Friday, 12 October 2018

Without Rules by Andrew Field #blogblitz

I am delighted to be shining a spotlight on Without Rules and its author Andrew Field today on the opening day of the blog blitz. Thank you to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part, and to the author for my review copy.

The Blurb:

When a professional hitman turns up at Candy’s World to hide, China Mackie discovers her plan to flee from her abusive father has tragically backfired. A gruesome bloodbath has left four people dead on the streets of a northern city centre on a cold wet Sunday morning. China knows she’s next to die. Unless she is more ruthless than everyone else. She must improvise fast. Seduce her father’s assassin. Plead her case so he helps her escape in a fight to the death where rules don’t matter but the consequences do.

Publishing Information:

Published by Boomslang on Monday 15th October 2018 in eBook and paperback formats.

Purchase Links:

Andrew Field’s online bookstore
Amazon UK
Amazon US

My Mini Review:

The story has a whole range of colourful characters, which are well described. Many of them are really not very nice guys, and this is clear in the writing. China is a very sympathetic character, with one hell of a history, whilst Jak is interesting and enigmatic. Would have loved to learn more about him.

The book went in a direction I didn't expect, and the ending was a surprise to me too. An interesting read.

The Author:

Andrew Field has spent most of his working life as a PR and marketing consultant helping raise the profiles of others. Now the roles are reversed as he steps into the spotlight as the author of Without Rules, a crime thriller about vulnerable people forced to do bad things to escape evil people. “Authors, by the nature of what they do, are relatively introverted. They work in isolation. Inhabit imaginary worlds of their own creation. They can spend ages staring at a computer screen bringing their characters to life. Then they have to become a different person to promote their work and market themselves. Writing is the easy part compared to the marketing, especially when crime fiction has become a very crowded marketplace.”

“From my point of view, professional PR people operate best from behind the scenes. They should never become the story otherwise you’re deflecting attention away from the messages you’re trying to communicate,” says Andrew. “The New Labour experiment, for example, was doomed the minute Tony Blair’s media guru Alistair Campbell generated his own headlines. Bragged about ‘spin’.  Believed his own hype. Ditto Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci’s 10-day tenure as the shortest-serving White House communications director in history - and his “off the record” expletive-ridden rant about his colleagues in Donald Trump’s White House.”

As a PR, Andrew memorably handled Boddingtons Bitter during its “Cream of Manchester” heyday, developing innovative sports and cultural media partnerships with newspapers and TV stations for the beer brand - but also PR’d a fashion entrepreneur who was a convicted armed bank robber and a property developer who did eighteen months prison time for blackmail. “Having a diverse range of clients keeps it interesting. They are all different but the core requirement is to be seen as a believable and trusted information source ready to take advantage of PR opportunities as and when they arise. As a novelist, you look to do exactly the same with your work and yourself.”

“The catalyst for Without Rules was a friend testifying against her father in an abuse case. Although the prosecution was successful, she can never really escape the consequences of what happened to her. She has to find a way of coping for the rest of her life while he was sentenced to two and half years.”

Andrew says crime fiction has a duty to try and educate and as well as entertain. “The memorable books are the ones you're still thinking about 48-hours after you finished reading.”

Andrew lives, works and plays in Manchester, England, Europe, with his partner, Catherine. He has been a trade journalist in Southampton in his youth. He owned a PR agency in the nineties and early noughties and is now an independent PR, marketing and publishing consultant looking forward to the challenge of becoming the story with the publication of Without Rules.

Social Media Links:


Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Wife's Secret by Kerry Wilkinson #blogblitz

I'm so excited to be opening this blog blitz, and on publication day too! I have wanted to read Kerry Wilkinson for ages, and this gave me the perfect opportunity. Huge thanks to the author and Noelle Holten at Bookoutre for inviting me to take part and providing me with my review copy.

The Blurb:

Charley Willis was thirteen years old when her parents were killed in their family home and she was found hiding in a cupboard upstairs.

Fifteen years later, Charley is marrying Seth Chambers. It should be the happiest day of their lives, a chance for Charley to put her past behind her, but just hours after the ceremony, she is missing.

No one saw her leave. No one knows where she is.

One thing is for certain…Seth is about to discover he doesn’t really know the woman he just married. And his nightmare is only just beginning.

A totally gripping psychological thriller that will keep you reading until the very last jaw-dropping twist.

The Wife's Secret is published today by Bookoutre. You can purchase it from Amazon UK or US, iBookstore, Kobo or Googleplay.

