My #Review of #ThePainTourist by @PaulCleave @OrendaBooks out 10.11.22

A young man wakes from a coma to find himself targeted by the men who killed his parents, while someone is impersonating a notorious New Zealand serial killer … the latest chilling, nerve-shredding, twisty thriller from the author of The Quiet People

How do you catch a killer…
When the only evidence is a dream?

James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.

But between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help. Especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…

Firstly huge thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy of The Pain Tourist, you are the best!

This is the second book I’ve read by Paul Cleave, the first being The Quiet people which I loved, so I have been looking forward to The Pain Tourist.

From the opening chapter, I was absolutely gipped by The Pain Tourist. And I was struck by how utterly unique this novel really is. The opening chapter is brutal and frankly quite terrifying, I really don’t want to spoil anything but let’s just say that the way Paul Cleave describes the first events in this book made me feel on edge and not knowing what would happen next.

The Pain Tourist then evolves into a brilliantly written crime thriller, how Paul Cleave comes up with these ideas I will never know, but the way he describes things from such an unusual perspective is superb. James Garrett, one of the lead characters in a coma, and how the mind works during that time are the beginnings of a frankly amazing and credible hunt for a killer. I mean how do you even write about someone in a coma?? You’d think well that would be boring …. er no not with Paul Cleave! Again I SO dont want to give anything away but it’s truly a work of art the way this book is written and how the characters interact and have an impact on each other.

I loved the characters in The Pain Tourist, James Garrett is such a well-written character and very likable, as are his sister hazel, detective Rebecca Kent and retired Detective Theodore Tate. I just loved the way that the hunt for a killer also links into another called Copy Joe, this is a truly intricate plot but it isn’t hard to follow. the writing flows and is so easy to follow the storyline. And it’s so gripping and had my palms sweating at times it’s so realistic and visceral. Paul Cleave really is a master crime fiction writer and has an amazing way of writing humans from so many points of view, dare I say it a genius!

The story doesn’t slack at all, it builds and builds and keeps going right to the climatic ending (which had me saying things out loud!) totally brilliant and a really breathtaking bookbanger!

As always orenda books seem to publish the most superb books, if you fancy looking for excellent fiction then you could do no worse than heading to the Orenda website…every book is a winner!

So my rating….. another 5-star read from Paul Cleave, if you thought the Quiet People was a cracking read then you will be blown away by the Pain Tourist. Follow the link below and buy it now!

Paul Cleave is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His novels have been translated into over twenty languages. He has won the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award, the Edgar Award, and the Barry Award, and has won the Ngaio Marsh award for NZ crime fiction three times.

The New Zealand Listener said that Cleave writes with ‘an energy that conventional crime novels lack’, and he has been called ‘the next Stephen King’, a rising star of the genre’, and a writer to watch. Publishers Weekly has said ‘a pulse-pounding serial killer thriller. The city of Christchurch becomes a modern equivalent of James Ellroy’s Los Angeles of the 1950s, a discordant symphony of violence and human weakness… the book’s real power lies in the complexity of its characters,’, and

Cleave numbers among his fans top crime and thriller writers such as Mark Billingham, who wrote: ‘Most people come back from New Zealand talking about the breathtaking scenery and the amazing experiences. I came back raving about Paul Cleave.’ John Connolly called Blood Men ‘dark, bloody, and gripping . . . classic noir fiction’, and said that in Paul Cleave ‘Jim Thompson has another worthy heir to his throne’. The Lab’s John Heath calls Cleave’s writing ‘uncompromising, unpredictable, and enthralling’, adding, ‘Made me vomit — seriously, it’s that good.’ Simon Kernick said ‘Cleave writes the kind of dark, intense thrillers that I never like to finish. Do yourself a favor and check him out,’ and S.J Watson said ‘An intense adrenalin rush from start to finish. It’ll have you up all night. Fantastic!’ Lee Child lists him as an ‘automatic must-read’.

You can follow Paul Cleave on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Paul Cleave’s website HERE

You can buy The Pain Tourist HERE

#Review of #TheSkeletonKey by @mserinkelly @HodderBooks

THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART …

Summer, 2021.
 Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.

The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.

But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.

Inspired by the author’s love for Masquerade, this is a taut, mesmerising novel of danger and obsession.

This is the first book I’ve read by Erin Kelly, and I actually was drawn to it by the excellent cover art.

Once I started, I was absolutely hooked and obsessed! It is a fantastic Bookbanger and within the first chapters, I just knew this would become one of my favourite books of the year!

If like me you are old, then you will remember the book that was the spark of inspiration for Erin Kelly, and what made her write The Skeleton Key. It is such a different story/novel from any others I’ve read for a long time.

A crime within a dysfunctional couple of families, and a book about power, love, fear, and obsession.

I ADORED our main protagonist Nell and her child Billie, and I must say ALL the cast absolutely jumped out from the pages at me. You could feel their fears, their hate, their lust, their obsession so much and to be honest although this is quite a big book of nearly 500 pages, I really didn’t want it to end!

The setting is London, and it is exquisitely described! The story takes us in the past as well as the recent present, it does not stop, it’s relentless in its shocks and twists and turns! I don’t want to give you any spoilers but it was such a magical book for me, I feel like I’m in love with it! But I’m also feeling better now I’ve finished The Skeleton Key, I just can’t think I will find another book like it!

