Tag Archives: Author Interviews

**Christmas With Bookouture** Angela Marsons @bookouture @WriteAngie



Eeeeeek! Four days to the “big”day, if you are frantically trying to get everything done, a word of advice, take a deep breath, pour yourself a stiff drink (make it a large one!) and put your feet up for five minutes, whilst you read all about the super talented and awesome Angela Marsons Christmas. If your stressing about cooking Christmas dinner I think everyone should take a leaf out of Angela’s book (excuse the pun) and sod the Christmas dinner and focus on the “big day”

What is your favourite Christmas memory? 

I think it would be when my partner and I first shared a home. We were late twenties and had spent many Christmases with our parents but having that first festive season in our own home was magical. Each year my favourite time is Christmas Eve. I love the anticipation of the day itself and I always check Norad to monitor Santa’s progress.


Where will you be spending Christmas?

Christmas Day will be spent at home with my partner Julie, our Golden Retriever puppy and a parrot that will continually shout ‘Merry Christmas’. We spend time with family on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Yes, that I am not allowed to cook a proper Christmas Dinner because we prefer to enjoy the day. Every year we have Turkey sandwiches, pickled onions, garlic dip and pringles for our Christmas lunch.

What was your best ever Christmas present?

My best ever Christmas present was a huge box filled with bags of my favourite crisps. I am a huge crisp addict and there were over a hundred packets in there. It made me laugh all day and kept me happy for about three months.


What was your worst ever Christmas present?

A ‘grow your own grub’ kit. I’m still not sure how it was supposed to work but as I hate insects it wasn’t a great present for me.

Favourite Christmas tipple?

Oh, it would have to be a Latte Machiato. I don’t drink but I absolutely love my Tassimo coffee.


What are you hoping for this Christmas?

Another box of crisps! I’m a simple kind of girl.

Have you got a Christmas message you would like to share with readers and bloggers?

I would like to thank readers and bloggers for all their support in 2016. The love of words and sharing never ceases to amaze me and as I come to the end of this year it is something for which I am truly thankful.


Angela Marsons is the author of Amazon #1 Bestseller SILENT SCREAM.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their bouncy Labrador and a swearing parrot.

Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.

Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.

After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.

She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.

Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books for http://bookouture.com and has secured a print deal with Bonnier Zaffre Publishing.


Website     Facebook     Twitter: @writeangie     Goodreads

Angela Marsons books published by Bookouture 

You can find all the links to the above book’s here……..Amazon UK 🇬🇧 Author Page

If you would like to read more about Angela Marsons you can read an interview she done earlier this year with the book review café here……Author Interview With Angela Marsons

My thanks to Angela Marsons for answering my Christmassy questions and for allowing me to use some photographs from her personal collection.



**Christmas With Bookouture** Tom Bale @Bookouture @t0mbale


Another day closer to Christmas, Eeek it’s coming around so quickly and I have a pile of Christmas presents that need wrapping, but at least I’ve finished buying presents, so no last minute rushing around for me, sorry I’m digressing here! Today I’m thrilled to have the awesome Tom Bale pop by the book review café to talk about all things Christmassy, so pull up a pew, grab a mince pie and escape for a few minutes whilst you learn more about a “Tom Bale Christmas”

What is your favourite Christmas memory?

Despite always being really excited about Christmas, my children love their sleep, and when they were young they never once woke us at an unearthly hour on Christmas morning. Usually it was the opposite – my wife and I would be lying in bed, impatiently waiting for them to wake up. One year I couldn’t wait any longer, so I put my head round the door of my daughter’s bedroom and said good morning. As she stirred, oblivious to the sack of presents at the foot of her bed, I added, “Do you remember what day it is?” and she replied: “Tuesday.” As you can imagine, we’ve teased her about it ever since.


                                        Family man Tom Bale

Where will you be spending Christmas?

At home this year. Quite often we’re visiting family, so it’ll be nice to spend the whole day in one place. Of course my wife might take a different view on that, as she has the responsibility for cooking Christmas dinner.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

A takeaway curry for dinner on Christmas Eve, and a bit of pre-breakfast chocolate on Christmas morning!


                                 Tom Bale’s very large stash of Christmas chocolate

What was your best ever Christmas present?

Probably a very realistic shoulder holster and toy gun that I got at a time when I was crazy about Starsky & Hutch (and it was around this time that my gran knitted me a “Starsky” cardigan!)

What was your worst ever Christmas present?

I can’t really think of any. Probably as a kid I was given socks and handkerchiefs that wouldn’t have seemed very exciting, but from an early age people realised that books or chocolate were the perfect gifts for me, so I was always delighted with either of those – and they still form the majority of my presents today.


                     Tom’s Christmas presents, should keep him reading for a while 

Favourite Christmas tipple?