My Review:

I was really looking forward to reading this and, happily, I wasn't disappointed.

Charley's parents were famous - wholesome TV hosts loved by the nation - until they were murdered when Charley was 13. She is taken in by older sister Martha, the wild child of the family. Years later, she is marrying Seth, in a low key ceremony which is perfect for them. But then it all begins to go wrong.

I really liked Seth. He seems to be a nice guy, down to earth, 'normal'. A guy enjoying his wedding day to the woman he loves. And then she disappears. Did she leave? Was she taken? Seth is understandably confused and upset, and his bewilderment is well described.

I can't say much more about the story without giving any spoilers. What I can tell you is that this is a family centred drama, told in the past and present. My opinions of Charley changed as I moved through the book, and learnt more about her. I loved Martha - she is brave, strong, passionate and fights for what is right.

This is a tight, well told story. All the characters in the cast are fully described, and I had strong reactions to a couple of them, which stayed with me after I'd finished reading. The tension mounts as the story progresses, and there are plenty of 'OMG' moments as we learn more. And as we learn things, so does Seth. I really felt for him, and would love to know what was happening a couple of years on from the end of the book!

This was my first experience of Kerry Wilkinson's writing, and I can't wait to read more.

The Author:

Kerry Wilkinson has had No.1 crime bestsellers in the UK, Canada, South Africa and Singapore, as well as top-five books in Australia. He has also written two top-20 thrillers in the United States. His book, Ten Birthdays, won the RNA award for Young Adult Novel of the Year in 2018.

As well as his million-selling Jessica Daniel series, Kerry has written the Silver Blackthorn trilogy - a fantasy-adventure serial for young adults - a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter, plus numerous standalone novels. He has been published around the world in more than a dozen languages.

Originally from the county of Somerset, Kerry has spent far too long living in the north of England, picking up words like 'barm' and 'ginnel'.

When he's short of ideas, he rides his bike or bakes cakes. When he's not, he writes it all down.

You can find out more by visiting Kerry's website or following him on Facebook.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Ed's Dead by Russel D McLean

I'm delighted to be reviewing Ed's Dead, a standalone novel by author Russel D McLean.

The Blurb:

Meet Jen. She works in a bookshop and likes the odd glass of Prosecco... oh, and she's about to be branded The Most Dangerous Woman in Scotland.

Jen Carter is a failed writer with a rubbish boyfriend, Ed. That is, until she accidentally kills him one night. Now that Ed's dead, she has to decide what to do with his body, his drugs and a big pile of cash. And, more pressingly, how to escape the hitman who's been sent to recover Ed's stash. Soon Jen's on the run from criminals, corrupt police officers and the prying eyes of the media. Who can she trust? And how can she convince them that the trail of corpses left in her wake are just accidental deaths?

A modern noir that proves, once and for all, the female of the species really is more deadly than the male.

Ed's Dead is published by Contraband (Sarabrand), and was released on 1st March 2017. You can buy it from Waterstones, Amazon UK and US, and other good bookshops.

My Review:

I have been lucky enough to read this a couple of times, and it's a firm favourite of mine. It's full on, full of action and tension, but it all begins with an accident.

Ed's a complete dead loss, and like Jen, I'd be really fed up with him. Other than that, Jen has a normal, actually quite boring, life. I loved her  - she's very down to earth and practical. Normal. Relatable. She's also a bookseller, which I would love to be, so there's a win right there. But then there's this accident, a catastrophic one, and the decision she makes immediately afterwards changes her life forever.

From that moment on, the action doesn't stop. And the tension builds, as chaos and violence surround Jen wherever she goes. Some of the violent scenes are quite graphic and gruesome, but there is a strong vein of black humour running throughout. One of my favourite scenes is Dave and Jen 's trip to Loch Lomond - it's pretty gory, but made me laugh out loud (wait though, that might just be me)! You'll just need to read the book to find out what I 'm talking about!

But alongside this, there are some real moments of poignancy and sadness. And whilst some of what happens to Jen is extreme, it's not too hard to imagine how making one wrong decision can cause things to snowball, and send everything spinning out of control.

This book is also a masterclass in characterisation. Every single person who features is brilliantly drawn - I could see them in my mind. And the same goes for the scenery - so descriptive, a real sense of place. I could absolutely imagine this on the big screen.

