Her Last Breath by J.A.Schneider #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost @JoyceSchneider1

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Today I am absolutely thrilled to be a stop on the blog tour for Her Last Breath by J.A. Schneider. And I also have a guest post, that Joyce has very kindly written for you all, on what makes a book compelling. Welcome Joyce!

About this book…

A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?

Available to buy here

Guest post…

What Makes a Book Most Compelling? by J.A. Schneider

What constitutes the big, mysterious “tug?” That feeling – I call it the ping! – that pulls a potential reader to choose your book over the tsunami of others cramming book stores or Amazon’s pages without number? Is it the cover? The plot or characters?
I can only speak for myself, how I react to choosing the next book…especially if the author is new to me. My decision always seems to happen in three parts.

The cover is what first tugs.
Or doesn’t – no different from why the frosting on one cake looks more wonderful than the frosting on another cake. What’s inside the cake might disappoint, but like the frosting, the book’s cover is what first excites.
Why?
It all comes down to emotion.
Honestly, aren’t all our first reactions based on emotion, before we re-think or tell ourselves we shouldn’t or move on to the next thing? Authors have changed their covers multiple times, hoping that the newer, brighter colors or the half-naked guy’s torso will attract. Sometimes that works, but what to do when every romance cover has an amazingly buff male, or when every thriller/action cover has images that are kinda the same?
Again, emotion rules.
It’s what really grabs, whether the reader is male or female, and regardless of his or her genre preference.
The cover image must have something that pulls at you. Sometimes I’ve even stopped to stare at a cover I thought was ugly…but it was different, and that made it daring, told me something about the author’s voice inside, beckoning.
Her Last Breath is my eighth book, and I’ve never gotten such a response to any of my other covers. The close-up of that woman’s face…oh gasp…is she dying? Desperate? When I first saw her face, after many evenings scouring Shutterstock, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. Other cover ideas beckoned, but that face kept haunting me.
And pulling me back.
The emotion of that cover is so focused, intense. Nothing too busy or muddled to confuse one’s emotional reaction. On Twitter I keep hearing, “Ooh, wow.”
It helps a lot if your cover has that “Ooh, wow” feeling.
Because feelings rule.
Always.

Character
Character pulls me in next. If the character described in the blurb intrigues or tugs at my heart, I’m hooked.
Because of emotion again.
We all laugh, cry, feel stress and anxiety, and if I identify with the character’s trouble and how s/he deals with it – download!
Ditto the appeal of the antagonist – if what s/he is doing outrages or astounds, I definitely want to know more. (Am I the only one who felt a bit sorry for the husband in Gone Girl? He was a jerk – right, so divorce him! Don’t subject him and your family and everyone to such evil.)
But villains might be the most compelling characters of all. Imagine Peter Pan without Captain Hook: you’d have a bland nothing. Then there are the never-ending parade of serial killers. How to make them astounding? What makes Hannibal Lecter rise above all others in his monstrosity? That in itself could be the subject for a thesis, starting with the fact that Thomas Harris’s writing is so incredibly great.
Which brings us to…
The hardest job of the writer – the one we all struggle with – which is to go deep, explore and develop our characters as fully as possible. Make them emotionally compelling, different, wildly colorful even if they’re bad. THAT is the real challenge, the thing that elevates good writing from depicting mere caricatures.

Plot
The plot should work. It really should, but if it doesn’t and if the writing has been fabulous, we are more likely to forgive…a little, depending on the reader. Somewhere I read that Stephen King just doesn’t know how to end a book, whereas he has described the plots of Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, The Boys From Brazil, The Stepford Wives) as having “the brilliance of a Swiss watch.”

For me, the best, most satisfying reads combine numbers 2 & 3. A really satisfying ending after a story of fascinating, different characters, deeply explored and developed…
…ah, bliss.
That plus cake. Make mine chocolate, with fudge frosting. 

My review of Her Last Breath…

Although billed as book #2 in a series, this is very much a standalone novel and anything you need to know about Kerri and her backstory is covered very well. But after reading you will probably be such a big fan of the lovely Kerri that you will be seeking out her first case anyway! The main character here in this book is actually Mari but Kerri plays her role well as police detective with a heart and an instinctive nose for the truth.

