this story features another horror, not of a supernatural kind, but much more human and, sadly, all too common.

I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling it for you - and I really don't want to do that. It's a treat you want to discover for yourself. The writing is again exquisite, and I wanted to share a quick example, that wouldn't give anything away. I think I'm safe with this one:
'Veg peel was in piles of smiles all over the chopping boards... '
How lovely is that? And there are many more examples.

Changeling has a rising tension, and kept me turning the pages. I would have read it in one sitting had it been possible. It's original, dark, atmospheric, immersive, chilling and authentic. And  that ending - mind blown! Phenomenal - yes, I know I've used it before... Matt is a huge talent, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next. In the meantime, go and read this series - you will not be disappointed!

The Author:


Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK and US based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Hydra (Six Stories) by Matt Wesolowski

I'm continuing on my Matt Wesolowski binge, in the lead up to tomorrow's blog tour stop for Changeling. But today, I'm sharing my thoughts on Hydra, the second book in the Six Stories series. You can find yesterday's review for Six Stories here.


The Blurb:

A family massacre. A deluded murderess. Five witnesses. Six stories. Which one is true?

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the Macleod Massacre. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation.

King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out.

As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious black-eyed kids, whose presence seems to extend far beyond the delusions of a murderess…

Dark, chilling and gripping, Hydra is both a classic murder mystery and an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, that shines light in places you may never, ever want to see again.

Hydra was published by Orenda Books on 15th November 2017 and you can purchase it from Waterstones and Amazon.

My Review:

I moved straight on from Six Stories to this one, the second in the series. And it's another cracker.

Again, it's a podcast of six episodes looking at a controversial crime from the past. This one is not too far back, and we know from outset the perpetrator and the details of the crime. What Scott King, presenter of Six Stories, is interested in is why Arla Macleod brutally murdered her family.

The setting of the crime isn't as creepy as Scarclaw Fell was in Six Stories, but the background story is more spooky! Well, for me it was anyway! Those black-eyed kids mean I might never answer a knock on my door again! Seriously, seriously spooked! And Matt has  clearly done his research into these bizarre deadly games which are talked about on the internet. I'm horrified as it appears people do actually try them.

Again, the characterisation is brilliant, and the voices authentic. I listened as Scott interviewed these folk, heard Arla's accent, and the hesitation and confusion of the other people who had touched her life. It was an immersive experience. I was moving towards reaching my own conclusion, but was  a bit off base.

And Matt's writing is exquisite. I marked a couple of phrases that I thought were really quite beautiful, but there are plenty more examples:
   ' ...tears clenched like fists behind my eyes ' and
   ' ...feels like every lead I follow ends up with faded footsteps in falling snow. '

I don't really want to say anything else for fear of spoiling it for you. Suffice to say, in my opinion, it's another triumph for a fabulous new voice in crime fiction. Inventive, creepy, disturbing and authentic. A must read!

The Author:


Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for children in care and leads creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. 

Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at 'Bloody Scotland'; Crime Writing Festival 2015. His subsequent debut crime novel 'Six Stories' was published by Orenda Books in the spring of 2016 with follow-up ‘Hydra’ published in the winter of 2017.


Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

I'm a bit late to the party on this one. I was invited to take part in the blog tour for Matt's latest book, Changeling, and as I had heard so much about his writing I leapt at the chance - check this space on Thursday! But thought I should first go back to the beginning with Six Stories.


The Blurb:

One body. Six stories. Which one is true?

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.

2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame…
As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.

A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.

Six Stories was published by Orenda Books on 20th December 2016 and you can buy it from Waterstones or Amazon

My Review:

Wow! Right, where to begin? I have never before read a book quite like this one. It is written as a podcast, entitled 'Six Stories', presented by Scott King, who works hard at hiding his identity. It is a true crime podcast, where over six episodes, Scott looks back at an old crime,  wherever had an element of mystery to it. Each episode includes the testimony of someone connected in some way to the incident or individual involved.

In this case teenager Tom Jeffries went missing from an activity weekend with other teenagers and a coup couple of adults, but his body was not found until some time later. In each episode, we learn something new and can draw our own conclusions as we go along. And some of what we learn is very creepy and scary indeed.

The podcast presentation is genius. I totally felt that I was listening to it rather than reading the words on the page. R could hear the voices of the speakers. It was totally absorbing. And  Scarclaw Fell is a character in itself. Man, that place is terrifying and threatening!  Made me shiver big time! It feels very real - I googled it to see if it existed - I'll leave you to check yourself.

