#Unboxing | My Chronicle Book Box – August 2020 | @MyChronicleBB #MyChronicleBookBox #damppebbles

Hello bookish friends and welcome to damppebbles. I am very excited to have something a little different for you today. Having gazed lovingly at other bloggers’ book subscription boxes over the years, I was delighted when the fabulous Louise at My Chronicle Book Box asked if I would like to receive the August Crime box for review. I jumped at the chance (of course I did, I would have be bonkers not to!) and the box arrived earlier this week.

Let me tell you, it’s absolutely gorgeous 😍. The first thing which struck me was how beautifully wrapped and presented the contents of the box were.

IMG_20200824_201441

The contents were all contained in dark blue tissue paper fastened with a My Chronicle Book Box sticker (with shredded paper and extra packing to make sure it was protected in transit). I already knew by this point that this was going to be something very special indeed.

On tearing open the tissue paper I found a note explaining the contents and August’s theme, which is Detective Stories and the Golden Age of Detectives. The note also gave more information about the other delights contained with the box which made my bookish heart skip a beat (what many of you may not realise is that I’m also a stationery nerd so it felt like this box was made for me!).

Inside the box I found some beautiful notelets and a couple of pads of writing paper along with envelopes all designed by artist, Laura Crow (@itslauracrow). All of these items are high quality and absolutely gorgeous. Louise asks in her note ‘who will you be writing to?’. The answer is no one, Louise. I’m keeping these babies to myself, so I can gaze lovingly at them over the years and maybe occasionally stroke them (stationery nerd, told you!).

20200827_120836

Also included in the box was a fantastic fountain pen which I will treasure. To make it even more special, it has the words ‘amateur sleuth’ printed on its barrel! Again, it’s like it was made for me 😂. I haven’t owned a fountain pen since school! My kids were completely entranced by it, having never seen one before.

But let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The extras in the box are very special and really add to the experience. But this is a book box so let’s talk books.

When I opened the box I was greeted by what was obviously a hardback novel, wrapped in high quality, thick, red paper and tied beautifully with string.

IMG_20200825_183635

Unfortunately this is best photo I have of the book as it arrived 😦

The time and the care that has gone into making the unboxing experience something memorable is just wonderful. Inside I found a signed first edition of EIGHT DETECTIVES by Alex Pavesi (published by Michael Joseph) which I have been desperate to read.

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi:
All murder mysteries follow a simple set of rules.

Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out.

But that was thirty years ago. Now he’s living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island – until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories.

An author, hiding from his past, and an editor, probing inside it.

But as she reads the stories, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are parts that don’t make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder.

One that’s remained unsolved for thirty years . . .

If Julia wants answers, she must triumph in a battle of wits with a dangerously clever adversary.

But she must tread carefully: she knows there’s a mystery, but she doesn’t yet realise there’s already been a murder . . .

I absolutely adore this book box. As a crime fiction reader it was a very special experience from start to finish. I can’t wait to make a start on Eight Detectives so look out for a review coming to the blog soon.

20200827_120646(2)

Based on everything received in the August box I would heartily recommend My Chronicle Book Box. Louise is very kindly offering 10% off your first subscription box. All you have to do is enter the code PEBBLES10 at checkout and a gorgeous box of goodies will be winging it’s way to you. Don’t forget to have a good look around the My Chronicle Book Box website as there are a number of options including monthly and quarterly boxes, as well as Fantasy/Sci-Fi boxes available. Plus you can see what has been included in past boxes to get a feel of what’s to come.

My enormous thanks to Louise for sending me the August Crime/Mystery box for review. I am completely and utterly in love with what you do 😍

| My Chronicle Book Box on Twitter | My Chronicle Book Box on Instagram | My Chronicle Book Box Website |

Calling all crime, thriller and dystopian fiction writers – PM Books want to hear from YOU #SubmissionCall @PMBooksHHB @HhouseBooks #PMBooks #WritingCommunity #amwriting #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to the blog on this sunny Thursday. I have something a little different to share with you today, which I’m really excited about. One of my favourite publishers – Holland House Books – are starting a Kindle-first crime, thriller and dystopian imprint called PM BOOKS and they are looking for established and aspiring writers to submit their work. Is that you? If so, read on….

PM Books are a Kindle-First imprint of Holland House Books that specialises in crime, thriller and dystopian fiction. Phaidra Robinson and Mia Skevington set up PM Books in April 2020 in order to pursue their respective loves of true crime and detective fiction. Our background of Literary Fiction at Holland House Books means that we bring an expectation of and experience in producing high quality books to these genres. An inaugural imprint, this is the time for authors to submit their work for the chance to be one of our founding book releases.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? Do you have a manuscript languishing unloved in a drawer? Have you recently written the two most exciting words in the world…THE END? Are you ready to get your writing into readers’ hands? Then here’s everything you need to know to submit your book to PM Books:

We are looking for most types of crime and thriller fiction, from the classic English whodunit through to police procedurals, or classic noir through to mind-bending psychological thrillers. Maybe you want to introduce us to a dystopian future. We want well-written, satisfying work – a good twist and convincing characters are the ways to our hearts. It may be cosy and comfortable or dark and disturbing… or something completely different.

If you have a completed novel or novella which you believe may fit, then send us:

1) The first fifty pages of your work.
2) A synopsis of your work (maximum two pages).
3) A covering letter with a brief overview – we do NOT need you to do a brilliant ‘pitch’ or the kind of blurb which would go on the back of the book. The basic story, main character(s) and the general themes is all we need.

These documents should be Word Documents, size 12 in a standard font, with a line spacing of 1.5.

Please email us at pmbooks@hhousebooks.com and address them to the Editor Phaidra Robinson.

The road to publication beckons and I really hope you’re as excited as I am about this brilliant opportunity.

You can contact PM Books by email on pmbooks@hhousebooks.com, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram and via their website: https://pmbooks0.wixsite.com/pmbooks/. Good luck and I hope to be reading your book very soon!

KblELz4p_400x400

 

#BlogTour | #BookSpotlight: Art and Soul by Claire Huston (@ClaraVal) @rararesources #ArtandSoul #damppebbles

Hello bookish friends and welcome to a brand new week on damppebbles. Today I am delighted to have something a little different for you. Here at damppebbles HQ we like to focus our attention on the darker side of fiction. You may have noticed! However, I am thrilled to be taking part in the Art and Soul blog tour today. Art and Soul is a heart-warming and uplifting romance novel written by the fabulous Claire Huston. Claire is not only a brilliant debut author, she’s also a fantastic blogger who shares her bookish thoughts and mouth watering bakes on her blog. If you don’t already follow Claire then that needs to change!

As part of the blog tour celebrations I am delighted to be sharing a book spotlight with you today. Let’s find out more about Art and Soul…

Layout 1A heart-warming, uplifting romance served with a generous slice of cake. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde and Cathy Kelly.

There’s no problem Becky Watson can’t fix. Except her own love life…

Struggling single mother Becky Watson longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage.

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump, she’s delighted to set him up with a come-back exhibition and Rachel Stone, the woman of his dreams.

Though they get off to a rocky start, Becky and Charlie soon become close. But as the beautiful Rachel becomes Charlie’s muse, Becky is forced to wonder: will giving Charlie everything he wants mean giving up her own happily ever after?

What do you think? Sounds good, doesn’t it? Art and Soul by Claire Huston was published by Goldcrest Books on 23rd April 2020. At the time of publishing this post, it’s only 99p to download on Amazon so don’t miss out!

amazon.co.ukamazon.comGoodreads |

Art and Soul Full Tour Banner

about-the-author3

Claire Huston author photo 2020My name’s Claire Huston (pronounced as in “Houston, we have a problem”).

My debut novel – an uplifting contemporary romance – is out now in ebook and paperback. You can read more about that in Art and Soul (or head straight over to Amazon to buy it now!)

I live in the Midlands, UK, with my husband and two children. I work as a Spanish-English translator and when I’m not struggling to write, I try to read, bake, and generally keep chaos at bay.

I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme.

If you’d like to get in touch, please use the contact form below or leave a message down in the comments. You can also find me on TwitterGoodreadsFacebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

#BookReview: The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd @TransworldBooks @1stMondayCrime #TheMemoryWood #damppebbles

the memory wood.jpg

Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.

Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.

Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.

As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .”

A very warm welcome to the blog today and to my review of The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd. Now, had life been relatively normal (normalish) then tonight would have seen the first First Monday Crime Night of the year. But we’re all on lock down so it’s obviously not happening (#StayHomeSaveLives #StayHomeStaySafe). That doesn’t mean we can’t shout about the brilliant authors who were due to appear though, no siree! Sam Lloyd, author of the haunting The Memory Wood, was due to be taking part this evening so I, of course, leapt at the chance to read this INCREDIBLE book. I have to be completely honest with you here. As soon as I saw this book, before I’d even read the blurb, I knew I had to read it. The cover gave me chills. I received a free ARC of The Memory Wood but that has in no way influenced my review.