Now I’m pretty sure that we have all had times where we have had a few drinks too many and the next day things are a little bit….fuzzy? Well imagine that you have woken up unable to remember a thing about the previous night but you are laying next to a dead body! And even worse, the police think that you murdered them! This is the horrific situation that Mari finds herself in after a party. The man is a famous fashion photographer but Mari has no recollection of meeting him EVER! Thankfully, her estranged husband Ted is a defence lawyer and as they parted on good terms he comes to her rescue. Along with Jay, the witness who discovered Mari in the dead man’s apartment when he saved her own life, they try to clear Mari’s name.

I really enjoyed this murder mystery with a twist and the fact that it was set on the streets of New York gave it an added thrill for me as I adore books set there. It felt like Alfred Hitchcock had taken over a Mary Higgins Clark book! And I love books featuring strong female characters so to have two in one book was a double whammy for me! I was caught up in Mari and her dilemma straight away from the first page when she wakes up and her strength of character and personality became an integral part of the plot for me. I would have gone to pieces but Mari pushed through her self doubts to put herself in the path of further danger. And Kerri was able to put aside her heartbreaking personal problems to stick to her principles and trust her gut instinct.

I think I surprised myself in how much I enjoyed this book which has been written by a new author for me. There was a real sense of realism in the characters and also the settings that showed a depth of research and a concern for the fictional personalities she was creating for us the readers.  I will be very happy to see what Kerri does next both in her career and her personal life.  A gripping and compelling thriller that should come with a warning to have absolutely no plans for a social life until you have read that last page!

I received my review copy of Her Last Breath from the author.

About the author…

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J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek. Once a Liberal Arts major (French Literature), she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and human psychology. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.

The Two O’Clock Boy by Mark Hill #BookReview #WeekendBlogShare @markhillwriter @LittleBrownUK

About this book…

TWO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS… ONE BECAME A DETECTIVE… ONE BECAME A KILLER…

One night changed their lives

Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children’s Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home’s manager.

Cries in the fire and smoke

Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis’ favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried . . . until today.

A truth both must hide

Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O’Clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it take to stop the murders – but he will go even further to cover up the truth.

Discover the gripping, twist-filled start to a fantastic new London-set crime thriller series starring morally corrupt DI Ray Drake – the perfect new addiction for fans of Luther.

My review…

I have to admit that when I first started reading this book, I nearly put it down. I read so many crime books that I have pretty high standards nowadays and if a story doesn’t grab me straight away then I do sometimes walk away. But this one slowly started to intrigued me so I kept going…and then going some more….until I physically couldn’t put it down! Honestly, the more I read the more I had to read! And it was pretty much going to be a 4* review but that last quarter of the book just blew me away!! How many twists and turns could one writer throw at me in one book?! Plenty it seemed as I raced to the end! And so a fabulous 5 stars have been awarded!

I’m assuming that as this book is being marketed as Ray Drake #1 this will hopefully be the start of a new series and I for one will be preordering the next book just as soon as I can! I really REALLY loved Ray Drake! He was dark, unconventional and with a depths so hidden I doubt we will get to the bottom of them in book #2 either! His relationship with his daughter especially, gave new meaning to the word intense but I loved his brooding personality and found myself practically hypnotised by him whenever he was on the page. His colleague Flick was also a character that I found myself taking to far more than I had expected from meeting her in the first few pages. Her personal life gave her a likeability that Drake didn’t appear to have so it was interesting that my preconceptions had changed quite a lot by the end of the book!

This is a twisty, addictive crime read with some absolutely brilliant characterisations that lifted it to levels I hadn’t expected. I like to be surprised and The Two O’Clock Boy definitely did that. An impressive debut that comes highly recommended by me!

I received a review copy of this book via netgalley.

The Two O’Clock Boy (DI Ray Drake) was published by Little Brown Uk in ebook on 22nd September 2016 and will be available in paperback April 2017.

About the author…

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Mark Hill is a London-based full-time writer of novels and scripts. Formerly he was a journalist and a producer at BBC Radio 2 across a range of major daytime shows and projects. He has won two Sony Gold Awards.

Scare Me by Richard Parker #BookReview

About this book…

“When did you last google yourself, Mr Frost?”

Will Frost, successful businessman and happy family man, is woken to a disturbing midnight caller who asks him just that question.

Unnerved, but hoping that he was simply a victim of a twisted prank caller, he goes back to sleep in readiness for his pregnant daughter, Libby, and her boyfriend’s arrival at Gatwick the next morning.

When Will goes online, he finds a website has been set up in his name, showing photographs of the inside of his home, along with photographs of six houses he’s never seen before.

