It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Flowers over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti today. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
In a quiet village surrounded by ancient woods and the imposing Italian Alps, a man is found naked with his eyes gouged out. It is the first in a string of gruesome murders.
Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, a detective with a background in criminal profiling, is called to investigate. Battaglia is in her mid-sixties, her rank and expertise hard-won from decades of battling for respect in the male-dominated Italian police force. While she’s not sure she trusts the young city inspector assigned to assist her, she sees right away that this is no ordinary case: buried deep in these mountains are whispers of a dark and dangerous history, possibly tied to a group of eight-year-old children toward whom the killer seems to gravitate.
As Teresa inches closer to the truth, she must also confront the possibility that her body and mind, worn down by age and illness, may fail her before the chase is over.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Well, this is a novel experience. After all the Scandi-Noir that’s flooding onto the crime fiction market, Flowers Over The Inferno leaves Scandinavia far behind and takes us south. To Italy, as a matter of fact. Although, the setting is in the Alps so you know, it’s still cold and there’s still snow. But still.
There we meet Detective Teresa Battaligia. If you’re a wee tired of the stereotypical detective in your crime fiction, you’ll absolutely love Teresa. She’s not your average spring chicken being as she’s in her sixties, slightly overweight, definitely a diabetic and also struggling with some other health issues she’s not yet quite ready to face when we first meet her. But Teresa has decades of experience, knows a thing or two about profiling, and is an indomitable force to be reckoned with.
A naked man is found dead in the forest with his eyes gouged out. Teresa’s instincts immediately tell her this is no ordinary case but can she catch the killer before they strike again? A young city inspector, Marini, is assigned to her team to help out but Teresa isn’t sure about him. Despite Marini’s various attempts to win over his new boss, she seems to think he’s the most incompetent person ever.
Most of the action plays itself out in the present day but we also get glimpses into events from the past that are rather harrowing from the get-go. I don’t want to say anything else about that but suffice to say someone’s dark and tragic past will heavily influence the present. These bits of information are fed to the reader throughout the story, always immensely enticing but not giving away too much information so I was trying insanely hard to pick up clues somewhere along the way and true to form, failing miserably. It’s not the easiest of topics and in a somewhat odd way, I was left to sympathise with the wrong characters.
Flowers over the Inferno is intense, gripping and incredibly addictive. It’s easy to see why this introduction to Teresa Battaglia was the biggest debut of last year in Italy. It’s not only the investigation into the murder that keeps the reader’s attention, it’s also the fabulous character that is Teresa herself. While her health may make her vulnerable, she refuses to give in, which makes her someone to be admired and someone you root for.
This is the first instalment in a trilogy and I absolutely can’t wait for the next book and an opportunity to catch up with Teresa again.
ILARIA TUTI lives in Friuli, in the far north-eastern part of Italy. FLOWERS OVER THE INFERNO, her debut novel and the first book in the Teresa Battaglia trilogy, was a top 10 bestseller on publication and the biggest debut of 2018 in Italy.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Where She Lies by Michael Scanlon. My thanks to Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for the review copy!
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
In a town full of liars, who can you trust?
When Detective Finnegan Beck is demoted from his high-powered job in Dublin and relocated in disgrace to the small Irish town of Cross Beg, he predicts boredom will be his biggest threat.
But then a beautiful, local teenage girl is found strangled in the cold, dark woods a mile from town. The prime suspect is the seemingly-gentle drifter who found Tanya’s body.
Beck seems to be the only person who can’t escape the feeling that Tanya wasn’t killed at random. As he digs deeper into the shadows of Cross Beg, he begins to realise it isn’t the sleepy backwater he’d first believed. Everyone here has something to hide. Tanya had a boyfriend, whose name no one knew. A best friend with a loose relationship with the truth. And a habit she thought she’d kept hidden from everyone.
But, just as Beck believes he is making progress, the body of one of the suspects is found drowned in the river. Is the killer just getting started?
| MY THOUGHTS |
Where She Lies is the first instalment in a brand-new Irish crime series featuring Detective Finnegan Beck. A former inspector, Beck finds himself demoted to Sergeant in the small Irish town of Cross Beg. His main objective is to return to Dublin and not get too involved in whatever goes on in Cross Beg. But when a young girl is found murdered in the woods, Beck can’t help digging deeper.
