Category Archives: Book blog

A day with author Linda Huber @LindaHuber19

Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Linda Huber to the book review café, the author has kindly written a guest post about her working day. I’m loving these guest posts and I hope you are too, it’s fascinating to read how different authors approach their writing. So without further ado……..

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Every day starts the same here in Arbon, N. E. Switzerland – with coffee. Without my two mugs I’m no use to anyone, so the coffee machine gets switched on as soon as the alarm rings at 7 a.m. I check the news while the toast is browning, and after that I’m good to go.
I write more or less full-time now. My ex-day job was teaching English as a foreign language (our school was in a medieval castle; it was the most atmospheric job ever), but I gave that up almost two years ago to concentrate on my books. Nowadays, I teach a handful of private students here at home, and the rest of the time is for writing. First thing I do when I sit down at the computer is the same as almost everyone, I guess – check emails and social media.

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My writing desk isn’t actually in my office room, where I teach – it’s in the bedroom. The office room is on the street side, while the bedroom overlooks a beautiful wood. It was a no-brainer, deciding where to do my writing. Who could resist those trees?

What I actually do depends on the stage my wip is at. Currently I’m finishing the new one and getting it into a fit state to go to my editor, and meanwhile, a very new one is beginning to buzz around in my head. I love this stage, where I’m discovering the characters, planning what might happen in the story and how my paper people could react to the problems I throw at them.

Most days I’m home alone during the day, so I can please myself about tea- and lunchbreaks. Lunch can be anytime between one and four o’clock, dinner is usually between six and eight, depending on who’s home. We do flexi-meals in this flat.

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Once or twice a week I check how my books are doing on the mighty Amazon – I have four traditionally published suspense novels, and three self-published. For these three, I have to organise my own promotions, advertising, etc etc. Not my favourite job, but it has to be done.

Housework also tends to be a once or twice a week thing, which always makes me feel guilty. I can still hear my mother’s voice, when I once objected to being told to dust the living room in the school holidays: ‘We have to dust every day, Linda.’ Fortunately, my bookshelves here are white, so you don’t notice the dust much. Honestly.

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The nice thing about being self-employed is, I can organise my days according to what’s going on. A moment of inspiration? (Wish I had them more often!) I can drop everything and glue myself to the PC. A beautiful autumn day? Go for a walk through my woods and down to our lovely lake. An afternoon invitation? No problem. I can write in the evening, or just write less that day. One thing I particularly enjoy is wandering through the old town here in Arbon – it’s medieval, to match the castle. Imagine how many feet have wandered along these streets over the centuries.

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Living in Switzerland means I don’t get to meet up with other writers as often as I’d like. I had a really great time in England in October, when I popped over to the Bedford area and met up with my publisher and a few writing friends – it’s lovely to meet people in real life! Nobody ever looks much like their profile pic on Facebook…

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Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Not to mention several years spent as a full-time mum to two boys, a rescue dog, and a large collection of guinea pigs.

Her writing career began in the nineties, when she had over fifty short stories published in women’s magazines. Several years later, she discovered the love of her writing life – psychological suspense fiction. Her seventh novel, Death Wish, was published by Bloodhound Books in August 2017.

After spending large chunks of the current decade moving house, Linda has now settled in a beautiful flat on the banks of Lake Constance in north-east Switzerland.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlindahuber/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaHuber19

website: https://lindahuber.net/

Amazon Author Page 

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My thanks to Linda Huber for taking time out of her busy schedule to write this post and also for the use of the photographs from her private collection.

The Key To Death’s Door by Mark Tilbury @Bloodhoundbook @MTilburyAuthor #MustReads

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Book description 

Looking for a dark and compelling psychological thriller?

If you could discover the murderous truth of a past life and seek justice in this one, would you?

Teenager Lee Hunter doesn’t have a choice when he nearly drowns after spending the night at a derelict boathouse with his best friend, Charlie Finch. After leaving his body and meeting a mysterious light, Lee is sent back to relive the final days of another life. A life that ended tragically.

