#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Nick Quantrill (@NickQuantrill) #TheGeraghtyNovels @fahrenheitpress #damppebbles

Hello and happy Thursday. The weekend is almost in touching distance – hoorah! Today has a bitter/sweet feel to it as today also marks the last of my #R3COMM3ND3D2018 posts. But fear not, #R3COMM3ND3D in the form of #R3COMM3ND3D2019 will return on 1st November – yay! I am delighted to welcome a brilliant author, Nick Quantrill, to damppebbles today. Nick is the author of the Geraghty Novels which have recently been republished by Fahrenheit Press and I cannot wait to read these books! I’ll tell you a little more about them soon.

First, allow me to explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about. #R3COMM3ND3D is my end of the year feature where I invite book bloggers and authors to share three books they think the rest of us need to read. They can be any genre, published traditionally, by an indie press or self-published by the author. There’s always a catch though, otherwise, it would be far too easy! All three books must have been published in the same year. This is the last of my #R3COMM3ND3D posts for 2018. But watch out for #R3COMM3ND3D2019 starting on 1st November!

Here are Nick’s three choices…

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November Road by Lou Berney
Who doesn’t love a conspiracy novel? ‘November Road’ touches on the most enduring of conspiracy theories, the assassination of John F Kennedy, but it’s much more than that. It’s part-noir, part road novel, part-love story. Frank Guidry, a man who’s lived a bad life is on the run, but what happens when he discovers he really wants a shot at redemption?

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This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan
With her finger always on the pulse, this is the best yet from a writer with an unflinching eye on the state of the UK. Focusing in on the gentrification of a London tower block, we meet the cynical and downtrodden, the hopeful and those who want a better future. But is everyone as they seem to be? It’s a book that grapples with big social issues, but never forgets its primary job is to be a thrilling read.

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The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox
He’s young, he’s talented, he’s good looking – the list goes on, so I should hate Joseph Knox. But how can you hate someone who writes books like this? On the face of it, it’s a police procedural, but in reality it twists off into different territories. Aidan Waits is a troubled cop for our times, pounding the grim and dark streets of Manchester. Waits is practically a Private Investigator, ‘The Smiling Man’, a pitch-perfect noir novel.

Brilliant choices, thanks Nick. I have read and loved This Is How It Ends and I’m adding the other two to my wishlist!

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

| November Road by Lou Berney | This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan | The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox |

About The Geraghty Novels:

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Book #1 Broken Dreams
A cracking authentic crime thriller.

Joe Geraghty is used to struggling from one case to the next, barely making the rent on his small office in the Old Town of Hull.

Invited by a local businessman to investigate a member of his staff’s absenteeism, it’s the kind of surveillance work that Geraghty and his small team have performed countless times.

The case soon becomes anything but routine when Jennifer Murdoch is found bleeding to death in her bed, Geraghty quickly finds himself trapped in the middle of a police investigation which stretches back to the days when the city had a thriving fishing industry.

As the woman’s tangled private life begins to unravel, the trail leads Geraghty to local gangster-turned-respectable businessman, Frank Salford, a man with a significant stake in the city’s regeneration plans. Still haunted by the death of his wife in a house fire, it seems the people with the answers Geraghty wants are the police and Salford, both of whom want his co-operation for their own ends.

With everything at stake, some would go to any length to get what they want, Geraghty included.

Broken Dreams is the first urban thriller from Hull based writer, Nick Quantrill, featuring private detective Joe Geraghty.

Book #2 The Late Greats
Hull’s most successful band of the 1990s is making a comeback…but not everyone is happy…”

Having been convinced by their manager, Kane Major, to put their acrimonious break-up behind them and launch a comeback, New Holland, Hull’s most successful band of the 1990s, is reforming. Allowing one privileged journalist to document the process.

Joe Geraghty is employed to act as a liaison between the different camps. What appears to be a straightforward assignment sees him neck deep in trouble when singer, Greg Tasker, disappears leaving behind a trail of people who wanted him out of their lives.

Geraghty has to choose sides and the investigation penetrates deeper into the city. As the rich and famous rub shoulders with the poor and vulnerable, the stakes increase. Forced to keep his friends close but his enemies’ closer still, the case could see Joe Geraghty lose everything.

Book #3 The Crooked Beat
When Joe Geraghty’s brother Niall finds himself in financial trouble, it’s only natural that he turns to the private investigator for help. But when it relates to a missing consignment of smuggled cigarettes, it’s not so easily sorted.

A consignment of smuggled cigarettes have gone missing and as Joe is drawn into the murky world of local and international criminals around the busy port of Hull, Geraghty knows the only way to save his brother is to take on the debt himself.

As Joe attempts to find a way out of the situation, it becomes clear that the secrets and conspiracies he uncovers are buried deeply in the past and that the people he’s investigating are willing to do whatever it takes to keep them that way.

As the pressure mounts we see Geraghty’s relationships with those closest to him start to unravel but Geraghty can’t let his family down and when the past crashes into the present Joe is in until the bitter end.

The Crooked Beat is the third urban thriller from Hull based writer, Nick Quantrill, featuring private detective Joe Geraghty.

| amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Fahrenheit Press |

About Nick Quantrill:
Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull, an isolated industrial city in East Yorkshire. His trilogy of Private Investigator novels featuring Joe Geraghty are published by Fahrenheit Press and he’s hard at work on a fourth. A prolific short story writer, his work has appeared in various volumes of “The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime”. Nick is also the co-founder of the Hull Noir festival.

Nick’s Social Media Links:
| Website | Twitter @NickQuantrill | Facebook @NickQuantrillWriter |

If you’re a book blogger or author and you have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Jo Perry (@JoPerryAuthor) #DeadIsBeautiful @fahrenheitpress #damppebbles

It’s Friiiiiiyaaaaaaaaay! Thank Crunchie it’s Friday. I am delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today and to another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. Today I’m thrilled to welcome the wonderful Jo Perry to the blog.  Jo writes the most intriguing series of crime noir novels, the ‘Charlie and Rose Investigate’ series featuring a dead lead protagonist called Charlie and his equally dead dog, Rose.  The series is published by the mighty Fahrenheit Press and I’ll tell you a little about the latest book in the series, Dead Is Beautiful in a short while.

But first, let me explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about.  #R3COMM3ND3D is about sharing the book love.  I invite bookish types – authors, book bloggers and those who work in publishing – to nominate three books they love.  They can be any genre, any author, any publisher – self, indie or traditionally published.  The only stipulation being that they were published in a certain year.  At the moment we’re sharing the 2018 book love but come 1st November it will be all about 2019’s releases.  If you’d like to take part then check out the Google form at the bottom of this post but don’t delay – places are being snapped up faster than ever before.

Here are Jo’s choices…

A Dead American In Paris (The 3rd Republic Novels #2) by Seth Lynch
In book two of Lynch’s series, Salazar remains a uniquely compelling and brilliant protagonist, an existential hero grappling with turbulent internal and external forces: violence, autonomy, alienation and the disordering and disturbed and disturbing world of post-war Paris. What a series!
https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2NWP8TNZXN05F/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B07BSB9KBB

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Black Moss by David Nolan
An ambitious, powerful and affecting thriller that tackles memory, violence, and guilt–collective and personal. The action moves back and forth in time and from the alcohol-blurred to the sober mind of an endearing and often tragic protagonist I hope to see again. The Manchester setting and news media milieu enrich the novel. A great debut.
https://www.amazon.com/Black-Moss-David-Nolan/dp/1912526336?ref=pf_ov_at_pdctrvw_dp#customerReviews

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The Bomb Maker by Thomas Perry
Absolutely hair-raising suspense but what’s best is the deep dive into the warring consciousnesses of a bomb maker and the bomb squad operative who must stop him. I will be upfront and admit that Thomas Perry is my husband, but that can’t stop me from saying how shreddingly good this book is.

Wonderful choices, Jo. Thank you.  Two of the books you’ve chosen are already on the wish list and the third will be added immediately.

