A nightmare jolts Debs awake. She leaves the kids tucked up in their beds and goes downstairs. There’s a man in her kitchen, holding a knife. But it’s not an intruder. This is her husband Marc, the father of her children. A man she no longer recognises.
Once their differences were what drew them together, what turned them on. Him, the ex-army officer from a good family. Her, the fitness instructor who grew up over a pub. But now these differences grate to the point of drawing blood. Marc screams in his sleep. And Debs hardly knows the person she’s become, or why she lets him hurt her.
Neither of them is completely innocent. Neither is totally guilty. Marc is taller, stronger, and more vicious, haunted by a war he can’t forget. But he has no idea what Debs is capable of when her children’s lives are at stake…
A powerful exploration of a relationship built on passion, poisoned by secrets and violence. Perfect for readers of Blood Orange and Big Little Lies.
Thank you so much to Viper for sending me a copy of Tina Baker’s Nasty Little Cuts for part of the blog tour.
This is my first read of a Tina Baker book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect but from the blurb I was really intrigued
From the first page of Nasty Little Cuts, I was totally gripped. the story revolves around Christmas Eve morning in a house with Debs and Marc and their two children Dolly and Patrick. Sounds lovely right, WRONG!
This is a novel that takes the reader to some of the darkest place the human mind can go to when under extreme stress, I will say that for anyone who has experienced Domestic Violence/Coercive Control this book will likely trigger you.
Tina’s description of a marriage that has grown rotten to the core, the subsequent domestic violence from both Debs and Marc, the flashbacks to help us understand how people can be moulded by childhood events and the impact that this has on us in later life, is raw and real. I have to say that I was even shocked at how realistic the descriptions of two people fighting were. Yet there is interspersed in this horrific story tenderness and love. It’s a real horror ride of a book explaining the absolute depths that depression and drug and alcohol abuse can get when a person is under pressure.
I read Nasty Little Cuts in 2 days and it left me quite shaken and anxious, it’s a hard hitting storyline and it may not be for everyone, but it is written with care and attention and Tina Baker knows how to pull the reader in and keep them invested in her characters and plot!
“Then, with his wrist trembling under the pressure, he carved the names of two men into the paper, ripping the surface…
The Seventh Wave organised crime gang is long defeated, its members dead or jailed. Their London-wide campaign of terror a fading memory.
Or is it? An old foe is released from his maximum-security prison cell, with dreams of revenge and a score to settle.
…You. Just. Watch.”
He calls himself ‘The Chemist’, and he’s determined to make anyone who’s crossed him pay. To him, death is just a game of chance, and he’s stacked the odds in his favour. Can Jack Cade save those closest to him from the twisted plans of The Chemist?
Firstly I must say thank you so much to Hobeck Books for letting me join in The Chemist Blog Tour and supplying me with the paperback.
Secondly, although this is part of a series, this is the first time I’ve read a Lewis Hastings book, however it did not detract from the storyline.
Where to start! Well this is a fabulous crime fiction thriller and I urge everyone to buy a copy and read it, you won’t be at all disappointed. It is gritty, dark, fucked-up and totally brilliant! I was sold from the first chapter. I love the way Lewis Hastings writes, it is extremely raw and dirty, but it’s exactly what The Chemist is! If you like edge of your seat thrillers with a host of fabulous characters and quite possibly THE most EVIL and fucked-up criminal of all time (Worse than Hannibal Lecter!!) in a book that I’ve read, and I’ve read a LOT of crime books!
Remember the name Constantin Nicolescu because Lewis Hastings has invented a mammoth of a criminal here, the research that has gone into how The Chemists psychopathic mind works and the games he plays with his victims (of which there are many) is breathtaking and at times had me reaching for the sick bucket! Think Chris Carters style of writing only better! The plot revolves around Nicolescu and the chain of awful events that he wrecks on an elite team of Metropolitan Police Officers, dubbed The Orion Squad. Every chapter just draws you in further and makes you gasp!