The Memory Wood had my attention as soon as I set eyes on it; that stunning cover, the intriguing blurb. You know when you get ‘that’ feeling about a book…? You just know that it’s going to be something special? You don’t know how you know, you just do? That’s the feeling I had about The Memory Wood. Expectations were high. Oh, the pressure! And I wasn’t disappointed one jot. What a mesmerising, creepy crime thriller. Full of tension and dread. I absolutely loved this book!

Elijah lives with his family at the Game Keeper’s Cottage in the grounds of Rufus Hall, near the Memory Wood. Elijah’s life is quiet and sedate. He doesn’t attend school but he has a love of words and likes to think that makes him cleverer than the average 12-year-old. One day, while exploring a crumbling cottage in the wood, Elijah makes a discovery. Thirteen year old, Elissa. Chained to the floor and desperate to escape, Elissa pleads with Elijah to help her. But Elijah knows he can’t help and he can’t really understand why she is so desperate to leave. After all, they’ve only just met! In Elissa he sees a friend, a confidant and someone to spend his time with. He’s enchanted by her. But Elissa isn’t the first girl Elijah has discovered chained up beneath the cottage. And Elijah knows what happened to the other children when they refused to play by their captor’s rules…

I thoroughly enjoyed The Memory Wood. It was everything I hoped it would be and maybe even a little bit more on top! The author has done a wonderful job of making his reader feel they are there, living in the wood with these strange characters. The story is told from three perspectives; Elijah, Elissa and the detective in charge of finding Elissa, Detective Superintendent Mairead MacCullagh. I loved DS MacCullagh and thought the author made her even more interesting with the addition of an issue you don’t see every day. I hope this isn’t the last we see of MacCullagh as I would gladly read an entire series with her as the lead character. Elissa, the kidnapped 13-year-old, is an incredible character. Wise beyond her years with an intelligence to match. I loved how emotionally strong she was in the face of adversity. How every action was considered in detail and how determined she was to escape the clutches of her captor. Astute and spirited, she’ll be difficult to forget – that’s for sure! And poor, troubled Elijah. My heart broke for him.

The plot moves along at a steady pace and I was keen to find out how Elijah and Elissa’s story was going to end. There are a couple of ‘gasp-out-loud’ moments which turn the book on its head for the reader and I loved them! Cat and mouse game? Yes, definitely. But it’s more intricate, more detailed, more involving than that. Game of chess anyone? (Chess features quite heavily in the story so it only seemed fair….)

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. It’s a beautifully written, unsettling and atmospheric novel and I devoured it. With characters that will leave their mark on you, whether in a good way….or a not so good way, this book will be hard to forget. And if anyone ever utters the words ‘say you understand’ to me ever again then I may have a heart attack right there and then. Those three words will forever send chills down my spine. Highly recommended.

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

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd was published in the UK by Bantam Press on 20th February 2020 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Goodreads |

about-the-author3

Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, making up stories and building secret hideaways in his local woods. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. The Memory Wood is his debut thriller.

#BookReview: Wilderness by B.E. Jones (@bevjoneswriting) @LittleBrownUK @TheCrimeVault #Wilderness #damppebbles

Wilderness_25

It’s easy to die out there. It’s easy to kill too.

Two weeks, 1,500 miles, three opportunities for her husband to save his own life.

It isn’t about his survival – it’s about hers.

Shattered by the discovery of her husband’s affair, Liv knows they need to leave the chaos of New York to try to save their marriage. Maybe the roadtrip that they’d always planned, exploring America’s national parks, just the two of them, would help heal the wounds.

But what Liv hasn’t told her husband is that she has set him three challenges. Three opportunities to prove he’s really sorry and worthy of her forgiveness.

If he fails? Well, it’s dangerous out there. There are so many ways to die in the wilderness. And if it’s easy to die, then it’s easy to kill too.”

