#BlogTour | #Extract: The Snow Girls by Chris Mooney (@cmooneybooks) @PenguinUKBooks #TheSnowGirls #DarbyMcCormick

the snow girls.jpg“It’s been eleven years since Claire Flynn disappeared – abducted without trace from a snowy hillside, leaving her parents heartbroken.

Investigator Darby McCormick remembers the case. She knows there’s only ever been one suspect, Father Richard Byrne, linked inconclusively to two similar disappearances.

Finally, terminally ill, Byrne is willing to talk. But he’ll only talk to Darby.

She’s expecting a confession – but what she hears is far more disturbing.

And it soon becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to keep this cold case on ice…”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on The Snow Girls blog tour.  I am a huge fan of Chris Mooney’s books and I’ve always had a bit of a girl crush on the fabulous Darby McCormick!  I can’t wait to read The Snow Girls which is the latest book in the series, published in paperback by Penguin Books on 15th November 2018.

Today I have a brilliant extract to share with you as part of the blog tour celebrations so make yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy…

Chapter 1

Darby hadn’t seen the inside of the Belham Police Station since her father was a beat cop. She had worked plenty of forensic cases in Belham, back when she was in the crime lab and then later, as a forensic investigator, but the last time she’d actually set foot inside? Had to be at least twenty years.

She parked her rental car in the lot shared by the station and the church. It was Friday, coming up on 7 a.m., the cloudless November sky already a bright, hard blue. Winter had come to New England this year, sending the temperature down to the low twenties and creating the kind of harsh, biting winds that made you question why anyone in their right minds insisted on living in such a climate. Thanksgiving was three weeks away, and the downtown area was already decorated with white Christmas lights strung around small bare trees planted on the sidewalks, the telephone poles holding green plastic wreaths and stringy, weather-beaten tinsel.

Some things from your childhood never changed. Belham Station was one of them. The outside still looked the same: an imposing brick building with tall windows that never seemed clean, no matter what time of season. It gave her the feeling she’d had as a kid, which was that this was the sort of place where you would never find comfort.

The security cameras, she noticed, were dented and banged up from the weather and from having people throwing stones, Belham having the distinction of not only becoming Boston’s most violent neighbourhood but also the leader in attacks against the police.

The station’s interior, amazingly, hadn’t changed  –  same concrete walls painted in light and dark blues; the same shitty black-and-grey-speckled linoleum floor and the same steam-heated air containing the same odd mixture of Lysol, body odour and . . . was that pork?

The desk sergeant sitting behind the dispatch-office window saw her sniffing at the air and said, ‘No, you’re not imagining it. It’s pork. Sausage, as a matter of fact.’ Darby picked up the clipboard. ‘Thought I might be having a stroke.’

‘No, that’s burnt toast, what people smell right before they have one. Look, I’ll tell you the same thing I told the last one, which is “No comment”.’

‘Okay.’ Darby signed her name and said, ‘I’m here to see Detective Chris Kennedy. He’s expecting me.’

‘You’re not a reporter from the Belham Tab ?’

‘Nope.’

‘They send the real pretty ones down here to ask their questions – like that’s gonna work. Your name?’

‘Darby McCormick.’ His face changed, went from mildly pleasant to turnaround-and-get-the-hell-out. It didn’t bother her as much any more. She had grown . . . not used to it but had simply accepted it. There was nothing she could do to change some people’s minds.

‘ID,’ he said gruffly, not looking at her. She handed over her driver’s licence, which was tucked in the same black leather wallet as her investigator’s badge and concealand-carry permits. He handed it back to her, along with a visitor’s pass, and then pointed to the bench near a couple of payphones. The bench had been painted, but it was the one where she’d sat as a kid, waiting for her father.

Darby sidled over to the bulletin board, the wall above it adorned with framed pictures of cops who had died in the line of duty. Her father, Thomas ‘Big Red’ McCormick, was in the top row, dressed in his uniform blues, the auburn-coloured hair she’d inherited from him hidden underneath his cap.

He looked down at her with a stern expression, as if to say, What are you doing back here, with these people?

Her gaze slid away, to the bulletin board full of papers advertising needle exchange and gun-buyback programmes, as well as a list of detox centres. Someone had tacked a torn piece of paper to the board, the handwriting neat and legible: This is the place where hope goes to die.

From somewhere inside the station  –  probably the holding pen, Darby guessed – she heard a long, drawnout scream: the raw, painful kind she associated with someone experiencing either a psychotic break or suddenly realizing the soul-crushing horror of his or her fate.

There had been a time when hearing such a sound would have caused her heart to leap in her throat. The skin on her face would have tightened and flexed across the bone; she’d feel cold all over, and have trouble thinking and concentrating. Now? Now, the sound was as harmless as radio static, and she wondered when this shift had happened. Wondered if she had simply become used to it or maybe had just stopped caring.