If you like books about art, families, and the intricacies that can happen when power shifts and obsessions enter relationships, then you will love The Skeleton Key. I dare you to read it and not be left with a sad feeling, it was just so magical!

A fantastic 5-star read from me!

What if? To a suspense writer, these are the most powerful words in the English language. My job is to imagine a strange situation and ask the question that will make it stranger still. My new book, Stone Mothers, is set a former Victorian mental hospital. I got the idea when a friend who’s an urban explorer was in an abandoned asylum and found old patient records. She’s a nurse, and knew what to do with this sensitive documents. But I thought: what if they had got into the wrong hands? And my story was born.
I’m best known for He Said/She Said, about a young couple who witness a rape and, after the trial, begin to wonder if they believed the right person. My first novel, The Poison Tree, was a Richard and Judy bestseller and a major ITV drama starring Myanna Buring, Ophelia Lovibond and Matthew Goode. I’ve written four more original psychological thrillers – The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind.
I had read scores of psychological thrillers before I heard the term: the books that inspired me to write my own included Endless Night by Agatha Christie, The Secret History by Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine. My books are atmospheric thrillers, always about people trying to atone for, escape, or uncover a past crime. I’m more interested in what happens before the police arrive – if arrive they ever do – than how murder is solved.

You can follow Erin Kelly on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Erin Kelly has her own WEBSITE

You can buy The Skeleton Key HERE plus Erin’s other books

My #Review of #TwelveSecrets by @books_gold @LittleBrownUK

A SMALL TOWN. A SHOCKING CRIME. 
YOU’LL SUSPECT EVERY CHARACTER. BUT YOU’LL NEVER GUESS THE ENDING.

Ben Harper’s life changed forever the day his older brother Nick was murdered by two classmates. It was a crime that shocked the nation and catapulted Ben’s family and their idyllic hometown, Haddley, into the spotlight.

Twenty years on, Ben is one of the best investigative journalists in the country and settled back in Haddley, thanks to the support of its close-knit community. But then a fresh murder case shines new light on his brother’s death and throws suspicion on those closest to him.

Ben is about to discover that in Haddley no one is as they seem. Everyone has something to hide.

And someone will do anything to keep the truth buried . . .

So I’ve been looking forward to reading Twelve Secrets by author Robert Gold and by Jove it didn’t disappoint!

A fabulously gripping and smoothly written thriller. I loved the storyline and the setting was really authentic, albeit a fictional town of Haddley. The main character of Ben Harper, an investigative journalist, is plunged into the past when he starts to look into his brother’s terrible murder and his mother’s suicide. I’m not going to go into the plot anymore but I will tell you that I read this in 2 days! I could not put it down at all!!

Each chapter brings in new twists and turns that I loved! I thought this was a superbly well-written thriller for a debut author. If you like a good plot, with meandering spins of story, then Twelve secrets is for you!

Originally from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, Robert Gold began his career as an intern at the American broadcaster CNN, based in Washington DC. He returned to Yorkshire to work for the retailer ASDA, becoming the chain’s nationwide book buyer. He now works in sales for a UK publishing company. Robert now lives in Putney and his new hometown served as the inspiration for the fictional town of Haddley in Twelve Secrets. In 2016, he co-authored three titles in James Patterson’s Bookshots series.

You can find Robert Gold on FACEBOOK TWITTER

You can BUY Twelve Secrets HERE

My #Review of #Breathtaking #Thriller #WhereBloodRunsCold by @GilesKristian #Bantam press @DoubleDayUK @RandomTTours

Erik Amdahl and his spirited daughter, Sofia, have embarked on a long-promised cross-country ski trip deep into Norway’s arctic circle. For Erik, it’s the chance to bond properly with his remaining daughter following a tragic accident. For Sofia, it’s the proof she needs that her father does care.

Then, far from home in this snowbound wilderness, with night falling and the mercury plummeting, an accident sends them in search of help – and shelter. Nearby is the home of a couple – members of Norway’s indigenous Sami people – who they’ve met before, and who welcome them in. Erik is relieved. He believes the worst is over. He thinks that Sofia is now safe. He could not be more wrong. He and Sofia are not the old couple’s only visitors that night – and soon he and Sofia will be running for their lives . . .
…and beneath the swirling light show of the Northern Lights, a desperate fight ensues – of man against man, of man against nature – a fight for survival that plays out across the snow and ice.

A story of endurance and of the desperate, instinctive will to survive, of a father’s love for his child, of knowing when to let go – and of a daughter’s determination to prove herself worthy of that love, Where Blood Runs Cold is a pulse-racing thriller from a master storyteller.

I must just say my huge thanks to Giles Kristian for kindly sending me a copy of Where The Blood Runs Cold.

Now I didn’t know this at the time of seeing Where The Blood Runs Cold but Giles is a prolific and talented writer of Historical fiction, including the bestselling RAVEN Viking Eye trilogy, but this is his first thriller.

All I knew was this book had been very loosely based on a personal experience Giles had whilst in the Norwegian Alps.

From the first few pages, I just knew I was going to love this book, for several reasons. Firstly the setting – in Norway ( my favourite Country) Giles has managed to capture the essence of Norway in this book, the snowy scenery was fabulous and made me feel like I was actually there and I could even smell the Norweigian air, hard to describe unless you’ve been there!

