Tag Archives: Suspense

The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst #BookReview @JennyBlackhurst @headlinepg

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Book description

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.
Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger…

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My review

I do love a creepy and disturbing psychological thriller and The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst fits the bill perfectly. When a child is portrayed in a book as someone evil and not to be trusted I always find the read somewhat more creepy, I think it’s because children are seen as sweet and innocent you never expect them to scare the life out of you, but Jenny Blackhurst has created a character who gave me the heebie-jeebies. From the start this book made for a chilling and genuinely disturbing read that took me by surprise at every twisted turn.

Rather like the book description for The Foster Child I’m not going to go into plot details I think the vagueness of the description helped to make this book all the more thrilling as you weren’t sure what to expect. From my first introduction to Ellie I wanted to believe in her and I found myself hoping that “the bad things happening” to the people who upset her were a coincidence rather than something far more disturbing. As the story progresses you can’t help but feel for Ellie, a child who is bullied relentlessly and “whispered about by children and adults alike.

Malice and discord bubble away throughout making every chapter chilling,  I found myself becoming very anxious and increasingly unsettled as the author weaved her twisted tale. I’m very impressed by the author’s ability to create an imaginative and throughly creepy novel that messed with my over active imagination to such an extent that every creak, every noise in the house made me jump! The market is saturated with Psychological thrillers at the moment, but personally I think Jenny Blackhurst has done a fantastic job in making sure The Foster Child stands out, it’s unpredictable, compelling and genuinely disturbing.  Definitely a book I would highly recommend as it kept me guessing right up to the last thrilling, heart stopping chapter.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Headline (21 Sept. 2017)

 

 

**Blog Tour** Lily Alone Author interview with Vivien Brown @VivBrownAuthor @HarperImpulse

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Today I’m thrilled to welcome Vivien Brown author of Lily Alone to the book review café as part of the blog tour for this very intriguing book.  You can buy the kindle edition today or it’s out in paperback on the 5th October 2017. Lily Alone is described as a gripping and emotional drama and is published by HarperImpulse. So without further ado here is my interview with Vivien Brown

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Hi Vivien and welcome to the book review café for those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book Lily Alone, can you provide us with an introduction? 

Lily Alone is published by Harper Impulse in paperback on 5 October. ebook also available.

Would you leave a very young child at home on their own – knowing that terrible things can happen in the blink of an eye? Lily, who is not yet three years old, wakes up alone with only her cuddly toy for company. She is hungry, afraid of the dark, can’t use the phone, and has been told never to open the door to strangers…

In the flat downstairs, a lonely and elderly woman keeps herself to herself but wonders at the cries coming from upstairs. Lily’s grandmother frets that she can no longer see her granddaughter since the child’s parents separated. Lily’s father hasn’t seen her for a while. He’s been abroad, absorbed in his new job and his new girlfriend…

A young woman lies in a coma in hospital – no one knows her name or who she is, but in her silent 
dreams, a little girl is crying for her mummy…

And for Lily, time is running out.

Where did the idea for Lily Alone come from?

I worked with very young children for many years and loved spending time with them, especially seeing them develop and grow in independence and confidence. But how would a child manage to cope without an adult to love them, protect them, and keep them safe? And what if neighbours just turned a blind eye, not wanting to get involved? We so often hear stories about children being neglected, abused, or having to be taken into care. Lily Alone came out of a combination of all those things.

What was the hardest part of writing of Lily Alone? 

Getting the research right! Writing about relationships and emotions comes easily as I have been writing romance and family stories for women’s magazines for a very long time. But with this novel I had to go into much more detail – about what a three year old can and can’t do, and about medical and social services procedures. Having daughters working in those two professions was a great help.

Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?

I do like to have exactly the right pen. Even though I write straight to a laptop these days, there are still notes to be made, and I just can’t do it well unless the pen looks and feels right. No fountain pens with messy ink cartridges, and definitely no cheap scratchy see-through biros!

Have you always wanted to be an author, and when did you first realise you wanted to write?

