Tag Archives: Mystery

Nine Elms by @robertbryndza @LittleBrownUK @BooksSphere #NineElms #MustReads #BookHangoverAward #BlogTour

Today I’m over the moon to be re-sharing  my review for Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza, to celebrate its release in hardback.

Nine Elms is the first in a brand new crime series and I have a feeling this book is going to be a huge hit with crime thriller lovers. Before I share my review here’s the book description……..

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A DETECTIVE WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING

Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and with a keen sense of justice, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

UNTIL A KILLER STOPPED HER IN HER TRACKS

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her sharp instincts couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

NOW, HE’S BACK FOR MORE

Sixteen years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

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**This review does includes a health warning**

Robert Bryndza is a danger to my health, that’s a fact! I read Nine Elms the first instalment in a brand spanking new crime series, whilst on holiday in Greece. I became so engrossed whilst reading it I forgot to reapply my sun tan lotion and ended up with slightly sunburnt legs! Very painful let me tell you! Was Dark Elms worth a restless and uncomfortable nights sleep because of my burnt legs? You bet it was! I loved the Erika Forster series but Dark Elms takes the authors writing to a whole new level of amazing. Dark Elms ticks all the boxes for me it’s dark, gory (I grimaced at more than a couple of the authors descriptive crime scenes) and features a serial killer who will send shivers down your spine, if Hannibal Lecter gave you nightmares, be prepared for a few disturbed nights! 

I’m sure lovers of the Erika Forster series will be wondering how the author could top this series, rest assured if Nine Elms is anything to go by, this will be a hell of a series. I instantly connected with Kate, the complexity of her characters lies deeply seated in her dreadful past, there’s an air of fragility about her, but at the same time she is determined not to let her past define her, which is easier said than done especially when her past comes back to haunt her in the most horrifying way.

Luckily for Kate she has a cast of supportive and very likeable characters to help her on her journey. As for the serial killer, there perfectly depicted, chilling, cunning and yet you can’t help but become drawn into their backstory story, its one that’s original and disturbing to say the least. As to their killing techniques Robert Bryndaza, has come up with something stomach churning (best read on an empty stomach) Without giving too much away the killer in question is surrounded by evil forces, who tap into their disturbed psyche, urging them on to commit even more horrific crimes. These evil people are in need of serious therapy,  but such a brilliant combination. I won’t deny I found them fascinating, but at the same time I felt sickened by their behaviour. 

I really liked the fact that Nine Elms isn’t a regular police procedural novel, Kate has the skill set of a police detective but isn’t hindered by procedures or led by rules and regulations, so she’s more likely to bend the rules making her unpredictable. At every turn of the page Nine Elms crackles with apprehension and a growing sense of dread, it’s a fast-paced, exhilarating read that I found impossible to put down even for a few minutes. Robert Bryndza can transport the reader to the crime scenes with vivid descriptions, that make you realise just how depraved the killer is, although some scenes are stomach churning, they never felt superfluous. Once again Robert Bryndza has confirmed why he is one of my favourite crime thriller authors EVER, Nine Elms is a cracking book and an exciting start to a compelling new series, I’m definitely looking forward to the next book and the one after that….. Highly recommend to all crime thriller lovers.

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And yes in case you hadn’t already guessed I’m giving Nine Elms my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (1 Nov. 2019)

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

Buying links:

Amazon UK Kindle Edition

UK Hardback Edition

Amazon USA Kindle Edition

USA Paperback Edition

USA Hardback Edition

Kobo Ebook

iBooks Ebook

Google Play Ebook

About the author

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Robert Bryndza, is a crime writer and his books have sold 3 million copies, and they’ve been translated into 28 languages. The author is British and lives in Slovakia. In addition to writing crime fiction, he has also published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels.

His new novel, Nine Elms, the first in the Kate Marshall private detective series has just been published.

The author of the international #1 bestseller THE GIRL IN THE ICE, which is the first in the Detective Erika Foster series, and to date, it has sold over one million copies.

You can find out more about Rober Bryndza at

http://www.robertbryndza.com

and on Twitter and Instagram @RobertBryndza

Sign up to the authors New Release Mailing List here: http://eepurl.com/UITxz

Follow the blog tour………

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Mine by Case Kelleher @CaseyKelleher #Mine #psychologicalthriller #MustReads2020

Today I’m thrilled to share my review for Mine by Casey Kelleher this book is so different to her usual gritty crime thrillers. Read on for my thoughts….

