#BlogTour | #BookReview: Blink by K.L. Slater (@KimLSlater) @Bookouture

blink cover.jpg“What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace. 

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter. 

A compelling, gripping thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and The Sister. “

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Blink blog tour.  Blink is the second psychological thriller from author K.L. Slater and was published on 16th February by Bookouture.  K.L. Slater is a new author to me so I was full of excitement and apprehension when I first started to read Blink.  To say I was blown away is a bit of an understatement really…

Recently widowed Toni and her young daughter, Evie are leaving their old life behind and moving to Nottingham.  Toni’s mum lives locally and feels her daughter and granddaughter both need a fresh start.  They have a house, Evie is offered a place at St Saviour’s primary school and Toni manages to find a small part time job in a local estate agents doing what she loves.  But Toni has a secret.  A secret which she believes only she knows about.  But others are watching and they’re watching closely enough to work it out for themselves.  Evie is in danger.  Toni’s secret has made her daughter the centre of someone else’s attention and it’s all Toni’s fault…

Outstandingly good!  This is the first book I’ve read in a while that I’ve really immersed myself in.  I went through so many emotions whilst reading which always makes a book a favourite read for me.  There were times I felt genuine sadness and empathy for Toni, and other times I despised her and wanted to give her a good shake!  The chapters are either set in the present day or three years ago and told from several different perspectives.  The chapters narrated by Evie broke my heart, pure and simple.  K.L. Slater manages to write the 5 year old voice so incredibly well that I was near to tears at times.  I should add that I have a 6 year daughter myself so I could easily picture her speaking in a similar way to Evie and having similar thoughts.

The tagline of this book is no understatement; a gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist you’ll never forget.  It sounds like marketing mumbo jumbo and something you should take with a pinch of salt.  Let me tell you though, the tagline, it’s true.  There is a brilliantly crafted twist which makes this book go from a great read to a ‘fantastic, remember it for some time to come read’.  I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading and had to go back and re-read the section again.  It happens so subtly, so beautifully that you almost miss it…only to realise shortly afterwards what is going on.  Superb writing!

Would I recommend this book?  Of course I would.  It’s a completely mesmerising tale which I devoured from it’s shocking buzzing start to it’s explosive end.  I can’t wait to read more from K.L. Slater.  She’s definitely on my ‘authors to watch’ list now.  The characters make this story; from the repulsive TA, Miss Watson to Bryony, the overbearing, hateful boss to Toni, the barely coping, newly single mother.  All brilliant, all wonderfully written.  Blink gave me goosebumps.

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Blink.  My thanks to Bookouture and K.L. Slater for providing me with a copy.  The above review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Blink by K.L. Slater was published in the UK by Bookouture on 16th February 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads | Bookouture |

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 What readers are saying about Blink:

‘I was excited to start reading this one and once I started I couldn’t stop. I devoured it. Chomped away chapter by chapter until I have hoofed the whole damned lot and you know what? It left me hungry for more …An absolutely stonking 5 stars from me. Jen Med’s Book Reviews

‘This is a novel that those who liked The Girl on The Train and Behind Closed Doors won’t want to miss’ My Little Book Corner

‘I finished this book in nearly one day. I was completely unable to put this book down. Everything about this book sucks you in and doesn’t let go.’ Bombshell Reads

Blink was just BRILLIANT’ It’s All About Books

‘A thrilling roller coaster of a read that will have you gripping on for dear life to see how it will all end’ By the Letter Book Reviews

‘The book had me from the very first sentence and kept hold of me until I finished it…. There are twists galore but on one occasion my jaw actually dropped open as I realised that all was not as it seemed. Fantastic writing, excellent characterisation that has left me salivating for book number three! Five stars.’ Angela Marsons

‘Five stars! This book had me hook line and sinker … this author’s mind is very very clever …’ Sue and her Books

‘WOW,What a corker of a book, gripping story, believable untrustworthy characters and not just one but two totally jaw dropping unexpected twists.’ Nicki’s Life of Crime

‘What a read …The ending took me completely by surprise! In most books, I end up guessing the ending, but this book was spectacular. The book had me gripped from word ‘go’. I couldn’t stop reading …a brilliant brilliant book’Any Excuse to Read

‘a fantastic psychological thriller and I was kept hooked throughout. Lots of twists and turns, an excellent pace and so much suspense and surprise, I didn’t quite know where the book was going at times …couldn’t be anything other than five stars!’ Donna’s Book Blog

‘With bucketfuls of suspense and intrigue Blink is guaranteed to keep the most hardened psychological thriller love on the edge of their seats. Five Stars. ‘ The Book Review Cafe

‘Pure genius!! Blink is everything a psychological thriller should be! K L Slater is in a class of her own …Just when you think you have it figured out, you are knocked out of the park! One of the most mind-bending twists ever, just simply stunning!’ What Rachel Read Next

‘The twist towards the end took me completely by surprise. I actually had to put the book down for a moment and stop before I could carry on. It really took my breath away. K. L. Slater pulled this off brilliantly!’ Hooked from Page One

‘K.L. Slater has done it again with her latest book, Blink. From a creepy beginning to the twisty end, this book keeps the reader on the edge of his or her seat. Hang on for the ride’ Shelf Knowledge

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k l slater.jpgFor many years, psychological thriller author KL Slater sent her work out to literary agents but never made it off the slush pile. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

Author Links:Website | Facebook | Twitter |

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard (@SusannaBeard25) @Legend_Press

Dare to Remember cover.jpg“Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her best friend dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.

However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions, too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?

As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there’s another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can’t escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.”

Welcome to my stop on the Dare to Remember blog tour.  Today I am absolutely thrilled to have a fantastic guest post from author Susanna Beard to share with you.  So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Susanna…

Turning on a sixpence

There’s an old expression: “Turning on a sixpence” which means turning in a very small space. (For those too young to remember, a sixpence is a small silver coin in the old currency, which today would be worth two and a half pence.)

In Dare to Remember, my debut novel, one of the areas I wanted to explore was the concept of our lives turning on a sixpence. Some people, I’ve observed, know their lives are set in a certain direction; by middle age it will all be sorted out. They will have achieved a certain position, career, family ambition, financial level, and it will all go on getting better – or at least, staying the same. Some people’s lives do indeed happen that way. But many of us start with an idea of what life will look like in ten, twenty, thirty years, only to find that actually things turn out very differently.

