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My #Review of the disturbing #SoPretty by @Ronnie_Turner published by @OrendaBooks

When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.

Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.

Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.

As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.

Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

Firstly huge thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for kindly sending me a copy.

I went into So Pretty with an open mind, I hadn’t really read much about this novel so when I started reading it, well let’s just say, from the outset unsettled me!

The opening page is the advert above, and Berry & Vincent’s shop is where most of the action takes place.

We follow the story from 2 points of view- Teddy, the son of a notorious serial killer, and Ada, a single Mum of Albie, trying to rise him away from an unloving Mother. Both are inherently lonely and lost, and both are damaged humans, from upbringings and well, life’s hand that they’ve been dealt.

The story starts slowly and builds with each page that you turn, in the small seaside town of Rye, on the South Coast of the UK. We learn things about both Teddy and Ada as we start reading through So Pretty, and the more you read the more creepy, gothic, and frankly bloody terrifying the novel becomes.

I really do not want to give away any of the explosive and utterly thrilling plots, but I will tell you once you start reading, you will not be able to put So Pretty down. And the darkness that lies in the quaint and beautiful Rye, will eek itself into your mind and give you sleepless nights! the way that Ronnie Turner has observed the minds of both Teddy and Ada and has then been able to express this in her writing is frankly a marvel! Her skill at making the reader feel very uncomfortable and unsettled is amazing. So Pretty is a dark, psychological thriller with short snappy chapters that are written in an almost poetic style, and each one will give you that creepy feeling of a gothic horror novel. And it culminates into a frankly terrifying and page-turning conclusion.

This is Ronnie Turner’s first novel and it is a total book banger, another superb find by Orenda books. I look forward to reading her next novel and having sleepless nights!

An amazing and frightening 5-star read.

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature. She now works as a Senior Waterstones Bookseller and barista. Ronnie lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and taking long walks on the coast.

You can buy So Pretty HERE

You can follow Ronnie Turner on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

My #Review of #KillingJericho by @WHusseyAuthor published by @zaffrebooks on 27/04/2023

Scott Jericho thought he’d worked his last case. Fresh out of jail, the disgraced former detective is forced to seek refuge with the fairground family he once rejected.

Then a series of bizarre murders comes to light – deaths that echo a century-old fairground legend. The police can’t connect the victims. But Jericho knows how the legend goes; that more murders are certain to follow.

As Jericho unpicks the deadly mystery, a terrifying question haunts him. As a direct descendant of one of the victims in the legend, is Jericho next on the killer’s list?

From the award-winning author of The Outrage comes Killing Jericho, the gothic, helter-skelter thriller debut that introduces crime fiction’s first ever Traveller detective, Scott Jericho

Firstly a huge thank you to Abi at Bonnier PR for sending me a proof copy of Killing Jericho.

I can’t remember where I first saw the talk of Killing Jericho by William Hussey but as soon as I saw the cover, I just knew it was a book I needed to read and I’m so glad I have!

And from the very opening pages I was hooked! Killing Jericho is an absolutely unique and ground-breaking crime thriller. Not only is our main protagonist, Scott Jericho, a Traveller but he is also Gay, plus he used to be in the Police! The latter 2 things do not sit well within the Traveler society, but William Hussey has managed to describe exactly the impact on Scott Jericho’s life, that this has had and how fabulous to read a crime thriller AND learn about a section of our society that often sees prejudices and misconceptions. We meet Scott while he is living in a trailer at his dad’s traveling fairground. There has never been a Traveller detective in fiction until now, and in Scott Jericho, we have an amazing main character, he is damaged by his past but has the rare skill of being able to read people with aplomb, he is a complex but ultimately loveable character, I’ve fallen for him from this, the first book in an (i hope long!) series!

The plot and storyline are also superb, I’m not going to give too much away but it revolves around some seemingly unconnected killings, that seem to be connected to a century-old fairground legend. there is a marvelous array of characters, which really makes Killing Jericho a vibrant and lively novel, but the theme running through, death and murder, is almost gothic in its intensity.

Killing Jericho needs to be on every crime fiction fans list, it is written extremely well by William Hussey, you can feel his love and passion for his people (the son of a traveling showman himself) and it is an important book within the traveling community and also the LGQBT+ community, and I really hope that Killing Jericho wins prizes and gets the recognition that is so deserved. I’m almost welling up writing this because I really cannot explain how much I adore Killing Jericho, I’ve read many crime fiction books, but this one is a real gem, and I feel honored to be able to review it! I was gripped from the first page, and the plot is excellent, culminating in a hugely surprising ending (which I did not see coming!)

