This Dark Place by Claire Kittridge @CPkittridge @DelicatePreyPub @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for This Dark Place by Claire Kittridge! My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation and the publisher for my review copy!

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Author : Claire Kittridge
Title : This Dark Place
Series : Detective Kelly Moore #1
Pages : 252
Publisher : Delicate Prey Publishing
Publication date : April 17, 2018

aboutthebook

When Priscilla Ames’s body is found by her roommate Avery in a posh London flat and her death is splashed across headlines worldwide, Kelly Moore flies across the Atlantic to join a crack team of British investigators working on the case.

Together with the London Metropolitan Police, Kelly must track down a twisted serial killer who seems to know her every move and her darkest secrets. As the body count rises, and panic spreads, the killer threatens to make Kelly the next victim.

In a heart-racing game of cat and mouse, Kelly must outwit this elusive master of surveillance – who might be the last person she suspects.

mythoughts

Priscilla Ames seems to have it all. She’s beautiful, she has a rich daddy and is studying in London. But then she’s found dead by her roommate, Avery. All the signs seem to point to a suicide but Priscilla’s father refuses to accept this. On his insistence, NYPD detective Kelly Moore travels to London to help out in the investigation. An investigation that’s hampered by lack of evidence, a department leak and a supervisor who wants this case off her desk as soon as possible. Soon it transpires though, that Priscilla’s death is far more dark and disturbing than anyone could have guessed.

I must admit it took me a little while to get into this first instalment of the Detective Moore series. I didn’t particularly like the characters, except for a man called JB who works at the police station reception desk. On top of that, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of influence Priscilla’s father, Peter, could possibly have that he was able to pull the strings as he did. Money talks, I suppose, but I would have preferred a bit more of an explanation about that.

The investigation into Priscilla’s death pulled me in though. With a bunch of wanna-be student actors and directors all over the place, it’s impossible to figure out who’s telling the truth or who’s putting on an act. Even when I thought I figured out what was going on, I couldn’t quite see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. The “bad guy” is immensely creepy, always a step ahead and apparently has some kind of pull over other people.

There’s an intriguing background story to Kelly Moore that will hopefully be explored further as the series goes along. As it is, that particular event is used against her by someone in this story and may just lead her into danger. I particularly enjoyed the differences between detectives in America and England. Kelly, for instance, often automatically reaches for her sidearm, which she’s not carrying as that’s not done in England.

This series has a lot of potential and promise, which is exactly what you look for in a first instalment. Will Kelly remain in London, or will she go back home and work cases there? If she stays in London, what will her position be? And will she ever have closure? This gripping and well-paced first book in the series sets the tone perfectly for wherever Claire Kittridge decides to take Kelly Moore next.

This Dark Place is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Claire Kittridge grew up in Brooklyn, NY. A dedicated reader, triathlete, and boxing fan, she fell in love with England and its great fictional detectives while traveling around Britain as a teenager.

Claire lives in New York City with her cat, Chairman Meow. She is currently at work on the second Kelly Moore novel.

Author links : Twitter | Facebook

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Sitting Murder by A.J. Wright @EndeavourQuill

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Author : A.J. Wright
Title : Sitting Murder
Series : Lancashire Detective #4
Pages : 282
Publisher : Endeavour Quill
Publication date : March 1, 2018

aboutthebook

Detective Sergeant Michael Brennan of the Wigan Borough Police has no time for tales of ghosts and the afterlife, or of the dead contacting the living.

So, when he finds himself investigating the case of a recently widowed young woman, Alice Goodway, who has suddenly developed ‘the Gift’ of mediumship and has received a threatening letter, he embarks on the inquiry with no small degree of scepticism.

But just as Brennan and his burly colleague, Constable Jaggery, consider how to proceed with the case, something much more sinister takes place… a murder, in Alice’s own home.

Who would commit such a crime?

Could it be one of the seven ‘visitors’ who had been to sittings with Alice and not liked what they had heard? Or the interfering and sanctimonious Inspector of Nuisances who strongly disapproved of the séances?

There are a lot of old wounds opened and painful memories shared with Brennan and Jaggery as they meticulously gather the information they need to solve the case. The challenge will be narrowing down the suspects, using clues from both the living and the dead…

mythoughts

Before I start sharing my thoughts, can we all just take a minute to admire that absolutely stunning cover! I can tell you, it fits the story perfectly! Now, don’t be put off by the fact it says this is the fourth instalment in a series. It reads perfectly well as a stand-alone and at no point did I feel I was missing out on anything.

Recently widowed Alice Goodway receives a threatening letter. Alice seems to have the gift to communicate with the dearly departed and has been having “sittings” with various of her neighbours. Then someone turns up dead in Alice’s house. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Was Alice the intended victim? DS Brennan is convinced the murderer is one of the seven people that visited Alice. But who and why?

That is indeed the question and I couldn’t figure it out at all. I zeroed in on a particular character quite early on but was completely proven wrong. There is a rather long list of potential suspects and all of them have truly heartbreaking reasons for why they visit Alice and wish to connect once again with someone they’ve lost. That sense of loss and grief really came across and almost brought a lump to my throat.

