Alice Teale Is Missing by H.A. Linskey | @HowardLinskey @MichaelJBooks @sriya__v | #blogtour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Alice Teale Is Missing by Howard Linskey! My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Howard Linskey
Title : Alice Teale Is Missing
Pages : 409
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : January 23, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Alice Teale walked out of school at the end of a bright spring day.

She’s not been seen since.

Alice was popular and well-liked, and her boyfriend, friends and family are desperate to find her.

But soon it’s clear that everyone in her life has something to hide.

Then the police receive a disturbing package.

Pages from Alice’s precious diary.

Who could have sent them? And what have they done with Alice?

| MY THOUGHTS |

One evening in Spring, seventeen year old Alice Teale leaves the school grounds around 9pm and is never seen again. What happened to her and why? The investigation gets off to quite a slow start until DS Lucas Black takes over with the help from DS Beth Winter.

The small mining town of Collemby hides quite a few secrets. Did Alice stumble upon something she shouldn’t have? Or did she simply run away from a far-from-perfect family home? Quite a few theories floated through my brain at one point or another but I could never quite decide on one to stick with. When someone starts sending the detectives excerpts from Alice’s journal, seemingly taunting them with information, the whole thing became even more complicated in my head and I stopped trying to figure things out. Which was a good thing too because it all turned out a whole lot more dark and disturbing than I bargained for.

I didn’t particularly like Alice, which seemed wrong somehow, considering the fact that she went missing and might possibly be in quite a lot of trouble or worse. But that didn’t stop me from becoming completely invested in her life, wanting to know what happened to her and even hoping for a positive outcome to it all. Her journal entries work really well into giving the reader an insight into the kind of girl Alice is and at the same time they act like pieces of a puzzle to try and fit together.

I did however instantly like both Lucas and Beth. This is Beth’s first big case so obviously she wants to do a good job and impress the powers that be. But Lucas is … well, he’s Lucas. You’ll have to find out more about that yourself. There’s a bit of a dark cloud hanging around him and he’s not exactly popular. Yet somehow, this rather odd pairing works like a charm and while it doesn’t look like this book is the first in a series, I’m kind of hoping that it is because I’d absolutely love to read more stories involving Lucas and Beth.

The pace is spot-on throughout and the plot is full of intrigue, mystery and a red herring or two. Alice Teale Is Missing had me hook, line and sinker from the very first page and didn’t let go. Tense, suspenseful and engrossing, I have no doubt this will appeal to crime fiction fans everywhere. I hadn’t read a Howard Linskey book before, despite seeing the name pass by often enough, but I already know it won’t be my last.

Alice Teale Is Missing is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Howard Linskey is a best-selling author of crime and historical fiction published in seven countries. His debut novel ‘The Drop’ was voted one of the Top Five Thrillers of the Year by the Times newspaper and ‘The Damage’ was voted one of its top summer reads. His David Blake series was optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron.

Howard writes a series of north-east set, crime fiction novels for Penguin Random House featuring investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton, as well as Detective Sergeant Ian Bradshaw.

His historical novels are set in WW2. ‘Hunting the Hangman’ tells the story of the assassination of Nazi general and architect of the Holocaust, Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942. ‘Ungentlemanly Warfare’ follows SOE agent Harry Walsh into occupied France. 

Originally from the north east of England, Howard now lives in Herts with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.  

This Week in Books (January 22)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’

It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.

Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice.

[C.J. Tudor strikes again and this is right up there as a contender for my book of the year. Fa-bu-lous!]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

One day that will change a family forever. 

[About halfway through this one and it’s immensely gripping. Yet I can’t help but feel I may need to reach for a tissue at some point 🤔]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.

Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it.