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

A Dead American in Paris by Seth LynchBlack Moss by David NolanThe Bomb Maker by Thomas Perry |

About Dead Is Beautiful:
DeadIsBeautifulKindleDEAD IS BEAUTIFUL finds Rose leading Charlie from the peace of the afterlife to the place he hates most on earth, “Beverly Fucking Hills,” where a mature, protected tree harboring a protected bird is being illegally cut down. The tree-assault leads Charlie and Rose to a to murder and to the person Charlie loathes most in life and in death, the sibling he refers to only as “his shit brother,” who is in danger. Charlie fights-across the borders of life and death–for the man who never fought for him, and with the help of a fearless Scotsman, a beautiful witch, and a pissed-off owl, Charlie must stop a cruel and exploitative scheme and protect his beloved Rose.

amazon.co.ukamazon.comFahrenheit Press |

About Jo Perry:
I am the author of the series of dark, comic mysteries, Dead Is Better, Dead Is Best, Dead Is Good and Dead Is Beautiful published by Fahrenheit Press.

Jo’s Social Media Links:
WebsiteTwitter @JoPerryAuthorFacebook |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Russell Day (@rfdaze) @fahrenheitpress #InkToAshes #damppebbles

Happy Friday! It’s nearly the weekend, phew.  Welcome to damppebbles and to another cracking #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. Today I am delighted to welcome author Russell Day to the blog.  I read and reviewed Russell’s debut novel, Needle Song, last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The fabulous folk at Fahrenheit Press have recently published the second book in Russell’s Doc Slidesmith series, Ink to Ashes, and I can’t wait to get my mitts on a copy.  I’ll tell you a little about it later.

But first, if you’re new to damppebbles or you’ve not heard of #R3COMM3ND3D before, then allow me to explain.  #R3COMM3ND3D is a chance for bookish types to share the book love.  Three amazing books all published in the same year.  We’re currently working our way through 2018s recommendations but make sure you look out for #R3COMM3ND3D2019 which will start in November.

Without further ado, here are Russell’s 2018 picks…

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Stoned Love by Ian Patrick
I don’t like my heroes squeaky clean and Ian Patrick’s protagonist is anything but. Batford’s a dirty cop and a man wearing his welcome thin on both sides of the law; I love characters like that. Another factor in choosing this book was the authenticity of its voice. Ian Patrick’s an ex-cop with almost three decades of service under his belt. It shows in his writing, you don’t so much read his novels as experience them. I defy anyone to put this book down once they’ve opened it.

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A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Mysteries #2) by Seth Lynch
This novel’s set in Paris, in 1931, which makes it an odd choice for me to recommend. I generally like to read stories set in contemporary times. The trick Seth Lynch pulls off so well is building the setting around the reader so thoroughly that Europe between the wars feels like home. Not a happy home exactly, but you can’t have it all. Something about the tone of this book puts me in mind of J G Ballard’s novel High Rise; everything is familiar and alien at the same time. This is one of the most evocative books I’ve read this year.

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Chainsaw by John Bender
Some books are meant to be read totally at face value. Chainsaw is one of them. It’s pure pulp from start to finish, proud and unashamed. Blood soaked, gore splattered and mad as a box of frogs, it follows the misadventures of two redneck scumbags and a stolen chainsaw. What you see is exactly what you get. You will love it or hate it; John Bender doesn’t write for the middle ground.

I love your choices, Russell.  I’ve read the first of Ian Patrick’s Sam Batford books and loved it. I have Seth Lynch’s Salazar books on my TBR and Chainsaw is going straight onto the wishlist!

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

Stoned Love by Ian PatrickA Dead American in Paris by Seth LynchChainsaw by John Bender |

About Ink to Ashes:
ink to ashes.jpgDoc Slidesmith & Yakky return in a brand new adventure. Dago, president of The Handsome London Boys Motorcycle Club and one of Doc’s oldest friends, has died in an apparent accident. Before he can be laid to rest though, his wife makes an unusual request, one which Yakky fulfils with characteristic stoicism. The funeral is a particularly tense affair and it becomes clear to Doc that there’s more going on than initially meets the eye. All is clearly not well within the ranks of The Handsome London Boys and when Doc starts asking questions about the circumstances of Dago’s accident and the disappearance of a young pledger, he and Yakky find themselves being dragged into the secretive and potentially dangerous world of the ‘one-percenters’. Doc & Yakky need to tread very carefully if they’re going to ensure the truth is revealed, justice is served – and they both get out of this alive.

Fahrenheit Pressamazon.co.ukamazon.com |

About Russell Day:
Scruffy, hairy-arsed biker. I occasionally take time out from getting tattooed, eating curry and falling off motorcycles, to write crime fiction. Author of NEEDLE SONG and INK TO ASHES (both published by Fahrenheit Press). Winner of the 2018 Crime Writer’s Association Margery Allingham Short Story Competition.

Russell’s Social Media Links:
Twitter @rfdaze |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Needle Song by Russell Day (@rfdaze) @fahrenheitpress #NeedleSongBook

needle song“Spending the night with a beautiful woman would be a good alibi, if the body in the next room wasn’t her husband. 

Doc Slidesmith has a habit of knowing things he shouldn’t. He knows the woman Chris Rudjer meets online is married. He knows the adult fun she’s looking for is likely to be short lived. And when her husband’s killed, he knows Chris Rudjer didn’t do it. 

Only trouble is the police disagree and no one wants to waste time investigating an open and shut case.

No one except Doc.

Using lies, blackmail and a loaded pack of Tarot cards, Doc sets about looking for the truth – but the more truth he finds, the less he thinks his friend is going to like it.”

It is my great pleasure to be one of two blogs closing down the Needle Song blog tour today.  Needle Song is the first full novel from debut author Russell Day and is available to purchase now having been published by Fahrenheit Press in April 2018.

Needle Song is something quite special.  What you see isn’t quite what you get but it’s done in such a glorious way that it really doesn’t matter.  What struck me the most about this book is the quality of the characters.  Now I’m a reader who loves a story that centres around its characters, so Needle Song was a real pleasure for me to read.  I also like those characters to be different, a little odd maybe and with appealing quirks.  Once again, Needle Song ticks all the boxes.

When Chris Rudjer is arrested for the murder of his new girlfriend’s husband, tattoo shop owner and psychology graduate Doc Slidesmith and his somewhat unenthusiastic sidekick, Yakky, leap to his aide.  Armed with a love of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and a loaded deck of tarot cards, Doc and Yakky poke where the police fear to tread – all in the name of saving their mate from a life in prison.  After all, Chris looks the most likely suspect in the murder.  But Doc knows better.  Doc knows that man mountain Chris would never hurt a fly (unless provoked!) and it’s down to him (and the slightly dubious Yakky) to prove it!

I loved Doc Slidemsith, but Yakky stole my heart.  The story is told from his perspective so the reader gets to see and feel what he’s experiencing.  The moments when Doc suddenly pronounced his latest theory and Yakky’s obvious underwhelmed reaction to the reveal was just wonderful.  Very reminiscent in a lot of ways to one of my favourite movies ‘Without a Clue’.  Just brilliant!

I was compelled to keep turning the pages and was engrossed in the investigation from start to finish.  I admit that I was a little disappointed with the ‘whodunit’ but I was delighted that Doc was able to uncover the mystery in such a dramatic and flamboyant style.  Miss Marple would have been proud of him!

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  I don’t want to say this book is delightful as that makes it sound twee (it’s not twee; voodoo, tattoos, bikers, blood spill, murder, suicide and shotguns under the floorboards…) but that’s the first word I think of when I think of Needle Song.  It was a joy to read, a delight!  It breaks down genre barriers with the wonderful Christie-esque mystery but the modern day, darker setting makes it so different to everything else.  Needle Song blurs the lines and I really enjoyed it.

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review a copy of Needle Song.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Needle Song by Russell Day was published in the UK by Fahrenheit Press on 28th April 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Fahrenheit Press online shop | Goodreads |

about the author3

Russell Day (1)Russell Day was born in 1966 and grew up in Harlesden, NW10 – a geographic region searching for an alibi. From an early age it was clear the only things he cared about were motorcycles, tattoos and writing. At a later stage he added family life to his list of interests and now lives with his wife and two children. He’s still in London, but has moved south of the river for the milder climate.

