#BlogTour | #BookReview: Death’s Silent Judgement by Anne Coates (@Anne_Coates1) @urbanebooks

deaths silent judgement.jpg“Death’s Silent Judgement is the thrilling sequel to Dancers in the Wind, and continues the gripping series starring London-based investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge.

Following the deadly events of Dancers in the Wind, freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is thrown into the heart of a horrific murder investigation when a friend, Liz Rayman, is found with her throat slashed at her dental practice.

With few clues to the apparently motiveless crime Hannah throws herself into discovering the reason for her friend’s brutal murder, and is determined to unmask the killer.

But before long Hannah’s investigations place her in mortal danger, her hunt for the truth placing her in the path of a remorseless killer…”

I am absolutely delighted to be part of the Death’s Silent Judgement blog tour today alongside the lovely Linda of Linda’s Book Bag.  I would also like to wish author, Anne Coates and publisher Urbane Books a very happy publication day!  I read and reviewed the first book in the Hannah Weybridge series, Dancers in the Wind last year.  If you missed that review or would just like a reminder, click here to read my thoughts.  I really enjoyed the first book so was thrilled to be asked to join the blog tour for Death’s Silent Judgement.

Being reacquainted with Hannah Weybridge once again was great.  Dancers in the Wind has very much stayed with me since I read it last year and I often just stop and think about Hannah.  She’s a struggling journalist but also a single mum to one year old Elizabeth.  In the first book Hannah just seemed to attract trouble wherever she went so I was keen to see if the same would happen in the second book.  And it certainly does! Hannah discovers her friend’s recently murdered body in a church basement.  Her friend, Liz Rayman, has recently returned from a stint volunteering at an outpost in Somalia.  On her return to London and as a qualified dentist, she was recruited by the local parish priest to offer free dental treatment to those living on the streets.  But whilst the priest is absent one evening, Liz is brutally murdered.  All of the signs point to one of the homeless people Liz was trying to help but Hannah can’t and won’t believe that theory.  Tasked by Liz’s mother to investigate, Hannah sets out to discover exactly why her friend was so brutally killed.  But what Hannah doesn’t realise is that she’s getting involved in something much bigger than she expects.  This goes way beyond the murder of her friend and into darker territory than she ever imagined.

I found the Dancers in the Wind to be quite a gritty, raw read.  Unfortunately between the first and the second book something has been lost.  I’m afraid to say that I didn’t get that edginess this time around.  Hannah came across as a nice, middle class mother who could easily afford to employ a nanny to look after her child whilst she went undercover in Cardboard City for a few hours, only to return to her comfortable home and sleeping baby.  I felt as though she had lost a lot of the ‘struggle’ which I really liked in the first book.

It may of course be something to do with the friction and the chemistry created by love interest DI Tom Jordan being completely absent.  Tom was working in the US throughout much of the story and was only available by telephone.  I really missed having this character involved in the investigation.

There is a new DI in Tom’s place for Hannah to deal with but I found her quite contrary. DI Claudia Turner blows hot and cold and I couldn’t work her out at all.  I hope Tom returns in the next book and DI Turner is only seen in passing.  When I think of this series I always tend to think of Hannah AND Tom so was maybe a little disappointed that the hunky DI felt too far away to be properly involved.

Something I haven’t mention in this or my previous review is that these books are set in the early to mid-nineties which I love.  There were several points when I thought ‘Oh, why doesn’t Hannah do that?’ only to realise that THAT hadn’t been invented back in 1994!  I left school around 1994 and I was just starting to take an interest in the world around me so it does feel a little nostalgic and who doesn’t love a little nostalgia in their reads?

The plot was fast moving and kept my attention from start to finish.  Even now, several days after finishing Death’s Silent Judgement I feel there are loose ends which I can’t tie up in my own mind.  Now this may to enable a third book in the series but I am left feeling a little confused and wondering.

