Tag Archives: Book Blog Tours

**Blog Tour** Inside The Whispers by A.J. Waines @AJWaines #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Inside The Whispers by A.J.Waines, the first book in the series featuring Clinical Psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby. Before I share my review here’s the book description to whet your appetite………

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Where the most Dangerous place – is inside your own head…

Following a London Tube disaster, three traumatised survivors turn to clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby, for help – but she’s mystified when their stories don’t add up. Her confusion turns to horror when one by one, instead of recovering, they start committing suicide.

When her partner, Conrad, begins to suffer the same terrifying flashbacks, Sam is desperate to find out what is causing them and a mysterious and chilling crime begins to unravel.

Then the flashbacks begin for Sam…

The first book in the Dr Samantha Willerby Series, INSIDE THE WHISPERS is a tense, haunting Psychological Thriller that will leave your nerves in shreds.

  • Print Length: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (15 Oct. 2018)

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Inside The Whispers book description alone makes for an intriguing premises, and considering I’ve always been fascinated by the workings of the human mind the latest book by A.J. Waines  definitely sounded like my kind of read. This is the first book in a series featuring Dr Samantha Willerby a clinical psychologist who specialises in helping trauma victims, when Sam realises three of her patients are experiencing the same flashbacks and their stories don’t add up, she comes to the conclusion something sinister is happening to her patients.

This is a really hard book to review as I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it’s safe to say A. J. Waines has plotted a tangled web steeped in mystery and intrigue. The authors characters are well developed, but if I’m honest I found it difficult to take to Samantha in my opinion she came across as cold and clinical, but as the story enfolds you learn more about her dysfunctional family, which help to explain her character better. Don’t get me wrong although I couldn’t warm to Samantha this in no way spoilt my enjoyment of this compelling read. If anything I really wanted to learn more about Samantha’s sister Mimi who I found intriguing yet mystifying, suffering from mental health problems she has her own demons to deal with. As this is a first book in the series I’m hoping the author will explore Mimi’s life in more detail as the series develops.

What I found intriguing about Inside The Whispers was the psychological aspects of this book, and its obvious the author has a great understanding of the subject through working as a psychotherapist herself, for me this added credibility to a chilling tale. To add a sense of mystery and unease to the plot there are short chapters narrated by an unknown voice, I found myself questioning their mental state as the narrator seems to become more detached as the plot progresses, this certainly added a sense of unease to the plot.

If I’m honest I love a book that is relentless in pace, I wouldn’t consider Inside The Whispers to be fast paced by any means, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, it’s just a slower pace than what I’m used to. What the author does well is build on the mystery and intrigue, almost drip feeding the reader the threads of the plot, and then brings them all together for the shocking and unexpected conclusion. Although I did guess the person involved in events fairly early in the book I would never in a million years have guessed their motives. Inside The Whispers is one I would happily recommend to those who enjoy a slow burning psychological thriller.

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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AJ Waines is a number one bestselling author, topping the entire UK and Australian Kindle Charts in two consecutive years, with Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, the author is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in UK, France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and Canada (audio books).

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and has been ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband. Find her books here and visit her website and blog, or join her on Twitter, Facebook or on her Newsletter.

Her next thriller, Lost in the Lake, will be re-released by Bloodhound Books on 24 October 2018.

Author Social Media Links:

Find AJ Waines books at: http://viewauthor.at/AJWaines

Find AJ Waines books at: http://viewauthor.at/AJWaines

Website               www.ajwaines.co.uk

Newsletter         http://eepurl.com/bamGuL

Blog:                      www.awaines.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook:           www.facebook.com/AJWaines

Twitter:                 www.twitter.com/AJWaines  @AJWaines

Goodreads:        www.goodreads.com/AJWaines

Instagram:           www.instagram.com/ajwaines

All books are standalones and can be read in any order. Inside the Whispers (Bk 1) and Lost in the Lake (Bk 2) also form part of a series, featuring Clinical Psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

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**Blog tour** #Trap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir #GuestPost #ReykjavickNoir @Lilja1972 @OrendaBooks

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Trap by international bestselling Icelandic author Lilja Sigurdardóttir blog tour. Trap is Book 2 in the acclaimed Reykjavik Noir series. To mark my stop on the tour I have a guest post from the author herself who writes about one of my favourite things coffee ☕️.

