#Giveaway The Friend by Dorothy Koomson

IMG_2207

Today I have a very special Giveaway I’m offering one lucky reader the chance to win a hardback copy of The Friend by Dorothy Koomson and a very special letter from the author herself written on seeded paper, you basically put the paper in compost, water it and watch the seeds from the paper grow into a bunch of flowers 🌸🌼🌻💐how brilliant is that? Before  I give you details on how to enter here’s the book description for you

Book description

What secret would you kill to keep?
After her husband’s big promotion, Cece Solarin arrives in Brighton with their three children, ready to start afresh. But their new neighbourhood has a deadly secret. Three weeks earlier, Yvonne, a very popular parent, was almost murdered in the grounds of the local school – the same school where Cece has unwittingly enrolled her children.
Already anxious about making friends when the parents seem so cliquey, Cece is now also worried about her children’s safety. By chance she meets Maxie, Anaya and Hazel, three very different school mothers who make her feel welcome and reassure her about her new life. That is until Cece discovers the police believe one of her new friends tried to kill Yvonne. Reluctant to spy on her friends but determined to discover the truth, Cece must uncover the potential murderer before they strike again . . .

Hardcover: 480 pages

Publisher: Century (1 Jun. 2017)

Link to buy: Amazon UK 🇬🇧
IMG_2071

Unfortunately this competition is open to UK residents only due to postage costs. The winner of this giveaway will be notified within 24 hours of competition ending. Competition ends midnight 29th June 2017 

Enter to win a beautifully wrapped hardback copy of The Friend and the seeded paper here………. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/86b4d40512/?

IMG_2209

My thanks to the publishers Century and Dorothy Koomson for sending me this fabulous #Giveaway

**Blog Tour** The Lighterman by Simon Michael #AuthorInterview @simonmichaeluk @urbanebooks #Giveaway

IMG_2070

I’m delighted to have been invited to take part in Simon Michael’s blog tour to celebrate the launch of The Lighterman, the third in his series of 1960s London thrillers featuring barrister antihero Charles Holborne. The Lighterman is published by Urbane Books and was released on the 8th June 2017. 

Matthew over at Urbane Books has kindly given me a paperback copy of The Lighterman as a giveaway, you will find the details on how to enter at the bottom of this post.

IMG_2065

imageThe first two novels in your series, The Brief and An Honest Man, both take place over the space of a few weeks in the early 1960s, but in The Lighterman you go back in time even further, to the 1940s. Why did you do that? Did you always intend to write historical thrillers?

As the series has progressed I have come to know Charles much better. Although when I wrote The Brief I knew he was an East End boy made good and he had been in a bit of trouble with the law in his past, as the series progressed what was a line drawing filled out to become a more three-dimensional portrait in my head. I began to understand his family dynamics better, his psychology, his hang-ups. There’s a major reveal coming in Book 4, and I wanted my readers to understand and believe in it. That entails revealing some of what happened to Charles as a teenager, which takes us back to 1940 and the Blitz. I also have a deeper understanding of how plot and character grow out of the fertile soil of place and history. People have commented that London has become an integral part of the stories; I would go further: I think London is a character in the series in its own right.
So, to answer your question simply, in one sense all stories are “historical” in that all characters have a background and past which dictate how they act in the present. If you want to create real characters, they can’t just arrive on the page in the present moment.

For someone who has his own particular moral code, Charles does a lot of lawbreaking in The Lighterman! Aren’t you worried that some of your readers will dislike him?

The reviews seem to suggest that the aspect of the series which appeals most to readers is Charles’s personality. My favourite, from one woman reviewer, is that she thinks she is “a little bit in love with Charles Holborne”. So I realise it’s very important not to make Charles dislikeable. At the same time, it’s his flaws that make him interesting. He went through the War, lived rough on the Blitzed streets, and grew up in an era when women with careers were oddities, men were expected to be the breadwinners and they weren’t supposed to speak about “feelings”. On top of that Charles has been damaged, and he carries that damage into his relationships with women. But as long as the reader sees that he is trying to overcome his deficiencies, that he’s essentially “a good guy” – even one who makes mistakes – I think (hope!) readers will see him as a complete person. As for his lawbreaking, he does it to save lives and to protect the innocent from the machinations of corrupt and venal men with power. I think most readers will forgive that.