Once the story start, it is relentless, an absolutely breathtaking thriller, that made my anxiety trigger, to the point I had to take a break from reading! But that’s a good thing, a book that makes you feel emotions, and Where The Blood Runs Cold is definitely one of those. I went through all the emotions during this fast-paced thriller, horror, suspense, tears of despair and joy, gagging at some parts, and gasping at some scenes! I cannot shout enough about how bloody good this book is!

The characterisation is amazing, the dynamic between the two main characters Erik and Sofie is really wonderfully written, and I was so fully invested in their journey!

As always I’m not giving any of the plot away, you will need to read the book yourselves. But if you like fast thrillers set in vast empty snowy landscapes, with a gruelling tale of survival and ties that keep a family surviving against all the odds then Where The Blood Runs Cold is for you!

If you liked the suspense in novels such as The Last thing to Burn by Will Dean, then you will binge-read Where The Blood Runs Cold!

It is of course a 5-star read, and in contention for my book of 2022!

Giles Kristian’s first historical novels were the acclaimed and bestselling RAVEN Viking trilogy – Blood Eye, Sons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War to chart the fortunes of a family divided by this brutal conflict in The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury. Giles also co-wrote Wilbur Smith’s No.1 bestseller, Golden Lion. In God of Vengeance (a TIMES Book of the Year), Winter’s Fire, and the Historical Writers’ Association Gold Crown shortlisted Wings of the Storm, he returned to the world of the Vikings to tell the story of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship. Lancelot, was published to great acclaim and hit The Times bestseller charts at No. 3. It was also a Sunday Times bestseller. His latest novel, Camelot, is out now, and his next novel, a thriller called Where Blood Runs Cold, will be published in February 2022.

You can buy Where The Blood Runs Cold HERE

Find out more about Giles Kristian HERE

Follow Giles Kristan on Twitter Instagram Facebook

#GuestAuthor this week is the fabulous @TinaBakerBooks author of the gripping #NastyLittleCuts @ViperBooks

J; Thank you so much Tina for being a guest on my blog, I’m so honoured.

J: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of Nasty Little Cuts come from?

TB: ALWAYS! From the time I first started to scribble, before school. I was THRILLED being able to write, although spelling, not so much. I wrote poems and stories as a child.

Nasty Little Cuts was originally called Serrations. The idea was to write about all those irritating little things that build in a relationship until they can cause huge damage, coupled with two very flawed people at a tense time in their lives – Christmas, money worries, menopause, bereavement – catalysing the final explosion.

Tina Baker Promo for Nasty Little Cuts

J; The writing of Deb and Marc’s relationship in Nasty Little Cuts is extremely realistic, what research did you do in writing the book?

TB: I’ve been in several toxic relationships. But not like this. It’s fictionalised. The book is an amalgamation of all the (many) bad things that have happened to me.

I’ve also interviewed both women and men who’ve been in abusive relationships in my work as a journalist.

Me with Nasty Little Cuts!

J; Who would you like to see playing the parts of Deb & Marc if (and when!) Nasty Little Cuts is turned into a TV series/Movie?

TB: WHEN! Please, God! I’d love Jamie Dornan as Marc. Not just for his looks, but because he can play wounded as well as brooding.

Debs, I’d love to be played by a working-class actress. I adored Sophie Willan in the award-winning comedy, Alma’s Not Normal. She’d be great.

J; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

TB; We didn’t have a TV for years. Radio was my first love.

I loved reading and read everything, including my dad’s, very age-inappropriate books and as many adult books in the library as I could when no one was watching.

Early TV I loved The Magic Roundabout and Stingray and Thunderbirds. My first crush was on a puppet! Captain Troy Tempest!

Fave children’s books, Wind in the Willows, The Wombles, Paddington, A Wrinkle in Time.

J; What was your favourite book of 2021 and why??

TB; They are all my favourite children. You can’t make me choose!

 I loved The Last House on Needless Street, Girl A, The Stranding, The End of Men.

I read a lot of crime last year because I hadn’t read a lot before. And so much pre-pandemic horror! Even The Last One At The Party was about a bloody pandemic. I had no idea because I bought a load of debuts just because and I sometimes like to read without the synopsis

J; Do you have a favourite Author? Or a favourite book of all time?

TB; Again, its TOO HARD to choose!!

I’ve re-read a lot of DH Lawrence, Dickens, Thomas Hardy and the poetry of Sylvia Plath, Vasko Popa and Ted Hughes. I love Joyce Carol Oates, Ann Tyler and ALL the Viper authors.

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

TB; Either a party at Studio 54 in the OTT heyday or being on the moon at the moon landing.

J; What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought?

TB; In the last month – 2 wedding dresses, 4 wedding veils, fake blood and a rubber knife – for silly promotion videos.

I could also say, THE LIES OF THE MEN WHO SAID THEY LOVED ME! Ha Ha! (J.. I LOVE this answer!!)

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

TB; Bette Midler. Icon. Hilarious.

Stephen Fry. Clever. Real gent.

Marilyn Monroe. Icon. Incandescent.

Billy Connolly. The best storyteller in the business.

J; Was there ever something that you thought was possible after watching some movie as a kid, that is now absolutely ridiculous to think of in retrospect?

TB; There was a children’s cartoon where a little girl wished her hair to keep growing. And I watched so many films about miracles, I prayed for my teddy to become real.

