Kiss Me Kill Me by J. S. Carol #BookReview @JamesCarolBooks @BonnierZaffre

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Book description

She thought she could trust him. She was wrong . . . When Zoe meets Dan, he’s everything she is looking for in a man – intelligent, charming, supportive.It’s only after they’re married that she realises that he’s controlling, aggressive, paranoid.And there’s no way out.Or is there?

Zoe knows she has to escape, but Dan’s found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.But Dan has plans of his own. Plans that don’t necessarily include Zoe.Be careful who you trust . . .

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WOW, WOW and triple WOW! I loved Kiss Me Kill Me by J. S. Carol what a dark and twisted psychological thriller this one turned out to be. Any crime thriller lover will be familiar with James Carol and his crime books featuring Detective Jefferson Winter, which I’m a huge fan of by the way, the author has taken a step away from this series and written Kiss Me Kill Me a standalone psychological thriller.

From the book description I was expecting a “run of the mill” domestic noir kind of read, but how wrong I was! The author has written a gripping and highly compelling book that made it impossible to put down, cliched I know but in this case it’s very true. It’s one of those reads that unnerved me from the beginning with a constant sense of foreboding you just know this is one marriage that’s not going to end in a “happy ever after”.

Apologises for the vague review but this is definitely one of the less you know the more shocking the ride. What I loved about this book was the author’s ability to mislead the reader at every opportunity and he does it time after time, every time I thought I had it all worked out J. S. Carol hit me with another surprise. There are some uncomfortable scenes that deal with the ugly side of domestic abuse but they are fundamental to the plot and very much set the scene for the events that unfold.

J. S. Carol has taken the well used subject of domestic abuse and deftly turned it in to something much more than your garden variety psychological thriller. Kiss Me Kill Me is highly original, heart thumping and so very cleverly done, in case you haven’t already guessed I really, really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a psychological thriller with more than twists than a roller coaster.

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Zaffre (22 February 2018)

Buying link:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

 

The Reunion by Samantha Hayes #BookReview @Bookouture @samhayes

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Book description

They were all there the day your sister went missing… 
Who is lying? Who is next?

THEN – In charge of her little sister at the beach, Claire allowed Eleanor to walk to the shop alone to buy an ice cream. Placing a coin into her hand, Claire told her to be quick, knowing how much she wanted the freedom.

Eleanor never came back.

NOW – The time has finally come to sell the family farm and Claire is organising a reunion of her dearest friends, the same friends who were present the day her sister went missing.

When another girl disappears, long-buried secrets begin to surface. One of the group hides the darkest secret of them all…

If you love Sue Fortin, Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train, this psychological thriller packed full of twists and turns will be impossible to put down.

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What a little cracker The Reunion turned out to be, when I first started reading this book I admit I had some reservations, there seems to be an abundance of children going missing crime/psychological thrillers on the market at the moment, and the pessimist in me wasn’t convinced that author Samantha Hayes would be able to put an original spin on a well used subject, but somehow she does.

The book begins with the disappearance of teenager Eleanor, whilst spending the day at the beach with her brother, sister and their friends. Fast forward twenty one years and her family are still no closer to knowing what happened to her all those years ago. Dad, Patrick is now suffering from Alzheimers, and daughter Claire decides that a reunion of friends and family could help her dad with his memory issues. As the group of friends are reunited they find themselves plunged into a further nightmare as shocking secrets are slowly revealed.

If I’m honest I thought the first half of the book was very slow, the time is spent introducing the reader to the array of characters and building on the mystery and suspense surrounding Eleanor’s disappearance. I can’t say I was a fan of any of the characters, some of them appeared shallow, others were just downright unlikable, and I did find myself questioning their behaviour and some of the choices they made at times, the only character I could summon up any sympathy for was Eleanor, but that said it did not stop me enjoying this book. The author manages to ramp up the tension by creating characters that are almost impossible to trust.

