#BlogTour | #BookReview: 17 Church Row by James Carol @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #17ChurchRow #damppebbles

17 Church Row: We all have darker instincts . . . (Paperback)

“Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.

Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.

For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.

But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?”

I am delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today and to my stop (one of the first two stops!) on the 17 Church Row blog tour. 17 Church Row is the latest release from the brilliant James Carol and it will be published in paperback later this week. I received a free eARC of 17 Church Row but that has in no way influenced my review.

I am a huge fan of James Carol’s writing. If Mr Carol writes it, you can guarantee I’ll be reading it as soon as humanly possible. His Jefferson Winter series is absolutely sublime and his standalone novels (of which 17 Church Row is one) are all thrilling, captivating reads. If you’ve never picked up a James Carol novel then you’re really, REALLY missing out.

Nikki Rhodes took her eyes off her twin daughters for only a split second, and that was all it took for tragedy to strike. Nikki knows their lives have changed forever when she hears the screeching of tyres and sees the front door swinging wide open. Learning to rebuild their lives after the loss of Grace is the toughest thing they’ve had to face, but particularly for Bella – Grace’s twin sister – who hasn’t spoken since the accident. When Ethan suggests they move house, leaving behind the painful memories, Nikki doesn’t know what to do for the best. But radio DJ, Ethan has found the perfect house for them – 17 Church Row in Kensington. It’s the house of the future and architect, Catriona is looking to build many, many more. Having a media star like Ethan Rhodes move into her project is a gold mine. You just can’t buy that kind of publicity! 17 Church Row is a futuristic abode decked out with the latest in AI technology. The house is run by ‘Alice’ who can answer to your every whim and is always one step ahead of you. The pain of losing Grace will be with the family forever. Bella is their number one priority now and they have to do everything they can to make her life as happy and as fulfilled as possible. And there’s always the chance that this change of scene could be the catalyst to get Bella to talk again. But what if their new safe haven isn’t as safe and secure as they believe…?

If memory serves I’ve said this before: Woah! If this is the future then I’m locking myself in a library and NEVER, EVER leaving! The last time I said that it was about self-driving cars. I think it’s fair to say I feel the same about self-driving houses! Oh.My.Goodness. This futuristic thriller is one scary read and I’m quite happy in my very normal, very non-AI house – thank you very much! If you had presented 17 Church Row to be me before I read this book I would have bitten your hand off. Modern, sleek, visually stunning. Carol paints a beautiful aesthetic with his words. But I’ve read the book. You can keep your all-singing, all-dancing house!

This is an entertaining thriller and with some interesting characters. I really felt for Nikki who was punishing herself on a daily basis over her daughter’s death. To want to escape the memories but at the same time not feel able to leave them behind, what a tough decision to make. And poor little Bella broke my heart on a number of occasions. I did feel one of the characters was only part of the story to move the plot along – a bit like being a red jerseyed ensign about to embark on your first mission with Captain James T. Kirk to an alien planet. You’ve had a few lines, played a small part and now we all know you’re going to get in in the neck! It wasn’t a huge surprise for me when something questionable happened to them. The architect, Catriona, is also super creepy…yuck!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I would recommend all of James Carol’s books as they are all brilliant. If you’re in the mood for something a little bit different then this is the book for you. It’s quite terrifying to think this is how we could be living in the future. Quite an eye-opener. And yes, my Alexa is now in the bin….

I chose to read and review an eARC of 17 Church Row. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

17 Church Row by James Carol was published in the UK by Zaffre Books on 14th November and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Goodreads |

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about-the-author3

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James Carol was born in Scotland, where he spent his early years. He moved to England in the eighties and has lived there ever since. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor.

Broken Dolls, the first Jefferson Winter thriller, was published in 2014 and has sold a third of a million copies and been translated into twelve languages. This was followed by three other Jefferson Winter thrillers and a trilogy of novellas set during Winter’s FBI days.

James has also written three standalone thrillers. The first of these, The Killing Game was shortlisted for a CWA Ian Fleming Dagger award.

When he’s not writing, James can usually be found in his recording studio where he is currently writing and recording the first Dream Nation album.

James lives in Hertfordshire with his wife, two children, a dog and a horse.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#QandA with J. S. Carol (@JamesCarolBooks) author of #KissMeKillMe @BonnierZaffre

kiss me kill me“When Zoe meets Dan, he’s everything she is looking for in a man – intelligent, charming, supportive.

It’s only after they’re married that she realises that he’s controlling, aggressive, paranoid.

And there’s no way out.

Or is there?

Zoe knows she has to escape, but Dan’s found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.

But Dan has plans of his own. Plans that don’t necessarily include Zoe.

Be careful who you trust . . .