Although he only writes crime fiction Russ doesn’t consider his work restricted. ‘As long as there have been people there has been crime, as long as there are people there will be crime.’ That attitude leaves a lot of scope for settings and characters. One of the first short stories he had published, The Second Rat and the Automatic Nun, was a double-cross story set in a world where the church had taken over policing. In his first novel, Needle Song, an amateur detective employs logic, psychology and a loaded pack of tarot cards to investigate a death.

Russ often tells people he seldom smiles due to nerve damage, sustained when his jaw was broken. In fact, this is a total fabrication and his family will tell you he’s always been a miserable bastard.

Author Links: | Twitter | Website |

#BookReview: Rubicon by Ian Patrick (@IPatrick_Author) @fahrenheitpress #RubiconBook

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“Two cops, both on different sides of the law – both with the same gangland boss in their sights.

Sam Batford is an undercover officer with the Metropolitan Police who will stop at nothing to get his hands on fearsome crime-lord Vincenzo Guardino’s drug supply.

DCI Klara Winter runs a team on the National Crime Agency, she’s also chasing down Guardino, but unlike Sam Batford she’s determined to bring the gangster to justice and get his drugs off the streets.

Set in a time of austerity and police cuts where opportunities for corruption are rife, Rubicon is a tense, dark thriller that is definitely not for the faint hearted.”

You have no idea how long I have wanted to read this book. I saw a couple of stonking reviews for it months ago now (before the recent blog tour) and I knew, as a die-hard fan of the police procedural, as a lover of coppers on the edge, as a book blogger that lives and breathes crime fiction that this book and I were destined to meet. I feel quite sad that it’s taken me this long to read it because it’s an incredible read and I relished every moment of being in Sam Batford’s company.

Rubicon is Ian Patrick’s debut and it’s such an assured read that I had to stop at times and remind myself of that fact. Ian Patrick has experienced life on the beat himself and that experience, that living of ‘the job’ gives the novel a level of authenticity that readers (readers like me, anyway) crave. Rubicon is a fast-paced crime thriller that keeps you turning the pages from start to finish and I was hooked from the explosive opening to the very last word.

Sam Batford is an Undercover Officer walking a very fine line. He’s prepared to do whatever is necessary to get what he wants. But he has a heart too, which I loved. Sam is seconded to work with DCI Klara Winter on the Vincenzo Guardino (or ‘Big H’) case but he has his own ideas and instead of working in harmony with his new DCI, he is determined to do his own thing and leave Winter flailing in his dust. Winter is an unlikable, do-gooder character who seems more out for the glory of arresting notorious local gangster Big H than anything else. She plays by the book though, whereas Sam…..doesn’t so much. The reader is regularly given an insight into Winter’s thought processes thanks to her ‘Sensitive Decision Log’; a clever move on the author’s part as it gives the reader a more candid look into this senior detective’s thoughts and feelings.

Now I’m a fairly slow reader but you can easily lose a day (chances are you read faster than me) to Rubicon. It has a way of completely absorbing you into the story and before you know it, you’ve read half of the book before you’ve even realised. It’s punchy, it’s thrilling and it’s everything I want in a crime thriller. One of the things I liked most about Rubicon is that Sam isn’t your usual copper. I read a lot of detective fiction so it’s good to have a lead who isn’t scared of REALLY breaking the rules (and oh my gosh, those rules get shattered!). Sam Batford is a character I want to see more of, I love the idea of a renegade cop and Sam fits the mould perfectly.

Would I recommend this book? I would. It’s edgy, absorbing and so deliciously different to other books in the genre. An absolute delight to read and I will be recommending this book to everyone. What a debut!

Four and a half stars out of five.

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

Rubicon by Ian Patrick was published in the UK bu Fahrenheit Press on 21st August 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, the following Amazon links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Fahrenheit Press | Goodreads |

about the author3

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Educated in Nottingham, Ian left school at sixteen. After three years in the Civil Service he moved to London for a career in the Metropolitan Police.

He spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command. A career in policing is a career in writing. Ian has been used to carrying a book and pen and making notes.

Now retired, the need to write didn’t leave and evolved into fiction.

Author Links: | Twitter | Amazon Author Page |

#BlogBlitz | #Giveaway: The TV Detective by Simon Hall (@SimonHallNews) @fahrenheitpress #TheTVDetective

The TV Detective cover“Dan Groves is a television reporter newly assigned to the crime beat and not at all happy about it.

Dan knows next nothing about police work or how to report on it, so when he persuades Detective Chief Inspector Adam Breen to allow him to shadow a high-profile murder inquiry it seems like the perfect solution. Sadly for Dan it soon becomes clear some members of the police force have no intention of playing nice with the new boy.

With his first case Dan is dropped in at the deep-end. A man is killed in a lay-by with a blast through the heart from a shotgun. The victim is notorious local businessman Edward Bray, a man with so many enemies there are almost too many suspects for the police to eliminate.

As tensions rise Dan comes close to being thrown off the case until the detectives realise that far from being a liability, Dan might actually be the key to tempting the murderer into a trap.

The TV Detective is the first book in a classic crime series from Simon Hall, who until recently was the BBC Crime Correspondent for the Devon and Cornwall area.”

Hello bookish friends.  For personal reasons, there has been a slight change to The TV Detective blog blitz schedule today so I am welcoming you back to the ‘pebbles for a little bit more The TV Detective love!  You lucky things, you!

On Monday I posted my review of The TV Detective which, if you missed it, you can read by clicking HERE.  Today, however, I am offering one lucky international winner the chance to win an eBook copy of the book.  So if the sound of likeable Dan Groves and the studious, yet suave DCI Adam Breen appeals, and you want to find out more, then here is your chance.

If you need further persuasion then check out these great reviews featured on the blog blitz so far; Bookmark ThatCafe ThinkingThe Irresponsible ReaderLive and DeadlyJuliaPaloozaGrab This Book and Wrong Side of Forty.

To win an eBook copy of The TV Detective all you have to do is follow the instructions in THIS tweet.  Giveaway will close at midday (BST) on 25th May 2018.  One winner will be selected at random and will be notified via Twitter.  The winner will be required to send me their Kindle email address so I may forward an eBook copy of The TV Detective directly to their device.  There is no cash alternative.  Good luck everyone!

The TV Detective by Simon Hall was published in the UK by Fahrenheit Press on 22nd March 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, the following Amazon links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Purchase from Fahrenheit Press |

TV Detective

about the author3

Simon HallSimon Hall is an author and journalist.

He has been a broadcaster for twenty five years, mostly as a BBC Television and Radio News Correspondent, covering some of the biggest stories Britain has seen.

His books – the tvdetective series – are about a television reporter who covers crimes and gets so involved in the cases he helps the police to solve them. Seven have been published.

Simon has also contributed articles and short stories to a range of newspapers and magazines, written plays, and even a pantomime.

Alongside his novels and stories, Simon is a tutor in media skills and creative writing, teaching at popular Writers’ Summer Schools such as Swanwick and Winchester, on cruise ships and overseas.

Simon has also become sought after as a speaker, appearing at a variety of prestigious literary festivals. His talks combine an insight into his writing work, along with some extraordinary anecdotes from the life of a television reporter, including the now notorious story of What to do when you really need a dead otter.

Now 49 years old, he began a broadcasting career as a DJ on the radio and in nightclubs, then moved into radio and TV news. He worked in Europe, London, Ireland, and the south west of England, before settling in Cambridge.

Simon is married to Jess, Director of Libraries at the University of Cambridge, and has an adopted daughter, Niamh. She’s an army officer, which makes her father both very proud and very nervous.

Simon lectures on careers in the media at Cambridge University, and in schools and colleges. Amongst his proudest achievements, he includes the number of young people he has helped into jobs in broadcasting, and aspiring writers into publication.

As for his likes, Simon lists beer – he judges at real ale festivals – cycling the countryside, solving cryptic crosswords, composing curious Tweets (find him @thetvdetective) and studying pop lyrics.

For more on Simon, see his website – www.thetvdetective.com

Author Links: | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Website |

 

#BlogBlitz | #BookReview: The TV Detective by Simon Hall (@SimonHallNews) @fahrenheitpress #TheTVDetective #damppebblesblogtours

The TV Detective cover

“Dan Groves is a television reporter newly assigned to the crime beat and not at all happy about it.

