#BlogTour | #BookReview: Inside the Whispers by A.J. Waines (@AJWaines)

itwlargefinal-1Where the most Dangerous place – is inside your own head…

Following a London Tube disaster, three traumatised survivors turn to clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby, for help – but she’s mystified when their stories don’t add up. Her confusion turns to horror when one by one, instead of recovering, they start committing suicide.

When her partner, Conrad, begins to suffer the same terrifying flashbacks, Sam is desperate to find out what is causing them and a mysterious and chilling crime begins to unravel.

Then the flashbacks begin for Sam…

The first book in the Dr Samantha Willerby Series, INSIDE THE WHISPERS is a tense, haunting Psychological Thriller that will leave your nerves in shreds.”

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Inside the Whispers blog tour.  Inside the Whispers was published on 20th October 2016 and is written by the very talented A.J. Waines who has created a different yet brilliant protagonist in the form of Dr. Samantha Willerby.

Hospital based clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willberby is starting to feel alarmed.  Sam helps patients after they suffer trauma, talking through their experiences and helping them learn to cope with what has happened to them.  Three of her patients suddenly recall a traumatic  escape from an underground fire, but that was not the reason they were initially referred to Sam.  Being the consummate professional she does all she can to help them come to terms with the harrowing events, but things aren’t adding up.  Samantha takes it upon herself to do a little investigating in her spare time, only to confirm her suspicions.  No matter what her patients say, they couldn’t have been in the tube fire.  Then, one by one, her three tube patients commit suicide.  What could Sam have done differently?  Full of remorse, she starts to notice similar signs in her boyfriend.  Then he starts to recount memories from a tube station fire which Sam knows he didn’t experience.  Can Dr Willberby work out what is going on before her boyfriend becomes the next victim…?

Before I say anything else, I have to shout from the rooftops that I loved this book!  Now, I’m no expert in clinical psychology (or any psychology for that matter!) but if the theories in this book are real then crikey, that’s seriously scary stuff.  If they are not real, then I am more than happy to suspend my belief and you should do the same.  An absolutely brilliant read!

Dr Samantha Willerby is now one of my favourite fictional characters.  And how refreshing to have a clinical psychologist as the lead character.  The budding new relationship between Samantha and her sister, Miranda was wonderful to read.  Although having not seen each other for many years things start out quite strained and I did feel a little uncomfortable at times.  Miranda is also a brilliant, well written character who I hope will make a return in any Dr Willerby sequels.  There were several other brilliant characters featured who I either loved, or loved to hate!

The plot was twisty and it grabbed my attention with both hands.  When I was busy doing other things (like feeding my children) I was thinking about this book.  I didn’t want to put it down, it was so good.  I’m fascinated by psychology so this book was a real treat for me.  It was my first A.J. Waines read but it certainly won’t be my last.

Five out of five stars.

Many thanks to A.J. Waines for providing me with a copy of Inside the Whispers in exchange for an honest review.

Inside the Whispers by A.J. Waines was published in the UK on 20th October 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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AJWainesMM1 (1).jpg

AJ Waines has sold over ¼ of a million books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in 2015 with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. She was a Psychotherapist for fifteen years, during which time she worked with ex-offenders from high-security institutions, gaining a rare insight into criminal and abnormal psychology. AJ Waines is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany (Random House) and USA (audiobooks).

Her fourth novel, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. She has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and in 2016 was ranked in the Top 10 UK authors on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

AJ Waines lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband. Visit her website and blog, or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Authors Links:Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook |


#BlogTour | #BookReview: I Know Your Secret by Graham Smith (@GrahamSmith1972) @caffeinenights

i-know-your-secret-book-cover“What would you do if your most intimate secrets got into the wrong hands?”

“Set in modern day Cumbria, I Know Your Secret is a police thriller in which a priest is found crucified to the stone floor of his church. Fearing more attacks on the clergy, DI John Campbell and his team of misfits race to find the killer before he strikes again.

Meanwhile, DI Harry Evans, spends his days attending the trial of his wife’s rapist and his nights interfering in the investigation.

Can they catch the killer before he strikes again?”

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop (and sadly the final stop) on the I Know Your Secret blog tour.  I was thrilled to be asked to read and review this book after recently participating in the Matching the Evidence blog tour, also by author Graham Smith.  If you would like to read my review of Matching the Evidence please click here (there is also a rather brilliant guest post from Mr Smith which you don’t want to miss).

After 30 years of service DI Harry Evans is approaching enforced retirement.  He’s not a happy man as he lives for the job and would do anything to keep working with Cumbria’s Major Crimes Team.  But his replacement, DI John Campbell is keen to see the back of Harry and his renegade ways.  While DI Evans is trying to deal with the trial of his wife’s rapist, DI Campbell is called to the scene of a horrific death.  A local priest has been violently killed and crucified to the church floor.  Shortly after, another priest is viciously attacked and left for dead.  Are the two crimes linked?  It’s down to DI Campbell and the Major Crimes Team to discover who has a grudge against the local clergy and whether the secrets being kept are worth killing for…

I really like Harry Evans.  There’s something about him that makes me feel like I shouldn’t like him, but I do!  He’s a bit of a maverick, bit of a rule breaker but with a good heart.  And I love the camaraderie between him and the rest of the team.  I said in my Matching the Evidence review that I wanted to know more about the characters of the Major Crimes Team and this book has done that.  I really like Neil Chisolm and felt strangely sorry for him being stuck in the office rather than out there in the field with his colleagues.  I wasn’t so keen on Lauren, she seems a little too eager to use her feminine wiles rather than her smarts.  I’d love to know more about Bhaki, he seems a little too nice and polite to be a cop!  And I still haven’t warmed to DI John Campbell.  But he brings the necessary friction to a well-gelled team, which makes him quite vital.