English was my favourite subject at school, and I had the encouragement of a very inspirational teacher called Mr Shearn. I started writing poetry when I was about fifteen, then slowly progressed into fiction, but it was always just a hobby, and I never considered it as a potential paying job. If universities had been offering creative writing degrees back then things might have been different, but I went to work in a bank, and writing stayed in the background for a long time – although it never went away!

Do you write an outline before you start writing? 

I struggle to plan. Editors tend to require a synopsis so I force myself to write one but the finished book looks nothing like that original concept. I know what kind of story I am trying to tell and have a vague notion of the ending I want to reach, but characters develop as I write about them, and things happen on the page that I did not see coming!

How long did it take to get your first book published?

My first novel, Losing Lucy, written under my former name of Vivien Hampshire, took a couple of years to write, and was the subject of my then monthly column in Writers Forum magazine called Book Deal or Bust. Readers followed my progress as I wrote and edited it and tried to get an agent or publisher. In the end, I self-published, and it did get some very good reviews, but I am so happy to have a traditional publishing deal this time around.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Lily Alone passed through the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers Scheme, meaning I got a full critique from an anonymous published romance author. That was not a good experience for me as the reader clearly hated the book and everything about it. Her negativity could well have put me off completely and consigned the book to the bin, but I asked for a second opinion and the next critique could not have been more encouraging! The best compliment was having the book accepted by first an agent and then by Harper Impulse who wanted to publish it. It just shows that everyone has different opinions and tastes, and it has taught me to take the occasional poor review with a pinch of salt!

What’s the best bit about being an author? and what’s the worse bit?

Being my own boss is great! Working from home, not having to battle the traffic or beg for days off, and being able to write anywhere – by the fire in winter, in the garden on a sunny day, by the pool on holiday, in bed… There really are no worse bits.

And to finish off a couple of quick ones 

Favourite book?

I Let You Go, by Clare Mackintosh. Tense and surprising!

Favourite author?

Jane Austen, although I do cheat and watch the TV and film adaptations too!

Favourite holiday destination?

The Caribbean, or a nice English country cottage near the sea for shorter trips closer to home

And finally can you describe yourself in five words?

Creative. Solitary. Determined. Home-loving. Granny.

Thank you Vivien for answering my questions and lots of luck with Lily Alone

Thanks so much for having me on the blog today. I hope your readers will take a look at Lily Alone and let me know what they think!

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Vivien Brown lives in Uxbridge, Middlesex, with her husband and two cats. For most of her life she has immersed herself in words – as an avid reader, writer, poet, library outreach worker, storyteller, gifter of Bookstart packs to babies and toddlers, creative writing tutor and crossword fanatic.

She enjoys dipping into dictionaries and exploring the meaning of words, and watching and/or taking part in TV quiz shows. In the evenings she loves nothing more than losing herself in a good book, a compelling TV drama or her regular supply of women’s magazine short stories – which all help to provide inspiration and ideas for her own fiction. ‘Lily Alone’ is her debut novel.

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The Surrogate by Louise Jensen #BookReview @Fab_fiction @bookouture

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the two stops on The Surrogate by Louise Jensen blog tour. Don’t be fooled by the cover, this is one twisted psychological thriller that I devoured in a couple of sittings. The Surrogate in case you didn’t know is published by the fabulous Bookouture and it was published yesterday (27th September) so you don’t even have to wait to get your hands on a copy, just pop over to Amazon and “click”.

Don’t forget to check out Jen’s (fellow book blogger and partner in crime) review over at https://jenmedsbookreviews.com/

Book description

‘You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

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My review

Ever since I read Louise Jensen’s debut The Sister I’ve been a huge fan of her writing, but OMG The Surrogate her latest and most adventurous book yet puts her firmly on my list of “must read” authors. The Surrogate’s title misled me, I thought it would be a “heart warming” tale, but how wrong could I be! It turned out to be dark and very twisted tale, one that’s  shrouded in lies, buried secrets and betrayal I really think this is the authors best book yet and it definitely one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year.

The Surrogate starts so innocently Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream. What appears to be the perfect arrangement soon turns into something much darker, phew the sense of malice radiates from the pages early on and this increases as the plot becomes more complex.