But so often life sends us a curved ball, to use another cliché, and our lives click into another dimension. In my novel, Lisa and her best friend Ali are living happily in the city, not expecting anything to change – until it does, when a catastrophe occurs.

Lisa loses all memory of the event which changed everything for her and struggles to recover from a serious injury while mourning Ali’s death. The story follows her efforts to get her life back on track, knowing that she won’t make progress until she knows – remembers – what happened. When she does remember, she knows her life will never be the same. But is her life, now taking a different course, better or worse? Or just different.

I’m not talking about myself here, though some things have happened in my life that I didn’t expect. My life certainly didn’t turn on a sixpence. But I like the idea that we should never be complacent; we should enjoy, or at least come to terms with, the moment. Perhaps we can never predict how our lives will turn out, or how we might be affected by events along the way. But we may be able to take what comes and turn it, guide it, create a path for it so that it becomes what we wanted all along.

***

A fascinating post, thank you Susanna.  It’s made me want to read Dare to Remember even more than I did before!

Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard was published in the UK by Legend Press on 1st February 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Susanna Beard2.jpgSusanna is a psychological crime writer who lives in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Her day job in PR both demands and celebrates writing and she’s helped promote everything from websites to wine. She writes every day, all the time: news, articles, speeches, websites, blogs – and now novels.

She likes dark, contemplative stories with a twist; she’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships and the impact of insignificant events on people’s lives.

Susanna started writing fiction after attending a course at the Faber Academy. Other passions include her dogs, who keep her grounded, and tennis, which clears her brain of pretty much everything.

Author Links:Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook |

 

#BlogTour | #BookReview: City of Drowned Souls by Chris Lloyd (@chrislloydbcn) @canelo_co

Welcome to my stop on the City of Drowned Souls blog tour.  City of Drowned Souls is the third book in the Elisenda Domènech Investigates series and is written by author, Chris Lloyd. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed book one in the series, City of Good Death.  To celebrate the release of City of Drowned Souls I am thrilled to republish my review, along with a spotlight on book two, City of Buried Ghosts and book three, City of Drowned Souls.

Here are my thoughts on City of Good Death which I originally published in April 2016:

610MGIbNfML._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_“A serial killer is targeting hate figures in the Catalan city of Girona – a loan shark, a corrupt priest, four thugs – leaving grisly clues about his next victim. Each corpse is posed in a way whose meaning no one can fathom.

Elisenda Domènech, the solitary and haunted head of the city’s newly-formed Serious Crime Unit, is determined to do all she can to stop the attacks. She believes the attacker is drawing on the city’s legends to choose his targets, but her colleagues aren’t convinced.

Battling against the increasing sympathy towards the killer displayed by the press, the public and even some of the police, she finds herself questioning her own values. But when the attacks start to include less deserving victims, the pressure is suddenly on Elisenda to stop the killer at all costs.

The question is: how?”

I found this crime debut a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting read.  When you finish a book and feel like you’ve been on holiday, well, surely that’s a very good thing indeed.

There is a murderer on the loose in Girona.  The killer is using Girona’s rich history of myths and legends to rid the city of its most despised residents; a loan shark, a corrupt priest, a group of thugs.  Sotsinspectora Elisenda Domènech and the new Serious Crime Unit are tasked with catching the killer.  Then the killer turns their attention to less deserving victims….

You know how much I appreciate a strong-willed female detective and Elisenda is a new favourite of mine.  She’s gutsy and smart.  Seemingly the only female detective in Girona so there’s a need for that determination.  Especially as some of her male colleagues don’t think she can hack it.

There are some great twists in this book.  The reveal of the killer had my heart pounding. The big question is, did I see ‘whodunnit’?  Was my guess right?  Well…..yes, sort of and sort of not at the same time.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that!

You can tell that Chris Lloyd has spent time in Girona. His written representation of the city made me feel like I know the city having never actually visited; a real skill.  I hope there will be more to come from Sotsinspectora Domènech.

Four out of five stars.

So there we have it.  City of Good Death is one of the few books I can remember exactly where I was and what was happening whilst I read it (we were having the living room in our old house painted and I was hiding in the kitchen and staying out of the decorators way, if anyone is interested.  No….thought not!)

Here’s all you need to know about City of Buried Ghosts:

City of Buried Ghosts.jpgBe careful what you dig up… 

Still recovering from the tragedy that hit her team, Elisenda takes on a new case. Except it’s not new. On an archaeological dig by the coast a body is uncovered, seemingly executed with a spike thrust through the base of the skull – an ancient tribal ritual. It soon becomes clear that this body is neither ancient nor modern, but a mysterious corpse from the 1980s.

Assigned to the case along with her team, Elisenda soon uncovers a complex world of star archaeologists, jealousy and missing persons. They find a dark trade in illicit antiquities, riddled with vicious professional rivalries. And even though she’s staying close to the crime scene, Elisenda is also never far from enemies of her own within the police force.

Just as the case seems to become clear it is blown wide-open by another horrific murder. Elisenda must fight her personal demons and office politics, whilst continuing to uncover plots and hatreds that were long buried. How far will she go to solve the crime? Is her place in the force secure? And can she rebuild her life?

The atmospheric second crime thriller featuring Catalan detective Elisenda Domènech, for readers of Val McDermid and Ann Cleeves

 Information about the Book
Title: City of Buried Ghosts (Elisenda Domènech Investigations #2)
Author: Chris Lloyd
Release Date: 30th May 2016
Genre: Crime Thriller
Publisher: Canelo
Format: ebook
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30288458-city-of-buried-ghosts
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Buried-Ghosts-Inspector-Domènech-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01FDKKTBG

And now for the latest book in the series, City of Drowned Souls:

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When a child disappears, the clock starts ticking
Detective Elisenda Domènech has had a tough few years. The loss of her daughter and a team member; the constant battles against colleagues and judges; the harrowing murder investigations… But it’s about to get much worse.

When the son of a controversial local politician goes missing at election time, Elisenda is put on the case. They simply must solve it. Only the team also have to deal with a spate of horrifically violent break-ins. People are being brutalised in their own homes and the public demands answers.

Could there be a connection? Why is nobody giving a straight answer? And where is Elisenda’s key informant, apparently vanished off the face of the earth? With the body count threatening to increase and her place in the force on the line, the waters are rising…

Be careful not to drown.

The stunning new instalment of the gripping Elisenda Domènech crime thrillers for readers of Ian Rankin, Henning Mankell and Andrea Camilleri.

 Information about the Book
Title: City of Drowned Souls (Elisenda Domènech Investigations #3)
Author: Chris Lloyd
Release Date: 6th February 2017
Genre: Crime Thriller
Publisher: Canelo
Format: ebook
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34106761-city-of-drowned-souls
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N7Y2NDN

I have City of Buried Ghosts on the TBR which I can’t wait to read.  City of Good Death has very much stayed with over the last year and writing this post has reminded me exactly how fond of it I am.

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chris-lloyd

Chris was born in an ambulance racing through a town he’s only returned to once and that’s probably what did it. Soon after that, when he was about two months old, he moved with his family to West Africa, which pretty much sealed his expectation that life was one big exotic setting. He later studied Spanish and French at university, and straight after graduating, he hopped on a bus from Cardiff to Catalonia where he stayed for the next twenty-four years, falling in love with the people, the country, the language and Barcelona Football Club, probably in that order. Besides Catalonia, he’s also lived in Grenoble, the Basque Country and Madrid, teaching English, travel writing for Rough Guides and translating. He now lives in South Wales, where he works as a writer and a Catalan and Spanish translator, returning to Catalonia as often as he can.

He writes the Elisenda Domènech series, featuring a police officer with the newly-devolved Catalan police force in the beautiful city of Girona. The third book in the series, City of Drowned Souls, is published on 6 February 2017.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward (@sarahrward1) @FaberBooks

a deadly thaw cover.jpgAutumn 2004
In Bampton, Derbyshire, Lena Fisher is arrested for suffocating her husband, Andrew.

Spring 2016
A year after Lena’s release from prison, Andrew is found dead in a disused mortuary.

Who was the man Lena killed twelve years ago, and who committed the second murder? When Lena disappears, her sister, Kat, sets out to follow a trail of clues delivered by a mysterious teenage boy. Kat must uncover the truth – before there’s another death . . .

A Deadly Thaw confirms Sarah Ward’s place as one of the most exciting new crime writers.”

I’m extremely excited to welcome you to my stop on the A Deadly Thaw paperback blog tour.  A Deadly Thaw is written by the very talented Sarah Ward and is book two in the DC Childs series. Having been released in eBook format last year it is now also available in lovely paperback as well (published 2nd February 2017).  And what better way to celebrate than with a blog tour packed full of some of my very favourite book bloggers!

It’s 2004 and Lena Fisher is a murderer.  After welcoming her husband home and spending some hot, sweaty time in their bed together, Lena suffocates her husband with a pillow.  She’s eventually arrested, stands trial and ends up in prison for 10+ years.  Fast forward to 2016 where Lena is a free woman once again.  She returns to her childhood home; Providence Villa – a large, crumbling, Victorian estate.  Her parents are long dead but she has her estranged sister, Kat for company.  Lena isn’t surprised when DC Connie Childs and DS Palmer turn up on her doorstep, after all she is a convicted felon.  What she isn’t expecting is for them to inform her that her husband’s body has discovered in a disused morgue.  That he is very recently deceased with a gaping chest wound and that they know the man Lena killed in 2004 wasn’t her husband.  Will DC Childs and DS Palmer be able to uncover the complicated truth?  When Lena goes on the run, Kat struggles to understand what is happening and exactly who her sister is.  Kat’s muddle is not helped when a teenage boy, who claims to be a friend of Lena’s, starts leaving cryptic clues for Kat.  Who will be the first to solve a mystery that dates back many years.  And is Kat’s life in danger?  Is she the only one….?

A Deadly Thaw is an excellent example of how to write a gripping, multilayered, character focussed crime thriller.  It’s full of secrets, family tension and bucket loads of suspense.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be making a point of downloading the first in the series, In Bitter Chill to my Kindle immediately after finishing  writing this review.

Author Sarah Ward has been on my radar for a while now.  I remember seeing the reviews for A Deadly Thaw back in the Summer and being intrigued.  And who wouldn’t be drawn in by that brilliant blurb.  Some authors you read because…well, just because really.  Other authors you read because you know deep down, that their words, their story and you will be a brilliant fit.  That’s exactly how I felt about A Deadly Thaw.  

I don’t know where to begin with DC Connie Childs.  You can probably guess that I absolutely loved her.  Yes, there are two male detectives who work alongside Connie.  Yes, they are also brilliantly written, essential characters.  But, for me, they faded into the background.  She’s the first character in a while that I’ve found to be relatable.  OK, so the fawning over DS Palmer I probably could have done without but it gave an incredibly strong character a necessary weak spot (which probably made me feel for her just a little bit more).  I loved the get up and go attitude, I loved the fire in her belly when it came to the treatment of the victims, I even loved her naivety – something which would drive me quite loopy in other characters.  Although DI Sadler led the investigation, I felt at times that there wouldn’t BE an investigation if it wasn’t for Connie.  She’s definitely high on my favourite character list and I can’t wait to see where Sarah Ward takes her in future.

I found the setting to be suitably creepy and loved the eerie feel of Sarah Ward’s Derbyshire (I’m terrible at geography and have to admit to consulting a map of England to discover where Derbyshire is.  Yes, I am British.  Yes, I live and have always lived in England/UK/GB.  Yes, I feel suitably ashamed!)  Whitby also features heavily in the book and that also needed investigation as to its location (rubbish at geography!).  Ward paints such a vivid picture of these grey, dank places that I can’t help but want to go and see them for myself.  Bampton, Derbyshire felt like a living, breathing character.  Strangely mesmirising.

The plot has many different strands to it and at times it is hard to see how they will tie together.  But tie together they do in an explosive, nail-biting conclusion.  At times, I found myself getting quite upset by the stories unfolding in front of me.  I experienced anger as well, at the injustice and poor treatment of the victims.  It’s quite a shocking and unsettling read, but oh so good!

Would I recommend this book?  Of course I would!  But prepare yourself for a lot more than you expect.  Sarah Ward knows how to tell a brilliant story and I can’t wait to read more from her.  Dark, creepy and highly addictive (and I may be a little bit in love with DC Connie Childs).

