Tag Archives: New Releases

#Resin by Ane Riel @AuthorAneRiel @alisonbarrow @TransworldBooks #MustReads

Today I am sharing my review for Resin by Ane Riel what a book this turned out to be, read on for my thoughts but first the book description….

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Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.

This way, Liv would be safe.

  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (9 Aug. 2018)

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The first sentence of this book actually gives a glimpse into how dark and disturbing Resin actually is, it’s definitely not one for the faint hearted as it deals with some rather uncomfortable and horrifying subjects, but in the author’s defence there are only a few vivid scenes, the rest is left to the reader’s imagination. Translated from Danish, Ane Riel’s novel is traumatic, emotional and deeply disturbing but on the plus side it’s beautifully written, rich in atmosphere, haunting  and at times bone chilling creepy.  

Resin is told mostly through the eyes of Liv a six year old girl who lives with her parents Jens and Maria on a tiny peninsula. Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities thought. There was something hypnotically memorising about Liv’s story, her innocence and acceptance of events sent a deathly chill down my spine, as did her descriptions of her insular family, living in utter chaos.  As the reader the horror you feel for her increases ten fold as you realise the reality of her situation. 

Liv’s family are the definition of dysfunctional, but amid the chaos and their peculiar ways, are a family that are bound together. This is a story of a father who wants to preserve and keep things as they were, where extremes gradually become the norm, where being treasured and protected can become something far more damaging and harmful. Something I never expected was to feel compassion for everyone of Ane Riel’s  characters at some point however misplaced it felt at the time. 

The author has created a small cast of complex characters, but each one brings something different to the story, my feelings to each character ranged from anger, to pity, to a sadness that hung over me long after I reached the last page. Resin is a story that is very much character driven, at its heart are a family who are different, it’s shocking, haunting and emotive but at the same time Resin made for such a compelling read, Liv’s story is one which will haunt me for a long time to come. Highly recommended. 

 Link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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#FatalPromise by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture #MustReads

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons. I’m a huge fan of this author’s crime series and it’s hard to believe it’s the ninth book in what has turned out to be a gripping series. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description…..

 

 

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Eeeny meeny, miney, moe. Who lives, who dies only I know.

When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, Detective Kim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead?

As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim’s sure this was no accident.

Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked.

With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim?

The killer is picking off his victims at a terrifying pace, and he’s not finished yet

**If you haven’t read Dying Truth the previous book in the series this review may inadvertently contain some spoilers**

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I can not  believe I’m sat here writing a review for the ninth book in the Kim Stone series, when I wrote my review for the first book Silent Scream I know I  was really excited about what was then a new crime procedure series, and yet nine books on and it’s still a series that stimulates me. Angela Marsons writing goes from strength to strength and you can tell she is just as passionate about the series as her readers, each book has been very different, her characters are always ones I look forward to meeting up with again, they feel like life long friends as I’ve shared in their triumphs, despair and loss. One thing  you can guarantee is Angela Marsons writing never disappoints and Fatal Promise is a brilliant addition to this unmissable series.

I’m not going to rehash the plot details as everything you need to know is in the book description, but I will say Kim and her team have their work cut out solving their latest case, and what an intriguing case it turns out to be.  The dynamics within the team have changed due to events from Dying Truth (I still haven’t forgiven the author for that one!), which result in discord amongst the team, even Kim and team mate Bryant’s usual banter seems strained and fraught with tension, it doesn’t help matters when Penn joins the team, (a character we met in previous books in the series).  Personally I feel he’s a worthy addition to the team and I’m hoping he’s going to become a regular fixture. 

I  thought I knew all there was to know about Kim Stone but I was wrong, the author explores Kim’s abusive past in further detail, and despite her pain and guilt which plays out in her behaviour towards others, the author still allows Kim’s sardonic humour to shine through. Kim Stone is definitely one of my favourite fictional Detectives, she’s complex, surly and yet she has hidden qualities that make her a very endearing and intriguing character.  

Fatal Promise was everything I hoped it would be and more, with a cracking storyline that pretty much keeps the reader guessing to the final chapter. Every last page is packed with suspense, mystery and emotion, it’s a cliche but it’s a book I couldn’t bear to put down even for a few minutes. Each book in the series has been very different and I love the fact that Angela Marsons doesn’t always use the same formula so every book feels just as exciting as the first book in the series. Would I recommend this Fatal Promise? It’s a definite and resounding “yes” and if you haven’t read this series yet, why not? Seriously if you are a lover of crime fiction this is a series not to be missed. 