Death’s Silent Judgement is the second book in the Hannah Weybridge series so I would recommend reading Dancers in the Wind first so you get to know the characters and their backgrounds.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  I love Anne Coates’ writing and I would read more of Anne’s work in a heartbeat.  Dancers in the Wind is, in my opinion, the superior book but this one is definitely worth a read.

Three and a half out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Death’s Silent Judgement.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Death’s Silent Judgement by Anne Coates was published in the UK by Urbane Publications on 11th May 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author2

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Author photo and information taken from Anne Coates’ website

All my life I have loved reading and writing. As a child I devoured books (following my mother’s example) and was encouraged by the Deputy Head at my secondary school. It was a brand new school and the actual library was not then open so books were stored in a room off his study. He allowed me to exchange books whenever I wanted which seemed an amazing privilege.

After reading for a degree in English and French, I came to London to begin my career and never left. Having worked for various publishers, I then moved to magazine journalism before becoming a freelance writer, editor and translator.

My first non-fiction books were written after the birth of my daughter Olivia (who is still known to friends as Libby) and some have been inspired by her or various stages in her life. It is an absolute joy for me that she shares my love of books, theatre, cinema as well as wining and dining.

My freelance journalism has led me to some strange places – for example a gas platform in the North Sea via helicopter – but I love how it has also informed my fiction. The idea for Dancers in the Wind emerged after I had interviewed a prostitute and then wondered “what if…”.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

 

 

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#BlogTour | #BookReview: No Safe Home by Tara Lyons (@taralyonsauthor) @BloodhoundBook

No Safe HOme cover.jpg“Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is haunted when the suspicious death of a teenage girl triggers suppressed memories. With a stalker targeting vulnerable women in Central London, and his team rapidly diminishing, Hamilton must conquer his emotions before another family is destroyed. 

In a sleepy town in Hertfordshire, Katy has worked hard to rebuild her life after leaving behind everything she knew. But when her past catches up with her, and her young son’s life is threatened, Katy must admit her true identity if she has any hope of surviving.

A home should be a safe place, shouldn’t it?

But sometimes it is hard to know who you can trust…

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my stop on the No Safe Home blog tour.  I have been waiting for the release of this book for some time now, ever since I read Tara Lyon’s brilliant debut solo novel In the Shadows last year.  In the Shadows was so good that it made it onto my top reads of 2016 list.  A brilliant, twisty story with one of the most appealing fictional detectives I have met in a long time.  And he’s back!  This is book two in the DI Denis Hamilton series and oh my gosh, it’s a corker!

DI Hamilton and his team become involved in two brutal cases.  The first, a young teenager who has apparently committed suicide in her bedroom.  Her parents don’t believe for one moment that it’s suicide – they know their daughter was murdered.  DI Hamilton’s reaction to the case is strange…unexpected and he hastily makes a retreat leaving the case in the capable yet nervy hands of DS Kerry Fraser.  The second case involves the murder of a woman and her young son, left to decompose for weeks before being discovered. Meanwhile, Katy Royal is hiding something.  She’s upped sticks and moved from the busy, bustling city to a leafy Hertfordshire town.  She’s incognito and plans to do absolutely everything she can to stay that way.  Even if it means her young son has to spend the majority of his time tucked away in their flat.  But someone is watching and wanting Katy all for himself, and they will stop at nothing to find her.  But is he the only one?  And, most importantly, is he the most dangerous?

I absolutely loved this book.  I couldn’t wait to be reacquainted with the grumpy yet lovable DI.  I felt whilst reading In the Shadows that DI Denis Hamilton was one of the main characters but he wasn’t THE main character.  I found the man intriguing and I wanted to know more.  And that is exactly what Tara Lyons has done, she’s given us a whole lot more Denis. No Safe Home provides us with DI Hamilton’s tragic backstory, we get to meet his long suffering wife and see snippets of their marriage and the after effects of their loss.  He’s a lot nicer than the majority of detectives I like to read about so maybe I’m mellowing with age!