Harry Evans is distracted throughout the story by the trial of his wife’s rapist.  I thought these sections were well written and gave an emotional insight into a normally gruff character.  I really felt for Harry.  I did enjoy the way he dipped in and out of the investigation to distract himself from what was happening in court.

There were several different threads running through the story and at times I couldn’t see the connection.  There were no clear links in my mind, but the author has done a brilliant job of linking the different storylines up and making the plots fit seamlessly together.  The book was well paced with an exciting conclusion.  I look forward to reading more from Graham Smith in the future.

Four out of five stars.

Many thanks to Noelle Holten, Graham Smith and Caffeine Nights Publishing for providing me with a copy of  I Know Your Secret in exchange for an honest review.

I Know Your Secret by Graham Smith was published in the UK by Caffeine Nights publishing on 17th October 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Caffeine Nights |


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graham-smith-author-photoGraham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website |
Graham’s Books: Matching the Evidence | Snatched from Home | Lines of Enquiry | I Know Your Secret |

#BookReview: Three Weeks Dead by Rebecca Bradley (@RebeccaJBradley)

51z4pwkyql“How far would you go if someone took your wife?

Especially, if you buried her a week ago.

When Jason Wells is faced with this scenario, he is confronted with the prospect of committing a crime that will have far-reaching consequences.

Can young DC Sally Poynter get through to him before he crosses that line, or does a desperate husband prove to be the case she won’t ever forget?

A prequel novella, set before Shallow Waters, the first in the DI Hannah Robbins series.”

Are you looking for a quick read that packs one heck of a punch?  Well congratulations lovely reader, you’ve just found it.  I cannot recommend this novella enough – it’s a stonking read that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and doesn’t let go until the very end.  Particularly with that absolutely brilliant opening chapter!

Jason Wells receives a message telling him his wife has been kidnapped.  Jason Wells’ wife died three weeks ago.  (Yes, you read that right…Jason’s wife died three weeks previously!)  Jason Wells is faced with a decision.  Commit a crime which will have devastating consequences the world over or, his wife becomes Fido’s breakfast.  DC Sally Poynter is on the case, with DI Hannah Robbins overseeing her junior colleague.  Robbins is trusting the young detective to make some sort of connection with the distraught widow.  But can Sally work out who the blackmailer is in time to save both Jason and his wife…?

This is my first Rebecca Bradley read but it certainly won’t be my last.  I loved Rebecca’s style.  Her characters are brilliantly written and I want to find out more about DC Poynter and DI Robbins (happily I have Shallow Waters on the #terrifyingTBR so look out for a review coming your way soon).

I became completely absorbed in the plot which was exciting and twisty.  I certainly hadn’t worked out ‘whodunit’ before the reveal, and it was one of those reveals that made me gasp.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  I absolutely loved this short but chock full of content read.  I enjoyed everything about it, I just wished it was a full length novel!

Four and a half stars out of five.

Many thanks to Rebecca Bradley for providing me with a copy of Three Weeks Dead in exchange for an honest review.

Three Weeks Dead by Rebecca Bradley was published in the UK om 14th October 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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11093258Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective who lives in Nottinghamshire with her family and her two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola. They keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.

Sign up to the newsletter, on her blog at rebeccabradleycrime.com, for exclusive content and giveaways.

You can always chat with her on Twitter where she can be found spending far too much of her time at @RebeccaJBradley

Author Links: Blog | Twitter | Website |


#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Her Last Breath by J.A. Schneider (@JoyceSchneider1)

unnamed“A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…

Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help.

Can she trust either of them – or even her friends?

Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to one of my most eagerly anticipated blog tours of the year, Her Last Breath by the incredibly lovely J.A. Schneider (or Joyce to her friends!).  Joyce has very kindly written a guest post to share with you today but before we dive in with that, I wanted to share again the post Joyce wrote for my #damppebblestakeover series which ran earlier this year.  Joyce wrote a wonderful piece asking whether writing is really just self-analysis in disguise; you can read the post by clicking here.

Today though, I have a new post to share with you and it’s another corker.  Over to you, Joyce…

What, really, is the best escape?
by J.A. Schneider

Too often, we all feel stress – and if it’s not stress it’s boredom, the everyday mundane jail cell. Stress or boredom are the bookends that squeeze much of our lives, but what to do? Dream of a more perfect love or help with financial problems or escape to exotic locations?

We flail, but what to do when immediate help is needed to feel better? What beats anything that comes out of bottles and lasts only briefly?

Books. The best sanity savers.

Reading will lift you from the mundane or troubling to the marvelous. Reading will transport you to other worlds, to characters you’ll either love or loathe or who will terrify you – but they’re really all your friends, see – because they’re the magic carpet ride to “outta here.”

Once, on a Paris sidewalk, I saw a family: wife, husband, and two pre-adolescent kids. The husband was yelling at his kids, who were sulking/sassing back, and the wife who was getting ignored was crying, “But this was our dream trip! We saved for this! Why are you all ruining it?”

