The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths @ellygriffiths @QuercusBooks #mustread #recommended #TheStrangerDiaries

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Author : Elly Griffiths
Title : The Stranger Diaries
Pages : 384
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : November 1, 2018

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

| MY THOUGHTS |

It’s official! Elly Griffiths can do no wrong in my eyes and has found herself a spot on my list of go-to authors. You may be familiar with Elly Griffith’s fantastic Ruth Galloway series (which I really need to get caught up on) or her equally brilliant Stephen & Mephisto series (which I also really need to get caught up on) but The Stranger Diaries is a stand-alone gothic mystery thriller type of thing and it’s bloody awesome!

I was in one of the worst reading slumps I can remember ever being in when I picked up The Stranger Diaries. However, from the minute I started reading, I didn’t look back. There is just something about Elly Griffith’s writing that completely draws me in and I was hooked from the first page, as if a spell had been cast upon me.

It all begins when Clare Cassidy’s colleague and friend, Ellie, is found murdered. Clare is a literary teacher who specialises in the works of gothic writer R.M. Holland. His story The Stranger features heavily throughout the book and often made my spine tingle. And because a line from that story is found on a note near Ellie’s body, Clare swiftly finds herself on the list of suspects.

The story is alternately told through Clare, her daughter Georgia and a detective by the name of Harbinder Kaur. Elly Griffiths manages to give all these characters incredibly distinctive voices, which I felt was particularly evident when switching from the slightly creepy The Stranger narrator to Georgia, the teenager. Harbinder is one of those characters I didn’t particularly like for the longest time. But somehow she grew on me along the way and I always love how an author manages to do that.

This gothic mystery is intensely gripping. I wouldn’t necessarily call it creepy in the OMG-I’m-so-freaked-out-I-may-wet-myself kind of way but it is rather chilling and there is a sort of threatening vibe throughout, where you feel in your bones something is coming but you’re not sure what that will be.

Obviously I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice to say The Stranger Diaries is brilliantly written and oozes atmosphere throughout. This story is utterly engrossing and absorbing and I devoured it in one glorious sitting. I absolutely loved this one and whatever is next from Elly Griffiths, myself and my grabby hands will be right there at the head of the queue.

The Stranger Diaries is available to buy in ebook and hardcover format!

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The Lost Man by Jane Harper | @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK @GraceEVincent @caolinndouglas | #TheLostMan

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Lost Man by Jane Harper! My thanks to Caolinn at Little Brown for the invitation to join and for my review copy!

Author : Jane Harper
Title : The Lost Man
Pages : 352
Publisher : Little Brown UK
Publication date: February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Two brothers meet at the remote fence line separating their cattle farms under the relenting sun of the remote outback. In an isolated part of Western Australia, they are each other’s nearest neighbour, their homes three hours’ drive apart.

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old that no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron, who lies dead at their feet. 

Something had been on Cam’s mind. Did he choose to walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

| MY THOUGHTS |

You may be familiar with Jane Harper’s Aaron Falk series but The Lost Man is something altogether different, but no less gripping.

When the body of Cameron is found near a landmark, his death raises a number of questions. What was he doing out there? Was he alone? Did the heat and the environment catch him unawares, despite his experience? Did he take his own life? What really happened to Cameron?

The harsh and unforgiving landscape of the Australian outback plays a huge part in this story. It’s almost a character of its own. With its relentless heat and all-encompassing feeling of isolation, this tough life isn’t for the faint-hearted. When there is no one around for miles, the only people you can truly depend on are those closest to you, even if they are three hours’ drive away. But do we ever really know someone?

None of these characters came across as particularly likeable but I blamed that on their way of life and obviously, the death of a loved one. Yet, I still found it quite hard to sympathise with them. However, I did admire their perseverance. It takes a special kind of person to survive this particular set of hardships, I think, and obviously life isn’t a barrel of laughs and there’s little to be happy about.

Bit by bit, the truth about this family is revealed when family secrets that go back decades are discovered. While The Lost Man is relatively slow-paced, it remains compelling throughout as we delve into the intriguing and complex family dynamics. The mystery surrounding Cameron’s death is a gripping one and I couldn’t figure it out at all.

The Lost Man oozes atmosphere from start to finish and is all about family. This character driven story makes for some compelling reading and if Jane Harper wasn’t on your radar yet, she most definitely should be now!