After recovering from his near death experience, Lee begins to realise that he is part of two lives linked by the despicable actions of one man.

Struggling against impossible odds, Lee and Charlie set out to bring this man to justice.

Will Lee be able to unlock the past and bring justice to the future?

The Key to Death’s Door is a story of sacrifice, friendship, loyalty and murder.

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I’m a big fan of Mark Tilbury’s writing, his books are normally dark and disturbing and The Key To Death’s Door is definitely both of these things. I should mention this probably isn’t one for the faint hearted there is strong language and violence, but if you dare to read it I’m sure like me you will find it a riveting read. I’m not going to rehash the plot details as all you need to know is in the book description, but suffice to say with elements of the paranormal running throughout it made this book a highly original albeit a very disturbing read.

Mark Tilbury’s  imagination knows no bounds, he pushes boundaries, delves into the deepest corners of the human mind and comes up with the most original and twisted plots. The author takes the ugliest traits in humans and turns them into living, breathing characters, that you will end up despising for their cruelty to others, but you read on hoping that “karma” catches up with them! One of the characters actually made my skin crawl, they were the devil incarnated . I found myself screaming with frustration and anger at this vile excuse for a human being. When an author can evoke such intense emotions in me then they deserve high praise indeed.

A perpetual sense of doom radiates from the pages, I found myself constantly holding my breath as The Key To Death’s Door grew darker and more sinister at each turn of the page. Even though this book pushes the realms of credibility I was happy to immerse myself in this very disturbing and at times emotional read. Mark Tilbury has a unique knack of writing about the unthinkable but then adds moments of tenderness and humour which prevent his books from becoming a depressive read. I especially found the relationship between Lee and Charlie endearing, at times I couldn’t help but become emotionally involved in their relationship, now that was something I wasn’t expecting.

If you have been put of by the supernatural element I would urge you to think again, The Key To Death’s Door has so much more to offer, it’s thought provoking, gritty and at times very emotional. If I had to describe Mark Tilbury’s books using only one word it would have to be “unpredictable” no two books are the same, which make his books such a thrill to read. Highly recommended if you are looking for a gripping thriller outside the norm.  

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 361 pages

Publisher: Bloodhound Books (16 April 2018)

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to see I’m giving The Key To Death’s Door the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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**Blog tour** #Keeper by Johana Gustawsson #BookReview @OrendaBooks @JoGustawsson #FrenchNoir

 

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Today it’s my absolute pleasure to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Keeper by the new queen of French noir Johana Gustawsson. You can get a kindle copy right now or pre-order the paperback which is published on the 28th April by the fabulous Orenda Books. If you love a crime thriller that’s dark, disturbing and intricately plotted then look no further this is the perfect book for you. Before I share my review here’s the book description to whet your appetite.

Book description

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.
London, 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?

Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down. Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.

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There are some books I like, others I love and then there is the rare book that blows me away with an ingenious plot, incredible writing, and bucketfuls of suspense and Keeper by Johana Gustawsson fits the bill perfectly. Block 46 the first book in the series actually made it on to my top reads of 2017, so I couldn’t wait to read this one. Keeper sees the return of French true crime writer Alexis Castells Canadian profiler Emily Roy, I do like the author’s career choices for her two main protagonists, as it means the plot doesn’t feature heavily on police procedures, which I find can sometimes overwhelm a plot. There are a lot of characters in this book so it did take me a while to work out who was who, but this in no way distracted from the read. Keeper is told through past and present events, and suffice to say the author skips flawlessly between time lines. I must give a mention to Maxim Jakubowski who translated the book, he’s done a fantastic job.

Keeper has so much to offer it’s a crime thriller with a unique plot, the author combines crimes committed in both Sweden and the UK with crimes from the past, in this case the horrific and gruesome crimes committed by Jack The Ripper. I found myself trying to work out the connection (I failed miserably I should add) between the Jack the Ripper crimes in Whitechapel 1988 and the crimes committed in Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015, how the hell could the two connect? I thought I had a fairly vivid imagination where crime thrillers are concerned, but I couldn’t even begin to figure out where this book was heading. I should mention that this book does contain some pretty gruesome and disturbing scenes, but as it’s a crime thriller they are very much part of the plot.

Johana Gustawsson has an incredible knack of writing in such a descriptive way that it doesn’t take much imagination to conjure up the images she writes about, from the poverty stricken Whitechapel, to the gruesome crime scenes that sent shivers down my spine you can’t but help but become immersed in her writing. Without a doubt the author has created a dark and unsettling read, Johana Gustawsson has such a vivid and creative imagination she takes you to the darkest places, explores the most gruesome crimes and then brings all the elements together to create one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year. I really can’t wait to see where the twisted imagination of the new Queen Of French noir takes her readers next. Highly, highly recommended, and yes this compelling crime thriller will be on my top reads of 2018 without a shadow of a doubt.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to see I’m giving Keeper the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a fabulous read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page and plus this one gave me a #Major #BookHangover something I don’t suffer with very often!

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Buyinng links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 276 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (15 Feb. 2018)

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Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy of Keeper in exchange for an unbiased review and also for the opportunity to take part in this fabulous blog tour.

 

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#BlogBlitz When Evil Calls Your Name by John Nicholl @nicholl06 @BloodhoundBook

 

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on the #BlogBlitz tour for When Evil Calls Your Name by John Nicholl. Published by the awesome Bloodhound Books this is one series you don’t want to miss, especially if like me you enjoy a darker more sinister psychological  thriller.

Book description

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay hidden forever…

When twenty-nine-year-old Cynthia Galbraith struggles to come to terms with her traumatic past and the realities of prison life, a prison counsellor persuades her to write a diary exploring the events that led to a life sentence for murder.

Although unconvinced at first, Cynthia finally decides she has all the time in the world and very little, if anything, to lose. As she begins writing she holds back nothing: sharing the thoughts she hadn’t dare vocalise, the things that keep her awake at night and haunt her waking hours.

Will the truth finally be revealed?

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 White Is The Coldest Colour by John Nicholl introduced the reader to Dr David Galbraith, a highly trusted and respected child psychiatrist, but in reality Galbraith was a sadistic predatory paedophile. We were also introduced to Galbraith’s wife Cynthia. When Evil Calls Your Name is very much about Cynthia who is now serving a prison sentence and struggling to come to terms with her traumatic past and the realities of prison life. I should mention I really don’t think you will be able to appreciate the full impact of Cynthia’s story without reading would White Is The Coldest Colour first. 

This is a book that is very much character driven, the author certainly gets inside the head of Cynthia and he doesn’t skimp on the gritty or troubling details of her life. When Evil Calls Your Name answers many of the questions I had about Cynthia. In the previous book I wanted to shake her and tell her “to get a grip”, she appeared weak and in awe of her psychopath husband, but after reading her story it all makes sense.

Through Cynthia’s writing we learn so much more about her, how she went from a confident carefree student to a shadow of herself. Galbraith is a master in manipulation,  and John Nicholl explores his behaviour with a chilling sense of realism.  By the the end of the book my views on Cynthia had completely changed, I could empathise with her and appreciate what she went through. When Evil Calls your name is a disturbing read,  as you can’t help  but imagine the awful things Cynthia had to put up with living with such an evil and controlling husband. You feel her anxiety, despair and fear.

John  Nicholls has once again written an intense and dark read, that kept me reading late into the night, (hence the dark circles under my eyes!). A solid conclusion to the Galbraith series and although not fast paced, it’s an intriguing read that explores abusive relationships with an incredible insight into a difficult and disturbing subject.

About the author

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John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, writes popular dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon international bestseller, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and the USA. John is happily married, lives in rural west Wales, and has three adult children and one grandchild. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire. A Cold Cold Heart, John’s sixth book, is published by Bloodhound Books in January 2018. John is represented by Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.