In the first of these strange houses, a gruesome murder has already taken place.

Will is then told that his own family is in mortal danger.

The only way he can keep them safe is to visit each of the houses on the website in person – before the police discover what has happened there.

Seven houses.

Seven gruesome homicides.

Seven chances to save his daughter’s life…

Will must embark on his twisted journey, encountering grisly murder after murder, as his torturer plays with his fears of losing Libby in a sick scavenger hunt.

But can Will ever save his daughter?

Scare Me is an arresting thriller that will keep you in suspense until the very end.

My review…

I will start by saying that this COULD have been an incredible book! The idea behind the plot is attention grabbing and reading it should be highly addictive. Imagine you are watching the 1980s tv series Treasure Hunt but it’s being directed by a psychopath- that’s how Scare Me felt to me! And when we meet this chilling and terrifyingly evil antagonist whilst committing murder for the first of a series of “clues” I knew that this was unlike any book I had read for a while.

Now most of us have probably googled ourselves at some point, nowadays we all have online footprints due to the recent increase in the amount of social media sites out there. But to be woken up out of the blue in the middle of the night by an unknown person and told to Google yourself…that’s just creepy! Still, Will Frost gets up and following the callers instructions he finds himself on a website that has a row of houses on it. He is advised that he needs to go to the address of the first house as the caller has apparently kidnapped his daughter Libby and if he doesn’t comply, Libby will die. So leaving his wife at his office, a safe environment for her but also for her to aid his warped scavenger hunt, Will gets on a plane and heads to the USA. So far so good! The gruesome discovery of a murdered family at the first house shows that someone means business but who are they and what is the connection to Will and his family?

What a brilliant idea for a book, the blurb attracted me straight away and I knew I had to read it. But for me, the plot was probably the best thing about this book. I didn’t connect with Will and his wife much and felt I would have liked a lot more depth to their POV rather than follow the pair of reporters or Tan. Both those threads seems to run on too long spoiling the addictive rhythm of the chase. It just didn’t flow in the adrenaline pumping rush that I would have liked and the ending didn’t quite work for me once we found out who was behind everything. But I can totally see why this has been optioned for a movie and actually think it’s one of those books that will work BETTER as a film! It needs a more visual media to bring home the full horror of Libby in captivity and to show the sheer determination of Will as he is being forced to perform these ghoulish tasks. In the right hands this plot will hopefully be developed into the hugely successful bestseller it could have been here.

I did like this book, I just didn’t love it. Something was missing, for me personally, that could have taken it to the ultimate level of terror that should have been there. I was living through someone’s worst nightmare but the nerve-racking tension just didn’t mount up for me. This is garnering some rave reviews though at the moment so if you’re a fan of fast paced thriller authors like Simon Kernick then it might be worth your while checking it out.

Scare Me was published by Endeavour Press on 26th September 2016 and is available to buy at Amazon UK.

About the author…

Richard Parker worked as a professional TV writer for twenty-two years and started by submitting material to the BBC. After contributing to a wide variety of TV shows he became a head writer, script editor then producer. He then decided to subject himself to the easy streets of writing and getting a novel published. Stop Me was picked up for publication in 2009 and it was nominated for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2010 and entered the Amazon Top 10 bestseller chart.Scare Me , his second standalone thriller, has been acquired by Hollywood production house Relativity Media. Wentworth Miller has now completed his screenplay.

The Secret by Katerina Diamond #BookReview @AvonBooksUK @TheVenomousPen

About this book…

Can you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

Bridget Reid has a secret, one that could get her killed… If she can escape the man who is keeping her locked in a basement bedroom.

DS Imogen Grey is good at keeping secrets – truths she’d never reveal to her colleagues at Exeter Police. She worked hard to get where she is – she nearly died for it. Now her past is catching up with her…

As DS Grey and her partner DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a terrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder. And they realise that some secrets are better left buried…

My review…

I recently shared my review of  The Teacher by Katerina Diamond again in preparation for the publication of The Secret as I wanted to remind myself and other of how gloriously gruesome and compelling it was! I said in that review that I was keen to see DS Imogen Grey team up again with DI Adrian Miles as it was their chemistry and intriguing backstories that really made The Teacher for me. I also followed the blog tour tour for that book where Katerina Diamond shared a little snippet of a short story featuring this pair on a different blog everyday and I just loved that! So there’s been a little bit of hype (finger in a cupcake anyone?!) doing the rounds on social media about The Secret and I was keen to see what all the fuss was about. And these covers are amazing! They are some of the best around at the moment as they are totally eye-catching but does the inside match up to the stunning outside?