J; If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

TB; Right now ANYWHERE!!! I’ve not been abroad for 4 years. I’ve only had 1 week off since the pandemic kicked off. So, either a week or two in the Caribbean or Cornwall (my husband’s from there) when it’s warmer!

J; What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

TB; Don’t let the bastards grind you down. One of my Dad’s.

J; What is your routine for an average weekday?

TB: There isn’t an exact routine as some of the personal training sessions revolve around other people. Ditto press surrounding the publication of a new book.

Writing is a bit haphazard at the moment too. My brain doesn’t work the same thanks to long term anxiety. In an ideal week I’d write a little every day, some days longer, teach a fitness class or 2, and post silly things on social media.

J; Are you currently writing another book?

TB; I’ve just finished another thriller for Viper which has yet to be edited. The story of a domestic cleaner who turns to crime. And I’m kicking around ideas for book 4 for Viper.

Tina Baker, the daughter of a window cleaner and fairground traveller, worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years and is probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. After so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it and won Celebrity Fit Club. She now avoids writing-induced DVT by working as a Fitness Instructor.
Call Me Mummy is Tina’s first novel, inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to become a mother. Despite the grief of that, she’s not stolen a child – so far. But she does rescue cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.

You can BUY Nasty Little Cuts HERE

Follow Tina Baker on TWITTER INSTAGRAM

Tina Baker WEBSITE

#BlogTour #NastyLittleCuts by #TinaBaker @TinaBakerBooks published by @ViperBooks

WHO WILL SURVIVE THE NIGHT?

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!

A fabulous 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read from me!

Tina Baker, the daughter of a window cleaner and fairground traveller, worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years and is probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. After so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it and won Celebrity Fit Club. She now avoids writing-induced DVT by working as a Fitness Instructor.
Call Me Mummy is Tina’s first novel, inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to become a mother. Despite the grief of that, she’s not stolen a child – so far. But she does rescue cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.

You can visit Tina Baker’s website HERE

Follow Tina Baker on Twitter Instagram Facebook

You can buy Tina Baker’s books HERE

My #Review of #TheQuietPeople by @PaulCleave @OrendaBooks

THE QUIET PEOPLE BY PAUL CLEAVE

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.

So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time…

Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?

Electrifying, taut and immaculately plotted, The Quiet People is a chilling, tantalisingly twisted thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing to the last explosive page.

Firstly thank you so so much to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of the Quiet People, is there ever a bad book from Orenda? NO!

So from the extremely shocking and gripping prologue, The Quiet People had me, there is no way you would be able to read this slowly, you need to devour it and with each page the plot just gets more and more shocking!

I really want to say lots about this book, but I also don’t want to give the plots away! But it is without a doubt one of the darkest, thrillers I’ve had the pleasure of reading!

The 2 main characters, Cameron and Lis Murdoch go through absolute hell in this storyline, the way Paul has written the events and how someone would probably cope (or not) and how one reaction leads to the butterfly effect, is just sublime! I was so anxiety ridden reading The Quiet People, I actually didn’t sleep much over the two days I was reading it as I could wait to see what transpired next! Gripping is an understatement! The setting for this book is Christchurch, New Zealand and I found the descriptions of the city were wonderful, gritty and added to the dark atmosphere.

Once you get halfway thru, the shocks and twists just keep building like a train rushing down a track, you KNOW that there’s going to be a crash, but not what it will be!! I will also say that I cried at the end of the book, this is because you will feel like you’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster just like Cameron Murdoch!

In summing up, this is a fabulously well written thriller, by a writer who knows how to look inside the darkest places of the human mind and to then be able to write this for us the readers to enjoy! Phenomenal book and I look forward to reading Paul Cleave’s next work!

Another 5 ⭐️ read ( although it’s so good it deserves more!)

Paul Cleave is Christchurch born and raised, and other than a couple of years when he was living in London and bouncing around Europe a little, he’s always lived there. He started writing at nineteen when a friend asked him the classic question of ‘if there’s anything in life you could do for a living, what would it be?’ The answer was simple. He wanted to be a writer. For the next five years he worked in the evenings on manuscripts that he has promised will never be taken out of the bottom drawer. Back then he wanted to write horror, and it was a few years in when he realised that crime – real life crime – is horror. As he says, people don’t come home from vampire movies and lock their doors to keep them out, but they will come home from a movie like Silence of the Lambs and lock their doors incase the neighbour is planning on eating them. When he made that connection, he turned to writing dark crime fiction, writing first The Killing Hour, and then The Cleaner, in his mid-twenties. Not long after that Paul sold his house and lived with his parents so he could write full time – a gamble that paid off a few years later when Random House signed him up. From that point on he’s written his dark tales set in his home city, introducing Joe Middleton – the Christchurch Carver, and Melissa, and Theodore Tate, and Schroder, and Jerry Gray, among others to the world.
These days he still lives in Christchurch, but generally spends two or three months travelling overseas for book festivals and meeting readers and publishers and talking on stage. He always travels with his frisbee, and throws it in as many countries as he can – often in iconic locations if possible. He’s thrown it on five continents, and in over forty countries – with the goal of throwing it in fifty before he’s 50. He’s also learning to play the guitar, he can hit a golf ball extremely far in the wrong direction, can do some basic card tricks, and he’s pretty handy with a power tool. He hates shopping and hates gardening, he can solve a Rubik’s cube in under two minutes, and plays tennis as well as any six year old can.