Hello and a very warm welcome to damppebbles. I am delighted to be sharing my review of one of my very favourite reads from 2019 with you today – the absolutely brilliant WILDERNESS by B.E. Jones. Wilderness sailed into my top ten(ish) books of the year with ease, and I still can’t stop talking to people about it (when I get to see them that is, which isn’t often at the moment!). Wilderness is on the brink of being published in paperback so I’m shouting louder than ever! It really gets under your skin and I LOVE it! We may not be able to leave the house at the moment but that doesn’t mean we can’t travel to the National Parks in the US with Liv and Will, and see if Will manages to save his marriage…..and his life!

Here’s my review:

I received a free eARC of Wilderness but that has in no way influenced my review.

I loved this book. It’s the first book I’ve read by B.E. Jones but I can safely say that it won’t be the last. Boy, can this author write a dark and dangerous character! If you’re a regular visitor to the blog then you will know that I am a sucker for characters. The plot and the setting (which are both brilliant in this novel, by the way) can be ‘okay’ providing the characters stand tall and leap from the page. I want living breathing people who make me feel something – that’s not asking too much, is it? Wilderness is a cracking example of exactly how to write incredible, believable characters and also tick the all-important plot and setting boxes with confidence and flair! I absolutely loved Liv. I’m still not entirely sure I was supposed to love her as she’s very much a character on the edge. But hey, I do like a dark undertone and it’s often the more complex creations who appeal to me more!

Liv and her husband, Will, are living the dream. Following Will’s promotion, they up-sticks from picturesque Wales and move to the hustle and bustle of New York City. Everything is perfect…until Liv discovers that her husband has been unfaithful with a colleague. Will apologies for his error of judgement and promises it will never happen again. And then it does. Liv is utterly heartbroken and enraged by the deceit and immediately starts to plan her revenge. One ‘dream’ holiday to America’s national parks and three chances for Will to prove he’s sorry. If he fails, well…..sometimes terrible accidents happen in the wilderness, don’t they?

The plot, the characters, the setting, the cover, the blurb – I loved absolutely everything about this book. It’s very likely it will feature in my top 10 books of the year list in December. Liv is pushed to her absolute limit – the repercussions of which were fascinating to watch. I couldn’t look away as she slowly unravelled before my eyes and I HAD to find out how the story would end. It’s not often I wish for a happy ending in my books but I was desperate for life to turn out OK for Liv. Does it? Well, you’ll have to get hold of a copy of Wilderness and find out for yourself.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. It’s one that shouldn’t be missed and the perfect Summer holiday read partly due to the fabulous setting (maybe not the murders!). Speaking of the setting, I loved how the author conveyed the stark contrast between the two locations in the US. You have the wide open space of the national parks versus the built up and somewhat claustrophobic feeling of New York City. It’s all so beautifully written that you can’t help but ‘live’ the locations with the characters. An absolute joy to read! Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Wilderness. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Wilderness by B.E. Jones was published by in the UK by Constable on 4th April and is available in paperback, audio and digital 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 |

about-the-author3

photo of Bev

Beverley Jones was born in the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales, and started her ‘life of crime’ as a reporter on The Western Mail before moving into TV news with BBC Wales Today.

She covered all aspects of crime reporting before switching sides as a press officer for South Wales police, dealing with the media in criminal investigations, security operations and emergency planning.

Now a freelance writer she channels these experiences of ‘true crime,’ and the murkier side of human nature, into her dark, psychological thrillers set in and around South Wales.

Wilderness, her sixth crime novel follows the release of Halfway by Little Brown in 2018.

Bev’s previous releases, Where She Went, The Lies You Tell, Make Him Pay and Fear The Dark are also available from Little Brown as e books.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website |

First Names Revealed for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival #TheakstonsCrime #HIF2020 @midaspr #damppebbles

Happy Wednesday everyone. And what a wonderful Wednesday it’s going to be! Today I am delighted to be one of the bloggers helping to reveal the names of the first authors appearing at the fantastic Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in July! I’ve attended the festival for the last three years and it is quite simply the best crime fiction festival in the WORLD!

FIRST NAMES REVEALED: SPECIAL GUESTS AT 2020
THEAKSTON OLD PECULIER CRIME WRITING FESTIVAL

 Martina Cole | Mark Billingham | Kathy Reichs | Mick Herron | Lisa Gardner | Michael Connelly | Elly Griffiths

 23-26 July 2020 | Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate

harrogateinternationalfestivals.com | #TheakstonsCrime | #HIF2020   

Photo credit: Kathy Reichs by Marie Reine-Mattera

Harrogate, 4 March 2020: The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is thrilled to announce its 2020 Special Guests at the world’s largest and most prestigious crime fiction festival.