I loved everything about this book, I'm just sorry it's taken me so long to review it. It's the first of Russel's books I've read, and I know, having heard him speak about it, that it's very different in tone from his earlier work. But this has made me want to read more of his stuff, so the previous books are now on my wishlist.

The Author:

Russel D McLean was born in Fife, and moved to Dundee where he studied philosophy at the University of Dundee. His speciality was philosophy of mind, but after he discovered the difficulty of funding a PhD he fell into the disreputable company of the booktrade.

Russel's path to publication started at sixteen when he submitted his first full length novel to Virgin Publishing New Doctor Who Adventures. The novel was summarily rejected and he spent the next fourteen years perfecting his style before finally switching genres and writing dark crime fiction. His first paid credit was in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine in 2004 and his first novel, THE GOOD SON, was released in 2008.

He has since been published in the US, translated into Italian, French and German, and was nominated for best first PI novel by the Private Eye Writers of America.

He spent over a decade as a bookseller in Dundee and Glasgow, writing at night. These days he writes full time from his office in a Gothic Monstrosity somewhere in Glasgow, supplementing his fiction work with editorial work for a variety of clients, a lot of events chairing, and just about anything that pays the bills. For two years (2014-16) he wrote a monthly crime fiction column for the Scottish Herald. And yes, he really did once share a flat with a cursed mask.

You can find out more by visiting Russel's website, or by following him on social media.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Tidelines Book Festival

So, it appears that it's taking me a week to recover from and  write up my festival experiences! I really need to up my game - particularly as there was a lot less alcohol involved this time!

Anyway, last Sunday I spent a brilliant afternoon and evening in Irvine for the last day of the fab Tidelines Book Festival, which takes place in the lovely Harbour Arts Centre.

My first event of the afternoon was Alex Gray, interviewed by Theresa Talbot.

Only The Dead Can Tell is the 15th, and latest book in the DI William Lorimer series, and focuses on the issue of people trafficking, with Lorimer now heading up the Major Incidents Team (MIT).

After reading a little from the book, Alex talked about her good relationship with Police Scotland, and its Chief Constable, Ian Livingstone. This has enabled her to research her books very thoroughly, and for this one this involved  meeting the actual head of the MIT.

Alex talked about her writing routine - she writes every morning and edits what she wrote the day before. She is not much of a plotter and doesn't keep notes - everything is in her head.

She deliberately wrote William Lorimer as an ordinary man, who has ordinary things happen to him, because ordinary people are interesting. And it's certainly a plan that worked. Book 16 in the series is pretty much done and Alex has the idea for number 17.

You can purchase the ebook from Amazon or pre order the paper back from , or other good bookshops.

After a short break for liquid refreshment, it was time for an hour in the company of Pat Young, who spoke to a packed room. Pat is always a joy to listen to - she is enthusiastic and open.

Her third book, One Perfect Witness, has just been released and is a standalone, following her series of two - Till The Dust Settles and I Know Where You Live. In all her books, someone disappears. She likes to think 'What If?' and wants readers to think 'What would I do?'

Till The Dust Settles opens in New York, and Pat was inspired to write it after watching three separate TV documentaries about the 9/11 tragedy. The title comes from the infamous dust that came down following the explosion after the impact of the plane into the tower. For the title of the second one, Pa Pat took inspiration from something closer to home. She had arranged for a delivery of books to be sent to a pick up point near her home in France. The man who ran the pick up point denied he had ever received the books (he had), was very aggressive towards Pat and actually physically assaulted her husband, and they had to involve the police. When her husband had to go away shortly afterwards, Pat realised that awful man knew where she lived, and the title was born.

The new book, One Perfect Witness, was inspired by a book she found on a French campsite charity shelf. It was a tourist guide for the area she was staying in, and contained a note and some money from a woman to her grandson. This got Pat wondering why someone would give away an item which contained money, and the book grew from there. And it sounds fab.

Pat talked about loads of other stuff, often had us in hysterics and the hour was over all too soon. Oh, and she had the most gorgeous shoes on!

You can buy One Perfect Witness from Waterstones, Amazon and other good bookshops.

Following another wee break, I headed back in for the launch of Douglas Skelton's brilliant new book The Janus Run. This was just a wee half hour session and was full of fun and laughter. Douglas was interviewed, or rather insulted, by friend and fellow crime writer, Neil Broadfoot, and generally heckled by the packed house. But it was all good natured fun, and it was clear how popular Douglas is. I'm not entirely sure what we learnt about the book in that half hour, but it was a fantastic event! The Janus Run is Skelton's first foray over the pond to the USA, and features protagonist Coleman Lang, and a colourful cast of characters including mob figures, cops and US Marshals. Neil Broadfoot describes it as 'Bullet ridden, bold, brilliant' and it's a perfect

My review of The Janus Run is here. You can buy it from Waterstones, Amazon and other good bookshops.