You have mentioned Book 4. How many more are there to be in the series?

Charles is involved in a long-running battle with the Kray twins. They didn’t go to prison until 1968 and left a legacy that lasted some years after that. So I have at least a further five years to cover, and the undermining of The Establishment which occurred during the late 60s is a fascinating period in its own right. Books 4 and 5 are part-written. My guess is that there are at least another four books to come, but we shall see.

IMG_2066

About the author

Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister, Charles Holborne. Simon writes from personal experience: he was a barrister for 37 years and worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy during what was often considered the “Wild West” of British justice. The 1960s was a time when the Krays and the Richardsons and other violent gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime, and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted the evidence and took their share of the criminal proceeds. Simon weaves into his thrillers genuine court documents from cases on which he worked and the big stories of the 1960s.

Simon was a successful author in the 1980s, published here and in the USA, and returned to writing when he retired from the Bar in 2016. The first two books in the Charles Holborne series, THE BRIEF published in September 2015 and AN HONEST MAN published in July 2016, have both garnered rave reviews for their authenticity and excitement. The theme of Simon’s books is alienation; Holborne, who dabbled in crime and in serious violence before becoming a barrister, is an outsider both in the East End where he grew up and in the Temples of the law where he now practices, where he faces daily class and religious prejudice. He has been compared to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, honourable men surrounded by corruption and violence, trying to steer an honest course.

IMG_2067
Links: Website   Blog     Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads    Amazon Author Page

Book Trailer Facebook 

 

Book description

The Lighterman is the third book in the bestselling series of legal thrillers starring barrister Charles Holborne. Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne.

When Charles Holborne’s cousin, Izzy, is accused of murder, Charles must dig up the secrets of the past to defend him. But brutal gangland leader Ronnie Kray will stop at nothing to get his revenge on Charles for the events of An Honest Man. Can Charles save his cousin…and his own life?

Simon Michael brings the past vividly back to life across a beautifully rendered 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the Britcrime genre.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

IMG_2071

I have one paperback copy of The Lighterman by Simon Michael, unfortunately this is open to UK residents only. Winner will be notified within 24 hours of winning. To enter just leave a comment in the post telling me which era you would loved to have been part of?

All entries will be put into a hat and I will get the ever suffering Mr book review cafe to pick a winner.

You can follow the rest of the tour…..

IMG_2088

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips #BookReview @GinPhillips17 @TransworldBooks @alisonbarrow #Giveaway

IMG_2100

Book description

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours–the entire scope of the novel–she keeps on running.

Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan’s intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions–the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines–is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.

img_1258Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips is one of those novels that will strike fear into every parent, it will make you hold your child that little bit closer and make you more protective of your most treasured possessions. Not only does this novel make for a powerful and emotional read, but it unfortunately it’s also a very terrifying and a credible one due to the recent heartbreaking events in Manchester.

What would you do if you were having a day at the zoo with your young child and all of a sudden that perfect day was marred by a gunman shooting people at random? That is exactly what Joan faces when she finds herself caught up in the terrifying events. Without doubt there is nothing stronger than a mothers love and Fierce Kingdom explores the maternal bond between mother and son, which begs the question just how far will a mother go to protect her four year old son from the dangers facing them?

Gin Phillips certainly knows how to draw the reader in, from the very first chapter with a tense and horrifying opening scene I found myself desperate to read more, I found myself willing Joan and her son Lincoln to find a safe place to hide, I felt Joan’s fear, her instinct to protect her son rang true, all these factors added a constant sense of terror to what was a thrilling read.

Fierce Kingdom is so much more than a tale of a parent trying to protect her child, its a tale of survival, it explores how people in the most awful situations are bound together. Although this is a relatively short book it manages to pack so much in. Yes it’s hard hitting and disturbing and yet it’s also an exhilarating and emotive read that begs to be read in one sitting. Highly recommended.

Thank you to Alison Barrow at Transworld for sending me a copy to review in exchange for an unbiased review.

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Transworld 15th June 2017

Buying links:         Amazon UK 🇬🇧                  Amazon US 🇺🇸

IMG_2071

The publishers kindly sent me two paperback copies of Fierce Kingdom, and so I’m giving one copy away, this is one book you don’t want to miss, prior to publication it’s already deemed to be one of the top books of 2017.

Now for the boring bit……sorry this competition is open to entrants in the UK 🇬🇧 only.  competition closes at midnight Sunday 11th June 2017, and winner will be notified within 24 hours of winning. You can enter the giveaway here…….http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/86b4d40511/?

**Weekly Wrap Up**

image

I have surpassed myself this week are you ready? I read five, yes you read that right! Five whole full length books and just started on my sixth! This isn’t because I’ve finally found a pattern to fit in reading between work, I actually had an accident don’t panic I’m still in one piece just about!

I bought myself a lovely pair of wedges to wear out last Saturday night and all was well until I walked home twisted my foot in the bloody things and went down like a sack of spuds, apart from a bloody finger and a huge bruise on my foot and ankle I was fine, well until I got up the next morning in agony my neck went into spasm and has been ever since! Consequently I haven’t been able to work (no work no pay 😢) or do anything apart from read (always a silver lining I guess😂😂), mind you the meds I’m taking also make me really sleepy otherwise I would probably have read another book or two!

The moral of the story?  I need to wear flat shoes at all time for my own safety, anyone looking for a pair of gorgeous pink wedges? Free to a good home 😂😂

IMG_2099

Books I read this week

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Each Little Lie by Tom Bale

The Lucky ones by Mark Edwards

The Serial Killer’s Daughter but Lesley Welsh

The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker

ARC’s I received this week

Two! I’m keeping well away from NetGalley at the moment as promised in last weeks post, but I did request Karin Slaughter’s new book The Good Daughter ages ago and finally got accepted (so that doesn’t count😂🙈).

I also got sent an ARC of Shadows by Conrad Jones, after reading Brick which I loved there was no way I could ignore this one

IMG_2117

Book description

Suicide. Drugs. Murder.

DI Braddick is put on the case when a hijacked drug deal has resulted in murder and an eye witness goes missing. When victims are discovered strung up from the rafters of an abandoned fish factory, on the Anglesey coastline, the police are baffled as to what went on. A deserted trawler found at the scene helps Braddick put the pieces together.

Could this be the work of a notorious Russian crime family?

When an undercover officer goes missing everything points to an informer for the family and it is clear they will stop at nothing to the silence the leak and have their revenge.

As the body count rises Braddick will come to realise that no one is safe…

I’ve also still got my Amazon voucher but I’ve kept to my word and not bought any books yet! Although four of the books I read are from my NetGalley reads so I am  slowly getting there!

IMG_2104

Book description

The stunning new standalone, with a chilling edge of psychological suspense, from the No. 1 bestelling author of the Will Trent and Grant County series.

Twenty-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 …

Book Post

IMG_2055

The Friend by Dorothy Koomson

Book description

What secret would you kill to keep?
After her husband’s big promotion, Cece Solarin arrives in Brighton with their three children, ready to start afresh. But their new neighbourhood has a deadly secret. Three weeks earlier, Yvonne, a very popular parent, was almost murdered in the grounds of the local school – the same school where Cece has unwittingly enrolled her children.

Already anxious about making friends when the parents seem so cliquey, Cece is now also worried about her children’s safety. By chance she meets Maxie, Anaya and Hazel, three very different school mothers who make her feel welcome and reassure her about her new life. That is until Cece discovers the police believe one of her new friends tried to kill Yvonne. Reluctant to spy on her friends but determined to discover the truth, Cece must uncover the potential murderer before they strike again . . .

The publishers kindly sent me a hardback copy of this book to #Giveaway. So keep your eyes peeled as I will running a little competition soon.