There were numerous characters in The Surrogate but what a dysfunctional bunch they turned out to be. I couldn’t help sympathising with Kat’s plight, I can’t begin to imagine the heartbreak, the emotions and the feelings of failure woman like Kat go through, so desperate are they to have children. I love a book where you find it impossible to trust any of the characters, and I found I couldn’t trust any of them, rather like the main character Kat I found paranoia kicking in as my mistrust of each character grew. Each character seems to be hiding something and I wasn’t wrong, when these secrets begin to surface I found myself lost for words. The Surrogate is told in two time frames and I do enjoy a book that moves between the past and the present, when it’s done well I find it heightens the mystery and suspense as you are never quite sure when the two will collide and Louise Jensen makes sure the two collide in the most shocking and spectacular fashion.

Full of twists and turns I found my head spinning, from the opening chapter I felt a sense of dread that stayed with me until I reached the heart stopping conclusion. The ending may have seemed a little far fetched but when I read a book especially one that holds so many surprises I’m happy to suspend disbelief and “go with the flow”. For me personally a psychological thriller has to have an element of surprise a “OMG” moment, The Surrogate has lots of theses moments and I literally read this book in one sitting. Would I recommend this book? It’s a huge and definite “yes” from me.

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 374 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (27 Sept. 2017)

About the author

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Louise is a USA Today Bestselling Author, and lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat.

Louise’s first two novels, The Sister and The Gift, were both International No.1 Bestsellers, and have been sold for translation to sixteen countries. The Sister was nominated for The Goodreads Awards Debut of 2016. Louise ‘s third psychological thriller, The Surrogate, can be pre-ordered now and will be published in September.

Louise loves to hear from readers and writers and can be found at http://www.louisejensen.co.uk, where she regularly blogs flash fiction.

Follow the blog tour………

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**Blog Tour** The House by Simon Lelic @PenguinUKBooks #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be hosting The House blog tour. The House is written by Simon Lelic and will be published by Viking Books in paperback on 3rd November 2017. If you can’t wait until then, the eBook version is available now.

 

Book description

What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.

My review

Moving into your dream home should be the happiest of times right? Wrong!, take Jack and Syd ,their dream home turns into there worse nightmare. This is going to be one of those reviews that may seem vague but in truth it’s a difficult book to review without giving away major spoilers. The one thing I will say is the book description very much leads the reader in the wrong direction, of course the house is pinnacle to the plot, but this novel has far much more to offer. Although the descriptions of the house provide the reader with a creepy and atmospheric setting, it’s the undertone of malevolence that made this novel such a compelling and disturbing read.

The story is narrated in the alternating perspectives of Syd and Jack, the author chooses to narrate The House in a very distinctive style concentrating on the perspectives of Jack and Syd told in the style of a journal. To begin with I found this style of writing difficult to follow at first it appears to be a hotchpotch of memories, thoughts and events. As I got use to the style of writing I found it was actually a very effective ploy as we learn about the backgrounds and personalities of the couple, as well as the progressively mysterious and creepy events that start to take place in their home. It’s only when you reach the second half of the book you realise just how cleverly Simon Lelic has misdirected the reader.

The House has a very gothic feel to it which certainly puts the reader on edge, the sounds, the smells and the secrets hidden within the house add to the anxiety I felt as a reader. I would never have guessed where this novel was heading as the author always manages to keep one step ahead, which I find always heightens my enjoyment of a book. I do love the unexpected and this book certainly has plenty of those “OMG” moments, there were so many twist and turns my head was spinning. This is the first book I have read by Simon Lelic and I’m impressed, The House is complex, creepy full of surprises and definitely a book I would recommend if you like a twisted thriller.

Print Length: 342 pages

Publisher: Penguin (17 Aug. 2017)

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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I was born in Brighton in 1976 and, after a decade or so living in London and trying to convince myself that the tube was fine, really, because it gave me a chance to read, my wife and I moved back to Brighton with our three young children. That Barnaby, Joseph and Anja’s grandparents happened to live close enough by to be able to offer their babysitting services was, of course, entirely coincidental.

