**Blog Tour** Dying To Live by Michael Stanley #GuestPost @detectivekuba @OrendaBooks

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I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Dying To Live by Micheal Stanley which is published by one of my favourite publishers Orenda Books. Peter James describes this book as ‘A wonderful, original voice – McCall Smith with a dark edge and even darker underbelly’ and the good news, Dying To Live was published on the 30th June 2017 so you don’t even have to wait to get your hands on a copy.

To celebrate I have a really fascinating guest Post from the authors about The Bushmen people of the Kalahari, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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A Culture at Odds

The Bushmen people of the Kalahari are at the centre of the latest Detective Kubu mystery – Dying to Live. It’s a Bushman who is found dead at the start of the story. At first it seems to be a natural death, but then the police decide that, in fact, he was killed. The more they look into his death, the more confusing it becomes. His body seems young on the inside but old on the outside. There’s an ancient black-powder bullet lodged in his abdomen, but no entry scar. And then his body is stolen from the morgue.

The Bushmen have been nomadic for hundreds of thousands of years. As other population groups crowded them, they moved into the arid regions of southern Africa and developed a very successful, if Spartan, lifestyle. They would dig for water and suck it out of the ground through grass straws, or find fluid in Tsama melons. If they found natural water, they would always leave some for those who came after; sharing was a survival strategy. They moved with the seasons, following game which they hunted using bows and poisoned arrows. The poisons make a story in themselves, ranging from snake venom, through extraordinary desert plants, to an extraction from the larva of a beetle which is so poisonous there’s no known antidote.

Fast forward to the twenty-first century. (There’s some pretty sickening stuff in the years we’re skipping, including a period when governments issued licenses to hunt Bushmen.) Now much of the Kalahari is declared as the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Diamond mining drives the Botswana economy. Bushmen numbers have declined, and in 1997, the Government of Botswana started to relocate the Bushman to a permanent settlement outside the game reserve. In 2005 they forced the last of the Bushmen to move.

How you interpret the situation depends on your perspective. Here’s a superficial summary of the way some of the Bushman leaders see it, and how support groups like Survival International see it:

The Bushmen have always lived in the Kalahari. Fences and private land ownership—which is alien to them—interferes with their nomadic behaviours, and rules concerning hunting force them near starvation. Their culture is disrespected and is being destroyed by the change in environment, and legal constraints in which they’ve had no say. In order to keep the Kalahari for tourism and—according to some—diamond mining, the Bushmen are being forced into settlements little better than concentration camps on the verges of the land they once regarded as their own. Yes, there is some compensation, but this is soon frittered away leaving nothing. Financial planning is completely outside their ken.

And here is how the Botswana government sees it:

The government has a constitutional obligation to provide appropriate infrastructure for all its citizens. This includes proper schools, health care, water and sanitation. Furthermore, the Kalahari is remote and inaccessible, an ecological treasure that must be preserved. Discrimination on race is forbidden by the constitution, so if the Bushmen live there, how are other population groups to be prevented from living and hunting there? And now the Bushmen hunt with guns rather than bows and arrows. Their nomadic behaviour has changed to informal settlements where water has to be supplied by the government by road, rather than found in natural depressions or melons. Crudely put, the traditional culture is already dead, only the inconvenience remains. Thus planned settlements set up in appropriate places with schools and services is the answer. Appropriate compensation is paid to the people who have to move. They have a new and better life ahead.

In the wide gap between these two viewpoints is a variety of groups who tried to negotiate a scenario which would bring the two sides closer together. Nevertheless, with such extreme perspectives, and the muscle behind each side, it was almost inevitable that the matter would end in the Botswana High Court. In 2006, the presiding judge of the Court was the remarkable Unity Dow—first woman High Court judge in Botswana, member of the Kenyan Constitutional Court, writer, and now minister of education. Broadly, the three judges ruled in favour of the Bushmen. In the judgement, Dow said that the case was ‘ultimately about a people demanding dignity and respect. It is a people saying in essence: “Our way of life may be different, but it is worthy of respect. We may be changing and getting closer to your way of life, but give us a chance to decide what we want to carry with us into the future”.’ When we met her on a trip to Gaborone some years later, we asked her whether she felt the issues had been resolved by the ‘the most expensive and longest-running trial’ Botswana has ever had. She just smiled sadly and shook her head.