Cross Beg isn’t exactly what Beck imagined it to be. For a town so small, where everyone seems to know everyone else’s business, there are a lot of secrets and skeletons in the closets and everyone seems to have something to hide. The murdered girl too was up to all sorts. She may have had a boyfriend but nobody knows who it is. Is he responsible for her murder? Police zero in on a suspect but when this person is found dead as well, does this mean the case is closed or is it merely the start of something far more sinister?
The investigation is a frustrating one. There are no clues to speak of so where does one even begin to look for a killer? With a lot of the town residents acting shifty and suspiciously, I had no idea whatsoever as to who was responsible or why. I must admit that I didn’t particularly connect to any of these characters. Yet Michael Scanlon managed to hold my attention because he gives very little away and I felt compelled to keep reading until the truth was revealed.
Finnegan Beck stands out from the crowd with an intriguing backstory as to why he ended up in this town in the first place. Beck is damaged, flawed and has a drinking problem. But he also has that fascinating copper’s nose and is immensely perceptive. I think he might be one of those characters that will get increasingly more interesting when the reader gets to know him better.
All in all a solid start to a new series and it’ll be interesting to see where Michael Scanlon takes Beck next.
Michael Scanlon is a civilian employee of the An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force), but a life threatening undiagnosed illness that struck while travelling in Spain in 2014 has rendered him on long term sick leave. He is married to Eileen and has a daughter, Sarah. He lives in the countryside outside the town of Ballina in County Mayo. The town has arguably the best salmon river in Europe, called the Moy.
Happy Friday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Stalker by Lars Keppler! My thanks to Abby Endler for the invitation to join! Today, I’m sharing an extract with you but first, here is what Stalker is all about.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
The Swedish National Crime Unit receives a video of a young woman in her home, clearly unaware that she’s being watched. Soon after the tape is received, the woman’s body is found horrifically mutilated. With the arrival of the next, similar video, the police understand that the killer is toying with them, warning of a new victim, knowing there’s nothing they can do.
Detective Margot Silverman is put in charge of the investigation, and soon asks Detective Joona Linna for help. Linna, in turn, recruits Erik Maria Bark, the hypnotist and expert in trauma, with whom Linna’s worked before. Bark is leery of forcing people to give up their secrets. But this time, Bark is the one hiding things.
Years before, he had put a man away for an eerily similar crime, and now he’s beginning to think that an innocent man may be behind bars–and a serial killer still on the loose.
| EXTRACT |
It’s a quarter to nine on Friday, August 22. After the magical sunsets and light nights of high summer, darkness is encroaching with surprising speed. It’s already dusk outside the National Police Authority.
Margot Silverman gets out of the elevator and walks toward the security doors in the foyer. She’s wearing a black cardigan, a white blouse that fits tightly around her chest, and long black pants whose high waist is stretched across her expanding stomach. She ambles toward the revolving doors in the glass wall. Margot’s hair is the color of polished birch wood and is pulled into a thick braid down her back. She has moist eyes and rosy cheeks. She is thirty-six years old and pregnant with her third child.
She’s heading home after a long week. She’s worked overtime every day and has received two warnings for pushing herself too hard. She is the new police expert on serial killers, spree killers, and stalkers. The murder of Maria Carlsson is the first case she’s been in charge of since her appointment.
There are no witnesses and no suspects. The victim was single and had no children. She worked as a product adviser for Ikea and had inherited her parents’ unmortgaged town house after her father died and her mother went into a nursing home.
On most days, Maria traveled to work with a colleague. They would meet down on Kyrk Road. When she wasn’t there that morning, her colleague drove to her house and rang the doorbell, looked through the windows, and then walked around the back and saw her. She was sitting on the floor, her face covered in knife wounds, her neck almost sliced through, her head lolling to one side, and her mouth strangely wide open. According to the postmortem, there was evidence to suggest that her mouth had been so arranged after death.