I am delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today as I have something quite special to share.  I don’t do many interviews or Q&As on the blog but when I do, it’s always with an author whose books mean a lot to me.  Today I have a Q&A with J.S. Carol, who writes the awesome Jefferson Winter books (as James Carol) and today publishes his utterly brilliant standalone psychological thriller Kiss Me Kill Me in paperback.  A very happy publication day to James and the team at Bonnier Zaffre!  If you missed my review of Kiss Me Kill Me when it was released in eBook earlier this year then please click HERE.  I rather liked it!

But let’s not dither about any more than we need to.  Here’s my Q&A with James…

DP: Welcome to damppebbles.com, James and thank you so much for joining me today.

I have read and loved KISS ME KILL ME (along with all of your other books!).  Could you tell us a little about where the inspiration behind the book came from?

JSC: Thank you so much and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Like all my books KISS ME KILL ME started off with a question. I was sitting around one day and an image popped into my head of a woman staring at the pink cross on a pregnancy test and being totally devastated. To start with I thought she didn’t want the baby, but that wasn’t the case. That’s when the questions started. Why had this upset her so much? Why was she hiding away in the bathroom doing the test in secret? What was she worried might happen? The big question though was why didn’t she want her husband to know…?

DP: I am an avid reader of the crime and thriller genre so I’ve learnt over the years to look for clues whilst reading and try and guess where the story is going.  One of the things I love most about your books is how you always manage to surprise me.  How do you ensure you stay one step ahead of other authors in the same genre and keep us readers on our toes?

JSC: That’s a tough one, and it’s getting tougher. Like you pointed out, crime and thriller readers want to solve the crime. What’s more, they’re getting better at doing it too. If you keep them guessing until the end then you win. However, if they work it out then they feel cheated. It’s a real high-wire act. Get it wrong and that’s it, game over.

I think the way I write helps me to stay one step ahead. Rather than plot things out, I get an idea and then run with it. What this means is that my stories often go off in directions that I wasn’t expecting. The theory I subscribe to is that if things are taking me by surprise then hopefully they’ll take the reader by surprise too.

DP: The characters in KISS ME KILL ME are a fascinating bunch.  What do you like most about Zoe? About Daniel?  And what’s your least favourite thing about them?

JSC: What I like most about Zoe is the fact that even though life has dragged her all the way down to rock bottom, she manages to find the strength to try to escape. Daniel might be controlling every aspect of her life, but he hasn’t totally broken her. The thing I don’t like is her lack of confidence. This is a trait that I share with her, and one that I find annoying in myself.

With Daniel there’s not much I like, to be honest. I can see why Zoe fell for him. At the start he was charming and seemed genuine – there was nothing to suggest that he was the monster he turned out to be. The one thing I did like was writing him. The evil characters are always so much more fun to write than the good ones!

DP: If KISS ME KILL ME was made into a movie, who would you want to play Zoe and Daniel? Who would you choose to play Gabriel?

JSC: Jennifer Lawrence would make a great Zoe. She’s the right age and she would be able to project the combination of toughness and vulnerability the role would require. Patrick J Adams from Suits would be great as Gabriel. I could imagine Zoe trusting him. For Daniel I’d go for Daniel Radcliffe. He seems to be trying to shake off the Harry Potter tag so I can imagine him getting his teeth into a bad guy role. [DP: I LOVE the idea of Daniel Radcliffe playing Daniel.  What a perfect choice!]

DP: Do you have any plans to write a sequel to KISS ME KILL ME.  I had the feeling that should you want to, the opportunity was there to continue the story…?

JSC: KISS ME KILL ME was conceived as a standalone so at this stage there are no plans for a follow up.  That said, if a suitable story presented itself then I would definitely consider writing it. One thing I love about writing is the way that the characters take on a life of their own. This was especially true with Zoe. There was a whole bunch of things she did that surprised me, so who knows, maybe her story isn’t quite finished yet.

DP: And finally, what question do you wish I had asked but didn’t (and what’s the answer!)?

JSC: What’s your favourite flavour of muffin? I’ve got to say muffins are a bit of a weakness. Most days I’ll have one while I’m writing. And blueberry is my favourite … except on the days when it’s chocolate chip… then there are these amazing salted caramel ones that you sometimes get … so many to choose from!

Thank you so much for joining me today, James.  

Kiss Me Kill Me by J.S. Carol was published in the UK by Bonnier Zaffre on 31st May 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Book Depository | Goodreads |

about the author3

James+Carol+(head+and+shoulders)J. S. Carol is the author of The Killing Game, which has been shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. As James Carol, he has also written the bestselling Jefferson Winter series. Broken Dolls, the first of these, was published in 2014 to rave reviews and reached #1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. Presumed Guilty is the first of these.

James lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children. When he’s not writing he can usually be found in a pair of headphones, recording and producing music.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Kiss Me Kill Me by J.S. Carol (@JamesCarolBooks) @BonnierZaffre #KissMeKillMe

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How far would you go to escape the one you love?

When Zoe meets Dan, he’s everything she is looking for in a man – intelligent, charming, supportive.
It’s only after they’re married that she realises that he’s controlling, aggressive, paranoid.
And there’s no way out.

Or is there?

Zoe knows she has to escape, but Dan’s found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.
But Dan has plans of his own. Plans that don’t necessarily include Zoe.

Be careful who you trust . . .”

I am SUCH a fan of J.S. Carol’s writing. He’s one of my very favourite authors so when an unexpected delivery of book post arrived and his name was on the cover, I have to confess, I whooped for joy! And maybe did a little jig around the kitchen, but unless you have photographic evidence of that it’s not something I’m going to confess to anytime soon.

J. S. Carol is the author of the incredible Jefferson Winter series (click HERE for my review of the fourth book in the Jefferson Winter series, The Quiet Man) plus the awesome standalone thriller The Killing Game). As authors go, I think it’s safe to say that J. S. (or James) Carol is one of my all-time favourites. So I was a little giddy to have his latest release in my paws. So giddy I made a start on it almost straight away (which is kind of unheard of at damppebbles HQ. I regularly leave books on the shelf for large periods of time; some glaring at me, some giving me the eye!) Anyway, to cut to the chase, Kiss Me, Kill Me is published in eBook by Bonnier Zaffre on 22nd February (happy eBook publication day!) and in paperback towards the end of May 2018.

Zoe believes she has met the perfect man in Daniel. He’s everything she has always wanted in a partner. Life is pretty much perfect; Daniel is at her beck and call, he lavishes her with expensive and ornate gifts, and treats her as though she is the centre of his world. So when Daniel proposes, Zoe gleefully accepts. Life is good. They’re married, they’re in love and it’s everything Zoe has always wanted (plus he gives her time and space to write the novel she has wanted to pen for years). But a few weeks into married life things take an unexpected turn and Daniel suddenly starts to show his true colours. He becomes domineering, controlling and threatening. Zoe has no say, no control and no way out. Who can she trust? Who can she turn to, to escape the man she loves?

So, this book made me angry (in a ‘provoking a reaction or an emotion’ way). Reading the chapters set in the present day I was aghast at the way Daniel treated Zoe and in all honesty, it was making my blood boil. To the point where I had to put down Kiss Me, Kill Me on a couple of occasions and just walk away. Regular visitors to my blog will know that I read a lot of crime, which translates to a lot of bad people doing a lot of bad stuff, but this…! This despicable, deviant character with his callous, intimidating behaviour towards this poor woman who had been totally duped into marrying him. Well, this sort of plotline is obviously my breaking point. I felt sick to my stomach for Zoe, I wanted to reach into the pages and rescue her from her nightmare. Hats off to the author for provoking such a strong emotional response in me. Brilliantly written but oh my gosh, hard to read at times.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is told from Zoe’s point of view; her day to day incarceration, her carefully measured and balanced diet, the way her clothes are laid out for her each and every day. The second part is told from Daniel’s perspective and drops a bombshell on the reader that you really don’t expect. I loved both of these sections. By this time, both Zoe and Daniel had gotten under my skin and I was pretty much obsessed with the pair of them. The third part lost a little of the ‘pull’ that the first two parts had, for me. It was still gripping and I was completely hooked but not in the same way as before.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. It’s superb, incredibly entertaining and really quite disturbing in places. I was completely smitten with Carol’s characters in this novel but in quite different ways. There was one section where I could see what was coming but everything else took me completely by surprise. The ending was missing a few undotted i’s and a couple of uncrossed t’s, so it makes me wonder if we will see some of these characters again in a future novel. I certainly hope that is the case! I loved this book. Love, love, loved it!

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Kiss Me, Kill Me. The above review is my own unbiased opinion. My thanks to Imogen at Bonnier Zaffre for inviting me to join the blog tour. Keep your eye on the blog next week when I will be featuring a Q&A from the man himself, J.S. Carol!

Kiss Me, Kill Me by J. S. Carol was published in the UK by Bonnier Zaffre on 22nd February 2018 in eBook format with the paperback to follow in May 2018 (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author3

James+Carol+(head+and+shoulders).png

J. S. Carol is the author of The Killing Game, which has been shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. As James Carol, he has also written the bestselling Jefferson Winter series. Broken Dolls, the first of these, was published in 2014 to rave reviews and reached #1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. Presumed Guilty is the first of these.

James lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children. When he’s not writing he can usually be found in a pair of headphones, recording and producing music.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |