Category Archives: Book blog

Someone Is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst #Review @JennyBlackhurst @Annecater #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @headlinepg #SomeoneIsLying #ButWho

Today I’m thrilled to be on the Someone Is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst blog tour. If you enjoy a psychological thriller with unreliable narrators then this could well be the book for you. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description…….

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It’s been a year since Erica Spencer died in a tragic accident at a party, and the community where she lived has moved on with their lives.

Everybody has secrets.

But someone thinks it wasn’t an accident. Someone thinks it was murder.

Some are worth killing for.

And when an anonymous podcast names six local suspects, shockwaves ripple through the neighbourhood. Before the podcast is over, the police will be opening more than one murder enquiry. Because someone is lying…

But who?

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When I first started reading Someone Is Lying, I must admit I had some reservations, the first few chapters are taking up introducing the reader to an array of characters, so it took me a while to work out who was who. My other reservation concerned the use of podcasts, I’m a huge fan of a certain crime series that uses podcasts to good effect, so I wasn’t convinced Jenny Blackhurst could offer anything new to this style of sharing a story. At this point I should apologise to the author because Jenny Blackhurst came up trumps and delivered a belter of a psychological thriller. 

It’s been a year since Erica Spencer died in a tragic accident at a party, or was it something far more sinister? Now six of her closest friends known as “The Severn Oaks Six” are spotlighted in six podcasts which aim to reveal the truth behind Erica’s death. The six suspects live in the gated community of Severn Oaks, it’s the type of place where only the privileged live, where money and status are as vital as oxygen.

From the off you sense there’s friction between the so-called friends, there the sort of characters who have to shine the brightest, their public persona is one of high gloss and fake smiles, but behind the masks are a bunch of people who have much to hide.  I can’t say I particularly liked any of the characters, there a difficult bunch to like, there all pretty much wrapped up in their own perfect little bubble, self absorbed and very untrustworthy. These type of characters can normally spoil a read for me, but in this case I found it heightened my enjoyment, because I found I could look at each character objectively. 

As the podcasts reveal more  “The Severn Oaks Six” friendships fracture as each becomes a suspect, paranoia grows, hostility and resentment bubble away beneath their shallow friendships. Someone Is Lying is a crime thriller packed with conundrums, who is the mysterious podcaster? What secrets are the six friends hiding? who would want Erika the “pillar of the community” dead? Jenny Blackhurst draws the reader into a classic whodunnit, but by adding the podcasts it gives a current vibe to the book. The further you get into the book, so does the sense of tension and suspense thus pushing the reader onto its dramatic conclusion. Someone Is Lying is a tangled web of Lies, revenge and deception when you add to to the mix unreliable characters, it has all the ingredients that make a Psychological thriller a thrilling read. Highly recommended

  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (31 May 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon Uk 🇬🇧

My thanks to the publishers and Anne Cater for my ARC in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.

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Jenny lives in Shropshire where she grew up dreaming that one day she would get paid for making up stories. She is an avid reader and can mostly be found with her head in a book or hunting Pokemon with her son, otherwise you can get her on Twitter @JennyBlackhurst or Facebook. Her favourite film is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, but if her children ask it’s definitely Moana.

Follow the rest of the blog tour…….

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The Whisper Man by Alex North @writer_north @MichaelJBooks #BookReview #TheWhisperMan #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for one of my most anticipated reads this year The Whisper Man by Alex North, and after reading this brilliant book it’s definitely a contender for my book of the year. Read on for my thoughts…….

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If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken . . .

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a much-needed fresh start. But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago, a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys.

Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home.

Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window . . .

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With a synopsis that grabbed my attention and a promise from the publishers ‘GET READY FOR THE BIGGEST THRILLER OF 2019’ there was no way on earth I was going to miss reading The Whisper Man by Alex North. There is nothing more terrifying than a child being murdered, and the author expertly plays on these fears, creating a dark, creepy, and haunting read. Be prepared for a few sleepless nights, it takes a lot to unnerve me, but this book actually scared me silly in parts! (In the best possible way). Oh, and a word of warning make sure your bedroom doors are closed at night or beware ** If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken**

After the death of his wife,  Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start, unaware that Featherbank has a very dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’. Each boy heard a man whispering to him before he went missing, and now Jake is hearing the same whispers, too. Alex Lane’s emotive, creepy tale is one that’s guaranteed to keep you turning the pages of this highly addictive crime thriller, the plots brilliantly constructed and steeped in menace. 

Without a shadow of a doubt The Whisper Man makes for a spine tingling and unsettling read, but what took me by surprise was the intense emotions that this book evoked,  it’s a book that’s full of raw emotion, especially the scenes between Tom and his son Jake, these are incredible powerful and desperately sad. I adored Tom and Jake, their characters are sublime and perfectly developed.  I like the fact Tom isn’t the ‘perfect’ father, sometimes his actions or conversations with Jake seem awkward and Jake miss understands them causing father and son much heartache. As for Jake he’s adorable, my heart went out to this socially awkward child, whose grief at loosing his mum is palatable. This book may be a crime thriller with a monster at his heart, but it’s also the story of the unbreakable bonds between a father and his son. 

For me some reason I had a preconceived idea in my head that this book would be full of graphic scenes that would be stomach churning, but how refreshing it was to find the author doesn’t use this ploy to give the reader a spine chilling read. If anything Alex North’s only gives you just enough detail to allow your imagination to run riot, it really is a case of ‘less is more’. This is a book that literally drips with menace and a sense of foreboding. The Whisper Man is so different to anything I’ve read this year and one that evoked so many emotions, it’s definitely a contender for my book of the year.  I absolutely loved every page of this compulsive, heart thumping crime thriller. Would I recommend it? it’s a definite million hell yes’s. Buy it, beg, steal (I’m sure Alex Lane would prefer you to choose one of the other options though!) or borrow a copy I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise but I’m I’m giving The Whisper Man my shiny Book hangover award, 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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  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (13 Jun. 2019) 

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The book review café book of the month **May 2019**

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WOW can you believe we’re in June already? before you know it we will be thinking about Christmas😂 Being the first week of the month means it’s time to choose my book of the month for May. I admit I’m a bit late sharing this post, but better late than never! Once again I have read some fabulous books, but ONE book stood out for me, (I think I’ve finally got the hang of choosing just one book of the month😂).

How do I choose my book  of the month? I go for a book that I find 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.

So without further ado here’s my book of the month for May.

Night By Night by Jack Jordan

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Night By Night is one of those psychological thrillers where the plot isn’t predictable, at one point I was feeling very smug with myself for working it all out, but I was wrong thankfully, as Jack Jordan’s plot was by far the more original.This is a modern day tale and the author pulls no punches creating scenes that are haunting, harrowing and emotionally charged, it’s the constant shifting of scenes that make this novel such an addictive read. You can read the full review here…….Night By Night by Jack Jordan #BookReview @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks #blogtour #JacksBack #NightByNight #BookHangoverAward

Highly Recommended

 

You can find my reviews here…..

Hunting Evil by Chris Carter #BookReview @SimonschusterUK @Annecater #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours #HuntingEvil

DEGREES OF GUILT BY HS Chandler @HSCINKPEN #BookReview #DegreesOfGuilt @OrionBooks #MustReads @Helen_Fields

#NoWayOut by Cara Hunter #CrimeSeries #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @PenguinUKBooks

When Darkness Calls by Mark Griffin #Review @themarkgriffin @LittleBrownUK

Tick Tock by Mel Sherratt @writermels @AvonBooksUk #BookReview #BlogTour #TickTock

The Passenger by John Marrs @JohnMarrs1 @EdburyPublication #MustReads #SciFi #BookHangoverAward

Jaded by Rob Ashman @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #review #Jaded

Books I’m hoping to read this month

Again I’m in a position where I’m free to read what I like at the moment, so here are a few of the books I may or may not read depending on my mood 😂

 

 

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten #BookReview @nholten40 #BlogTour #TeamHolten @KillerReads @BOTBSPublicity @HarperCollins #MustReads

Today I can’t explain how thrilled I am to be on the blog tour for Dead Inside by Noelle Holten. This maybe the author’s debut novel, but Noelle is also a book blogger over at Crimebookjunkie, Noelle is one of the most passionate bloggers I know, she doesn’t just shout about the books she loves, she literally screams about them! I really thought I would struggle to write an unbiased review but I had the honour of beta reading Dead Inside and even then I thought this is one crime thriller that is going to be huge hit. After reading the finished copy I know it’s going to be a humungous hit with crime thriller lovers.  Read on for my thoughts…….

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A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning new series – from a huge new talent.

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

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

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

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Now and then I get excited about reading a book written by a debut author, so I almost wet my myself with excitement when I was approached by Noelle Holten and asked if I would read her debut novel Dead Inside, it was literally a “hell yes and how soon can I get a copy?” Moment. From the shocking and disturbing prologue I knew this was one of those books I would get so caught up in, and god help anyone who disturbed me whilst I was reading it. Part Domestic noir, part crime thriller this novel was a cracker, when you read as many books as I do in these genres you are always looking for “that” book that offers you that something extra, something that makes it standout out from the crowd, and OMFG the author has certainly managed that.

Domestic abuse is not the easiest subject to write about, how do you convey the emotions, the abuse without overstepping the mark? This is a subject that’s emotive and very disturbing but the author writes about the subject with a great deal of insight, understanding and empathy.  One thing I noticed when I was reading this book is the author’s ability to write in such away you feel like you’re a voyeur watching from the sidelines, rather like a car crash you want to look away,  but you are compelled to read on as the characters move from one crisis to another. The writing is gritty and pulls no punches, although this can feel uncomfortable it makes the read all the more shockingly credible, I should point out though the violence isn’t gratuitous and is very much in keeping with the plot and subject.  

The author has created an array of characters some are much more likeable than others, you will love them, you will hate them, you will hope some of them get their “just desserts” but each character brings something different to this riveting  tale. You will feel their emotions, their despair and their anger, you need to read on as your desperate for at least a couple of the characters to find an escape from their very unhappy and violent relationships. I thought this book was original as not only do you get the POV of the abused and the abusers but also the many agencies who are involved, supporting the victims and in some case their perpetrators. As I mentioned this is part crime thriller, and again the author keeps you riveted to the pages, as crimes are committed and the suspects mount, never giving away too much detail to spoil the read, at times the tension and suspense reached fever pitch. 

There are a huge amount of fictional books that deal with domestic violence on the market, so what makes Dead a Inside any different? I hear you say, It’s original, highly engaging, the writing is confident and bold with memorable characters, add in a compelling plot, and you have the perfect mix for a crime thriller. The one thing I wasn’t expecting was the raw emotion within the pages, as I reached the last page I felt emotionally drained. Personally I’m already excited for second book from the very talented Noelle Holten, in my opinion she is an exciting and refreshing voice in Crime fiction and one whose journey I will be following with avid interest. 

  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Killer Reads (31 May 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

What readers think of Dead Inside

‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole

‘Kept me hooked throughout … excellent pace and a very satisfying ending’ Angela Marsons

‘A brilliant debut – gritty, dark and chilling. Noelle Holten knows her stuff’ Mel Sherratt

‘Dark and gritty and kept me hooked until the very end. A Fantastic debut!’ Casey Kelleher

‘A hard-hitting, impressively authentic crime fiction debut … nuanced, highly readable, page turning, a definite cut above the rest. I urge you to read this book’ Howard Linskey

‘Extremely powerful, incredibly thought provoking and ringing with authenticity, this is an excellent debut’ M. W. Craven, author of the Washington Poe series 

‘Noelle has conjured up a real page-turner here. The author’s experience with damaged and damaging people really shines through bringing a great deal of grit to the drama. Add in some fascinating characters, relentless pace and a strong story and you have a winner on your hands’ Michael J Malone

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Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Links:
 

A huge thanks to Noelle, Killer Reads and Sarah over at BookOnTheBrightside for inviting me on to the tour!

Sarah Hardy

Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo
Twitter: @BOTBSPublicity

Follow the blog tour………

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#NoWayOut by Cara Hunter #CrimeSeries #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @PenguinUKBooks

Today I’m sharing my review for the latest book in the DI Fawley series, No Way Out by Cara Hunter if you are a fan of crime/police procedures then this is an unmissable series. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……..

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DID YOU SEE ANYTHING ON THE NIGHT THE ESMOND FAMILY WERE MURDERED? 

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME and IN THE DARK comes the third pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked. 

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

It was murder. 

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Woohoo Cara Hunter is back with No Way Out the third novel in the D I Adam Fawley series, in case you haven’t guessed this is one of my favourite crime series ever, in fact I didn’t even bother reading the book description, I picked up the book and dived right in. After reading No Way Out in a day it’s safe to say this crime thriller turned out to be everything I hoped for and more. The author pulls out all the stops, No Way Out is a nail biting, complex tale of arson, child murder and family intrigue. 

No Way Out opens with the chilling discovery of two children, burned in a fire in their family home. Initially, there’s no sign of their parents. The police are not only dealing with arson, but possibly murder. Who would want this seemingly “normal family” dead? Where are the parents? Enter Di Fawley and his team whose job it is to piece the clues together. No Way Out begins in the present but gradually reveals events in the families past that led to the devastating house fire. With so much going on you would be forgiven if you thought this novel may be difficult to follow, but it’s really not, Cara Hunter has a knack of blending past and present timelines, and other mediums into a seamless read that’s nigh on impossible to put down.  