Dan knows next nothing about police work or how to report on it, so when he persuades Detective Chief Inspector Adam Breen to allow him to shadow a high-profile murder inquiry it seems like the perfect solution. Sadly for Dan it soon becomes clear some members of the police force have no intention of playing nice with the new boy.

With his first case Dan is dropped in at the deep-end. A man is killed in a lay-by with a blast through the heart from a shotgun. The victim is notorious local businessman Edward Bray, a man with so many enemies there are almost too many suspects for the police to eliminate.

As tensions rise Dan comes close to being thrown off the case until the detectives realise that far from being a liability, Dan might actually be the key to tempting the murderer into a trap.

The TV Detective is the first book in a classic crime series from Simon Hall, who until recently was the BBC Crime Correspondent for the Devon and Cornwall area.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to damppebbles today and to the start of The TV Detective blog blitz. The TV Detective is the first book in the series of the same name and is written by ex-television news correspondent, Simon Hall. This new and updated edition was published by Fahrenheit Press in March 2018.

What’s that old writer’s adage, ‘write what you know’? Well, that’s exactly what Simon Hall has done in this very readable first instalment of The TV Detective series. Truth and fiction ‘sort of’ collide in this semi-autobiographical tale of a television news reporter. A reporter who contentedly deals with stories involving environmental issues suddenly being thrown into the deep end and having to find his way in the dark and murky world of crime reporting. You see, Simon Hall was a news reporter specialising in the environment until he was moved to the crime beat. Art imitating life, you could say…

Newly appointed crime reporter, Dan Groves is called to a lay-by in the middle of the night to report on a shooting. Unfortunately, being the new kid on the block, he’s missed the main body of the briefing and realises he needs to work on his contacts. What he does learn is that notorious local businessman, Edward Bray has met an untimely end thanks to a shotgun blast to the chest. Groves knows that he’s on the back foot with an investigation that could make or break his new career. That’s when an idea takes root. An idea that’s a bit of a long shot but well worth the ridicule and risk. Miraculously, Groves’ plan is agreed which makes television reporter, Dan Groves, the newest recruit at Charles Cross police station working alongside Detective Chief Inspector Adam Breen and the rest of the murder investigation team. Will Dan be able to add anything useful to the investigation or will the crime newbie be thrown out on his ear after the first day? Or could Dan’s skills be used in a different way. Could Dan be the key to solving the case?

I really liked Dan Groves. I expected him to be a bit of a diva what with being a local television celebrity but that wasn’t the case at all. He’s just a normal bloke who ends up working alongside the police, and appearing on TV several times a day! I also very much liked DCI Breen and enjoyed watching the relationship grow into a friendship between Dan and Breen. I would happily read more about these two characters. There’s a good dose of humour and banter between them which added to their overall likeability. However, I would have quite happily done without the excitable puppy that is paparazzo Ellis Hughes, or Dirty El to his friends. Gah, he made my skin crawl!

The TV Detective is set in and around Plymouth and as a once regular visitor to the area, I was enjoying spotting local landmarks and place names. The author managed to hold my attention from start to finish and I was keen to discover what would be the ‘break’ in the case, the clue that helped solve the perplexing riddle.

Would I recommend this book? I would. If you enjoy a well-plotted murder mystery then I heartily recommend you get yourself a copy of The TV Detective. A good all round mystery with a cast of appealing characters that make this an enjoyable read. I would certainly pick up the second book in the series.

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review The TV Detective. The above review is my own unbiased opinion. My thanks to Fahrenheit Press for providing me with a review copy of the book.

The TV Detective by Simon Hall was published in the UK by Fahrenheit Press on 22nd March 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, the following Amazon links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Purchase from Fahrenheit Press |

TV Detective

about the author3

Simon Hall.jpg

Simon Hall is an author and journalist.

He has been a broadcaster for twenty five years, mostly as a BBC Television and Radio News Correspondent, covering some of the biggest stories Britain has seen.

His books – the tvdetective series – are about a television reporter who covers crimes and gets so involved in the cases he helps the police to solve them. Seven have been published.

Simon has also contributed articles and short stories to a range of newspapers and magazines, written plays, and even a pantomime.

Alongside his novels and stories, Simon is a tutor in media skills and creative writing, teaching at popular Writers’ Summer Schools such as Swanwick and Winchester, on cruise ships and overseas.

Simon has also become sought after as a speaker, appearing at a variety of prestigious literary festivals. His talks combine an insight into his writing work, along with some extraordinary anecdotes from the life of a television reporter, including the now notorious story of What to do when you really need a dead otter.

Now 49 years old, he began a broadcasting career as a DJ on the radio and in nightclubs, then moved into radio and TV news. He worked in Europe, London, Ireland, and the south west of England, before settling in Cambridge.

Simon is married to Jess, Director of Libraries at the University of Cambridge, and has an adopted daughter, Niamh. She’s an army officer, which makes her father both very proud and very nervous.

Simon lectures on careers in the media at Cambridge University, and in schools and colleges. Amongst his proudest achievements, he includes the number of young people he has helped into jobs in broadcasting, and aspiring writers into publication.

As for his likes, Simon lists beer – he judges at real ale festivals – cycling the countryside, solving cryptic crosswords, composing curious Tweets (find him @thetvdetective) and studying pop lyrics.

For more on Simon, see his website – www.thetvdetective.com

Author Links: | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Website |

#BookPromo: #FREEShortStory to celebrate the release of NEEDLE SONG by Russell Day (@rfdaze) @fahrenheitpress #NeedleSongBook

needle song“Spending the night with a beautiful woman would be a good alibi, if the body in the next room wasn’t her husband.

Doc Slidesmith has a habit of knowing things he shouldn’t. He knows the woman Chris Rudjer meets online is married. He knows the adult fun she’s looking for is likely to be short lived. And when her husband’s killed, he knows Chris Rudjer didn’t do it. 

Only trouble is the police disagree and no one wants to waste time investigating an open and shut case.

No one except Doc.

Using lies, blackmail and a loaded pack of Tarot cards, Doc sets about looking for the truth – but the more truth he finds, the less he thinks his friend is going to like it.”

A very warm welcome to damppebbles today and to a slightly different post for me.  Today is the official release in eBook of Needle Song by exciting debut author, Russell Day.  You may have seen my cover reveal post for this book on Thursday which details exactly how Russell Day and Fahrenheit Press came to cross paths.  (If you missed it then please click HERE and check it out as it’s worth reading!).

Today, to celebrate the release of Needle Song, I have a short story written by Mr Day to share with you.  So without further ado, grab yourself a cuppa, sit back and get stuck in…

Not Talking Italics
by Russell Day

#1

…at three fifteen a.m. Present are James Slidesmith, Detective Constable Stephen Barker and, myself, Detective Sergeant Christopher Wade. For the benefit of the tape, Mister Slidesmith would you-

I’m sorry?

It’s Doctor Slidesmith, not Mister.

My apologies. For the benefit of the tape, Doctor Slidesmith-

No italics.

I’m sorry?

You know, when you write something down you put it in italics to give it a certain inflection, make it sound sarcastic or patronising maybe. I hold a PhD in Psychology. So, just Doctor. No italics.

Doctor Slidesmith, for the benefit of the tape, will you confirm that you have been given the opportunity to seek legal counsel but, have chosen to waive that right at the present time.

Yes, I have waived the right to have a legal representative present during this interview.

Okay, would you care to tell myself and DC Barker what happened last night at number, five Elton Avenue.

Let’s see, me and Yakky got there around about quarter past ten.

Yakky being Andrew Miller, it that correct?

Mister Miller works for you?

He tattoos at my shop and I take a percentage. Technically he’s self-employed.

Okay, go on.

We pulled up around quarter past, we were running a bit late ‘cos Yak’s bike was playing up again. They’d started without us. And it was already going sour.

Going sour?

Yes, going sour. Good use of italics. We’d been told we’d being playing limited-raise. When we got there, they were playing pot-limit.

And that was a problem?

You play Texas Hold Em’ at all Sergeant, you a poker man?

I know the rules.