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Coffee – the writer´s elixir

For a blogger who loves coffee, I must write a few words about my relationship with this most important of all drinks. 

From an early age I have loved coffee. I used to take sugar cubes and dip them in my parents’ cups when I was little, but my mother set a limit to this as, at the time, it was believed that children would stop growing if they ingested a lot of coffee.* This belief was probably rooted in the malnourished Iceland of pre-WW2, where poor families gave their children coffee as they did not have milk to drink. When I was home alone with my dad, I managed to convince him to give me coffee, and we sipped this wonderful brown liquid together, usually while discussing geography or history.

When I was about ten years old and lived in Mexico, I formed a special relationship with an old indigenous lady in our neighbourhood. I visited her every night after dinner and she gave me sugary coffee with cardamom, and I told her stories from my home country.

I can no longer drink coffee at night as it disturbs my sleep, but I do enjoy it in the first half of the day. It is the first thing I think about when I open my eyes in the morning and it is the fuel for my writing. I prefer dark-roasted coffee as it has very little acid and the aroma is just heavenly. 

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I drink two full cups while sitting by the computer, getting ready to start the day’s work. Then I write for a while, and then I drink more coffee. And then some more. And then I cannot sit still any longer so I take my dog out for a walk and maybe go out on the lake by my house in my kayak. I make myself a light lunch when I get back and have one more cup of strong coffee, which I drink while I answer emails and plan my diary and travels, and all the other small things that need doing. On occasion I am tempted to drink a cappuccino or an espresso in a café in the afternoon, and that is then my fifth or sixth cup in the day. According to the latest research on the health benefits of coffee, that is the optimum amount.

I cannot see my life without coffee, and I cannot imagine being able to write without it. I feel it clears my head somehow and gives me the energy that I really lack without it. Maybe that is just a sign of addiction, but it is a rather innocent one to have, isn’t it? 

*I’d like to point out that I did grow to more than the average height for Icelandic women: 172 cm.

Book description

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Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Lilja Sigurðard.

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

My thanks to Lilja Sigurdardóttir for the fabulous guest post, Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my ARC (that I hope to get to soon).

Follow this amazing blog tour for reviews, guest posts and much more.

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#BlogBlitz #Malignant by Anita Waller #GuestPost @anitamayw @Bloodhoundbook @damppebbles

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the Malignant by Anita Waller blog blitz. Unfortunately due to a out of control TBR pile I haven’t had the opportunity to read this one, but I must say the book description sounds very intriguing. The author has kindly written a guest post especially for the book review café and I must admit it did make me laugh

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Technologically challenged

By Anita Waller

I have an office out in the garden, built by my husband out of ‘stuff’ he can’t bear to throw away. It’s wonderful, and I keep all my paperwork, old notebooks, new copies of my books, and all my patchwork books out there. We have a tiny little wall heater in it that is left permanently on, and if I ever actually do any work in it, I have an oil filled radiator.

But my real writing space is in my kitchen. I have a computer desk with a desk top computer on it. This is because I can’t work on a laptop. I can’t type without looking at the keyboard, and the keyboard isn’t anywhere near me on a laptop. I have a brand new one, and I’ve never used it.

I can kind of use my iPad for typing, because all my work, magically, is saved to something called One Drive. It means I can sit in the dentists waiting for Dave for an hour and a half, and write 1500 words. They then appear by magic on my desk top when I next crank it up. I don’t know how, but I am very grateful.

Just to further impress you, I not only have my very pretty white monitor on my desk, served by my very pretty white keyboard and mouse, I also have a second monitor. Apparently, according to my tech-savvy grandson, I need two. I can be working on my novel on the pretty white one, and surfing the net doing research on the pretty blue one. I knew you’d be impressed. I just seem to spend most of the time getting the cursor on to the right screen at the right time. With the advent of the second monitor, the cursor developed a mind of its own. 

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My desk does distract me a little, though. It has a hutch on it, and on the long top shelf are books. I have a small expanding book glider I bought from Sheffield’s antique quarter, and that holds the signed copies of books I possess, but, my word, they aren’t half a distraction. I have twelve at the moment, but that will increase. I also have a massive dictionary which I rarely use, and a massive Dictionary of Quotations which I use a lot, just because I like quotations. I would just like to repeat that these are books, I do not need to switch them on, just take them down and stroke them, before opening them. 