Although No Way Out can be read as a stand-alone I would urge you to read the whole series in order, it’s no hardship I promise. In this novel we learn more about DI Fawley and his team, although the author doesn’t overwhelm the plot with details of their woes or personal life’s, which I find can often happen with a crime series. We just know enough about each of the characters to satisfy our curiosity and make each character all the more intriguing. As you can see from the book description a child dies, which although upsetting the author handles the subject with sensitivity. 

If there’s one thing I love about Cara Hunter’s books it her attention to detail, not only does she provide the reader with a gripping story line, but she adds newspaper reports, transcriptions from witness statements and fire statement reports. An original concept which adds a touch of authenticity to the read, but it’s also one that make you feel part of the investigation rather than a bystander, you’re there sifting through the mountains of evidence, poring over witness statements looking for the clue that will finally “crack” the case. As I expected Cara Hunter has woven an intricate plot, bound together in red herrings and misdirection at every turn, the most satisfying thing about a crime read is not working out the intricate plot before the big reveal,  and Cara Hunter kept me in the dark until the shocking but very satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended by me.

  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (22 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Links to my reviews for the Close To Home and In The Dark by Cara Hunter…….

Close To Home by Cara Hunter #BookReview @CaraHunterBooks

In The Dark by Cara Hunter #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

DEGREES OF GUILT BY HS Chandler @HSCINKPEN #BookReview #DegreesOfGuilt @OrionBooks #MustReads @Helen_Fields

Good morning today I’m sharing my review for Degrees Of Guilt by H S Chandler aka crime thriller writer Helen Fields. If you love a legal thriller this book is unmissable. Read on for my thoughts……..

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When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

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Nothing in life is ever black and white, there are shades of grey that blur our opinions, our thoughts, it’s one thing hearing the facts, but what about the untold story? What hidden truths could change a guilty verdict around or vice versa? Degrees Of Guilt by H.S. Chandler is a thrilling book where your opinion of the guilty, in this case Marie who freely admits to killing her husband, will sway at almost every chapter. This has to be one of the most exciting, complex, and compelling legal thrillers I’ve read for a long time, it’s the definition of a page turner. Rather like the jury, you find yourself living and breathing Marie’s trial, separating the layers of fact from fiction and hoping you make the right decision, guilty or not guilty? It’s up to you to decide.  

With a stellar of an opening chapter Degrees Of Guilt pulls you in to Maries’s story at first she appears cold and rational, But then as the story deftly unfolds we learn more about Marie’s complex life with Edward, nothing is as it first appears, is Marie telling the truth? or is her story one that’s been fabricated to gain sympathy for her wrongdoing’s? I couldn’t help but feel some empathy for her character, even though at times I had my doubts if she really was as innocent as she claimed to be.  The novel is an intricate web of lies, secrets, manipulations, and deceit which make this story a constant, head spinning guessing game, right up until the last chapter you are never sure where the truth really lies. 

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide Marie’s fate, at first she’s a reluctant participate, she’s nervous, timid, her life is very different to Marie’s she’s a wife and mother who life centres on her family, but as Marie’s trial reveals shocking details of her marriage she realises she has far more in common with her than she first thought. I found it fascinating to see how the mixed bunch of jurors first assumptions of Marie changed throughout the story, their opinions and feelings constantly shift, so you are never sure which verdict they will choose. Marie’s story is intense, alarming and uncomfortable,  which some readers find upsetting.  The author depicts the claustrophobic feel of the courtroom and the animosity of the jury towards the accused and their peers perfectly. 

The setting of a courtroom for most of the novel adds a palatable sense of claustrophobia and trepidation, a ploy that’s guaranteed to keep you reading and will make you reluctant to put this novel down even for a few minutes. Degrees of guilt is part domestic noir infused with a believable and heart wrenching courtroom drama, oozing with tension and mystery. HS Chandler knows how to keep the reader’s attention with a complex plot, intriguing characters, and a couple of curveballs I never saw coming until they hit me in the face! A superb book that I would highly recommend to those who love domestic noir wrapped up in a courtroom drama.

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Trapeze (16 May 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Meggy over at https://chocolatenwaffles.com/, for her fabulous review that convinced me to read this book. 

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Haverscroft by S.A. Harris #GuestPost #Haverscroft @salharris1 @saltpublishing @EmmaDowson1

Today I’m delighted  to be on the blog tour for Haverscroft  by S.A.Harris. Haverscroft  has been described as a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night. Today I’m sharing a guest post from the author herself, but first the book description……

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Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Salt (15 May 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Do You Have A Choice What You Write?