When Margot was appointed to head the investigation, she knew she couldn’t seem too aggressive. She has a tendency to be overeager. Her colleagues would have laughed if she’d told them she was absolutely convinced that they were dealing with a serial killer.
Over the course of the week, Margot has watched the video of Maria Carlsson putting her tights on more than two hundred times. All the evidence suggests she was murdered shortly after the recording was uploaded to YouTube. Margot can’t see anything that makes this video special. It’s not unusual for people to have a tights fetish, but nothing about the murder indicates that sort of inclination. The video is simply a brief excerpt from an ordinary woman’s life. She’s single, has a good job, and takes cartoon drawing classes at night.
There’s no way of knowing why the perpetrator was in her garden, whether it was pure chance or the result of a carefully planned operation, but in the minutes before the murder, he captured her on video. Given that he sent the link to the police, he must have wanted to show them something. He wanted to highlight something about this particular woman, or a certain type of woman. Maybe it’s about all women. But to Margot’s eyes, there’s nothing unusual about the woman’s behavior or appearance. She’s simply concentrating on getting her tights on properly.
Margot has visited the house on Bredablicks Road twice, but she’s spent most of her time examining the video of the crime scene before it was contaminated.
The perpetrator’s film almost looks like a lovingly created work of art compared to the police’s crime scene video. The forensics team’s minutely detailed recording of the evidence is relentless. The dead woman is filmed from various angles as she sits with her legs stretched out on the floor, surrounded by dark blood. Her bra is in shreds, dangling from one shoulder, and one white breast hangs down toward the bulge of her stomach. There’s almost nothing left of her face, just a gaping mouth surrounded by red pulp.
Margot stops as if by chance beside the fruit bowl, glances over at the guard, who is talking on the phone, then turns her back to him. For a few seconds, she watches the guard’s reflection in the glass wall, then takes six apples from the bowl and puts them in her bag. Six is too many, she knows that, but she can’t stop herself. It’s occurred to her that Jenny might like to make an apple pie that evening, with lots of butter, cinnamon, and sugar.
Her thoughts are interrupted when her phone rings. She looks at the screen and sees a picture of Adam Youssef, a member of the investigating team.
“Are you still in the building?” Adam asks. “Please tell me you’re still here, because we’ve—”
“I’m sitting in the car on Klarastrands Road,” Margot lies. “What do you need?”
“He’s uploaded a new video.”
She feels her stomach clench and puts one hand under the heavy bulge. “A new video,” she repeats.
“Are you coming back?”
“I’ll stop and turn around,” she says, and begins to retrace her steps. “Make sure we get a decent copy of the recording.”
Margot could have just gone home, leaving the case in Adam’s hands. It would take only a phone call to arrange a full year of paid maternity leave. Her fate is hanging in the balance. She doesn’t know what this case will bring, but she can sense its gravity, its dark pull.
The light in the elevator makes her face seem older in the reflection of the shining doors. The thick, dark line of mascara around her eyes is almost gone. As she leans her head back, she realizes she’s starting to look like her father, the former commissioner.
The elevator stops at the eighth floor, and she walks along the empty hallway as fast as her bulging stomach will allow. She and Adam moved into Joona Linna’s old office the same week the police held a memorial service for him. Margot never knew Joona personally and had no problem taking over his office.
“You have a fast car,” Adam says as she walks in, then smiles, showing his sharp teeth.
“Pretty fast,” Margot replies.
Adam joined the police force after a brief stint as a professional soccer player. He is twenty-eight years old, with long hair and a round youthful face. His short-sleeved shirt is untucked.
“How long has the video been up?” she asks.
“Three minutes,” Adam says. “He’s there now. Standing outside the window and—”
“We don’t know that, but—”
“I think he is,” he interrupts.
Margot sets her heavy bag on the floor, sits down on her chair, and calls forensics.
“Margot here. Have you downloaded a copy?” she asks. “Listen, I need a location or a name. All the resources you’ve got. You have five minutes—do whatever the hell you want—just give me something, and I promise I’ll let you go so you can enjoy your Friday evening.”
