Body Heat by Candy Denman @CrimeCandy @CrimeSceneBooks @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #BodyHeat

Such a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for Body Heat by Candy Denman today. My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

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Author : Candy Denman
Title : Body Heat
Series : Jocasta Hughes Mysteries #2
Pages : 262
Publisher : Crime Scene Books
Publication date : May 24, 2018

aboutthebook

The second in the Dr Jocasta Hughes sees the Hastings Forensic Medical Practitioner faced with a gruesome series of murders which leave the remains of the victims twisted and charred. The hunt heats up for the arsonist, and so does Jo’s relationship with the exasperating DI Miller. A chilling mystery with lead characters you will want to spend more time with, and a murderer you would definitely want to avoid.

mythoughts

Body Heat is the second book in the Jocasta Hughes series, which I didn’t realise but it doesn’t matter as I had no problem at all getting immersed and following along.

Dr Jocasta Hughes, or Jo, is a part-time GP and part-time Forensic Consultant for the Hastings police department. This includes confirming a person is dead, for instance, or making sure someone held in a police cell is fit to be interviewed. I took to Jo right away. She’s an intelligent and determined woman, who’s always looking out for the people around her.

The action starts pretty much on the first page which is one sure-fire way to hook your readers from the get-go. When the body of a woman is found burned to death in an abandoned car, Dr Hughes is called out to the scene to confirm the woman is indeed dead. Little does she know this victim will not be the last one as the killer is most definitely on a mission.

During the investigation, one suspect is a young man who clearly has a learning disability. It was this part of the story that really grabbed me. The relentlessness of detectives as they go out of their way to get a confession made for quite an emotional read at times. This is also where Jo gets involved, as an appropriate adult and making sure her patient is as well as he can be.

Having the main character be a doctor and not an investigator is both incredibly refreshing and also slightly frustrating as I felt I was increasingly left out of the excitement of a murder case since Jo is rather on the fringes of it all. Sure, she has her sources and people willing to partake in a bit of gossip but it’s a bit different from being right there in the middle of the action of an investigation.

As for the killer, I was convinced I had it all figured out quite early on. I was wrong. Again. I’d make a horrible detective. It wasn’t until the final pages that the pieces of the puzzle came together. This is one seriously chilling killer and his choice of murder is quite horrendous.

Body Heat is a gripping and compelling serial killer mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed the balance between a murder investigation, Jo’s work at the GP surgery and her personal life including her parents, her best friend and the “will-they, won’t-they” relationship with Steve Miller. I feel this would make quite a fabulous tv series, as it goes. It was a delight meeting the entire cast of characters, even Jeffries, and I look forward to reading more about them in future. Might be a while until I have me some crispy bacon again, though.

Body Heat is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Candy Denman trained as a nurse, and worked in the NHS almost all her life, until recently managing to disengage herself in order to become a full-time crime writer. She has also written a number of scripts for such highly-acclaimed TV series as The Bill and Heartbeat.

Author links : Twitter

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The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson @penguinrandom

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Author : Dorothy Koomson
Title : The Brighton Mermaid
Pages : 490
Publisher : Random House UK
Publication date : May 17, 2018

aboutthebook

Brighton Beach, 1993: Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears.

Twenty-five years on, Nell quits her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer.

But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen. Someone seems to be watching her every move, and soon she starts to wonder who in her life she can actually trust.

mythoughts

Despite having had a copy of The Friend on my bookshelf for months, I’ve still not gotten around to reading it and so The Brighton Mermaid is my very first introduction to Dorothy Koomson. It only took a few pages for me to realise it won’t be the last time I pick up one of her books as I quickly fell for the author’s captivating writing style.

Twenty-five years ago, Nell and her best friend Jude, discover the body of a young girl on a Brighton beach. Despite having the most wonderful mermaid tattoo, the girl is never identified and her killer is never caught. A few weeks later, Jude disappears. Now, Nell has taken a year off work to try and figure out what happened to Jude and maybe finally solve the murder of the Brighton Mermaid, as she was called.