[May just be a teensie-weensie excited about this one]

And that’s my week in books. What does your week look like? Do let me know in the comments! Happy reading! xx

#GuestPost : Five Things I Learned From Writing A Series with Robert Crouch | @robertcrouchuk

I’m delighted to welcome Robert Crouch to the blog today! Robert is the author of a cosy crime mystery series featuring environmental health officer Kent Fisher. As book 5 in the series was published last week, I’ll be telling you a bit more about that below and it also seemed like a good time to ask Robert about the things he’s learned from writing a series.

Author : Robert Crouch
Title : No Mercy
Series : Kent Fisher Mysteries #5
Pages : 250
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : January 16, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

WOULD YOU KILL IF JUSTICE FAILED YOU?

Highways Inspector, Derek Forster, couldn’t go on after the death of his wife. Even though he had a secret lover, he took his own life. Or did he?

Samson Capote, the restaurateur from hell, brutally attacked and left to die in a deep freezer. Did he antagonise too many people? Was he sharing Forster’s secret lover?

Millionaire entrepreneur, Clive Chesterton, falls from his yacht and drowns in Sovereign Harbour. Why did he have Forster’s missing journals in his cabin?

When Kent Fisher becomes a murder suspect, he realises he could be the next victim of a killer who shows no mercy.

Can Kent connect the deaths and solve the mystery before the killer gets to him?

Amazon US | Amazon UK

| GUEST POST |

Five things I’ve learned from writing a series

When I came up with the idea of Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer (EHO) who solves murders, it was fresh and different from everything else in crime fiction. As far as I know, it still is.

But would the idea work? Would readers be interested?

I hope so because the novels are rooted in the classic whodunit and traditional murder mysteries of authors like Agatha Christie, only modern and irreverent, dealing with today’s issues.

With the release of the fifth book in the series, No Mercy, I thought I’d catch my breath and look back at what I’ve learned along the way.

1. I can write more than one novel

It may sound obvious with the release of the fifth book, but publishers and agents weren’t interested in the first Kent Fisher novel. One agent read the whole story, but didn’t take me on. Rejections breed doubt, which drives you to analyse and find the faults rather than the things you need to work on.

I also realised that my environmental health officer went straight into solving murders. If you know the work EHOs do, protecting public health, making sure food and the places that serve food are safe and hygienic, and making sure employees are safe at work, it’s hardly murder.

You wouldn’t visit your local council and report a murder to the environmental health officer.

So, I wrote a prequel, where Kent Fisher investigated a fatal work accident, which was really a murder. It was more difficult to write as it had to dovetail into the novel I’d already written, but it showed me I could write more than one story – even if I wrote them back to front.

2. It’s not easy to keep things fresh

Somewhere on my computer I have a folder filled with story ideas. Most are subjects and themes I want to tackle or subjects that matter to me like injustice. Most of the ideas are about the motives for murder, the issues that drive people to kill.

From time to time, I check this folder. Any fresh ideas, which usually come to me when I’m shaving in the morning, are added to the folder.

Yet none of these ideas are in the third, fourth and fifth novels in the series.

Unlike the police, who solve murders as a matter of routine, EHOs like me inspect restaurant and pub kitchens. That restricts what I can do, meaning I have to find ways for Kent Fisher to be drawn into murders other than family or friends.

Then there’s the backstory – the characters and setting that form Kent’s life, his work, friends and problematic love life. All the novels have a strong backstory, which affects the murder investigations and the people close to him.

Before I can start a new novel, I need to know how much time has elapsed. What’s changed? What loose ends are there from the previous story? What’s happening at work, at the animal sanctuary he owns and runs?

The backstory presents a continuity challenge. It affects the next story. The relationships and conflicts of the support cast can be more absorbing than the murders, especially in the early stages. The backstory must also stay fresh and dynamic.

3. Readers love your characters as much as you do

Just like someone you meet, you get to learn more about the people in your novels with each book. Readers have grown to love this supporting cast, often making comments about them. Kent’s love life is the source of debate and discussion. Readers want him to fall in love with a particular character. Other readers want him to dump that character.