I really don’t want to give any of the plot away but I must also mention the attention to detail that Lewis has taken in writing the Police characters in The Chemist. As an ex Police Civvy from the 1990’s, I always find a book hard to read if the language and black humour of Police Officers and Detectives in books is wrong, no fear of that here, the writing is super realistic and for me spot on, I think that’s also part of the reason why I loved The Chemist so much. You can tell when an author has been a Police Officer, it makes for realistic writing!
And finally I must draw attention to all the research that must have gone into writing The Chemist, from the effects of drugs and poisons on humans, to the settings in London and also to homeless people and especially ex-Forces homeless, it is absolutely solid gold and I commend Lewis Hastings on this!
This is a big book 500+ pages and it kept me entertained all the way through, the story was complicated but I was able to follow it easily, I was gripped by the darkness that is in The Chemist, and there’s car chases, and edge of your seat moments! The Chemist has it all!
This is one of those books that would very easily lend itself to television or film, and I for one would love to see that happen! And if not then at the very least it needs to become a bestseller or prize-winning novel!
An absolute book banger and a definite 5 ⭐️ read from me!
Lewis Hastings is a pseudonym. His real name is far more, real.
Born as a product of the long, harsh and miserable winter of the early nineteen sixties in southern England he soon shot to fame for his child acting, embellishment and love of justice and propensity for injury. His catalogue of injuries and their research has actually proven to be of use, particularly when describing some of the medical events within the book. The sensation of pain, often clinically described, is based upon real-world events and countless hours in Accident and Emergency Wards. His relationships with the many nurses, doctors and specialists is acknowledged.
Above all Lewis is a passionate and caring soul who always puts the needs of others before his own, a career in law enforcement was therefore a logical path, having drifted helplessly on a sinking rudderless ship that saw him involved in many diverse occupations, including but not limited to selling, border security, exotic dancing, prostitution and people trafficking*.
He joined the British Police in April 1990 and was posted to an upmarket suburb of Nottingham where he learned the art of policing; investigation, intelligence and communication. Along the way he dabbled in many varied branches of policing and worked for seven years in one of the toughest inner-city areas in Britain. Some of the key events and people are brought back to life in the early segments of the story that are set in Nottingham, again, to protect those still serving their names have been changed.
Having spent his formative years both living and working in the United Kingdom he was offered what for many would be the chance of a lifetime. Clutching his worldly goods, his family and his reputation he took the leap of faith and now lives on the other side of the world in a house, with the same wife and a lake-loving Labrador.
Having headed across the world, his law enforcement career – not unlike Jack Cade’s – would take an unexpected turn and soon he found himself building a capable and worthy team at an international border. The thirteen years that followed saw him carve out a reputation as a subject matter expert in port security, document fraud and international border intelligence, particularly the influence of travelling European criminals. He now acts as a government liaison officer – connecting law enforcement units throughout the Five Eyes community. He hopes for the chance to meet another “Theodora” – tired, afraid but agenda-driven and with her own unique story to tell to someone prepared to listen.
He has two amazing children, one adorable granddaughter, an equally adorable grandson and a long-suffering, incredibly patient wife who meets all of the cliched aspects of a redhead.
In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance. I’m no Hercule Poirot. I’m her husband’s mistress.
Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.
Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.
After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.
Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .
The Christie Affair is a stunning novel that reimagines the unexplained eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926 that captivated the world.
As a child growing up in Surrey, I found out that Agatha Christie had abandoned her car at Newlands Corner, which was within 10 miles of where I lived, I was obsessed with what happened to her during those missing days and it fuelled my imagination looking for clues in her books. So when I saw The Christie Affair was being published I knew I had to read it. And I was absolutely enthralled by the storyline that Nina De Gramont has created.
Although it is a work of fiction by Nina de Gramont, it is exceptional! The settings are so well described and the way the plot and storylines evolve is truly immense. Not a fast read, but a slow-burning storyline involving great heartbreak, abuse, love and of course murder.
I adored the feel of the story, it takes you away to an age between the Wars, so wonderfully, the thorough research of Agatha’s disappearance is very obvious. As are the other aspects of the storyline ( I can’t say more as I really don’t want to give anything away!), the descriptive writing of the settings throughout England is just sublime.