‘Should have been here an hour ago,’ Chris Kennedy said to her. ‘Woman came in here, a big ole smile on her face, carrying a pastry box. Guy manning the desk, Mr Personality back there, Charlie, he asked her how he can help her and she says, “I’m here to feed the pigs”.’

Darby walked beside him as they navigated the halls, heading to his office.

Then,’ Kennedy said, his eyes bright and mischievous, ‘she opens the box, takes out uncooked sausage and pork chops, starts smearing everything all over the window and counter.’

‘Wow. Clever and original. What a combo.’

Her sarcasm made him smile. He was the only cop who looked at her in a friendly way. Almost everyone else either averted their eyes or deliberately glared at her.

Kennedy’s face turned serious. ‘Stuff like that’s happening more and more these days in Bedlam.’

Back when Darby was growing up, people called the city ‘The Ham’. The downtown area where she had spent most of her youth had been replaced by cheque-cashing stores and pawnshops, and the vacant buildings had been taken over by the rampant homeless population, which was made up primarily of heroin addicts that came from all walks of life. Now kids were snorting, smoking, ingesting and injecting heroin and bath salts. They had abundant access to handguns, shotguns, semi-automatic rifles and hollowpoint ammo, and now almost every kid had ‘active-shooter’ drills at schools. The crime rate here had surged so much everyone referred to the city as ‘Bedlam’.

‘And you can forget eating anywhere in town if you’re a cop,’ Kennedy said. ‘People spit in your food, rub it on their genitals, sometimes even stick shit in it. And by“shit” I mean actual shit. We’re here to help them, keep everyone as safe as possible, and everywhere we go we’re treated like the Gestapo. Not a good time to be in law enforcement. What’s with the jacket?’

Darby wore a stylish black motorcycle jacket made of thick black leather. ‘You don’t think it makes me look like a badass?’

‘You are a badass. I just thought women with fancy Harvard doctorates got dressed up all fancy – you know, shirts, skirts and heels.’

‘You’ve got the wrong girl.’

‘No, I’ve got the right one.’ He smiled knowingly. ‘This is me, right here.’

His office had the look and feel of an underground war bunker  –  no external windows, the small space feeling even more claustrophobic on account of the boxes stacked high against the walls, full of case files and forensic reports. Kennedy, she knew, had recently been placed in charge of Belham’s cold-case squad.

He picked up a stack of files from one of the two chairs in the corner of the room. Darby looked out through the window, into the bullpen, where a handful of cops were openly staring at her in disgust and contempt.

Years ago, back when she was working an investigation for Boston’s Criminal Investigative Unit, she had uncovered a decades-long string of police corruption that extended up to the commissioner and the FBI’s Boston office. These same people who had sworn to protect and serve had also orchestrated the murder of her father, Big Red McCormick, who had discovered the seeds of a criminal enterprise operating within the Boston PD. He had been shot while on duty.

Her father was strong. He had lasted a month before her mother decided to take him off life support. Darby insisted on being at the hospital. She was thirteen.

The reason for the vitriol she was witnessing right now was a result of her committing the cardinal sin of law enforcement: going public with the truth instead of playing the role of the good soldier and keeping the matter confined within Boston PD, where the bureaucrats and spin doctors would work tirelessly to bury the matter. She was branded a rat, ostracized for not following their rules. Then she’d lost her job.

Kennedy saw where she was looking. ‘Ignore them.’

Don’t worry, I am. She said, ‘You must’ve made a helluva lot of friends, asking me to come here.’

‘You’re the best at what you do. Granted, you have the subtlety and grace of a wrecking ball, but you do get results.’ He chuckled. ‘Have a seat.’

Kennedy was well into his early fifties but except for his hair, which had gone from black to a steel-grey, and maybe an extra ten or so pounds, he still looked like the same beat cop she remembered from her days in Boston –  the tough and crafty baseball catcher who’d earned a free ride to Boston College. He would’ve gone pro if he hadn’t suffered a devastating knee injury, one that tore both his ACL and MCL, during his junior year.

‘Who’d you piss off?’ Darby asked, looking around his office.

‘That’s a mighty long list. Could you be more specific?’

‘You worked homicide; now you’re stuck in Bedlam working cold cases.’

‘I needed a change of pace.’

‘What’s the real reason?’

‘Doctor’s orders.’

‘High blood pressure?’ Every homicide detective she knew suffered from it. That or alcoholism. Depression. The list went on and on.

‘That and the two heart attacks that followed,’ Kennedy said.

‘Why didn’t you retire? You put your time in.’

‘And do what? Take up golf? Besides, my wife would kill me, having me around all day. Can I get you coffee? Water?’

‘I’m all set.’ Darby took a seat.

‘So,’ he said, hiking up his trousers as he lowered himself into the chair. ‘Claire Flynn.’