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WHO DO YOU TRUST IN A WORLD BUILT ON LIES… 

Rebecca Dawson lives a life that many women want – married to wealthy, handsome businessman Jamie and new mum to beautiful daughter, Ella, she thinks nothing can burst her bubble. Until a series of sinister events leaves Rebecca convinced that she is being stalked. While her only priority is keeping Ella safe, Rebecca knows that this might be more than coincidence, and fears that her past is back to haunt her. Because somebody knows what she did. They are watching her, tormenting her and soon they are going to make her pay. 

While she hides her past, Rebecca finds herself unable to trust anyone, not even her husband, Jamie. Because Jamie is keeping secrets too. Is Jamie gas-lighting Rebecca into thinking she is going mad, in a bid to cover up his own sordid lies? Or is someone more sinister seeking their revenge?

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I have always been a big fan of Casey Kelleher’s gritty crime thrillers, so I was eager to read her latest offering Mine, unlike her previous books this one is a psychological thriller, and what a fantastic, twisted read it turned out to be! I know there are a vast number of psychological thrivers published every year, so what makes Mine so special? It’s riveting, with a plot steeped in malevolence and trepidation, it’s one of those reads that will make you place everything on hold whilst you read to the end.

Rebecca thinks she found her ‘Prince charming’ who comes in the shape of wealthy Jamie, now happily married she gives birth to her daughter Ella, and here’s where the fairy tale ends and the nightmare begins! Ella is a demanding baby, and for Rebecca motherhood isn’t a stroll in the park, her mental wellbeing is a cause for concern, as her perfect  life begins to crumble under the pressures of motherhood. I love an unreliable narrator and Rebecca  is one such character or is she? At times she appears paranoid and delusional so its almost impossible to take anything she says at face value, I enjoy a book more when it messes with your head, and Casey Kelleher does just that with finesse. Is Rebecca spiralling into a psychosis? Or is her beloved James toying with her? So many questions to keep your head in a spin. 

Sporadic chapters told from an unknown narrator add a growing sense of fear to the story, thick with tension I’m sure my blood pressure went through the roof by the halfway mark! The author manages to convey Rebecca’s frame of mind and emotions with such conviction; I found myself living and breathing her story; I became paranoid, anxious and fearful as Rebecca’s story took on a far more sinister tone. I really thought I had the plot worked out, and was feeling pretty smug with myself, but then OMG the author threw a curveball that I clearly didn’t see coming! Casey Kelleher has proven what an accomplished author she is, whether it be a gritty crime thriller or a psychological thriller, she certainly knows how to capture a reader’s attention. Highly recommended. 

Print Length: 403 pages

Sold by: Amazon Media 

Publication Date: 7th January 2020

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon USA 🇺🇸

My thanks to Casey Kelleher for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

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The Home by Sarah Stovell @sarahlovescrime @OrendaBooks #BookShelfReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my first review of 2020, it’s for The Home by Sarah Stovell, and what a fabulous, heartbreaking read it turned out to be. I’m not sure I have conveyed just how amazing this book is, but you can read on for my thoughts and apologies for my ramblings……

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One more little secret … one more little lie…

When the body of a pregnant fifteen-year-old is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away…

As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations … and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.

A gritty, dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also an emotive drama and a piercing look at the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at all.

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I’m not sure I can convey just how much this book affected me, The Home by Sarah Stovell is a book that will swallow you up, and then spit you out, your heart will break, you will live and breathe the tragic and horrifying story of three young girls Hope, Lara and Annie. These characters will burrow their way into your heart and mind leaving you bereft as this haunting tale reaches its final pages. The Home is part mystery, part thriller, and yet it’s so much more, it’s an emotive, deeply moving, and tragic tale of those who live amid abuse and poverty. 

Hope, Laura and Annie first meet in The Home, three damaged girls who find themselves bound together by their shared horrifying and imaginable pasts. The story begins with the shocking death of pregnant fifteen-year-old Hope, but Hope’s death is only the beginning of the story, what lies beneath is the heart-breaking story of three girls failed by a flawed system, failed by budget cuts and staff shortages.  Although this is a fictional story, for me it’s felt like the heartbreaking story of thousands of children who have been placed in care through no fault of their own. They have grown up where love and nurturing have been replaced with violence and abuse, their young life’s shaped by abusive parents, family and friends. 