Set in Victorian times, this whodunnit oozes atmosphere. It’s aptly gloomy, fabulously depicting the way people lived during that era, the treatment of women and the stigma that followed some around for the rest of their lives. From the proximity of neighbours and gas lamp lighters, to mining pits and mills, an Inspector of Nuisances (really?! 😄) and the inclusion of the local dialect, I had no problems whatsoever with feeling I was transported right back to the 1890’s.

Sitting Murder has a brilliant and clever plot. With red herrings all over the place, it left me guessing until the end. This is a thoroughly enjoyable historical cosy mystery with intriguing characters, wonderful descriptions and a captivating murder investigation. It has reminded me of how much I enjoy novels set in the Victorian era and I hope to one day have the time to catch up on the rest of this series.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy!

Sitting Murder is available for purchase.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson @Author_Dave @BonnierZaffre

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Author : David Jackson
Title : Don’t Make A Sound
Series : DS Nathan Cody #3
Pages : 400
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : May 3, 2018

aboutthebook

You can’t choose your family. Or can you?

Meet the Bensons. A pleasant enough couple. They keep themselves to themselves. They wash their car, mow their lawn and pass the time of day with their neighbours. And they have a beautiful little girl called Daisy.

There’s just one problem. Daisy doesn’t belong to the Bensons. They stole her.

And now they’ve decided that Daisy needs a little brother or sister.

D. S. Nathan Cody is about to face his darkest and most terrifying case yet.

mythoughts

Did you hear that thud? That was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor. Good grief.

The third instalment of the DS Nathan Cody series starts off innocently enough but after just a few pages, the whole scene is tilted onto its head so hard that my eyes almost popped out of my head and I wondered how I would survive the rest of this book without taking something that would provide some sort of calming effect. Talk about having the rug pulled from underneath you. Bloody hell!

I don’t want to give anything away about this terribly exciting plot, other than to say it deals with a missing child. Stories involving children are always rather tough to read, I find, and David Jackson made that experience even worse (in a totally good way) by actually offering the reader a missing child’s perspective. It’s uncomfortable, frightening and utterly heartbreaking to find yourself in that horrible situation with them.

Don’t Make A Sound is intensely gripping, utterly addictive and I devoured it in one glorious sitting. It’s a dark, disturbing and a brilliantly relentless page-turner that kept me having to remind myself to keep breathing. The banter between Cody and Webley offers some much needed relief at times, making me chuckle in the midst of all this evilness. We even learn a little something new about Blunt, which I’m desperately hoping will be explored further.

I don’t normally like mentioning endings. I always find it’s something like that “twist you won’t see coming” bit where you rush to get to the part everyone is talking about. Know what I mean? Obviously I don’t want you to rush to get to the end of this story (seriously, slow down, enjoy the thrilling ride) but boy, did that blow my mind or what?! Didn’t see that coming at all and it seriously messed with my head! Just awesome!

What an absolutely brilliant addition to an already outstanding series! You’re all reading these, right? If not, I highly recommend you head out out to pick up your copies right now? When you’ve finished catching up, I’m sure you’ll join me in eagerly awaiting the fourth book in the series. I can’t wait to see what David Jackson has in store for the team.

Don’t Make A Sound is out now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

 

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #Keeper #RandomThingsTours

It’s my turn on the blog tour for Keeper by Johana Gustawsson today and I’m so incredibly excited, I may just burst! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda and Anne Cater for the invitation to join and the fabulous review copy!

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Author : Johana Gustawsson
Title : Keeper
Series : Roy & Castells #2
Pages : 303
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 15, 2018 ebook | April 28, 2018 paperback

aboutthebook

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.

London, 2015
: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015
: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?
Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down.

mythoughts

In my review of the previous Roy & Castells book, Block 46, I may have uttered the words “sheer perfection”. Quite frankly, I didn’t think Johana Gustawsson could top that and I wouldn’t need to worry about coming up with an even bigger statement than the one I made at the time. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. Because somehow Johana Gustawsson raised the bar even higher and completely blew me away!

If you’ve read Block 46 (and if you haven’t, I may just have to hurt you), then you know Johana Gustawsson combined crime fiction with events set in World War II, which just happens to be one of my favourite topics to read about. In Keeper, she does it again, by seamlessly and effortlessly combining yet another firm favourite of mine, Victorian era Jack The Ripper murders with current events in Sweden and England. How are these connected, I hear you ask? Well, you’ll just have to pick up the book, won’t you?

I will tell you that what follows is a dark, disturbing and deliciously gruesome tale. From the very first page, Keeper had me in a chokehold and wouldn’t let go. Forget sleep! Seriously! Either you’ll be up all night reading, or you will be haunted by nightmares. I gasped, I felt shocked, I even may have felt a little nauseous at times, uttered the words “bloody hell” and sank a little deeper into my sofa, felt somewhat breathless and most definitely speechless. This is what I look for in my books. An insanely awesome experience, a thrill a minute that has me completely absorbed and leaves me desperately wanting more.