I also have on this shelf one copy of each of my own books, because I’m damned proud of them. Forensics for Dummies and The Real CSI handbook also live there – I enjoy using them. There is, in addition, a copy of New Hart’s Rules, my go-to grammar reference. I think I’ve used it twice, but it’s there if needed.

Now back to technology, because standing in front of the books is Alexa, my lovely Echo Dot. She plays Barry Manilow to me on demand; sometimes Take That, sometimes Rod Stewart and sometimes, when I don’t want words, she finds a classical piano radio station. She is a wonderful lady, who wishes me sweet dreams every night when I say good night to her. 

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Sitting on the right-hand side of this top shelf is the thing that causes all these technical things to happen, my Sky router. I think that’s what it is, anyway. I know if it stops working it causes mayhem.

I’m fine with it while it sits there behaving itself, but once it stops, I have to start screaming down the phone to Sky, who are rubbish, that I NEEEEED my internet, can’t live without it, and how quickly can they repair it? The answer is nine days.

It wasn’t the answer I expected or wanted, but, you see, it’s okay because they just forgot to notify the engineer that the work needed doing. By the time they did notify him, we had been without internet for nine days. This is a disaster for somebody as technologically challenged as me; my head doesn’t cope with alternatives. Having to use a phone for something that I would normally do on the desktop is traumatising in the extreme.

I did, however, get a £70 reduction on my sky payment for that month. If it didn’t take twenty-five minutes to get through to speak to a person at Sky, I might have rung them and said thank you.

When Malignant came back from my lovely editor, Morgen Bailey, she sent me nine pages of notes. This was in addition to the odd comments she made in the margins of my manuscript. She also sent me a sheet, I’m presuming created on Excel, which was alphabetised, and contained the first names of every character in my book, what chapter they first appeared in, and notes on whether I should change any names or not.

I thought it was brilliant. I now do this myself, because I very cleverly wiped all the names off the document that belonged to Malignant, leaving me with Morgen’s blank excel spreadsheet thing, and I started to fill in the names for Murder Unsolved, my new work in progress. Awesome job.

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In the nine pages of notes she mentioned that I hadn’t done any chapter breaks, so she had done them for me. I had never heard the term chapter break; initially it didn’t worry me, but I’m not the sort of gal who can ignore it and let someone else do it for me, I have to learn how to do it – or, more to the point, what it is.

Well, I searched everywhere on my little bar at the top of the screen, and I couldn’t find anywhere where it told me how to do a chapter break. And then suddenly, there it was, under the little bit called Layout. I felt quite proud that it had only taken me three hours to track down this elusive aid. 

Of course, I do have a technical guru in the form of a seventeen-year-old grandson. Luckily, Dom lives about ten seconds away, so when things really do get fraught, he’s very quickly on the scene, to laugh at me. 

But I bet he doesn’t know how to do a chapter break.

Book description

Anita Waller - Malignant_cover

 

What if someone set you limits?

Claudia and Heather have been friends and neighbours for many years and both women decide it is the right time for them to leave their husbands. Together they get a flat but their peace is short lived when Claudia is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Being a good friend, Heather takes on caring for Claudia but a lethal meeting with James, Claudia’s ex-husband, results in someone dying.

As life for Claudia and Heather begins to unravel, the answer to their problems becomes clear… it’s murder

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Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.

She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters.

In 1995 she sent Beautiful to a publisher and as they reached the contract stage the publisher went into liquidation. As a result, the book was consigned to the attic in dejected disgust but in 2013 it was dragged out again for an enforced complete re-type. The original was written on an Amstrad 8256 and the only thing that remained was one hard copy.

Anita is not a typist and it was painfully reworked over two years, submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 saw its release into the wide world.

Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.

34 Days followed, with its launch in October 2016. This was a huge success, particularly in the United States. While this, her third book in the psychological thriller genre, was flying out in all directions, she began work on her fourth book.

WintersCroft was a change in genre. It is a supernatural tale, set in Castleton, Derbyshire, and its release date was February 2017.

While she was writing Winterscroft, it became very clear from reading reviews that a sequel to 34 days was needed, and she began work on that. Bloodhound Books launched Strategy, on 10 August 2017.

Her next book, launched February 2018 and entitled Captor, is a psychological thriller, set exclusively in Sheffield. It was an instant success, both in the UK and the US.