The Reunion has some great twists and red herrings to make this an intense and a heart pounding  read, yes I pretty much guessed one of the major twist early on in the book, but I would never have guessed the motive or some of the other devious sub plots, and I did have a couple of “OMG” moments towards the end where the author surprised me which always enhances my enjoyment of a book. If I had to say one thing it would be that a few things were left unanswered by the time I reached the end of The Reunion but never the less it still made for an intriguing read.

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 410 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (9 Feb. 2018

 

 

Tell Me I’m Wrong by Adam Croft #BookReview @adamcroft

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Book description

What if you discovered your husband was a serial killer?

Megan Miller is an ordinary woman with a young family — until a shocking discovery shatters her perfect world.

When two young boys are brutally murdered in their tight-knit village community, Megan slowly begins to realise the signs all point to the lovable local primary school teacher — her husband.

But when she begins to delve deeper into her husband’s secret life, she makes discoveries that will make her question everything she knows — and make her fear for her young daughter’s life.

Facing an impossible decision, she is desperate to uncover the truth. But once you know something, it can’t be unknown. And the more she learns, the more she wishes she never knew anything at all…

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There is nothing more satisfying than picking up a book that misleads the reader, one that constantly has you questioning each characters narrative, and Tell Me I’m Wrong by Adam Croft does exactly that! With an array of psychological thrillers on the market and one of my most read genres I find it difficult to find a book that stands out from the crowd. For me a psychological thriller has to mess with my head, keep me gripped and most importantly hit me with that “OMG I never saw that coming” moment and yes this book managed to do just that!

Like most psychological thriller Tell Me I’m wrong could not be considered to be fast paced, but like any really good psychological thriller the author builds on the suspense and mystery the whole time leading the “reader down the rabbit hole” into the world of Megan and Chris, where nothing is as it seems. On the surface Megan and Chris seem to be a “perfectly normal couple”, when two young boys are brutally murdered in their tight-knit village community, Megan slowly begins to realise the signs all point to the lovable local primary school teacher, her husband, Chris.

Fuelled by lies and mistrust the story is told in alternating chapters from the POV of Megan and Chris. As I got to the 60% I can honestly say I had no idea where this book was heading, yes I had numerous theories but I found myself so caught up in where the author was leading me I really couldn’t turn the pages of my kindle fast enough. The sense of foreboding radiates from the pages of this well told tale, at times I find myself holding my breath as the tension and mistrust between Megan and Chris grew.

Adam Croft certainly surprised me with a couple of those “OMG I never saw that coming” moments, so I applaud the author for being so devious. Well written, this is a book that I will definitely be recommending to anyone who loves a gripping psychological thriller with some very devious plot twists. Tell Me I’m Wrong is the first book I’ve read by Adam Croft but it certainly won’t be my last!

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 274 pages

Publisher: Circlehouse (18 Jan. 2018)

My thanks to author Adam Croft for my ARC in exchanged for an unbiased review.

About the author

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With more than one million books sold to date, Adam Croft is one of the best-selling crime and thriller authors in the world.

His 2015 worldwide bestselling psychological thriller HER LAST TOMORROW became one of the biggest selling books of the year with over 150,000 copies sold in the first five months, and has since been in development for television.

In 2016 he was featured by The Guardian as one of the biggest selling authors of the year, and regularly takes part in discussions and panels on publishing and the future of books.

In February 2017, ONLY THE TRUTH became a worldwide bestseller, reaching storewide number 1 at both Amazon US and Amazon UK, making it the bestselling book in the world at that moment in time. The same day, Amazon’s overall Author Rankings placed Adam as the mostly widely read author in the world, with J.K. Rowling in second place.

Adam has been featured on BBC television, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, the BBC World Service, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Bookseller and a number of other news and media outlets.