Keeper is intensely gripping, utterly addictive and a compelling page-turner like no other. The relatively short chapters urge you on to read just one more, and then another. Johana Gustawsson’s writing is razor sharp and the investigation will keep you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, frantically trying to figure out the clues. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the evil mastermind that is Johana Gustawsson (and really, she looks so sweet!) comes up with an absolutely fantastic conclusion that left me spinning as if I’d just gone on a rollercoaster about twenty times in a row.

In short, I loved it and highly recommend you pick this one up! It is of the sheerest perfection (😉) and will without a doubt be in my top 10 at the end of the year! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find a thesaurus. Odds are I’m going to need it for the next instalment in the series.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.

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Dead Man’s Badge by Robert E. Dunn @WritingDead @annecater #blogtour #guestpost #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Dead Man’s Badge by Robert E. Dunn. Today, I’m joined by the author who talks about “drilling down”, the labelling and categorising of novels by marketing departments which may just make you miss out on a really great book.

My thanks to Robert E. Dunn and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours.

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Author : Robert E. Dunn
Title : Dead Man’s Badge
Pages : 298
Publisher : Brash Books
Publication date : February 1, 2018

aboutthebook

Career criminal Longview Moody, on the run from killers, assumes his dead, twin brother’s identity as the new Chief of Police of a Texas town that’s being terrorized by a Mexican drug cartel. To pull off the deadly deception, Longview desperately works to become the kind of cop and man that his brother was. But when the two lives he’s living converge, he’s forced to embrace the violence within him to get justice…and vengeance.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

guestpost

Drilling Down by Robert E. Dunn

Did you know I’m part of a literary movement? I didn’t either. Mostly because I don’t pay enough attention to the business side of writing novels. I was interviewed by a Kansas City Star reporter writing a story about the rise of Ozarks noir. My name came up in his research. That is because of my Katrina “Hurricane” Williams series of books. They are set in the Missouri Ozarks and feature a female sheriff’s detective in a fictionalized Taney County.

It turns out that Ozarks Noir and I are small parts of a greater shift. Within the mystery/thriller world there is a growth of regional, rural, dark fiction. For my part I’m loving it and working to keep it alive and expanding.

You see there is a funny thing about literary genre. It serves to narrow focus to help the reader. I’ve written about it before calling it a shelving issue. Mysteries are grouped. Romances are grouped. Science fiction, etc. The problems came when someone, usually a marketing person who has never read the book, had to decide if a romantic suspense book was romance or suspense. Put it on the wrong shelf and readers will feel fooled. Sometimes it’s not really the wrong shelf. It’s just that there are not enough shelves. Brick and mortar stores have only so much space. Then came online retailing. You can drill down the category to find exactly the modern western, hard-boiled crime thriller, mystery/thriller fiction book you want.

To tell the truth I’m not so sure how much of the growth of particular genres is based on writing and how much is based on the specifics of marketing.

As a reader it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve always been a fan of books that use their environment as a character to shape and define the actions of the people who live within it. My take on the broader movement, Rural or Country Noir, was inspired by other rural mysteries that have shaped the fictional American landscape over the last few years. I’m proud to say that my books have been compared favorably to those of a master. James Lee Burke has stamped his mark on several locales and made them almost the personal possession of this characters. He practically holds the title to Louisiana and New Iberia Parish in the pages of his Dave Robicheaux novels.

Ace Atkins has staked out rural Mississippi as the home for The Ranger, Quinn Colson. Location can serve as more than a character too. The Longmire books by Craig Johnson and the Joe Pickett novels by C.J. Box are filled with the living, breathing, west. At the same time they define and create a whole modern western genre. Appalachia smolders under the heat of David Joy and Ron Rash.

I was comfortable in the Ozarks and writing about them. Then I did something foolish. I decided to write a Texas border noir. The foolish thing was trying to insert myself into a literary environment that was already richly mined. The region is a staple in both traditional historical westerns and modern westers. The books that define the border area are not just in fiction either. There are so many wonderful histories, both academic and narrative. This happens at borders I think. They are like cultural tectonic plates, colliding and grinding groups of people to make something new. All that conflict draws writers like road kill draws green flies.

So like a crazy man I tossed my Stetson into that dirt.

When you do that drill down thing with my novel, DEAD MAN’S BADGE, it can be found as hard-boiled crime or as a modern western. Reviews have said, fans of Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns would love it. One called it a knuckle-buster. The cool thing is that a book can be many things to different people. The hard thing is communicating to an increasingly fractured marketing environment how your book fits for each person.

All of that marketing stuff is nothing compared to facing other writers who have already left indelible boot prints in that dust.

But writing is not about staying in comfort zones. Not for characters and not for writers. And, I’m looking at you, not for readers. So I set out to write a modern western/crime novel about corrupt cops, a cartel that is almost a cult to violence, a hero with family issues, and a PRINCE AND THE PAUPER plot line that goes bad. What could go wrong?