She puts the phone down and opens the pizza box on Adam’s desk. “Are you done with this?” she asks.
There’s a ping as an email arrives, and Margot quickly stuffs a piece of pizza crust into her mouth. A worry line deepens on her forehead. She clicks on the video file and maximizes the onscreen image, pushes her braid over her shoulder, and rolls her chair back so Adam can see.
The first shot is an illuminated window shimmering in the darkness. The camera moves slowly closer through leaves that brush the lens. Margot feels the hair on her arms stand up.
A woman is in front of a television, eating ice cream from a carton. She’s pulled her sweatpants down and is balancing on one foot. One of her socks is off. She glances at the television and smiles at something, then licks the spoon.
The only sound in police headquarters is the computer fan.
Just give me one detail to go on, Margot thinks as she looks at the woman’s face. Her body seems to be steaming with residual heat. She’s just been for a run. The elastic of her underwear is loose after too many washings, and her bra is clearly visible through her sweat-stained shirt.
Margot leans closer to the screen, her stomach pressing against her thighs, and her heavy braid falls forward over her shoulder.
“One minute to go,” Adam says.
The woman sets the carton of ice cream on the coffee table and leaves the room, her sweatpants still dangling from one foot.The camera follows her, moving sideways past a narrow door until it reaches the bedroom window, where the light goes on and the woman comes into view. She kicks her pants off. They fly through the air, hit the wall behind an armchair with a red cushion, and fall to the floor.
Eek. Creepy! If this extract has left you wanting more, then Stalker is available to buy!
LARS KEPLER is the pseudonym of the critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. Their number one internationally bestselling Joona Linna series has sold more than twelve million copies in forty languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler and have each published several acclaimed novels. They live in Stockholm, Sweden.
It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter. I have an extract to share with you all but first, here is what the book is about.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy in particular is fighting for his life.
It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying…
| EXTRACT |
Anna was still staring at the photo half a minute later when her office door was thrust open and Detective Inspector Max Walker came rushing in. His face was pinched and tense and his bald head was shiny with perspiration.
He held up a sheet of paper and said, ‘We’ve got a live one, guv. Call just came in and it sounds pretty serious.’
Anna was at once alert. Even though he was still in his early thirties, Walker was one of the most experienced members of her team, and he was not prone to exaggeration.
‘There’s an ongoing incident at a nursery school in Peabody Street, Rotherhithe,’ he said. ‘Three men with guns entered the place and locked the all-female staff in a storeroom. There are four of them and one has been badly beaten.’
Anna jumped to her feet.
‘Who called it in?’
‘One of the women from inside the room. She used a phone the men didn’t know they had.’
‘Jesus. If it’s a nursery then there must be children.’
Walker nodded. ‘There are nine kids apparently, but the staff have no idea what’s happening to them because they were put into another room.’
Anna felt her chest contract as the adrenalin fizzed through her veins.
‘Have shots been fired?’ she asked.
Walker shook his head. ‘Not so far.’
‘Thank God for that.’ She grabbed her jacket from the back of her chair. ‘We’d better get over there fast.’
Minutes later they were in an unmarked pool car that was among dozens of police vehicles from all over South London converging on the Peabody Nursery School in Rotherhithe. Walker was driving while Anna concentrated on the constant stream of updates over the radio.
Yikes! If this extract has left you wanting more, In Safe Hands is now available to buy!
J. P. Carter is the pseudonym of a bestselling author who has also written sixteen books under the names Jaime and James Raven.
Before becoming a full-time writer he spent a career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and television producer. He was, for a number of years, director of a major UK news division and co-owned a TV production company. He now splits his time between homes in Hampshire and Spain with his wife. (
Absolutely thrilled to join the blog tour A Promise To The Dead by Victoria Jenkins today! My thanks to Team Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
On a dark night, on a mountain road, a young couple, Matthew and Stacey, are on their way home from a night out. Their car breaks down and Matthew leaves to look for help. By the next morning, Stacey is found murdered in the car and Matthew is missing, presumed guilty of her murder.
Called to the scene, Detective Alex King and her team soon see some terrifying links – to another local young man who is missing, and to the discovery of a body from 30 years ago.