The inevitable shrinking. It happens a lot.

I walked on, hoping that poor woman had a book to run and hide inside to help her calm, lose herself in a favorite romance, or a thriller whose heroine was in much worse straits than she was. I pictured that woman hopefully getting under a pillow with a flashlight and her favorite old paperback, telling the world to just go away, re-losing herself in that wonderful story she’d been reading.

So much for “dream trips,” or dream this or that. Mundane reality lurks everywhere.

Some people reading this know that I’ve traveled a lot, studied in other countries, gotten into some pretty wild-sounding situations (got arrested in the Soviet Union for spreading anti-Soviet propaganda – ha! I have a gift for getting into situations). And okay, many have asked about that, it’s in my Goodreads profile. And what I hear, mostly, is “Oh, that sounds so amazing, so interesting and fascinating.”

Well yes, it was…interesting to see those places, have those experiences, if only to tell you later about them.

But honestly, a field in Russia looks no different from a field in Connecticut, where I live.

And that castle in France so gorgeous on a poster, in reality is freezing eight months of the year and has lousy plumbing.

Reality, what a concept – it really, really often translates into ‘’the inevitable shrinking.”

Just give me a room, a quiet corner on a cozy couch and a wonderful book; that is where I’m happiest.

Because the best adventures take place between the ears.

That’s really your happy place. Your best place to grow, too.

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This is such a good read!  I haven’t had the pleasure of reading a J.A. Schneider novel before (Fear Dreams is on my wishlist) but I will definitely be making a beeline for her books in future.  There’s something about this book and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but, gosh….it sucked me in!

Mari Gill wakes to a bloodbath.  Thankfully it’s not her blood but that of a naked man lying next to her on the bed with a knife in his chest!  Maybe she shouldn’t be so thankful after all.  Did she kill him?  Surely not!  Mari, in a panic, spirals into a chronic asthma attack.  Unable to breathe, she crawls through broken glass trying to escape the horror before her, before being taken into the strong arms of her saviour and given resuscitative breaths. With no memory of the night before, confused and scared, Mari is arrested for murder.  Her soon to be ex-husband is a top attorney and is determined to clear his wife’s name.  But Mari is torn, two men competing for her attention whilst all she wants to do is try and remember what happened that night.  Kerri Blasco is on her side and firmly believes in Mari’s innocence.  But who else can Mari trust?  And I mean, really trust…?

Blasco and Brand are brilliant characters.  I particularly loved Kerri Blasco with her strong determination but gentle approach.  I’m not normally one for romance in my thrillers but the relationship between Blasco and Brand is so well done that you don’t really notice that they’re a couple.  I also loved Mari Gill.  She’s so suspicious of everyone around her.  I didn’t need to spend time working out who the killer was as Mari did all of the detective work for me.  So often, when reading a crime thriller, you want to shout at the characters and say ‘for goodness sake, are you REALLY going to do that..?’ (similar to a horror movie, ‘now why have you locked all the doors when you know the killer is inside the house with you’…) but there was no need with Mari.  She was more suspicious than me!

The plot was intriguing and drew my attention throughout the book.  I was on the edge of my seat for a large proportion, particularly for the closing chapters.  There is a cracking twist which I certainly didn’t see coming.  Joyce’s writing is punchy and without faff, just the way I like my books.

Would I recommend this book?  I most definitely would.  I’m excited to read Fear Dreams now, which is the first book in the Detective Kerri Blasco series.  It’s a compelling read driven by intriguing, interesting characters.  A brilliant plot with a fabulous twist to knock your socks off!  Brilliant!

Four and a half stars out of five.

Many thanks to J.A. Schneider for providing me with a copy of Her Last Breath in exchange for an honest review.

Her Last Breath by J.A. Schneider was published in the UK by RGS Media on 21st October 2016 and is available in eBook format | To buy from amazon click here | Goodreads |


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J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek Magazine, a wife, mom, and reading addict. She loves thrillers…which may seem odd, since she was once a major in French Literature – wonderful but sometimes heavy stuff. Now, for years, she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and police procedure. Decades of being married to a physician who loves explaining medical concepts and reliving his experiences means there’ll often be medical angles even in “regular” thrillers that she writes. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | amazon.com | Website | Goodreads |



#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates (@Anne_Coates1) @urbanepub

51spunndbkl-_sx324_bo1204203200_SHE IS HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH, BUT WHO IS HUNTING HER?

Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan.

When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence. Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat.

As she comes to realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth …. and stay alive.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Dancers in the Wind blog tour and let me tell you…this is one fantastic book.  Dancers in the Wind is author Anne Coates debut thriller novel and I for one hope there is a lot more to come.

To celebrate the publication of Dancers in the Wind (which happened on 13th October 2016) I have a brilliant guest post from Anne Coates to share with you today.  Anne has written a fascinating piece which gives an insight into one of the many processes a book goes through before it reaches publication.  What a skill to have!

Gamekeeper turned poacher?
How editing and abridging books has informed my own writing

While I have been writing most of my life, I have also been an editor and an abridger of both fiction and non-fiction. This started with my staff job on Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home and, after I went freelance, with Reader’s Digest (books) and Orion for their Compact Editions series and as a fiction consultant for a part-work.