While researching our book, we visited New Xade, the settlement established by the government to the west of the Kalahari game reserve a hundred kilometres from anywhere. It’s a depressing place, there is little being done there, and little to do. It’s even some way off the main road into the game reserve, itself a dirt track. People pass it by; there’s nothing there they want.

But in Dying to Live we suppose that there is something there that people find they want very much. Something that kept the dead old Bushman young.

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Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger.

The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award, and book 5, A Death in the Family, was an international bestseller.

Author links: Website     Twitter     Facebook

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Book description

When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles … but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman?

As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow. A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane heroes.

Buying Links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Orenda Books, Michael Stanley for the fascinating guest post  and Anne Cater for organising another fabulous blog tour.

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**Blog Tour** #TheGoodDaughter by Karin Slaughter #AuthorInterview #BookReview @HarperCollinsUK @SlaughterKarin

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Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. I’ve always been a huge fan of this author so I literally jumped at the chance to take part in the blog tour. I never imagined when I started up my blog I would be helping to promote the book of one of the most famous crime thriller authors on the planet, so excuse me while I jump up and down with excitement!

Not only am I sharing my review for this gripping book, but I also have an author Q & A with Karin Slaughter, so without further ado………..

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You write about crimes, particularly those violent crimes against women, that are sadly all too common, but was The Good Daughter based on any specific incidents? If so, do you find that difficult to deal with?

I’m always conscious when I write about crime that this sort of thing is happening everywhere in the world, multiple times a day. Especially when you’re talking about crimes against women. The Centers for Disease control tracks the leading causes of death for all Americans and publishes their report annually. For female infants, the number one cause of death is homicide. For pregnant women, the number one cause of death is homicide. From the ages of zero to 45, you can scan the top five reasons for premature death of women and find the word “homicide” listed. So, statistically, it’s an inherently dangerous thing to be a woman. In fact, almost every act of violence that’s not gang-related generally victimizes a woman, either obliquely or directly. Even terrorist attacks like the horrible bombing in Manchester victimized women. When we have random shooters here in the US, they tend to be angry young men who generally target women, or their first victim in a shooting spree is an ex girlfriend, a mothers, or a woman they think has rejected them.

So, to answer the question, the crimes in the Good Daughter are crimes that are taking place every second of the day, and I don’t find it difficult to write about them so much as feel the weight of that responsibility to hold a mirror up to society and say, “this is happening. What are we going to do about it?”

What’s the first ever story you remember writing?

I have one of only two existing copies: The Boom Diddy Kitty. It’s about a cat who helps a kid who is not very popular.

Cats are amazing.

If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have wanted to do in life?

Being a writer is literally the only thing I’ve ever consistently wanted to do in life, from at least kindergarten. I always assumed you couldn’t make a living being a writer (and that’s true—I’m very aware of how fortunate I am) so I had back-up plans. I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be a comic book illustrator, I wanted to be an astronaut…all the cool jobs. What I ended up doing was being an exterminator, then a house painter, then an employee at a sign shop, then a sign shop owner, then I got very lucky and the thing I had been toiling away at all along during my non-working-hours finally paid off and I got my first book deal. I am aware every single day that I am one of the luckiest folks on earth. Not many people do for a living exactly the job they have always wanted to do.

What’s the best thing about being a published author?

That’s honestly a hard question to answer. I get to work in my pajamas, but honestly, I wore my pajamas to work before and no one really noticed. I get to travel all over the world, which is nice because I’ve met all sorts of interesting people and that one mildy racist woman in Canberra. I love working with my editor because she really gets me. I love being able to write for a job. Maybe the coolest part is walking into a book store and seeing my books on the shelves, but not too many books because people have been reading them and the store needs to get more. That’s really one of the best things about being published—knowing my readers are out there and that they are happy with my books.