The story is told through the characters of Nell and her sister Macy, and seamlessly switches between the past and the present. Both sisters have been affected by past events. Nell has commitment issues and is seemingly obsessed, whereas Macy is riddled with anxiety issues. Even knowing where they were both coming from and sympathising with them, I found both the sisters incredibly hard to connect to. However, their character development is incredibly intriguing and often made me almost forget about the mysteries that needed solving. These are complex, multi-layered characters that drew me in and kept me immersed throughout.

There are some truly shocking moments that sometimes made this quite the uneasy read. Even more so as I have no doubt these things actually happen. Sadly. I don’t want to say anything more about this because I feel the impact will be even bigger when you read this for yourself. Suffice to say though, they pretty much all involve an absolutely vile and despicable character that made my skin crawl.

The Brighton Mermaid is incredibly well plotted and a truly compelling story. It’s dark, haunting, harrowing and disturbing. The first part of the story is relatively on the slow side as the scene is set but hold on to your pants when things really kick off! I couldn’t at all predict the outcome and ended up being suspicious of just about everyone. This brilliantly written book has put Dorothy Koomson firmly onto my radar and I very much look forward to reading some of her other work.

The Brighton Mermaid is available for purchase!

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

A Mind Polluted by Martin Geraghty @MartinGeraght1 @annecater #blogtour #giveaway #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to the final stop on the blog tour for A Mind Polluted by Martin Geraghty! Today, you have the opportunity to win a copy of A Mind Polluted. To be in with a chance to win, follow the instructions further down the page.

First, here is what A Mind Polluted is all about.

My thanks to Anne Cater and Martin Geraghty!

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Author : Martin Geraghty
Title : A Mind Polluted
Pages : 287
Publisher : Crooked Cat Books
Publication date : May 10, 2018

aboutthebook

Triggered by overhearing a confession from his mother’s lips when he was a young boy, Connor Boyd carries the burden of the secret through his life.

Is falling in love his saviour? Or will he embark on a journey down a self-destructive path which ultimately leads to his version of justice?

Will he concentrate on his future, or be consumed by his past?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Martin Geraghty is a forty-five-year-old from Glasgow. He is a self-employed Private Investigator who claims his profession is not remotely as interesting as it may seem.

Human beings and how they react to the various curveballs that life throws at them is generally what inspires him to write.

He has had work published in various lit-zines including Razur Cuts and Glove.

When not writing or playing amateur detective, he can be found on a golf course or indulging in his chief passions, food, wine and music.

A Mind Polluted is his debut novel.

*** GIVEAWAY ***

To be in with a chance to win a paperback of A Mind Polluted, follow these ridiculously simple instructions.

Follow https://twitter.com/noveldeelights
Like and RT the pinned tweet
Tag some friends

And that’s it. The giveaway is open internationally and will run until Wednesday, May 16th, midnight UK time.

The winner will be chosen randomly and will be notified via Twitter on Thursday. Please be aware you will of course be required to give me your details to pass on so the book can be posted to you. Your details will only be used for the purpose of this giveaway.

Novel Deelights is not responsible for despatch or delivery of this prize.

Good luck!

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The Night of the Party by Rachael English @EnglishRachael @HachetteIre

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Author : Rachael English
Title : The Night of the Party
Pages : 393
Publisher : Hachette Ireland
Publication Day : May 3, 2018

aboutthebook

January 1982: In the village of Kilmitten, the Crossan family are holding their annual party during the biggest snowstorm Ireland has seen in decades. By the end of the night, the parish priest, Father Leo Galvin, is dead.

The lives of four teenagers – Tom, Conor, Tess and Nina – who had been drinking beer and smoking in a shed at the back of the house, will never be the same. But one of them carries a secret from that night that he has never shared.

The friends go on to lead very different, separate lives – some quiet, others in the media spotlight – but the four remain connected by what happened during the time of the big snow.

As the thirty-fifth anniversary of Father Galvin’s murder approaches, Conor, now a senior police officer, becomes obsessed with the crime his father failed to solve. He believes that Tom can help identify Father Galvin’s killer. But does Tom wish to break his silence?