Crime writing royalty Martina Cole, Mark Billingham, Lisa Gardner, Kathy Reichs, Elly Griffiths, Mick Herron and Michael Connelly will be appearing as part of the killer line-up curated by this year’s Festival Programming Chair and Rebus author, Ian Rankin OBE.

From 23-26 July, Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel – the legendary scene of Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance in 1926 – will welcome over 100 world famous authors for a celebration of the crime genre like no other.

Returning for its 18th instalment, the award-winning Festival is established as a literary phenomenon, attracting an international audience to see the best in the business and the most exciting new talent as part of an unmissable programme of creative workshops, once in a lifetime talks and unique panels.

Joining fiction titan Ian Rankin at this year’s Festival will be No. 1 bestseller Martina Cole will be sharing the stories behind her iconic career as the undisputed Queen of Crime; Kathy Reichs will introduce A Conspiracy of Bones, the riveting new thriller featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan; and Festival favourite Mark Billingham returns to Harrogate to celebrate 20 years of Tom Thorne,  one of British crime fiction’s most iconic detectives.

Michael Connelly, the international phenomenon with over 74 million copies sold worldwide, touches down in the UK to share his latest unputdownable thriller featuring veteran reporter Jack McEvoy, Fair Warning; the master of psychological suspense Lisa Gardner will give the Harrogate audience an insight into the twists and turns of When You See MeElly Griffiths is set to reveal the secrets behind her much-loved Dr Ruth Galloway mystery series; and Mick Herron will mark ten years of his award-winning spy sensation Slough House and introduce his new novella set in the same world, The Catch.

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival forms part of the diverse year-round portfolio curated by the charitable organisation Harrogate International Festivals, delivered with the mission to bring immersive and moving cultural experiences to as many people as possible.

Ian Rankin, best-selling Rebus author, said:
“It is for good reason that Harrogate is so well loved by authors and audiences alike, and the pressure has been on to make sure that this year lives up to its stellar reputation! But working with the Harrogate team has been a joy and we’re incredibly proud of the celebration of crime writing we have in store. Beginning with the announcement of our incredible Special Guests, the countdown to this year’s legendary long weekend is well and truly on and I can’t wait unveil the rest in April.”

Sharon Canavar, CE of Harrogate International Festivals, said:
“Our mission at Harrogate International Festivals is to present the most unforgettable cultural experiences and year on year Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival continues to surpass all expectations. It has been a delight working with Ian Rankin and we’re thrilled that the 2020 Special Guest line-up reflects the absolute best in the crime-writing business – we look forward to revealing the full programme.”

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of Theakston, said:
“We are incredibly proud to be supporting the biggest and best crime writing festival in the world, right here in Harrogate – it is a truly unique opportunity to discover the secrets behind the genre’s greatest characters, listen to world-renowned authors and celebrate the wonderful world of crime writing. All this and the chance to enjoy a very satisfying glass of Old Peculier at the same time.”

Booking: Rover Tickets – including Weekend, Friday and Saturday – are now on sale, along with Weekend Break Packages. For more information and to book tickets, please call +44(0)1423 562 303 or email crime@harrogate-festival.org.uk. 

*** The full programme line-up will be announced on 2nd April 2020***

 PRAISE FOR THEAKSTON OLD PECULIER CRIME WRITING FESTIVAL

 “The Best Crime Festival in the World and I should know I’ve done them all” Lee Child

“Harrogate is a must. With beautiful locale, smart fans and superb author interaction, it’s one of the best festivals I’ve ever attended” Michael Connelly

“Incredibly well run and such a friendly group of authors and punters” J. S. Monroe

“Turning a small corner of Yorkshire into paradise” Val McDermid

“Amazing Event, great company” Robert Scragg

“There are so many Festivals in the world, but this is the one I keep coming back to” Andrew Taylor

“The crime Festival is the best in the country, and it shows no sign of ever changing” Barry Forshaw

“Famous amongst crime readers all over the world” Ann Cleeves

“It’s the industry must-have” N J Cooper

All Authors - Special Guests.png

Five Reasons Why on A.I. with Heather Child | Author of Everything About You @Orbitbooks @Heatherika1 @Gambit589 #EverythingAboutYou #damppebbles

EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUTHINK TWICE BEFORE YOU SHARE YOUR LIFE ONLINE.