Links:

Author website

http://www.johnnicholl.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/john. nicholl.988

Goodreads

Twitter: @nicholl06

Agent

http://tma-agency.com

Thanks go to Bloodhound Books, John Nicholl and Sarah Hardy for an advanced readers copy of When Evil Calls Your Name to read in exchange for an honest review

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Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza #MustReads2018 @RobertBryndza @Bookouture

 

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Anyone who follows my blog will know I’m a HUGE fan of crime author Robert Bryndza, and that my reviews for his Erika Foster series can be a tad over enthusiastic to say the least 😂. So you can imagine my excitement when I received an ARC of Deadly Secrets the sixth book in this series. Before I share my review here’s the book description….

Book description

To commit the perfect murder, you need the perfect cover.

On an icy morning, a mother wakes to find her daughter’s blood-soaked body frozen to the road. Who would carry out such a killing on the victim’s doorstep?

Straight off her last harrowing case, Detective Erika Foster is feeling fragile but determined to lead the investigation. As she sets to work, she finds reports of assaults in the same quiet South London suburb where the woman was killed. One chilling detail links them to the murder victim – they were all attacked by a figure in black wearing a gas mask.

Erika is on the hunt for a killer with a terrifying calling card. The case gets more complicated when she uncovers a tangled web of secrets surrounding the death of the beautiful young woman.

Yet just as Erika begins to piece the clues together, she is forced to confront painful memories of her past. Erika must dig deep, stay focused and find the killer. Only this time, one of her own is in terrible danger…

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Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza is the sixth book in the Erika Foster crime series, at this point in a crime series I find it’s sometimes the pivotal book, in other words the book where my love affair with a series ends. I read so many books that I just haven’t got the time to invest in a series that’s lost it’s lustre, but fortunately once again Robert Bryndza has written another fabulous and worthy addition to the Detective Erika Foster series, and yes I loved every damn page of this unmissable crime thriller.

One thing I will say for Robert Bryndza he certainly knows how to write an opening chapter that is guaranteed to pull the reader in, if I mention a blood-soaked body frozen to the ground you will get my drift. From the off you enter the dark and disturbing world of a chilling killer, whose MO is unusual to say the least! But then I expected nothing less, the author has such a vivid imagination I just knew he would come up with something disturbing and spine chilling.

Deadly Secrets isn’t as fast paced as some of the previous books in the series, but don’t let that put you off, as the author still manages to deliver a cracking crime thriller that is both gripping and multi layered. Erika Foster is probably one of my favourite fictional Detectives and her character has grown as the series has progressed, but this book delves more into Erika’s character than ever before, the reader is privy to her struggles as a detective, family member and as a woman of a certain age, which give her character an air of credibility very often lacking in fictional detectives.

Delivered in short snappy chapters Deadly Secrets is one you need to read with no interruptions, not because the plot is so complex that you need to concentrate, it’s just so darn good you just want to read it in one “do not interrupt” deliciously satisfying sitting. Deadly Secrets is layered in lies, deception, and obsession, and as always Robert Bryndza writes in such away you are lured into his stories with a devilishly twisted plot and writing that engages the reader from the start.

I must congratulate the author I can pretty much sniff out a twist before it happens, but no not this time, I’m sure my jaw hit the ground when I reached this point in the book, it was definitely an “OMG” moment but so cleverly done. I may have mentioned this before but the reason I love this series so much is the author’s ability to make each book completely different, so the series doesn’t feel like “the same old”, and just in case you haven’t already guessed I would highly recommend Deadly Secrets to anyone and everyone who enjoys a dark and suspense filled read.

Pre-order links:       Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 270 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (13 April 2018)

Link to other books in this series

 

A day with author Helen Matthews @HelenMK7

Today I’m thrilled to welcome Helen Matthews, author of   ‘After Leaving the Village’ to the book review café. ‘After Leaving the Village’ has been described as a gritty contemporary suspense thriller and I must say the book description has piqued my interest (details further down this post). The author is the latest guest to write A day in the life post, so without further ado…..