It’s certainly not being able to get an expired Nando’s card accepted for a free order of peri-peri chicken!

img_1639Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally-bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestsellers Cop Town and Pretty Girls. She has sold over 35 million books, making her one of the most popular crime writers today. She is passionate, no-nonsense, provocative, and is one of suspense fiction’s most articulate ambassadors. Her Will Trent Series, Grant County Series, and stand-alone novel Cop Town are all in development for film & television. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. You can learn more about Karin Slaughter and her books over at…….www.karinslaughter.com

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IMG_2352Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy smalltown family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – Pikeville’s notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again – and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatised – Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case which can’t help triggering the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried for ever …

IMG_2298I’ve always been a huge fan of Karin Slaughter’s writing and have pretty much read every book she has ever written, so to say I was excited to see she was publishing a new novel was an understatement! The Good Daughter is a standalone, no sign of Will Trent here (I love this series by the way) and once again the author has shown why she is considered to be one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. I was surprised to find The Good Daughter isn’t as fast paced or as graphic as the authors previous books, although some of the scenes and subject matter may not be to ever reader’s taste I must admit! After finishing The Good Daughter I definitely think this is the authors most ambitious and powerful book yet!

Like any book by this author there is plenty of mystery, terrible crimes are committed, but it also gives insight into family relationships when terrible things happen to them. Much of the book is about the horrifying events that happened to Charlie and her sister Samantha during their childhood , and how they are affecting their characters in the present and their relationships to each other and the people around them. I felt this novel was very much character led and the crimes almost felt secondary to the plot, that’s not a criticism by any means as The Good Daughter still made for a disturbing yet compelling read.

Karin Slaughter has created exceptionally complex characters, both sisters have their own demons that continue to haunt them, this novel is very much about the complexity of relationships and bad things happening to good people. Each character in The Good Daughter is garenteed to provoke a strong reactions, like anyone they have their strengths and weakness that make your own feelings towards each character sway constantly depending at what point you are in this throughly compelling read.

The author describes the small town of Pikeville so vividly it feels incredibly stifling, but also very typical, the kind of place where everyone knows you and your business, so it was intriguing to read how and why one sister choose to leave and the other one stayed, the reasons are complex but at the same time credible. Karen Slaughter never shies away from the darker side of life, in fact she hits it head on. The Good Daughter is dark, gritty and at times disturbing, with a superbly written plot, yet again the author has shown me why she continues to be one of my all time favourite authors on the planet.

Buying links:        Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 512 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (13 July 2017)

Follow  the rest of the blog tour

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**Blog Tour** The Other Twin by L V Hay #GuestPost @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks

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I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Other Twin by L V Hay, which is published by one of my favourite publishers Orenda Books. To celebrate I have a really interesting guest Post from the author which has resulted in me adding even more books to my huge TBR pile, so be warned!

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TOP 5 TWISTED SISTER STORIES TO CREEP YOU OUT

By @LucyVHayAuthor

Things come and go in terms of ‘fashions’ and crime fiction is no different … Just recently, it would seem sisters are prevalent in the genre. Even my own book, a mystery set in the LGBT community in diverse Brighton, features a pair of sisters!
The Other Twin follows the fates of Poppy, a young woman who suspects her sister India has been murdered. India has left behind a blog, detailing a number of people with code names who all may have a motive for killing her. Poppy must work out who these people are and why they could have had it in for India. We also hear from India, in her own words, via the blog.
So, to celebrate The Other Twin being released, I thought I would reflect on five of my favourite recent ‘Sister’ stories – how many of these have you read, too? Don’t worry if you haven’t read them yet though, there’s NO SPOILERS:

My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwod  I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one … and it plays with your assumptions throughout! It’s a clever tale, with thought-provoking commentary, but it’s still easy to digest. I devoured it very quickly, mainly thanks to the three-dimensional characters and the situation they find themselves in. Protagonist Kate is a war reporter, so the scenes in Syria are hard-going, yet it’s the ones in her backwards little hometown that are the creepiest!

My Sister’s Secrets by Tracy Buchanan I have three sisters myself and they can be secretive beasts, so reading this was a no-brainer for me! I enjoyed this tale of intrigue, set in a seaside town and focusing on a family bereavement. The diving sequences in the submerged forests were especially creepy and claustrophobic, plus the characters of the three sisters in this story were appealing. Recommended.

