Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski | @borstinski @damppebbles | #guestpost #damppebblestours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinksi. My thanks to Emma Welton at damppebbles tours for the invitation to join. Today, author Leopold Borstinksi visits my blog to talk about which book he wishes he’d written and why. But first, here is what his own book is all about!

Author : Leopold Borstinski
Title : Mama’s Gone
Series : The Lagotti Family Series #4
Pages : 301
Publisher : Sobriety Press
Publication date : March 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When the children grow up, the parents must die.

California gang leader Mary Lou has built a criminal empire while her adult children are desperate for their mother’s attention and love. 

As her mental faculties wane, Alice and Frank Jr must acknowledge their mother is not the woman she once was and that they need to step up and take the helm, despite the stark differences between them. 

But their sibling rivalry blinds both of them to their weaknesses which threatens the family when the Russian mob moves into the state. How can they fend off those attacks while fighting to decide who will lead the family now their dear Mama’s gone? 

Amazon US | Amazon UK

| GUEST POST |

For reasons I am not able to express, I was asked recently what book I wish had written and the honest answer is Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre because it is a work of total genius that changed the way I viewed the world. It is an existentialist work, but four years after I first read it I found out that Sartre had written the slender novel under the influence of mescaline. This explains a lot. But if you ask me which fiction book I most admire then hands down it is The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy. Why? Let me tell you…

This was the first Ellroy book I read and his particular prose style amazed me as much as it challenged me. The way that internal monologues sleep through every paragraph and the non-standard approach to language made it a very difficult first hundred pages, but the rewards were immense.

I was introduced to a cast of characters as vast and disparate as you could get. Given the reach of the story – covering the assassination of JFK and pushing toward the next Kennedy death – and the breadth of mob, politician and underworld criminal worlds depicted, it is nothing short of fabulous. At the time, I was a Joe Public book reader, but now I am a writer as well, I have a greater understanding of the complex hurdles Ellroy needed to surmount in order to deliver the book as published.

First of all, of course and I hope this doesn’t count as a spoiler, but we all know that JFK gets killed, so the central premise – will they or won’t they top the president – is null and void as something to generate tension. Anyone who has read The Day of The Jackal knows how hard it is to suspend your disbelief long enough to read a tale about famous historical events.

But I was gripped right up to the end. And there were sequels as well that kept me riveted too. One of the central conceits of the book is to meld real-life people with fictional folk. You wonder the extent to which Ellroy researched the Kennedy clan and those around them. I wanted it all to be true, real, genuine, but I know in my heart of hearts that this is not a documentary or even a dramatisation of actual events. This is fiction and the people with real names are as made up as the other characters.

And yet I still love the book. What’s the best bit about it? It’s size? From memory, my copy weighed in at about 800 pages – it was purchased at a time when an eBook was a typo and not the norm – it was about as thick as the Lord of the Rings, but it was a pure crime novel. Not a furry critter in sight.

Since then, I have devoured almost everything of Ellroy I can lay my hands on, but the Six Thousand remains my favourite. Perhaps because it was my first, but definitely because it is a juicy steak of a book. Oh and I lied: I do wish I’d written it, but I wanted to make myself seem clever in the opening paragraph.

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes | @EndeavourQuill

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes! My thanks to Hannah at Endeavour for the invitation to join and the review copy.

Author : Gary Haynes
Title : The Blameless Dead
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Endeavour Quill
Publication date : March 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

In the dying days of World War Two, Pavel Romasko and his Red Army colleagues pick their way through the carnage and detritus of a dying Berlin. Stumbling upon the smoking remains of a Nazi bunker, they find something inside that eclipses the horror of even the worst excesses in the city above them…

As the war ends, retribution begins. But some revenge cannot be taken at once. Some revenge takes years.

And so it is, as post-war Europe tries desperately to drag itself back onto its feet, and soldiers attempt a return to normality, that retribution continues to ferment in the Gulags of the Soviet Union and beneath the surface of apparently ordinary lives.

