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

i-kill-cover-image“WHEN SHE WAS TAKEN FROM HIM HE WENT AFTER HER AND SEALED HER FATE – HIS TOO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Problem sorted?’

Her jaw dropped slightly as she slowed.

‘I … beg your pardon?’ ‘

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I made commiserating noises.

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

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

‘No. Only Elizabeth.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Smith & Sons (11)

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

 

 

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#Blogival: Soho Honey by A W Rock (Review)

41NSZsaON9L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“This contemporary crime story takes place over three weeks in November and unfolds against the multi-cultural backdrop of Soho, London.

Branen had to leave the UK six years before to escape his complex clandestine history and the consequences of a crime that achieved worldwide notoriety. When his daughter is brutally murdered in Soho he believes that he could be the reason. He returns to his old hunting grounds to find the killer. His search brings him into conflict with the British Secret Service and Soho’s underworld. He is forced to flee Soho again after a tragic meeting with his ex-wife. His past has caught up with him and the hunter becomes the hunted. Now forty years old Branen wants to stop running and to remove forever the continuing threat to his life. In an effort to get rid of his pursuers he is faced with the prospect that his only chance of survival could lead to his death.”

I am thrilled to be taking part in the Clink Street 2016 #Blogival today with my review of the gripping Soho Honey by A W Rock.  I had decided to read this book before I had a chance to look at the blurb.  That was all thanks to that stunning cover, absolutely gorgeous!  If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will!

Ex-secret service operative Branen is called back to action following the horrific death of his only daughter, Carrie.  He is tasked with finding her killer which means returning to the stomping ground of his youth, notorious Soho in the West End of London.  During his investigation he puts several high powered noses out of joint.  Not that they needed much encouragement.  Branen is a wanted man, on the hunt for a killer.  The bodies pile up as he gets closer to the truth, can Branen avoid being one of those bodies…

I enjoyed this book, it’s a fast paced thriller with lots of action, but I was quite confused by the end of part one.  There is a lot of information (locations, jobs, hierarchies, names etc.) which I felt came flying at me.  I wanted the story to slow a little to give me time to absorb what I was reading.  It all felt a little too much, too quickly and as a result it took me a little while to enjoy A W Rock’s style of writing.

Once I had gotten used to the author’s style, I found myself completely submerged in the story.  A W Rock paints a very vivid picture of Soho and it’s darker side.  The characters are well written and the action flows from start to finish.  It’s a dark, gritty tale about the criminals of Soho’s underbelly and I’m looking forward to reading book two in the series, particularly as book one left us on such a cliffhanger!

Three and a half out of five stars.

Thanks to Rachel at Authoright for my copy of Soho Honey in exchange for an honest review.

Soho Honey by A W Rock was published in the UK on 5th May by Clink Street Publishing and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones |

Smith & Sons (11)

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Photograph by Jonathan Knowles

Based in London A.W. Rock has been a regular in Soho working in various sectors of the entertainment industry.

Graduated Hornsey College of Art with a BA degree.

Worked in design and graphics, co-owner of Mighty Mouse Studio designing for many companies and theatres including the Royal Court Theatre and The Roundhouse.

He then became a professional photographer based in England and working all over the world, for most of the major advertising agencies in stills and film. These include J. Walter Thompson, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam, McCanns, Bogle Bartle & Hegarty and many others.

A.W. Rock has directed a wide range of music promo films and over two hundred TV commercials worldwide. Working in a variety of locations he has made commercials for General Motors in New Zealand, American Express in New York and Dyson vacuum cleaners in England. A commercial he made for The Royal Tournament was nominated for a prize at the Cannes Film Festival. He also directed several thirty minute commercially financed dramas.

He made his first theatrical drama – Deux ex Machina – a short film which won 2nd prize in a national competition sponsored by Channel One TV – Prize Shorts. It was also chosen by the British Film Institute, from over 300 shorts, as one of eight international films to tour the country in the Brief Encounters Festival. It later was shown by the BFI on a worldwide tour.

This film received critical acclaim and was judged

” Very accomplished and remains in the memory ” by Derek Malcolm the Guardian film critic.

This film has appeared in several other international film festivals.

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