A day with author Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture #CrimeAuthor

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Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Angela Marsons to the book review cafe. I’m a huge fan of this authors work, and her Kim Stone series, if you haven’t read them yet, and you’re a fan of crime thrillers then you are missing out on one of the best crime series on the market. I really am nosy and love learning more about authors and what they get up to in their “typical” day.

A day with author Angela Marsons

I love to get up early and write when it feels as though the world is still asleep. There is an intimacy that connects to my creative brain. As I hand write the first draft of all my books I can normally achieve around 2-3 thousand words before my fingers cry out for mercy. Once I’ve achieved my target I’ll catch up with the rest of the world and answer my emails.

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Around lunchtime I’ll check in on social media which is an absolute treat for me as I don’t take any electronic device into my writing room. I really look forward to seeing what’s going on as I am very nosey and hate to think I’ve missed anything. After lunch I might continue with emails or admin before forcing myself to complete house chores and tasks although I must be honest and say that my partner Julie is an absolute gem and takes care of most things.

Writing Desk

Once the admin is done I love to have a relaxing read and catch up with some of my favourite authors. Evening time I might watch something on the television – I am a total reality TV addict – or if my current WIP is burning in my head I’ll return to my writing room for a couple of hours to get the ideas down on paper. I have been known to write until 3 or 4am or later if I’m in the moment. I think my preference for writing early morning and late at night comes from writing around a full time job for so many years before I was lucky enough to be able to do what I love as my job.

About Angela Marsons

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Angela Marsons is the author of the Amazon Bestselling DI Kim Stone series – Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines, Dead Souls and Broken Bones and her books have sold more than 2 million in 2 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Her last three books – Blood Lines, Dead Souls and Broken Bones have reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.

social media links:

Website    Facebook     Twitter: @WriteAngie

 

 

To learn more about the author or buy her books Angela Marson Books

My thanks to Angela Marsons for taking time out of her busy schedule to write this post for the book review café.

Close To Home by Cara Hunter #BookReview @CaraHunterBooks

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Book description

Someone took Daisy Mason. Someone YOU KNOW.

Last night, 8-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from her parents’ summer party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying. DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows that nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew. That means someone is lying. And that Daisy’s time is running out…

Introducing DI Fawley and his team of Oxford detectives, CLOSE TO HOME is a pulse-pounding race against time and a penetrating examination of what happens to a community when a shocking crime is committed by one of its own.

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There are so many crime books on the market that involve children going missing, that I sometimes find myself picking them up with a “sigh” partly because I read so many crime thrillers it also means I’ve read lots of “children go missing” books. So for a book to stand out with this theme it has to be more than a “just so” read, it’s got to have an element of surprise or the “shock factor”, so when I picked up Close To Home I wasn’t convinced this book would have much more to offer than many other crime books dealing with the same subject. At this point I should apologise to the author Cara Hunter I take back all I said, Close To Home has to be one of the most exciting and riveting crime thrillers I’ve read in a long time.

Close to home is part police procedure and part psychological thriller, the novel follows DI Adam Fawley, a man who lost his own child, he finds himself leading the investigation into the disappearance of eight year old Daisy Mason. The author uses tweets, Facebook and witnesses interviews to good effect, it not only gave the book a very up to date twist, but as a reader I actually felt like I was part of the investigation. The date and timeline stamps peppered throughout this book added weight to the investigation, as the reader you can’t help but feel the tension, the frustration, and the frantic pace of the investigation.

Cara Hunter does a remarkable job in pointing the finger of suspicion at numerous dubious characters, I found myself going back and fourth looking for a motive and the culprit. The characters are complex and more importantly very convincing, you have the very odd and despicable Mason family who immediately rouse suspicion, and then you have Detective Inspector Fawley, like many fictional Detectives he has his demons, but unlike lots of crime thrillers the author has chosen to not reveal all and Fawley remains something of an enigma, I think part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much was the fact that Fawley’s character is secondary to the investigation and doesn’t overshadow the plot as some fictional Detectives tend to do.

The last ten percent of Close To Home is electrifying as the evidence mounts up, the author manages to keep the reader in suspense.  I found myself to-ing and fro-ing between suspects and scenarios,  it’s not often an author manages to keep me utterly engrossed to such an extent I found myself getting irritated every time I was interrupted, I even thought about locking myself in the bathroom, and believe me the thought crossed my mind once or twice. I think Cara Hunter has a bestseller on her hands Close To Home is  gripping, shocking  and made for an heart pounding read.  Personally I can’t wait to read the second book in this highly entertaining series, and just in case you haven’t guessed It’s one of those books I will be shouting about and recommending to anyone and everyone.