The prologue is both shocking and terrifying.  After reading it, I put my Kindle down, got out of bed and went to check on my sleeping children.  It’s not often that a book has that kind of affect on me!  From that point on I was hooked.  Katy makes you instantly suspicious and you want to know exactly what she is running away from.  What has she left behind in London and why?  As the story progressed I began to feel a real warmth and lots of sympathy for Katy; after all, she’s just a young single mum trying to do what’s best for her son.

Whilst reading the closing chapters I suddenly realised that I was holding my breath!  The plot moves at a swift, exciting pace making the book hard to put down.  Although this is the second book in the series I think it could easily be read as standalone as there is little to no mention of the previous case undertaken by Denis and his team.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but something about this book, compared to Tara’s previous solo release, felt different.  The writing style felt more self assured, more knowledgeable…dare I say, more mature?

Would I recommend this book?  Most definitely.  It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read and I can’t wait for more DI Denis Hamilton.  I can’t remember the last time I felt so much fear whilst reading…I thought reading was supposed to be relaxing!  Gripping plot, great storytelling and relatable characters.

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of No Safe Home.  My thanks to Bloodhound Books for providing me with a copy and asking me to be a part of the blog tour.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

No Safe Home by Tara Lyons was published in the UK by Bloodhound Books on 31st January 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Bloodhound Books |

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Tara is a crime/psychological thriller author from London, UK. Turning 30 in 2015 propelled her to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. She studied English Literature at Brunel University and was Assistant Editor at an in-house magazine for 8 years,

In the Shadows is the author’s solo debut novel published in March 2016. She has also co-written with New York Times bestselling author, M.A Comley – The Caller and Web of Deceit.

When she’s not writing, Tara can be found at a local Wacky Warehouse stuck in the ball-pit with her young, energetic son.

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Website |

 

 

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates (@Anne_Coates1) @urbanepub

51spunndbkl-_sx324_bo1204203200_SHE IS HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH, BUT WHO IS HUNTING HER?

Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan.

When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence. Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat.

As she comes to realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth …. and stay alive.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Dancers in the Wind blog tour and let me tell you…this is one fantastic book.  Dancers in the Wind is author Anne Coates debut thriller novel and I for one hope there is a lot more to come.

To celebrate the publication of Dancers in the Wind (which happened on 13th October 2016) I have a brilliant guest post from Anne Coates to share with you today.  Anne has written a fascinating piece which gives an insight into one of the many processes a book goes through before it reaches publication.  What a skill to have!

Gamekeeper turned poacher?
How editing and abridging books has informed my own writing

While I have been writing most of my life, I have also been an editor and an abridger of both fiction and non-fiction. This started with my staff job on Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home and, after I went freelance, with Reader’s Digest (books) and Orion for their Compact Editions series and as a fiction consultant for a part-work.

I had to undergo training at Reader’s Digest – they have very specific rules and guidelines – and have worked for them for most of my freelance life. Every year they had a huge lunch party in London inviting publishers, agents, authors and celebrities. The first year I was invited I felt like I was the recipient of one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets!

Meeting one of the authors I mentioned that I’d cut his novel. He and his wife exchanged a glance and I cursed myself for being an idiot. Then his wife said, “It was amazing. Try as we might, we couldn’t see what you’d cut out.” And that is what abridgers aim for – a shorter book where the reader can’t see the joins. Needless to say I was chuffed to bits.

Memoirs are often easier to cut as authors tend to give too many people their back-stories which are mostly superfluous. If my eyes glaze over during my first readings, it’s a sign that something needs to be cut.

The effect this has had on my own work is that I write succinctly.  This was a perfect style for my short tales with a twist and flash fiction but for my novels I have had to learn to expand and develop both characters and narrative.

My first draft often reads like a series of disconnected scenes and I rewrite and rewrite until I’m satisfied everything works. Even so mistakes can get through – even for the best writers. In Mill on the Floss, the dog changes sex halfway through the book!