Likewise, all the people featured seem so real - the dialogue reads just as you would hear people taking part in a conversation. And as we learn more about Tom Jeffries and that fateful night, we earn more about these individuals, with the exception of Scott King himself.

The story shows a familiarity with folklore and takes of witchcraft. The tales featured again seem very real but, this time, I was too spooked to check! I know I'll be hiding under the covers the next time the wind gets up though!

It wasn't a surprise to discover that Wesolowski has a background in horror - it shines through - but as a genre debut, this is phenomenal. It's well paced, intelligent, absorbing, beautifully written, atmospheric, dark and creepy as anything. And I did not see that ending coming - blew me away! I can't believe I waited so long to read it, and I can't wait to read the next books in the Six Stories series.

You can read my review of Hydra (Six Stories 2) tomorrow.

The Author:


Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for children in care and leads creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. 

Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at 'Bloody Scotland'; Crime Writing Festival 2015. His subsequent debut crime novel 'Six Stories' was published by Orenda Books in the spring of 2016 with follow-up ‘Hydra’ published in the winter of 2017.


Sunday, 20 January 2019

Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb

Hopping over the water today to Florida to join the blog tour for Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb. And I'm delighted to see Lori back - Definitely #TeamLori here at Suze Reviews... Huge thanks to the lovely Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me along, and the awesome Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for providing my review copy.



The Blurb:

Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson returns in another nail-biting, high-voltage read. She’s as tough as they come, but when her family is threatened, she takes on a job that could change everything …

‘A real cracker’ Mark Billingham

‘My kind of book’ Lee Child

‘Like Midnight Run, but much darker … really, really good’ Ian Rankin

Single-mother bounty-hunter Lori Anderson finally has her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.

With North due in court in 48 hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined.

In this race only the winner gets out alive…


Deep Dirty Truth was published by Orenda Books as an eBook on 5th November 2018. The paperback will be published on 24th January 2019. You buy it from Waterstones, Amazon UK, and Amazon US.

My Review:

Well damn, it's real good to see you again, Lori Anderson!

This is the third book in the series. I'm reading out of order, as last time I saw Lori was in Deep Down Dead, the first book, as I've not had chance to catch up with Deep Blue Trouble yet, but I will! I didn't feel at a disadvantage coming in to this book, and it works great as a standalone - enough background information given.

Lori is settling into family life with JT and Dakota when she is kidnapped by the Miami Mob. They have a grudge against her, and want her dead. But instead of killing her, they give her a job to do - bring back one of their own who is being held by the FBI before he can give evidence against them in court. In just 48 hours time. If she fails, JT and Dakota will die. She would do anything for her family, and so has no option but to take the job. But things really don't go according to plan.

The action starts when Lori is kidnapped and doesn't ever let up. It will leave you breathless. Lori doesn't like to carry a gun, but that doesn't stop bullets zipping all over the place. The story is much the same - fast moving, action packed and adrenaline filled. And the settings are all beautifully described - I was seriously creeped out by the kayak trip in the Everglades!

Lori is a fabulous protagonist. She's smart, sassy, ballsy and brave. She's not afraid to play with the big boys and can certainly hold her own when she does. And she can kick some serious ass! She's who I want to be when I grow up! Little Dakota is taking after her mum - resilient and brave. It was great to see her and JT's blossoming relationship. And I must mention 'Mr' Red who I could just picture in my mind.

Steph's writing is very visual and descriptive - cinematic - and I would just love to see this on the screen - preferably a big one! But while we're waiting for that, I'm excited to see what Steph has lined up next for Lori. In the meantime, do yourselves a favour and buy this book!

The Author:


Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging
at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. She is also a member of the crime themed girl band The Splice Girls.

Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California, which inspired her Lori Anderson thrillers. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts.

You can follow Steph on Twitter and Facebook, or visit her website.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

We Own The Sky by Luke Allnutt

It's my stop on the your for this astonishing, assured debut novel by Luke Allnutt. It's pretty special. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on the tour and to Trapeze for providing my review copy.


The Blurb:

How far would you go to save the one you love?

"Anyone who wishes David Nicholls would write faster needs to grab this with both hands." Jill Mansell

An emotional page-turner with a heart-pounding dilemma. Fans of Jodi Picoult, David Nicholls and Jojo Moyes will love We Own The Sky.

Anna and Rob were the perfect couple with their whole lives in front of them. When beautiful baby boy Jack came along, their world seemed complete.