I also received a letter from the author which will be sent with book. The letter is printed on seeded paper, you put the paper in a pot with compost and watch the flowers grow🌻🌺🌸💐🌷 how cool is that? and will be included with the book.

IMG_2118

Books I’m hoping to read this week

Last week on the book review café

What a busy week I had last week on my blog, and here’s a round up just in case you missed anything

**Blog Tour** Vile City by Jennifer Lee Thomson #AuthorQ&A
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/06/02/blog-tour-vile-city-by-jennifer-lee-thomson-authorqa-jenthom72-caffeinenights-tastpublicity/

**My Book Of The Month** May 2017 | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/06/01/my-book-of-the-month-may-2017/

**Blog Tour** #BeMyKiller by Richard Parker #BookReview @Bookouture @Bookwalter | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/31/blog-tour-bemykiller-by-richard-parker-bookreview-bookouture-bookwalter/

**Blog Tour** Body Breaker by Mike Craven #BookReview @caffeinenights @MWCravenUK | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/30/blog-tour-body-breaker-by-mike-craven-bookreview-caffeinenights-mwcravenuk/

Brick by Conrad Jones #BookReview @bloodhoundbooks @ConradJones | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/29/brick-by-conrad-jones-bookreview-bloodhoundbooks-conradjones/

Next week on the book review café

**Blog tour** The Lighterman by Simon Michael author interview

Fierce City by Gin Phillips #Review

The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker #Review

#TopFiveThursday is  back with yet another awesome book blogger

I will be running a couple of #Giveaways next week as the for the following…..

A paperback copy of The Lighterman by Simon Michael 

A Paperback copy of a Fierce Kingdom 

IMG_2116

Other news from the book review café

I’m not sure how long it’s been sat there as I don’t tend to look at my dashboard page on NetGalley I’m usually to busy salivating at all the wonderful books on there,  but some how or other I managed to get my Top Reviewer badge which made my day.

IMG_2096

I’m so pleased I’ve cut back on the blog tours I’ve actually turned down so many this week, even though they were for really fantastic books. It’s such a brilliant feeling to be able to pick and choose my own books with no time constraints.

 

 

 

**Weekly Wrap Up**

image

I’ve only managed to read one book this week, I haven’t lost my reading mojo thankfully. I’ve had a week off and been far to busy to read. I might have only read one book, but it was a gripping one and very different to my normal reads, part history and part thriller.

I will be taking a regular social media free break one day every week as it certainly helps me to concentrate on my reading, and  I’m so easily distracted once I start trawling through Facebook and Twitter 🙈

 The One Man by Andrew Gross

IMG_1763

Books I bought this week

IMG_1822

 

Book description

They thought that they had all the power, until she took it from them.

A killer hunts abusive spouses, blogging about their sins post-kill. Soon the murders and the brazen journaling draws the attention of Police Scotland’s CID. This killer works with surgical preparation, precision and skill, using a unique weapon of her own and never leaves a trace of evidence behind.

Edinburgh’s DI Kathy McGuire, nearing the end of her career, begins the hunt for the murderer as a media frenzy erupts.

But McGuire might have met her match…What has led this killer to take the law into her own hands? Is the woman accountable really a cold-hearted killer or a desperate vigilante?

IMG_1816

 

Book description

Tom Cheever is an IT specialist, a recovering alcoholic, and a single dad. Molly, his ten-year-old daughter is his whole life. But one ordinary morning, Tom discovers that Molly’s not in her room.
Gone. Vanished.

Police are called, a search party goes out, and Tom, already struggling with staying sober, finds himself coming undone. As hours become days without any sign of Molly, everyone she knows is called into question, including Tom himself.

As he tries to desperately piece together what could’ve happened, Tom realizes that nothing is quite as it seems. Will Molly be found in time? Or will Tom have to face the rest of his life not knowing what happened to his little girl?

ARC’s I received this week

IMG_1825

Book description

Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Peter James, faces his most mysterious case yet in Need You Dead.

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.

IMG_1842

Book description

Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners – including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.