  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (19 Oct. 2018)

Buying links:            Amazon UK 🇺🇸            Amazon US 🇺🇸

Books in the Kim Stone series

Silent Scream

Evil Games

Lost Girls

Play Dead

Blood Lines 

Dead Souls 

Broken Bones

Dying Truth 

 

 

 

**Blog tour** #Trap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir #GuestPost #ReykjavickNoir @Lilja1972 @OrendaBooks

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Trap by international bestselling Icelandic author Lilja Sigurdardóttir blog tour. Trap is Book 2 in the acclaimed Reykjavik Noir series. To mark my stop on the tour I have a guest post from the author herself who writes about one of my favourite things coffee ☕️.

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Coffee – the writer´s elixir

For a blogger who loves coffee, I must write a few words about my relationship with this most important of all drinks. 

From an early age I have loved coffee. I used to take sugar cubes and dip them in my parents’ cups when I was little, but my mother set a limit to this as, at the time, it was believed that children would stop growing if they ingested a lot of coffee.* This belief was probably rooted in the malnourished Iceland of pre-WW2, where poor families gave their children coffee as they did not have milk to drink. When I was home alone with my dad, I managed to convince him to give me coffee, and we sipped this wonderful brown liquid together, usually while discussing geography or history.

When I was about ten years old and lived in Mexico, I formed a special relationship with an old indigenous lady in our neighbourhood. I visited her every night after dinner and she gave me sugary coffee with cardamom, and I told her stories from my home country.

I can no longer drink coffee at night as it disturbs my sleep, but I do enjoy it in the first half of the day. It is the first thing I think about when I open my eyes in the morning and it is the fuel for my writing. I prefer dark-roasted coffee as it has very little acid and the aroma is just heavenly. 

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I drink two full cups while sitting by the computer, getting ready to start the day’s work. Then I write for a while, and then I drink more coffee. And then some more. And then I cannot sit still any longer so I take my dog out for a walk and maybe go out on the lake by my house in my kayak. I make myself a light lunch when I get back and have one more cup of strong coffee, which I drink while I answer emails and plan my diary and travels, and all the other small things that need doing. On occasion I am tempted to drink a cappuccino or an espresso in a café in the afternoon, and that is then my fifth or sixth cup in the day. According to the latest research on the health benefits of coffee, that is the optimum amount.

I cannot see my life without coffee, and I cannot imagine being able to write without it. I feel it clears my head somehow and gives me the energy that I really lack without it. Maybe that is just a sign of addiction, but it is a rather innocent one to have, isn’t it? 

*I’d like to point out that I did grow to more than the average height for Icelandic women: 172 cm.

Book description

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Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Lilja Sigurðard.

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

My thanks to Lilja Sigurdardóttir for the fabulous guest post, Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my ARC (that I hope to get to soon).

Follow this amazing blog tour for reviews, guest posts and much more.

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#TheLingering by SJI Holliday @OrendaBooks @SJIHolliday #MustReads #BookReview

 

Today I’m sharing my review for The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it’s a book that’s full of suprises and a book that’s certainly going to be on my top reads of 2018 list. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……  

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Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

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When I pick up a novel I’m always looking for a read that will captivate my imagination, a novel that leaves me breathless, one that will unnerve me and one where I reach the last page I immediately want to read it again, novels that make me feel like this are a rare breed indeed, well up until now that is. I’m not going to beat about the bush I loved The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it was the perfect read for me, I found it to be creepy, and very, very dark. Part ghost story, part domestic thriller, the author  tantalises the reader with the mystery surrounding Rosalind House and its occupants, when you add to the mix odd occurrences and strange sightings well let’s just say “this novel made for a disquieting, but oh so thrilling read”.

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardner are seeking a fresh start and decide to move to  Rosalind House a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, but what dark secrets are the couple hiding? Once they arrive it’s not long before the couple experience ghostly happenings, and that’s when this novel gets bone chillingly creepy.  Rosalind House, an abandoned asylum is the perfect setting for this novel, it hides a tragic past, where secrets and passed misdoings are hidden in the very fabric of the building. It’s a building steeped in myths and legends where bad things happened, and as the author slowly reveals its dark and deadly secrets I found myself becoming more fearful at each turn of the page.    