His dilemma draws the four friends back together, forcing them to question their lives and to confront their differences. But only Tom can decide whether Kilmitten’s secret will finally be revealed.

mythoughts

I absolutely loved Rachael English’s previous novel, The American Girl. So much so, that I was never quite able to put it into words and the review remained unwritten. Since then, I sat eagerly awaiting the author’s next offering and it sure was worth the wait. The Night of the Party and its various characters had me completely enthralled.

The story begins in 1982 when Tom’s parents throw their annual January party during a massive snowstorm. By the end of the night the parish priest, Father Leo Galvin, is dead. The lives of Tom and his friends, and the other villagers, will never quite be the same again. Kilmitten is a quiet village, where nothing ever happens and the priest’s death rocks this little community to its very core. It will take thirty-five years for this mystery to be solved and the story follows Tom, Conor, Tess and Nina throughout the decades. As Tom and his friends go on with their lives, the mystery surrounding Father Leo’s death remains with them. Some won’t rest until it is is solved, others wish the whole thing would just go away.

I was a teenager in the 80’s myself and so I truly enjoy stories set in that era. Despite the fact they make me feel rather ancient. The mention of certain bands or items of clothing is enough to turn me into a gigantic puddle of nostalgic goo. The struggles Tom and his friends go through felt quite relatable. There’s always that one friend who seems to have everything together and knows exactly what to do with their life. And there’s the one who doesn’t have a clue, who drifts from course to course, from job to job and hopes some day they’ll figure it out. (That was me, in case you wondered. Still haven’t figure it out 😉)

As an avid crime fiction reader, you’d think I’d be all about trying to solve the case of Father Leo’s death. While I admit it was always in the back of my mind, I actually found myself utterly absorbed by the lives of Tom and his friends. Their careers, or lack thereof, their relationships, families, hopes and dreams, lost loves and grief … it was all brilliantly engaging and I cared about these characters, rooted for them, urged them on and sometimes felt sorry for them as well.

Set in the lovely surroundings of Ireland, this beautifully written tale kept me engrossed from start to finish. The Night of the Party is a truly wonderful story about friendship, secrets and life in a small community with characters I began to miss as soon as I turned the final page. The journey through the decades really highlights the differences in the way lives were led, beliefs and thoughts changed, albeit it a slower pace in a village like Kilmitten. This is a captivating and enchanting story that wormed its way into my heart and I very much look forward to whatever is next from Rachael English.

My thanks to Rachael English for my stunning copy!

The Night of the Party is available for purchase.

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

No Remorse by Robert Crouch @robertcrouchuk @CarolineBookBit #blogtour

It’s a real pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for No Remorse by Robert Crouch today! My thanks to Robert and Caroline Vincent for the invitation and the review copy.

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Author : Robert Crouch
Title : No Remorse
Series : Kent Fisher Mysteries #3
Pages : 256
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : May 7, 2018

aboutthebook

An old man dead. Dementia or murder? Threats won’t stop Kent Fisher from finding out.

At luxury retirement home, Nightingales, appearance matters more than the truth. But what is the truth? Was Anthony Trimble killed as he predicted? If so, who wanted him out of the way, and why?

Kent puzzles over the only clue Trimble left him. Do the numbers come from a takeaway menu or are they a mysterious code that could reveal his darkest secret?

As Kent digs deep, people start dying.

Will Kent win the race to discover the truth, or become the next victim?

mythoughts

When Kent Fisher visits the local luxury retirement home, Nightingales, he’s accosted by a man called Anthony Trimble who claims someone wants to kill him. Anthony suffers from dementia and Kent isn’t quite sure what to make of his comment. But when Anthony suddenly dies, Kent can’t help but investigate. Surely, this can’t be a coincidence? Someone would prefer Kent not sticking his nose into their business and he starts receiving threats. That won’t stop him from digging for the truth though.

What a delight it’s been catching up with Kent once again. No Remorse is the third book in the Kent Fisher mysteries and even thought it may not be entirely necessary, I would definitely recommend reading them all in order. Not only because they’re fun and entertaining, but also because the relationships between the characters and Kent’s background will make a bit more sense.

As Kent is an environmental health officer, we get a different look at what goes on in a retirement home. Nightingales is all about appearances but there seem to be a few rather fishy things going on. Kent’s investigation also leads him to interact with a few other elder village residents who may not exactly be getting the care they so deserve. It’s rather frightening and worrying sometimes.