Well for one thing, as I was writing, J. Todd Scott released his novel, THE FAR EMPTY. If you haven’t read it—do. After reading mine, of course. It is a violent, border noir that deals with family issues and secrets that go wrong. And it’s so darn good.

So all of this has been my rambling way of saying that literary waves can drown as well as carry a book. It is good to be a part, up to the point that you can’t stand apart. Don’t let the specifics of what you like define your reading too narrowly. Be a fan of good books not just that one kind of good book.

[Thank you so much for stopping by the blog with this insightful post, Robert.]

abouttheauthor

I wasn’t born in a log cabin but the station wagon did have wood on the side. It was broken down on the approach road into Ft. Rucker, Alabama in the kind of rain that would have made a Biblical author jealous. You never saw a tornado in the Old Testament did you? As omens of a coming life go, mine was full of portent if not exactly glad tidings.

From there things got interesting. Life on a series of Army bases encouraged my retreat into a fantasy world. Life in a series of public school environments provided ample nourishment to my developing love of violence. Often heard in my home was the singular phrase, “I blame the schools.” We all blamed the schools.

Both my fantasy and my academic worlds left marks and the amalgam proved useful the three times in my life I had guns pointed in my face. Despite those loving encounters the only real scars left on my body were inflicted by a six foot, seven inch tall drag queen. She didn’t like the way I was admiring the play of three a.m. Waffle House fluorescent light over the high spandex sheen of her stockings.

After a series of low paying jobs that took me places no one dreams of going. I learned one thing. Nothing vomits quite so brutally as jail food. That’s not the one thing I learned; it’s an important thing to know, though. The one thing I learned is a secret. My secret. A terrible and dark thing I nurture in my nightmares. You learn your own lessons.

Eventually I began writing stories. Mostly I was just spilling out the, basically, true narratives of the creatures that lounge about my brain, laughing and whispering sweet, sweet things to say to women. Women see through me but enjoy the monsters in my head. They say, sometimes, that the things I say and write are lies or, “damn, filthy lies, slander of the worst kind, and the demented, perverted, wishful stories of a wasted mind.” To which I always answer, I tell only the truth. I just tell a livelier truth than most people. [Goodreads]

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Hangman by Daniel Cole @Daniel_P_Cole @TrapezeBooks

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Author : Daniel Cole
Title : Hangman
Series : Detective William Fawkes #2
Pages : 304
Publisher : Trapeze / Orion Publishing
Publication date : February 8, 2018

aboutthebook

How do you catch a killer who’s already dead?

Eighteen months have passed, but the scars the Ragdoll murders left behind remain.

DCI Emily Baxter is summoned to a meeting with US Special Agents Elliot Curtis of the FBI and Damien Rouche of the CIA. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up impossibly on the other side of the world, the word BAIT carved deep into its chest.

As the media pressure intensifies, Baxter is ordered to assist with the investigation and attend the scene of another murder to discover the same word scrawled across the victim, carved across the corpse of the killer – PUPPET.

As the murders continue to grow in both spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, the team helplessly play catch up. Their only hope: to work out who the ‘BAIT’ is intended for, how the ‘PUPPETS’ are chosen but, most importantly of all, who is holding the strings.

mythoughts

Hangman is the second book in the Detective William Fawkes series, although that’s slightly misleading as it’s not exactly been a well-kept secret that *gaps*, he’s not actually in it. Shock, horror! Still, don’t let that put you off as Hangman is brilliant and you really don’t want to miss out, do you? No, you don’t.

It’s been eighteen months since events in the previous book, Ragdoll. Which I’m sure you’ve all read by now. If not, for crying out loud get your act together! Personally, I don’t feel you should treat Hangman as a stand-alone. Especially not as it’s obvious from notes at the back of the book, that this was meant to be a trilogy and you want all the information available, right? Yes? Good.

In that time, there’s been a spate of copycat killers. The latest one has happened on the other side of the Atlantic and DCI Emily Baxter is summoned to a meeting involving US Special Agents Curtis of the FBI and Rouche of the CIA. There are two victims. Both have words carved into their chest. One has “bait”, the other “puppet”. As the bodies start to pile up, the race is on to figure out who’s pulling the strings.

There’s something I quite like about investigations taking place on two different continents, involving various different law enforcement agencies. Things aren’t always done the same way and often there’s that level of competition even though everyone is working towards the same goals. On top of that, Emily Baxter doesn’t exactly play well with others.

I really liked Emily in this story, though. More so than in the previous book. She still has the scars, physically and mentally, from the Ragdoll case and has some serious trust issues. Obviously she carries quite a lot of baggage around with her but she’s fierce, determined and makes some fantastic retorts. The stand-out character for me though was most definitely Damien Rouche. I absolutely loved him. He’s a bit odd, quirky if you like, but incredibly relaxed. Despite a heartbreaking background story, he made me laugh on numerous occasions.