Alex knows that the missing and the dead have a story to tell her. But will she hear it in time to uncover the killer before they strike again?
| MY THOUGHTS |
Matthew and his girlfriend Stacey are driving along a dark and quiet mountain road when their car breaks down. Matthew goes to find help, leaving Stacey alone in the car. But by the next morning, Stacey is dead and Matthew is nowhere to be found.
But that is not all and the team is overwhelmed with various cases landing on their desks all at once. Because on top of Stacey’s murder and Matthew’s disappearance, there is another missing person and the discovery of a body under a patio. There are few clues, a bit of frustration and lots of dead-ends. I too couldn’t see the forest for the trees and Victoria Jenkins managed to keep me guessing until the end, as always. As I’ve come to expect, there is some seriously heartbreaking stuff in this storyline, which left me with a massive lump in my throat. True to form, Victoria Jenkins manages to to make the reader sympathise with just about every character you meet, and that includes the ones who are committing a crime.
A Promise to the Dead had me hooked from the first page. It had me flipping the pages faster and faster, sitting on the edge of my seat with my heartbeat racing from the nail-biting tension. This is yet another insanely addictive page-turner with various layers and threads that have no problem whatsoever holding your attention throughout.
Back when I picked up the first book in the Detectives King & Lane series, The Girls in the Water, I just knew I was in for something special. There was something about Victoria Jenkins’ writing, the incredible plotting and the absolutely fantastic main female characters that got my pulse racing. Every book since then just got better and better and now here we are, at what looks like it might be the last one. For now, at least.
If this is to be the end, what a way to go. I’ll miss Alex and Chloë but this entire series has been the most incredible ride and I’m thrilled to have been a part of it from the very beginning. I absolutely love this series and no matter what Victoria Jenkins tackles next, I’ll be first in line!
Victoria Jenkins is a Welsh author who has made a name for herself writing the highly popular Detective King and Lane series of novels. The first novel in the series was “The Girls In The Water” that Jenkins first published in 2017, to much critical acclaim and popularity among crime fiction fans. The series of novels features Detective Constable Chloe Lane and Detective Inspector Alex King, who are the lead investigative characters that solve some mysterious murders in their hometown.
Jenkins lives with her husband and daughter in South Wales, where her series of crime novels featuring Detectives King and Lane is based.
When a mummified body is found in a renovated building, the gruesome discovery leads Detective Kay Hunter and her team into a complex murder investigation.
The subsequent police inquiry exposes corruption, lies and organised crime within the tight-knit community – and Kay’s determination to seek justice for the young murder victim could ruin the reputations of men who will do anything to protect their business interests.
But as Kay closes in on the killer, tragedy strikes closer to home in an event that will send a shockwave through her personal life and make her question everything she values.
Can Kay keep her private and professional life under control while she tries to unravel one of the strangest murder cases of her career?
| MY THOUGHTS |
Whenever a Kay Hunter book lands on my Kindle, I get quite excited because I just know I’ll be in for a treat. Bridge to Burn is no different. By now, getting to hang out with Kay Hunter almost feels like meeting up with a friend for coffee and cake, asking them how their week went. Almost, because Kay’s job obviously leads to topics that aren’t exactly fun conversations to be had over something as delicious as cake.
Case in point, this time around Kay and her team find themselves in the middle of a complex investigation when a mummified body is found in the ceiling of an office building. As you do. Who is this person? How did they get there? Was it an accident, a dare gone wrong or were they killed? So many questions!
And just like that we’re off on a journey through corruption, lies and a criminal or two. This intricate plot didn’t at all go where I thought it would go and it kept me guessing until the end. Sure, I had a long list of suspects but I couldn’t spot a motive anywhere which led to much frustration and endless mutterings. Every time it felt like the team was making progress, something would happen that put them right back at square one. As events unfold, you feel as if you’re right there with them, trying to figure it all out.
With each new Kay Hunter instalment, my expectations are high and Rachel Amphlett manages to deliver every single time. This series is rock solid, has been from the very beginning. Kay and her team make for fantastic characters and I love how Rachel Amphlett continues to combine Kay’s job and her personal life effortlessly. Because isn’t that how things are? Sometimes you take the job home with you, sometimes you take home to work with you. It makes it all so much more realistic and believable.
If you haven’t yet gotten to know Kay, please do so. This is truly a fantastic series which keeps going from strength to strength and I can’t wait to hang out with Kay again soon!
With thanks to Rachel Amphlett for the review copy!
Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for The Silent Dead by Graham Smith! My thanks to Noelle at Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for my review copy!
Detective Beth Young has just joined the Cumbrian major crimes team when a body is found posed in a ritualistic manner – arms spread and graceful wings attached – at a crumbling castle in the hills of the Lake District.
The entire police force are on red alert. But Beth begins to feel she’s the only one who can follow the disturbing clues left by the twisted killer. Because she doesn’t think like everyone else. To Beth, crimes are puzzles she can solve. Even if real life is a little harder.
As more bodies are discovered in derelict stately homes across the Lake District, she knows she’s in a race against time.
But the killer is looking for another victim to add to his collection… Will Beth be able to save her? Or will he get there first?
Some of you may be familiar with Graham Smith’s other brilliant series featuring Jake Boulder. If you’re not, please go forth and fix the error of your ways or I may just have to stop talking to you 😉. Now though, Graham Smith has decided to walk a different path with a new crime police procedural.
The Silent Dead introduces us to Beth Young, who has just recently started working at the Force Major Investigation Team (FMIT). Beth is indeed young, determined and ambitious. Spurred on by the scars she carries herself, her main focus is justice for the victims and their families whose lives have been changed forever because of a crime.
When the body of a man is found in a derelict mansion, Beth and the rest of the FMIT team face an uphill battle. Who is the victim? Why was his body left in this particular place? What did he do that could possibly warrant such an incredibly gruesome death? Like seriously! This is one of those times where I curse my vivid imagination! Anyway, it becomes clear quite early on that the killer has a plan and they won’t stop until their mission is completed.
The investigation is an utterly frustrating one, a feeling I very much shared with the team. I wasn’t able to connect the dots at all and was left to think I was missing vital clues somewhere. But Beth has an uncanny way of thinking slightly out of the box, which is pretty admirable. Despite that, I didn’t really like her all that much, although I can’t quite put my finger on the why. That said though, I really enjoyed following a character at the start of their career as opposed to an experienced and often disillusioned DI.
The Silent Dead has a great plot and crisp writing, as I’ve come to expect from Graham Smith. Tense and compelling, it creates the perfect foundation for a brand-new series and is an exciting and brilliant first instalment. Beth has a rather different background than most of the detectives we tend to meet in this genre and it will be interesting to see how that develops. If at all. I can’t wait to see where Graham Smith takes Beth and this series next.
Graham Smith is the bestselling author of four explosive crime thrillers in the Jake Boulder series, Watching the Bodies, The Kindred Killers, Past Echoes and Die Cold. Watching the Bodies spent over two weeks at number one in the Amazon UK chart and Amazon CA charts. Graham is also the author of the popular DI Harry Evans series and has collections of short stories and novellas. His latest novel – The Silent Dead is published by Bookouture and set in Cumbria / the Lake District, featuring DC Beth Young.
He is the proud father of a young son. As a time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.
An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well-respected review site Crimesquad.com since 2010.
When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.
Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Her Last Move by John Marrs. My thanks to Emma Welton for the invitation to join. John Marrs visits my blog today to talk about ten things you don’t know about himself and his books. But first, here is what Her Last Move is all about!
Author : John Marrs
Title : Her Last Move
Pages : 352
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : November 8, 2018
She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.
He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.
Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.
Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?
I’ve written six books since 2012 and am currently on draft one of my seventh. One character appears in each of my novels – my dog Oscar. In real life he’s a nine-year-old border terrier who has been with me since he was ten weeks old. In my stories, I’ve twice killed him off, changed his breed, his age and even his sex!