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 416 pages

Publisher: Viking (14 Dec. 2017)

The Dry by Jane Harper #Bookreview @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK

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Book description

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

So I’ve finally got around to reading The Dry by Jane Harper, shameful I know and I must be one of the last bloggers on the planet to read this book (hangs head in shame). This book was HUGE on it’s release way back in January 2017, everyone was talking about it well apart from me of course, book bloggers raved about it and it’s one of the most popular books on bloggers top reads of 2017. So was The Dry worth the wait? am I kicking myself for not reading it before now? Well here are my thoughts…… 

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This novel has the most intriguing prologue, it’s one of those that leaves you desperate to flick to the last chapter of the novel to read the outcome, I never I should add but I was very tempted. Atmospheric and beautifully written, The Dry is part police procedural, part murder mystery. This compelling novel transports the reader to a small farming community in Kiewaara Australia. the towns people are ravaged by feelings of resentment and distrust that are exacerbated by the worse drought in a century. The author paints a bleak but realistic portrayal of a town and it’s community. Jane Harper describes the town, the constant heat and the desperation of the towns people with such conviction, Kiewarra felt oppressively claustrophobic, and those feelings stayed with me until I reached the final pages of this captivating novel.

The Dry begins with the suicide of Luke, which could potentially be connected to a death years earlier. The protagonist, Aaron Falk, returns to Kiewarra for the funeral and finds himself investigating Luke’s death to determine what really happened. As he pursues the truth, secrets emerge, and passed resentments surface. The author has created an array of characters that are credible and well depicted, at some point I suspected each character of “wrong doings”, I just love it when an author keeps me guessing, it always makes for a more enjoyable read. The author narrates the story in the present, but she also includes extracts from Falk and Luke’s past, which explore the events leading up to Falk being accused of murder as a teenager, not only do these extracts give you insight to Falk’s character but they add to the simmering tension.

The Dry isn’t a fast paced mystery by any means, it’s more of an intricate slow reveal, the author entices the reader with small titbits, deftly leading the reader to a dramatic Conclusion. Now normally I’m not a fan of a slow paced thriller, but I’m actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel I relished the slower pace, the atmosphere, the characters and the intricate plot, so much so I read it at every opportunity. The author has written a tense and evocative thriller and one that’s worthy of all its hype, it’s definitely a book I would highly recommend to those who enjoy a murder/mystery where a fast pace is not your first priority. I’m thrilled I’ve read this book so late in the year, as it means that The Dry was my last read of 2017 so I definitely feel I have finished my year of reading on a high. I know one thing for sure, I won’t be leaving it a year to read Force Of Nature the second book in the series

Buying links:       Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

Publisher: Little, Brown (12 Jan. 2017)

Print Length: 336 pages

#Blogblitz Dying Day by Stephen Edger #Review @StephenEdger @Bookouture

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on the Dying Day by the awesome and very talented Stephen Edger #Blogbitz tour. Dying Day is published by one of my very favourite publishers on the planet Bookouture. You don’t even have to wait to buy yourself a copy of this gripping crime thriller as it was published yesterday, so you can hop over to Amazon and “click” the buy now button, before you do you might just want to read my review or maybe not!

Book description

Some mistakes you live with. Others you die for…

When the body of a young woman is found in the boot of an abandoned car near the Southampton Docks, Detective Kate Matthews is ordered to stay well away from the scene.

Exactly a year ago, Amy, a junior detective on Kate’s team, was murdered when she was sent undercover to catch a serial killer targeting young girls. Kate never forgave herself for letting the killer slip through her fingers and her team are worried this coincidence might push her over the edge…

When another girl’s body is uncovered days later with similar bruising around the neck, Kate launches an investigation of her own, determined to connect new evidence to the old to catch this monster before more innocent lives are taken…

Mysterious sympathy cards sent to the victims’ families finally lead Kate to the twisted individual from her past. But if she’s found the killer, why does the body count keep rising?

An absolutely heart-stopping crime thriller that will have you sleeping with the lights on. Perfect for fans of Robert Dugoni, James Patterson and M.J. Arlidge.

My review

Flipping heck I just loved Dying Day it’s much darker and than the first book in the series, and do you know what? that’s just the way I like a crime thriller to be, make of that what you will! Dying Day is the second book in the Detective Kate Matthews series, personally I think this book could be read as a standalone, but if like me you prefer starting a series at the beginning it’s definitely worth reading Dead To Me  first. Stephen Edger draws the reader in with a prologue that leaves you desperate to learn more and keeps you in his clutches until you reach the “OMG I never saw that coming” conclusion.

Dying Day has an extremely spine tingling premise, Young women brutally murdered and left naked, exposed, in public places. As the body count rises Detective Kate Matthews is determined to connect the killer to past crimes which resulted in Amy a young Detective being killed whilst under cover hunting down the killer. If I’m honest, I disliked Kate’s character in Dead To Me but I was surprised to find she’s actually growing on me. Burdened by guilt over the death of Amy, she is determined to seek justice for her by hook or by crook. Her feelings of guilt give her a sense of vulnerability that was lacking in the previous book.