Freya has a new virtual assistant. It knows what she likes, knows what she wants and knows whose voice she most needs to hear: her missing sister’s. It adopts her sister’s personality, recreating her through a life lived online. But this virtual version of her sister knows things it shouldn’t be possible to know. It’s almost as if the missing girl is still out there somewhere, feeding fresh updates into the cloud. But that’s impossible. Isn’t it?”

Hello and happy Sunday! Welcome to damppebbles and to a brilliant promo post for Everything About You by Heather Child. I am delighted to be sharing the fifth and final reason why you will hand control over to AI. Just the idea of that sends shivers down my spine.

Let’s find out what the fifth and final reason is from Heather…

5 Reasons Why You’ll Hand Over Control to an AI – Reason Five

They can talk to the machines

As AIs get smarter and the advent of 5G makes our world even more ‘connected’, we’ll increasingly find our needs taken care of, but we’ll notice it less.

Nearly twenty years ago, internet founder Tim Berners-Lee predicted that “the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines.”

Imagine walking along the high street a few years from now. The virtual assistant living in your phone will prime your coffee shop to have the latte ready as you approach, then call an Uber, knowing a meeting is in your diary.

Fast forward to the future, and you might find your AI synchronising with your self-driving car, personalising the in-car entertainment, or interacting with stock market bots to make you rich.

In Everything About You, Freya’s virtual assistant synchronises with her fridge. Smart jewellery in contact with her skin tells the AI that she is stressed, so when she arrives home, the fridge is filled with little valium jellies.

Machines talk to machines, so that the world flexes around Freya, removing the need to think and plan.

Like so much in the book, it’s barely sci-fi. Google is already refining its Duplex technology, a natural voice AI that can make phone calls for you, arrange bookings at hairdressers and restaurants.

In the future, it will be bots answering these calls too, so there will be two big, separate conversations going on in the world: one between humans, and one between machines.

Thanks so much, Heather. The future of AI is both fascinating (the possibilities!) and also ever so slightly terrifying too! Or is that just me?!

Everything About You by Heather Child was published in the UK by Orbit on 21st February 2019 and is available in hardcover, paperback, ebook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.comWaterstonesFoyles | Goodreads |

#FirstMondayCrime: The Panel – December 2019 @1stMondayCrime @shaminiflint #SimonBrett @tarquinhall @samblakebooks @JakeKerridge #CriminalMastermind @severnhouse #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to the blog today. I’ve donned my Santa hat and I’ve put up the Christmas decorations. Actually, that’s not true. It IS only November after all! Bah humbug. But December is just around the corner which means that it’s time for another brilliant First Monday Crime panel in London. Cancel all of your plans for Monday 2nd December at 6.30pm and head over to the First Monday website now to reserve your FREE ticket.

December’s panel is looking fantastic. And as a special Christmas treat, the team have lined up a little something extra which I will tell you about soon.

First, let’s find out who will be on the panel…

1_FlintShaminiShamini Flint – ‘A Frightfully English Execution’
Shamini Flint is a Cambridge graduate and was a lawyer with the UK firm Linklaters for ten years, travelling extensively in Asia during that period, before giving up her practice to concentrate on writing. She is the author of several children’s books. Visit her at http://www.shaminiflint.com

xsimon-brett.jpg.pagespeed.ic.cQ2w13ZhKRSimon Brett – ‘The Killer in the Choir’
Simon Brett worked as a producer in radio and television before taking up writing full time. As well as the much-loved Fethering series, the Mrs Pargeter novels and the Charles Paris detective series, he has written a number of radio and television scripts. Married with three children, he lives in an Agatha Christie-style village on the South Downs. You can find out more about Simon at his website: http://www.simonbrett.com

tarquin-hall-46978953Tarquin Hall – ‘The Case of the Reincarnated Client’
Tarquin Hall is a British author and journalist who has previously lived in the USA, Pakistan, India, Kenya and Turkey. He now divides his time between the UK and India, and is married to BBC reporter and presenter Anu Anand. He is the author of four previous Vish Puri mysteries

Sam-Blake-full-body-jason-clarke-photography-final-683x1024Sam Blake – ‘Keep Your Eyes on Me’
Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox, the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the multi award winning national writing resources website http://www.writing.ie.