Which is how, seventy years later, FBI agent Carla Romero and New York lawyer Gabriel Hall are enlisted to investigate a series of blood-chilling crimes that seem to have their roots in the distant past — even though the suffering they cause is all too present. And for one of them, the disappearance of young women is a particularly personal matter.

| MY THOUGHTS |

The Blameless Dead begins with what looks like a home invasion, when a husband and wife are found murdered in their apartment in New York. The FBI quite quickly zero in on a suspect but while this person may not be talking, it soon becomes obvious there is something far more sinister going on. Something which has its roots firmly planted at the end of the second World War.

Thus begins a journey through the ages. This is quite a complex storyline that requires a fair bit of concentration. There are a number of characters to keep track of, spread out over various countries and decades. There’s also a rather high body count with plenty of murders along the way, none of which are pleasant.

The Blameless Dead brings to light the horrors of war and how someone is after revenge, even after seventy years. Because some things just can’t be forgotten and events from the past have, shall we say, “inspired” a serial killer throughout the years. And this character is going to great lengths to make sure his secrets remain hidden.

What we have here is an incredibly dark and disturbing topic with a few pretty graphic scenes thrown in, which may not appeal to everyone. I found it quite unsettling at times. The plot is well executed though and is full of historical details. It took me quite a while to figure out how the pieces of the puzzle fit together and I felt rather smug when I put two and two together, only to have Gary Haynes throw in a delicious sting in the tale.

Part murder mystery and part historical fiction, Gary Haynes takes us from the ashes of late war Berlin to the modern setting of New York, showing the impact the atrocities of war can have on a person and while the war may have been over a long time ago, its legacy lasts forever.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Gary Haynes studied law at university before becoming a commercial litigator. He is interested in history, philosophy and international relations. When he’s not writing or reading, he enjoys watching European films, travelling, hillwalking and spending time with his family. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization. 

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor | @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks @JennyPlatt90 | #TheTakingofAnnieThorne #blogtour #recommended

Absolutely thrilled to bits to host a stop on the blog tour for The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor today! Huge thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the fabulous review copy!

Author : C.J. Tudor
Title : The Taking of Annie Thorne (The Hiding Place)
Pages : 344
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : February 21, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang–the betrayal, the suicide, the murder–and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town–while avoiding the enemies he’s made in the years since–is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing. It was the day she came back. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Oh my word, where to even start?! I’ve been a proud C.J. Tudor fan from the second I read The Chalk Man. Quite frankly, if I were a teenager and she was a rockstar, her poster would be on my bedroom wall. I can’t possibly begin to describe the excitement that coursed through me when I was finally able to pick up The Taking of Annie Thorne. Yes, I had high expectations but I was never in any doubt whatsoever that I would just love this book to pieces. And I did!

This is a tough one to review without giving anything away. Other than the exquisite book trailer, I knew absolutely nothing about this book and it’s the best way to experience it. Also, if you’re expecting some incredibly coherent review, this one won’t be it. If I could have gotten away with four paragraphs of exclamation marks, I totally would have done it. I find it extremely hard to explain why I love this book so much and I can only hope it comes across somewhat (possibly in a slightly embarrassing way, I do apologise) and it’ll convince you to give this one a go.

I don’t know what it is about small town settings but I just love them and they don’t come any more intriguing than Arnhill does. It feels particularly gloomy and depressing. Joe never thought he’d go back there. Who would even want to? Especially after what happened.

When my sister was eight years old, she disappeared.

And then she came back.

[Note to self : never move anywhere near a mine pit. Also, always keep the loo lid down.]