The authors almost lyrical prose could seem at odds with this harrowing tale, but the two fit perfectly together creating one of the most emotive stories I have ever read. Sarah Stovell has created three living, breathing characters, you feel their every emotion, anger, despair, fear and frustration. A small part of me kept wishing for that ‘happy ever after ending’, but is there such a thing for children who have been so badly damaged? It’s a story that’s brutal, disquieting, and uncomfortable and yet there are tender moments filled with ‘hope’, love and friendships.  

There’s no getting away from it Sarah Stovall has written a multi layered story that left me broken, as I reached the final pages I openly cried for Hope, Annie and Laura, and that’s a testament to the author’s superb writing. The author has bravely tackled some uncomfortable subjects, but in doing so she has created a beautiful, compelling read that will haunt me for a long time to come. If you are looking for a ‘warm fuzzy’ read then this book definitely isn’t one for you, but if you are looking for a book that has depth, with unforgettable characters, a book that will cause you to feel a spectrum of emotions then you should make The Home your next read. Highly recommended.  

It will come as no surprise but I’m giving The Home my first shiny Book hangover award of 2020, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon USA 🇺🇸

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Orenda Books (22 Jan. 2020) kindle copy out now 

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**The book review Café top ten books of the year 2019**

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With a new year approaching it’s time to share my final post of the year, my top ten reads of 2019. I must admit I was hoping to read lots more books this year, but unfortunately life got in the way. Compared to some book bloggers my total read is abysmal, am I bothered? The answers believe it or not is ‘no’ I would rather read 103 fabulous books in a year, than hundreds of books that were unmemorable!     

I decided to choose my top ten reads from the books I choose to give my book hangover award to, 16 in total. It was a really hard choice but these are the books that I still think of months after reading them.

What criteria does a book need to meet to win my book hangover award?

It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

So without further ado here are my top reads of 2019 in no particular order…..

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

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If you’re looking for a series with an ingenious plot, a book that’s tense, deliciously dark, a classic mystery with a horror feel then look no further than Changeling by Matt Wesolowski it has all these elements and so much more.

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/01/21/changeling-sixstories-by-matt-wesolowski-bookreview-orendabooks-concretekraken-

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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The Silent Patient is an assured debut from Alex Michaelides, he’s definitely an author to watch out for. Highly recommend if you enjoy a dark, shocking psychological thriller that will leave you speechless (excuse the pun!) 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/02/05/thesilentpatient-by-alex-michaelides-alexmichaelides-orionbooks-2019mustreads-benwillisuk-bookhangoveraward/

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

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Breakers is a searing and heartbreaking portrayal of modern day Britain, the author takes the reader on an emotional journey, one that at times feels uncomfortable, it packs a hell of a punch, you will find yourself questioning your own assumptions, it’s a book whose characters will remain with you long after you reach the last page

Breakers by Doug Johnstone #BookReview @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #Breakers #BookHangoverAward

The Whisper Man by Alex North

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There is nothing more terrifying than a child being murdered, and the author expertly plays on these fears, creating a dark, creepy, and haunting read. Be prepared for a few sleepless nights, it takes a lot to unnerve me, but this book actually scared me silly in parts! (In the best possible way)

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/06/05/the-whisper-man-by-alex-north-writer_north-michaeljbooks-bookreview-thewhisperman-mustreads-bookhangoveraward/

Black Summer by M W Craven

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I loved how the author brought all the threads together culminating in a jaw dropping, but very satisfying and clever conclusion. Black Summer isn’t as dark or gory as The Puppet Show, but OMG if anything I probably enjoyed this book more, there’s so many questions, intrigue, and mystery, my perfect kind of crime read.

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/06/17/black-summer-by-m-w-craven-bookreview-mwcravenuk-littlebrownuk-thecrimevault-washingtonpoe-blacksummer-bookhangoveraward/

In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael J Malone

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Michael Malone is one of those rare author who appears to be able to write in any genre and turn what could be an interesting read, into something extra special, definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time to come.