The Lost Man is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Jane Harper is international bestselling author of The Dry and Force of Nature. Her third book, The Lost Man, will be realised in October 2018.
Jane has won numerous top awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year, the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year, the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, and the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year. 

Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with film rights sold to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. 
Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne.

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

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

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

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

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

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

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

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

| MY THOUGHTS |

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Last is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

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

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

Author link : Twitter

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski | @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #Changeling #RandomThingsTours #recommended

Thrilled to bits to join the blog tour for Changeling by Matt Wesolowski today! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the review copy and to Anne Cater for the invitation to join the tour!

Author : Matt Wesolowski
Title : Changeling
Series : Six Stories #3
Pages : 194
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : January 15, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is…

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you go out in the woods today …

Bloody hell! Like, seriously! WHAT?! I said it last time and I’ll say it again, Matt Wesolowski’s books are just impossible to review! My vocabulary doesn’t stretch far enough to find the words to describe the sheer level of awesomeness this author comes up with time and time again.

If you’re not familiar with the Six Stories series (OMG WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!), it’s centred around a true crime podcast in which Scott King investigates cold cases. This time around, the focus is on seven year old Alfie Marsden who disappeared thirty years ago and was never found. Alfie was officially declared dead in 1995 but questions remain. Now, via six stories from six different sources, will the answers surrounding Alfie’s disappearance finally be found and will we learn what happened to this little boy all those years ago?

This is one of those stories that worms its way under your skin, one that will just not let you go. Dark, disturbing and chilling, Changeling had my heartbeat racing throughout and I was gripping the pages so tightly that my knuckles turned white! This tremendously addictive page-turner is insanely thought-provoking and also absolutely terrifying, though possibly not in the way you might expect. Monsters are real. Also, I’m never stepping foot into a forest ever again!

With a fantastic plot that kept me on tenterhooks and even managed to leave me with a lump in my throat, Changeling is without a doubt fiction from the top shelf and worthy of all the stars and praise I can possibly shower it with. Matt Wesolowski deftly guides the reader through a realistic and, sadly, believable scenario and if that wasn’t marvellous enough, ends up sucker punching you in the final pages, leaving your head utterly spinning. You, sir, are a genius!

Changeling was one of my most anticipated releases this year. Thank goodness it was published this month or I may have just spontaneously combusted. Matt Wesolowski has most definitely done it again and Changeling is the best one in the series yet. Considering the brilliance of its two predecessors, that’s really saying something. I would undoubtedly like some more, please! In the meantime, you can be sure you’ll be seeing this book again when I compile my list of top books of the year in December.

Changeling is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for children in care and leads creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. 

Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at ‘Bloody Scotland’; Crime Writing Festival 2015. His subsequent debut crime novel ‘Six Stories’ was published by Orenda Books in the spring of 2016 with follow-up ‘Hydra’ published in the winter of 2017.

‘Six Stories’ has been optioned by a major Hollywood studio.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

The Disappeared by Sibel Hodge | @sibelhodge @Bloodhoundbook | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for The Disappeared by Sibel Hodge! My thanks to Emma at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity join. Author Sibel Hodge joins me today to talk about her writing day but first, here is what The Disappeared is all about!

Author : Sibel Hodge
Title : The Disappeared
Pages : 318
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : January 10, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On a routine flight from Africa to England, Dr Mason Palmer is tragically killed when the light aircraft he’s travelling on crashes and disappears in dense bush land.

The Widow…

Ten months later, Nicole Palmer is still trying to block out the grief of her husband’s sudden death. Until one morning she receives a photo of Mason through the post, along with a cryptic message. A message only he could’ve written.

The Secret…

But when Nicole tries to find out if Mason is really alive and what actually happened to him in Africa, everyone she turns to for answers ends up dead.

Determined to find the truth, Nicole uncovers a conspiracy that spans the globe, and discovers there are powerful people who are prepared to kill to keep her silent.

Who’s lying? Who’s watching Nicole? And can she expose their murky secrets before they catch up with her?

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| GUEST POST |

My writing day…

I’m a morning person so I’m most productive first thing. My day starts at about 5 or 6 a.m., and after a cuppa while I’m checking out emails and social media I do a 30 minute yoga and meditation set. A banana and iced soya latte later and I’m good to go! 