As someone who was a teenager herself in the 80’s, any and all references to that era just make me giddy and there are a lot of them in this story that put a huge smile on my face. Throw in Joe’s delightful sense of humour, sarcasm and inner voice and I was hooked. With a dark atmosphere, a high creepiness factor, fascinating characters and lots of questions that need answers, this was one suspenseful and thrilling ride. And then just when I thought I could sit back, relax and breathe again … the rug was pulled from under my feet with the most deliciously chilling epilogue that almost made my eyes pop out of my head.

By the way, if you’re a fan of audiobooks, and quite frankly even if you’re not, you should most definitely give this one a listen! I may be starting to sound like some sort of running advertisement for the amazing Richard Armitage but seriously, you guys, his narration brings this story to a whole different level of intensity. It’s a fantastic experience all on its own.

Anyway!

The Taking of Annie Thorne is a brilliantly plotted, exquisitely written, utterly compelling, addictive and “unputdownable” page-turner. Whatever “it” is, C.J. Tudor has it in abundance and then some. There’s something about the way she writes that has me captivated from the very first word. It almost feels like being under a spell and I’ll gladly let her guide me wherever it is she wants to take me. I’m a fan, what more can I say?

I think I’d better leave it here. This whole thing is starting to sound like a teenage girl writing a letter to her favourite boyband member. 😳

In case it wasn’t clear, I absolutely LOVED The Taking of Annie Thorne and you will without a doubt be seeing this book again in my top 5 at the end of the year, just like The Chalk Man was last year. I am so ridiculously excited to see what C.J. Tudor comes up with next that I have already pre-ordered her next book. So should you, right here 😉

To recap : !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! x infinity

The Taking of Annie Thorne is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.

While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.

Please check out these amazing bloggers on the tour who say it all much better than I do.

Inborn by Thomas Enger | @EngerThomas @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #Inborn #recommended

Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Inborn by Thomas Enger. My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Thomas Enger [trs Kari Dickson]
Title : Inborn
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock… for murder?

Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously… and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community.

As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect? It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust. But can we trust him? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Some of you may remember that I was a huge fan of Thomas Enger’s Henning Juul series, which sadly came to an end a while back. Sniff. I’m okay. Whew. Deep breath. Anyway, since then I’ve been rather impatiently awaiting what he would come up with next and the wait is finally over. Could Thomas Enger meet my slightly high expectations?

Now, admittedly I was a bit worried about Inborn because I kept seeing mention of YA (Young Adult for the uninitiated amongst us) everywhere and I’m a lot closer to SA (Senior Adult). So close in fact I barely remember my young adult days. But of course I shouldn’t have been worried at all! While Inborn is based on a YA novel Thomas Enger wrote a few years ago, it has been completely rewritten to appeal to a wider audience.

The small Norwegian village of Fredheim is shocked to the core when two of its teenagers are found dead in the high school. Soon fingers everywhere are pointing at seventeen year old Even. As Even tries to unravel the truth himself, he realises quite a lot of the residents in Fredheim have secrets they are desperate to hide. Does what happened at the school have its roots in the past? Who can Even trust? And can the reader trust him?

Small town murder mysteries will always be one of my most favourite things and when you throw in some courtroom drama, let’s just say : good luck trying to prise this book out of my hands! Switching seamlessly between the past and the present, I was utterly hooked from beginning to end. The plot is set up in such a remarkable way, which each chapter almost ending on a cliffhanger, that I couldn’t stop reading even if I wanted to.

When we meet Even, he is in the docks during a trial. He’s being questioned, forced to think back to the previous months and the night of the murders, until layer after layer we get to the truth. Being fed little pieces of information like this is such a joy. The detective in me (the really bad one because she often gets it wrong) couldn’t help but try and figure things out, pick up little clues along the way but Thomas Enger kept me guessing until the end. Along the way, we meet a cast of extremely fascinating characters : from Even’s struggling mother, to his uncle Imo, to the detective heading the murder investigation whom I just wanted to wrap up in a big hug.