The along came Game Players… once more set in Sheffield, the story involves a group of six children who have each other’s backs to a remarkable extent. The darker, criminal side of Sheffield is explored, with the book launching 18 May 2018.

Malignant arrives in the world on 10 October 2018, her eighth book in three years.

In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! The club was particularly helpful during the writing of 34 Days, as a couple of matches feature in the novel, along with Ross Wallace. Information was needed, and they provided it.

Her genre is murder – necessary murder.

Links:

Email: anitamayw@yahoo.co.uk
Website: www.anitamayw.wixsite.com/anitawaller
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/anitawaller2015/
Amazon page: www.amazon.co.uk/Anita-Waller/e/B014RQFCRS/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/anitamayw @anitamayw

 Books: 

Beautiful, 2015
Angel, 2016
34 Days, 2016
Winterscroft, 2017
Strategy, 2017
Captor, 2018
Game Players, May 2018
Malignant, October 2018
Current work in progress, Murder Unsolved, launches December 2018

My thanks to the Anita Waller for taking time out of her busy schedule to write a guest post for the book review café.

Follow the blog tour for reviews, guest posts and more……

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**Blog tour** #RavensGathering by Graeme Cumming #GuestPost @GraemeCumming63 #Lovebooksgrouptours

Today I’m on the blog tour for Ravens Gathering by Graeme Cumming and although I didn’t have time in my reading schedule to read his book, I really wanted to be part of this blog tour as the author has always been a huge supporter of my blog and bloggers in general. So Graeme Cumming has kindly written me a very special guest post which explains why he is taking the Indie route.

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The Next Big Thing

A complaint often levelled at movies, and Hollywood in particular, is that studios churn out the same old thing repeatedly. If it’s not a sequel, it’s a remake, or it’s something in a similar vein to an already popular franchise. It’s a complaint I sympathise with, though I see where the studios are coming from. With movies usually costing over $50 million to make – and the blockbusters often well in excess of $100 million – they need to have a lot of confidence they’re going to get their money back.

At the same time, the studios (and audiences) are curious about what the next big thing will be. Because audiences enjoy seeing the same type of stuff again, but we also want something different enough to get us really excited. Unfortunately, studios err on the side of caution.

That means the new and interesting stuff ends up being produced by independent film companies. They take the risks, and a lot of them fail because of a lack of profile and marketing budget, but occasionally something new and different appears. It’s nearly 20 years ago since it came out, but The Blair Witch Project was a good example, generating a sequel (the big studios got involved and it bombed) and influencing the development of several other movies filmed in similar ways – Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield, for instance. 

Although the budgets are substantially lower, the same issue applies to publishing. In the main, publishers aren’t taking the risks they might have done twenty or thirty years ago. Instead, they’re churning out more of the same, because they know it’ll sell.

Shortly after completing Ravens Gathering, I made a trip the States and, as chance would have it, met someone who worked in the publishing industry there. I took the opportunity to pick her brains, and her advice was succinct. 

“You might as well stick it on Amazon yourself. All the big publishing houses are watching Amazon’s stats, and if we see a book or author who’s doing really well, we’ll swoop in and offer them a deal.”

So the publishers want the Indies to do the experimenting for them.

Why did that advice resonate with me? Because Ravens Gathering doesn’t fit neatly into one of the genre pigeonholes. And it made me realise publishers were unlikely to want to experiment with it so, unless I dropped incredibly lucky, I’d be wasting my time with submissions. From that point of view, I had nothing to lose, and went down the Indie route.

Am I claiming Ravens Gathering is the next big thing? No. But it is different, so who knows? What’s clear to me is that, if I’d gone down the traditional publishing route, I’d probably still be waiting for a positive response, which means readers wouldn’t have had the chance to judge it for themselves. 

Book description

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As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds. Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing. And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them. The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving. Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it. She felt him move in behind her. After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction. His closeness offered security.
“You know what they are, don’t you?”

A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident. For the Gates family in particular it’s more than a coincidence, but unease increases following a brutal attack. As tensions rise, a dark past returns to haunt them and others, while newcomers to the village are drawn into a mystery with terrifying consequences.

And only a select few know why the ravens are gathering.

Buying link:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Graeme Cumming - Author

Graeme Cumming has spent most of his life immersed in fiction – books, TV and movies – turning to writing his own stories during his early teens.