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/08/19/in-the-absence-of-miracles-by-michael-j-malone-michaeljmalone-orendabooks-bookreview-mustreads-bookhangoveraward/

Blood song by Johana Gustawsson

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The thing I admire about this author’s novels is the fact she can take a period in history, in this case Spain 1938 and the brutalities of Spain’s dictatorship, and incorporate them with crimes set in 2016, how can someone combine such distant periods into a credible story and intertwine them? and yet Gustawsson accomplishes both producing a story that’s harrowing, disturbing, but such a compelling and intensely heart wrenching read.    

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/08/23/blood-song-by-johana-gustawsson-bookreview-jogustawsson-orendabooks-mustreads/

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

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Dark Elms takes the authors writing to a whole new level of amazing. Dark Elms ticks all the boxes for me it’s dark, gory (I grimaced at more than a couple of the authors descriptive crime scenes) and features a serial killer who will send shivers down your spine, if Hannibal Lecter gave you nightmares, be prepared for a few disturbed nights! 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/11/01/nine-elms-by-robertbryndza-littlebrownuk-bookssphere-nineelms-mustreads-bookhangoveraward/

Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

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As a huge crime thriller reader I can sometimes find a long-running series has lost its lustre, they can feel repetitive and lacking the suspense I look forward too, but “hell” no Angela Marsons makes sure each book has a unique plot, that are packed to the brim with suspense, with characters whom you genuinely care about. 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/02/21/deadmemories-by-angela-marsons-mustreads-writeangie-bookouture-bookhangoveraward/

Non Fiction read of the year 

Four Feet Under by Tamsen Courtenay

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Four Feet Under is a powerful and moving insight into the day-to-day lives of some the unfortunate people who through tragedy, misfortune and bad decisions have found themselves living on the streets of Britain, displaced, dispossessed and destitute.

#FourFeetUnder By Tamsen Courtenay @TamsenC_writer @unbounders #Recommended #TrueStory #Homeless

Highly recommended reads for a book hangover

Turn The Other Way by Stuart James

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For me horror is all about my emotional reaction, that feeling of fear and dread as you turn each page, the constant feeling you should be reading a book from behind a cushion (not practical but you get my drift), a book that makes the heart pound and every little noise makes you jump. This is exactly how Turn The Other Way by Stuart James made me feel, it’s a shocker of a horror thriller novel.  

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/02/18/turn-the-other-way-by-stuart-james-stuartjames73-mustreads-horror-thriller-crime-mustreads/

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

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My Lovely Wife is a deliciously dark tale of relationships and secrets, not original themes by any means, but it’s so different to any other novel I’ve read, it’s wickedly entertaining, full of black humour, and as for the characters their deeply flawed but fascinating never the less.

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/04/30/my-lovely-wife-by-samantha-downing-smariedowning-penguinrandom-mylovelywife-bookhangoveraward-bookreview/

The Passenger by John Marrs

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The Passenger a futuristic novel set in the not to distance future blew me away its original, taut and brilliantly written.  I read this book at every opportunity, irritated by the slightest disturbance, which for me is always a sign of a fantastic read.  

The Passenger by John Marrs @JohnMarrs1 @EdburyPublication #MustReads #SciFi #BookHangoverAward

Night by Jack Jordan

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If there’s one thing I can be sure of it’s that Jack Jordan never fails to amaze me, each book he’s written has been very different in tone, content and plot. But still Night By Night the latest offering from the author took even me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting to have my heart shattered, or to find myself sobbing uncontrollably, at this point I realised I had only read the first four chapters of the novel! Such a brilliant and haunting start to what I consider to be Jack Jordan’s best book yet. 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/05/15/night-by-night-by-jack-jordan-bookreview-jackjordanbooks-corvusbooks-blogtour-jacksback-nightbynight-bookhangoveraward/

The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

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If from the book description you thought this was a run of the mill ‘serial killer thriller’ you couldn’t be more wrong. This book has so much more to offer the crime thriller lover, it’s a book that’s superbly written, an extraordinary and highly original tale, told through the eyes of a brilliantly drawn character, ten-year-old Addie.

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/08/06/the-july-girls-by-phoebe-locke-phoebe_locke-wildfirebks-review-thejulygirls-summermustreads/

Violet by SJI Holliday

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Oh, how I loved Violet by SJI Holliday, what an intense, psychological thriller this novel turned out to be. Exquisitely written, Violet makes for an all-consuming read, one that begs to be read in one hugely satisfying sitting.