How about Constable Barker there, no? Alright, for the benefit of Constable Barker and the tape, when you play Texas Hold ‘Em, the betting takes place in rounds and the players take turns. The first bet is compulsory and it’s for a pre-agreed amount, the second bet doubles it. That’s compulsory too. This is to get the pot started. From then on, if you want to stay in for that particular hand, you have to match the previous bet. If you think your cards are going to beat everyone else’s, then you’re going to want a bigger pot. So, you raise. If the game’s limited-raise the pot can only grow so fast, it limits the value of each hand. Limits what you can lose in one go. Pot-limit is slightly different, the max amount you can raise, is the size of the pot currently on the table.

Now, Constable, I’ll give you a piece of invaluable advice. Do not, I repeat not, take pot-limit poker games lightly. People hear the term no-limit and promptly wet themselves ‘cos they think they’re about to lose all their hard earned, and most likely they are. In a lot of no-limit games, hands are lost just because people can’t match the last bet. You can be holding five elevens, and still lose. But … people tend to do that once. They go in, all Johnny-Big-Bollocks, lose that week’s wages and the next month’s rent, then go home and cry about it. It’s not something a lot of people do twice. Now, if you looking to take someone to the cleaners, then no-limit’s all well and good, but if want a cash cow, a nice little Friesian that’s going to roll up for milking time and time again, you need pot-limit. Isn’t that right Sergeant?

I wouldn’t know.

Really? I thought you might. Nice watch by the way. Rolex?

Made in China.

Very convincing, looks real from here. They’re clever these Chinse. Sorry, lost my train of thought, Oh yeah, pot limit.

Most people, at least most westerners, aren’t too good at maths. If there’s a few people playing, and there were five of us last night, pot-limit can increase the value of each hand very, very quickly. But, a lot of people won’t notice that. Take someone’s wages and their Rolex—fake or otherwise—in one hit and they tend to remember. When it’s delicately taken away bit by bit over the course of a whole night, they don’t tend to feel the loss so keenly. So, maybe your Friesian heads back for another try. Isn’t that right Sergeant?

So, why didn’t you walk away from the table?

I would have done, if Li hadn’t been there.

That would be Ms Li Chang?

That’s right.

She works at your shop too, is that right?

She’s my apprentice, learning the ink.

And you had no idea she’d be there?

That’s right Sergeant. Only, I had No-Idea without the italics.

You weren’t aware she played poker?

A lot of people play poker, apparently you play poker, that doesn’t mean I expect to find them sitting next to Billy Sinclair shuffling a pack of cards.

She didn’t mention it to you at work?

If you were playing poker with Billy Sinclair, would you tell your boss?

Okay, so you decided to stay and play with Billy Sinclair and Ms Chang. Was Mister Miller happy to play too?

No, Yakky dropped out. He just stayed to watch.

Just watch.

That’s right. Nice italics by the way.

You think this is some sort of joke? A man’s died in case you’re forgotten.

According to your Rolex—sorry fake Rolex—it’s now three twenty-four in the a.m. The wee small hours, when the human body is at its lowest ebb. I’d say by now, two men have died.

Did you know Ms Chang had a criminal record when you took her on?

Of course I did. Anyway, she was up front about it.

It didn’t put you off employing her?

She served her time. And it’s not everyone can say that, is it fellas?

What’s that meant to mean?

I’m saying she’s paid her debt.

The man she stabbed might argue with that.

If she’d stabbed him two years earlier, she’d have been too young to have it on her permanent record and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

You think she was being abused?

I think we’ve all got history, Sergeant. That all I’m saying.

Shall we get back to the events of last night? You said there were five people present, is that correct?

Not quite, there were six people. five of them, including me, were playing cards.

Who were they?

Myself, Li and of course Billy Sinclair were at the table with two other players. Yakky was somewhere behind me, watching.

Who were the other two?

I don’t know their names. One of them was the Bumper.

And the final man?

He was the guy who wasn’t meant to see the sucker.

And for the benefit of the tape?

But not for you, eh?

Just tell us what you mean, Doctor Slidesmith.

And we’re back to the italics. There’s an old saying about poker: if you can’t see the sucker, it’s you.

So, this guy was the sucker?

He was meant to be, well, we all were. Aside from Billy of course and the Bumper.

Doctor Slidesmith, for the benefit of the tape, would you explain what the term Bumper means.

Let’s suppose we three were having a game of poker, and Constable Barker is sitting there with a royal flush. That’s the top hand, Constable in case you don’t know, as good as it gets, cannot be beat. Only problem is the pot is next to nothing. You’ve got the best hand possible but all it’s going to get you is loose change. What would you do, Constable?

When it’s my turn to bet I raise as high as I can?

Why not tell him why you’re shaking your head, Sergeant Wade?

The thing is Barker, if you make a big raise you’re telling people you have something worth betting on. So, unless they’re holding something pretty good, they’ll just fold.

So, what you need is a Bumper. Let’s say you ask your friend Sergeant Wade here—oh, now don’t look like that, I’m sure he’s lovely—you ask Sergeant Wade to keep bumping up the stakes for you, a little bit at a time. You don’t need to raise at all, with each round you just put in enough to stay in the game.

Now, of course, I don’t know you’ve made this arrangement. I’m just seeing two players betting cautiously, as if they’re sitting on moderately good cards. So, I keep on playing, and if I’m a sucker, I d on’t notice that the pot’s growing fat on my money.

That can go on for quite a while. Particularly if I’m holding what looks like a decent chance, the big casino sitting on a flush, say, or the dead man’s hand. And bad players quite often bet on mediocre cards, especially if they’ve put a lot in the pot already.

What are-

The big casino is the ten of diamonds, Constable. The dead man’s hand is two eights and two aces.

Well, well Sergeant Wade, it sounds like you know a bit more than just the rules.

Who was the sucker?

I told you I don’t know. He was a bloody awful card player though. He even had a lucky charm.

A lot of people have lucky charms.

People either have lucky charms or skill. I’ve yet to see a poker player with both. Anyway, not only did he have a lucky charm … he tapped it against the table when he had a good hand.

He had a tell.

He had more give-aways than Father Christmas.

And you don’t know who he was?

Never seen him before.

And the other man, the Bumper?

Never seen him either. Barely saw him when he was there if you know what I mean.

No, I don’t.

He was good at blending into the background. He was like a coat of beige paint.

Come in… For the benefit of the tape, WPC Gillian Web has entered the room at three thirty-seven a.m.

Can I speak to you outside for a moment?

Pausing interview at three thirty-eight.

 

#2

Interview with James Slidesmith, re-commencing at three fifty-nine a.m. Doctor Slidesmith, does the name Matthew Dolan mean anything to you?

It seems Mister Dolan was the sucker. One of the Doctors at the trauma unit thought he recognised him. They pulled up his medical records and his widow has just confirmed ID. You were right, two men are dead.

It wasn’t much of a deduction. He’d lost a lot of blood before the ambulance got there.

A fair amount of that blood was found on Mister Miller’s hands and clothing. Substantial amounts on Ms Chang as well.

Li was beside him when the bottle went in. Sit near a served artery and your dry-cleaning bills get out of hand.

You told me Mister Miller was sitting behind you. He was covered in blood but you weren’t.

Yakky jumped in to do some first aid and I stayed out of the way.

You we’re happy to let him bleed? I thought you were a Doctor.

Doctor of psychology. I leave the organic stuff to other people.

People like Mister Miller.

He knows more about first aid than I do.

So, after Mister Dolan was stabbed you stepped aside while Mister Miller gave first aid. What time was this?

I couldn’t say exactly. I’d estimate a little after midnight.

You called the ambulance?

That’s right.

The dispatcher’s log records the time of your call as twelve thirty-seven a.m. That’s more than a little after midnight. Why the delay?

It took me a while to find a phone.

You didn’t have a phone with you?

What about Mister Miller or Ms Chang?

Yakky and I didn’t take our phones. Billy Sinclair didn’t allow mobile phones at his table. Rules of the game. Both our phones are back in my flat. Why don’t you call the search team you’ve got there, they’ll confirm it.

Ms Chang?

Li was at the table so I assumed she wasn’t holding a mobile either.

You assumed?

She was helping to stem Mister Dolan’s blood loss. It wasn’t the time to ask if she had a phone I might borrow.

So, you sat and watched?

No, I went through Billy Sinclair’s pockets. I figured he’d still have his phone on him, it being his table and all.

And did he?

Yeah, it was in the back pocket of his trousers. Last one I checked because he’d landed on his back and I had to roll him over to get to it.