But when tragedy strikes they are faced with an impossible choice. They have one chance to save their child, but at what cost?

"...a touching narrative of first love and fatherhood" The Sunday Times


We Own The Sky was published by Trapeze on 8th February 2018. You can purchase it from Waterstones, Amazon and other good bookshops.

My Review:

I knew from the outset that this would be a hard read as it features a couple dealing with their son's illness.

When my eldest son was born he has a find I that meant he had to stay in hospital for a while. We were reassured that it wasn't life threatening, and it absolutely wasn't, but the worry at the time was all consuming. I couldn't help but think back to that time when I was reading this.

Rob and Anna have the perfect relationship. They are so different that they really shouldn't work together, but they just do. They are madly in love and with the birth of Jack their little family is complete. But then Jack starts to feel a little unwell... and Rob and Anna have different reactions to the news of Jack's illness.

The story is told from Rob's viewpoint. We see his life now, but there are lovely flashbacks to the early days with Anna and beautiful memories of Jack when he was younger. It's clear that both parents loved their son very much.

Rob and Anna are great characters - they feel very real, possibly because the author has experienced serious illness in his family. I empathised with both of them, especially as a parent myself. But I really felt for Rob. We see him broken, tortured by some of the decisions he made. But that's not the end of the tale.

This is the story of a parent's love for their child. It's a story of difficult choices and decisions. It's a story of love, heartbreak, despair, redemption and hope. I cried, more than once, but I loved it and will remember it for a long time. It's incredibly moving and utterly beautiful.

The Author:


Luke Allnutt is a writer and journalist, originally from the UK but now based in Prague. He is the author of Unspoken, a Kindle Single about the death of his father. His debut novel, We Own The Sky is his debut novel.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Only A Mother by Elisabeth Carpenter

I'm delighted that today it's my stop on the blog tour for Only A Mother, the third book by Elisabeth Carpenter, but the first one of hers I've read. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the tour, and Orion Publishing for providing my review copy.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour too.


The Blurb:

ONLY A MOTHER . . .
Erica Wright hasn't needed to scrub 'MURDERER' off her house in over a year. Life is almost quiet again. Then her son, Craig, is released from prison, and she knows the quiet is going to be broken.

COULD BELIEVE HIM
Erica has always believed Craig was innocent - despite the lies she told for him years ago - but when he arrives home, she notices the changes in him. She doesn't recognise her son anymore.

COULD LIE FOR HIM
So, when another girl goes missing, she starts to question everything. But how can a mother turn her back on her son? And, if she won't, then how far will she go to protect him?

COULD BURY THE TRUTH


Only A Mother was published by Orion on 27th December 2018. You can purchase it from Waterstones, Amazon UK, Amazon US and other good bookshops.

My Review:

Oh gosh. I've been reading lots of books lately featuring parents and children of various ages. As the mother of two sons, I find I can often relate to the characters, dilemmas and heartache featured.

And this is one of these heart wrenching books - this one featuring Erica, and her son Craig.

Craig is being released from prison after serving seventeen years for the murder of a young woman. Erica is excited for his release, but apprehensive.  Her life whilst he's been away has been miserable, although she has never let on to Craig. Her friends have deserted her, and local people ignore or abuse her. Craig's friend Jason is one of the few people who treat her decently. Erica has always believed that Craig is innocent, although some of her actions had me questioning that.

We also meet Luke, a local reporter, who is covering Craig's release and talking to key people involved. Although he might be too nice to be a journalist - he seems to be quite a gentle person with a good heart.

The story is told mainly from the viewpoints of Erica and Luke, although a mystery narrator features too. Both Erica and Luke come across as very real, flawed people. Erica, particularly, is beautifully described, as is her difficult life. She's fair been through the wringer, and I really felt for her.

This isn't a particularly fast moving book, but it is tense, particularly when another girl goes missing, and Erica begins to question everything she believes in. I did figure out what was going on before the end, but it didn't particularly spoil my enjoyment, because this is a character driven story. Yes, there is action, but this is about people and relationships, and particularly a mother and her love for son. I really cared about Erica, and worried for her throughout the book, was really invested in her. And that happened because she, and the story, were so well written.

The Author:



Elisabeth Carpenter lives in Preston with her family. She completed a BA in English Literature and Language with the Open University in 2008.