Set in two major cities, London and New York, this dark and disturbing tale was a thrill a minute. Stuffed full of action, it had me utterly absorbed and glued to the pages. Sometimes a tad gruesome, sometimes even pulling at my heartstrings and yet somehow infused with humour. It doesn’t seem like it would work but it actually does and I wholeheartedly approve of funny banter or one-liners bringing some relief.

Hangman is an incredibly gripping and compelling book that I just couldn’t put down. Second books are always so tricky but I must say that I enjoyed this one even more than Ragdoll and I can’t wait for the third instalment in this series and see where Daniel Cole takes the team, and the reader, next. Exciting times are ahead, I’m sure!

Hangman is available for purchase!

My thanks to the publisher for my review copy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

Body and Soul by John Harvey @John_BHarvey @annecater #RandomThingsTours #blogtour #extract

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the final stop of the blog tour for Body & Soul by John Harvey! I have an extract to share with you from this final instalment in the Frank Elder series but first, here’s what this book is all about. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours!

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Author : John Harvey
Title : Body & Soul
Series : Frank Elder #4
Pages : 294
Publisher : Cornerstone Digital
Publication date : April 19, 2018

aboutthebook

When his estranged daughter Katherine appears on his doorstep, ex-Detective Frank Elder knows that something is wrong.

Katherine has long been troubled, and Elder has always felt powerless to help her.

But now Katherine has begun to self-destruct.

The breakdown of her affair with a controversial artist has sent her into a tailspin which culminates in murder.

And as Elder struggles to protect his daughter and prove her innocence, the terrors of the past threaten them both once more.

extract

The next day broke fair. When Elder got back from his morning run, Katherine was making coffee, readying toast.

‘How far d’you go?’ she asked. ‘Ten K, give or take.’
‘Every day?’
‘Bar Sundays.’
‘Day of rest.’
‘Something like that.’
‘Still, not bad considering.’
‘Considering my age, you mean.’
Katherine laughed. ‘Something like that.’
‘Maybe tomorrow you can come with me?’
‘Maybe.’
‘I thought later, if the weather holds, we might go for a walk.’
‘I’d like that.’
‘Okay. Just let me get a quick shower before you put on that toast.’

They drove out on the Morvah to Penzance road, parked, and made the slow, winding climb up past the Seven Maidens to the derelict engine house at the centre of the old Ding Dong mine. Down below, the distant curve of Mounts Bay stretched out towards Lizard Point; above them, a patchwork sky and a buzzard hovering on a current of air.

Elder took the thermos of coffee from his backpack and they sat on a remnant of stone wall, backs to the wind. When Katherine reached out to take the cup from his hand, the words were out of his mouth before he could swallow them back.

‘Kate, your wrists . . .’
‘Dad . . .’
‘I just . . .’
‘Dad, I told you, no questions, right?’
‘I just want to know what happened, that’s all.’
Spilling the coffee across her fingers, Katherine rose sharply and walked away.

Fifteen metres on, she stopped, head bowed. ‘Kate . . .’ He rested his hand gently on her arm and she shrugged it off.
‘No questions, that’s what I said. What you agreed.’
‘I know, but . . .’
‘But what?’ Facing him now.
‘That was before . . . You can’t expect me not to ask.’
‘Can’t I?’
Elder shook his head and sighed.
‘I cut my wrists, okay? It was an accident.’
‘An accident?’
‘Yes.’
‘How on earth . . . ?’
‘It doesn’t matter.’
She stared back at him, daring him to say another word.

The same stubborn face he remembered from the playground when she was four or five and he’d say it was time to leave, time to put your things away, stop reading, stop writing, get ready for bed.
‘I don’t want to go to bed.’
‘Why not?’
‘Because I have dreams. Bad dreams.’

Worse now, he was sure. He went back and sat down and after a few minutes she came and sat beside him. Somewhere in the middle distance a tractor started up and came gradually into view, ploughing its way up and back along one of the fields north towards St Just, a small squall of gulls following in its wake.

‘I thought things were a little better now.’
‘Better?’
‘You know what I mean.’
‘Do I?’
‘I thought, after the therapy and everything . . .’
She laughed. ‘The therapy?’
‘Yes. I thought it was going well. Thought you’d found a way of coming to terms . . .’
‘What? As in forgetting? You think that’s possible? A few sessions with some shrink and it all goes away?’
‘No, just . . .’
‘Just what?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘No, you don’t, do you? Don’t know a fucking thing. About me or anything. Hide yourself away down here and you don’t fucking care!’

Swivelling on her heels, she stomped off through the heather the way they’d come, and Elder slowly levered himself up and set out after her, careful to keep his distance.

That evening, peace restored, they went to the cinema, the Filmhouse in Newlyn, ate fish and chips leaning over the harbour wall. Katherine had changed the bandages on her arms, while the questions continued to reverberate, unabated, unasked. Accidental? Both arms? The result of self-harming or something more potentially serious, final? If she wants to tell me, Elder persuaded himself with difficulty, she will.