I have to say that I didn’t guess the storyline until very near the end, which I loved, as it makes it a real mystery and it really is a lovely tribute to Agatha Christie.
If you like books based around historical occurrences, then this is for you, it’s just a marvellous book.
A terrific and enthralling read and one of my 5 star reads of 2022
WOULD YOU KNOW IF YOU HAD BEEN IN OR ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP?
You would think so wouldn’t you? Sadly this is often not the case, due to how effective and well-disguised most controller behaviours and controllers / abusers are.
This concise reference book, documents hundreds of real life examples of abusive control. These are made easy to recognise from all aspects of life, covering physical, social, financial, sexual, emotional, self-esteem, and children (Co-parenting) with a controller.
Full of practical advice most importantly how to escape from a domestic violence situation, advice from fellow survivors, and strange regimes to help dealing with difficult people, for instance in a social setting or workplace.
Please remember ANYONE CAN END UP IN A CONTROLLING SITUATION, MALE OR FEMALE, GAY OR TRANS, ANY FAITH OR ETHNICITY.
This is a very useful reference book on Breaking Free from Controlling behaviour, recognising and surviving them.
The book is written in a clear, concise and very easy to read style and lays out many areas of controlling behaviour, Physical, Social, Emotional, Sexual and Financial. The keywords and traits to look out for are clearly written and many are noted in a list style. This book is not just aimed at people who are in or have been in a controlling/abusive relationship, it is a fantastic tool that every woman and teenager should read ( I know I’ve aimed that sentence at women but as many as 1 in 4 women are victims of violence every week in the UK and at least 2 a month are murdered by a controlling or abusive partner )
This is one of those reference books that should be made available to everyone and would be well placed in every GP Surgery in the UK and in Schools where teenagers of both ages can read and learn to recognise controlling traits, it is indeed an invaluable and well written help guide to controlling behaviours.
Coercive Control (Controlling Behaviour) is defined by the UK Government as follows below…
Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour
I’d like to thank @thebooknetwork.Co.Uk for inviting me to read and take part in the #BreakingBad #BlogTour, I’m very honoured to be able to help spread the word on this important book and if one person reads this and seeks help then we have all done our jobs in raising awareness of Controlling Behaviours.
A word or two on the Author Eva Jean
Eva Jean lives in the Midlands with her Daughter. her Partner is a lovely sort. Eva likes to read, dance badly, watch movies and comedies, and feed hedgehogs in her garden.
The following Charity’s can offer help and advise to anyone in a violent, abusive controlling relationship….
Stonebridge is a small town on the north coast of Northern Ireland. Most of its inhabitants are friendly, happy people. Most of them… Because bad things happen even in the happiest of places. It’s a good thing, then, that Adam Whyte and Colin McLaughlin call Stonebridge home. Armed with an encyclopaedic knowledge of detective shows, a misplaced sense of confidence and a keen desire to see justice done, these two are the closest thing the town has to saviours. Which isn’t that reassuring…
THE CURIOUS DISPATCH OF DANIEL COSTELLO
Wedding bells are chiming in the idyllic, coastal town of Stonebridge. For Sam and Emily, it should be the happiest day of their lives. But, on the morning of the ceremony, the best man is found dead. The police quickly write his death off as a tragic accident, but something doesn’t seem right to wedding guest and groomsman, Adam Whyte. Armed with an encyclopedic, but ultimately ridiculous knowledge of television detective shows and an unwarranted confidence in his own abilities, Adam and his best friend (and willing Watson) Colin, set out to uncover what actually happened to Daniel Costello.
This is my first review of an #AudioBook and I was so pleased to be invited to this #AudioBlogTour.