I had to undergo training at Reader’s Digest – they have very specific rules and guidelines – and have worked for them for most of my freelance life. Every year they had a huge lunch party in London inviting publishers, agents, authors and celebrities. The first year I was invited I felt like I was the recipient of one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets!

Meeting one of the authors I mentioned that I’d cut his novel. He and his wife exchanged a glance and I cursed myself for being an idiot. Then his wife said, “It was amazing. Try as we might, we couldn’t see what you’d cut out.” And that is what abridgers aim for – a shorter book where the reader can’t see the joins. Needless to say I was chuffed to bits.

Memoirs are often easier to cut as authors tend to give too many people their back-stories which are mostly superfluous. If my eyes glaze over during my first readings, it’s a sign that something needs to be cut.

The effect this has had on my own work is that I write succinctly.  This was a perfect style for my short tales with a twist and flash fiction but for my novels I have had to learn to expand and develop both characters and narrative.

My first draft often reads like a series of disconnected scenes and I rewrite and rewrite until I’m satisfied everything works. Even so mistakes can get through – even for the best writers. In Mill on the Floss, the dog changes sex halfway through the book!

Timelines are so important. When abridging a book, I probably read it at least six times and probably am more intimate with it by the end than the author. I found a plot flaw when working on Anna Karenina that would probably (and has) passed most people by. Plus another well-known author had an eleven-month pregnancy in her novel.

But just in case you think I am getting above myself, I realised recently while writing the sequel to Dancers in the Wind, that I’d included a real event, which had actually happened the year before Death’s Silent Judgement is set. It made me think of the biblical quote: “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged… Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?”

So please forgive any logs of my own making – although I am sure the pros at Urbane Publications will have eliminated them.

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This is a very enjoyable novel which I devoured in the space of 24 hours.  No scrap that, it was more like 7 hours which for me, is super speed reading.  I couldn’t put it down.  Once I became immersed in Hannah and Caroline’s tale, I was hooked!  Before starting this book I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The cover suggested murder and violence but the title…didn’t!  I now know why the book is called Dancers in the Wind and I feel a little silly.  It all fits perfectly!

Freelance journalist Hannah Weybridge is working on a feature to coincide with the release of a television documentary featuring young prostitute, Princess and new copper on block, DI Tom Jordan.  The interview with Princess opens Hannah’s eyes and she hears things about life on the streets that she would prefer not to.  With DI Jordan it’s clear to see the sparks fly but Hannah is far too professional to make anything of it.  And DI Jordan has enough on his plate trying to solve the murder of a local prostitute. When the body of a second girl is found Tom is suddenly aware that the first murder was not the work of an overly frisky punter but something much more sinister.

Hannah meanwhile is getting on with her life, having forgotten all about the prostitute and the cop; she has a six month old daughter to care for and being a single mum she needs the phone to ring with more work.  But instead of the phone ringing, the doorbell rings late one night.  On her doorstep Hannah finds the badly beaten body of Princess, she’s barely alive.  Against her better judgement Hannah gives the girl shelter and cleans her up.  But what has Princess brought to Hannah’s door?  Are Hannah and her baby daughter safe? And will those responsible be held to account for their actions, or are they beyond the reach of the law…?

One of the things that stood out for me in this book is the fact that the main protagonist is a  journalist rather than a detective or PI.  She’s not really an investigative reporter either, she’s just a normal mum trying to do the best for her baby daughter.  That appealed to me and I found it refreshing (surely I’m not growing tired of my grumpy, addiction riddled cops…am I?).  Granted, DI Tom Jordan does feature quite heavily but he is by no means the star of the show.  This story belongs to Hannah and Princess (AKA Caroline).

It’s a gritty read and in some places quite shocking.  My attention was held from the opening chapters to the very end.  Once I’d finished the book I felt quite bereft and wanted more (there is a sequel on the way – no pressure, Anne Coates!).

This is another read where you suspect pretty much every character at one point or another.  I always enjoy books which use that formula as I’m always keen to hone my detective skills.

Would I recommend this book?  I most certainly would.  Brilliant characters with heaps of mystery to keep you guessing.  A thoroughly enjoyable and absorbing read.

Four and a half stars out of five.

Many thanks to Liz Barnsley, Urbane Publications, NetGalley and Anne Coates for providing me with a copy of Dancers in the Wind in exchange for honest review.

Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates was published in the UK by Urbane Publications on 13th October 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Urbane Publications |

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annecoatesFor most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both.

Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, Anne has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books.

Born in Clapham, Anne returned to London after graduating and has remained there ever since. In an attempt to climb out of her comfort zone, Anne has twice “trod the boards” – as Prince Bourgrelas in Ubu Roi when a student and more recently as a nun in a local murder mystery production. She also sings periodically in a local church choir and is relieved when she begins and finishes at the same time – though not necessarily on the same note – as everyone else. Needless to say, Anne will not be giving up her day job as an editor and writer.

Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind began with a real event followed by a “what if …” That is also the case with the two prize-winning 99Fiction.net stories: Codewords and Eternal Love.

Anne is currently working on the sequel to Dancers in the Wind.

Author Links:Twitter | Website | Blog |


#BlogTour | #BookReview: They All Fall Down by Cat Hogan (@Kittycathogan) @PoolbegBooks

51yc4ejdstl“Ring-a-ring o’ rosie . . .
… Someone wants to play.
… Who’s not playing the game?
… Now Someone must pay.