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of A Deadly Thaw.  Many thanks to Faber & Faber and NetGalley for providing me with a copy.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward was published in the UK by Faber & Faber on 2nd February 2017 and is availble in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Faber & Faber |

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Crime fiction is in my blood. From Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five to Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew, I was reading the genre at an early age. In my teens it was Agatha Christie followed by Ruth Rendell and PD James. Later influences include Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Minette Walters. Then I discovered Scandinavian crime writers.

I’m the author of two crime novels In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw which are set in the Derbyshire Peak District where I live. They are published in the UK by Faber and Faber and by Minotaur Books in the US.

In addition to this blog, I have reviewed at the Los Angeles Review of Books, crimesquad.com and Eurocrime. Articles and short stories have appeared in the Sunday Express magazine, Traveller and other publications. I’m one of the judges for The Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel and I particularly love reading translated crime fiction.

Author Links: Blog | Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Sealskin by Su Bristow (@SuBristow) @OrendaBooks #Sealskin

Sealskin cover.jpg“What happens when magic collides with reality? Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous … and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives – not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence? Based on the legend of the selkies – seals who can transform into people – Sealskin is a magical story, evoking the harsh beauty of the landscape, the resilience of its people, both human and animal, and the triumph of hope over fear and prejudice. With exquisite grace, Exeter Novel Prize-winner Su Bristow transports us to a different world, subtly and beautifully exploring what it means to be an outsider, and our innate capacity for forgiveness and acceptance. Rich with myth and magic, Sealskin is, nonetheless, a very human story, as relevant to our world as to the timeless place in which it is set. And it is, quite simply, unforgettable.”

I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off the Sealskin blog tour today alongside the lovely Steph over at Stephs Book Blog.  Sealskin was the winner of the Exeter Novel Prize in 2013 and is the work of author and Consultant Medical Herbalist, Su Bristow.  What an amazing achievement!  Sealskin will be published in paperback by the wonderful Orenda Books on 15th February 2017 so make sure you pre-order your copy NOW!

Today I have a fascinating guest post from author, Su Bristow.  Seeing as it’s day one of the blog tour, Su and I thought it best to start at the very beginning with a few words explaining the Selkie legend, which the book is based upon.  So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Su…

The Foundations of Sealskin
Su Bristow

First of  all, here is the version of the story that was the starting point for Sealskin:

THE LEGEND

Once, there was a fisherman who spent many nights fishing alone. One night at full moon, he witnessed a marvel: nine seals came ashore, put off their skins and became beautiful young women, dancing on the beach. The fisherman hid himself, and as he watched, he began to fall in love with one of them. Secretly, he hid her sealskin, so that when the others returned to the sea, she was left behind.

The fisherman took her home to be his wife, and he hid the skin at the bottom of a chest. They lived together for some years, and she bore him children. She seemed to be happy, but from time to time she would look out to sea and weep.

One day while he was out at sea, one of the children found the skin and showed it to his mother. When the fisherman returned at the end of the day, she was gone, and he never saw her again.

Stories about Selkies, or seals who can turn into people, are found along the coasts of Ireland, Scotland, Orkney and Shetland, and across the sea in Iceland and Scandinavia too. In fact, the word ‘selkie’ is just the Orcadian word for ‘seal’, but it’s come to be used particularly for these shape-shifting beings. And the stories vary from place to place, although they generally don’t end happily. It seems that selkie men and women are irresistible to the humans who encounter them, and they always fall in love. Male selkies are very willing to ‘mate’ with humans, but they won’t stay long, and always go back to the sea. Females, on the other hand, have to be tricked into it by hiding their sealskins; given the chance, they too will return to their natural element.

It’s interesting that whereas most mythological creatures are dangerous to us humans, selkies are usually gentle. Perhaps I strayed a little from tradition when I gave Mairhi some magic of her own; although she never uses it to attack anybody, she can certainly defend herself if need be. But the stories don’t go into much detail about how the marriage between the fisherman and the selkie woman actually worked, and that was what interested me. You wouldn’t expect any relationship to be possible after such a horrible start! So I added a few twists, which I won’t go into now because I don’t want to spoil the story for people who haven’t read it yet, except to say that almost immediately, Donald knows that what he did was wrong. And really, the whole story is about how he tries to make amends, and how that changes him and everyone else around him.

Going back to the legend, on a more general level it’s about how humans want to ‘own’ the wildness of nature. All over the world, people tell stories about interactions with animals and birds. Whether they really believe it on the practical level or not, they certainly portray animals as having minds and feelings of their own. Is it just us projecting ourselves onto the natural world, or is there a deeper truth there? The more we learn about animals, the more like us they turn out to be.

Maybe the selkies tell stories about us, too.

***

An absolutely enchanting post, thank you Su.  And congratulations on the wonderful praise you have received so far.  I’ve seen many bloggers say that Sealskin is one of their books of 2017.  What a fantastic way to start the year.

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Early Praise for Sealskin…

Sealskin is an accomplished and intelligent novel, a fine piece of craftsmanship and a pleasure to read’ Allan Massie

‘Bristow has taken a known myth, and created an enthralling, human love story.  A profound achievement, and a stunning debut’ Richard Bean

‘An extraordinary book: original, vivid, tender and atmospheric. Su Bristow’s writing is fluid and flawless, and this is a story so deeply immersive that you emerge at the end, gasping for air’ Iona Grey

‘I love books in which magic takes on a gritty reality, and Sealskin is just such a book. Dark and brooding and half-familiar, the tale steals over you till you’re half-in, half-out of a dream’ Jane Johnson

‘An evocative story, told with skill and beauty, that held me spellbound until the very last page’ Amanda Jennings

‘On the face of it, Sealskin is a gentle tale, a lovely reworking of the selkie legend many of us have known and loved since childhood. Do not be fooled, dear reader; beneath this simple re-imagining lies a story as deep as the ocean the selkie comes from. I was captivated from the first page to the poignant last one, by the sympathetically drawn characters and a mesmerising sense of place. In between are moments of tragedy, moments of grace and redemption; the whole wrapped in Su Bristow’s charismatic writing. This is a story that catches on the edge of your heart, leaving tiny scars; reminders of a journey into a beloved legend, the human lives caught up in it and the consequences of the choices they make. It is, quite simply, exceptional’ Carole Lovekin

‘In this achingly beautiful retelling of the classic Scottish folk tale, Su Bristow brings psychological depth and great warmth to the characters, making the ending all the more heart-breaking. It’s a story about the tensions of life in a tiny fishing community, about bullying and violence as well as the healing magic of nature. It’s written smoothly and skilfully with not a word too many or a word too few. I absolutely loved it and can’t recommend it highly enough’ Gill Paul