As well as writing, I run an import/export business. I say this, when people ask, with a wink but I fool no one: I am more Del Trotter than Howard Marks. My hobbies (when I have time for them) include reading (for which I make time, because I can just about get away with claiming this is also work), golf, tennis, snowboarding and karate. My weekends belong to my family (or so my wife tells me), as does my heart.

I studied history at the University of Exeter. After graduating I was qualified, I discovered . . . to do an MA. After that I figured I had better learn something useful, so took a post-grad course in journalism. I know, I know: so much for learning something useful. After working freelance and then in business-to-business publishing, I now write novels. Not useful either, necessarily, but fun and, in its own way, important.

Links to the author: Website     Twitter

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**Blog Tour**Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza #BookReview @RobertBryndza @Bookouture

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Today I’m over the moon and just a little bit excited (ok I’m very,very excited) to be on the blog tour for Cold Blood by the awesome Robert Bryndza. Cold Blood is the fifth book in the Detective Erika Foster series and what a brilliant crime series it is, it’s definitely one crime series I would highly recommend, and the good news is you don’t even have to wait to get a copy as it was published on the 20th September by one of my favourite publishers  Bookouture. 

Book description

She fell in love with a killer, now she’s one too.

The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would find inside…

When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before.

As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago.

Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack.

But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery…there’s more than one killer.

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My review

Now I’m sure it wont come as a big surprise to many of you but I just happen to be a huge fan of Robert Bryndza’s and the Erika Foster series, so when I realised Cold Blood was available on NetGalley I dropped everything to start reading it and I mean everything, even the current book I was reading, so apologises to Harlan Coben, but a sacrifice had to be made! Oh my god I’m so glad I did, Cold Blood is one twisted tale, it’s gruesome, it’s dark, all the things I love a crime thriller to be and more.

Erika Foster is one of my favourite fictional detectives she’s ballsy and opinionated, but as the series has evolved so has her character, in Cold Blood Erika’s personal life is a shambles, so she concentrates her efforts on her job, but she really has her work cut out in Cold Blood her most gristly case yet. When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames in the opening chapter. You just know your in for a hell of a ride and the author doesn’t disappoint fast paced and twisted this is the perfect crime book. I’m in awe of the authors ability to come up with such original crimes but I can’t help wondering if his vivid imagination keeps him awake at night!

I’m not going to go into plot details just read the book you won’t be disappointed, but what I will say Robert Bryndza has created some blood curdling characters, the word psychopath springs to mind, each crime that’s committed just adds to the nail biting suspense, as Cold Blood reached it searing conclusion I felt physical drained so intense was the plot.

I could have devoured Cold Blood in one sitting but rather like a fine wine I choose to savour it, immersing myself in the atmosphere, characters and settings. Every time Robert Bryndza brings out a new book I always start by saying it’s his best book yet and guess what? This is definitely the best book yet! (Well until the next one at least!) It’s dark, gruesome and a throughly gripping read.

Robert Bryndza never fails to amaze me, he is such a gifted writer and I love the fact that he is able to maintain such a high standard of writing whilst keeping the series highly original in content. So my love affair with the Erika Foster series continues and I would sale my kidney to find out what’s going to happen to Erika Foster next (now there’s a plot for Robert Bryndza’s next book) Would I recommend Cold Blood? It’s a “thousand” hell yeses and if you haven’t read this series yet you really need to it’s everything a crime series should be and much more.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to read I’m giving Cold Blood 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.

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Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 275 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (20 Sept. 2017)

About the author

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Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller is the first book in the Detective Erika Foster series.

The Night Stalker, Dark Water and Last Breath are the second, third, and fourth books in the series, and the fifth book, Cold Blood is available now.

Robert’s books have sold over 2 million copies, and have been translated into 27 languages.