Violet by SJI Holliday #BookReview @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks #Violet #BookHangoverAward

Books I read in 2019

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And that’s it for another year folks. Here’s wishing my followers old and new, fellow book bloggers, authors and publishers a happy new year, and here’s hoping it’s a good one for you all, and happy reading.

Lorraine x

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Author interview with Edgar Swamp #AmberHollow #Horror #Mystery

Today it’s a pleasure to share an interview with Edgar Swamp, the authors book Amber Hollow definitely sounds like my kind of read. It’s described as
new mystery blends horror and fantasy in white-hot thriller centered on cursed Wisconsin village
SAN DIEGO, California. 

Edgar Swamp’s new novel turns the classic detective mystery on its head by mixing elements of horror and fantasy into an epic page-turner. The isolated village, fiery tragedy, and ancient curse of “AmberHollow” will keep even the most seasoned mystery reader guessing. Before I share the interview here’s the book description…

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Detective Jeremy LeFevre and his partner Detective Sadie Conrad find themselves baffled as they step into a homicide case with 595 victims — and no evidence. The scene of the crime, Amber Hollow, is known by neighboring towns to be a reclusivisitic, colloquial community with a history of unverified mysterious occurrences, when a fire rages through the small Wisconsin village, killing everyone but five people.

The partially intact bodies of the few victims
recovered suggest violent deaths prior to being incinerated, but the lack of forensic evidence has the detectives and pathologists stymied. Making matters worse, the five survivors contradict each other with wild stories and accusations. Only one detail connects their testimonies –– that the mayor, Anthony Guntram, is to blame.

With a dead suspect and nothing else to go on, the two detectives must learn the secrets of Amber Hollow before anyone else becomes victim to its curse.

Amazon Uk 🇬🇧

Amazon US 🇺🇸

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“Amber Hollow” is your fourth book but your first foray into mysteries. What drew you to the genre? 

I wanted to create a story enshrouded in mystique, one that would keep readers guessing as I gradually doled out misinformation, capping it off with a wildly unpredictable ending. “Amber Hollow” is centered around two detectives investigating a seemingly impossible case, so for what I wanted, the format appeared to be the best choice. It was intended to be a horror novel, but it reads like a mystery. Hopefully, the combination of genres resulted in a truly special piece of fiction.

How has your writing process evolved since your first book?

With each new novel, I endeavour to be more efficient with my character development and pacing, always keeping the story moving. I try to grow and learn with each book, seeing what worked for readers and (most importantly) what didn’t. Know who your target audience is, and give them what they want. Reading books by great writers helps, so it’s best to keep up with your reading, no matter how much you want to write. And re-writes are essential; that’s a constant for me. A novel is never finished until I’m at least 95 percent certain that it’s done (there is no 100 percent for me, unfortunately, I feel I could always do something better).

Besides cheese curds and football, Wisconsin is known for its serial killers. How did growing up there influence your decision to write a horror novel?

Wisconsin has a climate that is geared for indoor activities if you don’t especially favour the cold, so I have to thank the West DePere Library for introducing me to a plethora of writers who specialise in scaring readers silly. Curling up with a good book in front of a blazing fire was a favourite pastime of mine growing up, when I wasn’t outside shovelling mountains of snow! Also, my father worked in law enforcement, and he always had some really cool stories. For instance, he once had the chance to meet Ed Gein (Painesville, Wisconsin, serial killer circa 1953-54, who inspired the movies “Silence of the Lambs,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and half a dozen others). Ed was serving multiple life sentences at the Mendota State Psychiatric Hospital for the Criminally Insane, and a guard who knew my father made the offer. My dad took a hard pass on that one; because of his occupation, he saw enough blood and guts on a regular basis owing to hunting accidents and vehicular manslaughter cases, so the last thing he needed was to meet a cannibal who robbed graves and made flesh-suits that he wore while eating stew out of bowls made of human skulls! I also knew several people who were approached by Jeffery Dahmer (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, serial killer circa 1991 who drugged, raped, killed, dismembered, and ate almost 20 men). They all made the smart decision not to take him up on his invitation to go to his place for a drink. Inspiration indeed!

You’ve written detective Sadie Conrad as an African-American woman. Why did you choose this representation for the character?