I tend to stick to my usual beer, though if we’re out visiting and I’m driving I drink quite a lot of ginger beer at Christmas.


What are you hoping for this Christmas?

I’m ashamed to admit that I have a tendency to buy some of my presents myself – this year I already know that Santa will be bringing me Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, as well as Nomad by Alan Partridge, among other books.

Have you got a Christmas message you would like to share with readers and bloggers?

Firstly, to say a huge thank you for the magnificent support that I’ve had this year! I’d also like to wish everyone a happy and peaceful Christmas, and let’s all hope that 2017 is a bit less crazy and distressing than this year has been.

Tom Bale has had a variety of jobs including retail assistant, claims negotiator and project manager, but none was as exhausting as the several years he spent as a househusband with two pre-school children.

Tom has been writing since the age of seven, and completed his first novel at fifteen. After twenty years and hundreds of rejection slips, his first novel SINS OF THE FATHER was published under his real name, David Harrison. With his next book, SKIN AND BONES, he acquired an agent, a pseudonym and a book deal that enabled him to write full-time. The thriller SEE HOW THEY RUN was published by Bookouture in May 2016, followed by All Fall Down in September 2016.


Website       Facebook      Goodreads     Twitter: @t0mbale

Tom Bale books published by Bookouture

Amazon UK 🇬🇧 See How They Run     Amazon US 🇺🇸See How They Run

Amazon UK 🇬🇧 All Fall Down       Amazon US 🇺🇸 All Fall Down 

My thanks to Tom Bale for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer my Christmassy questions and for providing me with photos from his own personal collection.

**Weekly Wrap Up**


This week I have managed to read Four books, which is pretty amazing for me! over the next few weeks I’m hoping to make a dent in my humongous TBR pileover As I’m now “officially redundant” I’m hoping to have more time on my hands to read (or that’s the plan).

Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb

The Gift by Louise Jensen

Rattle by Fiona Cummings

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Book post I received this week

This week I have been truly spoilt with Book Post


The Chemist by Stephenie Myer  

Love You Dead by Peter James

I was asked to review this book by Peter James publication team, as I’m a huge fan of this author, I was thrilled to bits when it arrived and it was signed by the author himself.

Dark Water by Robert Bryndza

Another of my favourite authors and I actually squealed with delight when a signed copy of Dark Waters and a intriguing tipple of coconut tea liquor (Tatratea) landed on my door mat

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

The Mine by Antti Tuomaine

Another signed book that I won over at Rachel’s blog ChillersKillersAndThrillers

The One by John Marrs

Looking forward to reading this book after seeing some fab reads for it, I’m not sure if I will be using the DNA kit though 😂

The Defence by Steve Cavanagh

A signed copy no less which I won over on Twitter: @TwoCrimeWriters

And I just have to share my awesome prize a Kindle Fire that I won over on author Conrad Jones FB page Conrad Jones Facebook Page

ARC’s I received this week

Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer


I’m trying not to request any books from NetGalley as I’m trying to get to my TBR pile, but I did have one small slip up

Last week on The Book Review Café








Review for Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb

Review for Rattle by Fiona Cummins

#TopFiveThursday is taking a break until the new year

Christmas With Bookouture, with not one but four awesome authors, plus a very fabulous special guest….my lips are sealed 🤐

The Gift by Louise Jensen blog tour

Blogging news from The Book Review Café 

I’m absolutely stunned the book review café has reached over 5,000 followers, which I find amazing, I admit when I first started up my account I thought I may get a handful of followers but never in a million years did I think I would hit the 5,000 mark so to celebrate I will be doing a giveaway later in the week.


This week will be my last **Wrap up** post until the New Year, so I would just like to wish my fellow bloggers, authors, publishers and followers of the book review café  A very merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year 😘😘😘


🎄🎁Christmas With Bookouture🎄🎁 Kathryn Croft @bookouture @KatCroft


Today I’m so excited to have the gorgeous and very talented Kathryn Croft pop by the book review cafe to answer my very Christmassy questions.

Hi Kathryn, what is your favourite Christmas memory?

As a child, my dad, who is no longer with us, used to read us The Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve and we loved it! Now my husband reads it to our baby boy so I’m carrying on the tradition.



Where will you be spending Christmas?

We’ve just moved house so will be having a lovely Christmas at home, with family staying.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Only the one I mentioned earlier: reading The Night Before Christmas to our baby son on Christmas Eve!

What was your best ever Christmas present?

My baby boy! *:) happy*:) happy



What was your worst ever Christmas present?

He’ll kill me for saying this but many years ago my husband bought me the Property Ladder board game as one of my presents! His thinking was that I liked watching the programme and I liked board games so I was bound to love it! Unfortunately it ended up in a charity bag!!