Author Links:

Twitter: @adamcroft       Facebook      Website

**Blog tour**Little Liar by Clare Boyd #BookReview @Bookouture @ClaireBoydClark

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of two stops on the Little Liar by Clare Boyd blog tour, you can catch my partner in crime (pun intended😂) Neats review over at The Haphazardous Hippo

Little Liar was published on the 1st February by one of my very favourite publishers Bookouture, so you don’t even have to wait to get a copy, pop over to Amazon and “click”. Before I share my review, what’s the book about? Read it on…….

Book description

The perfect family… or the perfect lie?

To the outside world, Gemma Bradley has it all – a doting husband, high-flying career and two delightful kids – but inside the four walls of her tastefully renovated home, she is a mother at her wits end who has given too many last warnings and counted to ten too many times.

When a child’s scream pierces the night, Gemma’s neighbour does what anyone would do: she calls the police. She wants to make sure that Rosie, the little girl next door, is safe.

Gemma knows she hasn’t done anything wrong, but the more she fights to defend the family she loves, the more her flawless life begins to crumble around her. Is the carefully guarded secret she’s been keeping suddenly in danger of breaking free?

When Rosie disappears, Gemma thinks she only has herself to blame. That is, until she discovers that Rosie has been keeping dark secrets of her own in a pink plastic diary.

Distraught and terrified, Gemma doesn’t know where to turn. The only thing she knows is that her daughter’s life is in danger…

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If you are thinking about becoming a parent anytime soon a word of warning you may want to give Little Liar a wide berth! Motherhood is often portrayed unrealistically in fiction, full time working mum, always manages to balance work V  home life perfectly, the children are the perfect “little cherubs”, but not in this book! Clare Boyd writes a very different and troubling tale of the challenges and the stormy side of being a mother.

Little Liar could be based on homes up and down the country, a child has a tantrum, (I’m sure every parent can relate to this at some point) screams the place down and a “kindly” neighbour reports the incident to the police, convinced the child is in danger. Unfortunately for Gemma, Mira a “helpful” neighbour hears Gemma’s daughter Rosie screaming and reports her concerns to the police, and so begins a train of events that will have far reaching and life changing consequences for both Gemma and Mira.

Essentially Little Liar is more Domestic Noir than a psychological thriller but don’t let that put you off, I personally enjoy this type of novel when it’s done well and considering this is the author’s debut novel I think she has done a remarkable job. The tension radiating from her characters is constant, rather like a cauldron you can feel the emotions bubbling away and at some point as the reader you know all these emotions are going to boil over, to the how and the why that’s for you as the reader to find out. At times I felt like like a voyeur watching Gemma’s family in crisis, some of Gemma’s actions towards her daughter made me feel uncomfortable,  but that said it certainly helped to create a disquieting read. Little Liar is one of those books that couldn’t be considered fast paced, it’s more subtle, slowly building on the suspense and tension and drawing the reader in.

As the title suggests most of the characters have something to lie about, and it’s these lies that make the basis of a very intriguing plot. If I’m honest it was difficult to find any empathy for any of the characters including Rosie, but this did not distract from the read. At times I could sense Gemma’s frustration and Rosie like many ten year olds knew exactly how to push her mothers buttons to provoke a reaction. Little Liar explores the sometimes difficult relationship between mother and child, the emotions, the guilt and the constant pressure to be the “best mother”. Well written with drama aplenty Little Liar is a thought provoking read that encompasses moral dilemmas that are relevant to today’s society. I think Little Liar is one of those books that will divide readers, I think some will love it and others not so, but then that’s the beauty of books, no two opinions are the same, personally I enjoyed Little Liar and look forward to seeing what Clare Boyd comes up with next.