IMG_1841

Book description

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another. Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

I also got sent two “Top Secret” Arc’s…….my lips are sealed for now 🤐

Last week on the book review café

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/16/blog-tour-last-breath-by-robert-bryndza-bookreview-bookouture-robertbryndza/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/17/the-abattoir-of-dreams-by-mark-tilbury-bookreview-bloodhoundbook-mtilburyauthor/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/18/dead-woman-walking-by-sharon-bolton-bookreview-authorsjbolton/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/19/dead-souls-by-angela-marsons-bookreview-bookouture-writeangie/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/20/cover-reveal-the-art-of-fear-by-pamela-crane-giveaway-nholten/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/21/blog-tour-sleep-tight-by-caroline-mitchell-review-bookouture-caroline_writes/

Next week on the book review café

After The Affair by Jonathan Kaye **Blog tour**

The Quiet Man by James Carol #Review

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens #Review

Love Me Not by M J Arlidge #Review

**Cover Reveal** The Art Of Fear by Pamela Crane & #Giveaway @nholten

IMG_1794

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers sharing the cover reveal for The Art Of Fear by Pamela crane, and don’t you just love the cover? it sent shivers down my spine when I first saw it.  Not only does The Art Of Fear have a great cover, but the book description sounds very intriguing too.

To celebrate the cover reveal the very generous Pamela Crane is offering a £5.00 (in value) Amazon Voucher, plus a pre-release eBook copy of the book, I also have two winner Up prizes of a pre-release eBook copy of the book up for grabs. Details on how to enter further down the page.  

Book description

A dead father, a sex-trafficked daughter, and a cunning killer hiding deadly talents in apparent suicide.
From award-winning author Pamela Crane comes a terrifying tale of small-town secrets and murder.

Ari Wilburn’s life ended long ago—the day she let her little sister die in a tragic accident. Crippled with self-blame and resented by her parents, Ari stumbles through life…and into an unlikely clue that casts doubt on whether the death was accidental.

A psychological wreck, Ari joins a suicide support group where she meets Tina, a sex-enslaved escapee who suspects foul play in her father’s death. In a pursuit of justice, Tina drags Ari into playing a dangerous game with the killer.

Faced with a murderous wake-up call, and desperate to salve her conscience, Ari’s investigation fuels the killer’s desire to see her dead.

Will Ari find closure and stop a killer, or make those she loves suffer?

img_1259Pamela Crane is a professional juggler. Not the type of juggler who can toss flaming torches in the air, but a juggler of four kids, a writing addiction, a horse rescuer, and a book editor by trade. She lives on the edge (ask her Arabian horse about that—he’ll tell you all about their wild adventures while trying to train him!) and she writes on the edge. Her characters and plots are her escape from the real world of dirty diapers and cleaning horse stalls, and the masochist in her thrives off of hurting her characters to create an entertaining tale.

She is the author of several best-selling and award-winning thrillers. To pick up a copy of a FREE book and other prizes, or to find out more about her chaotic existence, visit her website at www.pamelacrane.com.

IMG_1796
LINKS
www.pamelacrane.com
www.pamelacrane.wordpress.com
http://www.amazon.com/Pamela-Crane/e/B00FOS91AI
www.facebook.com/pamela.crane.52

Praise for Foreword Book of the Year nominee The Admirer’s Secret:

” Mea culpa, Ms. Crane… If you like a suspenseful thriller that completely shocks you with its plot twists, this is the one for you.”
“Engaging plot, relatable characters, credible motive, unique twist ending-it’s got all of the components I’m looking for in a captivating thriller.”

IMG_1722

First Prize: £5.00 or equivalent Amazon Gift Voucher plus a pre-release eBook copy of The Art Of Fear 

second prize: A pre-release eBook copy of The Art Of Fear 

Third Prize: A pre-release eBook copy of The Art Of Fear 

The competition is open internationally, and winners will be contacted within 24 hours of the competition ending. The author will be notified of the winners so Pamela can contact you directly. 

Competition closes at Midnight the 21st April 2017

you can enter the Giveaway here ………http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/86b4d40510/?