Two days ago, Darby had been in Long Island, New York, winding up her consulting gig on a possible serial killer who, over a three-year period, had dumped the bodies of six women, all prostitutes or runaways, in the dunes. Kennedy called her out of the blue, asked if she’d take a look at a case Darby had worked more than a decade ago, and one that still haunted her: Claire Flynn, a six-year-old Belham girl, who, on a snowy night eleven years ago, went up a hill with her slightly older friend and never came down. It had been Darby’s first case. She’d flown in yesterday morning and spent the next twenty-four hours poring over the evidence, the police reports, everything.

‘What’s your verdict?’ he asked.

‘She’s dead.’

Love it! Doesn’t that sound fantastic?! I want to know more!  I can’t wait to read this one and I hope you feel the same too.  If you’re a crime or thriller fan then you can’t go wrong with Chris Mooney’s books.

The Snow Girls by Chris Mooney was published in the UK by Penguin Books on 15th November 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats: | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

The Snow Girls Blog Tour

about-the-author3

chris-mooney-200.jpgHailed as “one of the best thriller writers working today” by Lee Child and “a wonderful writer” by Michael Connelly, Chris Mooney is the international bestselling author of ten novels, most recently the new Darby McCormick thriller Every Three Hours. His fourth book, The Missing, the first in the Darby McCormick series, was a main selection of the International Book of the Month Club and an instant bestseller in over thirteen countries. Chris’s third book, Remembering Sarah, was nominated for an Edgar for Best Novel by the Mystery Writer’s Association.

Chris has sold over one million books, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. He occasionally teaches writing courses at the Harvard Extension School and lives in the Boston area with his wife and son, where he is at work on the next Darby McCormick thriller.

Author Links:Website | Twitter | Facebook |

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#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Jessica Johnson (@JessReadingRoom) #JessicasReadingRoom

A very warm bookish welcome to damppebbles today and to Tuesday’s #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post!  We’re 20 days in and by the end of this post we will have had a whopping 56 book recommendations!  Fifty-six brilliant books; all with something special, something memorable about them.  Wow! Joining me today to share the book love is the lovely Jessica Johnson of Jessica’s Reading Room.  If you haven’t discovered Jessica’s blog yet then you must!

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for book bloggers, authors and those who work in publishing to shout about three books they absolutely love.  There are no rules regarding genre, author or method of publishing (traditional, indie or self-published books are all game!).  The only rule is that the books must have been published this year in 2018.

Here are Jessica’s three choices…

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
This is one of my top reads for this year and I was very surprised with it. It starts out as the best day ever for Margaret Jacobsen and quickly becomes a nightmare. This is one that is about overcoming what life hands out to you.
http://jessicasreadingroom.com/how-to-walk-away/

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Sadie by Courtney Summers
This one is very unique! If books are heading this way in the future I look forward to it. There is a podcast that corresponds with this one.
http://jessicasreadingroom.com/sadie-by-courtney-summers/

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Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Neal Shusterman is a genius and I can not wait to read more of his novels! Thunderhead is the second in the Scythe series. His books really leave you thinking afterwards. I look forward to the final in this series which should be coming out early in 2019!
http://jessicasreadingroom.com/jessicas-thoughts-on-thunderhead/

Thanks for your choices, Jessica.  All brand new titles to me but they sound really interesting.

If Jessica has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the titles she recommends, please see the following links:

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center | Sadie by Courtney Summers | Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman |

About Jessica:
My name is Jessica and I live in Georgia in the USA. I am married and we have two precious cat furbabies named Sage and Curry. I work a full time job, so I do my best with my site in the time I have.

I don’t read one particular genre. If I am interested in it I will read it, and I will read most genres.

Jessica’s Social Media Links:
Jessica’s Reading Room | Twitter @JessReadingRoom | Facebook | Instagram |

Submissions for #R3COMM3ND3D are closed for this year but don’t let that stop you from returning to damppebbles tomorrow when I will have more fabulous bookish treats from another brilliant book blogger!

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Zoé O’Farrell (@zooloo2008) #ZooloosBookDiary

A very good morning to you all.  I hope your Monday is looking to be a good one and the week ahead full of wonderful bookish delights.  A very warm welcome to today’s #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post.  I am delighted to welcome the fabulous Zoé O’Farrell of the brilliant Zooloo’s Book Diary to the blog today.  I haven’t been following Zoé’s blog all that long really but it has fast become one of my favourites.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for book bloggers, authors and those who work in publishing to share the book love.  Are there three books which immediately spring to mind?  Three books you think everyone else MUST READ?  That’s what #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is all about…providing the three books you choose were published this year in 2018!

Here are Zoé’s choices…

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The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech
OMG why wouldn’t I recommend this book? Anyone who has read the review I wrote would see I was just in tears throughout.  In fact, I do not even know if my review makes sense, I just cried when I wrote it. It is such a beautiful love story, I am really protective over Ben and Andrew, they are my happy place for sure.
http://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/bookreview-of-the-lion-tamer-who-lost-by-louise-beech-louisewriter-orendabooks-teamorenda-liontamerwholost

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Medium Wave by Rose Zolock (Becky Moran #1)
This is the first blog tour I ever took in so it will always have a special place in my heart. It was a supernaturally one and I was hooked by this book, I even got to chat the author a little on Twitter about it! This book gave me the biggest shivers and goosebumps…still just thinking about it! I can’t wait for the second book in this series!
http://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/bookreview-of-medium-wave-by-rose-zolock-rosezolock-rararesources

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Do No Harm by L.V. Hay
This was a toss-up between two books that have given me book hangovers..and I highly recommend both can I name the other one?! [Sorry Zoé, only three!].  Anyway, this book gave me such a hangover it chilled me to the core! I actually wanted to cancel my weekend plans just to keep reading this (I didn’t but it was close!) This book is just unbelievable so many red herrings and when you get to the end….well jaw stayed on the floor for a few days! OMG left my mouth quite a lot.
http://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/bookreview-of-do-no-harm-by-lv-hay

Great choices, thanks Zoé.  I loved seeing the reactions to The Lion Tamer Who Lost, there was so much love!  Do No Harm is on the TBR and I’m really looking forward to reading it as I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Twin by L.V. Hay.

If Zoé has managed to tempt you with her recommendations, or if you would like to find out more, then please see the following links:

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech | Medium Wave by Rose Zolock | Do No Harm by L.V. Hay |

About Zoé:
Well, I am human and I go by the name of  Zoé (Zooloo being the nickname), a mother to a gorgeous little spitfire who is 4 years old and she definitely keeps me on my feet!

I am a wife to a soldier and have had to move around with him, but in his current posting we have found home surrounded by the White Cliffs of Dover and I have a cat which I am slightly obsessed with.

I could list the “normal” interests that everyone has like ‘listening to music’, ‘watching sports’, ‘watching TV and movies’ or ‘socialising with my friends’ but in truth, these are my interests outside of reading. I am OBSESSED with TV and movies, in another life, I would be a movie critic. I LOVE music, and I do love a good gig (I could bore you more!). I am an AVID sports watcher, football season ticket holder for Watford FC (promise they are real), and probably more boring watching the cricket. Finally, I do love socialising with my friends which is how my blog started…..I think they got bored with me talking about books…or generally talking!

Zoé’s Social Media Links:
Zooloo’s Book Diary | Twitter @zooloo2008 | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads |

#R3COMM3ND3D is full for this year so I’m sorry to say I’m not taking any more submissions.  Fret not though, #R3COMM3ND3D will return next year in the guise of #R3COMM3ND3D2019.  But until then we have lots more book recommendations to come.  If your TBR ends up touching the ceiling then don’t say I didn’t warn you…

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Yvonne Bastian (@yvonnembee) #MeandMyBooks

It’s Sunday, it’s the 18th November and it’s another fabulous #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post!  I hope your Sunday is going well so far.  For those in the UK it won’t really have had a chance to get going yet as this post is scheduled for 7.30am and we’ll all hopefully still be in the land of nod (unless you have young children of course, then you will have been up for hours!).

I am delighted to welcome a fabulous blogger (another favourite!) to damppebbles today to share their #R3COMM3ND3D2018 picks, Yvonne Bastian of Me and My Books.  If you haven’t checked out Yvonne’s blog then you must!  I always enjoy reading her reviews.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for book bloggers, authors and those who work in publishing to shout about three books they love.  There’s a catch though, the books must have been published this year in 2018.  That’s the only rule.  All three books must be 2018 titles.

Here are Yvonne’s choices…

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Sunset Over The Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas
This book definitely transported me. It took me to the rural setting of Spain as I followed the main character through her journey. This book had a fantastic story line, an atmospheric and picturesque setting, some great local details and I just fell in love with the characters, the story, the setting and the …well everything.
https://vonnibee.com/2018/08/28/sunset-over-the-cherry-orchard-by-jo-thomas-jo_thomas01-bookreview/

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The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton
If there was a book that made me feel claustrophobic then this is it. Not only does it have a local history aspect that has been brilliantly woven into the story, it has the most wonderful descriptions that had me on the edge of my seat. The story is one that comes full circle as details are filled in about the characters. A spine tingler and skin crawling book that I loved.
https://vonnibee.com/2018/08/03/the-charftsman-by-sharon-bolton-bookreview/

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Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce
This was such a great book to read as I followed Emmy on her journey to become a Lady War Correspondent only to discover that the job was not quite what she expected. There were some great fun moments in this story set during World War II. I liked the way the author mixed the good and the bad to create a story that had me hooked as well as sniggering, crying and grinning as I turned the pages.
https://vonnibee.com/2018/04/01/bookreview-dear-mrs-bird-by-aj-pearce-ajpearcewrites-panmacmillan-netgalley/

Great choices, thanks Yvonne.  This is the second mention for the brilliant The Craftsman which is now joint first with Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon, The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven and Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh.  All four books have two votes each.  Will one of these titles be crowned the winner of #R3COMM3ND3D2018?  We’ll have to wait and see…

If Yvonne has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends then please see the following links:

Sunset Over The Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas | The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton | Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce |

About Yvonne:
I’m Yvonne and I have a mountain of a problem…its called my TBR but thankfully I know I’m not alone. I live in Cornwall and I am a avid book reader, reviewer and Book Blogger. I love reading a whole range of different genres that cover a multitude of different subjects. I like a book that will transport me, that will show me new and interesting things, that will scare the pants off me, that will have me laughing and or crying, that will have me on the edge of my seat and inspire me, that will challenge my thoughts, that will leave me wanting to read more by the author. Choosing just three books is a hard thing to do, actually choosing three out of most things in life is hard, but only three books!! Yes I am a book reader and I love being a book reader 🙂 [Sorry Yvonne, you’re not the first to say so, lol]

Yvonne’s Social Media Links:
Me and My Books | Twitter @yvonnembee | Facebook |

#R3COMM3ND3D for this year is full! There are still lots of wonderful book recommendations to come though, between now and the end of the year.  So make sure you pop back tomorrow for more bookish delights!

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Robyn Reo (@sinfullywickedb) #SinfullyWickedBookReviews

Happy Saturday everyone. I hope your plans include lots of downtime, particularly if it’s curled up with a good book. Today I am delighted to welcome a new-to-me blogger to damppebbles, Robyn Reo of Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews. Having had a nosey around Robyn’s blog I’m definitely subscribing as it looks gorgeous!

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for book bloggers, authors and those in publishing to shout about three books they loved. Any three books with no bias towards genre, author or publisher. The only catch is that all three choices must have been published in 2018.

Here are Robyn’s choices…

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The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell
It is such a beautiful and moving war time story.
https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.com/2018/08/03/blog-tour-and-review-the-lost-letters-by-sarah-mitchell-bookouture-sarahm_writer/

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A Mother’s Goodbye by Kate Hewitt
It is a heartbreaking story filled with emotion.
https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.com/2018/06/16/a-mothers-goodbye-by-kate-hewitt-review-katehewitt1-bookouture/

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Father Figure by James J. Cudney
It is an extraordinary story that spans twenty years.
https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.com/2018/06/08/father-figure-by-james-j-cudney-blogtour-review-jamescudney4-shanannigans81/

Great choices, thanks Robyn. If Robyn has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends then please see the following links:

| The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell | A Mother’s Goodbye by Kate Hewitt | Father Figure by James J. Cudney |

About Robyn:
I am a self-confessed book junkie and hoarder of books. My love of reading began many, many years ago when I cracked open my first fiction book when I was still a young girl. Fast forward thirty plus years later, my addiction to reading has not changed. I love being immersed in a story/fantasy where I can fall in love with the characters of a book. My keeper shelf is overflowing with all of the great treasures I have found during my reading journey.

Robyn’s Social Media Links:
| Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews | Twitter @SinfullyWickedB | Facebook |

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is fully booked but make sure you pop back tomorrow when another fabulous bookish type will be sharing their recommended reads from 2018.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with Freelance Blogger, Reviewer and Commentator on Crime Fiction Ayo Onatade (@shotsblog) #ShotsmagConfidential

I am thrilled to welcome a widely respected freelance blogger, reviewer and commentator who has her finger on the pulse of all things crime fiction. The fabulous Ayo Onatade of Shotsmag Confidential joins me to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2018 reads. If you’re a crime fiction fan and you’re not already following the brilliant Shotsmag Confidential then I strongly suggest you do. It’s a treasure trove of bookish goodies.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for bookish folk to shout about three books they love. I’m not fussy about the author, the title or the publisher. It could be anything…providing it was published this year in 2018. Not as easy as it sounds (or so I have been told).

Here are Ayo’s choices…

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Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz (Orphan X #3)
The third book in the brilliant OrphanX series. Raw, visceral action writing layered with rare depth and emotion, that will keep you turning the pages. A fun thriller that with each book getting better and better.

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Sunburn by Laura Lippman
Modern noir written by one of the best chronicles of American life. A suspenseful, page turner that has you wishing for more. A very twisty satisfying read.

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The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly (A Charlie Parker Thriller #16)
A beautifully written but disturbing story with a supernatural element that does not take away from the brutality of the crime. Totally enthralling and unsettling but a brilliant read.

Thanks Ayo, all three of your choices have gone straight onto the wish list! All three sound excellent reads and I can’t wait to get my mitts on them all.

If Ayo has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends then please see the following links:

| Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz | Sunburn by Laura Lippman | The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly |

About Ayo:
Ayo Onatade is a freelance crime fiction critic and blogger. She has written a number of articles on different aspects of crime fiction and has also given papers on the subject as well. She has an eclectic taste in crime fiction, which runs the gamut from historical crime fiction to hardboiled and short stories. Her research interests include historical fiction especially crime fiction and crime fiction literary criticism. She is also a visiting lecturer at Kingston University.