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 410 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (1 Feb. 2018)

About the author

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Clare lives with her husband and their two daughters in Surrey, where her little green shed at the bottom of the garden provides a haven for her writing life. Before becoming a writer, she enjoyed a career in television, as a researcher in documentaries and then as a script editor in drama at the BBC and Channel Four, where her love of storytelling took hold.
https://twitter.com/ClareBoydClark

My thanks to Kim Nash and Bookouture for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

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**Blog tour** Force Of Nature by Jane Harper #BookReview @Janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK

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Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the Force Of Nature by Jane Harper. I was a huge fan of the first book in the series THE DRY and it’s a book I would highly recommend. If you are looking for a different type of crime thriller that doesn’t involve a serial killer or gruesome scenes that you are going to love The Force Of Nature, so what’s it about? Read on to find out

Book description

FIVE WENT OUT. FOUR CAME BACK…

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.
Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.
Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

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Force Of Nature by Jane Harper is the second book in a series featuring Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk, yes it can be read as a standalone but if like me you prefer to start a series at the beginning I would highly recommend you read The Dry first. From the start this book has such a different feel to it, we leave the blistering heat and claustrophobic setting of a small town in the outback and move to the cold, wet and hostile environment of the remote Giralang Range. The author has a flair for describing her settings in great detail, so much so that you feel you are there amid the harsh terrain, the howling winds and the torrential rain, the sense of isolation the author evokes is palatable from the start.

Can you imagine trekking through the wilderness with your work colleagues? Putting your trust in them? Reliant on each other to survive? All in the name of “team building” no? well that’s pretty much the premise for this book. Aaron Falk and his partner Carmen are called to the Giralang Range, when Alice one of the team members goes missing. Force Of Nature is told in alternating timelines, you have chapters that take the reader back in time to follow the women on their hike, and then you have chapters featuring Aaron and Carmen in the present assisting the search and slowly revealing the details of Alice’s disappearance.

Force Of Nature reminds me very much of the traditional “whodunnit”, where the focus is more on the characters and guessing whose behind the skullduggery and the why, rather than the fast paced, gruesome crime thrillers many of us are use to reading. Jane Harper focuses her time on building on the tension and suspense, which some readers may find off putting, but personally I enjoyed the more sedate pace.

As Jane Harper reveals more details of the five women life’s I found myself scrutinising everyone of them with suspicion. The author very realistically portrays the woman’s behaviour and emotions set against the backdrop of an isolated environment where their instinct to survive far outweighs their allegiance to their work colleagues. Force Of Nature is a complex tale that explores themes such as grudges, bullying and family ties, shrouded in mystery and secrets, that draw the reader in making for an engrossing read. Force Of Nature is a book I would recommend to those who enjoy a crime thriller with a heart and aren’t a fan of the more gruesome crime thrillers that are on the market.

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (26 Sept. 2017)

My thanks to the publishers for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

About the author

Jane Harper is the author of The Dry, winner of various awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year, the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year Award and the CWA Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 2017.

Rights have been sold in 27 territories worldwide, and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne.

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UNSUB by Meg Gardiner #BookReview @DuttonBooks @MegGardiner1 #MustReads

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Book description

A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

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First of a huge thank you to Janel over at Keeperofpages, whose fabulous review convinced me I needed to read UNSUB ASAP!

Hells bells if you consider yourself to be a crime thriller lover then you MUST read Unsub by Meg Gardiner, it’s not just good it’s a flipping fantastic book and I would go as far to say it’s probably one of the best crime books I’ve read EVER. I read so many crime thrillers it takes a lot to scare me but this book unnerved me to the extent I had to keep checking that the doors were locked and the lights were on. Unsub caused my heart to thump and my pulse to race pretty much throughout. Drawing inspiration from the Zodiac Killer, and likened to Se7en, and Silence of the Lambs this is one book you don’t want to miss if you like your crime thrillers graphic and disturbing.

As you can see this book comes with a pretty lengthy book description, so I don’t feel the need to rehash the plot in my review. I do enjoy a crime thriller with an intriguing serial killer at the heart of the plot, and Meg Gardiner has created a fascinating one, the Unsub aka The Prophet taunts law enforcement with his gruesome murders and his cryptic messages, he thrives on mind games and generating fear in a city where people are advised to be vigilant, no one knows who his next victim will be or why. I think The Prophet makes a very credible character I feel this is because as the reader you are aware the author drew inspiration from the very real Zodiac Killer, making him that much more terrifying and convincing.