Jen Harper likes to play it safe. She is settling into life on the outskirts of a sleepy fishing village with her little boy, Danny. Life by the sea – just how she wanted it.

When she meets Andy, she feels the time has come to put her baggage and the scars of the past behind her. Then she is introduced to Scott, Andy’s best friend, and is stung by his obvious disdain for her. Why is Scott so protective of his best friend? What is the dark secret that threatens all of them?

In her attempt to find answers, Jen must confront her demons and push her relationships to their limits. By digging up the past, she puts Danny and herself in danger. Will she succeed in uncovering the truth before they all fall down?”

 A very warm welcome to my stop on the October They All Fall Down blog tour. They All Fall Down is Cat Hogan’s debut novel, and what a brilliant start! I’m looking forward to seeing what Cat has in store for us next.

Single mum, Jen Harper, has inherited a beautiful house by the sea. It’s perfect for her and young son, Danny. Perfect except maybe for the live in lodger! Before long Jen starts to see Andy, her lodger in a different light. After all he is rather dishy and maybe it is time she moved on with her life. Andy seems to feel the same spark, and with very tentative steps Jen and Andy become a couple. But Scott, Andy best friend, despises Jen. Just as he despised Andy’s deceased wife. She mysteriously jumped off a cliff. Scott hopes the same doesn’t happen to Jen…

This is a fantastic character driven psychological thriller. I loved Jen, I wanted to share a glass of wine with her and shout ‘it’s OK, I believe you!’. The build up to the conclusion was wonderfully tense.  Just how I like my books! I desperately wanted to tell (read: yell in a fairly aggressive manner) Jen’s friends what I thought of them. Oohh, they made me cross!

The plot was interesting and I flew through the book. I found They All Fall Down very easy to read despite the use of Irish vocabulary which I am not used to (although with the more Irish books I read the easier I am finding it).

Would I recommend this book? I most certainly would. It’s a great psychological thriller with a compelling build to an exciting conclusion. Plus some of the characters will make you want to shake them, which I love. After all, you’ve gotta FEEL something when reading.

Four out of five stars.

Many thanks to Cat Hogan and Poolbeg Press for providing me with a copy of They All Fall Down in exchange for an honest review.

They All Fall Down by Cat Hogan was published in the UK by Poolbeg Press on 1st July 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | 

Cat Hogan was born into a home of bookworms and within spitting distance of the sea. Her father, Pat, a lightship man, instilled in her a love of the sea and the stars. Her mother, Mag, taught her how to read before she could walk.  Writing, storytelling and a wild imagination is part of her DNA. The beautiful County Wexford, Ireland is home to Cat, her musician partner Dave, two beautiful sons Joey and Arthur, and her tomcat Jim Hawkins. There they live a life of storytelling, song and adventure. The other love of Cat’s life is food. A self-professed foodie, there is nothing she loves more than feeding a houseful of friends round her kitchen table. When she is not conjuring up imaginary friends, she can be found supporting local musicians and writers of which there is an abundance in her home town. One of her first endorsements for her novel is also her favourite and comes from fellow Wexfordian of Artemis Fowl fame. ’If the Gone Girl met the Girl on the Train, they would have come up with They All Fall Down’ -Eoin Colfer. They All Fall Down is Cat’s debut novel.

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: PsychoAnalysis by V. R. Stone (@VRStoneAuthor)

41ylscawpol-_sx311_bo1204203200_“A serial killer who wants to quit. A detective struggling to keep his personal life out of a murder hunt. And a celebrity psychiatrist facing an incredible challenge. Three damaged individuals, linked by their traumatic histories. They’ve chosen very different paths. Now those paths are about to cross.

Sarah Silver is a hedge fund manager – from Monday to Friday she makes a killing in the markets. At weekends, though, she hunts men, not profits. Martin White used to be a brilliant detective. But his family, judgement and self-control are deserting him. And Karl Gross has sold millions of books on serial killers. However he’s a controversial figure in the medical community.

Can Martin keep it together and catch a killer who commits almost perfect crimes? Is Karl capable of unravelling Sarah’s psyche and putting an end to the killing? Or will she disappear when she realises that the hunter has become the hunted?

PsychoAnalysis is a psychological crime thriller that explores the grey area between good and evil.Why would a woman kill for fun? Can she be understood? Can she be stopped?”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop and the first stop on the PsychoAnalyis blog tour.  PsychoAnalysis is V.R. Stone’s debut novel and crikey, it packs quite a punch!  I’m excited to see what V.R. Stone has in store for us in the future.

Today, not only do I have a fabulous guest post about why V. R. loves a violent thriller, I also have my four and a half star review of this BRILLIANT serial killer thriller to share with you.  First of all, here’s V.R.’s incredibly honest guest post:

What kind of grown man sit alone in a room, making up stories about serial killers?

My earliest childhood memories involve a chase: hurrying out of my parents’ restaurant and down an alleyway; abandoning my den-building at a friend’s house when my father discovered our whereabouts; watching cartoons in a women’s hostel; and my mother screaming “he wants to take my children” as Dad caught up with us.

From those events, it would seem that we have a pretty traditional story, a ‘trope’ as us writers would refer to it, of a battered wife and a violent man. But real life is often more complicated.