I am left bereft now I’ve finished Killing Jericho! I hope that we don’t have to wait too long for book two! A stunning and masterful read from a hugely talented author. Absolutely fabulous and unique 5-star read from me.

William Hussey is an award-winning author of over a dozen novels. From thrillers for Young Adults to gripping whodunnits for grown-ups, he has written in almost every genre of fiction. His latest books include the highly-anticipated KILLING JERICHO (April 2023), the first in a brand new series featuring crime fiction’s first Traveller detective, and the acclaimed political thriller for teens, THE OUTRAGE.
His other titles for children and Young Adults include Hideous Beauty, Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide, Witchfinder: Gallows at Twilight; Witchfinder: The Last Nightfall; Haunted; The Nightmare Eater; and Turn Her Face To The Wall.

You can Pre-order Killing Jericho HERE

You can follow William Hussey on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

William Hussey has his own website HERE

#BlogTour #TheLumberjills by @jofoat @RandomTTours

When war breaks out, three spirited women must set aside their differences to help Britain win the war. Fighting from the forests, they find new depths of courage, strength, and love. But – when war threatens everything – would you risk your life to save a friend?

When feisty, bohemian Keeva signs up for war work in the forest, she’s already learned the hard way that people can’t be trusted. For Rosie, a factory girl from London’s East End, the forest is an escape – but she can’t stop her big mouth from getting her into trouble. And Beatrice, a wealthy debutante, wants to use her brain, not ruin her fine hands felling trees. Meanwhile, Lady Denman, director of the Women’s Land Army, battles with bureaucrats in Whitehall to defend the Lumberjills.

As these strong women struggle to survive in a tough men’s world, it seems they really may succeed in their dangerous war work… when a terrible disaster strikes and threatens everything they have achieved.

The Lumberjills Stronger Together is inspired by the incredible and heroic true stories of the Women’s Timber Corps, a branch of the Women’s Land Army. Author Joanna Foat researched and interviewed sixty women who served as Lumberjills in World War II. These first-hand accounts, and her own passion for adventure in wild landscapes, bring a rugged authenticity to this emotionally rousing novel of female courage, strength, and determination.

A World War II novel for fans of Suzanne Goldring, Nancy Revell, and Jennifer Worth.

This is the first book I’ve read by Jo Foat, and I was very taken by the premise, as I had never heard of women lumberjacks (Jill’s) before.

I love that this book was forged from researching the real Lumberjills, who during the Second World War, worked alongside men to keep the timber supplies going as this was a vital material needed.

The characters are very well written, and the setting also really stood out to me. we meet girls from various backgrounds who are thrown together to work in often harsh conditions alongside men who have no respect for these women and the fact that eventually they will become as good if not better than them!

We follow the plot through their struggles and lives during the war in the Womens Timber Corps, you can tell there is a lot of research that has gone into The Lumberjills, and it keeps the story authentic and the plot is good and steady.

If you like reading about how women worked during WW2, then although this is a fiction book, it’s a great insight.

A jolly good read, 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Joanna grew up in Surrey, Great Britain, and always loved the outdoors, forests, and wildlife – climbing trees, helping her Dad work on the car, tinkering in the shed, mowing the lawn and making bonfires. She also loved chopping up wood for the fire and one year her father bought her an axe for Christmas.

You can buy The Lumberjills HERE

You can follow Joanna Foat on TWITTER INSTAGRAM

#BlogTour #AWinterGrave @authorpetermay @riverrunbooks @soph_ransompr published UK 19.01.2023

From the twelve-million copy bestselling author of the Lewis trilogy comes a chilling new mystery set in the isolated Scottish Highlands.

A TOMB OF ICE

A young meteorologist checking a mountain top weather station in Kinlochleven discovers the body of a missing man entombed in ice.

A DYING DETECTIVE

Cameron Brodie, a Glasgow detective, sets out on a hazardous journey to the isolated and ice-bound village. He has his own reasons for wanting to investigate a murder case so far from his beat.

AN AGONIZING RECKONING

Brodie must face up to the ghosts of his past and to a killer determined to bury forever the chilling secret that his investigation threatens to expose.

Set against a backdrop of a frighteningly plausible near-future, A WINTER GRAVE is Peter May at his page-turning, passionate and provocative best.

Firstly thank you so much to Jess at Ransom PR for inviting me to the blog tour and supplying me with a print copy of A Winter Grave.