IMG_1795

**Blog Tour** It’s Killing Jerry by Sharn Hutton #Extract & #Giveaway @SharnHutton1 #itskillingjerry

IMG_1720

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting the next stop on the It’s Killing Jerry by Sharn Hutton blog tour. Not only do I have an very intriguing extract from the book, but Sharn is also offering you the chance to win a fabulous giveaway, I’m just sorry I can’t enteryou can find details further down this post.

It’s Killing Jerry is a comedy thriller and it’s already getting some fabulous reviews over on Amazon. So if you think this is a book you may enjoy you,  may just want to read an extract……..

image

PROLOGUE
THE IMAGE OF A CRISP-UNIFORMED police officer filled the TV screen. Bathed in sunshine, his features were rounded and friendly, but said more hopeful puppy than hardnosed detective. He ducked his head, cleared his throat and gazed down the lens.
“My name is Detective Dinwiddy,” he began, speaking slowly and carefully, “and I am investigating the disappearance and suspected murder of one Jeremy Brian Adler, a British man.”
Three pairs of eyes widened on the sofa and snapped to the screen.
“Do you have any suspects, Detective?” barked a voice out of shot.
“Well, I am still conducting my investigation.” He nodded deliberately to someone beside the camera, then back to the lens. “But there are certainly some individuals I would like to interview.” Dinwiddy held up a photo and the camera zoomed in.
The line of people on the sofa recognised it as Jerry’s passport photo, but only two jaws descended in a gape. The newscast had arrived out of the blue and with such authority: a nugget of truth beamed over the airwaves and into their living room, a living room that hadn’t seen much honesty for a while.
In the short lived hush that followed, Isabell’s heart beat so hard she wondered if the people to either side could hear the pounding in her chest. Jerry being dead changed everything. It meant she didn’t have to pretend.

ONE
FOUR MONTHS EARLIER
Jeremy dear, can you come over on Sunday to connect my new computer to the dangle – Daddy doesn’t understand it. Thank you. This is your mother.
Jerry lounged against the kitchen counter, new green jogging bottoms pinching up a roll of flab at his midriff. He surveyed the text and tapped reply.

No need to tell me who you are Mum. To the dangle eh? Are you into something kinky? No wonder Dad’s a bit flummoxed
He tapped send and smirked. Jerry’s mother was not a woman to be trifled with and wilful misinterpretation of her words was guaranteed to get her hackles up. Jerry knew she’d be forced to restrain herself as she was looking for a favour. Almost immediately it beeped in reply.

Don’t be so puerile Jeremy. You know perfectly well what I mean. What time shall I expect you? Mummy.

Of course, Jerry’s attendance was never really in question, so he angled for lunch in his reply. Decent food had been in short supply since Rachel had returned from the hospital with their first child in tow a couple of months ago. One of Mum’s Sunday roasts would go down a treat.

Jerry slid the phone into his back pocket, put his hands on his hips and pursed his lips. “Jeh-remy!” he called out in impersonation, “Don’t mock my dangle! Daddy doesn’t understand it!” He minced over to the table, right arm held tightly cocked to his chest, fingers bent over, “Jeh-remy, really!”

He let his eyes trail across the spread of unopened brown envelopes on the table and settled instead on the paper, flicking it open from the back. The Blues were dicing with relegation.
“Nearly ready?” Rachel appeared in the kitchen doorway, crumpled t-shirt hanging limp over faded grey jeans.
“Hmm?” Jerry turned in another page, looking for news on the Gunners.
“The bottles, Jerry. Is the steriliser running?”
“Steriliser?” He looked over his shoulder at her, tapping at his bottom lip with a stiff forefinger. “Was I meant to…?”
“Yes, you were meant to. Of course you were meant to. When I say: It’s time for a feed, could you put the bottles on? What else could that possibly mean?”
“Oh. Um. I thought maybe put the bottles on the counter, ready, you know?”
“No.”
“Well, ready to the put the milk in.”
Rachel looked up and down the kitchen work surface with exaggerated sweeps of her head. “So where are they then, these bottles that you’ve put on the counter, ready?”
“Um.” Jerry turned, perched on the table’s edge and pushed back a floppy mouse-brown curl from his eyes. “Hey, well, I had to get changed, of course, ready for the gym. Leaner, meaner, fitter husband and all that and then there was the, er, message. Very important one actually. One’s expertise is required.” He wobbled his head in feigned pride, but Rachel didn’t want to hear it. She raised her palm to stop his flow and let out a warbling laugh that rattled a little too high. “Don’t tell me any more. You haven’t done it. Why am I surprised? Why should I be surprised? I’m not surprised. You never fucking do anything.” She started sorting through the waiting crockery at the sink, dismantling bottles and tossing them into the bowl. “I’ll do it, shall I? Yeah, why not?”