Yes, my father had a temper, but a glare or a few words were usually all it took for him to assert his authority. I don’t recall him laying his hands on any of us. He was prone to outbursts, but would often cool down after a short period. He wasn’t a teddy bear, but he certainly wasn’t a psychopath either. And my mother… well, she’s a worrier and has suffered from mental health problems. I can certainly imagine, though, that my father, perhaps in a rage, had threatened to take her children away, perhaps back to Turkey, where we’d be harder to retrieve.

My parents married only 6 weeks after meeting, sold my mother’s house and bought a restaurant. The pressure of running a failing business did not help their relationship, which imploded in spectacular fashion – a whirlwind romance that spawned a tornado. And the break-up happened when I was four years old, around the time a child starts to form lasting memories.

Now, three decades later, I’ve written a thriller featuring a successful woman who kills men. And she’s being chased by a detective whose marriage is falling apart.

That, for me, demonstrates the essence of inspiration and the desire to write stories. My novel is very different from my life and my characters are very different from anyone I know. And yet, if you rearranged the pieces, turned a few things upside down, you’d get me, my life, my family and my desires.

I enjoy a wide variety of stories – novels, films, TV dramas – but the ones that stay with me, that really suck me in… well, they’re invariably violent and would typically fit into the crime genre. The Silence of the Lambs, The Sopranos, Danish/Swedish TV show The Bridge, American Psycho – they’re the ones I return to, that influence me.

Why? I think it stems from those early experiences – the combination of peril and happiness. Making a den when we were ‘on the run’; watching cartoons with the children of battered women; having parents who wanted me but were trying to take me away from each other. I suppose my early years were something of a rollercoaster of fear and happiness – so now rollercoasters and fear make me happy.

And despite my father’s personality flaws, there were many things I loved about him. Yes, he was tough on us, but he was tough on others, including the man who tried to rob his kebab shop and found himself up against a wall with a knife to his throat. Dad was something of a wild man, who did what the hell he wanted to – a rebel, an anti-hero. Until he developed a rare, incurable type of cancer that slowly killed him.

Maybe he’s the reason I’m drawn to characters who use violence or the threat of it to get what they want. And that’s probably why I’ve written a thriller, rather than a mystery. I’ve never been one for ‘whodunnits’. I don’t want to see the killer identified at the very end – it’s them I want to watch or read about, to try and understand, all the way through. In a game of cat and mouse, you might find me rooting for the cat…

I also love strong female characters, though, like Saga Norén in The Bridge, or “The Bride” in Kill Bill. Tough women who stand up to men, and can kick their arses – or chop them up – when they need to. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out why they appeal to me.

So, when you’re looking at me, a grown man who writes about serial killers, and there’s that combination of pity and bewilderment in your eyes… well, maybe you’ll still think I’m a little crazy. But at least now you know why. And where would you prefer me to be? Sitting alone in a room, making up stories? Or out on the streets, lurking in the shadows…

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When I first read the blurb of this book it gave me goosebumps.  What a story!  There was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to read it.  And I’m so glad I did as this is a brilliant serial killer thriller with everything I enjoy in one novel.

Sarah isn’t your average, everyday serial killer, oh no!  First of all, she’s a woman and second, she doesn’t fit into any of the traditional stereotypical profiles.  Oh, and she WANTS to stop hunting and killing gorgeous young men.  So she seeks the help of infamous celebrity psychiatrist, Karl Gross.  But Karl has his own plan for Sarah and his own twisted fantasies.  Another of Karl’s patients, DI Martin White is put on Sarah’s case alongside fellow detective, Phil Burton.  But it’s just the two of them versus a clever, accomplished killer.  Will they be able to stop Sarah before she kills again?  And is Sarah really the most dangerous one…?

This is such a great story which I devoured in a few short sittings.  I loved the female serial killer angle, the psychology aspect and the incredibly damaged detective (really, those three things are all I want in a book!).  The three main characters are brilliantly written and I particularly liked Sarah.  The book reminded me a little of American Psycho (even before I got to the nod to Patrick Bateman) but the level of violence is substantially less grizzley in PsychoAnalysis (don’t get me wrong though, this book contains a fair amount of violence).

The twist towards the end was completely unexpected which was a thrill.  The plot moved at a good pace and my interest was kept from start to finish.  I just wanted more!  I was a smidge disappointed with the end as it seemed to come too quickly.  I would also like to see more of Martin White but get the feeling this book is a one off and we won’t be seeing DI White again (shame).

Would I recommend this book?  I most certainly would, I blooming loved it.  Thrilling, exciting and edge of your seat stuff for all fans of serial killer fiction.

Four and a half stars out of five.

Many thanks to V. R. Stone for providing me with a copy of PsychoAnalysis in exchange for an honest review.

PsychoAnalysis by V. R. Stone was published in the UK by Silverwhite Press on 14th October 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads | To watch the book trailer, please click here |



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41fm7przzel-_ux250_ V.R. Stone loves crime stories – The Silence of The Lambs, The Sopranos, American Psycho, Pulp Fiction, Shutter Island – movies, TV shows and books featuring cynical cops, femmes fatale, gangsters and serial killers. Thrills, twists and violence – that’s what he craves. Give him a well-crafted tale featuring compelling characters on the wrong side of the law and he’ll be a happy man.

He really does have an unhealthy fascination with people getting shot, stabbed and strangled. But he doesn’t have the guts to set up a protection racket in his leafy London suburb, rob a bank or follow you home at night. So he sits alone in a room making up stories.