Chris McDonald’s Stonebridge mysteries are really well written and so I was looking forward to listening to the Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello. The storyline is lighthearted and funny but with a serious murder plot in the background. I loved the narrative by Stephen Armstrong, one because he is from Northern Ireland and two because he has just the right pitch to set the mystery off, I felt he was really playing the parts of the main two characters (Adam & Colin) extremely well. I liked the fact that the chapters are short and snappy and the narrative was clear and crisp so a fantastic audio recording from @isisaudio
The Curious dispatch of Daniel Costello is a great mystery, it is sold as a cozy mystery but it’s a gripping listen and the way the two amateur sleuths manage to get to the crux of the mystery and unmask the murderer is really well written and crafted.
A murder mystery in the style of the olden days and a nod to the great Agatha christie but bought bang up to date with Chris McDonald’s brilliant prose. Very cleverly set in today’s world with highly relatable characters, and the best part is there are 4 other books in the series to listen to or read after this!
A 5 star listen from me!
You can buy the Audiobook HERE You can buy the Print Books HERE
All books are also available in Digital format HERE
‘I KNOW THINGS… THINGS I SHOULDN’T KNOW’ A crime has been uncovered. Clare Buchanan has been missing for almost twelve years.
Former security manager Tom Holt knows that the man responsible for her disappearance goes by the name of Capricorn.
On the run in South America, Holt’s life is in danger.
In London, journalist Nash Akinyemi discovers the story that could make her career; a chance to finally step out of her mother’s shadow.
Talented thief Becca Wylde has worked for Capricorn her whole life; now it’s time to break free.
Together, Holt, Nash and Becca must risk everything to expose Capricorn’s secrets to the world. Yet Capricorn has his own weapon. Anton Merrick has a dark past, and he will stop at nothing to keep them all silent…
From the streets of London, to the shores of Chile, to the tropical islands of Panama, the race is on to expose the truth, before the truth gets buried. The second novel from the author of the bestselling Intruders.
Phew I am totally breathless after finishing Evaders the second in the Tom Holt series by the super talented Emma Scullion.
Following on from Intruders we are on another exciting thrill ride through South America on the hunt for justice with Tom Holt and some trusty sidekicks.
This second book almost reads like a family saga, with all the characters and connections, I loved this as Intruders had left me with many questions and in Evaders we get the answers to those. The underlying romance between Tom and Becca is so compelling, and both these characters are now fully rounded and extremely likable….I really want them to get together!
As usual the descriptions of the places Evaders takes us on our thrilling journey are impeccable, and left me googling to see where they were and some real photos. In fact my only suggestion would be to include a map in the beginning of each book (because who doesn’t love maps in books!), the tension and storyline just grows and grows as the book continues, and several times I was on the edge of my seat holding my breath in anticipation!
In short, Evaders is a fantastic follow up to Intruders, I am really looking forward to Book 3 ….hurry up and write it please Emma!
5 Star Read.
E.C. Scullion is British Author. Emma joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 2003. For the past eleven years she has managed to escape Westminster, working in British Embassies in Beijing, Bangkok, Panama City and Montevideo in Uruguay. She is a graduate of the Faber Academy and INTRUDERS – part one in the Tom Holt trilogy – is her first published novel. She now lives in Rome with her husband and two children.
EVADERS, the sequel to INTRUDERS and part two of the trilogy, will be released in August 2021.
You can follow her on Twitter @ECScullion or on Facebook @E.C. Scullion Author.
I’m absolutely honored and thrilled to be able to kick off the Bloody Scotland Crime Festival, Mcilvanney Prize 2021 Blog Tour by asking one of the Nominees, Author of the brilliant TheCoffinmakersGarden, which is a finalist, Stuart MacBride, some questions!
What was it like growing up in Aberdeen, and were you a good schoolboy? It was your fairly-standard-seventies-growing-up-in-suburbia experience, I suppose. Our housing development was at the western edge of the city, so we had fields behind our house, with pylons to be electrocuted on and a vast quarry that would kill you if you played there or swam in The Very Big Hole. So, of course, that’s what we did. As for school boyhood, I was OK, I think. I’m notorious for having very little memory of that time in my life. I remember winning a prize for painting a picture when I was wee, getting smacked with a ruler by the headmaster for something innocuous, and making a seal out of chicken wire and fake fur. You know: the usual…
If you had to pick one of your books as your favourite, which would it be and why? That’s a bit like asking a parent who their favourite child is. But, as long as no one’s going to tell the other books, my current favourite hasn’t been published yet. I wrote a couple of short novels during lockdown and they’re unashamedly fun with a nice mix of gruesome and silliness. I’ve no idea when they’ll see the light of day, but I really enjoyed writing them.