The answer is a big fat yes! For me, The Secret is even better than The Teacher! I feel that the author has settled down into her style and delved more deeply into her characters psyche so they are well developed, more rounded and totally believable. There’s still that little frisson of chemistry between the DSs but there is so much going on in Imogens life that she is going to need that friendly shoulder to cry on when things start to become much more personal that she could ever have expected. I absolutely adore this pairing of police officers and again felt as though they have been around for years.

The story here is just as gritty and topical as before. Be prepared for bad language, drug abuse and graphic content but the whole plot determines these necessary and give the book it’s feeling of realism. I loved the fact that the plot wasn’t predictable, there were plenty of twists and turns so that the reader is pretty much discovering reveals the same time as the police do. We find out so much more about why Imogen transferred to Exeter from her previous force and there’s also a few shocks in store for Adrian, one of which I’m sure needs a book all of its own! The pair are looking into the disappearance of an undercover police officer who is being kept “safe” by one of the creepiest characters I’ve read about in a while. The flashback technique is used to great effect here as we observe the journey from young boy to psychopath within the family from hell!

This is another cracker of a read from Katerina Diamond. I enjoyed it from start to finish. It’s uncomfortable reading at times but totally gripping throughout and on the strength of The Secret, I will be preordering her next book as soon as its available.

I received a copy of this book via netgalley and have chosen to write this review after reading.

The Secret: The petrifying new crime book from bestseller Katerina Diamond unpublished by Avon Books on 20th October and is available to buy her from Amazon UK

About the author…

Katerina Diamond was born in Weston in the seventies. She moved to Thessaloniki in Greece and attended Greek school where she learnt Greek in just 6 months. After her parents’ divorce, they relocated to Devon. After school, and working in her uncle’s fish and chip shop, she went (briefly) to university at Derby, where she met her husband and had two children. Katerina now lives in the East Kent Coast with her husband and children.

Her debut novel, The Teacher, was a No.1 bestseller in ebook, and a Sunday Times bestseller in paperback.

The Taken by Casey Kelleher #BlogTour #BookReview @bookouture @CaseyKelleher

So today I am on the blog tour for The Taken which I’m sure many of you read an extract from last week on publication day! And if that didn’t make you head straight for Amazon then I hope my review will! 

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About this book…

When you’ve lost everything, you’ll do anything to survive.

Saskia Frost’s world is blown apart when her dad dies. Without any family, she’s on her own now and up to her eyeballs in her father’s debts. He owed a lot of money to some very dangerous men – Joshua and Vincent Harper. Before long, aspiring ballerina Saskia finds herself lap-dancing in a London club to survive. A club run by the infamous Harper brothers. Saskia is now their property and they’re going to make her pay every penny back.

Teenager Lena Cona has fled a cruel and controlling marriage. She arrives in England with her newborn daughter, desperately relying on strangers for help. But she soon learns that not everyone can be trusted as she finds herself caught in the clutches of Colin Jefferies, a twisted individual obsessed by his own sinister secrets. As the sickening truth is revealed, Lena is forced to fight for her life – and her baby’s.

When their worlds collide, Lena and Saskia form an unlikely friendship. But with the terrifying Harper brothers on their tail, as well as Lena’s vengeful and violent husband, can they escape with their lives?

Fans of Martina Cole and Kimberley Chambers will lose themselves in this brilliantly tense and gripping story.

My Review…

I am so very thankful that Casey Kelleher signed with Bookouture this year as I may not have heard of her or read this book if she hadn’t! I absolutely love the books that this publisher is putting out at the moment and trust them implicitly as they seem to have that magic touch!  So I was excited as a fan of Martina Cole to try a new author to me but I have to say that Casey Kelleher “out-Martina-Coles” Martina Cole! This book is BRILLIANT and I defy anyone to be able to put it down once they pick it up. I took it to bed to read just one or two chapters before I went to sleep…3 hours later I finished it, exhausted both physically and emotionally. Try sleeping after that!