When he’s not busy with that, he works in the City of London and spends time with his very patient wife and very impatient children.

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads |


#BlogTour | #Extract: I Kill by Lex Lander @Authoright


Racked by guilt over his accidental killing of a young Italian girl, contract killer André Warner has effectively retired himself from his ‘profession’ and taken to drink and other palliatives, while sinking slowly into a mire of depression.

A contract in Tangier to assassinate an Arab drug trafficker lures him out of retirement and self-pity. Soon after his arrival he encounters attractive American widow, Clair Power, and her precocious sixteen year-old daughter, Lizzy, who bears such a striking resemblance to the girl Warner killed that his waning anguish is instantly rekindled. He attempts to assuage it by embarking on a fling with Clair which brings him into conflict with a mysterious Dutchman named Rik de Bruin, who also appears to have designs on her.

The contract on the drug merchant is cancelled with no explanation given, but Warner, now seriously involved with Clair, is more relieved than disappointed. Their budding romance is not destined to blossom however. Clair disappears and Warner is landed with the role of de facto guardian to Lizzy.

In tracking down Clair, Warner crosses a line that brings him into conflict with the local police and he is deported from Tangier with a distraught Lizzy in tow. Back at his Andorra villa she slowly recovers from her mother’s disappearance and launches an assault on Warner’s good intentions. Her increasingly provocative behavior disturbs yet excites him, and when Rik de Bruin pitches up in Andorra and begins to take an interest in Lizzy too, Warner gets possessive the only way he knows.

Too late, alas, to save Lizzy from an unspeakable fate.”

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the I Kill blog tour.  I Kill is book two in the Andre Warner, Manhunter series written by author Lex Lander.  I read and reviewed the first book, End As An Assassin back in May 2016.  If you would like to read my review then click here.

Today I have an extract from I Kill to share with you.  I will be reviewing I Kill at a later date on the blog so keep an eye out for that.

The waiter deposited my espresso before me. I was tearing the top off a sachet of sugar when the tall woman emerged from the hotel interior and crossed the terrace. She had good carriage – shoulders well back, pelvis thrust forward, projecting a feline self-assurance that complemented her height.

Passing close to my table she glanced sideways, and I raised my coffee cup in homage.

‘Problem sorted?’

Her jaw dropped slightly as she slowed.

‘I … beg your pardon?’ ‘

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interfere. You looked to be in difficulty.’

‘Oh, that.’ Her frown lasted only a moment or two before clearing. ‘Aah, I see. It was you who sent that hotel bouncer to my rescue, wasn’t it? I guess I should thank you.’ Only guessed? It sounded grudging.

‘Not unless I did the right thing.’ I smiled apologetically, hoping to put her at ease. ‘If I acted out of line, I’m sorry.’

‘No … it’s not that …’ She came closer, a diffident sidle. ‘May I sit down?’

‘Be my guest.’ I got to my feet, pulled out a chair. ‘Shall I order some coffee?’

‘Oh, er … yes, why not? And could you get a Pepsi or something for my daughter? She’ll be along in a sec.’ She sat cautiously, as if she expected the chair to be booby trapped. ‘I’ll pay, of course.’

‘My name’s Alan Melville,’ I said, as I resumed my seat. The pseudonym slid glibly enough off my tongue. So often did I travel under false identities that at times André Warner seemed to be another person altogether.

We shook hands across the table. Hers was cool in both senses. Her fingernails were painted silver, I noticed.

‘Clair Power,’ she said. The waiter cruised over, took our order without a break in his stride, and carried on to the far side of the terrace to serve some new arrivals.

‘Pretty efficient here, aren’t they?’ I said, making small talk the way you do with a stranger, marking time to see how the land lay.

‘Mmm,’ she said with a little nod. ‘I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Not that we spend much time in the hotel, we’re mostly out sightseeing. We may not get another chance for a long time.’

She fluffed up her short brown hair and leaned back, taking stock of our surroundings, while I took stock of her. She was worth the effort. Her age I put at mid-thirties. In her sexual prime and not bad in the looks department, with her deep-set, blue-green eyes, small soft mouth, and sophisticated veneer. There were some fine lines in the usual places, but these only served to augment her appeal. The impression was of a woman who experienced the pluses and minuses of life.

In a corner of the terrace was a grotto with a waterfall at which tiny birds came to bathe. She was looking that way now, and the dance and sparkle of the water lit up her solemn gaze.

‘Is there just you and your daughter, Mrs Power?’ I asked. It was another way of asking if a husband was in the vicinity, and is the sort of question that sets alarm bells jangling inside most unattached women. In this regard Clair Power was true to her sex. Her appraisal, before replying, was shrewd, penetrating, yet far from hostile. A weighing of motives perhaps.

‘If you mean is my husband with us,’ she said at last, ‘the answer is no. Actually, he’s … well, I’m a widow.’

I made commiserating noises.

‘It’s okay. It happened two years ago. I guess I’m over it.’

‘No other children?’ I asked, more to get onto another topic than out of curiosity about the extent of her brood.

‘No. Only Elizabeth.’

Coffee and a tall Pepsi with two bendy straws were set down on our table. I gave the waiter my room number and slipped him a twenty-dirham note that almost fell apart as he took it. Most of the local currency was in an advanced state of decay.