Favourite Christmas tipple?

Mulled wine



What are you hoping for this Christmas?

A good sleep the night before! Last Christmas our baby was only a few weeks old and on Christmas Eve night he was waking up every twenty minutes! Needless to say my husband and I were both shattered so didn’t have the best Christmas, but we’ll make up for it this year!

Have you got a Christmas message you would like to share with readers and bloggers?

I’m so grateful to all my readers and bloggers and am always blown away by your support and love of reading. Thank you for helping me to do the job I love, and I hope to keep entertaining you with my stories! xx


Kathryn Croft is the bestselling author of The Girl With No Past, which spent over four weeks at number one in the Amazon chart. Her other novels, Behind Closed Doors and The Stranger Within, and The Girl You Lost all reached number one in the psychological thriller charts.

Her fifth novel, While You Were Sleeping, was published by Bookouture on 16th November 2016.

After six years teaching secondary school English, Kathryn now writes full time and has a publishing deal with Bookouture.

Having always been an avid reader, Kathryn believes in the power of words to entertain, teach and transform lives. She is also a firm believer in following your dreams and says anything is possible if you work hard enough and never give up!

Kathryn lives in Guildford, Surrey with her husband, baby son and two cats.



Website      Facebook     Twitter: @KatCroft

Other books by Kathryn Croft published by Bookouture


Amazon 🇬🇧                         Amazon 🇬🇧                       Amazon 🇬🇧

My Thanks to Kathryn Croft for taking the time to answer my questions x 

**Blog Tour** Blood Lines by Angela Marsons **Author Interview** #Review


Today I’m so excited, actually scrap that I’m ecstatic to be on the blog tour for Blood Lines by Angela Marsons, this is one book you don’t want to miss, especially if like me you are a crime thriller lover, this ones going to blow you away!

Not only am I eager to share my review for Blood Lines with you but I was also lucky enough to get the very talented and awesome Angela Marsons to answer some questions about Blood Lines, and so without further ado and a drum roll or two……


For those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book Blood lines can you provide us with an introduction?

I’m a crime writer from the Black Country in the West Midlands and am currently writing a crime series featuring a character called DI Kim Stone who is passionate, driven but not completely socially adjusted.

Where did the idea Blood Lines come from?

I like to give Kim a fresh kind of challenge in each book as I like to see how she deals with it. In Blood Lines I wanted her to have to try to solve a case where she could find no connection between the victims. In addition I wanted to see how she would deal with meeting her old foe Alexandra Thorne for a second round of psychological fisticuffs.

What was the hardest part of writing Bloodlines?

To be honest I absolutely loved every part of writing this book. Once I knew I was going to be bringing Alex back I just started writing the prologue and my pencil never paused for breath. I think this will be known as the book that I never really wanted to finish.

Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?

Only that I still write with A4 notepads and pencils. For me, half the pleasure is hearing the lead of the pencil as it scratches its way across the page. It was the was Roald Dahl worked until he died and if it was good enough for him it’s good enough for me. I did once try to write straight on to the computer but after staring at a blank screen for a whole day I realised that my brain doesn’t connect with my hand unless it is scribbling furiously.

Have you always wanted to be an author, and when did you first realise you wanted to write?

Yes, I always wanted to be an author but where I came from people didn’t have such lofty aspirations. They learned to type. Which I did and am now very grateful that I did. I was probably twelve when my English teacher asked if she could bring me a couple of books in that were above my reading age. I read two Andrea Newman books which focussed on the complexity of human relationships and from that point I was hooked. I wanted to write these stories as well as read them.

How did you get signed up by publishers Bookouture?

After twenty years of trying to share my work I was signed to a top London agency in 2012. I worked closely with their editor Keshini Naidoo on Silent Scream and Evil Games. The agent and I parted ways when neither book managed to sell to any of the traditional publishers. It was a very painful time and I finally gave up on the dream to share my work. After all, if a top London agent couldn’t sell my books it was time to give up. A few months later Keshini Naidoo submitted Silent Scream to Bookouture as although she had left the agency she had never stopped thinking about the work we’d done together. Their response completely overwhelmed me. They felt as passionate about the stories as I did and gave me an opportunity to set Kim Stone free.

Do you write an outline before you start writing?

I start with a very vague idea of the beginning, middle and end and any of those parts are up for change as I go. I tend to start with an idea of a subject that I want Kim to investigate and then allow the story to grow around that. I scribble lots of notes as I go but I like to be surprised by the process as characters begin to take on a life of their own.

What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?

There have been so many highlights of the journey so far and Bookouture and I have experienced so many ‘firsts’ together but I think a particular highlight would have to be when Blood Lines reached #1 on Amazon on pre-orders alone. I felt completely humbled by the trust and faith from my awesome readers that they didn’t even want to wait to read reviews before putting in their order.