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Meg Gardiner has done a superb job with character development, building her grisly psychological thriller around detective Caitlin Hendrix, whose father failed to catch the killer decades earlier. Caitlin Hendrix is probably one of the most exciting protagonists I’ve come across in a long time the author has breathed life into her, you feel her frustration, her empathy for the victims and her complex relationship with her father make her someone that I WANT to know so much more about. Unsub is an unforgettable book, fast paced, chilling and downright frightening but I loved every page of this gripping crime thriller. Every scene, every word written is pivotal to the plot and the tension that radiates throughout definitely make this one of my top reads of 2018. Now I really can’t wait to read the sequel Into The Black Nowhere. In case you haven’t already guessed I would highly, highly recommended Unsub.

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 420 pages

Publisher: Dutton Books; Reprint edition (2 Jan. 2018)

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to see I’m giving UNSUB the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a fabulous read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page and plus this one gave me a #Major #BookHangover something I don’t suffer with very often!

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**Blog tour** A Cold Cold Heart by John Nicholl @Bloodhoundbook @nicholl06

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Book description

DI Gravel and his daughter Emily are oblivious to the terrible danger she is in when she accepts a job working for the solicitor Charles Turner.

Meanwhile Gravel is on the hunt for a serial killer. And when Emily becomes the killer’s latest obsession, the murderer will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

But as further bodies are discovered, the killer seeks to befriend DI Gravel and misdirect his investigation.

How can you catch a killer who is hiding in plain sight? Can DI Gravel and Emily come away from this case with both their lives in tact?

Sometimes evil wears a suit…

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I’ve read and reviewed John Nicholl’s books before and to say he has a dark and vivid imagination is an understatement, so I always look forward to a new novel by this author as to be frank I’m never quite sure how dark or disturbing it’s going to be, but one thing I’m guaranteed it’s bound to be a “hell of a read”. Everything you need to know is in the book description, so I’m definitely not going to “rehash” the plot details, suffice to say in A Cold Cold Heart DI Gravel is on the hunt for a serial killer, a killer who is by definition a monster of the worse kind.

A word of warning for the feint hearted A Cold Cold Heart does contain some graphic descriptions which some readers may find distressing. The author has a knack of creating the most despicable characters, he is able to get inside the dark recess of his characters mind, so the reader is very much privy to the Killers thoughts and reasoning which means this book sometimes makes for an uncomfortable and a very chilling read, fortunately for me I do love this type of read.

If you have read some of this authors previous books you may recognise DI Gravel (although fear not this book can be read as a standalone) he isn’t your usual stereotypical detective, he’s overweight, heading for retirement, suffers with arthritis and angina, he’s sarcastic with a jaded opinion of the legal system and the killers he chases, but he’s like a breath of fresh as he tramples through crime scenes and blunders his way through witness interviews! You can help but warm to him.

From the beginning you know who the killer so there’s no mystery there, now sometimes this can spoil my enjoyment of a crime thriller as I do like to try and work out who the killer is and his motives. Fortunately the killer is such a sick individual I found the suspense came from wanting the killer to slip up and see justice served. Although not highly original in plot John Nicholl adds his own unique signature to A Cold Cold Heart by incorporating a character study of a serial killer who will send chills down your spine. All in all A Cold Cold Heart made for a gripping and nail biting read. Highly recommended if you like your crime thrillers on the dark and disturbing side.

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Author bio:

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John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, writes popular dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon international bestseller, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and the USA.

John is happily married, lives in rural west Wales, and has three adult children and one grandchild. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.  A Cold Cold Heart, John’s sixth book, is published by Bloodhound Books in January 2018. John is represented by Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.

Links:

Author website

http://www.johnnicholl.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/john. nicholl.988

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/auth or/show/13795294.John_Nicholl

Twitter

https://twitter.com/nicholl06

My thanks to the author, Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

If you want to follow the rest of the tour, details  are in the banner below………

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