Ayo’s Social Media Links:
| Shotsmag Confidential | Twitter @Shotsblog | Facebook |

Normally at this point I would be encouraging you to sign up for #R3COMM3ND3D2018 but it’s full for the year, YAY! Lots more posts to come before the end of the year though – we’ll have book recommendations coming out of our ears and I can’t wait!

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Good Samaritans by Will Carver (@will_carver) @OrendaBooks #GoodSamaritans

GOOD SAMARITANS AW PR1.indd

“One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach.

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.

But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on the Good Samaritans blog tour. Good Samaritans is written by Will Carver and was published by Orenda Books in paperback yesterday.

I’m pretty much a single genre reader. I don’t mind that, it’s my personal choice. I love crime fiction and I’m more than happy to spend my days immersing myself in some brilliant dark stories. But I find that, as time progresses, it takes a really unexpected twist or a different slant to grab my attention and keep it. I often find, whilst reading a book, that I can pretty much guess which direction the plot will go in. That’s why Good Samaritans was such a breath of fresh air. What a book! If the eye-catching cover doesn’t grab you (that gorgeous yellow and blue!), if the tagline doesn’t pique your interest; ‘One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach’. C’mon, you’re intrigued, right? Then let me assure you, the author’s words will certainly demand your attention 100%. The story Carver shares with us is something else, something fresh, something exciting and I loved it!

Shortly after starting this book I realised I had already become heavily invested in the characters’ lives. They’re all a little peculiar but that just made them more appealing to me. They’re human, they’re flawed, they are perfect. I couldn’t stop myself from reading. This was one of those ‘just another chapter’ books and when I was carrying out mundane ‘life stuff’, I was thinking about Seth, Hadley and Maeve. So involved was I in their lives that I had almost forgotten I was reading a suspense novel. That’s when the first shock twist hit. I remember the sharp intake of breath I took, the dizzying realisation of what was happening and the heart-stopping ‘nooooooooooo’ which rang through my mind. From that point on I could predict which direction the story was headed but oh my gosh, I loved it! It really didn’t matter one jot.

The plot is seamless, I was so absorbed in the story I didn’t feel as though I was reading a book (hopefully I’m not the only person this happens to, where you’re so involved you forget what you’re actually doing!). This is a book which will stay with me for a long time to come and I expect it will get a mention on my top 10 of the year. It was so exquisitely different, so utterly refreshing and so dark – I flipping loved it!

I will say one more thing before I sign off. I’m not a lover of sexy scenes in the books I read. Often they seem unnecessary, like the author wants to add an extra *shock* factor by including a few saucy bits here and there. Good Samaritans is quite naughty (it’s doing quite well in the ‘erotica’ section on Amazon as I type). However, I didn’t feel the author was trying to pad the story out, the scenes felt a necessary part of the story and to be honest, I wasn’t the slightest bit offended by them. Saying that, if sexual content is not your thing you may want to give this book a swerve.

Would I recommend this book? Oh yes! I love this book and I want you to read it and love it too. It’s brilliantly done and something quite special. A book which will stay with me. I loved all of the characters and their devious, dark little ways. Will Carver has become an author to watch out for in the future because if this is the quality of work he is producing then oh boy, I want more! Memorable, dark, highly readable and something completely different! Loved it. Want more. Now please….

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Good Samaritans. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Good Samaritans by Will Carver was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th November 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

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Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off.

He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company.

He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook |

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Jen Lucas (@JenMedBkReviews) #JenMedsBookReviews

It’s the 15th of November which means we’re two weeks into #R3COMM3ND3D2018. How are we all coping? How many books have been added to your TBR? I’m trying to be strong……but failing miserably!

Today I am delighted to welcome another favourite book blogger to damppebbles, the fabulous Jen Lucas of Jen Med’s Book Reviews. This is another case of ‘if you’re not following Jen’s blog then we need to have words…’. Jen won’t blow her own trumpet so I’ll do it for her. If you want beautifully written, enthusiastic book reviews written by someone who puts their heart and soul into books, reading and promoting the authors she loves, then Jen’s your gal. A must-read blog for all book lovers.

So this #R3COMM3ND3D2018 lark, what’s that all about? #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is where I invite book bloggers, authors and publishers to recommend three must read titles. There are no rules (which is a blatant lie because there is a rule, one very important rule. All books must have been published in 2018).