Elisabeth was awarded a Northern Writers’ New Fiction award, and was longlisted for Yeovil Literary Prize (2015 and 2016) and the MsLexia Women’s Novel award (2015). She loves living in the north of England and sets most of her stories in the area, including the novel she is writing at the moment. She currently works as a book keeper.


Thursday, 10 January 2019

Eat Less by Jeremy & Georgina Jackson-Sytner

Today is my stop on the blog tour for something a wee bit different to my usual sort of book, but how apt for my first read of a new year! And a very happy publication day to Jeremy and Georgina. My thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for inviting me to participate, and to Urbane Publications for my review copy.
The Blurb

The easiest way to lose weight and keep it off for life.

Eat Less is a revolutionary book designed to help people lose weight and maintain a healthy weight for life.

Eat Less is NOT a diet book. It doesn’t read like a diet book or
look like a diet book. Eat Less is an anti-obesity manifesto.

Eat Less is stuffed with bite-sized nuggets of information on the benefits of eating less, advice on what to eat less of, and much more. Informative and motivational, the underlying message is very serious, but the manner in which it delivers those messages is never preachy and easily digestible. 

Eat Less offers practical advice on the life-changing benefits that simply eating less food can bring.

Eat Less really works. The authors are living proof that the habit-changing lifestyle they set out could help millions of people easily get to a healthy weight and maintain it for life.

Eat Less is published by Urbane Publications today. You can purchase it here

My Review

After all the over indulgence over the festive period, this was a perfect read with which to start the new year. 

Endorsed by two doctors, the authors are very clear that this is not a diet book. It is based on things that worked for them in their own weight loss journeys. 

The book is very bright and eye catching. It's not long - just 125 pages, and some of these have illustrations on or large print statements. Points are well presented with a wee theme to each page, and the information is given, if you'll excuse the pun, in bite sized pieces. There are shocking statistics on obesity, sugar and fast food, and bad news for some dieters. 

Some of the tips suggested are quite obvious, but others seen to contradict popular viewpoints, but everything appears to be backed up by research. 

As stated, it's definitely not a diet book, and I was heartened to see the authors actively encouraging eating good food with family and friends, and celebrating high days and holidays. I was particularly delighted that I can carry on drinking red wine (in moderation, obviously!) and coffee. Not so keen on dropping sugar though! 

This book is ideal for people looking for small lifestyle changes to help them lose weight and keep it off. Whilst I won't be doing everything in the book, I will be trying out some of the suggestions to see how they work for me. 

The Authors

Following a long career as an advertising creative, Jeremy has turned a lifelong fascination with food, diets and eating into a personal mission. Eat Less is Jeremy’s and wife Georgina’s impassioned attempt to get people everywhere to think more about what they eat and how they eat. The inspiration for this book came soon after he lost 2 stone in weight, simply by eating less and removing sugar and grain from his diet. Georgina is a certified group fitness instructor and runs regular mobile exercise classes in Battersea Park. Alongside this, she has developed a formula to help individuals lose weight, using a tailored weight loss management service and offering customised eating plans. 

Follow the rest of the tour





Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Hello 2019 - Looking forward


Welcome to 2019, and Happy New Year to you all! I hope the new year brings all you want it to.

So, what am I looking forward to in 2019?

Well, I've made all the usual resolutions, that I make and break every year, because it's part of my seasonal traditions now! You know the ones - eat better, exercise more, go to the gym, sort your junk out, that kind of thing. But really I just want for to maintain my improved mental and physical health. On top of that, I want to expand my proofreading and editing business, and I'm hoping to do some unrelated work for a charity.

But I've made some loose bookish resolutions too:
- Improve and expand this blog
- Be more active in the blogger community.
- Limit the amount of blog tours I say yes to (although I 'm already failing at this for January and February). Don't get me wrong, I LOVE taking part in blog tours and discovering new books, and often new authors. But I have a room full of tree books and a kindle full of ebooks of my own that I want to read.
- Try to get to at least one more festival. Funds are tight, and I don't think that 2019 is going to be the year I get to Harrogate or Newcastle, but I'm  hoping to maybe squeeze Bute Noir in.
- Keep better records.
- Use Instagram more, especially as I 'm now taking part in Bookstagram tours.
- Start my money jar afresh. If you're unfamiliar with this idea, I, and many others, put £1 away every time I finish a book. The accumulated funds pay for more books and book events.

What about you? Any booky resolutions?

There are also a number of books I'm looking forward to this year. Amongst them are:

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, published on 7th February. Can't wait to be on the blog tour for this one.