This book has two very strong young women at the heart of its plot and I took to both of them the moment I met them. Both of their stories up to the point of their meeting had me enthralled. And the snippets of a character called Colin also had me rather intrigued, how was this man connected to the girls? And that connection absolutely floored me! What a climax at the end of this gritty, dark and currently relevant thriller but didn’t want it to end!  Not for a long while have I felt so attached to, not one but two, characters in a book that I want to ask Casey where they are now and how they are doing! Fans of Martina Cole with definitely love this one but for me Casey Kelleher has the edge at the moment, her storytelling skills weaved their magic spell over me in a way I hadn’t experienced in this genre for a while.

This book is very highly recommended by me and I can’t wait to read more from Casey Kelleher in the future. 

The Taken: A twisted, gripping crime thriller – not for the faint-hearted is out  published by Bookouture and available to buy here at Amazon UK

About the author…

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Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader and a huge fan of author Martina Cole.

Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time.

 

For all news and updates:www.caseykelleher.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/officialcaseykelleher

http://caseykelleher.wordpress.com

Twitter: @caseykelleher

Tragic Deception by Mel Comley and Linda Prather #BookReview #FridayReads

About this book…

“Seek liberty, Foxy, and you’ll find me.”

Sergeant Alexandra Fox came to America to find the man who had brutally murdered her sister. A man the press called The Escape Artist. Could a British Sergeant fit in with the NYPD? Not if Commander Patterson had anything to do with it.

Suspended with only two friends in America– Chief Brown, a long time family friend, and retired Sergeant Matt “Nobby” Adams, Alex has seven days to find three kidnapped babies, or look for a new job.

Her investigation leads her into a world of deception, that turns tragic before it even begins, and a helping hand from the one person she hated the most–The Escape Artist.

My review…

Before I give out my review please check out my review of Clever Deception by Mel Comley and Linda Prather which is the prequel novella and starts off the Deception series. I would definitely recommend that you read this first to get the most out of Tragic Deception.

And if you’ve read that review you will know that I gave it a fantastic 5 stars which means that I’m going to have to give this one 6 stars because it’s even better! While the novella set the tone for the series and introduced us to Alex and to The Escape Artist, we now become acquainted with Alex in her new role in the NYPD where she’s been working (her way through partners!!) for the past year. It hasn’t been plain sailing but she’s now been given a chance to shine when she has to solve the case of three missing babies. Now this is one of the twistiest cases that Alex has had to get her teeth into (it fooled me for most of the book as I really didn’t work out where it was going) and she really has her work cut out but thankfully she has a great team alongside her. One of the new characters we are introduced to criminal psychologist Blake Morgan and I think there is PLENTY more drama to come there!

I am so impressed with the way Mel and Linda have teamed up to write this new series. Moving the action to the U.S. has worked far better than I expected to and it felt like a natural progression for Alex. I absolutely loved the new cast of characters we meet here, they meshed together with a mix of personalities that all complimented each other perfectly. Nobby, in particular, was an endearing father figure that I took to straight away. And The Escape Artist is still there hovering in the background, never far from Alex’s thoughts and possibly closer than even she has anticipated! As before, as soon as I got to the end I wanted MORE! This series has definitely become a firm favourite now and I can’t wait for the next “Deception” instalment. It really does inspire a whole range of emotions in me, most of them involving a sharp rise in my blood pressure!

Thank you to both Mel Comley and Linda Prather for my review copy of this book in return for my unbiased review.

Tragic Deception (Deception Series Book 1) is published on 1st October 2016 and is available to buy here from Amazon UK.

About the authors…

Linda S Prather and M A Comley are both USA Today and New York Times bestselling authors who have collaborated to bring you the Deception series

Candles and Roses by Alex Walters #BlogTour #BookReview @MikeWalters60 @Bloodhoundbook @baatyabtbooks

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About this book…

Who will live and who will die? 

DI Alec McKay is a man haunted by the loss of his daughter.  As he obsesses over a missing person case that is going nowhere, McKay’s investigation is interrupted when bodies start appearing on the Scottish Black Isle. Soon McKay and his team start to identify a disturbing pattern behind the killings.

Why are candles and roses placed around the bodies?

What is this twisted murderer trying to achieve?

While the police follow their own leads, a young woman who discovered the first victim begins an investigation of her own.

As the case unfolds McKay will be forced to face his own demons.

To catch the killer McKay must discover the true motive and untangle the web of truth and lies.

Candles and Roses is the first book in the explosive new DI McKay Series.

My review…

I haven’t read any of this authors books before so really didn’t have any expectations at all when I picked it up to read. So it was a very pleasant surprise to find a crime novel set in a lovely part of Scotland that I know quite well and with a detective that I found very likeable and convincing.