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Before I became a writer, I worked full time for a big energy company. In corporate life the assumption persists that early risers, who rock up to the office at dawn, are morally superior. I’m a nightingale – or perhaps an owl – definitely not a lark. For years I would struggle to prop my eyes open and try to look alert for our Monday morning meeting. This was doubly difficult because I was the boss: the one running the meeting and, supposedly, inspiring my team for the challenges of the week ahead!
I’ve always kept late hours. In my corporate role, I rarely left the office before 7.00 p.m. and often travelled within the UK and sometimes abroad. In the evenings, I attempted to spend time with my husband and children, but they became teenagers and pretended they didn’t know who I was. So, at around 10.30 p.m., I would sneak off to my computer and write fiction into the small hours.

Now I’m self-employed and work from home so I mould my days into a work pattern that suits my biorhythms. Alongside writing fiction, I’m a freelance copywriter, drafting content for newsletters and company websites. Self-employment is a joy. As long as you meet deadlines, you can work when and where you please – on Sunday afternoons, at midnight, on holiday or outside in the garden. Unless I have a conference call or meeting, I set my alarm for a very civilised 8.15 a.m. My lovely husband, an early riser, brings me a cup of tea. If he forgets, I may send him a text: ‘Tea, please.’ I once sent the ‘Tea, please’ text, in error, to my daughter’s partner – presumably the last person I’d been in phone contact with the night before. This caused some consternation as they live 45 minutes’ drive away.

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Enough confessions. You probably think I’m slothful but, consider this – I no longer need good hair, nor must I face a long commute; I shovel down a bowl of cereal and I’m at my computer by nine.

In the mornings, writers should ignore those pesky emails, avoid becoming tainted with Twitter and plunge straight into the world of their novel-in-progress. Good advice, right? I wish I could follow it, but I have tried, and failed. Since my novel ‘After Leaving the Village’ was released into the world, I’m constantly checking my emails for any new reviews or opportunities to promote my book.

Launching a book means swapping your creative hat for a marketing and PR one. It also involves a shedload of admin, for example, writing blogs and guest posts, answering Qs&As from reviewers; sending out invitations or tweets about upcoming events and liaising with bookshops, libraries and book clubs. If I have a talk or presentation coming up, I treat it like a project and make sure I’m fully prepared. Ferreting out new promotional opportunities takes time and I’m pleased to say I have events booked through until September 2018 but there’s plenty of space on my calendar to fit in more.

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Once I’ve cleared the business end of my work, I get back to writing fiction. My next novel is at fifth draft stage. The working title is ‘Lies Behind the Ruin and it’s contemporary suspense about a family in crisis. It’s been workshopped with a writers’ group I belong to in Oxford. One of my friends from that group has read the full manuscript and given me a brilliant, detailed feedback report. Because I’m still immersed in my current novel, I often settle down to work on the new one and find I have – quite literally – lost the plot and have to reread massive chunks.

I break for lunch for around fifteen minutes and carry on writing through the afternoon. I’ve decided not to accept new copywriting commissions for a while, so I can devote attention to my book and give it the best start in life. After all, you wouldn’t send your children out into the world alone – they’d get lost. I’m trying to look after my book in a similar way.

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At around 4 p.m. I often look up from my screen and realise I haven’t been outside all day. So, I will invent an errand and walk into the village. Or I may go to the leisure centre for a swim. I find swimming lengths a therapeutic way of sorting out plot tangles.
I belong to three writers’ groups: one meets weekly, one fortnightly and the Oxford one is once a month. Staying in close touch with other writers keeps me sane. Writing is a solitary business and, during the working week, I rarely meet non-writer friends for coffee, though if they suggest a walk or bike ride I might be tempted.

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After dinner with my husband, I often go out to my book group, or to rehearsals for the choir I sing in, or sometimes to meet up with friends. My husband prefers to be at home on weekday evenings but after hard graft at the creative coalface, I’m ready to be sociable. If I do stay home, the magnetic pull of the laptop summons me back to research or writing. But I no longer stay up pounding the keyboard until 2.00 a.m. and Monday morning meetings are a private matter between me and my characters, who don’t seem to notice if I’m having a bad hair day.