‘A beautiful and bewitching read that haunted my thoughts for days. The sense of the sea, of this small community, of guilt is palpable. This is one of those books you place reverentially on your bookcase and envy those who are yet to dive in’ Michael J. Malone

Sealskin is the most exquisite tale of love, forgiveness and magic. Inspired by the legends of the selkies, this gorgeous novel is a dark fairy tale, an ode to traditional storytelling, a tribute to the stories we loved hearing as children. But be warned – this is no happy-ever-after tale. The language is just glorious, poetic and rich but precise. And her characters – oh, they will remain in your heart long after you’ve closed the last page. Mairhi – especially since she never really “speaks” – is a beautiful mystery, but one who haunted me when I was between chapters. If this is her first, then I can’t wait to read whatever Su Bristow bestows upon the literary world next’ Louise Beech

‘Ms Bristow’s skill in weaving a centuries-old tale into a current-day fiction novel and binding the two together is simply superbly done. Sealskin is boldly written, brilliantly told and a tale of legendary proportions’ JM Hewitt

Sealskin is a magical and moral tale woven with a deft hand’ Sara MacDonald

‘With its beautiful language and magical storytelling, Sealskin is a clear winner for me’ Sophie Duffy

Sealskin is exquisitely written with haunting prose and evocative descriptions of the Scottish landscape. It’s filled with beauty, surprises and subtle twists and turns. There’s a mesmerising love story at its heart.  I really didn’t want the story to end, and felt bereft when it did, surrounded by boxes of tissues. I’m sure I’ll be reading this book several times to feel that magic again and again. It’s no surprise that Su Bristow is an Exeter Novel Prize winner. Her writing is beautiful and this book is stunning. Sealskin is destined to go far’ Off-the-Shelf Books

Sealskin really is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read … a flowing tale of love, friendship, acceptance and coming of age for the varying characters.  Set against the ruggedly beautiful Scottish backdrop, the vivid descriptions draw us in, detail oozing from the pages and giving the reader a chance to feel the coastal winds whipping at their faces, taste the salt in the air, feel the uneven terrain underfoot as they clamber through the heather and over rocks. There’s a magic in these pages … poetic and hauntingly beautiful’ The Quiet Knitter

‘A compelling and beautifully written book. At one level Sealskin is a delightful re-working of the selkie myth. But it is also a great deal more than that … The fishing village is a close knit community wary of incomers, the suspicion with which they greet Maihri is typical of how they behave. Strangers, especially ones who are a little out of the ordinary, are not made entirely welcome. It is a story of how relationships develop and grow. Sealskin is a quite delightful and extraordinarily well-written book. Highly recommended’ Trip Fiction

‘A sensuous and beautifully written retelling of the Selkie legend which captivated me’ Margaret James, Creative Writing Matters

’I knew this was special, right from the first paragraph. A beautiful book written with a deceptive simplicity. But Su Bristow does not shy away from asking some very big questions. How can a man atone for violence? Will he ever be forgiven? Will he ever forgive himself? Utterly spellbinding’ Cathie Hartigan

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Su Photo.jpegSu Bristow is a consultant medical herbalist by day. She’s the author of two books on herbal medicine: The Herbal Medicine Chest and The Herb Handbook; and two on relationship skills: The Courage to Love and Falling in Love, Staying in Love, co-written with psychotherapist, Malcolm Stern. Her published fiction includes ‘Troll Steps’ (in the anthology, Barcelona to Bihar), and ‘Changes’ which came second in the 2010 CreativeWritingMatters flash fiction competition. Her forthcoming novel, Sealskin, is set in the Hebrides, and it’s a reworking of the Scottish legend of the selkies, or seals who can turn into people. It won the Exeter Novel Prize 2013. Her writing has been described as ‘magical realism; Angela Carter meets Eowyn Ivey’.

Author Links: Blog | Twitter |

 

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: The Watcher by Netta Newbound (@nettanewbound) @BloodhoundBook

the watcher cover.jpg“Life couldn’t get much better for Hannah. She accepts her dream job in Manchester, and easily makes friends with her new neighbours.

When she becomes romantically involved with her boss, she can’t believe her luck. But things are about to take a grisly turn.

As her colleagues and neighbours are killed off one by one, Hannah’s idyllic life starts to fall apart. But when her mother becomes the next victim, the connection to Hannah is all too real.

Who is watching her every move?

Will the police discover the real killer in time?

Hannah is about to learn that appearances can be deceptive.”

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the The Watcher blog tour.  The Watcher is written by Netta Newbound and was published by the fantastic Bloodhound Books at the end of last month (January 2017).  I have been wanting to read a novel by Netta Newbound for such a long time now so I am rather pleased to have The Watcher loaded onto the Kindle, ready and waiting.  It’s received some wonderful reviews so far and I can’t wait to make a start!

But today, in order to celebrate The Watcher‘s release, I have a fantastic, informative guest post to share with you (I do love a guest post!).  So without further ado, I’ll hand the blog over to Netta…

13 Things I Wish I Had Known BEFORE I Started Writing
Netta Newbound

1 – Writing the book is the easiest part. Anybody who tells you any different is deluded.

2 – The book, no matter how fabulous, will NOT sell itself. Becoming a successful writer isn’t guaranteed. Being a talented writer with a unique voice will NOT automatically launch you onto the New York Times best seller list. It will take weeks, and even months, of self-promotion on social media to sell just one or two copies. You must at all times consider your books as the most exciting read ever, even if you are totally sick of the heroine, the dog, the plot etc. It takes focus, determination and above all a thick skin.

3 – No amount of studying or array of framed fancy diplomas will help if you haven’t got a natural talent for writing. Of course you can always enhance any natural talent you have by extending your knowledge, but not the other way around. You don’t need to be highly educated—anybody can learn punctuation and grammar and if not, they can invest in a good editor. Often it is the financial outlay that stops a budding author in their tracks, so be prepared to forgo a few cappuccinos and even a holiday. The sacrifices will be worth it in the long run.

4 – Not everybody is going to like your writing style. Prepare yourself for the worst reviews and you won’t be disappointed. I’ve found people can be vicious and cruel whilst anonymously slating you from the comfort of their armchair.