Here are Jen’s choices…

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We Own The Sky by Luke Allnutt
This book made me cry. Ugly cry. In fact it nearly killed me as I had a bad cold when I read it and could barely breathe for tears. A thoroughly moving story of a family beset by tragedy when the young son develops a terminal case of cancer. There are so many moments in this book which moved me to tears but one especially poignant scene when he is with his friends that nearly did for me.
https://jenmedsbookreviews.com/2018/02/02/blogtour-we-own-the-sky-by-luke-allnutt-lukeallnutt-trapezebooks/

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Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen
This book just made me chuckle from start to end. Very Fargo-esque in its styling, it is full of murder and comedy and the most unlikely setting for a beach resort you could ever imagine. I love Antti Tuomainen’s writing and this is another example of his incredible wit at work.
https://jenmedsbookreviews.com/2018/10/03/palm-beach-finland-antti-tuomainen/

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The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry
I don’t read a lot of historical fiction but the premise of this one intrigued me and given the pedigree of the authors, husband and wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman, I couldn’t resist. Set in Edinburgh in the mid 1800s this book engages the reader from the off. The story was compelling and the central characters of Raven and Sarah absolutely brilliant. The writing style and language was just so accessible and it just held my attention to the very last page. And the book is so pretty!
https://jenmedsbookreviews.com/2018/09/05/the-way-of-all-flesh-ambrose-parry/

Thanks for your brilliant choices, Jen. Both Palm Beach Finland and The Way of All Flesh are on the wish list. (I’d be adding We Own the Sky too if I read outside of the crime genre!)

If Jen has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books she has chosen, please see the following links:

| We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt | Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen | The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry |

About Jen:
Forty something year old grump I’ve been blogging for two and a half years. Used to spend all of my time travelling around the country keeping drivers in check but now spending it all in front of a laptop, laughingly trying to write (failing miserably). Often to be found attending book events when not walking around Shropshire or cuddled up with my kitty, Luna, and a good book.

Jen’s Social Media Links:
| Jen Med’s Book Reviews | Twitter @JenMedBkReviews | Facebook | Instagram |

Normally at this point I would be inviting you to sign up for #R3COMM3ND3D2018 but it’s full. Actually full. All 57 spaces have been allocated so I’m afraid you’ve missed the bus. #R3COMM3ND3D will be returning next year in the form of #R3COMM3ND3D2019, YAY!! Keep your eyes peeled for the new form, coming soon….(although you may want to wait a while before filling it in 😉🤣)

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Lorraine Rugman (@ReviewCafe) #TheBookReviewCafe

Happy Wednesday bookish friends. Personally, I can’t quite understand how it’s not Friday today. I think I’ve been two days ahead of where I should be since the start of the week (which is great news when you think about it as I missed out on the Monday blues and went straight to Wednesday, lol!).

It’s actually Wednesday, it’s #R3COMM3ND3D2018 and I am delighted to welcome another favourite blogger to damppebbles today. The very lovely Lorraine Rugman of The Book Review Cafe. I have been following Lorraine’s blog since I took my initial tentative steps into the blogosphere. She was one of the first people to welcome me into the book blogging world when it all seemed big and scary (or bigger and scarier than it seems now, anyway!). Oh, and her blog is so good it’s won awards. Seriously, you need to check it out.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is where I invite book bloggers, authors and publishers to choose three must read books. Easy, right? Not as easy as you would think! Any genre, any author, published by any means….but the books must have been published this year in 2018.

Here are Lorraine’s choices…

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The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven (Washington Poe #1)
There is nothing more satisfying than coming across a new crime series that sets the pulse racing. I read so many crime thrillers that I find it’s getting more difficult to find one that really excites me, but hells bells The Puppet Show by the very talented M.W. Craven blew my socks off!
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/05/30/thepuppetshow-by-m-w-craven-mwcravenuk-littlebrownuk-mustreads/

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In The Dark by Cara Hunter (DI Fawley #2)
Last year I read Close To Home the debut novel from Cara Hunter which I thought was a pretty amazing crime thriller. In The Dark the second book in the DI Fawley series has made this an unmissable series. So original and I love her style of writing.
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/07/16/in-the-dark-by-cara-hunter-mustreads-carahunterbooks-penguinrandom-penguinukbooks/?preview=true&iframe=true

th1rt3en

Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh (Eddie Flynn #4)
Loved, loved Thirteen, with a unique plot, fabulous characters and a thrilling storyline I was hooked from the word go. Despite it being the fourth book in the series I read it as a standalone, I bought the previous books in the series way before I reached the final page. Although a legal thriller it has so many elements that make this book special, with more than a hint of crime and suspense mixed in.
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/06/07/blog-tour-th1rt3en-by-steve-cavanagh-sscav-orion_crime-lauren_bookspr-tr4cyf3nt0n-thatbookthathook/

Absolutely loving your choices, Lorraine. Thank you. This is the second mention for both The Puppet Show and Th1rt3en. Both books are tying for first place alongside Three Things About Elsie. I MUST read the DI Fawley series by Cara Hunter. Not only have I heard really good things about it, but it’s also set in my hometown of Oxford. Moving book one up the TBR as I type….

If Lorraine has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends, please see the following links:

| The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven | In The Dark by Cara Hunter | Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh |

About Lorraine:
I’m Lorraine and I love books and coffee so there was only one thing to call my blog. I love reading and always have a book or my kindle in my hand, and more often than not a cup of good coffee. I especially enjoy reading crime and psychological thrillers and these are the books I mostly review on my blog.