He first realised he genuinely had some talent when he submitted a story to his English teacher, Christine Tubb, who raved about it.  The same story was published in the school magazine and spawned a series that was met with enthusiasm by readers.  Christine was subsequently overheard saying that if Graeme wasn’t a published author by the time he was 25, she’d eat her hat.  Sadly, she probably spent the next 25 years buying her groceries exclusively from milliners.  (Even more sadly, having left school with no clear direction in life, Graeme made no effort to keep in touch with any teachers, so has lost track of this source of great support and encouragement.)

Having allowed himself to be distracted (in no particular order) by girls, alcohol and rock concerts, Graeme spent little of his late teens and twenties writing.  A year-long burst of activity produced a first draft of a futuristic thriller, Beyond Salvage, which has since lain dormant, waiting for a significant edit.

With the onset of family life, opportunities to write became more limited (though it could be argued that he got his priorities wrong), until he reached his early forties, when he realised he hadn’t written anything for several years.  Deciding to become more focused, since then he has written regularly.

With his interests in story-telling sparked by an excessive amount of time sitting in front of a black and white television, his tastes are varied.  Influences ranged from the Irwin Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, etc.) to ITC series (The Saint, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and so many more), so the common theme was action and adventure, but crossed into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as crime and espionage.

This diverse interest in fiction continued with reading books and his discovery of the magical world of cinema.  As a result, his stories don’t always fall into a specific genre, but are always written as thrillers.

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking.  He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club, although he lives in Robin Hood country.  Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and still loves the cinema.

My thanks to Graeme Cumming for taking time out of his busy schedule to write a guest post for the book review café. There are some fabulous book bloggers on this tour, so you may want to check out their reviews…..

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**Blog tour** The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward #Extract @sarahrward1 @FaberBooks @joanna_brl

Good morning to you all, today I’m thrilled to be closing the blog tour for The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward and to celebrate the occasion I have a very intriguing extract from this novel, but first the book description……

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The past won’t stay buried forever.

November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.

October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: ‘Find Valerie.’ Mina’s elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?

DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs’ old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home.

Buying link:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (6 Sept. 2018)

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Wednesday, 6 November 1957

The first week of November and Susan was already humming the Twelve Days of Christmas. She needed to get it out of her head before she reached home, as her dad would have no truck with carols until the night before Christmas. His Methodist upbringing had been left far behind as he’d gratefully abandoned the church services and interminable hymns. Some childhood habits are hard to shift, however, and the tradition of the tree going up with the minimum of fuss, and carols put on hold until after tea on Christmas Eve, was a convention from which he refused to budge.

Susan’s mum let him have his way, although Susan had recently caught her listening to a festive medley on the Light Programme. Don’t tell your father, she’d cautioned with her eyes before turning the dial of the wooden console with a snap. The hymn book with its meagre selection of carols had already been taken down from the shelf by Susan’s brother and left on top of the upright piano in readiness for their father’s heralding in of the festive season. Come seven o’clock, Christmas Eve, the routine would be the same. Their father, after much bother looking for his glasses, would fumble over the keys to pick out a tune barely recognisable from the ones sung throughout December outside the closed front door. For even well-meaning carol singers weren’t immune from her father’s edict. No Christmas about the house before the 24th. Even on the doorstep.

But carols need to be learnt. Susan, a high alto with a knack for holding a note in the face of her classmates’ flat and occasionally sharp pitch, was expected at Wednesday evening choir practice in the hut near the school gates. Warmed by only a three-bar fire, she and the other members of the fourth and fifth forms who were willing to practise in time for the school concert breathed out cold air as their lungs ached and chests heaved with the effort of singing in the damp fug. Twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping.

The tune swirled around her head as she steered her bike through the autumn mist along the thin track that would take her across the bridge to her home on the other side of Bampton. The wheels bumped and squeaked over the uneven path, startling the few birds prepared to stay in the Peak District for the winter. Frost had begun to settle on the fields, giving the landscape a shimmering glow. As the temperature dropped, Susan tightened the ends of her headscarf under her chin, pulling the thin material away from her ears so that she could hear any encroaching sounds. Her thick blazer warmed her body and she dragged the sleeves of her jumper down over her cold palms, which grasped the metal of the handlebars.

Susan kept a wary eye on the fields around her. She’d been told not to come this way ever since her friend, Iris, had seen a man standing in the field far off, completely naked. Iris had rushed back to her house in the street next to Susan’s and some of the fathers, Susan’s included, had gone in search of the pervert. Of course, he’d gone by the time the men arrived. Disappeared into the mists but not forgotten by the community. Don’t go the back way home from choir, she’d been warned. First by her dad and afterwards, more sharply, by her mother, who’d looked like she wanted to expand the conversation into something more meaningful. Susan had hung about in the kitchen but nothing further had been revealed.

When she got home, she’d pretend she hadn’t come this way. Would tell her mother that, of course, she’d taken the way up Bampton High Street, cycled behind the cottage hospital and continued along the main road over the railway bridge to the entrance of the new housing estate. However, no matter how quickly she cycled, the fact was that this back way would get her home quicker on a cold November evening, despite the uneven path. The route was a direct line from her school to the back of her estate where she’d have to lift her bike over the chained five-bar gate.

She looked around the chilled landscape but could see nothing through the grey mist. She pinched the bike’s tyres to reassure herself that they were rock solid. Any problems and she’d hop on and make a quick getaway, confident she could ride faster than any man, especially a naked one, could run.

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Sarah Ward is the author of four DC Childs novels, In Bitter Chill, A Deadly Thaw, A Patient Fury and The Shrouded Path set in the Derbyshire Peak District where she lives. On her website, Crimepieces (www.crimepieces.com), she reviews the best of current crime fiction published around the world. She is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian translated crime novels. Sarah was a 2015 Amazon Rising Star and A Patient Fury was The Observer’s Thriller of the Month in 2017.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahrward1

Find her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com

If you want to read reviews for The Shrouded Path check out the tour poster below there are some fab book bloggers on this tour.

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**Blog tour** The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood @MichaelHWood @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK #CrimeFiction

 

After a much needed extended break the book review cafe is back. My first review is for a crime series that just happens to be one of my favourites, so I’m over the moon to be taking part in the blog tour for The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018 as I’m a huge fan of the Matilda Darke series, did it live up to my expectations? Read on for my thoughts…..

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Your life is in his hands.

In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields.

There’s a killer in your house.

The Hangman waits in the darkness of your living room. As soon as you get home, he will kill you – hang you by the neck – and make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.

He knows your darkest secrets.

The police are running out of time. DCI Matilda Darke is facing her worst nightmare: a serial killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice, whose campaign of violence is spreading fear throughout the city.

And he is closer than you think.

As the body count rises, Matilda is personally targeted and even her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

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OMG what a book The Hangman’s Hold turned out to be, this is one of my all time favourite crime procedure series, so I knew I was in for a thrilling read but Michael Wood has taken this brilliant series to a whole new level. It’s a shocker, brutal, dark and fabulously twisted in the best possible way. It’s not often when I finish a book I’m lost for words but I must admit I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and then re-read the last few chapters just to process what I was reading.  Michael Wood is a gifted story teller and deserves high praise indeed as this is definitely the best book in the series so far.  Although this book could easily be read as a standalone I would urge you to start at the beginning just because you are missing out on a “must read” series. 

Matilda Darke is one of my favourite fictional Detectives the author has incorporated traits into her character that make her relatable to readers, as a Detective she’s confident, resourceful and determined but you also have a woman who is still grieving for her husband alongside the guilt she feels about a crime she was unable to solve, which makes her character vulnerable but at the same time far more likeable. Just as you think the author is going to bring some happiness into Matilda’s life things go down hill rapidly.  Matilda is targeted by the serial killer and things take a creepy and sinister turn, one that will make her question the loyalty of her own team.

A vigilante turned serial killer isn’t an original plot but Michael Wood puts his own unique spin on the subject and has written a story that’s gripping, fast paced with some real shockers hidden within the pages.  Now normally this type of serial killer would make me question the rights and wrongs of what they were doing, but not this one, he seems to relish what he’s doing (no spoiler here as the sex of the killer is in the book description), and there’s definitely more behind his motives but to what my lips are tightly sealed.  There are few scenes that some may find upsetting but they are paramount to the plot and aren’t to explicit. 