We didn't have time to head out for dinner, so ate in the HAC bar, and can highly recommend it. It was really lovely.

The final event of the day, and the festival, was a performance of Carry on Sleuthing: Murder at the Knickerage. I had only seen this a week earlier, but it had some additional scenes, and a slight change of cast, and was just as funny, if not funnier than the first time round. As is often the case, some of the unscripted moments were the best - Trump the horse (John Coughlan and Pat Young) collapsing in an undignified heap, and twins Tim and Tom (Michael J Malone and Theresa Talbot) completely losing it. The Carry On Sleuthing plays - there are two so far, with a third on the way - are written and directed by author Douglas Skelton, who also.presents them and plays several parts - his Farquhuar on this one was a particular highlight. You can find details of performances on Facebook.

The full cast for this show was Douglas Skelton, Caro Ramsay, Michael J Malone, Theresa Talbot, Pat Young, Alex Gray and John Coughlan. I couldn't take good photos because of where I was sitting, so I'm hugely grateful to Ellie Petrie and Rob Hannah for allowing me to use their pictures

Photo credit: Rob Hannah

Photo credit: Rob Hannah

Photo credit: Rob Hannah

Photo credit: Ellie Petrie

Photo credit: Ellie Petrie

Photo credit: Ellie Petrie
I can't go without mentioning what a joy it was to finally meet David Mclaughlan, local man, writer, general wordsmith and long time Facebook friend, along with his lovely wife Julie.

I had the best time, and would like to thank all the Tideline organisers and fabulous volunteers.

Buying links for books not already featured:
Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot - Amazon
No Man's Land by Neil Broadfoot - Waterstones, Amazon
The Suffering of Strangers by Caro Ramsay - Amazon
After He Died by Michael J Malone - Waterstones, Amazon

Thursday, 4 October 2018

The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham #blogtour

I'm so pleased it's come round to my stop on the blog tour for this fantastic book. As soon as I read the blurb for The Tattoo Thief I knew I had to read it, and jumped at the chance to be part of this tour.

The Blurb:

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again...

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There's a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims' bodies while they're still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So When she identifies the killer's next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?

The Tattoo Thief is published by Trapeze and was released on 3rd May 2018.

You can purchase it from Waterstones, Amazon and other good bookshops.

My Review:

This is Alison's first crime thriller, and it won the Pitch Perfect competition for new crime writers at the 2016 Bloody Scotland Festival. It's easy to see why. This is one hell of a genre debut and I raced through it in two days. Original, exciting, and just a wee bit gruesome. At Bloody Scotland this year, I was lucky enough to meet Alison and hear her talk about the book at a festival event.
Firstly, I have to say I really like the cover - it's very striking and dramatic. This is the second cover. My ARC had the previous, equally stunning black and red cover, but my bought copy has this one.

Francis Sullivan has recently been promoted to Detective Inspector at a relatively young age, this is his first case and his boss is just waiting for him to fail. His immediate subordinate Rory Mackay feels he should have been  promoted to DI in place of Sullivan, so isn't keen on working for him. Antagonistic Mackay tries to oppose his boss, but also begins to recognise his wisdom and skil. I found Sullivan really interesting. He seems quite innocent, despite his job and senior position. He lives a quiet life and has a strong faith, in which he usually finds support and solace.

The first body is found by tattoo artist Marni Mullins, who I adored. She's a woman in a man's world, gutsy, with a no nonsense, no bullshit attitude. But she has a dark history and is not a fan of the police. Can Sullivan change those views?
I was delighted to find that the book was set in Brighton. I lived there for several years, and knew many of the places mentioned. It remains one of my favourite places, and offers a real eclectic mix of people, activities and places. The perfect setting for this story.

We are thrown headfirst into the story with a gruesome first chapter from the point of the view of the killer. It took my breath away. From then the story is told from four viewpoints - Francis, Marni, Rory and the Tattoo Thief. I particularly enjoyed the chapters from the perpetrator (I hate to imagine what that says about me!) because they gave me an insight into a skewed, off kilter mind. They are quite gory and bloody, mind. Didn't bother me at all, but worth mentioning.