Are you able to tell me anything about your next Kim Stone book? and how many more will there be in the series?

I’m still working on book 6 but it is going to cover quite a deep subject. I am currently contracted to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books so it is a good job she has plenty to say.

Now for a really evil question if you could co-write a book with another Bookouture author, who would it be? And why?

I would like to co-write books with a few Bookouture authors but if I had to choose one it would be KL Slater. I have just read her psychological thriller Safe With Me and absolutely loved her exploration of a damaged psyche. As you know I love damaged characters so I think that could be very interesting.

During all the interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

Q – Do you think it is an author’s job to preach or push certain subjects?

A – I don’t think author’s should preach because ultimately they are trying to entertain but I don’t think they should shy away from difficult or delicate subjects. It is good to raise issues for discussion providing it is done so sensitively and with respect.

A huge thank you to Angela Marsons for taking time out of her hectic schedule to answer my questions


Angela Marsons is the author of Amazon #1 Bestseller SILENT SCREAM.

Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.

Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.

She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.

Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books for http://bookouture.com and has secured a print deal with Bonnier Zaffre Publishing.


Goodreads     Website     Facebook     Twitter: @WriteAngie

Book description 

How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?

A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.

When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Desperate to catch the twisted individual, Kim’s focus on the case is threatened when she receives a chilling letter from Dr Alex Thorne, the sociopath who Kim put behind bars. And this time, Alex is determined to hit where it hurts most, bringing Kim face-to-face with the woman responsible for the death of Kim’s little brother – her own mother.

As the body count increases, Kim and her team unravel a web of dark secrets, bringing them closer to the killer. But one of their own could be in mortal danger. Only this time, Kim might not be strong enough to save them…


I thought Angela Marsons couldn’t top her last book in the Kim Stone series Play Dead, but boy was I wrong, Blood Lines is dark, utterly gripping, and brilliantly executed, although I couldn’t help but wonder how the author sleeps at night when she’s writing such disturbing books. If you haven’t read any of the Kim Stone series I would demand (OK suggest) you read them first, why? Because it’s just a fabulous series and one that shouldn’t be missed especially if you are a crime thriller lover. The author opens Blood Lines with a spine chilling prologue and once I started reading I would have sold my soul to the devil to read it in one go.

Detective Kim Stone is back, she is one of my all time favourite characters she’s complex, but due to horrifying events in her past she has a vulnerable side which is very much evident in Blood Lines. The reader learns more about Kim’s childhood, the events surrounding her childhood are brutal and heartbreaking, in fact I actually cried at one particular point and that’s because the author has written with such conviction it actually feels very real. As this series has progressed so has Kim’s character, I love her humour and banter with fellow work colleague Bryant and her cutting remarks, all add a touch of light relief to an darkly intense read.

When Kim arrives at a murder scene of a woman who has been stabbed she has no idea this could be her most complex case yet, add into the mix Dr Alex Thorne a manipulative sociopath who Kim had convicted for her past crimes and you know you are in for a hell of a ride. Unfortunately for Kim, Alex continues to taunt and play games with Kim from within the prison walls, games that will drive Kim to the brink.

Angela Marsons has created one of the most cold and calculated sociopaths aka Alex Thorne, she is one sick and twisted individual, but she is also a master of manipulation techniques which make her a very intriguing character. Alex considers Kim to have won the first battle, but now she is very much focused on winning the war, as Alex manipulates everyone around her in the most subtle of ways I couldn’t help becoming fascinated by her character, I found myself desperate to find out what Alex had planned next for Kim. She certainly made my blood run cold on numerous occasions, believe me when I say she’s one of those rare characters who will give you nightmares.

I’m not going to bang on about the plot as I would hate to spoil this read for others, but suffice to say this book has more twists and turns than the scariest roller coaster. With no let up in pace the author doesn’t give you time to catch your breath before she hits you with another shocking twist. I can honestly say Blood Lines kept me guessing right up to the last nail biting chapter, don’t you just love it when a book does that?

In my opinion Angela Marsons goes from strength to strength with this series and despite this being the fifth book they show no signs of getting tiresome or repetitive, this book is without doubt the darkest book in the series yet, and I for one will be waiting with baited breath to see what the hugely talented author comes up with next. Would I recommend this book? Hell yes I would recommend this book and the whole series to anyone and everyone.


I’m sure you’ve already guessed but………..I won’t be giving Blood Lines 5 stars NO SIREE, but I will be giving it the very prestigious GOLD STAR AWARD, I give this award to a book I feel covers every aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that drew me in from the first page and kept me in its grip until I reached the very last page.