Little sister by Isabel Ashdown This book is set on the Isle of Wight, a place I know particularly well, so the storyworld really added something for me. But even if I hadn’t known the island, the author really ratchets up the tension here in this child abduction thriller: it’s a twisty tale with a relentless, fast pace. There have been LOTS of missing child thrillers in recent years, but this one really stands out for me because it’s always one step ahead – I am pretty good at figuring out twists, but this one really GOT me!

The Sister by Louise Jensen This one is *slightly* different to the rest on this list in that it doesn’t involve the protagonist’s own sister, but her deceased best friend’s! I really liked the intrigue here – when Grace finds a note, written a long time before best friend Charlie’s death, it reads: “I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …” I was BESIDE MYSELF with wanting to know what this *terrible something* was! Great job.

My Sister And Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall My personal favourite on this list, this is a devastatingly authentic read. Dugdall never shies away from grabbing the dark and taboo with both hands and she excels here, confronting issues of self-harm, anorexia and domestic abuse. Told via the POV of Sam, a girl intent on starving herself to death, she must confront her memories and work out who could have attacked her big sister Jena – and why. As you might expect from this author, the ‘showdown’ is quite something in that it may take you somewhere VERY uncomfortable!

BONUS!

Twisted’s Evil Little Sister, Volume 1 Twisted50 is a crowd-sourced collection of fifty horror stories – I took part last year and was thrilled when my story, The Retribution of Elsie Buckle was picked for the anthology. However, there were SO MANY great entries that the people at Create50 – the initiative behind Twisted50 – created another anthology, Twisted’s Evil Little Sister, Vol 1 AS WELL! So obviously no round up of ‘sister’ books would be complete without this evil tome … There are some real sick minds behind this volume, it creeped me out to the max: you have been warned!

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BIO: @LucyVHayAuthor is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015). Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN, is due out with Orenda Books in 2017. Check out her website HERE and all her books, HERE

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Book description

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana?

Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her? Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well- heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth …

Print Length: 300 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (18 May 2017)

Buy links:      Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to L V Hay for her guest post, Karen Sullivan over at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my ARC of The Other Twin and for allowing me to be part of this awesome blog tour.

Don’t forget to check out fellow book bloggers for reviews, guest posts and much more…..

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**Blog Tour** Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear #GuestPost (@CazziF) @BonnierZaffre

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I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Sweet Little Lies blog tour. Sweet Little Lies is written by debut author, Caz Frear and was named the winner of the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition in conjunction with retailer WHSmith. To celebrate the release of this crime thriller  I have a fantastic guest post (yay! I do love a guest post!) So without further ado, I’ll hand over to Caz…

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In defence of self-doubt – overcome it or work with it?

It’s a can-of-worms debate, and yet still a widely-held view, that crippling self-doubt is more of a female thing. Study after study seem to indicate that while men approach a challenge thinking they’ll naturally ace it, women, on the whole, expect the worst.

I’m not entirely sure where I stand on this. It seems a bit black and white, a bit ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’, although I’ll admit in my case, it’s 100% true. My school reports were littered with comments like, “Caroline has the ability but not the confidence,” and while I’d argue that in maths, physics and geography, they were being too kind as I had no ability at all, in all other subjects their assessments were bang on. Even in English, no matter how many A grades I amassed in every piece of coursework and exam, I still assumed that the next one would go badly. It’s a ‘girl thing’, I heard my teachers say on more than one occasion. But I’m no longer a girl. And with age should come confidence, surely?

It appears not. I am female and worse still, I’m a female writer, and therefore popular myth states that I must doubt myself as readily as I breathe.

I read an interview with Marian Keyes many years ago where she said – although I’m paraphrasing a little – that every day she sits down to write, she wonders if it’s the day the words leave her. The day she has to admit that all her previous bestsellers were mere flukes and she’s been trading on luck. The day the world realises that she’s simply not good enough at writing.

Yep. Marian Keyes said that. Hilarious, incisive, warm, multi-talented Marian Keyes.

What chance the rest of us??

My debut novel, Sweet Little Lies, came out on Thursday. It won the Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and has had unbelievably generous reviews from some amazing crime fiction authors (still fainting over Lynda La Plante and Ann Cleeves!) In addition to this, my agent and my editor have never been anything short of insanely passionate about my writing but right now, as Sweet Little Lies goes out into the world, I’m still asking myself the same question. Still tormenting myself with the same fears.