None of my books are sequels, but there is a little character hopping that happens. For example, the rock star son of Catherine in When You Disappeared appears as a music judge in Welcome To Wherever You Are. The house in When You Disappeared crops up in The Good Samaritan. The psychopath in my latest novel, Her Last Move, was in foster care with Laura, my sociopath from The Good Samaritan. Match Your DNA, the common theme in The One, will make an occurrence in my sixth novel, as yet untitled, which comes out early next year.
My first five books were written on trains. I live in Northamptonshire but until ten months ago, I worked in London so I commuted each day. With round trips and lunch breaks, I had a good four hours a day to write. I’d slip on my headphones, find a moody playlist of music and ignore the world to create my own. Book six is the first one I’ve written completely at home.
The original ending of The Good Samaritan was completely different to the version that appeared in the book. In the first few drafts, it was Laura’s friend Mary who was blackmailing her. My editor wasn’t convinced that was the right way to finish the book, so after much sulking from me, eventually I agreed with her and the ending that’s in the book is so much better.
The first person who reads each of my books is my partner, confusingly, also called John. I also sound out the plots of my stories with him when we take the dog for long walks around the park. For book seven, we plotted the entire thing out while hiking in America’s Yosemite national park. The next reader is my mum, then fellow author Louise Beech before it goes to my editor.
I don’t read half as much as I would like to. I just don’t have the time. I download a lot of audiobooks now which I listen to when I’m at the gym or taking Oscar for a walk. I’ll listen to my own books too when they first arrive. It’s always interesting to hear an actor or actress interpret your words. Some of them I’ve loved, others, well… I’m not so convinced by!
My first novel, The Wronged Sons, was turned down by eighty different publishers and agents in the UK. It became a self-published word of mouth hit before it was taken on by publisher Thomas & Mercer, rewritten, republished and renamed When You Disappeared. In just over a year, it has now sold 250,000 copies. To all you unpublished writers out there – NEVER. GIVE. UP.
My second novel, Welcome To Wherever You Are, is set in a backpacking hostel in Los Angeles and is loosely based on the characters I met there when I was a 21-year-old travelling around America for a year. This summer, I went back to LA and visited it for the first time in 26 years. It was quite a special moment.
The One contains five main characters and their stories when they discover they each have a soul mate somewhere out there in the world. However, there was originally a sixth character. I’d written about 20,000 words of her story when I decided the book was going to be too long so I had to cull someone. She was axed as her story became too violent and I felt with one psychopath in the book, there wasn’t any more room for bloodshed.
My latest book, Her Last Move, is my first foray into police procedural. I wanted to write a police thriller just to see if I could manage it. I don’t see the point in writing the same kind of book over and over again even if they are hits. I needed to set myself a challenge and push myself and boy, did this push me. Hats off to every writer out there who works in this genre on a regular basis. Thankfully I had some expert assistants to help with the accuracy. And judging by early reviews on Goodreads and NetGalley, people seem to be liking it so far. Phew!
[I hope to get around to reading Her Last Move myself some time soon! Thank you so much for stopping by, John!]
John Marrs is the author of The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are.
A freelance journalist based in London, England, he has spent the past twenty years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.
He has written for publications including the Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online, Total Film, Huffington Post, Empire, Q, GT, the Independent, S Magazine and Company.
Author : Angela Marsons
Title : Fatal Promise
Series : DI Kim Stone #9
Pages : 385
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : October 19, 2018
When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, DetectiveKim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead?
As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim’s sure this was no accident.
Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked.
With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim?
If you’ve been following my reviews, then it should no longer be a secret that I am a massive fan of Angela Marson’s DI Kim Stone series and as soon as the opportunity comes my way to read a new instalment, I immediately drop whatever it is I’m doing and start reading.
But when it comes to writing these reviews, I always find myself at a loss for words because it seems I’ve used them all before. Corker, belter, humdinger, wow, whoa, you have to read this, buy it now! Quite frankly, I’m not sure what more I can add.
In Fatal Promise, the team is dealing with the aftermath of events from the previous book that I won’t mention in case you haven’t read it yet (therapy still available for those who are struggling 😉). The team dynamics are shifting and the arrival of a new colleague, whom despite totally feeling like an intruder I couldn’t help sympathising with, doesn’t exactly go smoothly. But there is work to be done and Kim and her team are going to have to find a way to work together.