5 – Steer clear of asking family members to read your work, at least until it is the best it can possibly be. Your family are there to love and support you. It’s a given their opinions will be biased. So, no matter how glowing the words they use, take them with a pinch of salt and move on.

6 – Hundreds of book sales do not equate to hundreds of reviews. It’s a fact that less than 10% of readers leave a review, so that means more than 90% of people NEVER leave reviews—and you’re more likely to receive a negative review than a positive one from these people. Why? Who knows—who even cares. Suck it up! Being a published author is bloody hard work.

7 – But, there is still hope. The more you write, the better your writing will become. As with anything, practice makes perfect. Make the time to write something every single day. Carry a small notebook in your bag and never be without a pen. Most people procrastinate—make excuses for not actually getting down to writing, from the lighting not being right, to too many people in the house, too noisy, not sitting on your favourite seat, too many distractions and the list goes on and on. So my advice is not to be too precious about where you actually write. If you force yourself to write in a café, or in the car (as a passenger, of course), on the bus/train, in a waiting room, or in the garden, you will never waste what could easily be valuable writing time.

8 – As I mentioned earlier, investing in a good editor is essential. It’s too late to fix any errors after the fact. Any derogatory reviews will stay with your book forever, no matter how many alterations you make. And, even if you are an editor or a keen wordsmith, it is impossible to edit your own books properly. How often have you considered Spell Check your friend—the only editing companion you need? But there’s a limit to how much magic Spell Check can work when its faced with a feast of typos, misspellings and punctuation or homonyms and homophones (words that sound the same but mean something else, to/two/too, their/there/they’re, accept/except, affect/effect) and so on.

9 – Listen to your readers. My first novel Behind Shadows was meant to be a standalone, but my readers fell in love with the detective who was a secondary character, which is how The Adam Stanley Thriller series came about.

10 – There is no right or wrong way to write. Some people start at the first page and write in sequence until they reach The End, they have no idea where the story will take them—this type of writer is known as a Pantser—they write by the seat of their pants. Others may write down the entire sequence of events before they even begin writing—this type of writer is known as a plotter—they will plan out timelines and research fashion and weather conditions of the time or place. Months of research can go into what a reader might think is just a story. Some will write the ending first and then steer their story towards it. Some write chapters out of sequence and piece them all together afterwards. That is more heuristic in style, and yes, I had to research that word. But whatever your style is, just write.

11 – As a writer you will hear lots of dos and don’ts—never use the dreaded ly words, only use said in dialogue, cut out the metaphors and similes, don’t overdo exclamation marks, clichés are evil. While I suggest you take the advice, don’t be too rigid or your writing might lose its flow and become stilted and wooden. The advice is there as a guide only.

12 – Read your work aloud. It’s hard to judge the rhythm of your sentences when reading in your head. You may find that the inflection of just one word changes the whole meaning or intent of the sentence.

13 – Only naive writers think their work is fabulous-doesn’t need editing-doesn’t need a second and third draft or even proofreading prior to publishing. Leave your ego behind. Great writers will doubt and second guess themselves all the time. Yay!!!

***

Thanks so much for the sound advice, Netta.  Some of the points you raise I should take note of myself…such as overdoing exclamation marks!!

The Watcher by Netta Newbound was published in the UK by Bloodhound Books on 30th January 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook versions | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads | Bloodhound Books |

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netta newbound.jpgNetta Newbound is the author of several best-selling psychological thrillers including An Impossible Dilemma and the Adam Stanley Thriller Series. Originally from Manchester, England, she now lives in New Zealand with her husband Paul and their boxer dog Alfie. She has three grown-up children and three delicious grandchildren.

As a child, Netta was plagued by a wild imagination, often getting in trouble for making up weird and wonderful stories. Yet she didn’t turn her attention to writing until after her children had grown and left home.

Author Links:Website | Facebook | Twitter |

#BlogTour | #Extract: Death Games by Chris Simms (@SimmsComment) @LOCrime #SpicerIsBack

death games cover.jpgWill your next move be your last?

Manchester: an injured survivor from a motorway pile-up flees the scene, leaving behind evidence that a terror attack is being planned…

Jon Spicer, newly trained as a Specialist Firearms Officer, has joined Manchester police’s Counter Terrorism Unit. Thrown out of his previous department and demoted to Detective Constable, he is being kept in the force only because he’ll take on the most dangerous of jobs.

Iona Khan is struggling to find respect and recognition in the male-dominated Counter Terrorism Unit. Her mind might be sharp, but many of her colleagues value physical strength above anything else.

As the investigation quickly snowballs, Spicer and Khan are thrown together. The two officers must learn to trust each other – and fast. Because in this chase, any wrong move could be your last.”

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Death Games blog tour.  Death Games is the eighth book in the Jon Spicer series and was published earlier this week on 1st February. Congratulations Chris!  I was over the moon when Jo at Life of Cri.me asked me to join Chris’s tour – there was no way I was going to refuse one of my favourite crime bloggers!

I have to admit that Chris Simms is a new author to me but his books sound just my cup of tea.  And I have a heck of a lot of catching up to do (did I mention that this is the 8th book in the series??).  Today I have an extract from Death Games to share with you.  So without further ado…

Ten minutes later, they were all kitted up. Helmets with visors and leather neckguards, full limb protection, reinforced gloves, attack vests, tasers, batons and handcuffs. Jon knew the gear added a few inches of bulk to them all; they were a fearsome sight.

Hugh Lambert squared up to his raid partner and announced in a low voice, ‘I feel epic.’

‘You, Mr Lambert,’ the other man replied, ‘are so Money Supermarket.’

Pockets of laughter around the group.

‘Any movement in the target property?’ the search co-ordinator, an inspector Jon hadn’t met before, asked.

Iona was over by the monitor showing the live feed from the camera car. ‘Nothing, Sir.’

‘OK, no sound now, lads.’ He lifted a radio and spoke more quietly. ‘Ian, have you swept it yet?’ He listened for a few seconds before replying. ‘Roger that.’ He turned to the group. ‘Listen up, a faint reading in the room across the corridor; that’s first door on the right. The one with a window out onto the street. Who’s Raid One?’

Hugh Lambert and his partner raised their hands.

‘Right. It’s your room. Could be a cat, could be someone in a sleeping bag, could be electrical equipment: just be aware. Shall we get this done?’