Visit Paul Cleave’s WEBSITE Twitter

You can buy The Quiet People HERE at Orenda Books

My #Review of #AndYourEnemiesCloser #AudioBook by #RobParker @robparkerauthor @RedDogtweets @audibleuk @audible_com @warrenisbrown

In the North West criminal underworld, a deal goes tragically wrong, resulting in war between the two main organised crime factions in the region. Shockwaves rock the 30-mile gap between Liverpool and Manchester – with retired detective Brendan Foley right in the middle of it all.

For Brendan, six months after his resignation, life is all different. His marriage is a mess, he’s working as a nightclub bouncer, his brother is still missing and he just can’t stop searching for the crime family that destroyed his life. And at last, he’s found them – and he’s got them bang to rights.

Iona Madison, his one-time partner and now successor as a DI in Warrington Police, is tasked with a body pulled from the River Mersey – a teen-age boy that went missing the previous year, which might bring her own conduct into question. Not only that, Brendan is feeding her information whether she likes it or not – and his unsanctioned activities are causing her headaches.

And now, there’s a price on his head. A million pounds, dead or alive.

And Your Enemies Closer is a serpentine race against time as Brendan and Iona must stay one step ahead of criminals at every corner, while trying to bring justice – in whatever form it takes, and whatever loyalties it might burn.

It’s been probably a year since I read Far From The Tree, Rob Parker’s first book in the Thirty Miles Trilogy, so I have really been looking forward to Book 2 .

The opening chapter ( prologue ) reels you in with a gripping opening, and is quite shocking! Well those shocks reverberate thought And Your Enemies Closer, as a follow us book, this is fabulous, totally gripping!

The characters are well written, with Brendan Foley the now ex-cop estranged from his brother Ross, and desperately trying to get revenge for deeds that shocked me in Book 1, is such a great character. The battle he has in trying to justify staying within the Law, even though he is no longer a Detective, and breaking the Law for revenge against Culpepper, the crime Lord, is fantastically written. Both the Foley brothers are great characters.

My other favourite character in And Your Enemies Closer is DI Iona Madison, she is a totally kick arse, no nonsense Detective who loves boxing and is good at it, she’s a total ball breaker and I love her!

The descriptions of the settings for the storyline are well observed and it makes you feel like you are in the gritty underbelly of Liverpool. And the criminal gangs and their leaders are remarkable. The plot is fabulous and I was gripped, there are some twists that I didn’t see coming and had me gasping out loud! And I must mention the utterly unique way of committing murder, Mr Parker has really done his research for this and it’s absolutely grim and brilliant!

Just a quick mention of the Audible quality, as always with Audible it’s fantastically produced and Warren Brown is a great narrator for this book, really suits it.

So my rating…. Well you’ve guessed it 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rob Parker is a married father of three, who lives in a village near Warrington, UK. The author of the Ben Bracken thrillers and the standalone post-Brexit country-noir Crook’s Hollow, he enjoys a rural life on an old pig farm (now minus pigs), writing horrible things between school runs.

Rob writes full time, as well as organising and attending various author events across the UK – while boxing regularly for charity. Passionate about inspiring a love of the written word in young people, he spends a lot of time in schools across the North West, encouraging literacy, storytelling and creative-writing.

He is also a co-host of the For Your Reconsideration film podcast, and a regular voice on the Blood Brothers crime book podcast.

You can follow Rob Parker on Twitter Instagram Facebook

Rob has his own website HERE

You can buy And Your Enemies Closer HERE

My #Review of #Unhinged by @LierHorst & @EngerThomas published by @OrendaBooks translated by @meganturney

When a police investigator is killed execution-style and Blix’s own daughter is targeted by the killer, he makes a dangerous decision, which could cost him everything. Blix & Ramm are back in a breathless, emotive thriller by two of Norway’s finest crime writers…

When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between several Oslo murder cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution style. And in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the killer’s next victim.

Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen.

As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can trust … and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…

Two of Nordic Noir’s most brilliant writers return with the explosive, staggeringly accomplished, emotive third instalment in the international, bestselling Blix & Ramm series … and it will take your breath away.

Firstly I must say a HUGE thank you to Karen at Orenda Books for kindly sending me a proof of Unhinged, This meant so much to me as Jorn and Thomas are my 2 favourite authors of Nordic Crime, I am super grateful, Karen!

So onto my review….. Having read the two previous books in the Blix & Ramm series, I was super excited to open the first page of Unhinged. The opening chapter had me gripped! In a storyline that was utterly explosive with shocking twists, it was easy to read Unhinged in a matter of days.

I have to be careful describing the book as I really do not want to give anything away, but for fans for this series – your world will be rocked!!

We visit the story from two points of view the present and the past and in this style the events unfold in the usual slick and gripping way that Jorn lier Horst & Thomas Enger write together, Theirs is a spectacular combination of top class crime fiction writing, they are able to weave a storyline so professionally that its hard to see that this was written by two authors.

The plot is not revealed at the beginning, its a twisty, melting pot of sumptuous prose and the character of Alexander Blix must surely be one of THE best in Nordic Noir, we feel everything he does so deeply, only writers with extreme talent can write books like Unhinged, that shock you, that make you gasp, that make you hurt – just like Blix!