After this fab opening, the pacing is perfect. The story zips along, it's full of action and the tension builds towards a brilliant climax. And there are a few OMG moments. It's clearly been very well researched, and the author's acknowledgements provide some details about that. 

This was a fantastic read, and I recommend it to anyone who likes their crime a wee bit on the dark side. I was excited to hear there's to be a follow up, and am waiting impatiently.

Oh I forgot to say, I'm a little bit in love with Thierry, but don't tell anyone, eh?

Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me onto the tour, and to Alison and Trapeze Books for my review copy of the book. 

The Author:

Alison Belsham initially started writing with the ambition of becoming a screenwriter and in 2000 was commended for her visual storytelling in the Orange Prize for Screenwriting. In 2001 she was shortlisted in a BBC Drama Writer competition. Life and children intervened but, switching to fiction, in 2009 her novel Domino was selected for the prestigious Adventures in Fiction mentoring scheme. In 2016 she pitched her first crime novel, The Tattoo Thief, at the Pitch Perfect event at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival and was judged the winner. After signing with agent Jenny Brown, The Tattoo Thief was bought by Trapeze books and published in May, 2018.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

The Dream Wife by Louisa de Lange #blogtour

I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the debut novel by Louisa de Lange. Thank you to Louisa and the publisher for my review copy, and to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the tour.

The Blurb:

Annie is the dream wife.

Mother to two-year-old Johnny and wife to David, she is everything her husband expects her to be - supportive, respectful and mild - but what he expects isn't who she truly is.

Annie is a prisoner in her home.

Her finances, her routine, her social life are all controlled by him. It's the love for her boy that she lives for, and at night she dreams of a world where she is free.

But Annie is going to fight back.

And you won't believe how she is going to do it . . .

The Dream Wife is published by Orion, and was released on 31st October 2018.

You can purchase it from Waterstones, Amazon UK and US, and other good bookshops. 

My Review:

Gosh, where to start? This is an extraordinary book, and I found myself lost as to what was real and what wasn't in the story. And it went in a totally unexpected direction.

From the outside, Annie seems to be the dream wife living a dream life. But actually nothing could be further from the truth. Apart from her beautiful little boy, there is no joy in her life. So she dreams, and dreams, and then dreams of what life might be like without her husband David.

David is an utterly vile man, and I absolutely detested him. With a passion. He's my second most hated book character ever. And when a character arouses this amount of emotion in me, good or bad, I know he or she has been very well written.

David controls every single aspect of Annie's life, except the time she has alone with her son, assuming all the chores are done. David has certain 'expectations' for how a wife should behave, and what she should do for her husband, and there is trouble if Annie doesn't meet those 'expectations.' That on its own constitutes domestic violence, but there is so much more than that, and this forms an important part of the story.

Complicit in this abuse of Annie is David's mother Maggie, as it is her who has instilled these skewed values in her son. She belittles Annie, and fully endorses her son's behaviour.

There is so much else I want to say, but don't want to give anything away about the story. My heart broke for Annie, and wee Johnny, who is largely ignored by his father. I am still thinking about the book, and to be honest still trying to work it out. As I mentioned in my opening, this book plays with reality. I read it initially thinking, 'Right, I've got this', then something would happen, and it was 'Oh wait, hang on...' I questioned (still am) so many things!

The fact that I'm confused doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it - far from it! It's a real page turned - I read it in a day because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I thought it was brilliantly written, there are several OMG moments, and so much to think about and mull over. It would be perfect for a book group, as there are so many questions and discussion points.

This is the author's first novel, and it's a strong and confident debut. I'm excited to see what she comes up with next!

The Author:

Louisa de Lange

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Bloody Scotland 2018

I can't believe it's already been a week since Bloody Scotland! I think it's taken me this long to recover, hence I'm only just getting round to posting about it now! This is really an excuse to share my photos - although they 're not that good, apart from the first two which I borrowed from the lovely Kelly Lacey, which are fab.

The Gala Opening of Bloody Scotland 2018 was held in the beautiful Church of the Holy Rude, where we drank Bloody Scotland gin cocktails and learned that Liam McIlvanney was the worthy winner of this year's Bloody Scotland McIlvanney Prize for his novel The Quaker.

After that, we headed up to Stirling Castle to start the torchlight procession down to the Albert Halls. This is one of my favourite parts of the weekend, such a great atmosphere.