Is it really any good?

Am I about to be ‘found out’ for being the ‘average-on-a-good-day writer’ that Self-Doubt keeps insisting I am?

And if it really is any good, and no-one is about to ‘out’ me as possibly-the-worst-published-author-in-all-of-history, how can I ever repeat the success with Book 2? I mean, what if I’m a one-book wonder? The literary equivalent of Chesney Hawkes.

Sweet Little Lies was written against a backdrop of 90% gnawing self-doubt and 10% soaring over-confidence. There’s very little in between however I’m told that’s normal. The soaring over-confidence comes when what’s in your head appears on the page perfectly formed. When you completely nail a description, or a feeling. When you feel your heart pounding in the tense scenes or you well up during a sad exchange. In those rare moments, you dream of success, unreservedly. In fact, you’ve made it already. You’ve managed to craft one perfect paragraph and now the Booker Prize beckons.

You are at one with The Words.

ALERT. This is not a good thing.

“Bad writers tend to have the self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt,” Charles Bukowski lamented in an interview, and the man couldn’t be more right. It’s during these self-confidence surges that you’ll do your most cringey writing – the purple prose that adds nothing to the story other than to show the reader how clever you are (the reader almost always thinks it’s boring, not clever). It’s during these surges that you’ll become convinced you can find a far superior way to say, “He sat on the chair” than any other writer that has gone before you.

You can’t. And there’s no need to. Self-doubt reins you in from all this floweriness.

There are several other reasons why it’s a good thing too.

If you don’t have self-doubt, then what’s the alternative – complacency? We can all probably think of an author who we used to love but we now feel has lost it a little over the years. This happens in series crime the most – knowing you have a winning formula that can be relied doesn’t always inspire new heights of creativity.

Self-doubt makes you question everything about your book. Is that periphery character really needed? Is the sub-plot superfluous? Are 4 narrators too many? Is the swearing too much? Over-confidence leads to less questioning.

Self-doubt encourages you to go the extra mile – if don’t believe you’re the bees knees, you’ll work twice as hard to get there.

Self-doubt/self-reflection is a common trait in a lot of crime protagonists and literally feeling how your character feels is no bad thing.

And most importantly, the ONLY way to slap down self-doubt is through action. And it’s only action that gets books written!

About the author

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Caz Frear grew up in Coventry and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the writing dream finally came true.
She has a first-class degree in History & Politics, which she’s put to enormous use over the years by working as a waitress, shop assistant, retail merchandiser and, for the past twelve years, a headhunter.
When she’s not agonising over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at the TV when Arsenal are playing or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about.

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Book description

What happens when the trust has gone?

Cat Kinsella was always a daddy’s girl. Until the summer of 1998 when she sees her father flirting with seventeen-year-old Maryanne Doyle.

When Maryanne later disappears and Cat’s father denies ever knowing her, Cat’s relationship with him is changed forever.

Eighteen years later, Cat is now a Detective Constable with the Met. Called to the scene of a murder in Islington, she discovers a woman’s body: Alice Lapaine has been found strangled, not far from the pub that Cat’s father runs.

When evidence links Alice to the still missing Maryanne, all Cat’s fears about her father resurface. Could he really be a killer? Determined to confront the past and find out what really happened to Maryanne all those years ago, Cat begins to dig into the case. But the problem with looking into the past is that sometimes you might not like what you find.

For fans of Erin Kelly and Belinda Bauer, Sweet Little Lies is a suspenseful page-turner from a talented new voice.

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**Blog Tour** Wolves In The Dark by Gunnar Staalesen @OrendaBooks #BookReview

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Today I’m hosting The Wolves In The Dark by Gunnar Staalesen blog tour,  which is published by the fantastic Orenda Books. I’m thrilled to be able to share my review for this gripping and very disturbing book. Many thanks to Karen Sullivan over at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for allowing me to be part of this awesome blog tour.

Book description

PI Varg Veum fights for his reputation, his freedom and his life, when child pornography is found on his computer and he is arrested and jailed. Worse still, his memory is a blank…
Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts.
When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a paedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell.