Now I’ve only read one other book by Peter May ( I know !) which was Lockdown and I thought it was superb, so I was looking forward to A Winter Grave described as a “Crime Cli-Fi” novel…. I read the blurb and was already itching to start reading!

The novel is set in 2051 and revolves around a body being found in the Scottish Highland during ice and snow storms, where a lot of Scotland has been lost to rising sea levels because successive Governments had ignored the warnings. We follow the journey of Cameron Brodie, a veteran Glasgow Detective as he travels to the bleak inaccessible village of Kinlochleven and the events that surround him once he arrives to investigate the body that was found, who was an Investigative Reporter.

From the get-go, A Winter Grave is absolutely gripping and so visceral, in fact sitting here writing I can see the whole book running through my head like a movie. I mean, Peter May is a Bestselling author for a reason, but I believe A Winters Grave may be his finest novel.

It’s written with so much love and care, by that I mean, you can see Peter May cares about the planet, about finding a way to stop Global Warming and Climate Change, and his love especially of Scotland, his homeland.

The way he has written and described the journey Cameron Brodie has up to Kinlochleven is absolutely breathtaking, I mean you feel like you are traveling with him in the eVTOL ( You need to read A Winters Tale to find out what superb craft this is!), and from the start, even this is hazardous for our protagonist!

The storyline is just sublime, an absolute gem, that gives you shocks, surprises, and major OH NO moments in it, I loved the characters and the way they are written is exceptional, full of vim and empathy, Peter May is an artist at writing his characters!

I was a little worried about reading a book set in the future, as it’s not something I’ve read before, but I need not have been. There’s enough of the familiar to keep the reader invested and it really does work superbly well as a crime novel, but focusing on climate change.

You can see how much research Peter May has done with the turn of each page, and nothing is too technical or scientific that it would baffle the reader. And the attention to detail in the props and climate talk is again, exceptional.

A Winter Grave is a truly gripping bookbanger of a novel, I predict that this will be one of the biggest novels of 2023. You can always tell how good a novel is when you’ve read another couple of books afterwards, but the story is still vivid and dancing inside your mind! There is only one thing that I wanted, and that was a map of the Scottish area from now to how it had changed in 2051, but that’s just my thing, I love book maps!

A super 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read from me, and a book that needs to fly in 2023!

Peter May is the multi award-winning author of: – the Lewis Trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland; – the China Thrillers, featuring Beijing detective Li Yan and American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell; – the Enzo Files, featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo MacLeod, which is set in France. The sixth and final Enzo book is Cast Iron (January 2017, Riverrun). He has also written several standalone books:

– I’ll Keep You Safe (January 2018, Riverrun) – Entry Island (January 2014, Quercus UK) – Runaway (January 2015, Quercus UK) – Coffin Road (January 2016, Riverrun)

May had a successful career as a television writer, creator, and producer.

One of Scotland’s most prolific television dramatists, he garnered more than 1000 credits in 15 years as scriptwriter and script editor on prime-time British television drama. He is the creator of three major television drama series and presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland before quitting television to concentrate on his first love, writing novels. Born and raised in Scotland he lives in France.

His breakthrough as a best-selling author came with The Lewis Trilogy. After being turned down by all the major UK publishers, the first of the The Lewis Trilogy – The Blackhouse – was published in France as L’Ile des Chasseurs d’Oiseaux where it was hailed as “a masterpiece” by the French national newspaper L’Humanité. His novels have a large following in France. The trilogy has won several French literature awards, including one of the world’s largest adjudicated readers awards, the Prix Cezam.

The Blackhouse was published in English by the award-winning Quercus (a relatively young publishing house which did not exist when the book was first presented to British publishers). It went on to become an international best seller, and was shortlisted for both Barry Award and Macavity Award when it was published in the USA.

The Blackhouse won the US Barry Award for Best Mystery Novel at Bouchercon in Albany NY, in 2013

You can buy A Winter Grave HERE

You can follow Peter May on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can find Peter May’s website HERE

#BlogTour for #Dirt by @SultoonSarah @OrendaBooks #NoUtopia #Thriller

This is no utopia…

1996. Northern Israel. Lola leaves an unhappy home life in England for the fabled utopian life of a kibbutz, but this heavily guarded farming community on the Arab-Israeli border isn’t the idyll it seems, and tensions are festering.

Hundreds of miles away, in the Jerusalem offices of the International Tribune newspaper, all eyes are on Israel’s response to a spate of rocket attacks from Lebanon, until cub reporter Jonny Murphy gets a tip from a mysterious source that sends him straight into the danger zone.