After getting something to eat, we headed back to the Albert Halls to hear a two hour set from the fabulous Fun Lovin' Crime Writers, the band comprising Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville, Luca Veste and Doug Johnstone. An excellent way to spend a Friday evening, and Luca doing Britney was a  particular highlight!

After an easy Saturday morning, I went to hear Frank Gardner talk about Ultimatum, the second book in his Luke Carlton trilogy. Always an engaging speaker, Frank entertained a packed house with book talk and politics.

From there, it was back up the hill to the Cowane Hospital Grounds for the annual Scotland vs. England crime writers football match. Typically, this was the only time it rained in the whole weekend. But it didn't last long, and we soon forgot about it with more cocktails from the Stirling Gin pop up bar. Oh, and the football, of course! The final score, and I'll say it quietly, was England 6, Scotland 3.

Back down Spittal Street and into town (my step count for the weekend was brilliant!) for Michael J Malone's pop up launch of his new book, After He Died. And the sun shone for it.

A wee coffee and cake with lovely crime writer Caro Ramsay, her husband Alan, my bestie Pam and the fabulous Doug Sinclair, who is just finishing his first book. And the Loving Food cafe was gorgeous!

Then an evening of back to back events, starting with 'Local Crimes for Local People' with Margaret Kirk, Hania Allen, Neil Broadfoot and Charles E McGarry. These authors have chosen to set the books outside of Edinburgh and Glasgow - in the case of Neil Broadfoot's No Man's Land in Stirling itself - and they talked about the reasons behind that, their inspiration, writing habits and planning, or lack of in the case of Neil!

Gorgeous and talented Neil Broadfoot

After that, the 'Come Hell or High Concept' panel with Gordon Brown, Will Carver and Doug Johnstone, and admirably chaired by Jacky Collins, who had stepped in at the very last minute. This was a really fun panel, with lots of laughter, but at the end of it, none of us, authors included, knew what high concept meant! But all the books featured sound fab, so perhaps when I've read them, I'll have a better idea!

My final event for Saturday was a Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast recording - a special featuring 'Would a Crime Writer Lie To You' which was in no way based on a game show of a similar name. Joining podcast hosts Steve Cavanagh, Luca Veste, musician Stuart Neville and game host Mark Billingham were crime authors Denise Mina, Sarah Pinborough, Will Dean, Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre and Abir Mukerjee. All of them told outrageous truths and lies - Chris Brookmyre watching Swedish porn with Ian Rankin, and the Dalai Lama telling Abir he was fat were my two favourites. An hysterically funny night.

After a much needed lazy morning and lunch with relatives I headed to 'Word of Mouth, Page by Page' with three authors, all at different stages of their writing careers but who have all seen huge success with their books. Jo Spain, Elly Griffiths and Sarah Pinborough were all very entertaining and the snippets from the books sounded great.

Then it was off to talk 'Crime That Goes Bump In The Night' with CJ Tudor, Alison Belsham and Luca Veste. All three have written about the darker side of crime, sometimes gruesome, sometimes scary. I've read Alison's The Tattoo Thief and will be reviewing it on Thursday as part of the blog tour, but I can't wait to get into The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor and Luca's The Bone Keeper. And I finally got my (very poor) selfie game on.

Fabulous and funny Luca Veste

Talented Alison Belsham

Gorgeous CJ Tudor

My final event was Carry On Sleuthing: Murder at the Knickerage, a comedy crime play from the mind (be very afraid!) and pen of fantastic author Douglas Skelton. The actors were authors Caro Ramsay, Michael J Malone, Douglas himself, Teresa Talbot, Alex Gray, Lin Anderson, Neil Broadfoot and Gordon Brown, all doing a fine job of humiliating themselves in the name of comedy. Really, they did a fabulous job and brought the full house down. It was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

I am not a crime writer, nor even an aspiring one, but as a huge fan (stalker) and (fairly new) blogger, this was a weekend full of my people. It's one of the highlights of my year. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming, and the authors so tolerant and accessible. And fun. It was great to see old friends, make new ones and learn new things. Bob McDevitt, you, your team and the army of volunteers are magicians. I can't imagine how much work it takes beforehand and behind the scenes, but it all runs perfectly. Don't know how you all do it, but THANK YOU! My only regret was that I couldn't get to everything!

Bloody Scotland 2018 book haul

Roll on Bloody Scotland 2019!

Without Rules by Andrew Field #blogblitz

I am delighted to be shining a spotlight on Without Rules and its author Andrew Field today on the opening day of the blog blitz. Thank you ...