In this story, Kent gets a lot of help from Louise, the receptionist at Nightingales. She also works as a waitress and we all know by now how much Kent likes waitresses. On top of all of that, Kent has to deal with Gemma’s engagement to Richard and there is of course still the future of his sanctuary to consider. With all of that going on and still trying to juggle his daytime job as well, it’s a miracle he doesn’t have a nap in the middle of the road, to be honest.

No Remorse has enough intrigue to keep you hooked from start to finish. This is a thoroughly entertaining, well-paced story with fun and well-developed characters, a healthy dose of humour and even a few sad moments. I couldn’t at all figure out what was going on and Robert Crouch kept me guessing until the end. Kent Fisher as an amateur detective is a breath of fresh air, making this cosy mystery series utterly enjoyable. If gore and bloody gruesomeness isn’t exactly your thing but you do like a good old-fashioned mystery, you should definitely give these a go!

No Remorse is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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Blog Tour Poster No Remorse - Robert Crouch - Final Cover

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

Finders Keepers by K.T. Finch @bookouture #blogblitz

Good morning! I’m kicking off the week with a stop on the blog blitz for Finders Keepers by K.T. Finch. My thanks to Team Bookouture for the review copy!

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Author : K.T. Finch
Title : Finders Keepers
Pages : 273
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : April 30, 2018

aboutthebook

Noah Kendall loves his family, but hates his teaching job. Mortgage, bills and mouths to be fed: he’s stuck in a rut. And with more debts piling up each day, he knows that something has to change.

As he opens yet another red letter, he has to get out and clear his head, despite the heavy Alaskan snow outside. His legs ache as he runs deeper into the forest, until he notices something in the distance – a crashed car, sitting dead still. Inside, a girl sits slumped in the driver’s seat, eyes closed, mouth open, skin grey beneath the winter frost.

And then beside her he sees it: a bag of money. And lots of it. Enough to pay off his debt and start a whole new life. And it’s just sitting there, waiting for him to take it…

What would you do?

mythoughts

What would you do indeed? The premise of this storyline really makes you think. When you’re not happy with your job, when your partner works ridiculous hours, when the unpaid bills keep piling up and final notices hit you left, right and centre … when life is basically a big flamin’ pile of poo and you can’t see a way to fix things. But then suddenly, you stumble upon a fortune.

This is what happens to Noah. He works as a teacher but hates his job and is now on a sabbatical so he can write a novel. His wife is a nurse who’s spending more time at the hospital than at home because they need the money. Yet, they still fall behind on payments. One morning, Noah goes for a run and finds a car with a dead girl on the driver’s seat. Next to her is a very alluring bag full of money. Lots of money! Where did it come from? Is anyone missing it? And who’s the girl?

The story is told through two characters : Noah and his neighbour Charlie. I must say I didn’t particularly like Noah. He’s a bit of creep, as it goes, and he doesn’t exactly come up smelling like roses when we are first introduced to him. It also bothered me that he seemed perfectly okay with letting his wife work those long hours, while he pretty much sat around doing very little, staring at a blank screen or just being a perv. Charlie, on the other hand, was much more likeable and I felt for her at times, dealing with her job as a 911 operator.

Set in the unforgiving landscape of Alaska, Finders Keepers puts ordinary, normal people in not-so-normal and rather extraordinary circumstances. There are some dubious decisions, sometimes even insanely dumb ones but these are amateurs, not professionals. It’s easy to sit here and judge their actions but of course it’s completely different when you’re living it. The plot does require you to suspend belief a little bit as some things felt rather far-fetched to me but this is nonetheless an entertaining story and it had me wondering what the outcome would be.

So, what would you do? Personally, I’d take the money and run with the speed of light. Just in case, at some point in the future you don’t hear from me, toodles and it was nice knowing you all. 😉

Finders Keepers is out today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

KT Finch writes psychological thrillers filled with murder, mystery and shocking twists.