There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material… and who is seeking the ultimate revenge.
When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest – and most personal – case yet.

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Wolves in the Dark reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

img_1258I thought I had made a huge blunder agreeing to review Wolves In The Dark, I didn’t realise it was the 21st book in the series, so I pretty much convinced myself that I would find this a difficult novel to read, I hate starting a series a couple of books in let alone 21! I always find it hard to connect with the characters. I’m thrilled to report that all my worries were unfounded and Wolves In The Dark made for a throughly gripping read and yes it can be read as a standalone.

Wolves in the Dark doesn’t ease you in gently to it’s plot from the first chapter where PI Varg Veum is arrested for having child pornography on his computer and he’s accused of being part of a paedophile ring you know you are in for a dark and disturbing read. There’s no doubt about it Wolves In The Dark is not always an easy read, while it never felt gratuitous within the context of the story, I can see that this won’t be to everyone’s tastes due to the subject matter.

Varg is one complex character he’s a damaged soul, he much prefers to drown his sorrows in alcohol so he doesn’t have to deal with his grief, but despite the darkness surrounding him I also find something intriguing about this well established character. I do feel there is a lot of history to his character, history I’ve missed out on as I haven’t read previous books in the series, but overall I still managed to get a “feel” for this complex yet intriguing character.

As Varg looks back on past cases and the enemies he’s made looking to find answers to his current predicament, the pages of this cracking plot are fraught with suspense and you can’t help but wonder where the author is heading with this gritty yet compelling tale. I did find some parts confusing due to the number of characters involved in the plot and the numerous threads, but that said the author expertly manages to bring everything together masterfully.

After I finished Wolves In The Dark I’ve come to the conclusion that although I’ve come to this series late, it really did not spoil my enjoyment of this well written novel. I would like to think at some point I will go back and read early books in this series, but if I don’t get the chance it’s definitely a series I will read from here on in. Superbly paced with a disturbing plot Gunnar Staalesen has written an outstanding book in Nordic noir, it has so many elements that made this a gripping read. If you like your thrillers dark and gritty then this is definitely the book for you.

Buy links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 276 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (9 May 2017)

About the author

Granite Noir Fest 2017

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

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**Blog Tour** Exquisite by Sarah Stovell @Orendabooks @Sarahlovescrime #BookReview

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Today I’m absolutely thrilled to be on the blog tour for Exquisite by Sarah Stovall which is published by one of my favourite publisher on the planet Orenda Books. I seem to have been waiting forever to share my review of this throughly gripping novel which I read a few months back. My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books and Anne Cater for allowing me to be part of this awesome book blog tour.

Book description

Bo Luxton has it all—a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops. Or does it?

Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page

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Oh my goodness I’ve thought long and hard about my review for this book and I’m not convinced I can do this book justice, it’s just one of those books that takes your breath away, it’s such an unique psychological thriller that I’m positive this book will haunt me for weeks to come. After I read Exquisite by Sarah Stovell I looked up the definition Exquisite: of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence, as a face, a flower, colouring, music, or poetry, or in this case a book because the definition actually sums up this book perfectly, beautifully written, superb characterisation, twisted but compelling, without a shadow of doubt this book has gone straight onto my top reads of 2017.

Bo Luxton is a successful mature author, married with a two young daughters and appears to have the perfect life. Alice Dark is a young aspiring writer who is the polar opposite to Bo she’s young, with no direction and her life appears to be a mess. When the two women meet on a Creative Writing course a sinister relationship develops between the pair. As the plot develops It soon becomes apparent that both characters are very troubled souls, what follows is one of the most perfectly twisted and intense books I’ve read in a long time.

Exquisite is the perfect example of a psychological thriller, the author deftly draws the reader in, but throughout you are trying to work out which of the two characters are the more reliable narrator and even when I had finished this book, I still wasn’t sure who was telling the truth, but it certainly made for a gripping read. This book is very much character led and the author has done a superb job, so much so the characters come to life, they may not be the most likeable characters I’ve come across but I won’t be forgetting either of them in a hurry that’s for sure.