The characters in The Lingering are fabulously depicted, rich in personality, and complex. Jack and Ali Gardner what a couple, their relationship is one based on coercion and control, a relationship that’s shrouded in lies and deceit. You know from the beginning the couple are hiding something BIG, and that alone adds an over whelming sense of uneasiness that intensifies as the Gardner’s dark secrets are slowly revealed.

I guess the spooky supernatural element might not suit all crime fiction fans, but if like me you read The Lingering with an open mind I’m sure you will end up loving it as much as I did. The Lingering explores the nature of true evil, the psychological aspect of this novel is dark in tone as the author delves into the minds of a very disturbed couple. This novel is exceptionally well plotted, original, creepy and very disturbing and yet it is one of the most compelling novels I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time, and definitely a contender for my “book of the year”. Highly, highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Lingering  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 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 reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (30 Sept. 2018)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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#InHerShadow by Mark Edwards #BookReview @AmazonPub @Mredwards #MustReads

Today I’m sharing my review for Mark Edwards latest book In Her Shadows, which is published on the Thursday 4th October but firstly here’s the book description…….

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Isabel’s life seemed perfect. Successful business, beautiful house, adoring husband. And then she was dead.

For four years Jessica has never doubted that her sister Isabel’s death was an accident. But when Jessica’s young daughter seems to know long-forgotten details about her aunt’s past, Jessica can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more sinister truth behind the tragedy.

As Jessica unearths disturbing revelations about her sister, and about the people she loved and trusted most, it becomes clear Isabel’s life was less than perfect and that Jessica’s might also be at risk.

Did someone murder Isabel? Are they now after Jessica and her family? The key seems to lie in the hands of a child. Can Isabel reveal the truth from beyond the grave, or is the answer closer to home?

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Mark Edwards books never fit neatly into one particular genre, and In Her Shadow is no different, is it a psychology thriller? Possibly, horror? it definitely has elements of that fit this genre, supernatural? there’s plenty of events that suggest it could be, see what I mean?The reader is never sure what the author has planned, and that’s one of the reasons I’m such a huge fan of  this authors work, he turns the most ordinary events into an extraordinary tale. In Her Shadow is spine-chilling creepy, it’s one of those books where your nerves are frayed, the  slightest noise will make you jump, there’s a sense of impending doom which only intensifies as the plot thickens, it’s  a story that’s brimming with suspense, misdirection and the most delicious twists.   

Jessica is mum to  four year old Olivia who appears to be communicating with Jessica’s sister Isabel, but that’s where things take a creepy and disturbing turn as Isabel died four years ago when she fell from the balcony of her house. At the time the fall was seen to be a tragic accident but Olivia has other ideas and soon Jessica is convinced that there is something far more sinister behind her sisters accident. In Her Shadows reminded me a little of the film The Sixth Sense, it’s the one where a young boy talks to dead people, I got the same sense of unease whilst reading this book. Olivia’s character is definitely the star of In Her Shadows, I had permanent goose bumps as Olivia’s behaviour became more disturbing, especially when she started  sharing memories that only Jessica and Izzy would have known about. 

Familiar themes run through this book, family secrets, lies and obsession but Mark Edwards adds his unique voice making the themes his own. I loved the way the author always manages to make his books multi genre, and even with elements of the supernatural In Her Shadows felt frighteningly credible. Add into the mix unreliable characters that as the reader you find yourself  constantly doubting how trustworthy they actually are. The author also leaves little time to contemplate because as each chapter ends the plot thickens, which certainly added to my enjoyment of this read. I really enjoy the fact you never know what story will be hidden in the pages of a new Mark Edwards books, but one thing you can be guaranteed it will be a highly entertaining read. Definitely one for fans of psychological thrillers. Highly recommended.

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (4 Oct. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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**Blog tour** #RavensGathering by Graeme Cumming #GuestPost @GraemeCumming63 #Lovebooksgrouptours

Today I’m on the blog tour for Ravens Gathering by Graeme Cumming and although I didn’t have time in my reading schedule to read his book, I really wanted to be part of this blog tour as the author has always been a huge supporter of my blog and bloggers in general. So Graeme Cumming has kindly written me a very special guest post which explains why he is taking the Indie route.