Searching Mister Sinclair’s dead body didn’t trouble you at all?

All the troubles I’ve had over the years have been handed to me by the living not the dead.

Billy Sinclair must have had a lot of pockets if it took you thirty minutes to go through them.

It took a couple of minutes. But his phone was locked, so even after I found it I couldn’t use it. I tore round the house looking for a landline.

You looked around the whole house?

That’s why your forensic team’s going to find my prints all over the place.

Did you find a landline?

In the end I ran out the house and started banging on doors. No one wanted to answer.

Why not?

I’m guessing Billy wasn’t a very neighbourly person. When you start interviewing people, I think they’ll tell you he wasn’t too considerate about keeping the noise down and wasn’t too pleased if people complained. I burst out of his house at gone midnight and started shouting the odds. It took a while to find someone willing to talk to me.

So, you’re at a table where a man has just had an artery served. While he’s spraying blood over Mister Miller and Ms Chang, you conduct a body search and a body roll, on a man who’s just been shot. And yet your hands are totally … clean.

Again: good use of italics.

You’re not as funny as you think, or as clever. Three pairs of black latex gloves were found in your jacket pocket. Care to explain that?

I’m a tattooist, I use latex gloves when I work. Black’s the favoured colour because they hide smears of blood and ink. It saves upsetting squeamish clients.

And you took three pairs to Billy Sinclair’s house because?

I ride a nineteen seventy-eight Sportster. When you ride a machine getting on for forty years old, you expect to be fixing things by the side of the road from time to time. Latex gloves keep my hands … clean.

Did you wear a pair of these gloves when you searched the body?

I think you did. I think that’s why your hands don’t have any blood on them. Or any powder burns from the shot gun.

I didn’t need to put gloves on, and when you get the lab reports, they’ll tell you my prints are all over Billy Sinclair’s phone. He took both barrels right between the eyes. He’d have been dead before he landed and dead people don’t tend to bleed. The mess was behind him, it wasn’t dripping into his pockets, it was dripping down the wall. The reason there’s no powder burns on my hands is simpler still. I didn’t fire the gun.

When WPC Web asked me to step outside a moment ago she didn’t just inform me that Dolan was dead. She told me the team currently at Sinclair’s property reported finding a pair of black Latex gloves, with blood on them.

Cool Hand Luke.

What?

Bad poker players, guys that remember winning once but forget a dozen losses, they have a favourite film. It’s either The Cincinnati Kid or Cool Hand Luke. With you it’s Cool Hand Luke, the bit where Paul Newman’s got a handful of bugger all and bluffs his way into a win. You can only bluff certain people at certain times. And, Sergeant, your bluffs are as clear as glass.

So, tell me what happened.

We’d been playing for about an hour and a half. In my experience that’s when the sharks come out to play and feeding time starts. Most players can’t play well for that long, they think they can but they’re wrong.

So?

So, I started cranking it up a little. Since I’d made the Bumper, I kept my eye on him. I couldn’t spot the signal he was getting to start upping the pot but I could see when he started betting and when Billy held back. Dolan was building up the pot quite nicely. So was Li. They were both losing money hand over fist.

That bothered you?

Li works for me, I know what I pay her and I know what she can’t afford to lose. Once she’d lost all her stake money, and that was more than a month’s earnings, Billy said he’d open a line of credit. That bothered me, a lot. It bothered Yakky too.

Does he have the hots for her?

Yakky’s not as mean as he looks, he’s got a weakness for lost souls. They bring out his maternal side.

What happened?

I told Li she’d do well to fold her cards and call it a night. Billy reminded her how much she’d just tipped into the pot and said it would be a shame to give it up without a fight.

How much was in the pot at that point?

Just short of three thousand. Of that Billy had put in less than two hundred. I’d largely coasted it but Dolan and Li had followed the Bumper and had both put in about a kay.

You thought that was enough?

It’s never enough if you stand to win. I don’t know what Billy had but I was holding David, Alexander, Julius and Charles.

What-

He means he had four kings, Constable.

I was happy to let the hand carry on. I win, I keep the pot and use a chunk of it to pay off any debt Li might be about run up with Billy. If I’m feeling greedy I just buy the debt and stop it from her wages. Either way it’s in my interest to keep the pot going.

Yakky, doesn’t know what I’m thinking and tells Li to walk away. Billy doesn’t like him butting in and tell him to shut it. Li is getting pissed off at me and Yakky, for telling her what to do. She tells both of us she can take care of herself and then tells Sinclair she’ll take the credit. Billy takes out this address book, he handles it with a certain flair, pale blue leather and obviously very expensive. Then he pulls out a fountain pen, opens the book at C and, very carefully, writes Li’s name down.

The games still on. Three more rounds, by now its big money just to stay in and Dolan’s nerve finally breaks. He folds then the bumper bows out and I tell Billy I’ll see him.

And you nail him with your picture show?

He is not a happy bunny at this point. Yakky puts his oar in again and tells Li she should walk away, again. Billy tells him to shut the fuck up. The atmosphere is not what you’d call pleasant. Little-Boy-Beige sitting all alone starts getting a bit jittery and drops his cards. Trouble is they land face up and Dolan sees what he’s been betting against for the last twenty minutes.

And it looks wrong?

Very wrong, Mister Bump was holding nothing. Dolan was a lousy player but he wasn’t green. He twigged he’d been set up. He looks at the Bumper’s cards then at Billy and it’s obvious all hell is about to break loose. I should have just walked away there and then.

Why didn’t you?

The pot. There was over seven grand on the table by then. And it was mine.

Dolan didn’t see it that way?

To be fair, he didn’t know who was who at that point. As far as he could tell, everyone at that table was in on the trick. I go to take my winnings and he stands up and tells me to keep my hands off. I tell him okay and back off, but he’s working himself into a state. There was bottle of Scotch on the table, best Hollywood traditions and all that. Dolan grabs it, smashes it on the edge of the table, then walks around to Billy calls him a cheating piece of shit.

What are your people doing all this time?

My people?

Mister Miller and Ms Chang.

Me and Yakky were having a lad’s night out playing some cards. Li being there was a surprise. They’re not my people.

Alright, so what were Mister Miller and Ms Li doing?

Li was trying to edge away from the table. Yakky was behind me, so I couldn’t say what he was doing. Probably bricking it, same as me.

And Billy?

He was laughing. Laughing at the sucker. It didn’t do anything to improve the situation.

If Dolan’s the one holding the broken bottle how did he come to get cut?

Billy and Dolan were to my right. The Bumper was on my left, putting him almost opposite them. And he wasn’t only bumping, he was playing body guard. That’s partly what tipped me off that he was on Billy’s pay role. I couldn’t see Billy Sinclair having people in his drum and not having a heavy at hand.

The way you describe him, this Bumper doesn’t sound like a heavy.

Well, pulling a gun lent weight to his point of view.

So, tell me, how is it Dolan ends up bleeding out with a chunk of glass in his neck and Billy Sinclair gets a face full of shot from his own man?

As I say, the Bumper’s a smallish guy but the gun he’s holding makes up for that. He leans across the table, over all that money, and tells Dolan to put the bottle down. Dolan does as he’s told. He puts the bottle on the table, moves slow, keeps his hands where Bumper can see them. He wasn’t stupid.

When Billy stands up, the avuncular river-boat-gambler act is over. He sucker-punches Dolan in the ribs, folds him in two, then takes hold of the bottle. Dolan was doubled over with his head almost on the table. Billy grabs his hair, I think he was planning to give him a few scars to remember the evening by.

I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean to kill him. But Dolan was panicking and thrashing about. He twisted at the wrong moment. Instead of his face, the bottle goes into his neck. That’s where Li picked up most of the blood stains. It was like a hose pipe. A fair amount of it goes over the Bumper too.

Dolan’s still thrashing about and, by chance, grabs the barrels of the gun. I expect Bumper just tugged on reflex, only his finger’s on the trigger. Boom, he’s unemployed. And very unlikely to get a reference.

So, it was all a big mistake?

That how it appeared to me. But what does it matter? It’s too late to say sorry, they’re both dead.

Then what?

When Billy got shot he went over backwards and let go of Dolan’s hair. Dolan slides off the table and that’s when Yakky started doing his Florence Nightingale act. We didn’t notice what he’d done to his knee until later.