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‘After Leaving the Village’ was published by Hashtag Press in October 2017. It is my debut novel and won first prize in the opening pages category at Winchester Writers’ Festival. My novel is a gritty contemporary suspense thriller so won’t suit all tastes but it’s been hailed by reviewers as ‘very much a novel of our times’ and ‘powerful’…one of the reasons ‘why it has been endorsed by anti-slavery charity, Unseen.’

As a writer, I often ask the question – how can a life change in an instant? Sometimes this leads me to explore some dark places. I’d love to know what you think, so please leave a review.

I’ve won several short story prizes and my story ‘Coal’ was published in Artificium literary magazine. You can read my travel blogs over on www.helenmatthewswriter.com where you’ll also find my contact details and can tell me what you loved – or hated

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Book description

Two women. Two villages. Different destinies. Odeta’s life has shrunk to a daily round of drudgery, running her father’s grocery store in a remote Albanian village. One day a stranger from Tirana walks into the shop and promises her a new career in London. Odeta’s life is about to change, but not in the way she expected.

Journalist Kate lives on a quiet London street and seems to have a perfect life but she worries about her son Ben, who struggles to make friends. Kate blames the internet and disconnects her family from the online world so they can get to know their neighbours. On a visit to her home village in Wales, Kate is forced to confront a secret from her past. But greater danger lies closer to home. Perhaps Kate’s neighbours are not the friendly community they seem.

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to author Helen Matthews for this guest post and taking time out of her busy schedule to write it .

 

Into The Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner #Unsub2 @DuttonBooks @MegGardiner1 #MustReads

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Into The Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2018, especially after reading the first book in this crime series Unsub, which by the way is already on my top reads of 2018. Before I share my review I would like to say thank you to fellow book blogger Janel who blogs over at the fabulous https://keeperofpages.wordpress.com/ (if you don’t already follow her blog it’s a MUST) for her overwhelming generosity in sending me her copy of Into The Black Nowhere, just because she knew how much I loved Unsub. Before I share my review here’s the book description to whet your appetite…….

Book description

Inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, an exhilarating thriller in which FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style–posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.

To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.

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Into The Black Nowhere opens with the chilling and shocking disappearance of mother Shana, and from there on in Meg Gardiner keeps the reader in her clutches. Into The Black Nowhere is the second book in the Unsub and although it could be read as a standalone I would urge you to start at the beginning as it has all the hallmarks of an unmissable crime series. I’m not going to rehash the plot as pretty much all you need to know is in the detailed book description, suffice to say Caitlin Hendrix is back and now working as an FBI Profiler tracking the Saturday Night Killer in Austin, Texas, where women keep disappearing. Caitlin with the help of a legendary FBI profiler piece together a profile that will lead them to focus on one particular suspect.

Inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, Meg Gardiner manages to create a serial killer who is charming, confident, and yet is merciless when it comes to his victims, very much in keeping with Ted Bundy’s MO this fact alone makes the killer all the more credible which in turn made this book all the more chilling to read. Caitlin is a character who intrigues me, a character with many sides she’s committed to her job, but you sense a darker side to her character which I hope the author explores further at some point.

Although not as fast paced or as heart pounding as Unsub, which is partly due to the fact the killers identity is revealed fairly early on in the book, Into The Black Nowhere has its own merits the author ramps up the tension tenfold with a game of cat and mouse between Caitlin and the killer, making this a very worthy addition to the series. If anything the change in pace and direction actually make you more excited about the Unsub series, as you aren’t sure which direction the author will take with the next book in the series.

Unlike most crime thrillers Into The Black Nowhere stands out because the focus is on profiling rather than police procedures. It’s a subject that really intrigues me, and Meg Gardiner’s impeccable detailed explanations regarding profiling integrated with a suspense filled plot with believable characters make this one of the best crime thriller books I’ve read this year, and I’m already excited to see where the author takes the Unsub series next. Highly recommended.

Buying links :   Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Hardcover: 368 pages

Publisher: Dutton Books (30 Jan. 2018)