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The Next Big Thing

A complaint often levelled at movies, and Hollywood in particular, is that studios churn out the same old thing repeatedly. If it’s not a sequel, it’s a remake, or it’s something in a similar vein to an already popular franchise. It’s a complaint I sympathise with, though I see where the studios are coming from. With movies usually costing over $50 million to make – and the blockbusters often well in excess of $100 million – they need to have a lot of confidence they’re going to get their money back.

At the same time, the studios (and audiences) are curious about what the next big thing will be. Because audiences enjoy seeing the same type of stuff again, but we also want something different enough to get us really excited. Unfortunately, studios err on the side of caution.

That means the new and interesting stuff ends up being produced by independent film companies. They take the risks, and a lot of them fail because of a lack of profile and marketing budget, but occasionally something new and different appears. It’s nearly 20 years ago since it came out, but The Blair Witch Project was a good example, generating a sequel (the big studios got involved and it bombed) and influencing the development of several other movies filmed in similar ways – Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield, for instance. 

Although the budgets are substantially lower, the same issue applies to publishing. In the main, publishers aren’t taking the risks they might have done twenty or thirty years ago. Instead, they’re churning out more of the same, because they know it’ll sell.

Shortly after completing Ravens Gathering, I made a trip the States and, as chance would have it, met someone who worked in the publishing industry there. I took the opportunity to pick her brains, and her advice was succinct. 

“You might as well stick it on Amazon yourself. All the big publishing houses are watching Amazon’s stats, and if we see a book or author who’s doing really well, we’ll swoop in and offer them a deal.”

So the publishers want the Indies to do the experimenting for them.

Why did that advice resonate with me? Because Ravens Gathering doesn’t fit neatly into one of the genre pigeonholes. And it made me realise publishers were unlikely to want to experiment with it so, unless I dropped incredibly lucky, I’d be wasting my time with submissions. From that point of view, I had nothing to lose, and went down the Indie route.

Am I claiming Ravens Gathering is the next big thing? No. But it is different, so who knows? What’s clear to me is that, if I’d gone down the traditional publishing route, I’d probably still be waiting for a positive response, which means readers wouldn’t have had the chance to judge it for themselves. 

Book description

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As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds. Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing. And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them. The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving. Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it. She felt him move in behind her. After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction. His closeness offered security.
“You know what they are, don’t you?”

A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident. For the Gates family in particular it’s more than a coincidence, but unease increases following a brutal attack. As tensions rise, a dark past returns to haunt them and others, while newcomers to the village are drawn into a mystery with terrifying consequences.

And only a select few know why the ravens are gathering.

Buying link:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Graeme Cumming - Author

Graeme Cumming has spent most of his life immersed in fiction – books, TV and movies – turning to writing his own stories during his early teens.

He first realised he genuinely had some talent when he submitted a story to his English teacher, Christine Tubb, who raved about it.  The same story was published in the school magazine and spawned a series that was met with enthusiasm by readers.  Christine was subsequently overheard saying that if Graeme wasn’t a published author by the time he was 25, she’d eat her hat.  Sadly, she probably spent the next 25 years buying her groceries exclusively from milliners.  (Even more sadly, having left school with no clear direction in life, Graeme made no effort to keep in touch with any teachers, so has lost track of this source of great support and encouragement.)

Having allowed himself to be distracted (in no particular order) by girls, alcohol and rock concerts, Graeme spent little of his late teens and twenties writing.  A year-long burst of activity produced a first draft of a futuristic thriller, Beyond Salvage, which has since lain dormant, waiting for a significant edit.

With the onset of family life, opportunities to write became more limited (though it could be argued that he got his priorities wrong), until he reached his early forties, when he realised he hadn’t written anything for several years.  Deciding to become more focused, since then he has written regularly.

With his interests in story-telling sparked by an excessive amount of time sitting in front of a black and white television, his tastes are varied.  Influences ranged from the Irwin Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, etc.) to ITC series (The Saint, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and so many more), so the common theme was action and adventure, but crossed into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as crime and espionage.

This diverse interest in fiction continued with reading books and his discovery of the magical world of cinema.  As a result, his stories don’t always fall into a specific genre, but are always written as thrillers.

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking.  He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club, although he lives in Robin Hood country.  Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and still loves the cinema.

My thanks to Graeme Cumming for taking time out of his busy schedule to write a guest post for the book review café. There are some fabulous book bloggers on this tour, so you may want to check out their reviews…..