Their van came to halt thirty metres from 17a. Because curtains in the property were all drawn, they didn’t need a covert approach. Instead, they jogged along the pavement, the two officers at the front carrying a Double Wam. Larger than an Enforcer, the Double Wam needed two officers to swing it and delivered something closer to fifteen tons of energy to any surface it connected with.

The raid team started to line up in their pairs. Seeing the battering ram being readied, Jon stepped forward. It was the first rule of a forced entry and one pumped-up officers frequently forgot: try the door handle. Locked. ‘Worth a go,’ he whispered and stepped back alongside Kieran.

The Wam officers raised the battering ram again. They looked at each other and gave a simultaneous nod. A signal to the rest of the team. Jon’s mouth felt dry. Adrenaline had made his eyes feel too big for their sockets. Knees slightly flexed, he rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet, just like the rest of the group. If anyone was unfortunate enough to be in the corridor beyond the door, they were getting it. Big time.

The Double Wam was swung slowly back and then rapidly forward. The door flew in with a huge crash. ‘Breach! Stand clear!’ the Wam officers screamed, jumping out the way.

Lambert and his partner piled through the doorway. ‘Police! Stand still! Police! Stand still!’

Wow!  Doesn’t that sound good?!  I can’t wait to read this book (along with the first seven in the series!)  My thanks once again to Jo and Chris for asking me to be a part of the Death Games blog tour.

Death Games by Chris Simms was published in the UK on 1st February 2017 and is available in eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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1014case-files-versionChris Simms has worked in airports, nightclubs, post offices and telesales centres. He now lives in Marple, near Manchester, with his wife and four children. He still works as a freelance copywriter for advertising agencies in the city.

Along with nominations for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year award and Crime Writers’ Association Daggers (for his novels and short stories), Chris was selected by Waterstones as one of their ‘25 Authors For The Future’.

Author Links: Website | Twitter |

 

#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Good Enough Mother by @AnoushkaBeazley | @NeverlandBT

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51ffcgsrlyl-_sx311_bo1204203200_Gatlin – a leafy affluent town; Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch.

However, all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman.

Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan…unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin.

Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA? A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition.”

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the The Good Enough Mother by Anoushka Beazley blog tour.  I have been wanting to read this book since I read the amazing reviews when it was first published back in the Summer.  For one thing, just look at that cover!  A number of the reviews I saw said that this book is so much more than you expect it to be.  So I had to take a peek, and I’m rather glad I did.

When I first started reading I’m afraid to say that I was a little disappointed.  I started to feel that fabulous cover with it’s blood splattered knife had conned me and the reviews I’d read must have been written by people who had never read a ‘dark’ novel before in their lives.  It seemed to be a story about the aftermath of a rocky relationship and how the injured party, in this case Drea, was dropped in it by her hopeless boyfriend as he cavorted off to France with a much younger model and WITHOUT his teenage daughter.  The teenage daughter being left in the somewhat unsure, unwilling and unprepared hands of Drea.  But oh, how wrong could I be!?

Drea, despite her numerous failings, decides to step up to the plate and do all she can to make her step-daughter happy.  After all, poor Ava has lost her Dad (albeit to the continent) and Drea is all she has.  After much consideration Drea decides that what makes Ava happy is her private school and her upper class friends (and who wants to subject their step-daughter to even more upheaval and turmoil by moving them to the local comprehensive – not Drea!).  So, with a loose, sketchy plan in mind Drea starts to plot.  And plot she must as school fees are due soon and come in at around £12,000…yikes!

Drea is something else altogether.  I have never met a character quite like her before.  If I could meet one fictional character in real life, I think I would want that character to be Drea.  She’s…..erm….a terrible mother in some respects but the best kind of mother in many others.  She has an ‘I don’t care what you think about me’ attitude, particularly when it comes to the snooty PTA mums.  And she’s prime suspect in a murder investigation!  There were so many things I really liked about Drea.  The way she tries to raise the money for Ava’s school fees was both shocking and funny.  Her relationship with Ava and then with Ava’s friends was heartwarming to read.  I’ve never met a bunch of teenagers in a book that I liked more than Ava, Amelia and Tabatha.  Drea’s new relationship mishaps made me chuckle (particularly the supermarket scene, which still makes me chuckle even now).  Among the laughs and the giggles there is a much darker theme running throughout the story and that is Drea’s obsession with her mum’s suicide and her plan to take her own life.  I found myself hoping that Drea wouldn’t take the 50 paracetamol squirreled away in her bag.

The plot drew me in after that initial shaky start and kept my attention throughout.  I just couldn’t wait to see what Drea was going to do next.  There are many surprises along the way, times when things will happen and you’ll say to yourself ‘well, I never saw THAT coming!’.

Would I recommend this book?  I would, Anoushka Beazley has managed to blend some quite dark themes with brilliant humour to create an edgy yet feel good, uplifting novel that will make all of us mothers feel just a little bit better about ourselves.

Four out of five stars.

If you would like the chance to win one of 10 signed copies of The Good Enough Mother then please click the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Good Enough Mother by Anoushka Beazley was published in the UK on 3rd July 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook  formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Anoushka Beazley has a film degree, an acting diploma and a masters in creative writing. She is a full time novelist, lives in North London with three little witches, a lawyer and a Maine Coon.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #Extract: Uncoiled Lies by Liz Mistry (@LizCrimeWarp) @BloodhoundBook

uncoiled-lies-coverMurder. Love. Corruption. DI Angus McGuire and the team are back and have their work cut out. 

Murdered prostitutes and a turf war between local gangsters takes the investigation into Bradford’s Immigrant communities where tensions run high.

To make matters worse McGuire is juggling an illicit relationship with his boss’s daughter and has fraught family relations.

Who is The Old Man?

What is the link between three dead prostitutes and a long forgotten murder?

Will McGuire and his team get the answers they want or is the uncomfortable truth much closer to home?

I’m very excited to be part of Liz Mistry’s Uncoiled Lies blog tour today.  Back in August I took part in Liz’s tour for her debut novel, Unquiet Souls, and Liz very kindly wrote a brilliant guest post about why crime does it for her.  If you’re new to the blog, or would just like a recap then please click here.

Anyhoo, back to the here and now and Liz’s brilliant new novel.  Today is publication day for Uncoiled Lies so before I do anything else I would like to wish author Liz Mistry and publisher Bloodhound Books a very happy book birthday!