DI Alec McKay was very easy to visualize from the authors description and I was surprised how easily I took to him. There’s a good balance here between his work life, where he is out to catch a possible serial killer and his home life where problems are hinted at very early on. The other characters I liked were Ginny Horton whom I would love to have more of the action in future books, and Kelly, who bravely decided she wanted to take part in a little investigating of her own. After taking a little while to work out who they and the rest of the characters were and how they fitted in with the plot, I couldn’t put this book down. The descriptions of how each girl goes missing were really disturbing with a creepy atmosphere and sense of foreboding leading back to the wonderfully dark and gloomy setting of the Black Isle.

I did work out where the plot was going but found the end to be conducted without too much sentimentality and with a few ends left dangling for good measure! I really enjoyed this new crime series and will definitely be looking to read the next book when it comes along.

Many thanks to Helen at Bloodhound books for my review copy.

Candles and Roses: a serial killer thriller is published by Bloodhound books on 27th September and is available to buy here at Amazon UK

About the author…

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Alex has worked in the oil industry, broadcasting and banking and now runs a consultancy working mainly in the criminal justice sector including police, prisons and probation.
As Michael Walters, he has published three crime thrillers set in modern-day Mongolia. As Alex Walters he has written two thrillers set in and around Manchester and featuring the undercover officer, Marie Donovan, Trust No-One and Nowhere to Hide. His new book, Late Checkout is the first in a series of crime thrillers featuring, alongside Marie Donovan, the rather distinctive DCI Kenny Murrain. The second book in the series, Dark Corners, is scheduled for publication in Autumn 2016. Candles and Roses, the first in a new crime series set in Scotland’s Black Isle, is due out in September 2016.
Alex lives in Manchester with his wife, occasional sons and too many cats.

He can be contacted at: mike@whitmuir.com
Twitter: @mikewalters60
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alexwaltersauthor/

 

 

 

 

The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe

About this book…

A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway.

The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace.

But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete?

Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation.

As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible. But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover?

 

My review…

When I received a copy of The Ice Beneath Her in my goody bag at Theakstons Crime in Harrogate, I was really excited! The blurb on
the back made it sound right up my street, I loved the cover and then…..oh it’s “scandi crime” translated from Swedish. Now, me and Scandi crime aren’t exactly good mates. I find most books difficult to get into and rather verbose which can often be down to translation. So I’m not a huge fan and would struggle to name even one book I have enjoyed in this genre…..until now that is!! Honestly, if ever a book deserves the tagline “the most gripping thriller you’ll read this year” then The Ice Beneath Her is that book. I started it in the evening, took it to bed with me and read the whole thing in one sitting from cover to cover. Yes, it’s that unputdownable!

The three viewpoints that this story is told through really keep the reader guessing throughout. There is Peter, a commitment phobic police officer, who is brought in to solve the murder of an unknown woman in the house of well known CEO Jesper Orre. Peter’s attitude to his job is very diligent and organised but when it came to his personal life, I just wanted to shake him and tell him to get over himself!! Also brought in, due to having had experience at a similar crime scene 10 years before, is Hanne a criminal profiler. I loved Hanne and the way she handled both her early onset dementia and her much older, controlling husband. I was mentally cheering her on all the way. The fact that there was history between her and Peter added an edge to the investigation, a bit of frisson that kept coming back to haunt them both. And then there was Emma, secret fiancee of Jesper Orre telling her story in the two months leading up to the murder. I found Emma’s story to be my favourite of the three, the one I kept wanting to return to. Her narrative was incredibly dark and I found it quite disturbing the way she was being treated by her dominating and deceitful fiancee Jesper, whom I loathed from the start.

This book did the one thing I love when reading, it surprised me! Not just in the plotting of what is a brilliant twisty turny storyline but in the way the characters developed throughout. It is a character led mystery and so well done that I actually felt as though these people existed alongside me as I read. Although this had the traditional cold and unemotional feeling of a Swedish crime thriller, due to the fantastic way it was written and translated sometimes I forgot that it hadn’t been in English in the first place! I wish all Scandi crime was done as brilliantly as this! I hope that Camilla Grebe’s next book lives up to this fabulous debut.

A huge thanks to Bonnier Zaffre for my review copy of this highly recommended crime thriller.