When the body of an Arab worker is discovered in the dirt of the kibbutz chicken house, it triggers a series of events that puts Lola and the whole community in jeopardy, and Jonny begins to uncover a series of secrets that put everything at risk, as he begins to realise just how far some people will go to belong…
 

Firstly thank you so much to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for inviting me to be on the Dirt blog tour.

I was taken by the premise of Dirt as I’ve never read a book set in Israel, and I hoped to learn something from Dirt about this politically difficult area, the Middle East.

The plot is a gripping tale set in a Kibbutz (A kibbutz is an intentional community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. The first kibbutz, established in 1909, was Degania), involving a group of European volunteers who traveled to this so-called utopia, often running away from things at home, in the hope to have a “perfect” life with their Jewish and Arab colleagues. However, this is all brought to an abrupt end when first they are very nearly shelled (They believe that by being so close to the Arab-Israeli border they won’t ever get shelled) and whilst they are all sheltering in a bomb shelter a body of one of the workers is found in the chicken house.

The descriptions of the kibbutz setting are absolutely exquisite, I could picture the terrain and layout so well, Sarah has a talent for really putting the reader in the book setting. And these descriptions all really added to make this an unforgettable and tense read. Only let down by not having a map in the beginning, but google did help me! The tensions between the cast of characters are extremely well-written and with each page, you are more and more invested in the plot,I couldn’t put Dirt down!

The book builds to a brilliant ending and even I didn’t guess the outcome, but this is a brilliant thriller involving spies, damaged humans, and damaged relationships, Sarah has a fabulous spirit with the way she writes her cast on Dirt, making them ultra visceral and Dirt played out like a movie in my mind!

A superb 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read and another triumph from Orenda Books!

Sarah Sultoon is a novelist and journalist, whose prior work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. As passionate about fiction as nonfiction, she recently completed a Master of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, adding to an undergraduate degree in languages, chosen mainly so she could spend time itinerantly traveling the world. She likes running, Indian food, cocktails, playing sports with her children, and throwing a ball for her dog, the order depends on when the cocktails are consumed. The Source her first novel is currently in development for television with Lime Pictures.

You can buy Dirt HERE

You can follow Sarah Sultoon on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

My #review of #ABitterRemedy by @Alis_Hawkins @canelo_co published 23/03/2023

Amongst the scholars, secrets and soporifics of Victorian Oxford, the truth can be a bitter pill to swallow…

Jesus College, Oxford, 1881. An undergraduate is found dead at his lodgings and the medical examination reveals some shocking findings. When the young man’s guardian blames the college for his death and threatens a scandal, Basil Rice, a Jesus college fellow with a secret to hide, is forced to act and finds himself drawn into Sidney Parker’s sad life.

The mystery soon attracts the attention of Rhiannon ‘Non’ Vaughan, a young Welsh polymath and one of the young women newly admitted to university lectures. But when neither the college principal nor the powerful ladies behind Oxford’s new female halls will allow her to become involved, Non’s fierce intelligence and determination to prove herself drive her on.

Both misfits at the university, Non and Basil form an unlikely partnership, and it soon falls to them to investigate the mysterious circumstances of Parker’s death. But between the corporate malfeasance and the medical quacks, they soon find the dreaming spires of Oxford are not quite what they seem…

An intriguing first installment of The Oxford Mysteries series by master crime writer, Alis Hawkins. Perfect for fans of Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Sarah Waters and Kaite Welsh.

Firstly thank you to Kate at Canelo Crime for very kindly sending me a proof copy of A Bitter Remedy.

When I saw the cover of A Bitter Remedy, I absolutely knew I needed to read it, especially as the colors match my brand!!

A Bitter Remedy is a historical crime novel, the first in a series, set in 1881 in Oxford at the birth of the women’s college movement. We follow our two main protagonists, Rhiannon “Non” Vaughan who is one of the first women to be allowed to study and go to lectures at Jesus College, Oxford, and Basil Rice, a Jesus College fellow who has a secret that he must keep hidden. Both are amazing characters, but they are far from the norm in Victorian society and find themselves investigating a strange death of an undergraduate.

The plot is superb in A Bitter remedy, and I adored Non, her fiesty, Intelligent, and gound-breaking character is amazing and I very easily loved her. Both Non and Basil are thrown into a world of propriety in the death of Sidney Parker and are drawn together to try to find out how and why he died and to get justice for him in a University that will do anything to keep things from the press and general public, in case it tarnishes their reputation.