There are two cases to solve, which I absolutely love. It feels more realistic somehow. The main case is an exciting race against time. There’s a killer on a mission and once again Angela Marsons somehow manages to put me in the slightly uncomfortable position of almost sympathising with them. Their pain is almost palpable and it made me feel like giving them a big hug. Which is just utterly wrong! Meanwhile, Stacy is devoting every moment of her spare time on investigating a case of a missing girl, which is also completely heartbreaking. This is what I love so much about this series. The opportunity to explore the psychology behind certain characters’ actions is incredibly fascinating and compelling. Apart from loving this team to bits, it’s the complex characters that keep me coming back for more.
I say it with every Kim Stone book and I’m going to say it again this time around. Here comes. Best … one … yet! These characters are like family. They hurt, I hurt. They smile, I smile. They get on my nerves, I want to slap them. But more than anything, I feel Angela Marsons’ writing keeps improving as well. This is the ninth book in a series and it is still as engrossing as the very first one. There are no signs of slacking off or of sticking to some proven formula. Angela Marsons has no qualms whatsoever about taking her team right to the edge. Or over it.
Fatal Promise is a tense, addictive and incredibly compelling serial killer thriller and another absolutely fabulous addition to this series. Like I said at the start : corker, belter, humdinger! In case you wondered, I loved it and you have to read this series now! Bring on book 10!
Bonus points for using the word “discombobulating”. One of my favourite words and a feeling I often end up with when reading a DI Kim Stone book.
My thanks to Bookouture for the review copy!
Fatal Promise is published TODAY! Happy publication day, Angela! xx
Author : D.S. Butler
Title : Bring Them Home
Series : Detective Karen Hart #1
Pages : 304
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer / Amazon Publishing
Publication date : October 11, 2018
When two young girls disappear from their primary school, the village of Heighington is put on high alert—and not for the first time. Called in to investigate, Detective Karen Hart is sure that parallels with a previous disappearance are anything but coincidental.
DS Hart is still reeling from a case she tried and failed to solve eighteen months ago, when a young woman vanished without a trace. She’s no nearer to the truth of what happened to Amy Fisher, but with two children missing now too, the stakes have never been higher. As she looks to the past for clues, she must confront her own haunting loss, a nightmare she is determined to spare other families.
Hart soon realises that nothing in this close-knit Lincolnshire community is what it seems. Pursuing the investigation with personal vengeance, she finds herself in conflict with her scrupulous new boss, but playing by the rules will have to wait. Because while there’s no shortage of suspects, the missing girls are running out of time…
I do so love storylines involving kidnappings. There’s always this delightful race against the clock to find the victims alive. Tick, tock.
The story starts out exciting enough. Two ten year old girls go missing from school. From the beginning, it’s clear this will be one frustrating investigation. There are no witnesses, no clues and detectives don’t know where to start looking for Emily and her friend Sian. But DS Hart has a suspect in sight early on. Is she distracted by a previously unsolved case though?
Bring Me Home is the first instalment in a brand-new series, featuring Detective Karen Hart. I liked the fact that she isn’t a DI but a DS because, let’s face it, there’s a lot of those around. While a DI might sometimes get away with breaking the rules, DS Hart doesn’t get that opportunity very often, although she gives it a good go, as her boss is always nearby and he’s a stickler for the rules.
Now, as you know, I read a lot of crime fiction and I’m fully aware of the fact that it’s becoming increasingly harder for an author to come up with something new that will either shock or surprise me. So although I thought Bring Them Home wasn’t badly written, it felt a little too much like things that have been done before.
Throughout the story, these characters never really convinced me. On top of that, I found the author tried too hard to dazzle the reader with red herrings and dead ends but deep down, I always felt there was only ever going to be one way the story would end and thus, the conclusion wasn’t unexpected at all.
All in all, a straightforward mystery but to be honest, there are far more better ones out there to sink your teeth into. For me, this ended up being a quick but, sadly, forgettable read.