Thomas Enger is one of those authors who just gets me excited but I can never quite pin down why. There’s something about his style of writing (captivating), something about the way he creates multi-layered and believable characters , and the compelling atmosphere he comes up with time and time again that has me utterly absorbed and desperately wanting more. I knew from the minute I read the first page that I was in for another treat. So yes, this is without a doubt another brilliantly written, suspenseful and hugely addictive page-turner! Slightly high expectations effortlessly met and even exceeded and I do really, really want more!

Inborn is available to buy!

Affiliate linkBookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Thomas Enger is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication, and marked the first in the bestselling Henning Juul series. Rights to the series have been sold to 28 countries to date.

In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Killer Instinct, upon which Inborn is based, and another Young Adult suspense novel, was published in Norway in 2017 and won the same prestigious prize. Most recently, Thomas has co- written a thriller with Jørn Lier Horst. 

Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

To Kill The Truth by Sam Bourne | @QuercusBooks @ellakroftpatel

Author : Sam Bourne
Title : To Kill The Truth
Series : Maggie Costello #4
Pages : 447
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : February 21, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Someone is trying to destroy the evidence of history’s greatest crimes.

Academics and Holocaust survivors dead in mysterious circumstances. Museums and libraries burning. Digital records and irreplaceable proofs, lost for ever.

Former White House operative Maggie Costello has sworn off politics. But when the Governor of Virginia seeks her help to stop the lethal spiral of killings, she knows that this is bigger than any political game.

As Black Lives Matter protestors clash with slavery deniers, America is on a knife-edge and time is running out. This deadly conspiracy could ignite a new Civil War – but who stands to gain most from the chaos?

| MY THOUGHTS |

To Kill The Truth presents the reader with a frightening and incredibly thought-provoking premise. Someone is trying to re-write history by destroying evidence of the world’s greatest crimes. History professors and Holocaust survivors are found murdered and the greatest libraries in the world are on fire. If there is no written proof of something, then surely it didn’t happen. Just let that sink in for a minute. No proof of slavery, no proof of the Holocaust, no proof of ethnic cleansing. To name a few.

Enter Maggie Costello. As a former White House operative, she has completely sworn off politics. She enrolled at university, desperately wanting to get away from all things Washington, DC. But then the governor of Virginia asks for her help and Maggie realises something far more sinister is going on. Who is behind these events? Who stands to gain? But more importantly, can they be stopped before it’s too late?

To Kill The Truth is the fourth instalment in the Maggie Costello series, which I wasn’t aware of when I picked this one up. A mere few pages in though, I was already wondering how Sam Bourne had evaded my radar. With jumping into an established series like this, I was slightly worried but luckily I never felt lost or confused by references to Maggie’s experiences in the previous books. Actually, it left me intrigued and determined to catch up on the other books in this series. And if you’ve not read any of these, then I definitely recommend starting at the beginning.

This is a really tense and exciting thriller. One of those books you can easily imagine being turned into a film. It’s well-paced, brilliantly plotted and makes you think. Obviously it’s politically charged and depending on which side of the fence you fall, you’ll either nod in agreement or shake your fist in anger. Because while the author never mentions any names, it’s quite obvious who he’s talking about.

A topical thriller then, one I found extremely compelling and despite it being well over 400 pages, I absolutely devoured it. Sam Bourne will not be evading my radar any longer. I can’t wait to catch up with the rest of the Maggie Costello series and very much look forward to what the author comes up with next.

To Kill The Truth is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

East of England by Eamonn Griffin | @eamonngriffin @Unbound_Digital | #RandomThingsTours #guestpost

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for East of England by Eamonn Griffin. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join. Author Eamonn Griffin visits the blog today and shares ten things you didn’t know about him, but first here is what East of England is all about.

Author : Eamonn Griffin
Title : East of England
Pages : 368
Publisher : Unbound Digital
Publication date : January 24, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Dan Matlock is out of jail. He’s got a choice. Stay or leave. Go back to where it all went wrong, or simply get out of the county. Disappear. Start again as someone else.

But it’s not as simple as that.

There’s the matter of the man he killed. It wasn’t murder, but even so. You tell that to the family. Especially when that family is the Mintons, who own half that’s profitable and two-thirds of what’s crooked between the Wolds and the coast. And who could have got to Matlock as easy as you like in prison, but who haven’t touched him. Not yet.

And like Matlock found out in prison, there’s no getting away from yourself, so what would the point be in not facing up to other people?

It’s time to go home.

East of England blends a rural take on the noir thriller with a fascination with the British industrialised countryside that lies east of the Wolds, between the Humber and the Wash. Unlit byways rather than the neon-bright and rain-slicked city. A world of caravan parks, slot machines, and low-rise battery farms.

The flatlands of the east coast; decaying market towns and run-down resorts, and the distant throb of offshore windfarms. Where the smell you’re trying to get out of your clothes is the cigarette taint of old phone boxes and bus shelters, and where redemption, like life, is either hard-earned or fought for, one way or another. 

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| GUEST POST |

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me

1. I’m left-handed; we’ve evolved from the right-handers, you know.

2. I used to be in a church choir when I was a kid. There are incriminating photos of a cute nature held in the family archives in case I step too far out of line.

3. I’m a big fan of part time study. Love the Open University.

4. I once had a pee standing next to Antonio Banderas.

5. I don’t drive. I lack the gene necessary to pass driving tests.

6. I’m hard on laptops. I seem to be able to break them with unpractised ease.

7. I was a film extra once. In 1990’s Memphis Belle. I’ve looked, but I haven’t seen myself in the movie, though.

8. My favourite book? Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. It never fails to astonish and amuse me in equal measure.

9. One day I’ll do a photography book about buildings that used to be cinemas. Love former cinemas, both the derelict ones and the refurbished.

10. If I’m caught and sent to the electric chair for my crimes, then my last meal would be sushi. The good stuff.

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Eamonn Griffin was born and raised in Lincolnshire, though these days he lives in north-east Wales.

He’s worked as a stonemason, a strawberry picker, in plastics factories (everything from packing those little bags for loose change you get from banks to production planning via transport manager via fork-lift driving), in agricultural and industrial laboratories, in a computer games shop, and latterly in further and higher education.

He’s taught and lectured in subjects as diverse as leisure and tourism, uniformed public services, English Studies, creative writing, film studies, TV and film production, and media theory. He doesn’t do any of that anymore. Instead he writes fulltime, either as a freelancer, or else on fiction.

Eamonn has a PhD in creative writing with the University of Lancaster, specialising in historical fiction, having previously completed both an MA in popular film and a BSc in sociology and politics via the Open University. He really likes biltong, and has recently returned to learning to play piano, something he abandoned when he was about seven and has regretted since.

The Last by Hanna Jameson | @Hanna_Jameson @Emily_BookPR @VikingBooksUK | #blogtour #TheLast

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Last by Hanna Jameson today! My thanks to Emily Burns for the invitation to join and my fabulous review copy!

Author : Hanna Jameson
Title : The Last
Pages : 352
Publisher : Viking
Publication date : January 31, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilization, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

| MY THOUGHTS |

It’s the end of the world as we know it …

Nuclear bombs have been dropped down on various cities. Guests at a hotel in the middle of nowhere Switzerland are left without any means of communication. Cut off from the world, they have no idea what’s going on and no way of getting in touch with family or friends. Do the rules of civilisation still apply when that civilisation ceases to exist?

Jon Keller most definitely seems to think so when the body of a young girl is discovered in a water tank. Who was she and why was she murdered? Just like that, Hanna Jameson effortlessly combines a murder mystery with a suspenseful dystopian psychological thriller. Although admittedly, the murder investigation plays a backseat to everything else that is going on.

What an incredibly frightening premise this is. There’s an all-encompassing sense of isolation that chilled me to the bone. Hotel guests are stranded in what appears to be a relatively safe place but they are fully aware that supplies will start to run out at some point and Winter is just around the corner. What do you do? Stay where you are? Hope against hope help might arrive? Or take a chance on whatever is out there and hope you’ll find a better place?

Now if you’re waiting for zombies or a hot dude with an insanely modified baseball bat to appear from behind a tree in the forest, you’re in the wrong place. This is not that kind of book. The Last is a fascinating and immensely thought-provoking character study and an insight into human behaviour. As these characters’ circumstances change, they are forced to accept things may never again be as they used to be. For some, the desperation is too much. For others, survival is the only thing that matters.

With a constant feeling of unease, The Last had me utterly engrossed. It’s without a doubt one of those novels that makes you think about what you would do if you found yourself in this situation. Would you be a leader or a follower? Would you risk leaving a place of safety to go out into the unknown to find food? Personally, I have no idea but I sure hope I never have to find out. Compelling and unnerving, scarily plausible and incredibly gripping, The Last will stay with me for quite some time and I enjoyed it immensely!

The Last is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Jameson had written the first draft of her debut, award-nominated novel – SOMETHING YOU ARE – at just seventeen. Something You Are and two further novels in the series – GIRL SEVEN and ROAD KILL – are available now in the UK, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands.

She lives in London currently, and is working on screenwriting projects. She likes whiskey, history, and emotionally taxing TV shows.

Author link : Twitter

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl | @HoZ_Books @alexdahlauthor | #BoyattheDoor #LoveBooksGroup #guestpost

Today, I join the blog tour for The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl. Thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroups for the invitation to join. Author Alex Dahl visits my blog with a truly wonderful guest post but first, here is what the book is all about.

Author : Alex Dahl
Title : The Boy at the Door
Pages : 384
Publisher : Head of Zeus
Publication date : January 10, 2019 (first published in 2018)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Everyone has secrets. Even those who seem to be perfect…

On a rainy October evening, Cecilia Wilborg – loving wife, devoted mother, tennis club regular – is waiting for her kids to finish their swimming lesson. It’s been a long day. She can almost taste the crisp, cold glass of Chablis she’ll pour for herself once the girls are tucked up in bed.

But what Cecilia doesn’t know, is that this is the last time life will feel normal. Tonight she’ll be asked to drop a little boy home, a simple favour that will threaten to expose her deepest, darkest secret…

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| GUEST POST |

Not That Kind of Mother

It’s one of those days. You know, when you have so much to do at work your head is literally spinning. Your breath is shallow, your palms itchy, your entire being shaking with the ravages of your caffeine addiction. Then school calls to say your little munchkin is feeling iffy. You have little choice but to pick him up, but his illness magically evaporates as soon as you arrive home and the bored child then spends the rest of the day whinging. You wish you could stick him in front of Fortnite until two seconds before bed time, but you’re not that kind of mother, hell no, in this house there are rules and boundaries, and one of them is no gaming if off school sick. 

You put your head phones in and hope for the best. You dream about that big glass of Pinot Noir when the kids are in bed and then you remember it’s Dry January and you’re actually doing it, if only to silence the (alarming) number of friends who laughed in your face when you said you might. We all know the mummy-and-alcohol jokes- mummies love the vino a little too much because our little angels bleed us dry. But not me, oh no. I’m not that kind of mother, either. I don’t succumb to the dangerous clutches of alcohol to soothe my shot mummy nerves. 

Then your dog gets some kind of virus and stages an actual shit-show. It alternates between hysterical barking and literal general disgustingness. You clean up and plug the ear plugs back in. You’re just making a dent in your inbox when it’s time to pick up your other child. You walk, in torrential icy rain, dragging the half-squatting dog along, because you’re not the kind of mother who drives everywhere and spews more pollution into our children’s already doomed world. 

You drag the dog and the kid home, shouting snippets of French vocabulary over the downpour as you go along, why waste the opportunity to learn something? (Allez! Vite! Il faut manger! Repeat after me- mon chien s’appele Figaro, etc) You get home and decide to bake because your gluten-free low-carb six-seed paleo bread sure isn’t going to bake itself. While it is in the oven you check if anyone responded to your Mummy chat room bid for interesting vegan recipes for the whole family. And they did. Lots of them, in fact. 

What kind of psycho would make their kids go vegan? 

How the hell do your kids get protein? 

I am so sick of these goddamned vegans, go away, die, BURN! 

Your kids aren’t vegan, by the way. Perhaps you aren’t, either- it’s besides the point. The point is the fury. The judgment. The anger- the sheer, unbridled anger. It’s everywhere- in the media, in the chat rooms, at the school gates, in the way we make harmless jokes about ‘the kind of mother who…’ Why are we so angry? Why do we subject other women and ourselves to these insane, impossible demands? These questions are at the very core of my novel, The Boy at the Door. Cecilia Wilborg is consumed by appearances, obsessed with maintaining her flawless façade, at any cost. She may be an unsympathetic narcissist, but the point is that it is society’s entirely unreasonable demands on mothers that drives her to some very dark places. We are sold an idea of perfection, of having it all. We are expected to work harder and harder, while parenting our children in an ever more hands-on (smothering?) way, holding their hands well into adulthood. 

No wonder mummy needs a drink or ten to avoid cracking up. Just kidding- you’re not that kind of mother! 

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she wrote The Boy at the Door while living in Sandefjord.

Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen | @OwenMullen6 @Bloodhoundbook | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen! My thanks to Emma Welton for the invitation to join. Owen joins us today to play a around of Dessert Island Must-Haves but first, let’s see what the book is all about.

Author : Owen Mullens
Title : Out of the Silence
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : January 28, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.

When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered, one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.

As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.

Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?

Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Wordery

| GUEST POST |

My wife Christine set me this fun challenge… so I thought I’d share it with you.

Dessert Island Must Haves

You have been washed up on a desert island with no hope of rescue in the foreseeable future but before leaving the ship you have just enough time to grab 1 item from each of the following… Tell us what/who you would choose and why. 

A Book – I suspect that being on a dessert island may not be all its cracked up to be,  sure to be a few down days.  And,  as you’ve probably discovered, sand gets everywhere. With all of that going on I’m liable to need some spiritual uplifting.  The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho has helped me before and probably would again:  a simple tale,  simply told with a host of powerful messages on how to navigate the journey through life – and desert islands. Fantastic! 

An Album – So many to choose from, but I’d go with something from a time when music was very important to me. I was still at school when The Beatles double album – sometimes called The White Album came out.  And what an impression it made on me; great songs,  too many to mention.  Think I’ll put it on while I’m writing this. I remember teaching myself to play Blackbird in my lunchtime breaks and being over the moon  when I got it. 

A Film – Often comedy films don’t make me laugh. Having said that,  probably my favourite film of all time is…As Good As It Gets. Jack Nicholson is always great but in this movie Helen Hunt, Cuba Gooding Junior and Greg Kinnear all give him a run for his money.  The film manages to be cringe-worthy cruel,  sad and laugh-out-loud funny. No wonder it won 2 Oscars. I’ve seen it a dozen times and if I see it another dozen that will be fine with me. 

A fictional character – As a crime fiction writer I’m often asked who my favourite fictional character is and I always say Sherlock Holmes.  However,  old Sherlock would be heavy going on a desert island – out of his face on dope most of the time, because there would be no crimes to solve and he’s depressed. Then, when he gets started on his violin… couldn’t handle it.  So who would I like to be there with me?  No contest,  Patrick Logue from the Charlie Cameron series.  He would always make me laugh and if it turned out there were natives he’d soon be on first name terms. Might even keep us off the menu! Though I would have to keep my eye on him or he’d have the coconut milk out of my tea. 