Print Length: 348 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (4 Nov. 2016)

Amazon UK     Amazon US

If you haven’t read any of this fabulous series yet, I’ve include the books in order and the buying links, click on the title to take you to Amazon……..

Silent Scream             Evils Games               Lost Girls                  Play Dead


Author Interview with Simon Michael #Author of The Brief and An Honest Man

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Simon Michael the author of The Brief and An Honest Man. Unfortunately  my review pile is in danger of toppling over, it’s that big! So I haven’t had the chance to read either of them, but from the book descriptions they certainly sound like the type of books I would enjoy, so rest assured they will certainly be added to my ever growing TBR pile. In the meantime here’s my interview with Simon Michael, and if the interview piques your interest I’ve included the buying links further down the post


Hi Simon and welcome to the book review café, there’s a lot of crime thrillers out there. Why should readers read your Charles Holborne series?

Wow – talk about getting right to the point! That’s a bit like a boxer landing a great punch as soon as the bell’s gone for the first round. I think I’ve discovered a new genre of crime writing – the barrister procedural. There are hundreds of authors writing police procedurals and psychological thrillers, but those elements have never been tackled from the point of view of further down the criminal justice line, in court. The search for the truth by the police is not the end of the story – in fact it’s only the beginning. The real search for truth occurs in court and, as for psychological thrills, anyone who’s ever been in a criminal court room – especially on serious cases like murder – knows it’s pure theatre – nail-biting, breath-holding drama. For a recent example, just look at Helen’s trial in the Archers.

Are the books courtroom dramas then?

Every book has scenes in court, but they take up a relatively small part of the action. The rules regarding evidence in the period I’m writing, the 1960s, were much more lax than they are today. The investigation process often continued after the accused was charged. I take the readers along for the ride, as the lawyers and the police put together the jigsaw of the case to present it to the jury. I use parts of real cases and sometimes real documents normally only seen by the police, the lawyers and the judges.

Is that why you date your books in the 1960s?

Partly. In many respects the 1960s were the “Wild West” in criminal justice, especially in the big cities like London, Birmingham and Liverpool. Huge swathes of the police force were completely corrupt; they took bribes, worked hand-in-hand with criminals, and suppressed and manufactured evidence. The Dirty Squad (the name by which the Obscene Publications Squad was known) was, to a man, in the pay of the Soho pornographers, right up to the detective chief superintendent at its head. They actually negotiated a licence fee from the pornographers, the very people they should have been shutting down, to allow them to keep operating. And some of my clients were beaten into confessions or threatened that their children would be taken into care, to keep the truth from coming out. On the other hand, big gangs like the Krays and Richardsons controlled the streets with terrifying violence. London was beginning to look like Chicago in the 1930s, with an unholy alliance between organised crime bosses and the police.
So placing my hero, Charles Holborne, in London in the 1960s presents him with challenges which don’t exist today. Make him morally ambivalent – he grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in the East End, was a boxer and was himself in trouble with the law as a youngster – and the dynamic becomes even more interesting. Add in the racial, religious and class prejudice that existed in those days, the post-war liberalisation in social mores – sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – and you have a perfect mix.

Does that give you problems with research? I know you were a barrister for a long time, but I don’t think you’re old enough to have been in practice in the 1960s.

No, you’re right, although I was alive at the time, I was still in short trousers! Things were beginning to change when I started at the Bar, but not by much. So some of the background comes easily. I know exactly what the cells of the Old Bailey smell like; I remember how shabby the court buildings were; I have personal experience of corrupt police officers manufacturing evidence against my clients; and I experienced prejudice myself in the early days of my career. But I do have to take great care to ensure that other facts are right. The series seems to appeal to a lot of younger readers but a good part of the readership are old police officers and lawyers like me! And they’re the first to send an email saying “I loved the book, but they didn’t build that court building till five years after that scene!”

Having read some of the reviews, people seem to like Charles Holborne’s character, but several female reviewers want to give him a proper slap!

Yes, he is a bit of a dinosaur, a man of his times. I’m aware of the risk that if Charles were to be portrayed as a typical man born in 1925 he’d probably be quite unlikeable. It was a time of casual prejudice, not least against women. I think the trick is to write strong other characters, like the women in Charles’s life, who can pull him up so he can learn and grow. I hope readers will see changes in his attitude as the books progress.

I note that you spend more time dealing with your characters’ private lives than some other crime thriller writers.

I think that’s true. I’m afraid I’m a little impatient with some of the protagonists in crime thrillers. Some writers think that by throwing in a problem with alcohol, a divorce, a prickly relationship with a superior officer, they create a real protagonist. I think people are very complex and even those trying to do their best make mistakes in their relationships. Everyone’s a mixture of good and bad, so I try to show that. I deliberately intertwine the main threads of the crime thriller with the investigation, the court case and the problems facing the people involved. They all have their private lives and they bring those into their daily work. I try to create extremely stressful and difficult circumstances impacting on real people, and then see what those people do.