In all of my novels I try and represent a healthy balance of racially diverse people because I want to appeal to a wider audience, even in this case in which it isn’t truly authentic. I made a conscious decision to make Sadie’s character African-American because when I grew up in Green Bay in the ’70s-’90s it wasn’t a very racially diverse area, so it really shows that she’s an exceptionally skilled detective to break through the barrier of being a woman and being African-American. In other words, she’d truly have to know her stuff to work for a mostly male police station (there were very few female police officers who worked for the Brown County Sheriff’s Department during that time) in a predominantly white community. I felt that specific environment would make her stronger as both a detective and a woman, to prove she could tackle the job just as well as any man, of any race. And when crunch time comes, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. The novel embraces themes of female empowerment, and I thought, “Who would best represent a strong female than one who is cast in this situation?” 

Why do you think people seek out media that scares them?

In a controlled environment, having the crap scared out of you is fun! Psychologically, horror stories can take you through a fiendishly nightmarish landscape, so by proxy, your own problems seem insignificant in comparison. And fear is a very motivating feeling, so it’s best to embrace it by confronting your demons. By delving into this darkness, one inevitably becomes stronger in the process. 

How do modern-day political and social climates affect your writing?

All of my ideas are inspired by the modern-day social and political climates in which I am writing them; I simply can’t help it. I consider myself a humanitarian, and even though I put my characters through torturous situations in which the majority of them are killed, I’d like to think of these novels as social experiments, possibly character studies by which to live (or die) by. Who doesn’t enjoy reading/watching the bloated, sleazy politician falling into a bed of hypodermic syringes before being eaten alive by mutants? In fiction, we get to shape how we want to see the world, maybe try and make it a better place by giving the average person the satisfaction they most likely won’t get in real life. And by writing about these themes, at least they are being talked about. We shouldn’t cringe from the reality in which we are thrust; we should try to think of ways in which we can change the world for the better.

You dropped out of college to pursue your passion for music. How did that decision ultimately affect your life and your writing career?

One of the worst decisions I ever made was dropping out of college; my headspace at the time was that of a young man deluded by his musical obsession with absolutely no foresight of the future. If I could go back in time, I’d go back to 1990 and stay in school to at least earn a bachelor’s degree in English versus having nothing. I had some fun, saw a lot of this fine country, and made acquaintances with many charming ladies, but ultimately, I gave myself nothing to fall back on when the bottom dropped out and I couldn’t sleep in/on cars, floors, warehouses, abandoned lumber yards, or seedy motels anymore. Actually, though, the decision may have been a good thing for my creative writing. I’d been writing my whole life (first thing I ever wrote was a play in second grade where I cast myself as Santa and the girl I liked as Mrs. Clause) but I never took it very seriously, so failing at being a professional musician really inspired me to try and succeed as a professional writer, a goal I have yet to achieve. For this reason, music is always rooted in my writing; I can’t get it out of there. There are song lyrics in the beginning of “Amber Hollow,” and if you Google the bands you won’t find them, because they don’t exist. They are my songs. You know how hard it is to get an artist to allow you the rights to use their songs?!? It was easier to write my own!

What are you working on now?

Being a self-published writer brings about the task of trying to get your work in front of as many people as possible within the constraints of a shoestring budget and the limitations that come without being traditionally published (i.e. larger media snubs because you aren’t “legit”). With that said, I am presently working on getting “Amber Hollow” in as many hands as possible while I revisit my earlier works and decide which one I’ll choose to rewrite, re-edit, and re-publish. I self-published a novel in 2012 called “The Gyre Mission,” about an island of garbage on which I stranded a group of disposable rejects who had to battle mutant animals and humans in a quest for survival. To this day, readers of my books cite this as their favorite novel of mine, but they complain that it was too long and that most of the characters weren’t very likeable. So, to answer the question: I’m going to rewrite “The Gyre Mission,” shorten it up (it was a monstrosity at 280,000 words…think telephone book!), make some of the characters more likeable, and possibly allow someone to live in the end. A total-loss death count seems to bum people out…I don’t know why!

About the author

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EDGAR SWAMP​ is the author of the “Gyre Mission,” “Glitch in the Machine,” and “Blackout.” His short stories have appeared in Alienskin, Macabre Cadaver, and Urban Reinventors. When he isn’t holed up in his office playing online poker, he likes to dig up the recently deceased and make furniture out of their skin. He lives and works in San Diego, California. For more information, visit his website at www.edgarswamp.com​.
My thanks to the author for this interview.