I must also give praise to Megan Turney who skillfully translated Unhinged from Norwegian to English, in doing so she has not lost any of the story or indeed nuances of language, well done Megan, for without you I would not get to read books like this by my two favourite authors!

So for the third book in the Blix & Ramm series it’s a magnificent 5 star read for me, I just hope there are more to come!

You can buy Unhinged HERE

You can follow Jorn Lier Horst on Twitter HERE Instagram HERE Facebook HERE and Jorn’s Website HERE

You can follow Thomas Enger on Twitter HERE Instagram HERE Facebook HERE

#Guest #Author #AlexChaudri @AAChaudhuri #Author of #ShesMine @Herabooks

Thank you so much to you Alex, for being my Guest Author, and answering my questions.

Thank you for having me, Jude, it’s my absolute pleasure, I’m just so thrilled to be featured on your blog!

I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? Can you tell us about your previous Careers?

Although I was a tennis player and a lawyer before I started writing, I guess, deep down, I knew that becoming a writer was something I was capable of because I’d always had a predilection and flair for writing stories since I was a child. However, it didn’t become a realistic possibility until 2010 when I was pregnant with my second Son.

From the ages of 7-19 tennis dominated my life, to the extent that everything else took a backseat. I would play tennis three to four times a week after school, and every weekend was taken up with training camps, while every week of the school holidays I was off playing a tournament somewhere or other. I basically lived and breathed tennis for 13 years, was a member of the under 12/14 national squads, and turned pro at 16 touring the satellite circuit for nearly three years. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out as I’d hoped and I quit tennis at 19, went back to college, then university, then law school became a lawyer, and practiced in the City for eight years. Law wasn’t for me long-term though. Although I enjoyed some aspects of being a lawyer, made some wonderful friends (including my husband!) and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to write my legal thrillers authentically without the experience I gained from Law, it was never the perfect fit for me, not the way being an author is. I am the happiest writing, and it never feels like a chore, which sadly law, which can be quite dry and formulaic, often did!

Although completely different professions, both tennis, and law require a thick skin and certain ruthlessness to survive. It got to the point where I wasn’t enjoying it either. The City is an especially tough place to work, and I came across quite a few spiteful characters who made my life miserable and who I didn’t much want to be around. It wasn’t for me as I said, but I’m grateful for the inspiration it gave me to write my books. Both experiences also made me a stronger person and I’m happy to say that career-wise, it’s third time lucky for me with my writing!

Luckily, my husband was able to support us financially for me to pursue my passion for writing and so I set about writing my first book in 2010 entitled Love & Limoncello – a women’s fiction novel with a bit of romance and mystery thrown in which I ended up self-publishing. It did extremely well reaching number 53 in the bestseller’s list and selling over 10,500 copies. That’s something I’m very proud of. Crime/thriller has always been my favourite genre, however, and once my children were in pre-school and I had more time to devote the time and research needed to write an effective and believable thriller I didn’t hesitate to switch genres and haven’t looked back since. I love how challenging crime/thriller writing is, both for the author and for the reader! There’s nothing better than a page-turning thriller to lose yourself in – the red herrings, twists and turns and intricate plotlines all make for compulsive reading.

Did you have to do much research for the characters in She’s Mine? Especially Christine Donovan, as she has so many demons, did you use personal experience?

I didn’t have to do much research, to be honest. Obviously, Christine and Greg are lawyers, and therefore, having worked in the City for seven years, I’m able to use my experience to portray that world authentically in terms of the kind of atmosphere people in the City operate in, including the various temptations that can result from working long hours and wanting to let off steam. I also lived in North London for thirteen years which is where most of the story takes place and so again, it’s an area I’m very familiar with and therefore able to portray realistically. I’m glad to say I didn’t use too much personal experience (!) for the character of Christine, although I have been through the pain of a divorce and so can appreciate how relationships can become strained, along with the emotional consequences of that. It’s also true to say that I can be a bit of a perfectionist, and therefore pretty hard on myself if I feel I’ve not done things to the best of my abilities. I don’t tend to do things by half measures, and in the past have become quite addicted to diets and exercise, and so it wasn’t hard for me to imagine falling into that trap on a long-term basis the way Christine does following the devastating loss of her child. Although, of course, her obsessions are a form of self-punishment for something she did in the past. As you know, the book centres on Christine’s grief for her missing child; a grief made more acute by the fact that she blames herself for losing her daughter, tormented by her guilt for her neglect but also a shameful secret she feels contributed to her child’s disappearance. Once the basic idea came to me, I very quickly became immersed in Christine’s story which, granted, wasn’t an easy one to tell being a mother of two young boys myself. In fact, it was extremely tough to write at various points, this being my worst nightmare, but at the same time, I hope this helped me to convey the sheer horror and incomparable pain of Christine’s, as well as her husband Greg’s, loss. Putting myself in Christine’s shoes, I could feel her excruciating pain and grief, her daily inner torment, a pain and torment that consumes her from head to toe, as it would do me, and so, having done this, having really got inside her head, I put her pain down on paper through the first-person narrative. As we follow Christine’s story we realise she’s a very different person in the present-day narrative to how she was in the past – not just physically but emotionally, and I guess that’s something else I can also relate to; after all, we all change as people to a certain extent over the years, we all learn from past mistakes and have our regrets, but also realise how things that had seemed so important in our youth really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, and again, having had life experience, including a marriage that ended in divorce, that’s something I felt able to portray through the main characters of Greg and Christine. Similarly, in the case of Ella and Daniel, I can still remember the uncertainty, capriciousness but also naivety of my twenties and so, with a bit of imagination, I was able to get into their mindsets and think the way someone of that age would.