On the way back across the peninsula, relaxed, Katherine chatted about the movie they’d just seen; about friends, flatmates – Abike, who was a teaching assistant in a local primary school; Stelina, who worked as a ward clerk in Mile End Hospital and was studying for a degree part-time; Chrissy, who juggled working behind a bar with being an artists’ model. When Elder got out a bottle of Scotch back at the cottage, Katherine shook her head and made tea instead. It was quite late by the time tiredness took over and they were away to their beds.

Elder slept fitfully, riven by familiar dreams. A sherman’s makeshift hut fashioned from timber and tarpaulin and held together with nails and rope. The lapping of water. Seaweed. Ash. The remains of a fire further back along the beach. The carcass of a seabird plucked clean. When he pressed his weight against the door, the rotting wood gave way and he stumbled into darkness.

A scream shrilled through him and he was instantly awake. A scream from the next-door room. Katherine was sitting bolt upright in bed, eyes wide open, staring towards the open window, her body shaking. When he touched her gently, she whimpered and pulled her knees closer to her chest. Her eyes flickered, dilated, then closed.

‘It’s all right, Kate,’ he said, easing her back down. ‘It’s just a dream.’

Her dreams, his dreams: one of the things they shared.

When she was just sixteen Katherine had been kidnapped by a man named Adam Keach, forced into a van and driven to an isolated location on the North Yorks coast, a ramshackle hut where she had been held prisoner, tortured and raped. It had been Elder who had found her, naked, blood blisters on her arms and legs, bruises discolouring her shoulders and her back.

Stooping, he kissed her hair now, as he had then. Squeezed her hand and left her sleeping.

Next morning she was gone.

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If this extract has you desperately wanting more, then you’re in luck as Body & Soul is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

John Harvey was born in London, where he now lives, while considering Nottingham his spiritual home.

Initially a teacher of English & Drama, he has been a full-time writer for more than forty years. The first of his 12 volume Charlie Resnick series, Lonely Hearts was selected by The Times as one of the ‘100 Best Crime Novels of the Century’ and the first Frank Elder novel, Flesh and Blood, won the CWA Silver Dagger in 2004. He was awarded the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in the crime genre in 2007, and his story, ‘Fedora’ won the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2014.

In addition to writing fiction, he has written and published poetry, running Slow Dancer Press for over twenty years; his Out of Silence: New & Selected Poems was published in 2014. He has adapted the work of Arnold Bennett, A. S. Byatt, Graham Greene and others for radio and television, and in 2017, his dramatisation of the final Resnick novel, Darkness, Darkness, was produced at Nottingham Playhouse.

He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Hertfordshire and Nottingham.

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In For The Kill by Ed James @EdJamesAuthor @EmmaFinnigan @AmazonPub @annecater #blogtour #ThomasandMercer #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for In For The Kill by Ed James, the fourth book in the DI Fenchurch series. Ed James visits the blog today to talk about how he came up with his main character but first, here is what the book is all about.

My thanks to Ed James and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours!

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Author : Ed James
Title : In For The Kill
Series : DI Fenchurch #4
Pages : 329
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer / Amazon Publishing
Publication date : April 19, 2018

aboutthebook

A university student is found strangled to death in her bedroom, but when the embattled DI Simon Fenchurch is called in to investigate, the case strikes dangerously close to home.

On the surface, the victim was a popular, high-performing student. But as secret grudges against her emerge, so too does evidence that she was living a double life, working on explicit webcam sites for a seedy London ganglord. Everyone Fenchurch talks to knows a lot more than they’re willing to tell, and before long he’s making new enemies of his own—threatening to push him and his family past breaking point.

With too many suspects and not enough facts, Fenchurch knows his new superiors are just waiting for him to fail—they want him off the case, and off the force for good. His family is in more danger than ever before. So how deep is he willing to dig in order to unearth the truth?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryGoodreads

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How I came up with DI Simon Fenchurch

A few years ago, I wrote a book set in the Scottish Highlands about vampires escaping the Highland Clearances. Something like that. For some reason, it didn’t do very well. I had an idea for a sequel set in London and Kent, where a group of vampires breed people for their blood. The first thing I did as a full-time writer was an outline for that book, which went in a very odd direction.

I had a lead detective, Simon Fenchurch, a broken Met DI, who I’d become quite attached to. The name came from Simon Fench, a vampire in China Mieville’s THE SCAR, but coupled with Fenchurch Street in the City, somewhere I walked past every so often when I worked there, which rooted him to the location he investigates crimes in. When it became clear how badly the first vampire book did, I gave up on it.

But I just couldn’t get him out of my head. So I cut the supernatural nonsense from the book, and the central crime became more evil — people breeding humans for use in the sex trade.

And I needed to know who Fenchurch was. What makes him tick. What broke him?

My first police procedural series, featuring Scott Cullen, deliberately avoided the usual detective tropes, with Cullen the opposite of everything you usually read or saw. He’s a Detective Constable, not a DI or, even more egregiously, a DCI investigating low-level crimes instead of managing people and stats. He’s young and single, not divorced with kids that don’t speak to him, and he lives in a shared flat instead of a former marital home. And he drives a crap car, not a classic.