Are there more to come in the Charles Holborne series?

Definitely. The third and fourth are already part-written, and I know where the series will end.
So there will be a finite number of Charles Holborne books?
I think so. That’s real life, isn’t it? People grow and change and I see a definite arc of development for Charles with a conclusion. I don’t want the stories or the characters to become repetitive.
And then?
Well, I do have some ideas. In particular I am roughing out a stand-alone thriller set in New Orleans. But that’s at least three further novels down the line!

You’ve had two books published in the last year, and you have two more part-written? What explains this sudden burst of creativity?

I’ve only been able to do what I really love for the last 18 months or so, and full-time since March. Practice at the Bar is all-consuming and I frequently worked 16 hour days, 7 days a week. I have finally taken the plunge, given up the law and started doing what I always wanted to do. It’s been bottled up a long time!

Thank you Simon for popping by the book review for a chat and I wish you all the best for both books 

About Simon Michael


Simon practised as a barrister for over 35 years, many of them spent prosecuting and defending murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy. He had several books published in the UK and the USA in the 1990s and his short story Split was shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan/Perrier Short Story Award.

In 2016 he retired completely from legal practice to devote himself to full- time writing. The Brief (September 2015) and An Honest Man (July 2016) published by Urbane Publications are the first two books in the Charles Holborne series, set on the gangland streets of 1960s London, and are based upon his experiences. Simon is a founder member and co-chair of the Ampthill Literary Festival. He lives with his wife, youngest daughter and many unfulfilled ambitions in Bedfordshire.

imageDescription of The Brief

In the 60s London of gangsters, prejudice and terrifying gang wars, Barrister Charles Holborne spends his life dealing with the worst examples of violent criminality. After successfully winning a number of high profile cases, he is building a reputation among Soho’s criminal classes as a man who gets the job done, a reputation that doesn’t endear him to his establishment colleagues.
Yet Charles is not all he seems, and is battling both personal demons and his own past. When his philandering wife Henrietta is found with her throat slashed, Charles finds himself on the wrong side of the law and in serious trouble of the murderous kind. Arrested for her murder, can Charles discover the truth of her brutal slaying and escape the hangman’s noose?


Description of An Honest Man

Criminal barrister Charles Holborne may have just escaped the hangman by proving he was framed for murder, but his life is now in ruins. His wife is dead, his high-flying career has morphed into criminal notoriety, and bankruptcy threatens. When the biggest brief of Charles’s career unexpectedly lands on his desk, it looks as if he has been thrown a lifeline.
But far from keeping him afloat, it drags him ever deeper into the shadowy underworld of 1960s London. Now, not only is his practice at stake, but his very life. Can Charles extricate himself from a chess game played from the shadows by corrupt police officers and warring gangs without once again turning to crime himself?

Links: The Brief Amazon UK     An Honest Man Amazon UK

Author Page     Website and blogs     Facebook     Twitter

Email author@simonmichael.uk

**Blog Tour** All Fall Down by Tom Bale #Interview & #Review @t0mbale


Today I’m super excited (actually I feel like a kid at Christmas) to be hosting the All Fall Down by Tom Bale blog tour, you may well ask why I’m so excited, well for one…… I absolutely loved All Fall Down so I can finally share my review with you, believe me when I say “crime thriller readers are in for a real treat” and two……I have an interview with the awesome Tom Bale. My thanks to Kim Nash over at publishers Bookouture for asking me to take part in this super duper blog tour. So I know you are all desperate to read my interview with Tom Bale, so with no further ado and a fanfare of trumpets here’s the interview…….


Hi Tom I’m so excited to have you pop by the book review café, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thanks for asking me, Lorraine! I’m married with two grown-up children, and I live in Brighton on the sunny south coast! I was writing and sending off work for many years before I was published, and during that time I had various jobs – most recently I was a project manager, and I was also a house-husband for a while. My first book, Sins of the Father, was published in 2006, and the following year I acquired an agent and a book deal that enabled me to write full-time. All Fall Down is my seventh novel.

For those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book All Fall Down can you provide us with an introduction?

As with most of my books, All Fall Down is a standalone thriller featuring ordinary people whose lives are thrown into chaos. In this case, Rob and Wendy Turner are enjoying a family barbecue with two of their children when a badly-wounded man staggers into their garden, pleading for help. The emergency services arrive but the man dies before he can explain what happened to him. In the days that follow the family try to put the experience behind them, but a number of sinister events suggest that the matter isn’t finished – and could even be connected in some way to their own lives. By the time they realise they’re being stalked by an unknown enemy, it is too late…

Where did the idea All Fall Down come from?