KT Finch was raised in Pennsylvania and she spent her adult life in Southern California. She’s a bestselling fiction author and novelist, writing in the mysteries and thrillers genre. She writes thrillers, mysteries and suspense novels about ordinary people put in extraordinary circumstances. In a previous life, KT Finch has worked as a mathematics professor, content marketer, and resume writer.

Facebook | Twitter

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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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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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04192018_bodyboat

Code Runner & Binary Witness by Rosie Claverton @rosieclaverton @CrimeSceneBooks @annecater #blogtour #AmyLaneMysteries #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Code Runner and Binary Witness. These are the first two books in the Amy Lane Mysteries and author Rosie Claverton visits the blog to talk about how to make an old book new again. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity.

Author : Rosie Claverton
Title : Code Runner & Binary Witness
Series : The Amy Lane Mysteries 1 & 2
Pages : 100 pages
Publisher : Crime Scene Books
Publication date : April 19, 2018

aboutthebook

Binary Witness : A young woman trapped by her fear, a young man pursued by his past, a murderer hunting the Cardiff streets by night. Agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane employs ex-con Jason Carr as a cleaner. When the police `borrow’ Amy’s skills to help track down the killer, Amy and Jason become a crime-fighting team, Amy on her computer, Jason on the streets.

Code Runner : Agoraphobic grey-hat hacker Amy Lane and her sidekick ex-con Jason Carr make a formidable crime-fighting team, but when Jason investigates a body washed up on a beach, the duo find themselves in over their heads in a world of drug-smuggling, conspiracy and cyber crime. Can Amy rescue Jason? At what cost?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

guestpost

An old book made new again by Rosie Claverton

I’m in an unusual position with my crime series The Amy Lane Mysteries – I have the pleasure of launching the first two books twice!

I wrote Binary Witness during the National Novel Writing Month of 2011. After several rounds of revisions, I submitted to an ebook-only publisher and landed a two-book deal! Binary Witness set sail in May 2014, with Code Runner following in the September.

And I never read those books again.

Unfortunately, my publisher wasn’t interested in a third Amy Lane mystery, but Crime Scene Books were excited about continuing the series. I wrote the third novel Captcha Thief, which was published in 2016, and the fourth novel Terror 404 came out in 2017.

I worked on other projects. I grew and learned as a writer. I now know that I always struggle with the first third of the book, gather momentum around the midpoint, and then draw everything together for a heart-stopping finale. I am a much better novelist than I was in 2011.

That’s when my editor at Crime Scene Books told me that they had acquired the rights to Binary Witness and Code Runner. The two books would be relaunched as new editions in paperback, with a Binary Witness audiobook and a short story extra in Code Runner.

Which meant I was going back to revise my first published novels.

I was filled with dread at what I might find. I hadn’t picked either of them up for three years! What if they weren’t actually any good? What if I discovered the characters were completely different people? What if the material there couldn’t be salvaged? Would I need to hide away in shame at what I had first drafted before I was a wife, mother and psychiatrist, six long years in the past?

The first thing I did was correct the glaring error in the first chapter that I had inadvertently introduced during copy edits and which had haunted me since publication. That felt good. Then, I read on. It wasn’t bad! It was good, even. I fell in love with my characters again and I remembered how they were at the beginning of their stories, how they’ve changed and grown into how I’m writing them in the fifth novel of the series.

Would I write the same books now? Probably not. Yet the later books flow from the first ones, a river whose source must retain the same purity of water. I can respect the work of my past and, apart from shifting around a chapter or two and trimming a lot of adverbs, I didn’t radically change the books before sending them out into the world again.

Amy and Jason begin their story in largely the same way they did in 2014, and I hope to continue telling their stories for many years to come.

[Thanks so much for stopping by, Rosie! Wishing you the best of luck with the Amy Lane Mysteries!)

abouttheauthor

Rosie Claverton grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home.

Her Cardiff-based crime series The Amy Lane Mysteries debuted in 2014, with the latest novel Terror 404 released in June 2017.

Between writing and medicine, she blogs about psychiatry and psychology for writers in her Freudian Script series, advocating for accurate and sensitive portrayals of people with mental health problems in fiction.

Rosie lives with her journalist husband and her brand new daughter.

Twitter | Website

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