I love the way the author has written this book alternating chapters that move between the current investigation and the POV of Amy before her death, the two threads work well and there’s a constant sense of unease reading about Amy, and the chapters around the police investigation add a sense of urgency to the plot. Perfectly paced, the author misdirects the reader at every opportunity which I just love in a crime thriller. I don’t know about you, but I’m left feeling slightly miffed when I guess the killer early in a book! Crime series are two a penny so for me to continue to invest in a series, each book has to be better than the last, and I’m thrilled to report Dying Day is a worthy addition to this series and I’m excited to see where the author goes from here.

Print Length: 326 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (17 Nov. 2017)

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Stephen Edger is a British crime writer, who has been writing since 2010. In that time he has written and published eleven novels, and five short stories. He writes mysteries and thrillers focused on crime.

Stephen was born in the north-east of England, grew up in London, but has lived in Southampton since attending university in the year 2000. Stephen works in the financial industry, and uses his insider knowledge to create the plots of his books. He also has a law degree, which gives him a good understanding of the inner workings of the UK justice system.

Stephen is married, and has two children, and two dogs. He is passionate about reading and writing, and cites Simon Kernick and John Grisham as major influences on his writing style.

Author links:   FacebookTwitterWebsite

Print Length: 326 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (17 Nov. 2017)

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The Teacher by Katerina Diamond #Review

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Book description

You think you know who to trust? You think you know the difference between good and evil? You’re wrong…

The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?

 

I must be one of the few book bloggers on the planet who hasn’t read The Teacher by Katerina Diamond, but I’ve finally rectified that. Prior to publication of The Teacher, I remember there was a lot of hype on social media regarding this book, add to that a tag line definitely “not for the faint-hearted hearted” and you would think I would have bought it straight away but no me being me I decided to wait until all the hype had died (excuse the pun!) down, also with a huge TBR pile I just never found the time I’m afraid.

My review

I really have mixed feelings about The Teacher it was a book I really enjoyed reading, but there was a small part of me that was expecting something far more gruesome, now this could be because I read such a large amount of crime books I’ve become accustomed to descriptions of murders that might turn other readers stomachs, but I really don’t think it was that disturbing or gruesome. On the other hand if you don’t like well described murder scenes this may not be the book for you I’m afraid.

To begin with I admit I found myself confused each chapter introduces new characters, so by the half way mark there were an array of characters that I found difficult to keep tabs on, but then it happened! The Teacher began to make sense and I realised just how clever the author had been, she set the scene and then cunningly bought all the characters together in a dark and troubling tale. From the title I pretty much had the plot worked out in my head, but rather like the book nothing was as it seemed and it wasn’t long before I realised I had been pretty much misdirected by the blurb.

The Teacher introduces a new partnership DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles, and I’m intrigued by the pair as I’ve come to expect in a crime thriller they both appear to be messed up, but I’m interested to see how there partnership will evolve over the series. The Teacher is very much about good V evil, I never expected to have any sympathy for a killer that could do such awful things to other people, but I did, as to the reasons why, well I’m not about to giveaway spoilers so you will just have to read the book and see.

Although I enjoyed The Teacher I did find it a slightly disappointing read, I think because of all the hype surrounding this book I expected something more, but in fairness that’s my problem and not the authors. I do think The Teacher was a great start to a new crime series, deliciously dark with an eclectic mix of characters and I will certainly read the next two books in the series at some point.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Avon; UK (10 Mar. 2016)

A day in the life of author Peter James @peterjamesuk @panmacmillan

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Today I’m thrilled, scrap that I’m over the moon to have international crime thriller writer, the one and only Peter James share a day in his life with the book review café. I know it’s going to sound cliched but I’m a huge fan of Peter James and have been ever since I read my first book in the Roy Grace series. The latest book in the series Need You Dead is out in paperback right now. So without further ado hands up who wants to read A day in the life of author Peter James? Well here you go……..

As a writer, the easiest thing is to not write! To make a cup coffee.. phone a friend… open the post…. surf the internet…..walk the dogs… But I think continuity is really important and that you only get that by maintaining a rhythm. I write six days a week and break on Sundays, unless I am bang up against a deadline, I try to keep Sundays free to relax, walk the dogs for a long walk with my wife, and catch up on emails. I set myself a daily writing target of 1000 words, and I always recommend to writers who ask me for advice to also set a minimum number of words to reach. It should be an attainable target, 250 words a day, 500, 1,000, whatever you can manage, so you feel a sense of satisfaction at reaching or exceeding it, but I think a routine is essential if you want to take writing seriously.

I have offices in my Sussex and Notting Hill homes, but I can write anywhere. Thanks to laptops, my office has long ceased to be a concrete space and I can write on the move. I actually write really well on airplanes, in the back of a car and in hotel rooms.