The plot and storyline of She’s Mine is so twisty, dark and made me gasp out loud, how on earth did you come up with the idea?

It was always my intention to make this novel as dark, sinister and twisty as possible because I think such an atmosphere sits well with fans of the psychological thriller genre; they want to feel on edge and they don’t want too much of the mundane; in short, they want to be shocked and surprised! But if I am being honest, and although I know this sounds a bit boring, the basic idea literally just came to me, while some of the twists didn’t actually formulate in my mind until I started writing. This has been the case with most of my books; something I find hugely exciting and fulfilling – coming up with that bigger and better idea or twist as you write that you hope is going to shock readers. I love the fact it made you gasp out loud, Jude, because that was my intention and it’s very satisfying for me as a writer to hear that I’ve achieved one of my aims in writing the book!

What I would say is that with She’s Mine, I wanted to focus on the idea of human frailty, about how we can all, as fallible beings, fall prey to the darker side of human nature – to temptation, lust, revenge, envy and so on, but at the same time have a basic need to be loved, wanted and valued, especially by those we seek and crave such sentiments from. When these are lacking, or taken to extremes, things can often go very wrong and lead the most normal of people in the most mundane of situations to behave in the most extreme and abnormal of ways.

Growing up did you face any challenges, and who was/were your role model/s?

I suffered from horrendous asthma as a child. I can still remember being up in the night gasping for breath, and my Dad, who was a doctor, drenching my top with Karvol capsules to help me breathe. A wonderful invention back then called the spinhaler was my saviour as well as, ironically, playing tennis. Both helped me grow out of it, but it was quite scary (probably more so for my parents!) at the time. Although I wasn’t as aware of it as my mother, there were definitely challenges to being a mixed-race child. I know that sadly this kind of prejudice still exists, but when I was growing up people could be even less tolerant and judgmental, not so much to your face but by making underhand, snide comments designed to hurt and ridicule, which isn’t a nice feeling. My father has always been a role model to me. He had an exceptionally hard childhood, separated from his mother (his father died when he was six leaving his mum and three brothers alone) in the time of partition, was physically beaten and generally treated very badly by an uncle he and his middle brother were sent to stay with for a number of years, and so to think that he survived all that and went on to become a doctor and be the first and last of his family to leave India and settle in the UK with my mum is hugely inspirational for me. Not only that, he survived two nearly fatal accidents and more recently has been fighting prostate cancer these past two years with a courage and optimism that astounds me.

Who would you like to see playing the parts of Christine and Greg if She’s Mine was turned into a Movie/TV Show?

Wow, seeing She’s Mine turned into a movie or TV show would be an absolute dream come true! I think Nicole Kidman would make a great Christine. Not only is she a fantastic actress, very intelligent and brilliant at doing English accents, she has the kind of haunted, elfin look required for the part of present-day Christine, but is also naturally beautiful which Christine, before her addictions set in, was. I could also see Rebecca Ferguson or Naomi Watts playing the part. For Greg, I think Ewan McGregor or Ralph Fiennes would be good choices.

As a child growing up, were you an avid reader? Do you have a favourite childhood book?

Yes, I was an avid reader from a very young age. My mother would read nursery rhymes and Enid Blyton classics to me for hours when I was a toddler. The Railway Children and Jane Eyre were also favourites that we’d read together. At primary school I have fond memories of Rebecca’s World, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Charlotte’s Web to name but a few, but if I had to pick a stand-out favourite childhood book, i.e. one that really sticks in my mind it would have to be The Magic Faraway Tree closely followed by The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I think being an only child and therefore not having a constant playmate, caused me to spend hours getting lost in books, and I’d find myself transported to the incredible worlds these authors created, and becoming friends with the characters who inhabited them.

What is your favourite book you’ve read this year and why?

That is a super hard question as there are simply too many to count. If I had to make a choice, on the literary fiction side it would be No Honour by Awais Khan and on the crime/thriller fiction side, Evaders by EC Scullion. Both books are class acts written by phenomenal writers up there with the very best in their genres.

Do you have a favourite Author or favourite book of all time?

John Grisham was a huge inspiration for me and remains one of my all-time favourites. His books are a masterclass in addictive thriller writing. I loved The Firm, but I think A Time To Kill is even better just because of the subject matter and powerful courtroom scenes. Even before I became a lawyer, I was drawn to Grisham’s slick, page-turning thrillers. I’d get lost in the complex, legal worlds he portrayed, rooting for his fearless, feisty, moralistic lawyers against the mean, corrupt corporate giants they faced. His books have everything that makes a cracking thriller, including compelling characters and tight plotting written at breakneck speed. I’ve read so many wonderful books, I know it’s a complete cop-out, but it’s simply impossible to name a favourite of all time. I love so many books in the thriller genre but also historical fiction classics like I Claudius and The First Man in Rome series.