When Stars Will Shine compiled by Emma Mitchell @emmamitchelfpr @BakerPromo #WhenStarsWillShine #HelpForHeroes

Today I’m thrillled to be one of the book bloggers taking part in the When Stars Will Shine blog tour. The book is a collection of short stories from numerous authors. The money raised is going to a fabulous cause, to explain all here’s a message from Emma Mitchell who compiled When Stars Will Shine……

A Note from Emma Mitchell:

As the blurb tells us, When Stars Will Shine is a multi-genre collection of Christmas-themed short stories compiled to raise money for our armed forces and every penny made from the sales of both the digital and paperback copies will be donated to the charity.

Working closely with Kate Noble at Noble owl proof reading  and Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s get booked  I’ve been able to pick the best of the submissions to bring you a thrilling book which is perfect for dipping into at lunchtime or snuggling up with on a cold winter’s night. I have been completely blown away by the support we’ve received from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and Shell Baker from Baker’s not so secret blog , who has organised the cover reveal and blog tour.

There isn’t a person in the country who hasn’t benefited from the sacrifices our troops, past and present, have made for us and they all deserve our thanks.

It has been an honour working on these stories, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.

And now for the book description……….

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When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist.

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.

From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride!

When Stars Will Shine is the perfect Christmas gift for the bookworms in your life!

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I was really excited when I was offered an ARC of When Stars Will Shine in exchange for a review, (I have pre-ordered a few copies, as it’s such a fabulous cover, plus it’s for such a worthy cause, it will also make the perfect Christmas present for a bookworm). When I saw a list of the authors who had written short stories for this book I recognised quite a few authors, but not all so I was interested to see how their writing compared to those authors I’m more familiar with. 

As this book is a collection of short stories it’s the perfect book to dip into when the mood takes, or you could be like me,  I intended to only pick out a few of the stories to read, but once I picked it up I read one, and then another, and then another……and before I knew it I had read the whole book!  Every author’s story deserves a mention but unfortunately I’m only reviewing three, I chose an author who’s books I’ve already read, and two new authors to me.

Fredrick Snellgrove, Private 23208 by Rob Ashman

Anyone who has read a book by Rob Ashman knows what to expect, his books are gory, brutal and gritty. So I expected something along these line, but how wrong I was. The author gave me goose pimples, my eyes filled with tears, as he recounted the story of his great uncle, it’s short, poignant, and sums up the fragility of life for the brave soldiers who fought night and day for their country. It’s a simple story but it had a profound effect on me, as it’s the story of millions of soldiers who never returned home to their loved ones.

The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin

Billy McLaughlin is a new author to me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much he packed in to his short story. It’s a bittersweet tale of forgiveness and families. As I read this story I had a lump the size of a golf ball in my throat. The invitation tells the story of Terry King, a war veteran, a man who was left broken by the things he saw, and the things he did. You get a real sense of Terry’s character as he looks back on his life, he has plenty of regrets mostly concerning the family he abandoned for alcohol, you can’t but help sympathise with someone who has seen and suffered so much. There are heartwarming moments in this short story that made me smile, and other moments bought me close to tears. This was definitely one of my favourite stories.    

***Forgive me if my reviews are giving you the sense that this book is a depressing read, it’s not by any means,  but the first two I choose to review had the most impact on me*** 

Penance by Jane Risdon

I really enjoyed this one, Jane Risdon isn’t an author whose books I’ve read before, but I loved this ghostly Christmas tale. This one also gave me goose pimples, but they were mostly caused by a feeling of dread as Gabrielle looks for his missing wife and daughters. Christmas should be a time where families get to spend precious time together, and yet Gabrielle missed these special days, putting work first, leaving him full of regret. There’s something sinister about reading a story based around Christmas and the big man himself, especially when a crimes committed. I was impressed with how well written this short story was, the author creates a spooky atmosphere with an undercurrent of tension and unease,  but ultimately it’s a touching story that pulls on the heartstrings.

Where Stars Will Shine is like no other book I have read there’s literally something for every kind of reader, true war tales, gritty Christmas crimes, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found. It’s the perfect book to dip or read in one sitting on a dark Winters night. Highly recommended.

Full contents:

Fredrick Snellgrove, Private 23208 by Rob Ashman

Four Seasons by Robert Scragg

The Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff

Believe by Mark Brownless

What Can Possibly Go Wrong? by Lucy Cameron

Mountain Dew by Paul T. Campbell

The Art of War and Peace by John Carson

A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton

Free Time by Stewart Giles

Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake

The Christmas Killer by Louise Jensen

The Village Hotel by Alex Kane 

A Present of Presence by HR Kemp

The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin

Brothers Forever by Paul Moore

Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen

Pivotal Moments by Anna Franklin Osborne

Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli

Time for a Barbeque by Carmen Radtke

Christmas Present by Lexi Rees

Inside Out by KA Richardson

Penance by Jane Risdon

New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg

Family Time by Graham Smith 

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to Emma Mitchell and Shell Baker for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

Follow the blog tour…..

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#TheSilentPatient by Alex Michaelides (@AlexMichaelides @OrionBooks) #BookHangoverAward #Giveaway #Paperback #BlogTour

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Silent Patient to mark its publication in paperback. I’m re-sharing my review from way back in early 2019, in my review I wrote ‘this book is going to be HUGE’ and I wasn’t wrong. The Silent Patient has been sold in 38 territories and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Productions has bought the film rights. The book made the New York Times bestseller, a couple of weeks after publication.

Alongside my review I’m also giving away my unread ARC   (I already own two copies, yes it really is that good!), you can find more about the giveaway at the bottom of this post. 

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Alicia Berenson lived a seemingly perfect life until one day six years ago.

When she shot her husband in the head five times.

Since then she hasn’t spoken a single word. It’s time to find out why.

 

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Now and then a book comes a long that causes a huge stir and unless you’ve been living on a desert island for the last few months, then you will know The Silent Patient, the debut novel from Alex Michaelides is the book everyone is talking about. I must admit I can see why, it’s a unique and a very disturbing character based psychological thriller, but how I loved it. The author sure knows how to weave a tangled web, and then keep the reader in his clutches with a well- plotted story. It’s one that pulls you in from the shocking opening chapter and keeps you captivated all the way to it’s explosive conclusion. I literally read this book in a day, the tension mounted as each chapter ended making this an impossible book to put down. Mark my words this book is going to be a HUGE hit.

Alicia is a Patient in The Grove a secure forensic unit for the murder of her husband, she has not spoken a word since his death and Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who believes he is the one to make her speak of what happened on that fateful night.  The author uses an intriguing concept As Alice refuses to talk after her husband’s murder, the reader is reliant on Theo’s interpretations of her thoughts and emotions, although the reader is privy to Alice’s journal which explores her life before Theo’s Murder. Even without a voice Alice is a strong protagonist, rather like Theo, you the reader are desperate to hear her voice and hear her side of the story. Theo is a man with his own secrets and troubled past, which make him an compelling character. The scenes between Theo and Alice crackle with tension, at times it felt like a battle of wits, as Alice battled to stay silent and Theo’s dogged determination to make her speak, these scenes give a sense of unease which grow as the story unfolds.

Anyone who reads psychological thrillers will expect there to be “twist” or two, after all isn’t that part of the reason we read these type of books? It’s the element of “surprise” that I always look forward to, it can turn an “enjoyable” read into a “OMFG I loved this book” type of read, so take a bow Alex Michaelides The Silent Patient definitely took me by surprise in fact I’m sure my jaw hit the floor at some point! I had an inkling where the plot was heading, but I guess I do not have the same twisted imagination as the author, he well and truly hood winked me, but so brilliantly executed. The Silent Patient is an assured debut from Alex Michaelides, he’s definitely an author to watch out for. Highly recommend if you enjoy a dark, shocking psychological thriller that will leave you speechless (excuse the pun!) 

  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (7 Feb. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

It will come as no surprise but I’m giving The Silent Patient my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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 About the author 

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Alex Michaelides was born in Cyprus in 1977 to a Greek father and English mother. He studied English literature at Cambridge University and got his MA in screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He wrote the film The Devil You Know (2013) starring Rosamund Pike and co-wrote The Brits are Coming (2018), starring Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey and Sofia Vergara. THE SILENT PATIENT is his first novel.

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To win my unread ARC of The Silent Patient either leave a comment on this post or retweet my pinned post @reviewcafe. Competition closes Monday 16th, sorry but this giveaway is open to UK residents only and you must be following my blog. Good luck 📚📚

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

Follow the blog tour……..

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