My whole day is back to front… It goes back to the time when I was writing novels, whilst working full time in film and television as a screen writer and producer, so I had to make my “Me time” to write. Although I am an early riser, my real writing day starts at 6pm in the evening, when I mix a large vodka martini, with four olives, put on some music, turn off the phones, ignore emails and get into a “zone” for the next three and a half hours. After that Lara and I relax in front of the TV. In the morning, I’m up early and we take the dogs out and feed all our menagerie of animals. I either swim or run for 30 minutes. After breakfast, I revise what I wrote the night before and plan the next pages, and in the afternoon I break, walk the dogs, go for a bike ride, or play tennis or catch up social media and emails. My least favourite part of my job is my vast email mountain!

I plan a book carefully, it is really the first 20% that I plan in detail, along with the ending, which I always know, to give me a “road map” and the three high points – but after that I like events to happen spontaneously, and for the story to start to take on a life of its own – that is when, for me, the real excitement starts. I believe that if, as a writer, you do not surprise yourself, you aren’t going to surprise your readers!

Your readers expect more from you than just a story with a beginning, middle and end, and interesting characters. They want to be thrilled, entertained, scared, perhaps, but they also want to learn from you. They want a little wisdom from you, insights into our world. So you must learn. I set myself a challenge of trying to learn something new every day. Ghandi said something I think is very beautiful and very true: “Live as if you were to die Tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

I have a number of passions when I am not working, I love to read as much as possible, play tennis, run, swim, ski, cycle spend time with my wife, and race cars! It helps me to switch off on the motor racing circuit because I really have to concentrate. I race classic cars – currently a 1965 BMW, a 1958 Austin A35, a 1958 Fiat Abarth and a 1965 Mini. I have a huge passion for good food, good wine and good company!

I collect old gadgets and smoking memorabilia, as well as wine and rare whiskies. I love animals, and we have a menagerie at home with dogs, alpacas, emus, ducks and hens. I love spending time with my animals. They’re a great “normaliser” after the dark stories I write. It is wonderfully therapeutic to hand-feed the alpacas and emus and stroke them. There is something amazing about the simplicity of the lives of animals. A reminder to us all of the magical world of nature and a great respite of the darkness that is out there in the world so often.

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About Peter James

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Peter James is an international bestselling thriller writer. He is a New York Times bestseller, as well as having 11 consecutive Sunday Times No 1s, and he is published in 37 languages. His DS Roy Grace crime novels have sold 18 million copies worldwide. Prior to becoming a full-time author, he was responsible for 25 movies. In 1994 Penguin published his novel, ‘Host’, on two floppy discs as the world’s first electronic novel. His novels have won numerous awards, most recently the coveted 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence, and he was publicly voted by WH Smith – Britain’s biggest book selling chain – The Best Crime Author Of All Time. Visit Peter James on YouTube: http://www.peterjames.com/youtube

My thanks to Peter James for his fabulous post.

You can learn more about the authors books here….Peter James author page Amazon

The Roy Grace series

 

 

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture

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Book description

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

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My review

There are so many Crime detective series on the market that it’s almost impossible to keep up with them all. There are a few series that come high or hell water I wouldn’t miss the latest instalment of and Angela Marsons Detective Kim Stone series is one of them. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of Broken Bones that I didn’t even read the book description, but then I have such faith in this author’s ability to deliver a riveting read. Was my faith misplaced? Hell no despite this book being the seventh in the series Angela Marsons has only gone and written another worthy nail biting addition to what is a compulsive series.

Detective Kim Stone is one of my favourite crime Detectives and I feel as the series has evolved so has her character, interestingly in Broken Bones there is more emphasis on Stacy and Dawson valuable members of Kim’s team. This works perfectly as the reader learns more about the dynamics of her team, and each character has a very different story to tell, so as the reader you feel a connection to the team as a whole.

I will say one thing for the author, she certainly doesn’t hang about and waste words, no siree Angela Marsons grabs the reader’s attention with a disturbing prologue, one which promises the reader an intense and unputdownable read. From the first page to the last the author keeps the reader firmly in her clutches, as Kim and her team investigate two crimes that involve human exploitation and cruelty you will be hard pressed to put this gripping book down. As usual the author doesn’t shy away from writing about difficult subjects, prostitution, modern day slavery, grooming to name but a few, but that’s what make her books so original there dark, gritty and disturbing, but one thing they can never be called is “dull”.

I could wax lyrical about Broken Bones from morning through to night the characters, the plot and the heart racing moments, and so much more but then in doing so I could possibly spoil the read for others, so all I’m going to say is “read this book at the earliest opportunity” and to those who have yet to read this series well your definitely missing out on one of the best crime series out there at the moment.

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

Print Length: 374 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (3 Nov. 2017)

Other books in the series: