88° North by J.F. Kirwan @kirwanjf @rararesources #blogtour

Such a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for 88° North by J.F. Kirwan! My thanks to J.F. Kirwan, to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity and to the publisher for my review copy.

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Author : J.F. Kirwan
Title : 88° North
Series : Nadia Laksheva #3
Pages : 384
Publisher : HQ Digital
Publication date : December 14, 2017

aboutthebook

The deadliest kind of assassin is one who is already dying…

As the radiation poisoning that Nadia Laksheva was exposed to in Chernobyl takes hold of her body, she knows she has mere weeks to live. But Salamander, the terrorist who murdered her father and sister has a deadly new plan to ‘make the sky bleed’. Nadia is determined to stop him again, even if it is the last thing she ever does…

The only clue she has are the coordinates 88˚ North, a ridge in the Arctic right and one of the largest oil fields in the world, three thousand metres below the ice. If Salamander takes hold of the oil field, he could change the climate of the whole planet for generations to come.

But can Nadia stop him before her own time runs out?

mythoughts

88° North is the third and final instalment in the Nadia Laksheva spy series and what an amazing ride it’s been. This review may be a tad on the vague side as I desperately try to avoid spoiling anyone for events that happened in the previous books. Personally, I don’t feel you should treat this one as a stand-alone. While some things are explained and will give you a good feel of the background story, I think you should read the entire series to really understand where Nadia is coming from and why she’s so determined to stop Salamander. This isn’t just about making sure a terrorist doesn’t ruin the planet. It’s also personal.

Throughout the series, I sometimes found Nadia quite hard to warm to but I never ceased to admire her sheer determination in doing what was necessary. Even if it went against her own principles. In 88° North, she tries to restore a balance that was screwed up, to see the smaller picture instead of the bigger picture, to do a kind act and hope for some kind of ripple effect and just like that, I liked her that little bit more.

But the biggest threat is of course Salamander, who will stop at nothing and his next plan is to “make the sky bleed”. True to form, this spy thriller takes us to various exotic places around the world including Russia, Hong Kong and The Sudan. One word : camels! As the team is unwillingly split up in their pursuit of Salamander, they realise they are merely pawns in his game. Like a true chess master, Salamander is always several steps ahead and time is running out. Not only for the world, but for Nadia as well.

Full of tension, thrills and harrowing moments, 88° North is the perfect conclusion to this series. Some characters even managed to surprise me and the tense knife fights had me on the edge of my seat. What I truly liked is that you’re never really sure who will survive. The author has no qualms in killing off what could be important characters and I always like it when I’m left guessing as to who will make it out alive.

While it’s always sad to see a series come to an end, I feel J.F. Kirwan wrapped things up brilliantly. The exciting arc that runs throughout the three books had me hooked and if you like your well-paced and action-packed spy thrillers, I have no doubt you will thoroughly enjoy this series! I look forward to whatever J.F. Kirwan comes up with next!

88° North is available from the links below. While there, why not pick up the other two books as well.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | KoboGoodreads

abouttheauthor

J. F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels. An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Website

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The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox @josephknox__ @TransworldBooks

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Author : Joseph Knox
Title : The Smiling Man
Series : DC Aidan Waits #2
Pages : 416
Publisher : Transworld Digital
Publication date : March 8, 2018

aboutthebook

Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift. An endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends. Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to The Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city.

There they find the body of a man. He is dead. And he is smiling. The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life…

But even as Waits puts together the pieces of this stranger’s life, someone is sifting through the shards of his own. When the mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move.  And to discover the smiling man’s identity, he must finally confront his own.

mythoughts

Sometimes I wish I could get away with a one sentence review. This one would say : Drop whatever it is you’re doing and grab yourself a copy of this right now!

When I read Sirens last year, I wanted to shout about its awesomeness from the rooftops.  I didn’t have a blog yet at the time, but that book was one of the reasons I started considering one. From the setting to the fabulous cast of characters, from the writing to the plot, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the fact that Sirens was a debut. But I did know that Joseph Knox was an author to watch and with The Smiling Man, he firmly cements his spot amongst the best crime thriller writers because this one is even better than the first one!

If you’ve read Sirens (and if not, you really should), then you know Aidan Waits has some serious issues. He’s flawed, damaged and most definitely not your typical detective hero material. Aidan is currently working the nightshift, sinking his teeth into incredibly fascinating investigations like … dustbin fires. Until there’s a call from The Palace, a former hotel, currently empty awaiting new owners.

A body has been found. A body that yields no clues whatsoever. No identification, tags removed from clothing, teeth filed down and replaced and even the fingerprints have been removed. Who is this man and how did he end up at the disused hotel? As Aidan and his partner Sutty try to figure things out, Aidan’s past comes a-knocking as well and he is forced to face his demons. This gives the reader the chance to get to know Aidan better, know where he’s coming from and why he turned out the way he did. It’s not pretty.

I found myself gripped from the first page, so utterly immersed that the outside world ceased to exist. Yet again, Joseph Knox delivers a gritty, compelling and dark story that has left me begging for more. And somehow, between all the disturbing things people do, I found myself chuckling at the humour and sarcasm. While the various threads may seem disconnected at first, they come together perfectly and the varied cast of characters is so life-like, you almost expect them to jump out of the pages. The Smiling Man has a taut and complicated plot with the setting again almost being a character all on its own. I could hear the sounds, smell the scent of summer and feel the heat.

Joseph Knox is an incredible talent and if you are not reading the Aidan Waits series, you are missing out immensely! This is a deeply engrossing page-turner, one I knew would cause a massive book hangover. I felt sad when I got to the last page and realised I had a long wait for the next book in this series. I can’t bloody wait!

Like I said at the start : Drop whatever it is you’re doing and grab yourself a copy of this right now!

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

 

 

The Next Girl by Carla Kovach @CKovachAuthor @bookouture #blogblitz #TheNextGirl

It’s my pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog blitz for The Next Girl by Carla Kovach. My thanks to Noelle at Bookouture for the opportunity!

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Author : Carla Kovach
Title : The Next Girl
Series : Detective Gina Harte #1
Pages : 312
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : April 2, 2018

aboutthebook

Deborah Jenkins pulls her coat around her as she sets out on her short walk home in the pouring rain. But she never makes it home that night. And she is never seen again …

Four years later, an abandoned baby girl is found wrapped in dirty rags on a doorstep. An anonymous phone call urges the police to run a DNA test on the baby. But nobody is prepared for the results.

The newborn belongs to Deborah. She’s still alive.

mythoughts

A newborn baby is found abandoned on the steps of the local library. An anonymous tip leads investigators to run a DNA test on the baby but the results are shocking. The baby’s mother is Deborah Jenkins, who disappeared on her way home from work four years ago. She’s still alive but where is she? Is she in danger? And who made that anonymous phone call? Time is running out!

The Next Girl is the first instalment in a new series featuring Detective Gina Harte. Gina’s had a troublesome but intriguing past and I do so hope that background story will be explored further. Gina has picked herself up, changed her life and is now trying to find a balance between a demanding job and spending enough time with her daughter and granddaughter. But the relationship between Gina and her daughter isn’t an easy one.

This well-paced thriller held my attention from start to finish. Not only do we follow Gina and her team as they investigate Deborah’s disappearance and try to find out where she is. But we also get the point of view from Deborah’s husband Luke. Four years after his wife’s disappearance, he’s met someone he feels a connection to and is raising his children with the help from his mother-in-law. Just when he thinks he can finally take that step into moving on, he gets the news that his wife may still be alive after all this time and that she’s given birth. It’s quite easy to imagine the emotional turmoil that affects him.

I admit I had a few issues with Deborah’s kidnapper. Other than the fact he’s obviously crazy (duh), I couldn’t quite figure out the motivations behind his actions. On top of that, I didn’t feel like he came across as the brightest crayon in the box and I couldn’t help but wonder how he managed to get away with things for as long as he did. I didn’t have a clue as to his identity though so I was left guessing until the reveal, which is always a bonus.

All in all, I really enjoyed this one. Gina is a shining new star in the detective genre and I loved the interactions between her and the rest of the team. As the first book in a new series, this suspenseful read sets the tone for things to come and I look forward to getting to know Gina a lot better in future.

The Next Girl is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Carla Kovach was born in Birmingham, UK and now resides in Redditch, Worcestershire. Author of supernatural drama ‘Flame,’ psychological thriller ‘To Let,’ crime thriller ‘Whispers Beneath the Pines,’ and holiday comedy, ‘Meet Me at Marmaris Castle.’

Carla also writes stage and screenplays, some of which have been produced in the Worcestershire area. Her feature film ‘Penny for the Guy’ is being made and is set for release in 2019.

Her latest book, The Next Girl, has been published by Bookouture. It is the first in the DI Gina Harte crime series.

Facebook | Twitter | Website

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Dead North by Joel Hames @joel_hames @MainsailBooks @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #DeadNorth

I’m absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Dead North by Joel Hames today! My thanks to Anne Cater for the opportunity and to the publisher for my review copy.

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Author : Joel Hames
Title : Dead North
Series : Sam Williams #1
Pages : 280
Publisher : Mainsail Books
Publication date : March 22, 2018

aboutthebook

Once the brightest star in the legal firmament, Sam Williams has hit rock bottom, with barely a client to his name and a short-term cash problem that’s looking longer by the minute. So when he’s summoned to Manchester to help a friend crack a case involving the murder of two unarmed police officers and a suspect who won’t say a word, he jumps at the chance to resurrect his career.

In Manchester he’ll struggle against resentful locals, an enigmatic defence lawyer who thinks he’s stepping on her toes, beatings, corrupt cops and people who’ll do anything to protect their secrets. On its streets, he’ll see people die. But it’s in the hills and valleys further north that Sam will face the biggest challenge of all: learning who he really is and facing down the ghosts of his past.

mythoughts

Books like this one are exactly why I enjoy doing blog tours so much. This may otherwise never have come across my radar and I would have missed out on something fabulous. From the very first pages, I already knew I was going to be pleasantly surprised and in for a thrilling and entertaining ride.

Two unarmed police officers are shot. A suspect is arrested but he won’t talk. Enter Sam Williams, a down-on-his luck lawyer from London. He’s called up to help crack this case way up in Manchester and somehow convince the suspect to talk. Sam doesn’t really have anything much to do so he accepts, thinking maybe this will jumpstart his career once again, but Manchester isn’t exactly welcoming him with open arms. Why is the suspect not talking? Why are the other police officers so hostile and will Sam make it out of the north alive?

He’s working someone else’s case and he’s in way over his head. But sometimes you need the wrong man in the right place.

Let me start by saying that the character of Sam Williams is absolutely fantastic and I warmed to him from the get-go. I often found myself chuckling at his dry sense of humour but also rolling my eyes at him, especially where his relationship skills regarding his girlfriend are concerned. He’s a tad quirky, not quite what you’d expect him to be somehow. But Sam also has great instincts, that gut feeling that spurs him on to find the truth no matter what. He shows incredible determination, even when people are trying their hardest to stop him.

Dead North has a brilliant and truly clever plot. Full of red herrings and dead ends, this fast-paced and tense story had me hooked from start to finish. There are some truly fabulous reveals I didn’t see coming at all. I had no idea who to trust. Quite frankly, I couldn’t figure out any of the connections, didn’t have a clue what was going and so I was kept guessing until the end. I also have to mention the grey, wet and miserable setting of Manchester, which works like a charm. It adds an extra layer of grittiness to the story.

If you’re looking for a crime fiction thriller that’s that little bit different from all the other crime stories out there, then this is most definitely for you. Nothing is what it seems. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and while this is my first time reading a book by Joel Hames, I’m sure it won’t be my last and I can’t wait to catch up with Sam Williams again!

Dead North was published on March 22nd and is available for purchase.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Joel Hames lives in rural Lancashire, England, with his wife and two daughters, where he works hard at looking serious and pretending to be a proper novelist.
After a varied career in London which involved City law firms, a picture frame warehouse, an investment bank and a number of market stalls (he has been known to cry out “Belgian chocolates going cheap over ‘ere” in his sleep), Joel relocated from the Big Smoke to be his own boss. As a result, he now writes what he wants, when he wants to (which by coincidence is when the rest of the family choose to let him).
Joel’s first novel, Bankers Town, was published in 2014, and The Art of Staying Dead followed in 2015. The novellas Brexecution (written and published in the space of ten days following the UK’s Brexit referendum, with half of the profits going to charity) and Victims were published in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Joel’s website can be found at http://www.joelhamesauthor.com/, where you can find out more about the writer and the books, and sign up to his email newsletter. If you want to know what Joel has planned for the future, what he thinks right now, or just stalk him a little, you can find him on Facebook at facebook.com/joelhamesauthor or Twitter at @joel_hames. Joel has never seen the word “Joel” appear as frequently as it does right here, and wholeheartedly approves.

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Midday by David B. Lyons @MrDBLyons @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #Midday

Such a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog blitz for Midday by David B. Lyons today! My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity and my review copy.

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Author : David B. Lyons
Title : Midday
Pages : 291
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : March 22, 2018

aboutthebook

When his alarm goes off at 7 am, bank manager Vincent assumes he is waking up to a regular working day. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Minutes later, one of the most ambitious heists in Dublin’s history is underway — and Vincent finds himself at the centre of it.

While his boyfriend Ryan is held at gunpoint by two aspiring gangsters, Vincent is tasked with entering the vaults of the four branches he manages to steal two million euros from each one. If he doesn’t return by midday with all of the money, Ryan will receive a bullet to the head.

As each minute ticks by, it becomes clear all is not as it seems. But just who is calling the shots? And can Vincent make it back in time to save his boyfriend’s life?

The clock is ticking.

mythoughts

Well, now. What a fabulous and unexpected surprise this was!

Vincent wakes up every morning, knowing fully well what his day is going to look like. But on this particular morning, things take a nasty turn when he and his boyfriend are the victims of a tiger kidnapping. Vincent works as a bank manager and has until midday to collect 8 million euros from four different branches around Dublin, while his boyfriend is being held at gun point.

The clock is ticking. Tick-tock.

It becomes apparent quite early on that things aren’t all what they seem. But apart from one part of the storyline I thought I had figured out reasonably quickly, the rest of the story had me guessing until the end and holy cow, I so did not see that one coming at all! Well played, sir!

This gritty and gripping tale is told through the eyes of four different people : Vincent, his boyfriend Ryan and each of the two gangsters. Little by little, things are revealed that pulled this story into a completely different direction than I was expecting and I loved every minute of it. Midday has a fantastically crafted plot and a great pace, helped enormously by the characters often checking the time which ultimately had me on the edge of my seat as well. I could almost hear the clocks ticking away the precious minutes.

Did I mention nothing is what it seems? You think you know where your loyalties lie but I promise you, they will shift and switch. What an utterly clever book this is. There are some uncomfortable topics in this one, as well as a few instances that almost made me gag and made me want to wash my eyes out with bleach. But above all, this is an intelligent and original crime thriller with a difference and I found it immensely compelling, engrossing and entertaining!

Midday is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Dublin-born author David B. Lyons has a new twist on the psychological thriller. His debut, Midday, will be released on March 22nd and promises readers a thrilling ride. It’s the story of the same extraordinary morning, told from the perspective of four different characters.

David comes from a journalistic background. He worked, mainly, in the areas of football and music reporting for over 12-years, notching a few awards along the way. He tried to write creatively in his spare time, but found the formulaic writing nature of his day job a hindrance. He met with producers about both a play and a TV pilot he had written, but both fell short of being green lit, much to his disappointed. However, it gave him the opportunity to fulfil a life-log dream of finally penning a novel. He completed a BA Hons Degree in Creative Writing and soon after, completed Midday. Three months later, that debut was picked up by Bloodhound Books and early buzz suggests a promising writing career lies ahead for the thirty-nine-year-old.

He now lives in Birmingham, UK with his wife Kerry and daughter Lola. He has read fiction all of his life and notes Dean Koontz as a real inspiration. He is also a big fan of Gillian Flynn as well as rising star Liz Nugent.

Facebook | Twitter

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The Choice by Jake Cross @bookouture #blogblitz #extract #TheChoice

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for The Choice by Jake Cross. My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for the opportunity! Today, I have a thrilling extract to share with you but first, here’s what The Choice is all about.

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Author : Jake Cross
Title : The Choice
Pages : 341
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : March 23, 2018

aboutthebook

On a wet road in the black of night, Karl Seabury is driving home to his pregnant wife. Suddenly, caught in his headlights in the middle of the road is a woman shaking with fright.

The woman says her name is Liz Smith, that her home was attacked, and that she was the only one to escape.

In a split-second decision, Karl decides to help her to safety. But Liz is hiding a dark secret and now his good deed has put his family in terrible danger…

extract

Chapter one

KARL

Nobody wants to run someone down in the road, but for a long time afterwards Karl Seabury wondered if things might have worked out better if his van had slammed the woman into bloody oblivion.

He was piloting 3,500 lbs of Ford engineering along a road as wet as a solid river when something came at him. He didn’t even see a shape, let alone a woman, just a hint of colour that extracted itself from the black wall of trees on his right. Instinct pistonedhis foot hard onto the brake. There was a screech of rubber that sent birds panicking from the treetops like gravity-defying leaves. His seatbelt cut hard across his chest as he was thrown forward.

Before he had time to wonder what the hell had happened, it was all over. The van sat stalled and silent, headlights illuminating the curving road ahead and a woman in a sodden summer dress. He reached for the handle to open his door, missed it, cast his eyes away from the road to locate it, found it, started to open the door, ready to unload foul language, and let out a yelp as the door was wrenched from his grasp as if by a fierce gale.

She was right there in the doorway, a face that had been gaunt and terrified in the headlights now gaunt and terrified in the van’s interior light.

‘What the Jesus are—’ Karl began, but froze when she grabbed his shirt in two tight fists.

 ‘You gotta help me!’ she moaned.

Autopilot kicked in. On a bright summer’s day, he might have told her to calm down, might have stepped out of the van and led her to the side of the road to seek an explanation. But it was dark and eerie out there and that fired an alarm in his mind. He grabbed the woman under the arms, yanked her up and literally threw her across him into the passenger seat. Her head smacked the window but she didn’t seem to care, and neither did he. He just needed to get out of there.

He twisted the ignition key and stamped and pulled at all the appropriate pedals and levers until the road started to vanish beneath the vehicle. By the time he hit second gear, the woman had already slipped out of the seat and crammed herself into the footwell. She clearly didn’t want to be seen in the van by whoever she was running from.

And then it happened again.

This time the shape was black, just like the night, and he didn’t see a thing until it stepped into the funnels of his headlights. He recognised a human form, but the mental alarm was in full flow and this time his foot stayed away from the brake. He did not want to stop out here again, ever.

Instead, he tugged hard on the steering wheel, and the silhouette in his headlights vanished off to the side. It flashed by his door window then was gone. Only once he had passed did he realise it was a man in dark clothing and wearing a balaclava. A shiver ran down his spine at the image.

He looked in the driver’s wing mirror at the shape in the road, saw twin dots of white high up in the blackness that must have been eyes, staring after him. Then the masked face turned to look the other way along the road, as if searching for something. Karl gripped the steering wheel hard and faced forward again. Nothing ahead but the road and the trees and the headlights. He glanced at the woman.

‘What the fuck’s going on?’

 ‘Is he gone?’ she croaked.

The road grew bright ahead. Another vehicle. Karl hit his door lock, then cursed his paranoia – what did he expect, this new vehicle to screech to a halt and block his path? It would just be some car, just some guy heading some place. The headlights grew brighter, and then the car emerged from around the curve. The van’s interior was lit up like a surgery.

In that moment he noted that her dress was patterned red and yellow, the material thin. She had manicured nails, smooth skin, and a bob haircut that was an ash blonde you couldn’t get from a chemist. An indoor look, or a summer-lunch-on-the-patio look. Certainly not a cold-March-walk-in-the-woods look. Then the car flashed by and all was dark again.

‘He bloody who? Was he chasing you?’ Karl realised his error even as he asked the question. Of course the guy was chasing her – he all in black, and her face coated in fear. ‘What did he want? You know him? Where did you come from? What are you doing out here?’ He took a breath, aware that his rapid speaking broadcast his own panicking heart. The man in black was gone, and the woman was safe, but not yet calm, and he felt some kind of male pride telling himself he needed to appear strong, as a knight in shining armour would. ‘You want to tell me what’s going on? The guy’s gone, so you can sit up.’

She didn’t sit up. She lay her head on the seat as if it were a pillow and closed her eyes.

‘Do you live nearby? Did you get chased out of your house? You weren’t out geocaching dressed like that, that’s for sure.’

No answer. He touched her shoulder, using a fist because that felt less intrusive. She jerked but her eyes stayed closed.

‘They came for us,’ she said, voice low, as if talking in her sleep.

They? More than one? ‘What did they want?’

‘We have a house on land beyond the woods,’ she murmured, a delayed answer to his previous question. ‘We were going to have dinner. Our friends. I hope they’re okay.’

 ‘And what, these men came? And everyone ran away? Why are you on your own?’

‘They wanted to hurt us, I think. And rob us. My husband… he…’

This was making his head spin.

‘Where are you taking me?’ she blurted, eyes open, a new fear imprinted on her face as if she suspected the nightmare might yet have another chapter.

‘I’m sure all the others are okay,’ he told her. He tried to picture a party on a rain-drenched patio. Men in tuxedos and women in flowery dresses. Expensive wines and political chat. And masked men in black rushing at them out of the trees, making them scatter. Might there be other drivers out here with scared people in their passenger seats, listening to such a tale?

‘You’re not going to throw me out, are you?’ Her eyes were pleading.

‘I’m not taking you anywhere,’ he said. ‘I mean, I’ll take you to a police station. I’m not going to throw you out.’

She didn’t speak again for a minute, and he was grateful for the silence. It gave him time to let this whole palaver sink in. He held his breath until he caught sight of the mist of orange lights oozing from around the next bend. A few seconds after streetlights appeared.

Ahead were terraced houses in two neat lines. Karl felt himself relax. The proximity of the human world woke some confidence in the woman, too, because she struggled up out of the footwell and sat in the seat like someone… normal. She gazed out of the window as if enjoying the view, but then he realised his error: she was concentrating on the wing mirror. Checking behind them for pursuers.

‘Burglars don’t come chasing people who got away,’ he said, unable to think of anything else. ‘I’m sure they got spooked by everyone seeing them and just ran off.’

She looked at him. Hard. As if he had said something naive. Or just plain wrong.

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If you’d like to read more and find out what on earth Karl has gotten himself in to, then you’re in luck as The Choice is now available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Jake has been making stuff up from a real early age. His parents never believed his silly lies when he was young, so he still has no idea why he thought he could invent a decent story as an adult. But he kept trying, and here we are. THE CHOICE is his first novel, the first of three thrillers to be published by Bookouture, and he hopes you like it. If you don’t, he at least hopes you don’t ask for a refund.

Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

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End Game by Matt Johnson @Matt_Johnson_UK @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #EndGame

Thrilled to bits to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for End Game by Matt Johnson! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda and Anne Cater for the invitation to join and my review copy!

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Author : Matt Johnson
Title : End Game
Series : Robert Finlay #3
Pages : 340
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 6, 2018 [ebook]

aboutthebook

Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services.

mythoughts

End Game is the third, and sadly also final, instalment in the brilliant Robert Finlay series and what an amazing ride it’s been! Personally, I don’t feel this reads well as a stand-alone as there’s a storyline arc that flows throughout the three books in the series and you’d be missing out on a whole lot of intricacies and details. Besides, these books are so good, you’d be doing yourself a favour by starting at the beginning. Promise!

Robert Finlay’s dreams of a quiet life are once again shattered when his close friend, Kevin Jones, is accused of murder. Someone is obviously out to silence anyone who’s come in contact with a certain document and they will stop at nothing to reach their objective. As the body count rises, will Robert make it out of this end game alive?

Talk about nail-biting suspense! This thriller had me on the edge of my seat throughout. With such a highly complex plot, you’d think you might end up confused at some point but it’s a huge credit to Matt Johnson’s writing that I never once felt lost. End Game is intensely gripping, superbly intelligent and just oozes authenticity. There is no way of knowing who to trust in this murky world of the secret services and I had no idea what the outcome would be.

This fast-paced thriller is a fantastic conclusion to an absolutely brilliant series. Like the previous books, it’s a multi-layered and compelling story of corruption, deceit and the games those in power play. Of course I’m sad to see Robert Finlay’s journey come to an end and I’m going to miss him fiercely. But it has been an absolute privilege to have been a part of it and Matt Johnson has wrapped things up perfectly. So like I said at the start, do yourself a favour, grab yourself a copy and lose yourself in the world of spies. You won’t regret it! And I do so hope there will be more from Matt Johnson in future.

End Game is available in ebook format. The UK Paperback release is set for March 30th.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryWorderyGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for twenty-five years.

Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1992, one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital.

Hidden wounds took their toll. In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whilst undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism.

One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. He has used his detailed knowledge and memory to create what has been described by many readers as a fast paced, exciting and authentic tale of modern day policing.

Matt Johnson is living proof that PTSD is a condition that can be controlled and overcome with the right help and support. He has been described by many fans as an inspiration to fellow sufferers.

A keen biker, Matt rides a ’99 Harley Davidson Fatboy and is patron to the UK based ‘Armed Forces Bikers’ charity.

In his spare time Matt keeps honey bees and produces his own honey. He scuba dives, collects unusual hats and enjoys hill-walking with his three dogs at his home in Wales near the Brecon Beacons.

Twitter | Website

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37 Hours by J.F. Kirwan @kirwanjf @rararesources #blogtour

Delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for 37 Hours by J.F. Kirwan today. My thanks to the publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources and apologies for the delay in posting this.

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Author : J.F. Kirwan
Title : 37 Hours
Series : Nadia Laksheva Spy Thriller #2
Pages :
Publisher : HQ Digital
Publication date : March 17, 2017

aboutthebook

After two long years spent in a secret British prison, Nadia Laksheva is suddenly granted her freedom. Yet there is a dangerous price to pay for her release: she must retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her deadliest enemy, a powerful and ruthless terrorist known only as The Client.

But her mysterious nemesis is always one step ahead and the clock is ticking. In 37 hours, the warhead will explode, reducing the city of London to a pile of ash. Only this time, Nadia is prepared to pull the trigger at any cost…

The deadly trail will take her from crowded Moscow to the silent streets of Chernobyl, but will Nadia find what she is looking for before the clock hits zero?

mythoughts

The only way to hunt down a killer, is to become one …

37 Hours is the second book in the Nadia Laksheva series and hoo boy, what a thriller this is! If you thought 66 Metres was good, let me tell you right now that this one is even better! If you haven’t read the first book, I would recommend that you do if you want to get the full picture and background of the various characters. And even if you don’t, read it anyway because it’s just that great!

This second instalment picks up two years after the previous book. Nadia has spent two years in a secret British prison, being interrogated about her involvement in the chase for The Rose. But suddenly she’s granted freedom when a warhead is stolen from a submarine. Not only will Nadia need to face her biggest enemy, she will also be confronted with her past. And all the while, the clock is ticking and the city of London is under threat.

37 Hours had me hooked from the first page and didn’t let go. This is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller where the Russians aren’t the bad guys for a change. How novel! 😄. In fact, the bad guy may as well be a ghost. Nobody seems to know what he looks like. Full of international conspiracies and intrigue, it had me completely engrossed. True to form, there’s a bit of traveling and an unforgiving place that played a big and rather dark part in history features quite prominently but I won’t say anymore about that. You’ll just have to find out for yourself. I mention it because I really liked how the author was able to incorporate that bit.

I said it in my review for 66 Metres and I’ll gladly say it again. The Nadia Laksheva series would make a fantastic tv show or movie. Suspenseful, highly entertaining, brilliantly written, some guts and gore … What more could you possibly want? I enjoyed this one immensely and it left me wanting more. Luckily, there’s a third and final book in the series, 88° North, which I’ll be reviewing in April. I can’t wait to read it and see how J.F. Kirwan wraps up this series!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

J. F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels. An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Website

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The Meal of Fortune by Philip Brady @philbradyUK @annecater #blogtour #extract #MealofFortune

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Meal of Fortune by Philip Brady. I have an extract to share with you today but first, here’s what the book is all about.

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Author : Philip Brady
Title : The Meal of Fortune
Pages : 384
Publisher : Unbound
Publication date : November 14, 2017

aboutthebook

The worlds of arms dealing, espionage and TV cookery collide in this fast moving comedy caper.

Failing celebrity agent Dermot Jack thinks his luck might have turned when a mysterious Russian oligarch hires him to represent his pop star daughter.

Disaffected MI5 officer Anna Preston is just as happy to be handed the chance to resurrect her own career. Little do they know that their paths are about to cross again after seventeen years as they’re thrown together in a desperate attempt to lure a notorious arms dealer into a highly unusual trap.

Hard enough without having to deal with the lecherous celebrity chef trying to save his daytime TV career or the diminutive mafia enforcer who definitely has his own agenda. Then there’s the very impatient loan shark who ‘just wants his money back’.

And Anna’s bosses are hardly playing it straight either. But one thing’s for sure. There’ll be winners and losers when the Meal of Fortune finally stops spinning. Oh, and another thing, Anna and Dermot are absolutely not about to fall in love again. That’s never going to happen, OK?

extract

Chapter 1

Every Thursday the music would start in Dermot’s head the moment the bell sounded. And even before he got to the front door he’d be dancing inside. The little girl would already be out of the car, running up the path, one hand tucking a lock of long dark hair behind her ear, the other clutching the bag filled with a whole week’s worth of things she’d bought to show him. She’d always be laughing.

The music inside could be anything: that year’s big feel-good summer hit or some long-forgotten guilty pleasure with a heavy synth bass and cheesy samples. It didn’t matter; it always got him dancing inside.

And every Thursday the little girl would sit up at the kitchen counter to do the homework her mother had so thoughtfully saved up for her one night with Daddy. Still, a little help here and there and they soon had it out of the way. Then it would be time for the bag to reveal its contents. Sometimes one by one, more often all at the same time. Pictures she’d drawn as well as other random (and often unidentifiable) works of art. Stickers (what was it with kids and stickers?) and various little bits and bobs she’d collected along the way. Dermot would laugh and smile while he made her beans on toast. It wasn’t that he couldn’t cook (OK!). But Thursday was Molly’s night and it was her favourite. At bedtime ‘Just one more story’ ended up being three or four as they eked out every last minute of their time together. Their current record stood at eight.

And all the time the dance went on inside his head as the music carried on playing. Shaking, twisting and jiving. Sometimes a little breakdance or maybe even the disco strut.

As a younger man he’d got away with real dancing; at home, in the street, in the lobby of many an overpriced hotel. Just about anywhere. A few steps here, a spin or two there, maybe the odd little whoop. Amazing the allowances people made when you were young and all they wanted was their little own piece of you. But Dermot had learned long ago to keep it inside. The music, the dancing and a few other things besides.

‘The train will soon be arriving in London King’s Cross…’

He slipped out of his daydream to find the green of the countryside had given way to the dirty greys and dull browns of the city he’d always called home. So why did it feel like home was 400-odd miles behind him with an eight-year-old girl who still called him Daddy? Just. Little wonder the music inside didn’t play anymore.

Dermot stayed seated as the train slid to a halt, letting all the other passengers jostle their way off first. Only when the carriage was empty did he reach up and grab his small case from the overhead rail and head for the door.

Scotland, for God’s sake. Actually no: he was going to get it right. Scotland, for fuck’s sake.Not that he had any particular beef with the country. He’d just rather his ex-wife hadn’t taken his daughter to live there. With a man called Wayne. Wanker.

Come on… A Silicon Glen entrepreneur who’d made his first million at about the age of 12, then cashed it all in before the crash to become an organic cheese-maker.

Dermot gave the train a last look of lingering resentment as he stepped down to the platform and headed for the ticket barrier. He shouldn’t even have been on the sodding thing in the first place. Sarah’s phone call the previous Tuesday had changed that. ‘Erm, you see, the thing is…

That was the thing about his ex-wife. There was always some sort of ‘thing’. This time it was the work deadline that would make it ‘just impossible’ for her to bring Molly down to London for half term. As bloody discussed, agreed and promised. Sarah was happy enough for him to come up to Scotland to see Molly. Not to stay with them but there was no reason why he couldn’t take his daughter to Edinburgh for a couple of days. It was a safe enough offer for Sarah to make, knowing he wouldn’t be able to drop everything at work or afford the hotel. Well this time she’d be wrong. On both counts.

‘Great, I’ll book the train tomorrow.’

‘I mean… If you’re sure.’ A delicious note of doubt had crept into her voice.

‘It’s fine.’

After weeks of delays Marcus Diesel’s new contract was finally edging its way past the collection of pedants and timewasters that the TV-production company insisted on referring to as its legal department. But any further questions the lawyers concocted could be answered easily enough by phone or email.

With no way to un-invite him, Sarah had dialled the breeziness back up. ‘In that case, Molly’s got a surprise. You’ll never guess…’

‘Daddy, Daddy!’ Molly had come charging through the door of the mock Scottish castle she now called home and down the path towards him. Sarah had stayed in the doorway, the scowl she saved exclusively for Dermot doing little to hide how good she looked. Her blonde hair had been expensively cut into a shiny new bob and she’d lost weight too – something she’d never bothered with when she was with Dermot. But then he could hardly…

Maybe best not to go over all that again.

Wayne at least had shown enough tact to stay well out of sight, no doubt lurking in one of the large feasting halls of what, on closer inspection, appeared to be a genuine Scottish castle. Not such a wanker after all then? Although Dermot didn’t plan to let that count in the man’s favour. Molly had wrapped her arms around him in one of those special eight-year-old-hugs that promised to go on forever. Then she let go and looked up at him with her best smile.

‘Wayne bought me a pony.’

Of course he had. That would be the surprise Sarah had mentioned. And yes, she’d been right: he’d never have guessed. Not long ago Dermot had bought his daughter ice creams when there’d been something to celebrate. Now another man was buying her horses. Wayne’s ‘tact’ in making himself scarce was nothing more than good old-fashioned fear of a punch in the head. Dermot knew he’d been right to avoid a hasty reappraisal of the man’s wanker status.

‘He’s called Nugget. I get to ride him every day.’ The words tumbled out as if they were never going to stop. ‘And he’s got his own special bit of the stable too. It’s bigger than your whole flat, Daddy.’

Yeah cheers for that, Mol. Was it so wrong to wish the beast a nasty hoof infection or a fatal cheese-churning accident on Wayne?

Two days in Edinburgh had done much to close up the gap driven between Dermot and his daughter by the three months’ long separation and the arrival of the bloody horse. Molly had chatted away about old times as they’d done the zoo, the castle, the shops, plenty of cafés and then the zoo again (zoos were a big thing for her). It was all his Thursday nights rolled into one. The horse barely got a look in after first day. But all too soon he’d found himself back at Chateau Fromage.

‘Bye, darling. I’ll see you soon.’

‘Bye-bye, Daddy.’ She’d said it with a sad little smile. But it had only been little and not really that sad. Then she’d turned away, asking Sarah whether it was too late to have a ride on Nugget.

Dermot had been left to head back to the waiting taxi, wondering if the driver might know where to buy voodoo horse dolls in Edinburgh. And extra-long pins. But then he’d had a far better idea.

The station concourse was busy and Dermot dodged through the crowds, weighing up the choice of taxi or underground for the trip across London and home to Chiswick. The station clock read 4.29pm. So, with an hour of the working day left, he plumped for a taxi. Plenty of time to get on the phone to the production-company lawyers and ask why the bloody hell they were still stalling on Marcus Diesel’s contract.

The taxi queue moved with a swiftness that was as unexpected as it was welcome and five minutes later he was in a cab heading along Euston Road, his sleek black phone nestling snugly in his hand. The little device was no ordinary phone though. It was the lightsabre to his Luke Skywalker. In his hands it could be a weapon of almost unimaginable might. All his power (well, all his contacts) dwelled inside the neat glass-and-metal shell. With it he could unleash the force and battle the evil legion of Sith (talentless, wannabe celebs and over-paid fuckwit lawyers). He was looking at the home screen when the Jedi weapon sprang to life, the name of the dark lord of TV cookery himself written large across the screen. The thought of speaking to Marcus made Dermot’s whole face hurt on the best of days. It wasn’t for nothing that the man had been voted TV’s most annoying man three years on the spin. And that was by a viewing public who only had to watch his show rather than speak to him at least six times a day.

‘Marcus, hi.’ He took the call reluctantly, trying his hardest to keep the sigh from his voice.

‘Dermot what the—’

The rest of what Marcus had to say was drowned out by the siren of a passing fire engine. Not that it mattered; most of it would have been one or other derivative of the word ‘fuck’.

‘Come again?’

But all Dermot caught were a couple more ‘fuck’s and maybe a ‘bastard’ before another fire engine roared by.

‘Marcus, I can’t hear—’

But the chef had already hung up, presumably happy he’d got his message across. A combination of poor mobile reception, more emergency vehicles and an overly stubborn receptionist at the production company meant he was well past Shepherd’s Bush before he finally got through to the lawyer he needed to speak to. Then the signal went and he lost the call. Dermot looked at the lightsabre lying useless in his hand and decided to give it up for the day.

Fifteen minutes later he was closing the front door of his flat behind him and dumping his case in the narrow hallway as he headed for the sitting room. For five long years the flat had been his sanctuary, coming alive with the sound of Molly’s laughter every Thursday night and second weekend. Now it just felt cold and desolate; the scratched dining table and scruffy green sofas with their mismatched cushions were too big for the undersized sitting room. He tried not to think about that bastard horse lounging about in the comfort of its vast executive stable.

Without Molly’s regular visits to the flat he’d decided to forgo the cost of a cleaner and it was starting to show. Then there was the smell drifting from the kitchen, carrying more than a suggestion that he’d forgotten to put the dishwasher on before heading to Scotland. Dermot took in the mess of papers and used coffee cups on his desk as he thought about fighting his way through the stale stench to tackle the dishwasher. But the prospect of a pint and a pie in his local was always going to win that debate. His stomach was already grumbling as he headed back down the hall and pulled the front door open, only to find someone standing in his way.

‘Ah, Mr Jack, hello. My name is Yegor Koslov.’