She cranked the hot tap on full and shoved through the clutter to reach for the detergent. A displaced dirty coffee cup slid from the counter to the floor, where it chinked off its handle and rolled to rest in a puddle of grey milky liquid. Rachel closed her eyes for a beat then plunged on with the bottle washing, banging each soapy piece down on the drainer as she went. “I’m amazed you can even get yourself to the gym.” She turned to look him up and down. “Although of course, you haven’t yet, have you?” She gave the bottles a hasty wipe over with a muslin cloth and wedged them into the steriliser. “Don’t wear yourself out, don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Jerry snorted out a laugh, but a quick glance revealed Rachel not to be smiling. She stared down at her feet and scraped a stray lock of chestnut hair behind her ear. “Look, Jerry, do you think you could cover the night feed tonight?” Her tone was short and tired. Jerry rubbed at his neck. “Um, well I’d like to help, but she doesn’t seem to like it when I do it.”
“You’ll get the hang of it.”
Jerry sucked his lips against his teeth. “There’ll be all that crying and you’ll end up awake anyway. I think she needs her mother, Rach.”
“She cries anyway.”
Jerry blew out his lips in a fleshy rattle, “Yeah, but I have to go to work in the morning. I’ll be dead on my feet.”
“Unlike me.” Their eyes locked for a moment and Jerry was the first to turn away, suddenly interested in the newspaper again. He heard Rachel trudge from the room and up the stairs. The steriliser hissed.
“Jeh-remy! Look at Daddy’s dongle!” He cocked his hand back to his chest and gave a little head wobble. “Ah, mm, yes,” he sighed and looked over his shoulder to where his wife no longer stood. He really ought to be a bit more helpful. Wouldn’t hurt him to make up just one bottle.

With that in mind he drifted over to the steriliser, which gurgled and clicked, still busy with its business. He could get a bottle ready, wiggle his way back into Rachel’s good books. The trouble with all this domestic stuff was that it was all just so dull. It was an endless cycle of thankless tasks where there was never any progress, only the maintenance of equilibrium. Life at the office felt much the same. Every day he worked on PR programs to sell the sizzle of his client’s newest sausage, only for it to be replaced a few months down the line with something tastier. He was a cog in a churning machine and it was all just so dull, dull, dull.

Jerry pulled his phone from his pocket and pressed it to his ear. “Remi here.” He spoke in a hushed tone, pretending to answer a non-existent call. “A mission? I’m listening, Aqua. Yes, I can put together a hydro bomb. I’m on it.” He squinted out into the hallway, checking for spies and, seeing none, made his way to the furthest wall cabinet, next to the kitchen window. Snapping open the door, he scanned its contents: marmalade; Super Noodles; SMA. “Ah, there you are, the secret formula.”
Jerry carefully manoeuvred the tin of milk powder with both hands from cupboard shelf to countertop. He pulled at the neckline of his sweatshirt and spoke into the collar. “I am ‘go’ for formula. Commencing opening sequence.” Jerry cracked his knuckles, spread his feet apart and flexed at the knee. Very slowly he clicked up the rim of the lid and ran his thumb around the circumference to free it. Once it was loose, he cautiously lifted the lid and placed it beside the tin on the counter.
“Clear, clear, lid clear,” he informed the fantasy Spy Master.