Throughout the book there is an undercurrent of rage, manipulation and madness which add layer upon layer of trepidation, you just can’t help wondering where the plot is heading, leaving the reader with a constant sense of foreboding. There is no doubt in my mind that Sarah Stovell has written a very accomplished psychological thriller its deliciously dark, highly addictive and it’s definitely one of those books you will struggle to put down.

Links to buy:      Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell was published by Orenda Books in paperback on 15 June 2017.

About the author

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Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.

 

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**Blog Tour** The Woman In The Wood by Lesley Pearse @LesleyPearse #LoveLesley #BookReview

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Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for Global bestseller Lesley Pearse. The author is celebrating the release of her 25th novel, The Woman in the Wood with a 25 blog tour, revealing a different fact ever every day about Lesley and each of her 25 bestsellers each day. You can follow the tour with the hash tag #LoveLesley. 

Todays fact is about Camellia the authors 5th book

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Fact: Camellia has some scenes in it which were real events in my life. I’m not going to say which.

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Book description

Maisy and Duncan have always had each other. Until the day they didn’t

One night in 1960, fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham awake to find their father pulling their screaming mother from the house. She is to be committed to an insane asylum. It is, so their father insists, for her own good.

It’s not long before they, too, are removed from their London home and sent to Nightingales – a large house deep in the New Forest countryside – to be watched over by their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham. Though they feel abandoned and unloved, at least here they have something they never had before – freedom.

The twins are left to their own devices, to explore, find new friends and first romances. That is until the day that Duncan doesn’t come back for dinner. Nor does he return the next day. Or the one after that.

When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive. With Mrs Mitcham showing little interest in her grandson’s disappearance, it is up to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the wood about whom so many rumours abound. A woman named Grace Deville.

img_1258I’ve always been a huge fan of Lesley Pearse’s writing and over the years I’ve read every book of hers if you include The Woman In The Wood that makes twenty five books. You would think after writing so many books the author would be running out of fresh ideas and characters, but no her novels continue to be original in content and compelling. I think this is definitely the darkest book due to the subject matter, but it is now firmly one of my favourite books by this author.

As you can see from the book description this novel is very much a crime thriller, the subject matter could have made for a very disturbing read, but Lesley Pearse has such a unique way of writing she is able to tell a fantastic story that’s both upsetting and shocking, but doesn’t dwell or embellish on the events just to add Shock value to the tale.

I always find with this authors novels and The Woman In The Wood is no exception , that Lesley Pearce gets into the heads of ordinary people and makes them extraordinary. Her power is in the small detail that builds tension and forces us to care about the characters she’s created. The twins Daisy and Duncan were so well developed you couldn’t help but become immersed in their story and as for The Woman In The Wood what a character, but that’s all I’m going to say about her as I don’t want to give away spoilers.

This book has so many elements that make it a gripping read, it certainly made for an emotional read but the outstanding plot also made for a suspense fuelled one. The Woman In The Woods explores the resilience of people, the importance of friendship and so much more. Despite this being the authors 25th book Lesley Pearse continues to write from the heart which for me make her novels a delight to read.

Buying links:    Amazon Uk 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Penguin (29 Jun. 2017)

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Lesley Pearse’s novels have sold over ten million copies worldwide and include most recently Dead to Me, Without a Trace, Survivor, Forgive Me and The Promise. Lesley lives in Devon and has three daughters and four grandchildren.

Books in order:

  1. Georgia (1993)
  2. Tara (1994)
  3. Charity (1995)
  4. Ellie (1996)
  5. Camellia (1997)
  6. Rosie (1998)
  7. Charlie (1999)
  8. Never Look Back (2000)
  9. Trust Me (2001)
  10. Father Unknown (2002)
  11. Till We Meet Again (2002)
  12. Remember Me (2003)
  13. Secrets (2004)
  14. A Lesser Evil (2005)
  15. Hope (2006)
  16. Faith (2007)
  17. Gypsy (2008)
  18. Stolen (2010)
  19. Belle (2011)
  20. The Promise (2012)
  21. Forgive Me (2013)
  22. Survivor (2014)
  23. Without a Trace (2015)
  24. Dead to Me (2016)
  25. The Woman in the Wood (2017)

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