Have you ever been starstruck in the company of someone famous? Not really. The only person I think who would’ve provoked that kind of reaction from me would’ve been Spike Milligan. And I never met him.
How do you plan to write a new book? It all depends on the book. Some I plan from start to finish, some I plan the opening and closing and then see what happens as I go, and some I make up as I go along. The only consistent part is that there will probably be a mind map or three produced somewhere along the way. Oh, and I also keep notebooks stuffed full of rambling dialogues with myself, where I work through ideas about what’s going to happen next.
What are you afraid of? That I’m going to let people down.
Where do you find the inspiration for your characters? They come from all over, but in the Before Times a lot of them would be inspired by overheard snippets as I wandered slowly up and down the supermarket aisles. It used to drive my wife, Fiona, mad, but I’d visit every single aisle, even if I didn’t need anything from that section, listening in to other people’s conversations. The best ones were always when two people were going in the opposite direction, so I’d get different snippets on every aisle when I passed them, but always devoid of context. Filling in the blanks was always fun and could lead to some very dark places – which is useful when you write crime novels. But a gesture from a cashier, here, a word from a shelf-stacker, there, a strange way of walking from another shopper, and it all goes into the inspiration melting pot. Next thing you know: bingo, new character.
Your latest book, The Coffinmakers Garden is the 3rd in the Ash Henderson series, as a newcomer do these need to be read in order? I don’t think you need to read them in any sort of order – I’ve never been one for including backstory in my books, so you’ll only ever get hints about what happened in previous outings if it’s relevant to the story I’m telling at the time. If you do read the other books first, you might have a better understanding of why people are the way they are, but sometimes going backwards to previous books to uncover these things is part of the fun.
Which do you prefer cats or dogs? I’m a massive cat person. I gave DS Logan McRae (from my other series) a cat as an excuse to write about my beloved little girl, Grendel. Ash Henderson is the complete opposite to Logan, so I had to give him a dog. That said, I gave him an Aberdeen Terrier, AKA: Scottie Dog, and if I was to have a dog, it would definitely be one of those.
If there was a film of your life, which actor (dead or alive) would you like to play you? I don’t think I’ve led an interesting enough life to warrant a film. Bearded Man Sits At Home For Sixteen Years, Making Up Lies About People Who Don’t Exist isn’t exactly going to be a summer blockbuster, is it? There are far more interesting people to make films about.
You must pick 3 things to go into a time capsule to be opened in 50 years, what would you pick and why. Does the current cabinet count as ‘one thing’? Because if it does, and the time capsule is airtight, I’d definitely have them in there. But, assuming I’m not allowed to use it to purge our government ineptocracy, but if we’re looking to sum up what life’s like at the time the capsule is buried then I’d go for a big box of soiled facemasks, a laptop that only runs Zoom, and a DVD with the most ridiculous conspiracy theories available to the gullible members of society. I think you can guess why…
Do you find writing easy, and have you ever had any lessons? I don’t think writing should be all that easy. If it is, that means you’re not stretching yourself and trying to be a better writer. The easiest thing in the world would be to just sit there churning out the same book, time after time, with slightly different character names – and I’m sure we all know writers who do that – but I would look on that as a sign I’d failed and given up.
I’ve never taken lessons, or belonged to a writing group. Now that’s not to say I have anything against them, or that they don’t work for some people, I just never felt that they would work for me. No two writers are the same, so it’s OK for us all to have different approaches. Do whatever works for you.
If you had to pick one meal as you last, what would it be? Lavish. A huge array of delicious fresh sushi that just kept on coming and coming and coming.