A quick scan of the instructions on the side of the tin revealed the necessity for boiled water and accurate measurement using the doll-size plastic scoop Jerry had discovered inside. He lay his palm against the kettle and snatched it away again to tuck into his armpit, belatedly remembering the cup of tea he’d just drunk. He bit at his lip and eyed the steaming steriliser suspiciously. He wasn’t taking any chances with that.
“Aqua, radiation levels are increasing, switching to thermo tongs.”
The cooking tongs hanging behind the hob would do nicely.
“Agent Remi on point,” Jerry breathed, pinching off the steriliser lid and tossing it into the sink. A great cloud of steam mushroomed into his face and up to the ceiling.

He found the tongs were remarkably agile, considering their culinary heritage, and picked out a bottle with ease. Jerry filled it with water from the kettle and scooped in the requisite amount of powder. The top and teat proved somewhat more difficult to capture with the tongs and spent a brief time of the floor. Jerry checked the hallway for spies once more. “Five second rule,” he mumbled, scooping them up and giving them a blow, before screwing them into place. Returning to the tongs, he clamped the bottle and transported it to the kitchen table, where he stood it in central isolation.
“Aqua, mission complete, Remi out,” Jerry informed his collar, “Don’t know what all the fuss is about.”

He surveyed the kitchen counter and decided that the clutter should wait for Rachel. After all, she’d need to make up the rest of the bottles and she was bound to spill a bit too, wasn’t she? No sense cleaning up twice.
Jerry snatched up his gym bag and bounded out into the hall. “I’m off, Rach, see you later. Milk’s done.”

“Oh, oh thanks, Jerry,” Rachel called, from out of sight. She actually sounded really pleased: a rare response to Jerry’s activities. Amazing what a little imagination could achieve. It was rather a shame that a few minutes later, whilst Jerry bounced happily along the High Street toward the gym, Rachel would discover his parting gift to be much less pleasing. Returning to the kitchen, mewing baby clutched to her chest, she would find the lidless, steam-free steriliser, open formula tin and scattered powder. “Lovely,” she’d say with a sigh, “Just lovely.”

About the author

Sharn Hutton scuttled along in the rat race with everyone else, until the advent of babies provided an excellent excuse not to go back to the office. Before too long she realised, however, that ‘giving up work’ wasn’t really that at all. In fact, career motherhood had just as many challenges and disappointments as the corporate world, the hours were longer and the pay was rubbish! The best laid plans and all that…

Time marched on and as the children spent more hours at nursery and then school, she started to write during stolen moments. The seed of a story took hold and eventually grew into her first novel.

Now working from home in Hertfordshire, she wouldn’t trade her tiny writing room at the back of the house for the fanciest of corner offices. Apart from anything else, where would the dog’s bed go?

‘It’s Killing Jerry’ is her debut novel and she’s expecting many more to come. (Books that is, not babies. Definitely not babies.)

Links:   Website     Facebook     Instagram     Twitter     Goodreads

IMG_1721

Book Description

Fantasist, push-over and all-round crap father: Jeremy Adler’s an inspiration. For scandal, treachery and blackmail.

Fleeced by his ex-wife, oppressed by a narcissist boss and ridden over rough-shod by a two month old infant, Jerry might have thought he’d been keeping the peace but, the tide of resentment is turning against him.
Fighting for his job, control of the bank statement and, ultimately, his life, Jerry’s got problems and they’re about to get a whole lot worse.
Breakdowns and break-ups, manipulation and thievery, green-eyed phoneys and unscrupulous deals. Pretending to be someone else just won’t cut it this time and featuring on the late evening news as: missing, presumed murdered, is only the beginning.

With adult themes, ‘It’s Killing Jerry’ is the head-hopping tale of Jerry’s desperately funny demise.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧             Amazon US 🇺🇸

IMG_1722

Please note but this giveaway is open to UK residents only. The prize will be posted directly by the author. The winner will be contacted within 24 hours of winning by myself, and I will send your postal details directly to the author. To win this awesome prize (see photo below) you just need to click here to enter…….

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/86b4d4059/?

IMG_1719