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

VE Day. Having studied both wars in depth for A-Level History and my degree at UCL it would be incredible to witness this historic and jubilant occasion first-hand. It’s hard for us to imagine the sacrifices people made over four years of war, to have lived under such perilous and restrictive conditions – children separated from their parents, young men torn from their loved ones – and I would think that the atmosphere that day, knowing it was finally over, would have been electric. Not just in the UK, but all over the world.

You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why?

This is the hardest question of all; I could name so many! OK, so I would have to say Agatha Christie because she is the Queen of crime fiction and had such an amazing, interesting and full life, Daniel Craig because, well, do I really need to spell that one out?! (NB, tuxedo a pre-requisite 😂🤣), Barack Obama as I’d like to ask him how on earth he managed to stay so calm and level-headed while surviving on minimal sleep during his Presidency, and finally Robert Downey Jr as I love his dry humour, think he’s a brilliant actor and really admire the way he fought his addictions to become one of the most successful actors on the planet.

How many books have you written and which is your favourite?

I have written nine books in total and am currently working on a tenth. The first two, as previously mentioned, were self-published women’s fiction novels written under my married name, Alexandra Sage.

The other seven are thrillers, three of which – The Scribe, The Abduction (part of my Kramer & Carver thriller series featuring feisty lawyer, Maddy Kramer, who teams up with DCI Jake Carver to solve investigations set in the legal world published by Lume Books and Isis Audio) and She’s Mine (my first psychological thriller with Hera Books) have been published. Of the other four, two are straight thrillers, the other two are psychological, one of which is out with Hera books Summer 2022.

The crime/thriller genre has always been my stand-out favourite and once I’d written my first thriller, I knew it was the genre I wanted to focus on. In fact, the first thriller I wrote, Illicit Retainers, yet to be published, is the book that piqued the interest of my agent, Annette Crossland.

She’s Mine is my favourite, though, just because I feel it’s unique in the way it is written and because I’m quite proud of the twists, especially the end twist. The feedback so far for the book has been amazing, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of readers (who I don’t know!!!) contacting me to say how much they loved it and couldn’t put it down. Also, how the characters really got under their skin and had their own unique voices. I worked really hard on the characterisation, so it’s lovely to get this kind of positive feedback.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Be your own person and never follow the crowd for the sake of it. Also, hard work pays off.

Do you play music when writing, and if so what’s your favourite?

No, sadly not. I am not someone who can write with noise in the background, even soft playing music. It just distracts me. I need absolute quiet to focus and completely immerse myself in my writing. Which obviously wasn’t easy at the height of the pandemic with the kids at home!

What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received?

I always treasure the homemade cards my children give me for mother’s day and for my birthday. You can’t put a price on those.

Are you currently writing another book?

I am currently in the throes of editing my second psychological thriller for Hera Books. I can’t reveal too much about the storyline just yet, but I will say that it’s written in the first person from the perspective of three very different women all of whom have dark pasts and secrets they’ll do anything to keep buried. It’s a tense, complex plot with several twists including one BIG reveal at the end.

I am also working on book three in my Kramer & Carver series, another serial killer investigation but where DS Drake, Carver’s right-hand man gets more of a prominent role.

About A.A. Chaudhuri

A.A. Chaudhuri is a former City lawyer, turned thriller writer, who lives in Surrey with her family.

Once a highly ranked British junior tennis player, competing in the national championships and a member of the national squad, she went on to tour the women’s professional satellite circuit as a teenager and achieved a world ranking of 650.

After returning to full-time education, she gained a BA Honours 2:1 in History at University College London, and a commendation in both the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course at the London College of Law, before training as a solicitor at City firm Norton Rose and then practising as a commercial litigator at two other City firms, Kendall Freeman and Travers Smith.

She left law in 2008 to pursue her passion for writing and in 2010 passed the NCTJ fast-track newspaper journalism course, in respect of which she was awarded The Oxford University Press Public Affairs Award for the most outstanding public affairs central government paper.

In 2013 and 2014 she self-published two women’s fiction novels under the name Alexandra Sage: Love & Limoncello and the sequel Love & Loss. Love & Limoncello has sold more than ten thousand copies to date, reaching number 53 in the Amazon Kindle Bestsellers List in October 2014.

THE SCRIBE and THE ABDUCTION, published by LUME BOOKS in July and December 2019, are her first crime book series, plunging readers into London’s glamorous legal world and featuring series’ heroine, Maddy Kramer, fiction’s first female City lawyer amateur sleuth, who teams up with charismatic DCI Jake Carver to solve a gruesome series of murders and a puzzling abduction.

Both books have hit the bestsellers lists in the UK, Australia and Canada, with bestseller tags in Australia and Canada.

THE SCRIBE and THE ABDUCTION were published as audio books by Isis Audio on 1st  January and 1st March 2021, both read by David Thorpe.

She has also contributed an original short story THE ENCOUNTER to crime anthology GIVEN IN EVIDENCE published by LUME BOOKS in May 2020, has written many articles and short stories for The Crime Writers’ Association.

In February 2021, Alex signed a two-book contract for two standalone psychological thrillers with HERA BOOKS, the first entitled SHE’S MINE was published on 18th August 2021 in ebook and 26th August in paperback. The second will be published in spring 2022.

Besides being an avid reader, she enjoys fitness, films, anything Italian and a good margarita!

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BUY Shes Mine HERE