It sprang in part from my previous novel, See How They Run. I wanted to expand on the idea of a family in jeopardy, but whereas that book begins with a break-in during the night, I started this one with an apparently idyllic scene – a barbecue on a warm summer’s afternoon. I also wanted to feature the secrets and complications that can accumulate during a long marriage, as well as the complexities of life with grown-up children. And I had long had it in mind to explore the “cult” mentality, whereby apparently ordinary, harmless individuals can be manipulated into carrying out acts of terrible brutality.

What was the hardest part of writing All Fall Down?

The hardest part, invariably, is getting the first draft finished. Writing a novel is such a long slog, and there often tends to be a “flat spot” in the middle when the energy that comes from the initial enthusiasm has been used up, but the end is still a long way off – at this stage, the need to fill that blank screen with words gets more and more daunting every day. It’s always a huge relief to complete the first draft, no matter how much rewriting might be needed – I love the process of cutting and shaping the book into something readable.

Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?

I don’t think so, apart from a lot of staring into space. I tend to write in cafes, and I’m sure it must be disconcerting for other customers when the bloke in the corner keeps frowning and muttering to himself, bashes away at his keyboard and then suddenly breaks off to go into a kind of trance…

Have you always wanted to be an author, and when did you first realise you wanted to write?

It’s probably a bit peculiar, but the answer is yes, it really is the only ambition I’ve ever had. I was quite late learning to read, though I loved drawing cartoons and comic strips from a very early age. I was seven when I discovered that there were people whose job was to write stories, and I can remember deciding, there and then, that I wanted to be one of them.

Do you write an outline before you start writing?

Sort of! I tend to write a lot of notes – sometimes ten or fifteen thousand words’ worth of ideas for scenes and settings and autobiographical details, and within those notes there will be a plan for the first part of the book, at least, and possibly a few ideas for major events later on. But whenever I try to plot something out in more detail, I find lines of dialogue popping into my head, and before I know it I’m writing the scene rather than just planning it. I wish I could be more disciplined and produce a full structural outline before I begin, so it’s something I’m trying to improve on with each book.

How did you get signed up by publishers Bookouture?

It was very fortunate, actually, as I’d been through quite an anxious and disappointing period for a couple of years, having written three books while out of contract. One of them was a YA novel which my agent loved, and which got some great feedback from publishers, but ultimately none of them went for it. Then I wrote a slightly strange thriller which I loved but no one else did! Finally I had See How They Run, but by this point I was feeling so dejected about my prospects that I wasn’t even sure whether it was worth submitting anywhere. Fortunately my agent suggested we send it to an editor she knew well, as much to get her opinion on it as anything. That editor was Keshini at Bookouture, and to my astonishment and delight she loved it, and wanted to publish it.

How much time does social media take up of your busy writing life and how important a part do you think it plays?

Until See How They Run came out, I’d have to confess that social media didn’t take up nearly enough of my time! I tended to use Facebook more for catching up on what family and friends were doing, and I was quite a late convert to Twitter. But one of Bookouture’s greatest strengths is understanding the importance of building support among the community of bloggers and reviewers, and once I was introduced to that world, I’ve spent more and more time online. Occasionally it does encroach on writing time (and personal life – I sometimes sit down a little late to dinner!) but I love it. There’s nothing more rewarding than to get messages from people who have enjoyed reading my books, and I’m extremely grateful to you and all your fantastic fellow reviewers for the support you’ve given me.

All Fall Down is all over social media and every post I’ve seen has been raving about you and All Fall Down, how does that make you feel?

Absolutely gobsmacked. Particularly with this book, since it’s coming hard on the heels of See How They Run, which was very well-received. I’m still bracing myself for reviews that start by saying, “I loved his last book, but this one is nowhere near as good…” So far, however, that hasn’t been the case, and some people have said that they enjoyed this one more, which is a wonderful thing to hear.

Are you able to tell me anything about your next book?

There’s very little that I can say right now, as I’m toying with two or three different ideas. At the moment I’m leaning towards one that starts with a young mother, in the throes of a messy divorce, who tries to do a good deed while also indulging her curiosity… and it doesn’t turn out well for her!

Now for a really evil question if you could co-write a book with another Bookouture author, who would it be? And why?

Ooh, that is a difficult question. I think I’d probably look to pair up with someone whose genre or writing style is very different from mine, so maybe Christie Barlow for a bit of romantic comedy, or Nigel May for crime with a bit of glitz and glamour.

Describe yourself in five words?

Book-loving beer-drinking chocolate-eating sea-swimming storyteller! (I’ve sort of cheated there, haven’t I?!)