The Ice Beneath Her: The most gripping psychological thriller you’ll read this year is available to buy now from Amazon UK here.

About the author and the translator…

Camilla Grebe is a graduate of the Stockholm School of Economics. She was a cofounder of Storyside, a Swedish audiobook publisher, where she was both CEO and publisher during the early 2000s. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Elizabeth Clark Wessel is an editor at Argos Books and author of the chapbook Whither Weather. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and works as a translator.

Matching the Evidence by Graham Smith **Blog Tour** Publication Day Guest Post!

 

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Ok this is an exciting tour for me to be on as Matching the Evidence is OUT TODAY so Happy Publication Day Mr Smith! Since I met Graham at a TBC meet up in Leeds I have been a fan, especially as I won a signed copy of Major Crime Team Volume One and since then I have always read Grahams books with his voice in my head! Anyway today Graham visits my blog with a guest post for you about censorship and I also have a review of Matching The Evidence.

Censorship and Me by Graham Smith

As a creative type I’m not in favour of censorship of any kind. Oddly however, I do find myself self-censoring.
The reason for this I hear you ask?
There’s some stuff I just don’t want to put out there. My face is known on the internet and the last thing I want to put into someone’s mind is my hairy face if they’re reading a sex scene I’ve written. That would just be icky on so many levels for all concerned.
Plus there’s the fact that sex scenes are incredibly personal things to write and I’m not sure I want people judging me on the way I write about two characters getting down and dirty. I’m a crime writer and crime is what I write. Someone else can write erotica although I’m always willing to help with the research if there are any hot writers out there.
A lot of the more violent acts that happen in my stories are perpetrated off the page. That’s not because I’m squeamish in any way, it’s because the effects of violence are more interesting to me than the acts themselves. Don’t get me wrong, if the story called for it, I’d have absolutely no qualms about writing a vicious torture scene, but if it’s not essential to the story then including it would be gratuitous.
The biggest act of censorship I’ve committed against myself revolves around a plot. I have a great idea for a terrorist plot. My hero would thwart the plot, save countless lives, save the day and probably get the girl.
My problem is I’d have to explain the terrorist plot. It’s not a hugely complicated plan, it’s one which could be enacted for real and could see as few as half a dozen suicidal terrorists killing tens of thousands. I cannot in good conscience put this idea out into the public domain lest a terrorist use my plan. While this may sound conceited, I’d have to say I don’t give a flying fuck. I’d rather sound conceited than provide terrorists with ideas on how to wreak terror.
You may have got the impression from that last paragraph that I don’t tend to censor my language. This is something of a misnomer as I do actually censor the language I use in my novels. I have never to date used the “c” word and this is a deliberate choice. There are many who deem it to be the worst word in the world and I don’t see the point in offending any of them when there are many other words which can be used instead.
The final area I find myself censoring from my writing is the use of any unnecessary offence. I’m talking about racist, sexist, homophobic and religious comments. I don’t make them in the real world, so why should I make them on the page? My characters on the other hand may be given these traits but only because I want to show a nasty side to them. That’s allowed.
If you have any thoughts on the subject of censorship, I’d love to hear your views in the comments.

About this book…

Carlisle United are playing Millwall and the Major Crimes Team are assigned to crowd control as punishment for their renegade ways. Typically DI Harry Evans has other ideas and tries to thwart the local firm’s plans to teach Millwall’s notorious Bushwhackers an unforgettable lesson.
Meanwhile an undercover cop is travelling north with some of the Millwall contingent. His mission is to identify the ringleaders and gather evidence against them.
Three illegal immigrants have been transported to Carlisle and are about to meet their new employers.
Nothing is as it seems for Evans and his Major Crimes Team as they battle to avoid a bloodbath while also uncovering a far more heinous crime.

My review…

This is the latest case for DI Harry Evans and the Major Crimes Team and don’t worry if this is your first foray into his world as this can be read as a standalone. There are little inclusions to fill you in on Harry’s backstory so that you can understand why he acts the way he does and these will, I’m sure, send you straight to Amazon to order the previous books!

There are two plotlines here and it isn’t till towards the end that they become entwined. Graham Smith keeps his plots gritty, realistic and totally believable. He shows the dark side of crime in the UK, those cases that we don’t really want to think about and tend to sweep under the carpet because if we don’t know about them surely this means we can pretend they don’t exist? Smith uses very topical issues here, the atmosphere is dark and there is an undercurrent of foreboding throughout. It’s a relatively short read, I found it to be the perfect length as I like to read these all in one hit! And to have had a small insight into the next case for Harry (there was an extract of I know Your Secret at the very end) left me on quite a high level of anticipation!