In the run-up to my debut novel, Haverscroft, being published I was asked to write some articles about the road to publication. What influenced me to write dark tales and Gothic fiction. Why this genre, over say, romance? I dredged various things from my memory which had been significant one way or another over the years and wrote a couple of pieces. A friend commented she would not have such a wealth of strange experiences to pull upon and that got me thinking. Do we have a choice what we write or is it inherent like eye colour?

Those weird encounters were many and varied but the one that regularly causes outcries of horror happened when we were on a family holiday a few years ago. It had been a long journey from East Anglia to a cottage near Pitlochry, Scotland. We arrived and loved the house; a light and airy Victorian villa with a patio and manicured garden leading to a bubbling stream and fields. The weather for July was still cool so we put on the heating and settled down for the evening. And that’s when things started to get interesting.

I’d just told our youngest to go to bed for the second time when he announced there was a bat on the wall beside the fireplace in the sitting room. An original delaying tactic if ever I’d heard one. A chorus followed from the rest of the family; A bat? What do you mean, a bat? On closer inspection, it turned out our son was telling the truth.

The little critter was tiny, not much larger than a fifty pence piece and could only crawl rather than fly, thank goodness. Deliberation followed. What should be done with it and where had it come from? I fetched my laptop and began to search the internet for answers. As I sat on the sofa, out of the corner of my eye, something was moving. A small dark shape was travelling from the cushion at my back onto my shoulder and at some speed. My daughter’s exclamation gave the game away before I could shift my position. Another baby bat had arrived.

We started searching the room. Bats were crawling down the curtains, emerging from behind cushions and from beneath the sofa. My husband fled upstairs to bed – moths, spiders, creepy crawlies are not his thing and neither are baby bats it turns out.

The internet provided a number to call which even at 11:30pm on a Saturday evening was answered. Advice was given; put the bats in boxes, lids on with holes punched in the top. Judy from the Bat Conservation Society would call by and collect our small visitors in the morning and, by the way, did we know bats are protected? We should probably move out.

We followed her instructions, found Tupperware, tinfoil and caught as many as we could. I closed the sitting room door and locked up as the children headed upstairs. 

I stood on the threshold of our bedroom with the light from the landing at my back. My husband lay on the mattress, the duvet on the floor. I thought in the dim light he was asleep, at least, he was snoring, anyway. Around him on the bed were small dark shapes. Surely not, I thought. I switched on the light. My husband complained about the glare. There are bats on the bed, I said. No six-foot man has ever moved so quickly.

Early the next morning, Judy explained there was a maternity roost in the chimney. The warmth of the central heating or the heat radiating from our bodies draws out the baby rodents. She took away all the bats we had collected leaving us with the advice more were very likely to crawl out from the nest. How were we going to find alternate accommodation at peak season and at such short notice? We started packing our bags.

So back to that question, are writers born or do we choose our genre? Perhaps if I tried, I could come up with a historical drama or a cosy crime novel. Haverscroft crosses genres. Part ghost story and part intimate examination of a marriage on the rocks in the way of a psychological thriller. By day, I am a solicitor specialising in divorce and relationship breakdown, so again, I guess exposure to such events over decades influenced my writing. But I do not think genre is like eye colour. Experiences over a lifetime become ingrained in us but nothing is inherent. We all draw on experience as well as our imaginations in our writing but ultimately it is our choice what we write.

And after we packed our bags and left the bats behind? We searched for most of a day but eventually found somewhere else to stay. We had salvaged our holiday. As we pulled up to the new cottage it seemed a little strange, but then, that is another story.

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S.A.Harris is an award-winning author and family law solicitor born in Suffolk and now living and working in Norwich, Norfolk.

She won the Retreat West Crime Writer Competition in 2017. She was shortlisted for The Fresher Prize First 500 Words of a Novel Competition in 2018 and published in their anthology, Monsters, in November 2018.

Her debut novel, Haverscroft, will be published on the 15th May 2019.

She is a member of the Society of Authors. You can contact her via her publisher: chris@saltpublishing.com or on Twitter @salharris1 or author website: https://www.saharrisauthor.com

PRAISE FOR HAVERCROFT

An atmospherically creepy ghost story that keeps you guessing till the end! Sally Harris is one to watch.’ –Angela Clarke

REVIEWS OF THIS BOOK

‘The writing is taut and fluid. Both the atmosphere of the old house and the wider family dynamics are evoked with skill. Whatever one thinks of a place harbouring the spirit of past deeds this story could throw shade over certainties. Recommended, but exercise caution if reading after dark.’ –Jackie Law, Never Imitate

My thanks to the author and Emma at Salt publishing for the guest post.

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