Lorraine’s Social Media Links:
| The Book Review Cafe | Twitter @ReviewCafe | Facebook | Instagram |

If you are a book blogger, author or publisher and would like to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2018 this year, please complete the following form (but be quick, there are only TWO places left for 2018:

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: The Good, The Bad & The Rugby by Mark Farrer (@mark_farrer) #TheGoodTheBadTheRugby @cobaltdinosaur

GBR-Front-Cover.jpg“Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.

Cullen is on jury duty, and the sleepy Scottish town of Melrose is experiencing a rare crime wave: the famous Rugby Sevens trophy is stolen, a dead body is unearthed, there is a spate of petty arson, and someone drives a van into Gloria’s front room.
Why? And what is her husband doing every night up on Eildon hill?

In this hilarious crime romp, misguided loyalties, thwarted love, and unbelievable gullibility reach crisis point on the one day in the year when the world pays a visit to Melrose.

At the final whistle, Cullen will ensure that justice is done.

Because sometimes twelve good men just isn’t enough.”

A very warm welcome to the blog today and to the final stop on The Good, The Bad & The Rugby blog tour.  I’m once again handing the reins of the blog over to my husband who is my overused and underappreciated guest reviewer!  Here’s what Ryan thought about The Good, The Bad & The Rugby by Mark Farrer…

I’ve just read “The Good, The Bad & The Rugby” and am delighted to be reviewing it for damppebbles.  Crime fiction comedy writers can miss the mark in many different ways; focusing on the comedic value rather than the story, humorous twists that are way too obvious and having long periods of story telling between “the funny bits”.   But as I think back on this book I believe Mark Farrer nailed it!  I’m not one of those reviewers who leaves these things to the end, it was 5 stars, my favourite fiction book of the year.

As I read the story it reminded me of Christopher Brookmyre’s work; fantastic characterisation, a well-paced and balanced storyline and lots of laughs.  I think the title is good but hope it doesn’t scare readers off who aren’t rugby fans.   You don’t need to be a rugby fan to enjoy this book.

I don’t know about you but one of my main criteria for judging a book like this is l how I reacted, so let’s do the checklist;

1) Did I laugh out loud? Yes

2) Did I laugh out loud somewhere I would have preferred not to? Yes (seat 13b of flight BA705 Vienna to Heathrow)

3) Did I read bits out to my wife despite not considering context or whether she was interested? Yes

4) Am I sad the books finished? Yes

5) Am I going to tell people about the book? Yes

So five out of five!  I have a sad Kindle staring forlornly at me now, it will surely have more of Mark’s books on it in the near future.

Looking forward to my next adventure with these characters!

I think he liked it! If Mark Farrer’s books encourage my husband to read more fiction then I am over the moon.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby by Mark Farrer was published in the UK on 18th October 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com |

dirty barry

Download Mark Farrer’s novella DIRTY BARRY for FREE via this LINK!

 


UK Only Giveaway:

For your chance to win 2 bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books, please click the following Rafflecopter link.  Please note this a UK only giveaway.  The 14 winners will be selected at random and your postal address will be passed onto Mark Farrer.  There is no cash alternative.  The giveaway ends of midnight (GMT) on 16th November 2018.  Any personal information stored by the Rafflecopter giveway will be deleted after the winners have been drawn.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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about-the-author3

Mark Farrer.jpgMark was born in Liverpool, studied Computer Science at Hull University, then had a successful career in IT management in London and the South-East for twenty years before moving to Edinburgh in 2001. He continued working in IT until 2015 when he decided to retire from the rat race and focus on becoming a writer. He now spends half his time writing and the other half worrying why he is not yet making money from writing.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby is Mark’s third comic novel featuring a morally righteous loner called Cullen. He also has a perma-free novella on Amazon, called Dirty Barry, which tells how Cullen and Big Paul first met. He is currently at work on a second novella, called Bronchial Billy.

Mark has three children, one at University, one on a gap year in Ghana, and one still at High School. He lives with his partner Claire, a photographer, near West Linton, in the Scottish Borders.

He likes: his Mini Cooper, songwriting, playing piano, vanilla pannacotta, The Beatles, woodburning stoves, wittertainment, Bill Bailey, #sadmanonatrain, fruit gums, Carl Hiaasen, The Wire, spicy food, Van Gogh, Lindsey Buckingham, oaked chardonnay, House MD, long walks, cinema, reading in bed, florentines, Only Connect, board games, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Budweiser, GBBO, India, cheese, David Armand’s mimes, bookshops, Scandi Noir, Diet Coke, The Economist, Blackadder, good sausages, Dickens, Helena Bonham-Carter (secret crush), the Times crossword, the song mmmbop, and pies.

And lists.

He dislikes: ITV, pinot grigio, tattoos, ballet, ready meals, rap, religion, clutter, artificial raspberry flavouring, marmite, jazz, under-powered showers, people who don’t look after their stuff, opera, sprouts, and waste.

And mashed potato.

He really doesn’t like mashed potato.

Author Links: Twitter | Website | Amazon |