She is Ireland’s leading literary scout who has assisted many award winning and bestselling authors to publication.
Vanessa has been writing fiction since her husband set sail across the Atlantic for eight weeks and she had an idea for a book. The first in her bestselling Cat Connolly triology, Little Bones, was nominated for Irish Crime Novel of the Year. 

And Jake Kerridge will be moderating. December’s panel is not to be missed, I’m sure you’ll agree.

But what of the extra little something I mentioned? Well, to start with, Severn House is sponsoring the night and will be offering ticket holders a free glass of wine. But it doesn’t end there, no siree! There will also be another event taking place that evening called Criminal Mastermind featuring the brilliant Claire McGowan and Angela Clarke.

Make sure you get your ticket before they are all snapped up! The event will be held at 6.30pm on Monday 2nd December at City University, College Building, Room A130. Click HERE to book your FREE ticket or hop over to the First Monday Crime website for more information.

#BlogBlitz: Mercy by Stephen Bentley (@StephenBentley8) @Shalini_G26 #Mercy #damppebbles

Hello bookish friends and welcome to damppebbles. I am delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz for the first book in Stephen Bentley’s Detective Matt Deal thriller series, MercyMercy is currently available to purchase in paperback with the ebook to follow later this month on 30th November. Not long to wait now! Stephen is a new author to me but this book sounds right up my street. I can’t wait to read it!

Let’s find out a little more about Mercy

ResizerImage360X540 (1)His daughter was taken. He’ll never get her back.

Set in the near future, Matt Deal is a British businessman married into a wealthy Florida family.

Mercy, his fifteen-year-old daughter, is the glue in his rocky marriage to Lorey. His life is changed forever after Mercy is brutally sexually assaulted on a Destin beach leaving her in a persistent vegetative state.
Trusting the local detectives to bring the rapists to justice, mixed martial arts expert Deal concentrates in vain on his Florida gym business, only to have his world further explode on learning the men responsible for his daughter’s injuries may escape justice. Deal is isolated and at his wit’s end after his rich father-in-law sends death threats blaming him for all these ills.

Who can he turn to? Where can he go? What will he do? Who can he trust?
Will he return to a post-Brexit Britain or ultimately will he seek revenge?

Fans of Jack Reacher, Barry Eisler, and any vigilante justice novel will love this book.

Genre: crime fiction (noir)/thriller/urban fiction with some graphic scenes and language.”

And here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite…

As much as he tried to hide it, Deal felt nervous as he knocked on the door of Internal Affairs.

The voice resonated in his head. “Enter.”

It was the tone, the command, the authority in the voice that reminded him why he was nervous. One false word, one false move and I’m fired, he thought.

Reading the open file, Emily Breen looked up through heavy-rimmed glasses before speaking again. “We meet again, Detective Deal. Sit.”

Breen pointed to a regular-looking seat on the opposite side of the desk from her high-backed executive chair. She continued reading. Deal sat watching her in silence.

Peering over her glasses, Breen said, “Remind me. When was the first time we met?”

“I think you know. It’s all there in my file. Larry Etchwell, Coroner’s Court. I was still with the Human Trafficking Department.”

Breen was silent. She appeared to be deep in thought.

Her next words broke the silence. “The psych evaluation is all good. Says you are fit to remain on active duty.”

“Good. I knew that but it’s good to hear the experts say it too.” Deal emphasised experts. The sarcasm wasn’t missed by Breen.

“Deal. You know the score. Why do you make things difficult for yourself?”

Deal ignored caution. “I always do things the hard way. Haven’t you heard?”

Breen ignored him. “What is this thing with the stutter?”

“How do you mean?”

“You’ve seen the report. What you told the shrink.”

“Remind me. What did I say?”

“If you were a rattlesnake, the stutter would be your rattle.”

Deal smiled at the thought of that meeting with the shrink. “Yeah. That’s what I said. It’s a fact.”

“But why? Why a stutter?”

“I don’t fucking know why. Why does a rattlesnake have a rattle?”

“There you go again, Detective Deal.”

“What?”

“Not helping yourself.”

“Are we done?”

“No. We are not. I have to tell you, one more loss of control. One more death, self-defence or not, you are finished. Do you hear me?”

“I hear you.”

“Good. Is there anything else you wish to say?”

“Can I ask a question?”

“You may.”

“Why does a bird fly?”

“What do you mean?”

“Asking me why I stutter if threatened is like asking a bird why it flies. Why an elephant has big ears. It’s just so. And one other thing – ask these guys what they were going to do to me.”