ALICIA
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet - and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can't bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

THEO
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia's silence goes far deeper than he first thought.

And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

THE SILENT PATIENT is the gripping must-read debut thriller of 2019 - perfect for fans of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn, THIRTEEN by Steve Cavanagh and THE GIRL BEFORE by JP Delaney. 

You can pre order it here.

---------

Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton, published on 7th March. So excited about this one for lots of reasons, not least because the cover is gorgeous and purple.


When reporter Rebecca Connolly is told of Roddie Drummond's return to the island of Stoirm she senses a story. Fifteen years before he was charged with the murder of his lover, Mhairi. When he was found Not Proven, Roddie left the island and no one, apart from his sister, knew where he was or what he was doing.

Now he has returned for his mother's funeral - and it will spark an explosion of hatred, bitterness and violence.

Defying her editor's wishes, Rebecca joins forces with local photographer Chazz Wymark to dig into the secrets surrounding Mhairi's death, and her mysterious last words of Thunder Bay, the secluded spot on the west coast of the island where, according to local lore, the souls of the dead set off into the after life. When another murder takes place, and the severe weather that gives the island its name hits, she is ideally placed to uncover the truth about what happened that night fifteen years before.

You can pre order it here.

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What She Saw Last Night by MJ Cross (otherwise known as Mason Cross - haven't figured out this MJ thing yet), published on 18th April. His first standalone novel, I'm really looking forward running a wee feature on this in the run up to publication date.


No one will believe ... WHAT SHE SAW LAST NIGHT.

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin ... but there's no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don't believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.

But deep down, she knows that isn't the truth.

You can pre order it here.
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Twisted by Steve Cavanagh, published on kindle on 24th January and in paperback on 4th April. Steve's first standalone novel is set to be huge, and I'm stoked to be on the blog tour for it.


BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you've found me. I'm coming for you next.

After you've read this book, you'll know: the truth is far more twisted...

You can pre order it here.
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Dead Inside by Noelle Holten, published on 31st May. I am so excited for blogger extraordinaire Noelle with the publication of her debut novel this year, which sounds fantastic.


When three domestic abuse offenders are found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the finger of suspicion points at Lucy and the police are running out of time. Can Maggie and her team solve the murders before another person dies? And is Lucy really a cold-blooded killer?

You  can pre order it here

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Thin Air by Lisa Gray, published on 1st June. I remember talking to Lisa early last year, when she had just finished working on this, her debut novel. I'm delighted to see all her hard work coming to fruition, and can't wait to read the book. 


She investigates missing persons—now she is one.

Private investigator Jessica Shaw is used to getting anonymous tips. But after receiving a photo of a three-year-old kidnapped from Los Angeles twenty-five years ago, Jessica is stunned to recognize the little girl as herself.

Eager for answers, Jessica heads to LA’s dark underbelly. When she learns that her biological mother was killed the night she was abducted, Jessica’s determined to solve a case the police have forgotten. Meanwhile, veteran LAPD detective Jason Pryce is in the midst of a gruesome investigation into a murdered college student moonlighting as a prostitute. A chance encounter leads to them crossing paths, but Jessica soon realizes that Pryce is hiding something about her father’s checkered history and her mother’s death.

To solve her mother’s murder and her own disappearance, Jessica must dig into the past and find the secrets buried there. But the air gets thinner as she crawls closer to the truth, and it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.

You can pre order it here.

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There are loads more fab books being published this year that I can't wait to read, but these are my standouts for the first few months. I am very privileged to be in the advance reading teams for a couple of authors, and in touch with a couple of others, and so I know there will be something new this year from a few of my favourite people.

But there are plenty of books from last year, and earlier, that need my attention. One of my first 2019 reads will be The Long Drop by Denise Mina for my real life book group. I'm looking forward to rereading and reviewing Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh and The Suffering of Strangers by Caro Ramsay. Good Samaritans by Will Carver is right near the top of my pile, as are The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor, Dark Pines by Will Dean, The Puppet Show by MW Craven and The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste.

So, the year is looking good already. As far as blog tours go, I'm full for January, February and March, but, if necessary, I can always make space for something fabulous!

Thank you for hanging in here with me. Here's to a fabulous 2019 for us all!


Morecambe & Vice Crime Writing Festival - Spotlight on Paul Burston

I am really delighted to be one of the bloggers opening the tour for Morecambe & Vice, which takes place at The Midland Hotel in  Moreca...