Having never been to University, apart from a week’s Sales course over 30 years ago strangely at Oxford University, it didn’t mean that I couldn’t understand how University life was in 1881, especially for women. Alis Hawkins has obviously researched her history of women and how the female college movement started, and the setting is perfect for this novel.

I loved the intrigue, and the historical facts ( some had me scooting over to Google!) and I really felt I was actually there in the 1880s with Non and fighting her battles with her. I don’t want to give any of the plot away, but if you like historical crime fiction that is factual and also gripping, then A Bitter Remedy is going to be one to add to your reading list for 2023.

A brilliant 5 Stars from me, and I look forward to the second installment of The Oxford Mysteries.

Alis  grew up on a dairy farm in Ceredigion. Her inner introvert thought it would be a good idea to become a shepherd and, frankly, if she had she might have been published sooner.

As it was, three years reading English at Oxford revealed an extrovert streak and a social conscience and she has spent the subsequent three decades variously working in a burger restaurant, bringing up two sons, working with homeless people, and – having trained as a speech and langauge therapist – helping teachers and families to understand their autistic children. And writing. Always. Nonfiction (autism related), plays (commissioned for production in heritage locations) and, of course, novels.

Initially fascinated by the medieval period, Alis began her crime and mystery career at Pan Macmillan with Testament, a novel set in a fictitious medieval university city. Part of Testament’s narrative takes place in the fourteenth century and part in the twenty-first which taught Alis that she is far more passionate about writing historical fiction than contemporary.

So she fast-forwarded four centuries from fourteenth South East England to nineteenth century West Wales to write a book based on Wales’s best kept historical secret: the Rebecca Riots. And then she fell in love – both with nineteenth century west Wales and her characters – and the result is the Teifi Valley Coroner crime series featuring visually impaired investigator, Harry Probert-Lloyd, and his chippy assistant, John Davies.

As a side-effect of setting her series in Ceredigion, instead of making research trips to sunny climes like more foresighted writers, she just drives across Wales to see her family.

You can Pre-Order A Bitter Remedy HERE

You can follow Alis Hawkins on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can find Alis Hawkins Blog HERE

Finally, THANK YOU Dear reader’s for reading my Blog and continuing to follow me.

#Review of #TheSSOfficersArmchair by #DanielLee @daniellee550 @vintagebooks

The gripping account of one historian’s hunt for answers as he delves into the surprising life of an ordinary Nazi officer.

It began with an armchair. It began with the surprise discovery of a stash of personal documents covered in swastikas sewn into its cushion.

The SS Officer’s Armchair is the story of what happened next, as Daniel Lee follows the trail of cold calls, documents, coincidences and family secrets, to uncover the life of one Dr Robert Griesinger from Stuttgart. As Lee delves deeper, Griesinger emerges as at once an ordinary man with a family and ambitions, and an active participant in the Nazi machinery of terror whose choices continue to reverberate today.

I saw this book and read the premise and was so intruiged I had to buy it!

I’ve always had a bit of an interest in WW2 and especially from the German point of view, no idea why, this book was a great read and kept my attention all the way through.

The story was so well researched by Daniel Lee, he went to extraordinary lengths to find out how a chair was found in the Czech Republic, to have a hoard of Nazi documents sewn into the seat, and how for 70 plus years they were only discovered when it was taken to an upholsterers!

I found it even more amazing that Daniel Lee is a Jew, so writing and trying to find out about the life of a former SS Officer was brave move and not without objection from his own community!

The book is as I’ve said, so well researched, I learnt a lot and I think Daniel Lee has managed to write a book describing the almost “normal” life of a man trying to live a life, with a family as a Nazi during WW2 and the effect this had on his relatives which still has an impact even today.

I found it a engrossing read, there are lots of research notes and photographs to help the reader navigate thru a pretty normal life, in terrible times. I do feel as a society we must learn from the past, and this means having the intelligence to read all accounts of peoples lives, weather they be deemed good or bad.

I shall be looking out for any other novels by Daniel Lee, a 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read from me.

DANIEL LEE is a senior lecturer in modern history at Queen Mary, University of London. A specialist in the history of Jews in France and North Africa during the Second World War, he completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford, and is also the author of Pétain’s Jewish Children. As a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker, Lee is a regular broadcaster on radio. He lives in north London.

You can buy The SS Officers Armchair HERE

My #review of #TheDrift by @cjtudor MichaelJBooks released 19.01.2023

Survival can be murder . . .

Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. Evacuated from a secluded boarding school during a snowstorm, her coach careered off the road, trapping her with a handful of survivors.

Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She’s in a cable car stranded high above snowy mountains, with five strangers and no memory of how they got on board.

Carter is gazing out of the window of an isolated ski chalet that he and his companions call home. As their generator begins to waver in the storm, the threat of something lurking in the chalet’s depths looms larger.

Outside, the storm rages. Inside each group, a killer lurks.

But who?

And will anyone make it out alive? . . .

Firstly hugest of thanks go to CJ Tudor for kindly sending me a proof copy of The Drift.

Ever since I saw the very first promo for The Drift, I was hooked and just knew this would be a book that I would devour and enjoy….little did I know that I would be reading the PERFECT thriller and CJ Tudor’s most accomplished novel yet!

Firstly a couple of things, I adore snow, I adore snowy thrillers and reading The Drift, I was immediately taken into the snowy mountains and because of the way The Drift is written, I actually felt like I was there! This book is so visceral in its depictions of a place high in the mountains, in the future, where a world has been ravaged by disease and survival is the only way forward, it’s cold, it’s chilling and it’s creepy, The Drift has it all!

There are 3 settings in The Drift, we start with an overturned coach and a cast of characters who have survived this, lead by Hannah. Then we meet Meg, in a cable car stuck high above the frozen landscape and a claustrophobic setting and group of people and finally we meet Carter, in The Retreat, a place of safety from those who threaten the safety and survival in these dangerous and frankly scary times.

As always I’m not going to give the game away by telling you what happens BUT I will tell you The Drift will be a massive bestseller, it’s frankly bloody triumphant, the mixture of a frankly gripping and outstanding plot, with what could be any of our futures, in the coming years, and add to the mixture characters you will love and want to survive against all the odds, plus a dash of horror, sickeningly realistic gore and a creepiness that permeates the whole book…..I LOVED it, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read!

So in summing up, it’s a 5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 read for me ( actually it should be 500 stars!), The Drift needs to be on everyone’s list to read in 2023….in fact get it pre-ordered now and set yourself a couple of days aside because once you start you won’t lbe able to stop reading The Drift! A bookbanger and a masterpiece of thrill writing!

C. J. Tudor lives with her partner and young daughter. Her love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.
Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author.
Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in thirty-nine territories.

You can pre-order The Drift HERE

You can follow CJ Tudor on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

My last #Guest #Author of 2022 is #EmmaStyles @emstylesauthor author of #NoCountryForGirls @BooksSphereMy

JW; I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea for No Country For Girls come from?

ES; I’ve always loved writing and reading. At age twelve I would raid my parents’ bookcases for my dad’s Robert Ludlum and Dick Francis thrillers, and I remember thinking, one day at high school, ‘When I’m old I’ll be a writer.’ I didn’t start writing my first novel until I was forty, which twelve-year-old me would definitely have thought was old!

The idea for No Country for Girls came from the two protagonists Charlie and Nao, who appeared almost fully formed during a writing exercise. They had great chemistry and a lot of stuff to work out and I knew I wanted to send them on a road trip together. I’d been considering writing a Thelma & Louise-style road trip thriller and these two were the perfect characters for that story.

JW; How much research did you have to do for No Country For Girls, did you get to visit any of the places mentioned in the book?

ES; I did a fair bit of research online, as well as speaking to locals about particular aspects of the plot, setting, and characters. I’d been to almost all the locations in the book before and driven the road trip as far as Broome a few times growing up, so the setting was very alive in my imagination. I’d have loved to visit again while writing, but the pandemic got in the way of that. Instead, I traversed hundreds of kilometers in Google Street View and asked my West Australian family and friends to send me pictures, videos, and sensory impressions of the road trips they were doing in 2020. I did miss some things though! Termite mounds are one feature I realized I’d forgotten once we’d finished all the edits. 

JW; How important to you was it to raise awareness of women’s issues in rural Australia, particularly First Nations Australians?

ES; I didn’t think about these aspects consciously but I can see why they emerged. I was in my early twenties working as a newly qualified veterinarian in rural Australia when Thelma & Louise was released, coming up against sexism and misogyny every day in my life and work. When I started writing and thought back to how much I loved that movie, I began to question how much the world had changed in thirty years. 

There’s a line in the film when Louise says, ‘We don’t live in that world, Thelma.’ She’s talking about a world where victim blaming of women and girls doesn’t exist, and we still don’t live in that world. I wanted to write about two young women who are not powerful in their lives and give them the opportunity to fight back and find their freedom. This, along with the Cormac McCarthy novel No Country for Old Men, informed the title No Country for Girls.