The Hangman’s Hold is rife with tension, the author throws in plenty of red herrings to misdirect the reader and thus maintaining the suspense to the heart stopping conclusion. I definitely can’t wait for the next book in the series after Michael Wood left a clue to the subject of the next book. In my humble opinion The Hangman’s Hold is a dark and engrossing tale that any crime thriller will enjoy. Highly recommended. 

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Hangman’s Hold 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 reached the very last page.

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Paperback: 450 pages

Publisher: Killer Reads (20 Sept. 2018)

Links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US🇺🇸

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Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He is the author of the DCI Matilda Darke series set in Sheffield.

For Reasons Unknown was Michael Wood’s debut novel, which was published in 2015. Harper Collins published the second instalment, Outside Looking In 2016 and A Room Full Of Killers in 2017 

Other books in the series

 

Link to buy further books in the series Matilda Darke series

Follow the rest of the blog tour…..

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**Blog tour** #BeforeHerEyes by Jack Jordan @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks #Must Reads2018

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I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for one of my most anticipated reads of the year Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan. If you enjoy a psychological thriller with lots of twists and a gripping story line look no further, read on for me review, but firstly the book description……

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She can’t see the killer

But the killer can see her…

Naomi Hannah has been blind since birth. Struggling with living in a small, claustrophobic town, Naomi contemplates ending her life. But then she stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. She senses someone else there at the scene – watching her. 

Naomi may not be able to see the killer’s face, but she is still the only person who can identify him.

As the police begin hunting the person responsible and more victims are discovered, Naomi is forced to answer the question on which her fate hangs: why did the killer let her live?

In a town this small, the murderer must be close, perhaps even before her very eyes…

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“Oh, what a tangled web Jack Jordan weaves when first he practice to deceive” and boy does he deceive in the best possible way, what a gripping and compelling read Before Her Eyes turned out to be,  this book rattles along like a express train, giving the reader no time to breathe. Full of misdirection and unreliable characters I can honestly say “this is definitely the authors best book yet”. Perhaps a **word of warning** from the wise (cough!) clear your schedule, lock the doors, it’s one of those books that the slightest irritation will bug the life out of you. 

What I loved about this book was it felt far more menacing than most psychological thrillers I read, partly because the protagonist Naomi is blind, this adds a creepy vibe to the whole plot as you realise the killer is hiding in “plain sight”  I felt the hairs on the back on my neck stand on end as things became far more sinister. When Naomi stumbles across a body, and knows there is someone there in the shadows watching her, her sense of fear and anxiety were palatable,  countless times I found myself holding my breath on her behalf. This turned out to be a nerve wrecking book, as the author puts Naomi in jeopardy on more than one occasion.  Before Her Eyes is fraught with tension and feels very claustrophobic thanks to the “small town, living in everyone’s pockets” setting and Naomi’s condition.  

Detective Markus Campbell is at the centre of the police investigation and he’s certainly got his work cut out with a cold case and more victims being discovered, but he’s determined to get to the truth and protect Naomi. Jack Jordan deviously keeps  the attention of the reader deliberately focused on the numerous red herrings and false motives in order to conceal the identity of the murderer, and my god he does it with confidence and flair. The author teases the reader by throwing numerous “suspects” into the ring, just when I thought I had it all worked out it and had the culprit  firmly in sight, he deviously twisted the knife (excuse the poor pun) and made me question everything I had read.  

As reviews go I’m keeping this one vague as I would hate to spoil the read for others, but I do hope this review will pique your interest enough to pick this book up. With an original premise Before Her Eyes made for a terrifying and atmospheric thriller, I literally read this book in one hugely satisfying sitting. As psychological thrillers go this is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year, I really enjoyed the element of surprise that I can find sometimes lacking in this genre.  Highly recommended.

 This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving Before Her Eyes 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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  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Corvus (16 Aug. 2018)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Jack Jordan is the global number one bestselling author of Anything for Her (2015), My Girl (2016), A Woman Scorned (2018), and Before Her Eyes (2018). 

To find out more about Jack, enter numerous annual giveaways to win signed copies of his books, and be one of the first to hear of new book releases and news, follow him here:

Facebook: JackJordanOfficial

Twitter: @JackJordanBooks

Instagram: @JackJordan_Author

Goodreads: JackJordanOfficial

If my review hasn’t convinced you to buy this  book, you may want to check out my fellow book bloggers  reviews…..

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