And the Bumper, and you?

Neither of us moved for a second. Rabbits in the headlights, you know? Then Bumper looks at what’s left of his boss and starts moving again. Once he’d got his wiggle on I unfroze too, but I didn’t do anything other than watch him for a moment. For all I knew he was about to reload.

But he didn’t?

He pulled out a handkerchief and tried to wipe the gun down. I don’t know how well he did it. Then he dropped it on the floor and started stuffing my bloody winnings into his pockets, when they were filled he stuffed the rest down his shirt front.

And you let him?

He didn’t look like he’d be easily dissuaded at that point. Anyway, once I was happy he wasn’t about to start putting the witnesses away I was more concerned with finding a phone.

That was when you went through Billy’s clothes?

At first, I was looking around the room for the landline that didn’t exist. I didn’t think of checking Billy’s body until I saw Bumper go over to him and take that fancy blue address book out of his pocket.

And this Bumper character disappeared?

I heard the front door slam.

So, he just left, covered in blood, carrying seven large in cash?

All the cash … and Billy’s little blue book.

We’ve yet to find anyone to corroborate this story. None of Mister Sinclair’s neighbours report seeing the man.

If you had Billy Sinclair for a neighbour I expect you’d keep your curtains closed too. That’s why it took me so long to make the nine-nine-nine call, remember? No one wanted to put their head outside their door.

Mister Miller’s story differs substantially from yours.

Word of advice Sergeant Wade, one card player to another: some people are harder to bluff than others.

Okay, tell me again-

I’d liked to take a break

I’m sorry?

I said I’d like to take a break. I’ve cooperated fully. I’ve answered all your questions. I’ve listened to your veiled accusations and I’ve done all that without a lawyer being present. Now, I want a break and a cup of tea.

We’ve nearly done here and I think-

I don’t care what you think. I have a right to remain silent and if I don’t get a cup of tea that’s what I’m going to do. Then I might exercise my right to legal representation. And you see, Sergeant Wade, if that happens it’s likely to ruin the delightful rapport you and I have. Once I start dealing with an up-right and conscientious member of our great legal system we lose the intimacy, you see? Things, once revealed, may have to sit out there in the cold light of judicial scrutiny.

Are you refusing to answer any more questions?

Yes, unless they relate to tea.

Constable, nip out and get us some teas eh? See if you can scare up some biscuits too, I’m starving. For the benefit of the tape, Constable Barker has left the room. Interview suspended at four forty-three a.m.

 

#3

And then there were two.

You know something Doctor? You’re full of shit.

Now the tape’s not running, we could drop the formalities. Why not just call me Doc? You could drop the italics then.

The papers are going to love you. All this clever-clever talk and call-me-Doctor patter is going to go down a storm in the press gallery. But I’ll tell you something: juries don’t like smartarses. Neither do judges. If you’re lucky, with good behaviour, you’ll be out in under twenty. If you’re lucky.

Twenty years for calling an ambulance? That seems harsh. What do you think they’ll give Yakky for administering first aid?

I see it less as first aid, more as interfering with a crime scene. Was slicing himself open in the process part of the plan, bit of a sympathy ploy?

Plan?

I’ll tell you what I’m looking at Doctor. I’m looking at a room with three people in it, one of them with a history of putting a knife into somebody. Two of these three are covered in blood and just happen to work for the third. There’s a baize covered table in the room, playing cards scattered all over the shop and two dead bodies on the floor. All the markings of a high stakes poker game gone very, very wrong. All expect the money, which isn’t there. What I’m not seeing is hide nor hair of this mysterious Bumper who vanished, pausing just long enough to take the money and wipe any prints off one of the murder weapons of course. While he was doing that, your man Yakky manages to kneel on the broken bottle. And, because we can’t lift reliable prints off a pile of glass fragments, that destroys any evidence of just who used it to kill Dolan.

That’s what you’re seeing is it?

It is. I think the only Bumper there last night was Ms Chang. You and your little crew went over to Billy Sinclair’s with the intention of skinning him alive. Only you over played your hand and underestimated the dangers of taking money off villains. Or maybe you didn’t underestimate them and that’s why Mister Miller was there along with a shot gun. In case it went sour, to use your words. Now, the three of you are up to your ankles in blood. So, while Billy’s bleeding out, you gather up the money and come up with this cock and bull story about needing to scour the neighbourhood for a phone. Only you’re not looking for a phone, you’re looking to hide the money somewhere so you can collect it later.

Can you see this?

Your hand?

Yeah, my hand. Notice something?

It’s trembling, you starting to worry Slidesmith?

The story I told you is as genuine as your fake Rolex, Sergeant. Think about that. When real players see another player pick up a card and get the shakes, they know it’s time to fold.

Meaning?

You tremble when the danger’s past. All the adrenaline as nothing to do, so it wanders round your veins and jangles your nerves. When a player picks up a card and trembles, it’s because he’s got the card he needs. He’s relieved, not worried.

What have you go to be relieved about?

You didn’t mention the blue address book. You see, Sergeant Wade, players, real players, don’t talk about tells, or know the fancy nick names for the cards and they don’t talk about luck. What they do is remember all the times they win and forget all the times they’ve lost. And they lose a lot. And that costs a lot. And the minute I saw you, I knew the only way you’d ever see the sucker at the table, was if someone handed you a mirror.

We’ll stick with the story about the Bumper but let’s add a twist. Maybe he didn’t run away with the money and the blue leather address book. Maybe I took the blue book. Billy had written down my apprentice’s name in it and I really didn’t want her name connected to a dead north London villain, not in writing. And maybe, being the curious sort, I spent a moment flipping through that book.

There were a good few names. people owing Mister Sinclair money, or favours in lieu. One of those names was Wade. Wade DC, to be exact, next to some very big numbers. DC? Darren Colin Wade? Dave Charles Wade? Who could know? Then guess what? I find my interviewing officer is a Detective Sergeant Wade. And DS Wade knows the silly names losers give to playing cards, talks about tells and thinks he has a talent for bluffing. So, I’m faced with a man who talks like a piss poor card player and wears a watch worth three kay. That he pretends is fake. So, I wonder—and please set that tape rolling again any time you like—if DC might stand for Detective Constable. Of course, that would mean DS Wade has been in Billy Sinclair’s pocket since before he was promoted. That would mean DS Wade has been losing money for quite a while. And that begs the question, where does a man who has on-going gambling debts to a local villain find the money to buy a Rolex? A Rolex he tells people is fake. I believe you, about juries not liking smartarses. Now, believe me; they like bent coppers even less.

Good luck proving any of this Doctor Slidesmith.

Oh dear, back to the italics are we? I don’t really need to proof it though, do I? I don’t even need to plant the-seed-of-doubt, because it’s there already, in someone’s head. I’m not the only one who can tell a genuine Rolex from a copy, and you can bet I’m not the only one to wonder about it.

If Billy Sinclair’s little blue book, as described on that tape over there, should turn up on someone’s desk, certain wheels might start to grind powerful small. Better it’s not found, better it stays lost, along with all the money.

And do you think this Bumper character is likely to keep it somewhere safe, where it’s not likely to be found?

Oh, I’m sure of it. I’m also sure that when DC Barker comes back with our tea, we’ll resume the interview. I’m also sure that, for the benefit of the tape, Mister Miller, Ms Chang and my good self will be praised for our attempts to save the unfortunate Mister Dolan. And then we’ll all walk out of here; free and clear.

And Sergeant Wade, when I say free and clear, I’m not talking italics.

THE END

Oh my gosh, I love it.  What an introduction to Doc Slidesmith!  If you would like to read more then you need to get yourself a copy of Needle Song, published in eBook by Fahrenheit Press today | Purchase Needle Song via Fahrenheit Press |

Needle Song by Russell Day was published in the UK by Fahrenheit Press on 30th April 2018 and is available in eBook format with the paperback to follow.

about the author3

Russell Day (1)Russell Day was born in 1966 and grew up in Harlesden, NW10 – a geographic region searching for an alibi. From an early age it was clear the only things he cared about were motorcycles, tattoos and writing. At a later stage he added family life to his list of interests and now lives with his wife and two children. He’s still in London, but has moved south of the river for the milder climate.