In terms of the First Nations characters in the story, especially Nao, it was second nature to me to include this perspective. It doesn’t feel possible to write authentically about modern Australia and intimately about the Australian landscape, without writing from this point of view, even though it’s not my background. It also became increasingly important to me that I was writing two characters trying to connect across their difference. The world needs that so badly, for us to genuinely listen and communicate with one another whatever our different perspectives might be.

JW; Who would you like to see playing the parts of Charlie and Nao, and Warren when No Country For Girls is turned into a Movie!

ES; I so hope they make the movie. I’ll be beside myself with excitement if that happens. I can see Eliza Scanlen playing Charlie, Rarriwuy Hick playing Nao and David Wenham has always been Warren for me, right through from writing the earliest drafts. 

JW; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader, or was television your thing? Do you have a favorite childhood book or television program?

ES; I did watch TV but books were what I escaped into the most. I loved pretty well anything with wilderness in it, both in the characters and the landscapes. I’ve talked about them before (notably in front of a sold-out crowd at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate) but the Silver Brumby books by Elyne Mitchell were beloved books for me growing up, as well as Mary O’Hara’s My Friend Flicka and Green Grass of Wyoming. I loved losing myself in the big landscapes and heart-in-mouth drama of those stories.

JW; If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

ES; This is extreme but honestly the first thing that came to mind was the Big Bang. I mean, it’s the biggest thing that’s happened in the universe and none of this would exist without it. If I could have a front-row seat to that and survive it, like maybe from the Tardis, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

JW; What is your favorite book or books that you have read so far in 2022, and why?

ES; Three brilliant crime fiction debuts I’ve read this year are Wake by Shelley Burr, Better the Blood by Michael Bennett, and Breathless by Amy McCulloch, in each case because of an exceptional sense of place and the strength of the connection between the setting and characters, which is always what makes a book for me. In YA fiction I’ve recently finished The Eternal Return of Clara Hart by Louise Finch, a debut time-loop novel with an incredible voice that unpicks toxic masculinity. These books are all amazing reads.

JW; What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

ES; Wildlife and wilderness. Spending time in nature, whether in the UK or Australia, is the one thing that never fails to remind me how rich and amazing life on this planet is. The wildness of one kind or another will always find its way into what I write. I’d probably be planting trees somewhere if I wasn’t writing.

JW; Do you have a favorite author or favorite book of all time?

ES; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro has been my book of all time for years for its emotional devastation, and my crime novel of all time is Truth by Peter Temple. Both these books are filled with longing, which is always what fuels what I write.

JW; If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

ES; This was a fun question. I’ve settled on four characters from crime fiction who I’d love to throw together and see what happens. Villanelle, Vera, V.I. Warshawski and Allie Burns. They’re all great female characters and between them, they have the perpetrator, detective, PI, and journalist covered so I think it’d be an interesting evening. 

JW; If you were to be marooned on a desert island what 3 items would you take?

ES; Some high-factor sunscreen, a really good knife (no crime writer marooned on a desert island should be without one), and a huge box containing each of the debut novels I’ve been published alongside this year. That’s probably cheating, but there’s so much of life covered in these books. Reading them reminds me how different we all are, and what an achievement it is to get your first book out into the world.

JW; Do you have a hidden talent?

ES; I learned to fly when I was in my twenties and got my private pilot’s license. I’m not sure that’s a talent but I loved learning to navigate and read the weather as well as the technical aspects of flying. I didn’t have the money to keep it up, and neither did that feel like a sustainable thing to do in terms of the climate and environment, but it was a formative experience I’ll always be grateful for.

JW; Are you currently writing another book, and when will it be released? 

ES; I am! I’ve had a few runs at two different books and I’ve now settled on one of them, a serial killer thriller set in Western Australia, again with two young women protagonists. A story that couldn’t be set anywhere else, it’s strongly influenced by the Claremont serial killer case in the mid-90s that haunted the neighborhood where I grew up. There’s still a lot of work to do and I’m way off having a release date yet, but I’m excited about the story and I love the two main characters.

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You can find out more about Emma Styles HERE on her website

You can buy No Country For Girls HERE

My #Review of #TheNightMan by #JornLierHorst @LierHorst @MichaelJBooks

It happened in the quiet town of Larvik.

A severed head is displayed on a stake. A crime so dark only one man is capable of solving it: Police Inspector William Wisting.