Timelines are so important. When abridging a book, I probably read it at least six times and probably am more intimate with it by the end than the author. I found a plot flaw when working on Anna Karenina that would probably (and has) passed most people by. Plus another well-known author had an eleven-month pregnancy in her novel.

But just in case you think I am getting above myself, I realised recently while writing the sequel to Dancers in the Wind, that I’d included a real event, which had actually happened the year before Death’s Silent Judgement is set. It made me think of the biblical quote: “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged… Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?”

So please forgive any logs of my own making – although I am sure the pros at Urbane Publications will have eliminated them.

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This is a very enjoyable novel which I devoured in the space of 24 hours.  No scrap that, it was more like 7 hours which for me, is super speed reading.  I couldn’t put it down.  Once I became immersed in Hannah and Caroline’s tale, I was hooked!  Before starting this book I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The cover suggested murder and violence but the title…didn’t!  I now know why the book is called Dancers in the Wind and I feel a little silly.  It all fits perfectly!

Freelance journalist Hannah Weybridge is working on a feature to coincide with the release of a television documentary featuring young prostitute, Princess and new copper on block, DI Tom Jordan.  The interview with Princess opens Hannah’s eyes and she hears things about life on the streets that she would prefer not to.  With DI Jordan it’s clear to see the sparks fly but Hannah is far too professional to make anything of it.  And DI Jordan has enough on his plate trying to solve the murder of a local prostitute. When the body of a second girl is found Tom is suddenly aware that the first murder was not the work of an overly frisky punter but something much more sinister.

Hannah meanwhile is getting on with her life, having forgotten all about the prostitute and the cop; she has a six month old daughter to care for and being a single mum she needs the phone to ring with more work.  But instead of the phone ringing, the doorbell rings late one night.  On her doorstep Hannah finds the badly beaten body of Princess, she’s barely alive.  Against her better judgement Hannah gives the girl shelter and cleans her up.  But what has Princess brought to Hannah’s door?  Are Hannah and her baby daughter safe? And will those responsible be held to account for their actions, or are they beyond the reach of the law…?

One of the things that stood out for me in this book is the fact that the main protagonist is a  journalist rather than a detective or PI.  She’s not really an investigative reporter either, she’s just a normal mum trying to do the best for her baby daughter.  That appealed to me and I found it refreshing (surely I’m not growing tired of my grumpy, addiction riddled cops…am I?).  Granted, DI Tom Jordan does feature quite heavily but he is by no means the star of the show.  This story belongs to Hannah and Princess (AKA Caroline).

It’s a gritty read and in some places quite shocking.  My attention was held from the opening chapters to the very end.  Once I’d finished the book I felt quite bereft and wanted more (there is a sequel on the way – no pressure, Anne Coates!).

This is another read where you suspect pretty much every character at one point or another.  I always enjoy books which use that formula as I’m always keen to hone my detective skills.

Would I recommend this book?  I most certainly would.  Brilliant characters with heaps of mystery to keep you guessing.  A thoroughly enjoyable and absorbing read.

Four and a half stars out of five.

Many thanks to Liz Barnsley, Urbane Publications, NetGalley and Anne Coates for providing me with a copy of Dancers in the Wind in exchange for honest review.

Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates was published in the UK by Urbane Publications on 13th October 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Urbane Publications |

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annecoatesFor most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both.

Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, Anne has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books.

Born in Clapham, Anne returned to London after graduating and has remained there ever since. In an attempt to climb out of her comfort zone, Anne has twice “trod the boards” – as Prince Bourgrelas in Ubu Roi when a student and more recently as a nun in a local murder mystery production. She also sings periodically in a local church choir and is relieved when she begins and finishes at the same time – though not necessarily on the same note – as everyone else. Needless to say, Anne will not be giving up her day job as an editor and writer.

Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind began with a real event followed by a “what if …” That is also the case with the two prize-winning 99Fiction.net stories: Codewords and Eternal Love.

Anne is currently working on the sequel to Dancers in the Wind.

Author Links:Twitter | Website | Blog |