Although he only writes crime fiction Russ doesn’t consider his work restricted. ‘As long as there have been people there has been crime, as long as there are people there will be crime.’ That attitude leaves a lot of scope for settings and characters. One of the first short stories he had published, The Second Rat and the Automatic Nun, was a double-cross story set in a world where the church had taken over policing. In his first novel, Needle Song, an amateur detective employs logic, psychology and a loaded pack of tarot cards to investigate a death.

Russ often tells people he seldom smiles due to nerve damage, sustained when his jaw was broken. In fact, this is a total fabrication and his family will tell you he’s always been a miserable bastard.

Author Links: | Twitter |

#CoverReveal: Needle Song by Russell Day (@rfdaze) @fahrenheitpress #NeedleSongBook #FahrenheitPress #FREEShortStory

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to damppebbles today and to a rather special cover reveal.

Back in 2017 Fahrenheit Press, the utterly awesome independent crime fiction publisher launched a competition for new and established writers from around the world. They wanted to create a short story anthology and asked for submissions.

They were inundated with entries and a panel of six intelligent and highly esteemed crime fiction fanatics (I wasn’t on the panel but it sounds like I should have been!) whittled the anonymous entries down to 15. The result? NOIRVILLE, Fahrenheit Press’ very own crime anthology, was born! You may wonder why I’m telling you this but stick with it…

The winner of the competition and the writer whose story was awarded first place by the judges was Russell Day. In second place was….well, Russell Day. Yup, you read that right. Russell Day entered two stories in the competition and placed first and second. (And for the sake of clarification, yes, Russell did enter two stories into the competition!)

Obviously, Fahrenheit Press HAD to sign Russell Day and today’s cover reveal is for NEEDLE SONG, the first novel from this exciting debut author. But only one of Russell’s stories made it into NOIRVILLE. How do you fancy reading the other one? You do? Then read on…

FREE RUSSELL DAY SHORT STORY IN EXCHANGE FOR A TWEET:
To receive a copy of Russell Day’s award-winning story, make sure you’re following @damppebbles (so you can receive the DM with the download links) and then tweet the following (copy and paste):

NEEDLE SONG by Russell Day (@rfdaze) published by @fahrenheitpress in eBook on Monday 30th April! #NeedleSongBook | @damppebbles
https://fahrenheit-press.myshopify.com/products/russell-day-needle-song-ebook-kindle-version

No retweets, it has to be a shiny new tweet otherwise it won’t count! Any problems then please contact me on Twitter (@damppebbles).

And now for the cover reveal. Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite…

Spending the night with a beautiful woman would be a good alibi, if the body in the next room wasn’t her husband.

Doc Slidesmith has a habit of knowing things he shouldn’t. He knows the woman Chris Rudjer meets online is married. He knows the adult fun she’s looking for is likely to be short lived. And when her husband’s killed, he knows Chris Rudjer didn’t do it.

Only trouble is the police disagree and no one wants to waste time investigating an open and shut case.

No one except Doc.

Using lies, blackmail and a loaded pack of Tarot cards, Doc sets about looking for the truth – but the more truth he finds, the less he thinks his friend is going to like it.

I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Here’s the cover…

needle song.jpg

I love that cover (those arms and tattoos belong to the author himself!) and I cannot wait for the blog tour which will be coming your way soon.

If you would like to get your mitts on a copy of Needle Song then you won’t have long to wait. Needle Song will be published in eBook on Monday 30th April 2018 with the paperback to follow a week later.  If you fancy being quick off the mark and pre-ordering, then click HERE.

about the author3

Russell Day (1).jpg

Russell Day was born in 1966 and grew up in Harlesden, NW10 – a geographic region searching for an alibi. From an early age it was clear the only things he cared about were motorcycles, tattoos and writing. At a later stage he added family life to his list of interests and now lives with his wife and two children. He’s still in London, but has moved south of the river for the milder climate.

Although he only writes crime fiction Russ doesn’t consider his work restricted. ‘As long as there have been people there has been crime, as long as there are people there will be crime.’ That attitude leaves a lot of scope for settings and characters. One of the first short stories he had published, The Second Rat and the Automatic Nun, was a double-cross story set in a world where the church had taken over policing. In his first novel, Needle Song, an amateur detective employs logic, psychology and a loaded pack of tarot cards to investigate a death.

Russ often tells people he seldom smiles due to nerve damage, sustained when his jaw was broken. In fact, this is a total fabrication and his family will tell you he’s always been a miserable bastard.

Author Links: | Twitter |

#CaseClosed: #March2018 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles #booklove

Hello, my bookish beauties. As today is the last day of March I have my monthly ‘goings-on’ post to share with you. It’s #CaseClosed time! And I’ll be honest here, I have no idea where March has gone. I ‘somehow’ missed that after March 29th (my dad’s birthday, an obviously easy to remember date!) and after March 30th, comes…wait for it, March 31st! And that’s it, March 2018 is officially done. How the heck did that happen?

Before I go any further, I would like to wish all of you who celebrate Easter a very happy, chocolate filled one. And if you don’t celebrate Easter then I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend so far, full of the things you love (books I hope, lots and lots of books).

I’m glad to say that March at damppebbles HQ has been significantly busier than February. Thank crunchie!

I took part in five blog tours:

Only three were review posts:
Blue Night by Simone Buchholz | Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell | No Comment by Graham Smith |

And two were extract posts:
The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne | Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley |

I managed a few publication day or ‘near as dangit’ reviews:
Fighting Monsters by Rebecca Bradley | The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste | The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne | Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett | Hangman by Daniel Cole |

My First Monday Crime review for March was the eerie The Intrusions by Stav Sherez. Well worth a look if you’re a crime thriller fan.

I hosted a couple of other posts which weren’t strictly blog tours but coincided with either the initial publication of a book or the release in a new format:
Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett (guest post: Why Adam is a Vet) | Good Friday by Lynda La Plante (extract) |

I also had a small-(ish) NetGalley meltdown, lol! You can read that post by clicking HERE. I hope, by posting my burgeoning NetGalley shelf, that I’ve made a number of my fellow book bloggers feel a little better about theirs. The outright winner of the poll was the third book in the Detective Erika Foster series written by Robert Bryndza, ‘Dark Water’, so look out for a review coming to the blog soon. I’m absolutely thrilled with what you lot chose (thank you!), I adore Erika and can’t wait to read ‘Dark Water’.

Then there was the fantastic news that I’m going to be organising blog tours for the incredible indie crime fiction publisher, Fahrenheit Press! What a match made in crime fiction heaven, huh? If you’re a book blogger and would like to be kept informed then please click this link and enter your details. I have some of the most amazing books to organise tours for so you really don’t want to miss out!

(Gosh, March WAS a busy month!). Finally, I shared the stunning cover of the latest Louise Jensen psychological thriller, The Date. So excited to read this one. Louise Jensen’s ‘The Surrogate’ was one of my books of 2017!

And breathe….

Which only leaves one thing left to do. My book of the month for March 2018!

cropped-hand-master-botm

I’ve had a couple of stonking five star reads this month. However, there was no question which book I was going to choose as my book of the month…

giphy (2)

giphy (3)

It’s Hangman by Daniel Cole, the second book in the Ragdoll series. I enjoyed the first book in the series but this latest instalment blew me away. I loved it. It felt like a crime/horror crossover which I am absolutely loving at the moment. Highly entertaining from start to finish!

hangman cover

“I have to say, I found the story a little far-fetched in some places but in all honesty, I didn’t actually give a hoot as I was utterly captivated by the characters and what was going to happen next. Daniel Cole had my full attention from start to finish and to me, that is more important than a little artistic licence. I also loved the humour Cole has written into the pages of Hangman. This is the first book in a long time that I found myself quietly chuckling along to.

So utterly gripping I couldn’t put this book down. I described the need to keep turning the pages of Ragdoll as similar to catnip. Well, the author has done it again but this is super strength catnip! A perfect read for me.”

So, that was March. I can’t wait to see what April has in store for us – lots of lovely new book releases I hope and maybe, just maybe, a hint of sunshine (PLEASE!). I’m joining the blog tour for My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland on Monday 2nd April so make sure you pop back for that. It’s a corker of a read.

Have a wonderful ‘springy’ month everyone.