It’s music to my ears because readers are engaged. They care about the characters I’ve created, the situations they have to deal with. I have as much fun wondering what’s going to happen to these characters in each story. And as you’ll discover in a moment, they can surprise me as much as the readers.

And I couldn’t leave this section without mentioning the one character everyone seems to love. Columbo is Kent’s West Highland white terrier, inspired by my own Westie, Harvey. You can also work out who my favourite TV detective is, and how he inspires Kent Fisher to carry out his investigations. 

[Hi, Harvey! Who’s a cute doggie? 😍]

4. Your characters will always surprise you

People who know me often look perplexed when I tell them my characters constantly surprise me, usually by behaving out of character.

How can that happen when I’m the one in control, writing the story?

The characters may be fictional products of my imagination, but they come alive when I write. They live and breathe. Readers feel like they know them. Like me, readers get to learn and understand more about the characters with each book.

That’s the beauty of having a series – you can watch the characters change and develop with each new book.

In the fourth novel, No More Lies, Kent Fisher surprised me twice. With the second surprise, his actions wrecked ideas I had for the next three novels in the series. I could have brought Kent into line, but it was more exciting to give him free rein and see where he went.

The story was much better as a result. I’ve had to come up with some new ideas for the sixth novel, but it’s a fair trade.

[The idea that characters do their own thing without an author’s say-so is absolutely fascinating to me.]

5. It’s so easy to forget details

I once had the privilege to have a conversation on Facebook Messenger with my favourite author, Sue Grafton, who wrote the Alphabet Murder series, featuring Kinsey Millhone. I think Sue had written 22 novels in the series at this point.

I asked her if it was difficult to keep track of everything that had happened over the years. Indeed it was. In one of the books, Kinsey’s neighbour and landlord, Henry, who was also a good friend, was married, even though he was single in all the rest.

There were plenty of other little discrepancies, despite the notes she kept. She was worried about repeating plots she’d used in previous books and kept detailed records to avoid this.

I use a spreadsheet to record the characters in my stories, usually in the chapters they first appear. Birthdays, relationships, places of work are also noted for future reference. Main events are noted in case I need to refer back, along with physical characteristics, such as hair and eye colour, or anything distinctive.

It doesn’t stop me having to check back many times as I’m writing. It’s easy to get names wrong. It’s easy to have similar sounding names like Jenny, Gemma and Emma or Adrian and Adam. In one novel, I had three female characters with names beginning with the same letter. Despite the spreadsheet I didn’t spot this until the third edit.

At some point I may need to write more detailed notes, but as I only look one book ahead now, never sure how Kent’s going to behave, I hope the stories will remain fresh, interesting and free from repetition and bloopers.

[I can’t even begin to imagine how to keep track of all these things, spreadsheets or not!]

Thank you so much, Robert, for stopping by and giving us this insight. I wish you continued success with the Kent Fisher Mysteries!

Amazon US | Amazon UK

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Robert Crouch writes the kind of books he loves to read. Books ranging from the classic whodunit by authors like Agatha Christie, the feisty private eye novels of Sue Grafton, thrillers by Dick Francis, and the modern crime fiction of Peter James and LJ Ross.

He created Kent Fisher as an ordinary person, drawn into solving murders. He’s an underdog battling superior forces and minds, seeking justice and fair play in a cruel world. These are the values and motivations that underpinned Robert’s long career as an environmental health officer.

He now writes full time from his home in East Sussex. When not writing, he’s often find walking on the South Downs with his West Highland white terrier, Harvey, taking photographs and researching the settings for future Kent Fisher mysteries.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Website

All The Rage by Cara Hunter | @CaraHunterBooks @VikingBooksUK | #recommended

Author : Cara Hunter
Title : All The Rage
Series : DI Adam Fawley #4
Pages : 440
Publisher : Penguin UK
Publication date : January 23, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back.

| MY THOUGHTS |

It has been pointed out to me that I’ve been doing an awful lot of judging lately and I’m here to tell you that if you’re not reading this series, I’ll be doing it again! I’ll even add in some shaking of the fist. *shakes fist*

Set in Oxford, All The Rage is the fourth instalment in the DI Adam Fawley series and here is something else I say quite a lot : it’s the best one yet! That’s saying a lot because this series has been remarkably outstanding from the get-go and I don’t know how Cara Hunter manages to raise the bar every single time but she does. Now, I know there are a truckload of crime fiction series out there but there is something about this series right here that somehow makes it stand out from the crowd. I wish I could explain it better but I can’t. It’s that certain “je ne sais quoi”, that thing you just can’t quite put your finger on.

A teenage girl is found wandering the streets. It’s obvious she’s been the victim of a brutal assault, yet she refuses to press charges. But why? Without her cooperation, there is little police can do. But then another girl disappears and DI Adam Fawley’s past is suddenly hot on his heels. Hasn’t he seen this kind of case before?

In case it wasn’t yet clear, I absolutely love this series and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this latest one. I personally don’t feel this can be read as a stand-alone. Not only are changes in DI Fawley’s team quite important to keep track of with respect to team dynamics, his personal life has a huge impact on the cases he works on. Especially when they involve children.

Prepare yourself for one of the most addictive stories I’ve ever read. This plot, you guys! Like whoa! All The Rage is so incredibly twisty, I almost ended up with whiplash. This is a book to devour in one glorious reading session, if you can. Once I picked it up, it became absolutely impossible to put it back down again. I couldn’t at all figure out what had happened and the story ended up going into a completely different direction than what I had been expecting. The shocking revelations just kept on coming and I loved every single one of them. A compelling and gripping investigation, believable characters, a dreamy DI and a fast-paced intricate plot that will keep you guessing until the end …. what more could you possibly want?

All The Rage is a corker of a book in a truly corker of a series! If you’re a fan of crime fiction and police procedurals, this series HAS to be on your shelves! Bring on the next one, I say!

All The Rage will be published on January 23rd.

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

This Week in Books (January 15)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

[review to follow soon but here’s a clue … ❤️]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Alice Teale walked out of school at the end of a bright spring day.

She’s not been seen since.

Alice was popular and well-liked, and her boyfriend, friends and family are desperate to find her.

But soon it’s clear that everyone in her life has something to hide.

Then the police receive a disturbing package.

Pages from Alice’s precious diary.

Who could have sent them? And what have they done with Alice?

[By currently, I mean I’m about to start it. Any second now. Honestly.]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

It’s the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen…

The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride’s entire family are stabbed to death – in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined.

Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda’s team, someone is playing games with the evidence – and the killer might be closer to home than they thought…

[Another one of my favourite series so I’m really looking forward to this!]

And that’s my week! With a dash of Stephen King thrown in at some point. What are you reading this week? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza | @RobertBryndza @TheCrimeVault | #NineElms

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza. My thanks to Kirsteen at Little Brown for the opportunity to join and for the review copy!

Author : Robert Bryndza
Title : Nine Elms
Series : Kate Marshall #1
Pages : 400
Publisher : Sphere
Publication date : January 9, 2020 (hardcover)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Sixteen years ago, Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and driven, with a talent for getting into the minds of criminals, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her instinct and ability to immerse herself in violent worlds couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

Now, years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

| MY THOUGHTS |

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Robert Bryndza and his crime fiction series featuring Erika Foster. But now he’s back with a brand-new series and an equally brand-new exciting female protagonist.

Sixteen years ago, Kate Marshall was a detective working for the London Metropolitan Police. Kate ended up on the wrong side of a serial killer case. With her career and reputation in tatters, she relocated to the English coast, where she now works in academia. But the past is about to catch up with her.

Back in 1995, there was a spate of brutal murders. And now, it looks as if someone is trying to recreate that sequence of events. There is no doubt the “Nine Elms” serial killer is behind bars and investigators are dealing with a copycat. But who and why? And what is their end game?

As far as introducing the reader to a new series goes, this is right up there. There is so much going on in this first instalment and the intriguing premise of Kate’s past pulled me in from the get-go. Not only are we faced with a copycat killer but there is an unsolved missing persons case which may just tie in with the original Nine Elms serial killer. And throughout it all, the reader gets to know the character of Kate Marshall as she is forced to confront her past. Kate quite quickly proves herself to be a determined woman who, despite having left the force all those years ago, has never been able to shake off her “copper’s nose” and with her assistant Tristan by her side, we immediately get an exciting new investigative team. Albeit it with a different spin to it as obviously Kate doesn’t have a badge or access to various spiffy databases. All she has is experience, knowledge and her instincts.

Did I mention these murders are particularly brutal and gruesome? I’m not of the squeamish variety most of the time, especially not while reading, but good grief … let’s just say I often muttered the words “ugh, eww”. Yet, I felt those details were important to drive home how despicable the Nine Elms serial killer and his copycat are. Underneath it all is a fascinating insight into mother and son relationships, even if they’re leaning towards a whole new level of dysfunctional, and that always thrilling topic of nature versus nurture.

The Erika Foster series was hugely successful for Robert Bryndza and I have no doubt this new series featuring Kate Marshall will be equally so. The compelling Nine Elms is an amazing way to kick it off and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Kate and Tristan.

Nine Elms is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestselling Detective Erika Foster series. Robert’s books have sold over 3 million copies and have been translated into 28 languages. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

This Week in Books (January 8)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Sixteen years ago, Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and driven, with a talent for getting into the minds of criminals, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her instinct and ability to immerse herself in violent worlds couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

Now, years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

What are you reading this week? Let me know and let’s talk books! Happy reading! xx

**Cover Reveal** The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott | @RachelAbbott @headlinepg @JoLidds | #MurderGameBook

Just a little bit (read : a lot!!!) excited today as I have the fabulous opportunity to reveal the cover for The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott to you all!

The Murder Game is the second instalment in the Stephanie King series and it will be published on April 16th, 2020. Before I show you the cover, here is what The Murder Game is all about. (Do you think I’ve mentioned the title enough in this paragraph? 🤔)

Author : Rachel Abbott
Title : The Murder Game
Series : Stephanie King #2
Pages : 416
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : April 16, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A year ago today, we all gathered for Lucas’s wedding at his glorious Cornish home overlooking the sea.

But no one was married that day.

Now Lucas has invited us back to celebrate the anniversary. But the anniversary of what? The wedding that never happened, or the tragedy that occurred just hours before the ceremony was due to begin?

He’s told us that tonight he has planned a game. We have our costumes, we have our parts, and everyone must play. The game, he tells us, is about to begin.

What does Lucas want from us? What are we not being told? And what’s going to happen when this terrible game is over?

😱😱

Doesn’t this sound absolutely awesome?! That book descriptions alone oozes the creepy like a creeptastic … erm, … creepy thing. I can’t wait!

Are you ready to see the cover now?

3

2

1

Here it comes!

I love this! Although, I don’t know about you but if I found this on my plate, I may just run a mile. (Also, what’s with the empty glasses? Not cool! 😂)

The Murder Game will be published on April 16th, 2020 but you can already preorder it right now! And you should because Rachel Abbott’s books are always delicious treats full of suspense!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Rachel Abbott’s debut thriller, Only the Innocent, was an international bestseller, reaching the number one position in the Amazon charts both in the UK and US. This was followed by the number one bestselling novels The Back Road, Sleep Tight, Stranger Child, Nowhere Child (a short novel based on the characters from Stranger Child), Kill Me Again, The Sixth Window, Come a Little Closer and And So It Begins. Her most recent novel, The Shape of Lies, was released in February 2019. 

Rachel’s novels have now been translated into over 20 languages and her books have sold over 3 million copies in the English language. 

In 2015 Amazon celebrated the first five years of the Kindle in the UK, and announced that Rachel was the #1 bestselling independent author over the five-year period. She was also placed #14 in the chart of all authors. Stranger Child was the most borrowed novel for the Kindle in the first half of 2015.

Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction.

This Week in Books (December 18)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn’t call the police. 

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’

A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.

She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all. But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger. She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves? And who does she really know? And who can she trust?

A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?

[* There’s a bit of a story attached to this one, which you can read at the bottom of the post, if you’re so inclined.]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that her sleep problems might be driving her mad or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness.

[Catching up on some of Ruth Ware’s older work after loving The Death of Mrs Westaway and The Turn of the Key]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back.

[One of my favourite crime series and I can’t wait to get stuck into this new instalment!]

For those of who you who saw last week’s post, DO NOT PANIC! I did indeed read Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker and absolutely loved it!

* The Nicci French story. At my local mall, which is about half an hour’s drive away from my house, is one book shop that sells English books. It’s not a very big selection and they aren’t updated all that often either. I’d been there three weeks or so ago so the odds that there would be any new and exciting offerings were dismal. Still, as I explained to the other half, one does not just walk by a book shop! Cue lots of sighing and eye rolling. From him, not from me 😉. He goes off to browse the dvd section and I head to the books. There were a few new additions and by few, I mean I could have counted them on one hand. Also, I’d already read those. Nothing else really appealed to me. Which is when I spotted Nicci French. Now, I haven’t read a Nicci French book in my life and I really wasn’t sure about this one but at least it was a title I’d actually heard of and there was absolutely no frickin’ way that I was going to leave that shop without a book and prove the other half right. This is how Nicci French got to go home with me and since I stupidly exclaimed I was really excited about this book, I obviously had to start reading it right away. Thankfully, I actually really enjoyed it. And this is how we roll at Casa Novel Deelights. 😂

What are you reading this week? Do let me know! “This Week in Books” will return on January 8th. Until then, I wish you lots of happy reading! xx

The Six by Luca Veste

Author : Luca Veste
Title : The Six
Pages : 400
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK
Publication date : December 26, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Six friends trapped by one dark secret.

It was supposed to be our last weekend away as friends, before marriage and respectability beckoned. But what happened that Saturday changed everything.

In the middle of the night, someone died. The six of us promised each other we would not tell anyone about the body we buried. But now the pact has been broken. And the killing has started again …

Who knows what we did? And what price will we pay?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Despite having had Luca Veste’s previous book, The Bone Collector, stashed away somewhere for ages, this is actually my first time reading one of his books. I mean, who could possibly resist that incredibly intriguing book description, right?

Six friends decide to spend a weekend camping out at a music festival. This could be the last time they can do something like this together before responsibilities get in the way and they are determined to make the most of this weekend away. But things do not exactly go as planned. Someone dies. The six friends vow never to talk to anyone about what happened that weekend and yet, it seems someone knows what they did and the time has come for the six to pay the price.

The Six ended up being somewhat of a story in two parts for me. The actual events of that weekend are super tense and sometimes slightly creepy in that whole “I’m never setting foot in a forest or going camping ever again” kind of way. This first half grabbed my attention from the get-go. It was utterly compelling and a true page-turner. However, the second half slowed down quite a bit and became just a tad predictable, in that way where you know what’s coming and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll figure out the who rather easily as well. I almost I reached that point where I thought “just wrap it up already”, and that’s never a good sign.

Nevertheless, as a whole, The Six is gripping and a well-written suspenseful crime thriller with extremely fun back-to-the-90’s vibes, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s clever, hugely character driven and quite unsettling at times. In the midst of a reading slump, I read this one in one afternoon and despite some of my misgivings, I think that’s really saying something. I’m calling my first introduction to Luca Veste’s books a success and I’ll definitely be trying one of his books again some time.

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

The Six will be published on December 26th.

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