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**Blog tour** The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward #Extract @sarahrward1 @FaberBooks @joanna_brl

Good morning to you all, today I’m thrilled to be closing the blog tour for The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward and to celebrate the occasion I have a very intriguing extract from this novel, but first the book description……

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The past won’t stay buried forever.

November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.

October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: ‘Find Valerie.’ Mina’s elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?

DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs’ old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home.

Buying link:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (6 Sept. 2018)

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Wednesday, 6 November 1957

The first week of November and Susan was already humming the Twelve Days of Christmas. She needed to get it out of her head before she reached home, as her dad would have no truck with carols until the night before Christmas. His Methodist upbringing had been left far behind as he’d gratefully abandoned the church services and interminable hymns. Some childhood habits are hard to shift, however, and the tradition of the tree going up with the minimum of fuss, and carols put on hold until after tea on Christmas Eve, was a convention from which he refused to budge.

Susan’s mum let him have his way, although Susan had recently caught her listening to a festive medley on the Light Programme. Don’t tell your father, she’d cautioned with her eyes before turning the dial of the wooden console with a snap. The hymn book with its meagre selection of carols had already been taken down from the shelf by Susan’s brother and left on top of the upright piano in readiness for their father’s heralding in of the festive season. Come seven o’clock, Christmas Eve, the routine would be the same. Their father, after much bother looking for his glasses, would fumble over the keys to pick out a tune barely recognisable from the ones sung throughout December outside the closed front door. For even well-meaning carol singers weren’t immune from her father’s edict. No Christmas about the house before the 24th. Even on the doorstep.

But carols need to be learnt. Susan, a high alto with a knack for holding a note in the face of her classmates’ flat and occasionally sharp pitch, was expected at Wednesday evening choir practice in the hut near the school gates. Warmed by only a three-bar fire, she and the other members of the fourth and fifth forms who were willing to practise in time for the school concert breathed out cold air as their lungs ached and chests heaved with the effort of singing in the damp fug. Twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping.

The tune swirled around her head as she steered her bike through the autumn mist along the thin track that would take her across the bridge to her home on the other side of Bampton. The wheels bumped and squeaked over the uneven path, startling the few birds prepared to stay in the Peak District for the winter. Frost had begun to settle on the fields, giving the landscape a shimmering glow. As the temperature dropped, Susan tightened the ends of her headscarf under her chin, pulling the thin material away from her ears so that she could hear any encroaching sounds. Her thick blazer warmed her body and she dragged the sleeves of her jumper down over her cold palms, which grasped the metal of the handlebars.

Susan kept a wary eye on the fields around her. She’d been told not to come this way ever since her friend, Iris, had seen a man standing in the field far off, completely naked. Iris had rushed back to her house in the street next to Susan’s and some of the fathers, Susan’s included, had gone in search of the pervert. Of course, he’d gone by the time the men arrived. Disappeared into the mists but not forgotten by the community. Don’t go the back way home from choir, she’d been warned. First by her dad and afterwards, more sharply, by her mother, who’d looked like she wanted to expand the conversation into something more meaningful. Susan had hung about in the kitchen but nothing further had been revealed.

When she got home, she’d pretend she hadn’t come this way. Would tell her mother that, of course, she’d taken the way up Bampton High Street, cycled behind the cottage hospital and continued along the main road over the railway bridge to the entrance of the new housing estate. However, no matter how quickly she cycled, the fact was that this back way would get her home quicker on a cold November evening, despite the uneven path. The route was a direct line from her school to the back of her estate where she’d have to lift her bike over the chained five-bar gate.

She looked around the chilled landscape but could see nothing through the grey mist. She pinched the bike’s tyres to reassure herself that they were rock solid. Any problems and she’d hop on and make a quick getaway, confident she could ride faster than any man, especially a naked one, could run.

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Sarah Ward is the author of four DC Childs novels, In Bitter Chill, A Deadly Thaw, A Patient Fury and The Shrouded Path set in the Derbyshire Peak District where she lives. On her website, Crimepieces (www.crimepieces.com), she reviews the best of current crime fiction published around the world. She is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian translated crime novels. Sarah was a 2015 Amazon Rising Star and A Patient Fury was The Observer’s Thriller of the Month in 2017.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahrward1

Find her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com

If you want to read reviews for The Shrouded Path check out the tour poster below there are some fab book bloggers on this tour.

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