In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

You can find out more about the author at www.robertbryndza.com and on Twitter and Instagram @RobertBryndza

Sign up to Robert Bryndza‘s New Release Mailing List here: Mailing list

You can buy any of the books in the series here……The Erika Foster series

**Author Interview** with Ray Britain author of The Last Thread @ray_Britain

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Today it’s my pleasure to welcome Ray Britain to the book review café. Ray has just published his first crime book The Last Thread, unfortunately I’m unable to review this book at the moment due to work commitments and a humongous TBR pile, but I really hope it’s a book I will get to at some point as it certainly sounds my type of read. Ray himself is a very intriguing author so I invited him along to tell us more about himself and The Last Thread.

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Welcome to the Book Review Café Ray, I understand The Last Thread is your debut novel. Tell me a little about yourself first please?

Thank you for inviting me in Lorraine. As a ‘newbie’ author, it’s very much appreciated. My professional background is in policing. When I decided, finally, to write my book, the received wisdom seemed to be to stick with what you know so it should be no surprise that my novel is in the genre of crime fiction, police procedural.

Why have you adopted Ray Britain as your pen name?

Over the years I’ve locked up some very unpleasant people and as a hostage and suicide intervention negotiator I met some dangerous and disturbed people, so it’s sensible to shield my family.

That’s interesting. Tell us about your career?

I served in the Midlands region of the UK for some 30 years, gaining promotion to a high rank. I served in a range of uniform and detective roles, but the investigation of crime and the camaraderie of investigators remained my first love. As a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) I led many investigations, some of which engaged sensitive, national capabilities but as the Official Secrets Act still applies, I can’t discuss that side of things. Overall, I had a fantastically interesting and enjoyable career, travelled abroad as a representative of UK policing and got involved in things I could not have imagined as a young Constable walking the beat.

Two Britisih Policemen in Traditional Helmets on Crowd Control

It can’t have been all plain sailing, though. As a detective you must have seen some terrible things?

Sadly, yes. That’s the nature of policing, particularly as a detective. But it’s the same for each of the ‘blue light’ services, responding to society’s many and diverse problems so that the public can sleep easily in their beds at night. The UK remains an incredibly safe place to live and I hope we can keep an unarmed police service for many years to come yet, despite the serious challenges society now faces.

You mentioned you were a hostage negotiator as well?

Yes, for some fifteen years. In the UK, it’s a voluntary role in additional to one’s ‘day job’ which can place very heavy demands, both physically and emotionally on the very small number of specialists who are willing to carry it out. The training is incredibly intense with a pass or fail result and was the most challenging training programme I ever undertook. But it’s an endlessly fascinating role and when you have a successful outcome, hugely satisfying too.

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What sort of things do police negotiators respond to?

At the upper end of the scale, being part of national counter-terrorism contingency arrangements. But, more locally, it’s possible to find yourself attending hostage scenarios which usually involve people who are known to each other. But there are always complex factors in play such as psychological disorders, or drugs and other dependencies and fraught domestic circumstances. Frequently a cocktail of each, so with frightened hostages and high tension, you can never be complacent. Most deployments are to firearms incidents where armed officers have someone contained and require someone to surrender peaceably in a controlled manner to avoid being hurt. And then, the bulk of negotiator’s work is an incredibly varied range of suicide interventions. Although most end successfully, sadly, not all do.

Does all that experience form your book, ‘The Last Thread’?

My experiences give an authenticity to the technical and procedural aspects of the storyline but beyond that, as you would hope and expect, all the characters and events are completely fictional.

What makes this detective story different from the rest?

It’s authentic in describing the investigative processes with a professional’s experience and I’ve worked hard to create a story that’s interesting, immersing the reader in the welter of information available and keeping them guessing right to the end. It’s authentically grisly too in describing the murder, the crime scene and a post mortem. And, if that’s still not enough, there’s a complicated love interest too.

So, without spoiling it for our readers, what’s it about?

Perhaps the easiest way to do that is to give you the synopsis:

“Accused of pushing a boy to his death in a failed suicide intervention, DCI Doug Stirling is suspended from duty. Attacked in the media and haunted by the boy’s enigmatic smile as he let go of Stirling’s hand, he must watch as the incompetent CI Ballard who is intent on destroying him investigates the boy’s death, supported by the vindictive Deputy Chief Constable, McDonald. Weeks later, an anonymous call leads the police to a remote location where they discover a burnt-out car containing the body of an unidentified man who has been savagely murdered. With a shortage of experienced senior investigators available, ACC Steph Tanner risks her own career and appoints Stirling as the SIO, throwing him the lifeline he needs to restore his reputation.

But, with no witnesses, no forensic evidence and more theories than investigators, Stirling has far too many “loose threads” as he uncovers a complex, interwoven history of deception, betrayal and sadistic relationships. Was the victim connected to the crime scene? Is the murder as complex as it appears? Or is there a simpler explanation? Still traumatised by the boy’s death and with time the enemy, does Doug Stirling still have what it takes to bring the killer, or killers, to justice before McDonald intervenes?

Things were already difficult enough when DC Helen Williams joins the investigation, a determined woman who seems intent on rekindling their past relationship. And is Ayesha, the beautiful lawyer Stirling has grown fond of, connected to the murder somehow?”

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Is Doug Stirling yet another life worn, flawed detective like we see on TV so often?

I don’t believe readers will interpret him that way. Doug Stirling is a thoughtful, reflective character and a consummate professional. He expects his team to work hard but works harder himself. He’s a good-looking man, physically strong, highly principled and takes a pride in his appearance, but he’s impatient of vanity. But he has an intriguing, untold back story, is notoriously private and discreet in his relationships. Stirling is drawn to intelligent, interesting women and if they’re attractive, then even more so, which causes difficulties when his private and professional lives collide.

And the female characters in the story?

I’ve worked with many fantastic female colleagues over the years and The Last Thread’ has several strong female characters, on both sides of the law! My test readers were all women and it was fascinating how each of them interpreted the characters subtly differently, adding value in making suggestions. Hopefully, I’ve succeeded in making them interesting to your readers.

The story is marketed as having adult content. How adult are we talking?

That’s more to do with Amazon’s marketing guidance which I’m happy to observe. There are some sex scenes but much tamer than first drafted! People in relationships have sex, so why would Stirling be any different? A significant element of the plot has an adult theme but nothing too offensive, I hope. In short, it reflects real life and crime, and how complex relationships can have devastating effects on people’s lives.

The cover picture looks quite sinister?

I wanted something that looked sinister, moody, and intriguing enough to pick it up and learn more. It reflects an element of the storyline.

Do you have any other interests?

I’m a longstanding Francophile and gained a degree in French in my spare time. I like to keep fit and active and enjoy mountain walking -the Lake District is my favourite destination in the UK – supporting rugby, skiing, Dad dancing, reading and sailing.

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What is your inspiration to write?

Like many people, I’ve always wanted to write a book. After completing my career, I messed around with it for a while then put it away and tried to forget about it. Then, two winters ago, I sat down to write, and wrote, and wrote. Two winters later and after a lot of painful proof reading and editing, here it is, warts and all!

What do your family think of your writing?

To begin with, as I disappeared repeatedly into the study, it was a case of watch and see, shaking their heads at my erratic hours when the story would not let me sleep and I hammered away at the keyboard in the middle of the night! Now, they’re excited for me – and I’m anxious that it’s not a complete flop! Pride, of course.

Are you able to tell me anything about your next book?

Only that the Prologue is drafted and the storyline is almost fully mind mapped out on some software I use. Working through the devious twists and turns and red herrings is time consuming.

Final question then. Where can we get the book?

The Last Thread is available on Amazon

It is also available on all other main e-reader providers such as KOBO, iBook etc.

If you visit my website – below – you can download a free sample and click through to Amazon.

Thanks for dropping in Ray. I wish you every success with your book and look forward to the next one.

Thank you, Lorraine. I look forward to your readers’ views with great interest.

Website: http://www.raybritain.com/
Email: info@raybritain.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/raybritain.author/

 

#SheDidIt by Mel Sherratt #BookReview @writermels & author interview

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Today I’m thrilled to have Mel Sherratt pop by and answer some questions about her new psychological thriller She Did It, which is published tomorrow and it’s a book I would highly recommend. So without further ado here’s my interview with the awesome Mel Sherratt……IMG_2790

Hi Mel and welcome back to the book review cafe I’m thrilled to have you here, and can I just say how much I enjoyed She Did It. 

For those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book She Did It can you provide us with an introduction.

Hi Lorraine – great to be back. Thanks for having me. I write novels that take you to the heart of the crime. I write psychological suspense, and crime dramas – fiction with a punch.

She Did It is my eleventh crime book, but my second straight psychological thriller. In a nutshell, it’s about two women – one is a murderer and the other one knows. It’s about whose blames who.

Where did the idea for She Did It come from?

I had an idea back in 2014 but was already contracted to write other books so it had to go on the backburner for a while. It started off around the idea of two couples – one of the four is murdered and the other three are all lying to cover everything up. From this it became two women. I do have a strong urge to write that first idea now though.

What was the hardest part of writing She Did It?

It’s the same with every book. When I am drafting out a book, I want to be editing and when I am editing, I want to be working on something new. It’s all hard work – I procrastinate terribly at times. I just have to sit down and do it. There is something great about getting to end of that first messy draft though.

Oh, actually there is a hard part – trying to keep everything in my head, say, when I am 60% through a rewrite and can’t remember everything I have changed.

In She Did It you mention book bloggers and social media. How important do you think both are for authors? 

For me personally, having been a book blogger for four years before being published, I think they are a crucial part of the industry. Book bloggers are so passionate and give up their free time for no more than their love of books. They share their own work, as well as their fellow bloggers, and push awareness about a book around publication time, and afterwards too. I’ve had some fantastic reviews from lots of them. I love the crowd of book bloggers I know and have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of them too.

Why did you decide to write a psychological thriller, rather than “grit lit”?

As I’ve now written fourteen books, my writing style has inevitably changed as I’ve grown. I really enjoyed writing Watching over You – it’s my most controversial book – and for a long time, I wanted to write something different again. One of the characters in She Did It, Esther, wouldn’t leave me alone. When I finally got the chance to sit down and write, her story poured out of me.

I also wanted to write something that was based in a place where most people would know (it’s set in London.) Don’t worry, though, as my love of grit lit will never go. I have the first in a new police procedural series coming out next year. It’s set in my hometown of Stoke-on-Trent and has a serial killer in it. So, there will be plenty of the dark stuff.

Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?

Only that I have to have new notepad for each book. It’s more about stationery porn really. I can’t walk past a stationer’s without going in and buying at least one notepad. I have a lot of them that I will never use as they are too nice to spoil! (They aren’t really.) One can never have enough notepads, I say.

Have you always wanted to be an author, and when did you first realise you wanted to write?

Yes, for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write books. I moved house last year and my mum’s best friend came to see us and as I showed her my office, she said she remembered when I was 9 and she had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said an author then. It took me a fair few years to realize my childhood dream!

Do you write an outline before you start writing? 

Yes, I write a brief story arc for each main character, and then I marry them all together and start writing. I write a very quick and dirty draft (I call it draft zero) of around 50,000 words to get to know the story and the characters and then I do several more drafts to add words, fill in the gaps etc. Things always evolve and the middle might change, but the beginning and endings tend to stay pretty much the same.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Gosh, writing gritty realism gets me a lot of poor reviews. I am used to them now, and think of them as only one person’s point of view. I have over 2000 reviews on Amazon – 85% are 5 star and 4 star but it’s the one star vindictive ones that get to me, especially when a new book goes out. When The Girls Next Door was published last year, one reader who had the book for free gave me a one star on publication day because she hadn’t liked it. It was like someone blowing candles out on my birthday cake! I know I can’t please all of the people all of the time, so now I let it ride over me.

My best compliment is when a reader says they don’t want the book to end as there will be a wait for my next one, and also that they can see it as a TV program as my characters seems so real. That’s awesome for me.

Rapid five

Can you describe yourself in five words? 

Sincere, sensitive, driven, friendly, Northerner.

Favourite food?

Spaghetti bolognaise.

Favourite drink?

Peach schnapps and vodka.

Favourite place?

Kefalos, Kos. My home from home, I’ve been there so many times.