With Fenchurch, I decided to tackle the clichés head on. He’s a DI, so he delegates rather than doing all the tedious stuff. Made it much easier to write, I can assure you. I’d been reading a lot of film theory, which meant giving him a back story that gave a personal involvement in the case. It’s hard to do for a series police procedural, as it’s someone doing a job. So I made him separated from his wife after the tragedy of their daughter being kidnapped. Fenchurch became obsessed with it, causing their emotional distance and break up.

And Fenchurch spends his nights hunting for his daughter, but he doesn’t know what he’ll do if he finds her. In the first novel, THE HOPE THAT KILLS, the victim could easily be his daughter. Even though she isn’t, he can empathise with her family, which drives him on to make a horrific discovery. It doesn’t close any doors for him — that would happen later — but it let me and my readers get to know him and what makes him tick.

And it didn’t have any vampires.

[Thank you for stopping by the blog, Ed! And I must say that I for one am thrilled about the lack of vampires!]

abouttheauthor

Ed James writes crime fiction novels, predominantly the SCOTT CULLEN series of police procedurals set in Edinburgh and the surrounding Lothians – the first four are available now, starting with GHOST IN THE MACHINE which has been downloaded over 280,000 times and is currently free. BOTTLENECK (Cullen 5) is out on 17-Mar-14. He is currently developing two new series – DI SIMON FENCHURCH and DS VICKY DODDS, set in London and Dundee respectively. He also writes the SUPERNATURE series, featuring vampires and other folkloric creatures, of which the first book SHOT THROUGH THE HEART is out now and free.

Ed lives in the East Lothian countryside, 25 miles east of Edinburgh, with his girlfriend, six rescue moggies, two retired greyhounds, a flock of ex-battery chickens and rescue ducks across two breeds and two genders (though the boys don’t lay eggs). While working in IT for a living, Ed wrote mainly on public transport but now writes full time.

Twitter | Website

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The Girl With No Name by Lisa Regan @Lisalregan @bookouture #blogblitz

Good morning and welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for The Girl With No Name by Lisa Regan! My thanks to Noelle at Bookouture!

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Author : Lisa Regan
Title : The Girl With No Name
Series : Detective Josie Quinn #2
Pages : 337
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : April 19, 2018

aboutthebook

Detective Josie Quinn is horrified when she’s called to the house of a mother who had her newborn baby snatched from her arms.

A woman caught fleeing the scene is Josie’s only lead, but when questioned it seems this mysterious girl doesn’t know who she is, where she’s from or why she is so terrified…

Is she a witness, a suspect, or the next victim?

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The Girl With No Name is the second instalment in the Detective Josie Quinn series and what a follow-up it is! If you’ve read the first one, then I’m sure you’ll remember Misty. She’s found brutally attacked in her own home and her newborn baby has gone missing. Josie needs to put aside any and all personal differences to focus on the task at hand. However, things will take a far more sinister turn and with the mayor breathing down her neck, Josie may need to ask for help from some unexpected sources.

Denton may be a small town but when things happen, they sure happen in style. From a woman broken and battered in hospital, to a girl who apparently can’t remember who she is, to a missing baby and business men wanting to build a casino … all these various threads kept me entertained from beginning to end. Meanwhile, we also get glimpses into the trial of the Interstate Killer and some newspaper articles that seem so incredibly random, you can’t but feel they play a part somehow. Not that I could figure it out and the author kept me guessing until the answer was almost spoon-fed to me.

This plot is insanely action-packed. Forget about a slow build-up as it’s all systems go from the first page. As Josie and her team chase down leads from one location to the next and the body pile starts mounting up, I felt there was barely any time to take a breather. Never mind the characters being tired, I was exhausted myself!

Josie is as fierce as ever and despite things getting her down, she’s determined not to give up. She may have accidentally gotten the role of Chief but she convinced me that it was right for her. For now, anyway. But for me, Lieutenant Noah Fraley completely steals the show. Sympathetic, level-headed and always there by Josie’s side, he’s most definitely someone you can count on. And even though I tend to have this thing against reporters, I even warmed to Trinity this time around.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Vanishing Girls, the first book in this series, but I feel this one is even better. I do so love it when a series goes from strength to strength. The Girl With No Name is utterly gripping, a true page-turner that had me completely absorbed. I can’t wait to see where Lisa Regan takes the team next.

The Girl With No Name is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

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The Body in the Boat by A.J. MacKenzie @AJMacKnovels @BonnierZaffre #blogtour #extract

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Body in the Boat by A.J. MacKenzie! I was unfortunately unable to read this one (I need more hours in the day! Someone make that happen!) but I do have a great extract to share with you all today.

My thanks to Imogen at Bonnier Zaffre for the invitation!