So for a disturbing, gritty British crime series you have definitely got to try the DI Harry Evans books. They will make an excellent tv series so I hope to see Harry on the small screen very soon!

About the author…

Graham Smith Author Pic

Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

He is the author of four books featuring DI harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team.

Matching the Evidence
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Matching-Evidence-Major-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B01JJ5D1AC

Snatched from Home
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Snatched-Home-Would-Children-Harry-ebook/dp/B00U0GRQCY

Lines of Enquiry
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Major-Crimes-Team-Lines-Enquiry-ebook/dp/B00U0N3FG8

I Know Your Secret – Out October 2016

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Twitterhttps://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972
Websitewww.grahamsmithauthor.com

Breaking Dead by Corrie Jackson

About this book…

THE FIRST THRILLER FEATURING JOURNALIST SOPHIE KENT.

For fans of Kimberley Chambers and Jessie Keane, this compelling thriller uncovers the dark side of high fashion.

London Fashion Week. When a teenage model is found brutally murdered, journalist Sophie Kent is distraught. She failed to save the girl and now she wants justice.

Determined to catch the murderer, Sophie cuts through the industry’s glittery surface to expose a toxic underworld of drugs, prostitution, blackmail and secrets. Then her personal life threatens to derail everything.

Battling her demons and her wealthy dysfunctional family, Sophie goes head to head with a sadistic killer – a killer who is only just getting started . . .

My review…

So Kindle is now charged (honestly who doesn’t take their Kindle charger to bed with them?!) and I’m now able to bring you my full review of Breaking Dead which, you may have seen earlier, I thought was absolutely brilliant! I have to firstly thank Mairead,who blogs at Swirl and Thread for pointing me in the direction of this book as I had previously thought it possibly wasn’t for me but how wrong was I? I don’t know what I was expecting but it certainly wasn’t this strongly plotted, brilliantly character driven crime thriller with a difference. The difference being that Sophie Kent, who takes a personal interest in a horrific murder investigation, is not a police officer but a journalist. And a journalist with a difference who will do whatever it takes to get her story but does it while maintaining the trust of all she connects with. She isn’t perfect, far from it, as she is dealing with a personal loss that is constantly with her and she has the most messed up love life I’ve come across recently!

This is a very hard hitting book, quite graphic in places and has some quite upsetting scenes at times. The setting of the modelling world isn’t the glamourous world we see in the fashion magazines but a very dark and disturbing behind-the-scenes look at a world where very young women are thrown in at the sleazy end where money, sex and drugs rule. And heaven forbid they eat! When Sophie meets Natalia while investigating a murder on the estate she lives on, she realises straight away that she is hiding something from her. The more she digs, the more terrified the young Russian model gets. Then a series of murders lead Sophie to follow the trail of a sadistic and cunning killer but is she putting others at risk with her diligent detection or even herself?

For me what made this book rise head and shoulders above others was Sophie herself. I just loved her attitude and her honesty which combined to make her one of the most endearing heroines I have ever met. She was flawed and impulsive but she never gave up in her request for the truth. That doesn’t mean that she always played by the rules and the line between her personal and private life was constantly crossed but this is, essentially, a journalist with a heart. I just loved her and now I can’t wait to meet her again as the ending of Breaking Dead leads me to believe that we may not have heard the last of the London Heralds rogue reporter! And if the plot is going to be the one I’m expecting then I just can’t wait!!

Corrie Jackson has done a whole heap of in-depth investigating herself here and this storyline is packed full of interesting and detailed descriptions to show that she’s researched the hell out of this! Having read her bio, I can see that she’s probably used a lot of her background in fashion journalism to create an intensely competitive fictional environment for Sophie to prowl around and it has worked perfectly.

A well deserved 5 star review for this debut novel and highly recommended by me.

I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

Breaking Dead: A Dark, Gripping, Edge-of-Your-Seat Debut Thriller (The Sophie Kent series) is available to buy now from Amazon UK

About the author…

Corrie Jackson has been a journalist for fourteen years. During that time she has worked at Harper’s Bazaar, the Daily Mail, Grazia and Glamour. After a two-year stint in Los Angeles, Corrie now lives in Surrey, England, with her husband and two children.Breaking Dead is her first novel.