‘You’re a long way from home, Mrs Power.’ Keeping the conversation in motion was becoming a struggle.

‘Clair,’ she corrected distantly as she stirred her unsweetened coffee, worrying at her lower lip. As the silence lengthened and I was mentally seeking a suitable platitude with which to break it, she blurted, ‘Look, I’m sorry if I seem uncommunicative. I just wasn’t sure if I should say anything. Anyhow … here goes. That man you saw us with upstairs has been bothering me ever since we got here.’

‘Really?’ I didn’t ask her to elaborate, just left an opening in case she wanted to.

‘Yes. He … oh, you know … keeps asking me out. He even got my cell number from somewhere, and keeps calling me. He even suggested we move out of the hotel and be his house guests.’ She snorted nervously. ‘You can imagine what for, I suppose.’

A red-blooded male behaving like a red-blooded male, was my silent opinion. The opinion I diplomatically expressed was, ‘A visit sounds harmless enough. Especially if he’s invited both of you. He can hardly, er … misbehave while your daughter’s around.’

She sawed some more at her bottom lip. ‘But why won’t he take no for an answer? Why so persistent? Every day, without fail, he pounces on me from … from nowhere. It’s like being ambushed.’ She shuddered. ‘I’ve nothing against him as a person. I barely know him, only that his name’s Henrik de Bruin, though he calls himself Rik. Oh, and he lives in Holland, and he’s not short of money. I’m not off men altogether. It’s just him. I have a bad feeling about him.’ She shot me a hard look, as if wondering why she was exposing her soul to a stranger.

I hope that’s whetted your appetite.  I Kill by Lex Lander is published by Kaybec Publishing and is available in eBook format from amazon.co.uk.


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British-born thriller writer Lex Lander was raised in France, earned his degree in French and Italian in New Zealand and currently lives in Montreal. Lander is the author of political thriller ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER JACKAL, published by Kaybec in 2013. Vol III in the series, THE MAN WHO HUNTED HIMSELF, will be published by Kaybec in the autumn. The first two volumes in the André Warner series, END AS AN ASSASSIN and I KILL by Lex Lander (published by Kaybec 1st May 2016) are available to buy online from retailers including amazon.co.uk. and all good bookstores including WHSmiths.



#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn trs. @rosie_hedger @OrendaBooks

the-bird-tribunal-a_w-v4“Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape… TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough…

Haunting, consuming and powerful, The Bird Tribunal is a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless.”

I am thrilled to be today’s stop on the The Bird Tribunal blog tour.  The Bird Tribunal is written by Agnes Ravatn,  translated from it’s original Norwegian by Rosie Hedger and is published by the inimitable Orenda Books.  I have to say, I have never read a book quite like this before.  Strangely unsettling but a completely riveting read!

Allis Hagtorn is running away.  Something happened which has made her ‘up sticks’ and leave everything she knows behind, including her husband and her influential job.  The only way forward for Allis is to withdraw from everyday life as much as she can, submitting herself to voluntary exile.  Sigurd Bagge offers her a new job as his housekeeper and gardener, whilst his wife is away.  The job suits Allis down to the ground as Bagge’s home is remote and Bagge himself is secretive and uncommunicative.  But what secrets is Allis hiding?  And is she the only one…?

I found this a gripping read.  I had a strong feeling of impending doom from early on which stayed with me and grew stronger as I moved through the book.  It’s certainly an unsettling read and I found it oddly uncomfortable in places (not the subject matter so much as the feeling that I was intruding on the characters most private moments). That certainly didn’t put me off though!  It’s a fairly quick read and so easy to devour in the space of a few hours.  I thoroughly enjoyed it! 

Allis’ neediness towards Bagge added to that uncomfortable feeling at times.  There were several points when I wanted her to walk away from the house and never look back.  I was torn in two; wanting her to leave but knowing there was something big on the way.  That delicious build up of friction between the two characters was so utterly compelling!  Not forgetting of course, that fabulous, unexpected ending.

Would I recommend this book?  I would, especially if you’re looking for a character driven, somewhat intoxicating, slow-build of a read to a surprising, yet stunning conclusion.   Packed full of secrets and shed loads of atmosphere.  It’s a great read!

Four and a half stars out of five.

Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of The Bird Tribunal in exchange for an honest review.

The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn trs. Rosie Hedger was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 30th September 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Orenda Books |


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agnes-ravatn-ashxAgnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is an author and columnist. She made her literary début with the novel Week 53 (Veke 53) in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections:Standing still (Stillstand), 2011, Popular reading (Folkelesnad), 2011, and Operation self-discipline (Operasjon sjøldisiplin), 2014. In these works Ravatn shows her unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility. Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal (Fugletribuanlet), 2013, is a strange and captivating story about shame, guilt and atonement. Ravatn received The cultural radio P2’s listener’s prize for this novel, a popular and important prize in Norway, in addition to The Youth’s Critic’s Prize. The Bird Tribunalwas also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015. It is published by Orenda Books in September 2016.

405704_10100129059101931_425159055_n-300x222Rosie Hedger was born in Scotland and completed her MA (Hons) in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She has lived and worked in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and now lives in York where she works as a freelance translator. Rosie was a candidate in the British Centre for Literary Translation’s mentoring scheme for Norwegian in 2012, mentored by Don Bartlett.