When I’m working on my first draft I always aim to write 3000-5000 words per day. I’m a pantster, not a plotter, so I don’t have a clue what I’m going to write until the words tumble out of my head, and it’s not until I finish my first draft, when I really know I’ve got something solid, that I can properly relax. My first draft can end up anything between 45,000-70,000 words, and I tend to write shorter and add more later, rather than longer and cutting anything. Then for the editing process, which means going through it and through it, tweaking, filling plot holes, adding character’s personality, more dialogue, bits of research, etc.

Even when I’m not writing, you can often find me staring into space, thinking about the book—an idea, what I need to do next, working out a problem, imagining a character. And I can’t escape the book in my sleep because I dream about it too. There have been so many times I’ve woken up with my characters having conversations with each other, and I keep a notebook by my bed in case inspiration strikes as I’m falling asleep or during a dream. I’m living it full time, completely immersed in it. I always think being an author is like being an actor, except an author is playing all of the characters at once, getting inside all their heads and going through what they’re going through, and they’re in every scene, which can be exhausting mentally and emotionally at times. 

I write mostly at a standing desk, which I love. It’s actually a really rustic piece of wood shaped from a tree trunk. Or sometimes I’ll be sprawled on the sofa with my laptop on my knees, and often accompanied by up to seven cats that all want to get in on the action and type gobbledygook on my keyboard just for a laugh. 

It’s got to be dead quiet when I’m working. No music for me. No one talking. I need silence and calm to concentrate. Although the calmness doesn’t extend to my work space. I’ve got notes everywhere when I’m writing a novel. Snippets of ideas and dialogue, bits of research, things I need to add in. Sometimes I can have hundreds of pieces of paper scribbled with stuff. 

At my house, we (read : I) call that organised chaos 😉. Thank you, Sibel, for stopping by and sharing your writing day with us!

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Sibel Hodge is the author of the No 1 Bestsellers Look Behind YouUntouchable, and Duplicity. Her books have sold over one million copies and are international bestsellers in the UK, USA, Australia, France, Canada and Germany. She writes in an eclectic mix of genres, and is a passionate human and animal rights advocate.

Her work has been nominated and shortlisted for numerous prizes, including the Harry Bowling Prize, the Yeovil Literary Prize, the Chapter One Promotions Novel Competition, The Romance Reviews’ prize for Best Novel with Romantic Elements and Indie Book Bargains’ Best Indie Book of 2012 in two categories. She was the winner of Best Children’s Book in the 2013 eFestival of Words; nominated for the 2015 BigAl’s Books and Pals Young Adult Readers’ Choice Award; winner of the Crime, Thrillers & Mystery Book from a Series Award in the SpaSpa Book Awards 2013; winner of the Readers’ Favorite Young Adult (Coming of Age) Honorable award in 2015; a New Adult finalist in the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America’s International Digital Awards 2015, and 2017 International Thriller Writers Award finalist for Best E-book Original Novel. Her novella Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave has been listed as one of the top forty books about human rights by Accredited Online Colleges.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter | @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #ForTheMissing #NetGalley

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the opportunity to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Lina Bengtsdotter
Title : For The Missing
Series : Charlie Lager #1
Pages : 368
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : December 13, 2018

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When a teenage girl goes missing from a small town, the local police start to buckle under the pressure.

Enter Charlie Lager, the brilliant but conflicted Detective Inspector sent from Stockholm to solve the mystery of Annabelle’s disappearance.

Her superiors don’t know that Charlie grew up in this very town – and she’s determined to keep it that way. But as she gets closer to the truth, cracks begin to form in her own lies.

Can Charlie find Annabelle before her darkest secrets are brought to light? FOR THE MISSING, time is running out…

| MY THOUGHTS |

When a young girl goes missing from a small town in Sweden, Charlie Lager and her colleague Anders are sent to help in the investigation. Unknown to everyone, Charlie grew up in this town. She’s determined to make sure nobody finds out but can she keep it up? And can detectives find young Annabelle before it’s too late?

For The Missing is the first instalment in the Charlie Lager series and promises great things for the future. Mostly set in the small town of Gullspång, the atmosphere is quite gloomy and the sense of claustrophobia and isolation is all-encompassing. This small town has very little to offer. To be honest, I can’t fathom at all why anyone would want to live there. There are no prospects, people have a hard time making ends meet and there is very little to do for entertainment. It’s no wonder Charlie made her escape from this place but why? And how will this forced return affect her?

I must admit that this didn’t quite turn out the way I expected it to. Yes, there’s an investigation into the disappearance of a teenaged girl but it goes deeper than that and the actual police work almost takes a backseat. This is very much a character-driven story and a truly fine example of Scandi-Noir, with its main focus on main protagonist, Charlie, and a rather intriguing backstory. In alternating chapters, the reader is introduced to two young girls. These chapters really grabbed my attention and I couldn’t at all figure out how they were connected to anything. And with every resident in Gullspång seemingly having something to hide, finding out who’s responsible for Annabelle’s disappearance is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. In short, there’s plenty on offer here to hold your attention throughout.

This first instalment in the Charlie Lager series won the Crimetime Specsavers Best Debut Award and it’s easy to see why. Gripping and atmospheric, this slow-burner marks the perfect introduction to Charlie Lager. I have no doubt this complex characters hides many more secrets and it’ll be thrilling to find out what those are.

For The Missing is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Lina Bengtsdotter grew up in Gullspång, Sweden. She is a teacher in Swedish and Psychology and has published a number of short stories in various newspapers and magazines in Sweden and the Nordic countries. She has lived in the UK and in Italy and today resides outside of Stockholm with her three children.

FOR THE MISSING is her debut novel.

Agnes Broomé is a literary translator and Preceptor in Scandinavian at Harvard University. With a PhD in Translation Studies, her translations include August Prize-winner THE EXPEDITION by Bea Uusma. 

Bloodhound’s Christmas Cracker Blog Tour | @MTilburyAuthor @bloodhoundbook | #BloodhoundsChristmasCrackers

Today, I am joining the Bloodhound Christmas Cracker Blog Tour. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? In the run up to Christmas, Bloodhound Books is offering deals you can’t pass up! Every day, there are bargains to be had so don’t miss out! In case you need help deciding on what to buy, if not everything 😉, this tour helps to refresh your memory on some of the awesome books that are up for grabs. Which is why you now find me re-sharing my review for The Key to Death’s Door by Mark Tilbury.

Author : Mark Tilbury
Title : The Key to Death’s Door
Pages : 361
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : April 16, 2018

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

If you could discover the murderous truth of a past life and seek justice in this one, would you?

Teenager Lee Hunter doesn’t have a choice when he nearly drowns after spending the night at a derelict boathouse with his best friend, Charlie Finch. After leaving his body and meeting a mysterious light, Lee is sent back to relive the final days of another life. A life that ended tragically.

After recovering from his near death experience, Lee begins to realise that he is part of two lives linked by the despicable actions of one man.

Struggling against impossible odds, Lee and Charlie set out to bring this man to justice.

Will Lee be able to unlock the past and bring justice to the future?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Flippin’ heck! What even?! I have no idea how to review this sheer awesomeness at all!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, probably also in a review for the same author, that I don’t normally read paranormal or supernatural stories but for Mark Tilbury, I gladly make an exception and I don’t regret a single second of it. This is the third book in this genre that I’ve read by him and once again, it completely blew me away!

So, see that book description at the top of the page? Yes, that’s all you’re going to get from me where the plot is concerned. Why though, I hear you ask? Because I actually tried to explain it to the OH and the poor man got horribly confused. What you really need to know is that most of the story is set in the present day, while some of it regards events from thirty years earlier. These two periods are linked by one character and what a character it is!

As I’ve come to expect from this author, that particular character is one of the most despicable, vile and evil men ever to roam the planet! Very few people come up with someone so incredibly disturbing but Mark Tilbury manages it in every single book of his I’ve read so far. The only relief from all the heinous acts comes in the form of the friendship between Lee and Charlie in the present, and two other characters in the past. Everyone should have a friend like them and in the midst of the horror, I regularly found myself smiling at their banter.

The Key to Death’s door doesn’t exactly make for comfortable reading. It is an incredibly dark and harrowing tale of abuse, of not always being able to protect your family no matter how hard you try and of seeking justice. It’s a hard-hitting, well-written, compelling, gritty and thought-provoking story that, days later, still has me utterly reeling.

If you’re a fan of Mark Tilbury’s books, I have no doubt you will love this one as much as I did. If you haven’t yet discovered this author, I highly recommend you take the time to get caught up. In the meantime I’m off to firmly add him to my list of go-to authors and (im)patiently await his next offering, which I’m sure will rock my socks off just as much as this one did. No pressure, sir.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryWordery | Goodreads

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have his fifth novel, The Key to Death’s Door published along with The Liar’s Promise, The Abattoir of Dreams, and The Ben Whittle Investigations relaunched, by Bloodhound Books.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

Facing A Twisted Judgment by K.J McGillick | @rararesources | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Facing A Twisted Judgment by K.J. McGillick! My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Author K.J. McGillick joins me on the blog today to talk about how she tackles writing her books. But first, here is what Facing A Twisted Judgment is all about.

Author : K.J. McGillick
Title : Facing A Twisted Judgment 
Series : Lies and Misdirection #2
Pages : 270
Publisher : KJRM Publishing LLC
Publication date : November 16, 2018

What happens when tunnel vision clouds a police investigation? Is it true that once you are labeled a person of interest you really are the prime suspect? Can you trust the legal system? Probably not.

After a bitterly contested legal battle over inherited property, the hard-won art collection and its owner Samantha Bennington disappear. Both have vanished without a trace. 

When blood spatter is discovered under the freshly painted wall of the room in which two of the paintings were hung, the theft becomes the opening act in a twisted tale of jealousy, revenge, and murder leading to a final judgment for all involved. 

As the list of suspects narrows, the focus lands squarely on the husband. Some labeled Samantha’s husband a corrupt attorney, others an opportunist. Either way, he’s in the crosshairs of law enforcement and they are calling him a murderer. But is he the only viable suspect? What about the missing woman’s drug-addicted sister and her convicted felon brother? Both were furious over their loss at court and have more than enough reason to hate Samantha. 

Guilty until proven innocent leaves Alexander Clarke facing a twisted judgment.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?

I have tried both methods and I can’t say I like one over the other or one works better. I believe the story choses the method as opposed to the writer.

My first book THREE: Deception Love Murder came upon the heels of months of research about the craft of writing. The research I did I saved at http://writingresearch.homesteadcloud.com/. Using all this research I felt comfortable to craft my novel. The first step involved meticulous plotting of the story chapter by chapter with lots of attention to detail. The second step encompassed the fleshing out of characters down to physical attributes, flaws and where they fell on the Myers Briggs testing. I could have drafted the novel at this point but instead purchased thirty poster boards, lots of tape and found pictures that story boarded how I wanted my story to progress. Now I was ready. The subject research came after twenty years of museum visits, many PBS documentaries, and many art appreciation classes. Once I started the novel, the story unfolded naturally. 

My second book TWO: Mind Games and Murder was a book written somewhat by the seat of my pants. Again, the subject matter research accumulated in my mind over many years and a few Google searches updated the statistics I needed. Although I knew about black market organ trafficking things had changed over the years and I needed new information. My outline was sparse and consisted of a page that included the seven points I needed to hit to provide plot development. This book was an easy write. My law practice exposed me to women who were victims of emotional abuse and gas lighting and thus my book gave them a voice. Complex characters who didn’t understand their own motivations gave me a great deal to work with and allowed my story to unfold as it wanted leading to a great story.

My third book ONE: Rage Vengeance and Murder was the most difficult to write of the long and grueling subject research. I chose not to do an outline for the book, felt I knew my characters from the second book. However, the lack of a formal outline led to two full manuscripts being trashed and unnecessary frustration. The only way to open my mind to complete the trilogy involved a trip to Denver for a few days and start the new and final version in a new place to allow my mind to breathe. 

My fourth book The Last Lie She Told was back to the tried-and-true formula that worked for me the first time. I opened my power point and completed in detail my one-page Essential Scenes in Every Story seven-point wheel and a character analysis. 

My fifth book Facing a Twisted Judgment I opened  my Word document and started to write without a safety net. I had no idea where I was going and the only thing I knew was the story’s main character would be a ethically challenged lawyer. I had no plot, story line or blurb and trust my mind to let the story unfold.   

I believe as Lee Child that some books need to be written by the seat of your pants so even you don’t know where the story will take you to keep your interest. 

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right?

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday | @SJIHolliday @orendabooks @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #TheLingering #RandomThingsTours #recommended

I’m absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for The Lingering by SJI Holliday today! Huge thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the fabulous review copy!

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Author : SJI Holliday
Title : The Lingering
Pages : 300
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 15, 2018 (ebook) | November 15, 2018 (paperback)

aboutthebook

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient spiritual commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

mythoughts

I don’t normally read scary stories because I’m a big fat wuss and I was slightly worried, that just like with scary movies, I’d be hiding behind my sofa or have my face buried in a pillow which would make reading rather difficult. Luckily though, I wouldn’t quite label this one as a scary read. Creepy? Absolutely! Chilling? Right to the bone!

The Lingering oozes atmosphere from the very first page, almost like a movie scene. Driving a car down a driveway, seeing a house loom up in front of you for the first time. Not just any house though for this place used to be a mental asylum and if there’s any setting more exciting than that one, I haven’t discovered it yet. Who knows what secrets are hidden in the walls and the shadows?

Married couple Jack and Ali leave behind everything they’ve ever known to move into Rosalind House and be part of a commune. It’s relatively obvious from the start that all is not well with these two. Their arrival at Rosalind House sets in motion a series of unexplained events. But who or what is responsible? Obviously I can’t tell you that but I will say this is one tense, suspenseful and thrilling ride. I wasn’t at all sure of the outcome, couldn’t see how things would end up but found the conclusion absolutely satisfying.

Part domestic thriller, past ghost story The Lingering had me absolutely hooked. Talk about a gripping read, hoo boy! I couldn’t get a feel for any of the characters at all which just added to this sense of unease that I found quite hard to let go of, even hours after finishing the book. On top of that, we are treated to diary chapters written by a doctor who used to work at the psychiatric institution and in an odd sort of way, those frightened me more than anything because they felt incredibly realistic and believable in showing what human beings are capable of.

The Lingering is one dark and disturbing read. With a brilliantly executed plot and complex characters, this haunting tale will linger (see what I did there?) in your mind for days. I have no doubt you’ll see this one pop up near the end of the year on my list of books of 2018.

PS : Do not read in the bathtub. You’ll thank me later.

The Lingering is available to buy!

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

abouttheauthor

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk andThe Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December.

Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls and has been described by David Mark as ‘Dark as a smoker’s lung.’

She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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None So Blind by Alis Hawkins | @Alis_Hawkins @emily_glenister @DomePress | #bookreview #NoneSoBlind #recommended

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Author : Alis Hawkins
Title : None So Blind
Series : The Teifi Valley Coroner #1
Pages : 460
Publisher : Dome Press
Publication date : November 15, 2018

aboutthebook

West Wales, 1850.

When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery.

He knows exactly whose bones they are.

Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty, but the investigation turns up more questions than answers.

The search for the truth will prove costly. Will Harry and John be the ones to pay the highest price?

mythoughts

There’s none so blind as those that will not see.

I seem to have found a (sub)genre to get increasingly excited about and that’s historical crime fiction. It has the crime element I love so much but its historical setting offers possibilities that the modern setting just doesn’t have. The author starts the book with a brief historic note on law and order in nineteenth century West Wales, concerning inquests and coroners and the like and I found it immensely interesting.

When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are discovered. Harry Probert-Lloyd knows exactly whose bones they are. Together with his clerk, John Davies, he sets out to investigate what happened to this young woman and he’s determined to expose her killer.

Set in Wales, a few years after the Rebecca Riots, the influence of those involved still lingers to this day. People will do or say anything to avoid the wrath of the Rebeccaites. I knew nothing about this period and while some of it is explained throughout the story, it never turned into one of those boring history lessons we all hated. I got a really good feeling of what had happened in those days and I’m thankful to the author for keeping the longer explanation for the author’s notes. Because already at almost 460 pages, this isn’t exactly the kind of book you race through in one sitting and it’s a credit to the author for never making me feel like the story was too elaborate or dragged on too much, making me wonder if it couldn’t have been just that little bit shorter.

Harry Probert-Lloyd makes for one incredibly fascinating main character, one I must say is highly original. As the son of a magistrate but raised by a maid, the line between the privileged and the poor is slightly blurred to him. Forced to leave behind his career as a barrister in London, he returns home due to encroaching blindness. During his investigation into the past, he relies heavily on his clerk, John Davies. Here too, the divide between the gentry and its servants plays a huge part. These two characters were a joy to get to know and watching their relationship develop along the way felt incredibly natural.

A town and its residents in fear of repercussions results in quite the frustrating search for the truth for Harry and John. There are secrets and skeletons in closets that many don’t want to be revealed. I did have a good idea of what had happened and why but that didn’t ruin my enjoyment at all. The journey to discover the truth was twisty, gripping, full of brilliantly intriguing characters and I loved every minute of it. I can’t wait for more from Harry and John!

My thanks to Emily Glenister at Dome Press for my fabulous review copy!

None So Blind is out on Thursday!

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