I have an extract from Uncoiled Lies to pique your interest today and leave you wanting more.  So without further ado, let’s have a read and meet Shahid Khan…

 ‘Pick up for fuck’s sake!’ Shahid Khan paced the floor in front of his desk, phone tight to his ear.

When the number he’d dialled went to voicemail yet again, he turned and flung it, scattering the paperwork from his desk onto the floor. With a growl, he kicked the chair that stood nearby.

Anger reverberated through every muscle and laboured pants wracked his body as he tried to control himself. Why wasn’t she picking up? She’d promised him she’d phone at nine. What was she playing at? Shahid didn’t know who he was most angry with – her for letting him down or himself for caring so fucking much. He’d vowed never to let a woman have the sort of hold on him that Millie Green had once had on his dad. When she’d dumped him, and who could blame her after the way he treated her, his dad had been devastated and now here he was dangling on the end of the phone like an idiot. He took a deep breath, bit his lip and reminded himself that Trixie wasn’t like Millie and he was certainly nothing like his dad, but still the anger bubbled in his chest. He knew he’d have to do something about it before he exploded.

‘Fuck!’ He spat the word into the empty room and strode over to the annex in the corner where his punch bag hung – a hulk of malevolent shiny black leather, dangling in ominous silence, lit by a single spotlight casting its shadow over the real oak floor. Not bothering with the boxing gloves that lay on a shelf beside his weights, he thumped a bare-fisted one-two-one rhythm into the bag making it swing widely, forcing him to jump on the balls of his toes to avoid being hit on the rebound… again… faster.

After two minutes of pummelling, he was panting, sweat dripping from his brow. He stopped to catch his breath, relaxed his shoulders and looked at his bloodied knuckles. How many times had his trainer told him always to use the gloves? He flexed his fists, savouring the stinging stretch that made more blood ooze over his hands and gather in the creases between his fingers. Breathing steadier, he walked to the sink, flicked the cold tap on and watched as the water splashed his blood in abstract patterns onto the pristine ceramic – like one of the paint blot paintings Imti used to bring home from school when he was a kid. He smiled remembering how, in the absence of his dad’s loving presence and, with his step-mum’s indifference like a weight on his shoulders, he’d hugged the boy and carefully pinned Imti’s proud offerings all over the kitchen. He’d lost his sister years ago, but he wasn’t going to lose his baby brother – not a bloody chance!

***

Sounds so good!  I have a copy of Uncoiled Lies on my TBR so watch out for a review coming your way soon.

Uncoiled Lies by Liz Mistry was published in the UK by Bloodhound Books on 26th January 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads | Bloodhound Books |

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lizAs well as writing crime fiction, Liz is co-founder of and main contributor to The Crime Warp blog, which reviews all areas of crime fiction, interviews crime authors and participates in blog tours.  She is the main publicist for the blog, using social media to promote our presence.

Liz is an ex teacher who has taught in inner city Bradford schools for over twenty years.  Her husband of 27 years is Indian and they have three children.  They live in inner city Bradford and Liz likes to use the rich tapestry of her life in Bradford, combined with her Scottish heritage, in her writing.

She is currently completing her dissertation for an MA in creative writing at Leeds Trinity University and hopes to graduate in December with a distinction.

Author Links:Facebook | Twitter | Blog |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Burned and Broken by Mark Hardie @TheCrimeVault

51xwtl1oqxl-_sx312_bo1204203200_“A vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.

The charred body of a policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found in the burnt-out-shell of his car on the Southend seafront.

To DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell of the Essex Police Major Investigation Team, the two events seem unconnected. But as they dig deeper into their colleague’s murder, dark secrets begin to emerge.

Can Pearson and Russell solve both cases, before more lives are destroyed?”

I am delighted to be today’s stop on the Burned and Broken blog tour.  Burned and Broken is author Mark Hardie’s debut novel and introduces us to the formidable crime fighting team of DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell.  The second book in the series titled Truly Evil will be published later this year.

A burnt out car containing the body of DI Sean Carragher is found on the Southend seafront.  His burns are so bad his colleagues can’t even recognise him.  What’s more, DI Carragher was the subject of an ongoing internal affairs investigation, which leads the team to many more questions than it answers.  DS Pearson and DI Carragher’s ex-partner, DC Catherine (Cat) Russell are tasked with leading the investigation.  But the more they dig, the more they realise that they didn’t really know their colleague at all.  And what about young Donna?  In a care home until it was forced to close, now living in her on flat and spending her days obsessing over the death of her friend.  Donna knows who killed Alicia, now all she has to do is prove it to the right people.  She knows it wasn’t an accident, no matter what the police reports said.  It’s down to DS Pearson and DC Russell to discover who murdered their colleague before the body count rises…

I loved DC Cat Russell.  I felt incredibly sorry for her as the realisation dawned that she didn’t really know Sean Carragher at all.  This person who she felt was a friend (and someone to look up to) had let her down repeatedly.  Her regular interviews with internal affairs and DS Pearson’s discovery that Sean and Cat couldn’t have been together when Cat claimed they were, made for uncomfortable reading.  I wanted to love Frank Pearson but there was something….missing for me.  He’s the type of character that I normally, immediately like but it just didn’t happen this time.  Donna made me feel incredibly sad. This is obviously a character with deep psychological issues and I really wanted to warm to her but I’m afraid all I could feel was sadness.  I wanted someone to spot that she was on the edge of a precipice and help the poor girl.

I struggled with the author’s style, having to re-read many sentences several times over to try and understand what was going on.  As I neared the conclusion I found myself enjoying the story more than I had previously.  So much so that when I came to one of those ‘read on for a sneak peek at the author’s next book’ sections that I did actually read on.  Mainly to check that the next book also featured DC Cat Russell (and DS Pearson).

Would I recommend this book?  This is a difficult one.  I did enjoy it and I know that others will absolutely love this book and see things which I have missed.  But on the whole, I’m not sure.  It’s a good police procedural but there are so many GREAT police procedurals out there that it’s a hard one to call.

Three stars out of five.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Burned and Broken.  Many thanks to Clara Diaz at Little, Brown for providing me with a copy. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Burned and Broken by Mark Hardie is published by Sphere | Little, Brown on the UK and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats (with the paperback being published in May 2017) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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vcq9gqmt_400x400Mark Hardie began writing full time after completely losing his eyesight in 2002. He has completed a creative writing course and an advanced creative writing course at the Open University, both with distinction.

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