The man wore an expensive suit and a cheap haircut. The hair was thinning and blond (possibly dyed) and quite a bit too long on top; what the uncharitable might have described as a comb-over. At six foot four he could have pulled it off but at five foot five and a bit he didn’t stand a chance.

‘You are a very hard man to track down.’

Jesus, that accent; like the first baddie to die in a low-rent spy movie. But when he looked down into the little man’s eyes he saw something hard and cold there, something that suggested it would be foolish to underestimate him. Dermot took a step backwards, ready to close the door. Because, well… It wasn’t every day a real-life Russian gangster came calling. The Russian bit he wasn’t quite so sure of, although the name and the accent were pretty big clues.

But gangster?

When you’d spend half your life scratching the fleshy underbelly of the entertainment business you knew a crook when you saw one.

‘I have a message for you from my employer.’ The man smiled, the chill never quite leaving his eyes.

Shit… Mulrooney.

‘Look, I can…’ Repaying the money he owed the big loan shark wasn’t going to be a problem. It just wouldn’t be happening today. Or that week even. The ‘better idea’ that had trumped the voodoo horse doll had also proved a lot more costly. The deposit and three months’ rent he’d forked out for a flat in Edinburgh meant he’d be able to go to Scotland and see Molly whenever he liked. But it also meant that he was skint again.

‘Tell him—’ Dermot took another step backwards. It didn’t look like he’d be getting that pie and pint after all. But the little fella wouldn’t look quite so tough with a face full of front door. He shoved as hard as he could with his shoulder.

‘That’s not very friendly, Mr Jack.’ Somehow Yegor Koslov had stepped backward and still managed to force his foot between the closing door and frame, moving surprisingly quickly for such a little man. ‘Not very friendly at all.’

Then the Russian started to push the door back open. Turned out that he was surprisingly strong for a little man as well.

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If you enjoyed that and would like to read more, you can buy your copy now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

I was first inspired to write when I read Lord of The Rings as a child. Back then the ambition was to create a whole fantasy world with dragons and sword fights. Sadly George RR Martin seems to have cornered that market, so I now try to comedy thrillers set in the (almost) real world instead. These feature spies, gangsters, vicious (if feckless) criminals, washed-up private detectives and daytime TV presenters. The Meal of Fortune is my first published novel. It is the first in a planned trilogy of comedy thrillers parodying society’s obsession with celebrity.

The follow-up, Tinker Tailor Solider Chef, sees the characters reunited in an attempt to foil a plot by the world’s most secretive intelligence agency (The Belgians) to bring the UK economy to its knees. The final book, centres on a referendum in Wales to decide whether the country should sell itself to an international technology giant for use as a conveniently located tax haven. It will be loosely based on the hilarious 80s film Local Hero.

My main rule in life is to never let tomato ketchup touch any food that is green. I am yet to work out any deep meaning behind this and suspect it is not the soundest of principles by which to live your life. But it’s better than quite a few I’ve come across down the years. Best not to get started on that one though.

I live in London with my fantastic wife and two remarkable children and didn’t vote for BREXIT.

Twitter @philbradyuk

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Killed by Thomas Enger @EngerThomas @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #Killed #HenningJuul

I’m absolutely thrilled to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Killed by Thomas Eager. My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for the opportunity to join and my review copy.

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Author : Thomas Enger
Title : Killed
Series : Henning Juul #5
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : December 24, 2017

aboutthebook

Henning Juul sits in a boat on a dark lake. A man with a gun sits opposite him. At the man’s feet is a body that will be soon be dumped into the water. Henning knows that the same fate awaits him. And he knows that it’s his own fault.

Who started the fire that killed Henning’s young son? How is his sister, Trine, involved? Most importantly, who can be trusted?

mythoughts

Such conflicting times these are. On the one hand, being delighted to see the return of Henning Juul and on the other hand, knowing this is the end of the line. It’s sad to see this series come to an end but what a thrilling ride it’s been and I’m delighted to have been a part of this journey.

I accidentally jumped into this series with Cursed, which was book four. When the opportunity to join this blog tour came my way, I was determined to read the other three books first and I’m so glad I managed to do that. There is some amazingly intricate plotting throughout this entire series, which you can only appreciate when you’ve read all the books in order, and to see all the pieces of the puzzle come together was just incredibly exciting. So do yourself a favour and start at the beginning so you too can enjoy the full experience and see the various threads unravel. It’s so worth it!

Killed is an intense and thrilling adventure as Henning Juul continues his search for the truth about the fire at his flat. Will he finally find out who’s been calling the shots? I don’t want to say too much as I’ll be giving away information from the previous books but suffice to say there are a lot questions that still need to be answered. The prologue kicks things off in nail-biting fashion and immediately grabs your attention. Those few pages alone already had me on the edge of my seat and I had to fight the urge to skip to the last page to see what the outcome would be. This fifth and final instalment is a fantastic addition to an utterly brilliant and gripping series. With a strong pace and multiple characters in the mix, I was glued to the pages and couldn’t put the book down.

Watching Henning Juul’s character develop and mature has been an absolute privilege. While it’s of course a shame to see any series come to an end, I will always prefer it being done in this way with a most satisfying conclusion, instead of having it dragged out and end up going nowhere. The ending is fitting, just perfect, and I’m glad the author chose to wrap things up the way he did.

Thomas Enger is responsible for my introduction to the Scandi-Noir genre and for that reason alone, the Henning Juul series will always have a special place in my heart. So all that’s left for me to say is farvel ogg takk. (If I did that correctly, it should say “goodbye and thank you”.)

Killed is available in ebook format and UK paperback.

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

abouttheauthor

Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 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).

Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

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