Before long, more bodies are found. Media frenzy sweeps the locals into a panic. And when Wisting’s investigation leads him to a deadly underground crime ring, he fears the whole town may be in danger.

But at the heart of it is just one man: The Night Man.

Their elusive leader. The man Wisting must find if he wants to stop the murders.

That is if The Night Man doesn’t get to him first . . .

As all my followers know, Jorn Lier Horst and Wisting are on the top of my favorite author and character list, so as always I was looking forward to reading The Night Man.

I have all the Wisting books that have been published in English and have read them all in the order that they have originally been published in Norway, However, The Night Man is actually book 5 in the series, so therefore it does read a little out of sync. This is my only complaint as I think that it should be made clear before readers dive in.

that said, the story is excellent as always, the way Jorn Lier Horst writes the police procedural side is always so true to life ( something to do with him being a Detective with the Norweigian Police before becoming a novelist ), and I love that we get so deep into Wisting’s psyche with every book in the series. I don’t know why but I just really feel so much warmth for William Wisting as a character, he is such a lovely thoughtful Detective, who always goes to the ends of the earth for the victims of crime. He isn’t perfect, his relationship with His son, Thomas isn’t the best, but he is close to his daughter, Line who I also love… she is a journalist and has her father’s curious and analytical mind.

Line features quite heavily in The Night Man, and as I’ve said it’s strange reading about what’s happening to her as this book is in the last compared to the last read of A Question Of Guilt. But her character is so well written by Jorn, I always find it amazing how male authors can portray female protagonists so well.

The storyline follows the discovery of a child’s severed head on a post in the middle of Larvik, Norway. There are some quite gory descriptions of this that made my skin crawl haha, but that’s one of the reasons I adore Crime Fiction. We follow Wisting and his team on a journey through drugs and child exploitation from Europe to Afghanistan, on a quest to find the killer or killers.

The detail Jorn Lier Horst writes in his books is what always stays with me, the descriptions of the settings, the food being eaten, the insides of Norweigian homes, all are exquisite and totally make The Night Man sing.

The ending leaves the reader wanting, but as I’ve said if you were to read the Wisting series in order – the next book being Dregs – it actually makes more sense. But as I love Wisting and also Jorn Lier Horst, it didn’t matter to me. It was a great read and another added to my collection. To help new readers I will list the Wisting series in order for you –

  1. Key Witness (Org. Nøkkelvitnet, 2004)
  2. Disappearance of Felicia (Org. Felicia forsvant, 2005)
  3. When the Sea Calms (Org. Når havet stilner, 2006)
  4. The Only One (Org. Den eneste ene, 2007)
  5. The Night Man (Org. Nattmannen, 2009) – translated into English July 2022
  6. Dregs (Org. Bunnfall, 2010) – translated into English by Anne Bruce, 2011
  7. Closed for Winter (Org. Vinterstengt, 2011) – translated into English 2013
  8. The Hunting Dogs (Org. Jakthundene, 2012) – translated into English 2014
  9. The Caveman (Org. Hulemannen, 2013) – translated into English 2015
  10. Ordeal (Org. Blindgang, 2015) – translated into English 2016
  11. When It Grows Dark (Org. Når Det Mørkner, 2016) – translated into English 2016 (A prequel to the series.)
  12. The Katharina Code (Org. Katharina-koden, 2017) – translated into English 2018
  13. The Cabin (Org. Det innerste rommet, 2018) – translated into English 2019
  14. The Inner Darkness (Org. Illvilje, 2019)- translated into English 2020
  15. A Question of Guilt (Org. Sak 1569, 2020)- translated into English 2021
  16. Boundless (Org. Grenseløs, 2021)
  17. The traitor (Org. Forræderen, 2022)

I hope that this helps those readers who haven’t yet ventured into William Wisting, Norweigian Noir that is gripping and sublimely written by a master of an author.

So my score is a sound 4 stars – only let down Penguin Michael Joseph not making it clear where The Night Man suits on the Wisting series.

Jørn Lier Horst is one of Norway’s most experienced police investigators, but also one of Scandinavia’s most successful crime writers. He writes engaging and intelligent crime novels that offer an uncommonly detailed and realistic insight into the way serious crimes are investigated, as well as how both police and press work. His literary awards include the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize, the Riverton Prize (Golden Revolver), the Scandinavian Glass Key and the prestigious Martin Beck Award.

You can follow Jorn Lier Horst on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Jorn Lier Horst has his own website HERE

You can watch Wisting on the BBC iPlayer HERE