During all the interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

Hmm. I usually struggle enough with the questions that I am asked, let alone thinking up new ones. But how about: “When you first set out to be a writer, who was most important to you in terms of encouragement and support?” And the answer to that would be, firstly, my gran, Kathleen Harrison. She was an avid reader who loved crime fiction. She believed in me completely, and was very proud of the small successes I had in terms of publishing short stories in my late teens and early twenties. Similarly, one of my oldest school friends, Stuart Marsom, read a lot of the stuff I wrote in my teens and was probably my first enthusiastic reader, which gave me a lot of encouragement to carry on at a time when rejection slips were popping through the letterbox on a daily basis.

Thank you Tom for popping by the book review café and taking the time to answer my questions.

About Tom Bale


Tom Bale decided that he wanted to be an author from the age of seven but, after another career got in the way, it wasn’t until much later that his dream was fulfilled.  After several books with Random House, Tom signed with Bookouture for two stunning ‘everyman’ thrillers.

 Links: Website     Goodreads     Facebook     Twitter:@tOmbale

Book description

It should have been an idyllic day for the Turner family – until a dying man, beaten beyond all recognition, arrives at their home, uttering the words, HELP ME.

Rob and Wendy Turner and their children try to explain away the horrific scene as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but in the days that follow their lives are threatened in ways they could never imagine.

The family is unaware that they are being watched by someone with their own terrifying agenda, who will stop at nothing to fulfil their own twisted desires.

But when hidden secrets come rushing to the surface, it’s clear not everything is as it seems in this happy family. Are the Turners a victim of circumstance – or does the key to their fate lie closer to home?

Forced to fight for everything they hold dear, can they save themselves before time runs out – or will their act of compassion see them paying the ultimate price…?

A heart-stopping, shocking and tense thriller that will keep you guessing to the very last page.


Tom Bale has only gone and done it again! Written a thrilling and addictive read that has left me a nervous wreck! I’ve really had to think long and hard about my review for this book, because it was fantastic and I really want to do the book justice. When I finished Tom Bale’s last book See How They Run I thought to myself that there was no way the author could top that book, but boy was I wrong, (sorry Tom Bale for doubting you!) All Fall Down has gone one better, and left me speechless (not an easy task, as Mr book review café will tell you!) I’m sure my heart is still racing from reading All Fall Down.

All Fall Down introduces us to the Turner family, there your average Joe family, mum, dad, three children, trying to get on with life the best they can, that is until a dying man turns up at the family barbecue, and then all hell breaks loose, that’s all I’m going to say about the plot because it’s definitely one of those books “the less you know, the more thrilling the ride”. The Turner family are so ordinary they could be any family, and I think this is what not only made the story credible but gave me nightmares about the safety of my own family. As Tom Bale slowly reveals family secrets you can’t help wondering how everything fits together, but it does and it’s done seamlessly. This book is taut with tension and intrigue, so much so I got really irritated when I had to put it down to go to work!

Tom Bale should write a masterclass on how to bring suspense to a novel, All Fall Down is packed to the brim with it, as the story unfolds you soon realise the family are being watched, and the author very cleverly adds chapters told by an anonymous narrator which literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, these chapters were full of malice and intrigue, so much so I found myself holding my breath as I wondered what lay in store for the family. As for the anonymous narrator he’s one sick and twisted individual, what he puts the family through certainly makes for a chilling and tense read.

The author is a fantastic story teller, he cleverly drip feeds the reader so you really have no idea where the plot is leading, the sense of malice is overwhelming and you can’t help fearing what is coming next for the family. Like the Turner’s I found myself paranoid, unsettled and nervous as Tom Bale weaved his twisted and chilling tale, so much so I felt I was on the biggest roller coaster, my heart rate would just begin to steady after reading a particularly tense chapter, and bang it soared again as the author delivered surprise after surprise.

As the plot reached its dramatic and shocking conclusion, I literally couldn’t tap the pages on my kindle quick enough. All Fall Down is the stuff of nightmares, and I’m sure this book will keep coming back to haunt me, and keep me awake at night. I would highly recommend this book to anybody and everybody. In my opinion Tom Bale is one of the best crime thriller authors around at the moment, and I may just hibernate until his next book is released. One word of warning All Fall Down should come with warning ” read at your peril, this book WILL give you a hell of a book hangover”

I won’t be giving All Fall Down 5 stars, but I will be giving it the very prestigious GOLD STAR AWARD, up until now I’ve only given this award to one other book (The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza). I give this award to a book I feel covers ever aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that drew me in from the first page and kept me in its grip until I reached the very last page.


Print Length: 398 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (1 Sept. 2016)

Amazon UK          Amazon US