Favourite book? 

Misery, Stephen King.

Thank you Mel for answering my questions and good luck with She Did It, although not that you need it I’m sure it’s going to do really well. 

About the author

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My novels take you to the heart of the crime. I write police procedurals, psychological suspense and crime dramas – fiction with a punch. Shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in Library Award 2014, my inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes.

Since 2012, all ten of my crime novels have been bestsellers, each one climbing into the kindle UK top 20 and I’ve had several number ones. I’ve also had numerous Kindle All-star awards, for best read author and best titles.

DETECTIVE EDEN BERRISFORD works in a community intelligence team and helps to gather information and intel for investigations. THE GIRLS NEXT DOOR is the first book, followed by DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU.

TAUNTING THE DEAD is part police procedural/part psychological thriller. It was a standalone for two years but I have now written two more books with Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton as a main character to create a trilogy. FOLLOW THE LEADER is book two and ONLY THE BRAVE is book three.

THE ESTATE SERIES are a mix of psychological suspense and family life with a sprinkling of grit and a dash of menace – where drama meets crime. There are four at the moment, available individually or you can read the first three as a box set. WRITTEN IN THE SCARS, is the latest in the series to be published.

WATCHING OVER YOU is a standalone psychological thriller. It’s dark in places, light in places, disturbing in places too – where obsession and friendship turn into murder.

I also write women’s fiction under the pen name of Marcie Steele. Stirred with Love, The Little Market Stall of Hope and Heartbreak and The Second Chance Shoe Shop are out now.

I live in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with my husband and terrier, Dexter (named after the TV serial killer) and make liberal use of my hometown as a backdrop for some of my books. You can find out more at my website http://www.melsherratt.co.uk or I’m on Twitter at @writermels

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Book description

Work colleague. Friend. Killer.
A successful businesswoman, Tamara enjoys her champagne lifestyle to the full. At least, that is the front she displays to the world. As well as being lonely, she’s running out of money. A promising new member of staff brings the injection of fresh blood needed to win the contract that will turn things around.

Working for Tamara is a perfect ruse for Esther. But, along with fake references and qualifications, she also has a plan for revenge.

 

Sensing Tamara’s vulnerability, Esther uses their acquaintance as a way of getting close to someone who hurt her in the past.
Tamara is keeping things secret. Esther has a dark side she is trying to hide. For both of them, lying is a habit.

But when mistakes begin to catch up with Esther, and people start dying, Tamara realises she’s chosen the wrong person to trust as a friend.

My review

I’m a huge fan of Mel Sherratt’s and love her style of writing, She Did It is very much a psychological thriller and errs away from the “grit lit” I’m used to reading by this author, but OMG I’m not going to beat about the bush and it’s going to sound cliched but this is definitely her best book yet. She Did It has all the elements I look for in a psychological thriller, unreliable characters, a plot that messes with the head, and a constant sense of intrigue and malice that keeps the reader on their toes.

From the beginning I became very suspicious of the two main characters Tamara and Esther, different as chalk and cheese they come together to launch and promote a novel for Dulston publishing. It soon becomes apparent Esther is using the work as a ploy to get close to someone who hurt her in the past. On first appearances both women appear vulnerable and fragile, their friendship appears to thrive, unfortunately it’s a friendship based on lies and manipulation, never a good thing in my opinion. Whilst reading She Did It I couldn’t help but thinking there was something sinister a foot and I questioned which of the two women were the more reliable, although at time I must admit I was convinced neither were to be trusted.

Like any good psychological thriller this isn’t a fast paced read, instead the author spends the time enticing the reader with her unreliable characters and slow revealing plot, I found myself constantly wondering where the plot was leading but Mel Sherratt plays her cards close to her chest and reveals just enough to maintain the suspense throughout this gripping book. She Did it is a tale of lies, deceit and misdirection, a constant sense of foreboding makes this an impossible book to put down. Would I recommend this book? You bet I would and I’m already waiting for Mel Sherratt’s next book with baited breath.

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 162 pages

Publisher: Blood Red Books (19 Sept. 2017)