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Author : A.J. Mackenzie
Title : The Body in the Boat
Series : Hardcastle & Chaytor Mysteries #3
Pages : 400
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : April 5, 2018

aboutthebook

Across the still, dark English Channel come the smugglers. But tonight they carry an unusual cargo: a coffin. Several miles inland, a respected banker holds a birthday party for his wife. Within days, one of the guests is found shot dead.

What links this apparently senseless killing to the smugglers lurking in the mists? Why has the local bank been buying and hoarding gold? And who was in the mysterious coffin?

Reverend Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor find themselves drawn into the worlds of high finance and organised crime in this dramatic and dark Georgian mystery.

extract

Dawn broke, glowing red and pink and gold over the heaving sea, the wind still hard from the west. She was so exhausted she could hardly think. The world around her seemed to stutter. The relentless crash of the waves, the creaking of the hull, the moaning of the rigging tore at her nerves.

‘A mile and a half’, said Captain Haddock. ‘Sloterdyke is no lubber. He must know we’re overhauling him.’

‘Think he might turn and fight, sir?’

‘Wouldn’t you? Pipe the hands to breakfast.’

Breakfast was a form of porridge. She forced a few spoonsful down, shuddering with a nausea that had nothing to do with seasickness. Another cup of coffee laced with rum calmed her stomach.

Blue sky overhead, enormous columns of white cloud marching over the sea round them, trailing grey sheets of rain. The wind was down a little, but still the waves rolled on, streaked with white foam. The deck of the ship heaved and swayed beneath her feet.

‘Sail ho!’

‘Where away?’

‘Port bow, captain. It’s another lugger.’

White sails, rising and falling on the horizon. The sea, rolling and rolling, without end.

‘She’s one of ours, captain! I think it’s Black Joke!’

‘Make the recognition signal.’

Silence, waiting.

‘Weather’s coming up, captain.’ One of the great storm clouds was rolling towards them from the west.

Black Joke’s answering, captain. She’s spotted the Dutchman.’

The squall was drawing nearer. A few raindrops pattered on the already wet deck.

Black Joke is turning, sir! She’s running to cut the Dutchman off.’

‘Watch the Dutchman, lads, watch her’, said Haddock. ‘She’ll wait until the squall hits and then try to run back past us. Watch her sails; sing out the moment you see her turn.’

Rain was falling heavily now. Her cloak was saturated, she realised, and she was wet through to her small clothes. Her body shivered from head to foot, but she could not turn away.

‘Ma’am’, said Captain Haddock, ‘I am about to send the crew to quarters. You should go below.’

She did not know what that meant. She shook her head.

A whistle blew. A drum beat. Men ran across the rolling deck. The ropes securing the black guns were removed. Charges of powder were rammed down the muzzles, roundshot forced home after them.

The rain hit them in earnest, pouring out of the sky, streaming across the deck. The men around her were soaked through in an instant. The horizon vanished behind the curtain of rain.

‘She’s turning!’ Several voices shouting at once. They had seen the Dutch lugger’s sails turn just before the heavy rain blotted her from sight.

‘Hard a-starboard. Now, midships. Meet her.’

‘Steady as she goes, captain.’

‘Gun’s crews closed up and ready for action, sir.’

The rain hammered at them. A powerful gust of wind followed, kicking up the waves so that Stag corkscrewed across them, diving into the troughs. Mrs Chaytor grabbed for a rope and clung on as a big wave broke across the deck, green water up to her waist for a moment, then pouring away over the side.

Waiting, watching the rain for any sign of movement.

There she is!

Great red sails stretched taut, black hull shiny with wet driving over the heaving grey seas, white foam at her bow, perhaps three hundred yards away.

Hard a-starboard!

Flashes of flame, puffs of white smoke from the Dutch lugger’s deck; thuds of shot against the wooden hull, something tearing a hole in the sail overhead. Hardcastle was there beside her, white faced. ‘Amelia, what are you doing? Go below!’

She could not move; she could only shake her head.

‘It’s that God-damned Puckle gun! Look out, they’re firing again!’ Flash. Flash. Flash from the enemy deck, more thumps against the hull. Another puff of smoke and a cannonball tore a white leaping fountain from the face of an incoming wave.

‘Midships. Meet her.’

The Dutch ship was turning too, away to port. She could see the long barrel of the Puckle gun now, and the men around the other guns, reloading. At this distance their faces were white featureless blobs. Another cannon fired from the Dutchman’s deck, gushing smoke; this time, she heard the sharp crack of the explosion over the roar of wind and water.

Rain drumming on the deck, running down her face and into her eyes. The crash of waves under the bow, spray flying up in hissing sheets. Flash. Flash. Flash; the Puckle gun, firing again. Shouts from the men around her as the ship was hit.

‘Stand by the guns. Fire.’

White billowing smoke, a hammering in her ears that made her want to scream, the smoke twisting away quickly on the wind. ‘Did we hit her?’

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😲. Well, I don’t know! Did they? Or not? If you want to find out, The Body in the Boat is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

A J MacKenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, an Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife team of writers and historians.

They write non-fiction history and management books under their own names, but ‘become’ A J MacKenzie when writing fiction.

Twitter | Website

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