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer, and what’s the best advice you’ve been given? The best advice I can give is: do it for the fun of it. Write because you love it. Write because playing God is really quite addictive. Don’t do it because you think it’s going to make you rich and famous. It’s possible, but it requires a phenomenal amount of luck and it’s a sad truth that very few writers are able to make a living from their writing, so you really have to love what you’re doing for the sake of it. The best advice I’ve been given is: finish the damn book. That’s what makes you a writer.
You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why? Spike Milligan, Marion Chesney, Sandi Toksvig, and my wife, Fiona. Spike, because I love the wit, warmth, and pathos of his war diaries, and I grew up on the Goon Show. Marion, who’s better known as M.C. Beaton, because she was one of the loveliest people you could ever hope to have lunch or dinner with, and an absolute firebrand who took no crap from anyone. Sandi, because I’ve been listening to her for years on the radio, and she seems really nice. And my wife, because there’s no one I’d rather have dinner with. If she gets to be there anyway, then I’d go for John Finnemore to fill the fourth seat, for much the same reason as Sandi.
Which book of yours would you like made into a film? The book I’d love to see as a big blockbuster film is Halfhead, my near-future thriller set in a semi-dystopian Glasgow. It’s not that I’ve got anything against any of my other books, but if you were filming Halfhead you’d need a shedload of special effects and fancy props and it would be so incredibly cool to see all the stuff that came from my imagination turned into reality.
Who is your favourite band/artist? Right now it’s a fifty-fifty split between Frightened Rabbit and the Foo Fighters. Though I listened to nothing but Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen while I was writing The Coffinmaker’s Garden. Make of that what you will.
What piece of culture or trend that has died out, would you like to see come back? People not being arseholes online to people they’ve never met, nor ever will meet.
You’ve been given an elephant, you can’t get rid of it, what would you do with it? Look after it as best I could. Why can’t I get rid of it? Is there some sort of worldwide elephant glut going on? Has someone flooded the market with cheap elephants and now everyone’s got one and no one wants to take my perfectly good second-hand elephant? What kind of weird world are we living in where there’s no takers for a free elephant?
What would be the perfect crime? Pretty much anything committed by a senior politician – there don’t seem to be any repercussions or consequences for them any more, so they get away with whatever they fancy then tell everyone that nobody’s interested and it’s time to move on.
If you could go back to one historical event to witness it, what would it be and why? Dinosaurs. DINOSAURS! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRR!
I’d like to say a huge Thank You to Stuart MacBride for taking the time to answer my questions, and wish him the best of luck with The Coffinmakers Garden in the McIlvanney Prize 2021. Also thank you to Fiona Brownlee for giving me the chance of a lifetime on my humble blog!
Stuart MacBride is the Author of the Ash Henderson Series, Birthdays For The Dead, A Song For The Dying & The Coffin Makers Garden
Stuart MacBride is also author of The Logan McRae Series, plus several short story’s and standalones including Halfhead A Dark So Deadly and Now We Are Dead (A Roberta Steel Novel)
The Case Of The Missing Firefly (The Stonebridge Mysteries 4) by Chris MacDonald
The notoriously hard-drinking, backstabbing Stonebridge Radio crew are having their Hallowe’en party on Winkle Island, rumoured to be the most haunted place in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, Adam and Colin are there too, having accepted an easy payday from Colin’s event organising mother.
At dinner, a shocking announcement is followed by an even more shocking murder, and the theft of a priceless Firefly necklace. To top it all, thanks to a raging storm, everyone is trapped on the island.
Faced with devious radio presenters, a strange tour guide, and a rampaging murderer, Adam and Colin are back in business. The Case of the Missing Firefly is the fourth in the Stonebridge Mysteries series of cosy crime novellas.
Chris McDonald grew up in Northern Ireland before settling in Manchester via Lancaster and London.
He is the author the DI Erika Piper series A Wash of Black, Whispers In The Dark and Roses for the Dead. He has also recently dabbled in writing cosy crimes, in the shape of The Stonebridge Mysteries, as a remedy for the darkness.
He is a full time teacher, husband, father to two beautiful girls and a regular voice on The Blood Brothers Podcast. He is a fan of 5-a-side football, heavy metal and dogs.