“I can’t. You killed them.”

“Too right. Before they killed me.”

Doesn’t that sound fantastic?! I can’t wait to read Mercy myself.

Mercy by Stephen Bentley will be published in the UK on 30th November and will be available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk (paperback)amazon.co.uk (ebook)Other eBook Stores |

DRBT jpg

about-the-author3

Stephen Bentley is a former UK Detective Sergeant, barrister, and author of a bestselling undercover cop memoir. He also writes crime fiction.

Bookbub
HuffPost UK Blogger
Website
Books2Read
Amazon Author page
All Author
Twitter
Instagram
AI Sheets for trade booksellers may be found here at hendrypublishing.com

 

 

 

#FirstMondayCrime: The Panel – June 2019 #BlindDatewithaBook @1stMondayCrime #damppebbles @TimWeaverBooks @TheAngelaClarke @doug_johnstone @HaningtonPhan

Hello bookish friends! I hope you’re starting to get ‘that Summer feeling’ with the lovely warm weather we’re having at the moment in the UK (I’m sure if you live outside the UK you’re very used to warm weather but it’s something us Brits rejoice in whenever the temperature rises about 12 degrees!).

What better way to celebrate the arrival of Summer (however brief it is this year!) than with an evening of crime fiction – First Monday crime fiction at that! Sounds like a perfect plan to me.  June’s First Monday will be the last before the hardworking team take a small siesta before returning in the Autumn, so don’t miss out.  And there’s an extra special bookish treat in June with the return of fan favourite, Blind Date with a Book.  Find the perfect book to take on your holibobs with you!  You can either visit this page to reserve your FREE ticket or scroll down for more information.

Let’s see what bookish delights the team have in store for us on Monday 3rd June…

tim weaver.pngTim Weaver is the Sunday Times bestselling author of ten thrillers, including I Am Missing and You Were Gone. Weaver has been nominated for a National Book Award, selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, and shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library award. He is also the host and producer of the chart-topping Missing podcast, which features experts in the field discussing missing persons investigations from every angle. A former journalist and magazine editor, he lives near Bath with his wife and daughter.

LowResS01_Angela_Clarke_064_V02-213x300.jpg

Angela Clarke is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Social Media Murders series. Her debut Follow Me was named Amazon’s Rising Star Debut of the Month, longlisted for the CWA’s Dagger in the Library, and shortlisted for the Good Reader Page Turner Award. Angela has appeared on CBS Reality’s Written In Blood, on stage for BBC Edinburgh Fringe and on BBC News 24’s Ouch comedy special Tales From the Misunderstood, at Noirwich, Camp Bestival, Panic! (in partnership with the Barbican, Goldsmiths University and the Guardian), at City University, at HM Prisons, and she hosts BBC 3 Counties Tales From Your Life, and the Womens’ Radio Station Three Books show. She won the Young Stationers’ Prize 2015 for achievement and promise in writing. A sufferer of EDS III, Angela is passionate about bringing marginalised voices into publishing. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

doug-johnstone1-2012-pic-credit-chris-scott-smaller-file.jpg

Doug Johnstone is an author, journalist and musician based in Edinburgh. He’s had eight novels published, most recently Crash Land. His previous novel, The Jump, was a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his other novels have been award winners and bestsellers, and he’s had short stories published in numerous anthologies and literary magazines. His work has been praised by the likes of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Irvine Welsh. Several of his novels have been optioned for film and television. Doug is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow. He’s worked as an RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University, taught creative writing at Strathclyde University and William Purves Funeral Directors. He mentors and assesses manuscripts for The Literary Consultancy and regularly tutors at Moniack Mhor writing retreat. Doug has released seven albums in various bands, and is the drummer for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He also reviews books for The Big Issue magazine, is player-manager for Scotland Writers Football Club and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

peter-hannington-headshot
Peter Hanington is the author of A Dying Breed and A Single Source. He has worked as a journalist for over twenty-five years, including fourteen years at the Today Programme and more recently The World Tonight and Newshour on the BBC World Service. He lives in London with his wife and has two grown-up children.


And overseeing everything will be Jake Kerridge. Not to be missed, I’m sure you’ll agree! The event will be held at 6.30pm on Monday 3rd June at 
City University, College Building, Room A130. Click HERE to book your FREE ticket or hop over to the First Monday Crime website for more information.