A luxury item – There would be plenty of time to kill so I’d take a guitar,  I was always able to lose myself in music and I would maybe even discover that elusive 4th chord. 

A photograph – I’d take the photograph I took of Christine a few days ago in Chania. She was looking wonderful,  and I captured it. 

A weapon – I’d take a machete because it could double as a tool. And if it turned out that there were natives and they weren’t friendly, they just might think twice before attacking a mad Scotsman wielding one of these – in my head I’m seeing Braveheart🤣

One useful item – I could imagine mosquito repellent just might come in handy, but I’d go for matches to keep that signal fire burning. 

One food item – A big jar of curry powder for obvious reasons. Too long without a curry and I’d get withdrawal symptoms. 

One drink item – Coffee,  I’d definitely struggle without the bean! How could I possibly get into the day?  I’d need to get used to no Stevia though; not looking forward to that. 

One fun item – A football; nothing like a kick about on the beach! 

I already got stuck on the first question 😂. Great answers, Owen! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this wish us!

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.

Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where In Harm’s Way and the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’ were created and written. His latest novel Out Of The Silence is a truly compelling thriller set in Pakistan. 

Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb | @crimethrillgirl @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #DeepDirtyTruth #TeamLori

I’m absolutely delighted to join the blog tour for Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb today! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for my review copy and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join the tour!

Author : Steph Broadribb
Title : Deep Dirty Truth
Series : Lori Anderson #3
Pages : 320
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : January 24, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A price on her head. A secret worth dying for. Just 48 hours to expose the truth…

Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ – Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them.

If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.

With North due in court in forty-eight hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined. In this race only the winner gets out alive…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Clammy hands, pulse racing, energy tank empty. Am I ill? No! These are the symptoms of the aftermath of reading Deep Dirty Truth because Lori Anderson is back with a BANG!

In this third instalment, Lori is forced to make a deal with the devil. I mean, the mob. This would be the Old Man, who’s been after Lori since her husband Tommy died. If it wasn’t clear from this little tidbit, you should really read the previous books if you haven’t done so already. Anyway, the FBI have the mob’s “numbers man”, Carlton North, in custody. If Lori can find him and bring him back to the mob’s compound, the price on her head and the heads of JT and Dakota will be removed.

Cue a bunch of backstabbing, lies and deceit. I mean, if you can’t trust the mob, who can you trust? Oh … wait. Never mind. From quite early on, you’re left with this sinking feeling of “this is not going to go well”. And guess what? It doesn’t! But what a bloody awesome and thrilling ride it is! The mob, gators, high-speed boat chases, kayaks, shoot-outs … what more could you possibly want?!

Deep Dirty Truth is action-packed from the word go! There were times I felt like asking for a time-out so I could have a moment to catch my breath. Yet, with a heartbeat going faster and faster and hands gripping the book ever tighter, I couldn’t stop reading. It left me utterly exhausted but oh so incredibly satisfied.

Lori remains one of the most awesome female main characters in the book world right now. She’s fierce, determined, resourceful and quick to think on her feet. She is always able to pull herself back up after being knocked down, ready to kick some serious ass and always ready to do whatever it takes to keep her family safe. Speaking of her family, I love how the relationship between JT and Dakota is developing. Such a pleasure to behold and it often put a huge smile on my face.

This series has been a total blast from the very first book and Deep Dirty Truth is without a doubt THE BEST ONE YET! Oh yes! I said it! Fast-paced, with characters to get invested in and root for and edge-of-your-seat action galore, this is sheer entertainment of the highest level! Stock up on snacks and maybe an oxygen tank and enjoy the rollercoaster ride! Your legs may feel like jelly at the end of it, but it’ll be worth it!

Deep Dirty Truth is available to buy in ebook format. The UK paperback will be published on January 24th!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA.

As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. She is also a member of the crime-themed girl band The Splice Girls.

Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California, which inspired her Lori Anderson thrillers. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens.

Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good
Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts. My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter