Finnish Invasion Blog Tour: The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto

Today I’m pleased to host the next stop on The Finnish Invasion Blog Tour today where I’ll be focusing on The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto, published by Orenda Books. I haven’t managed to finish this book but what I have read has been amazing so far! So instead I’m going to share a cheeky extract of the opening and let you know my thoughts of the novel so far.


Murder. Corruption. Dark secrets. A titanic wave of refugees. Can Anna solve a terrifying case that’s become personal?

Anna Fekete returns to the Balkan village of her birth for a relaxing summer holiday. But when her purse is stolen and the thief is found dead on the banks of the river, Anna is pulled into a murder case. Her investigation leads straight to her own family, to closely guarded secrets concealing a horrendous travesty of justice that threatens them all. As layer after layer of corruption, deceit and guilt are revealed, Anna is caught up in the refugee crisis spreading like wildfire across Europe. How long will it take before everything explodes?

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The Exiled Opening Extract:

June 19th

Droplets of blood on the light-green wallpaper, like overgrown poppies along the verge.

Here, where the hazy grey sky swallows edges of the immense wheat fields, where you can sense the Tisza, the river flowing past, even when you can’t see it. The river is always present, always on the move, arriving, leaving. It flows like a giant artery through the poisoned fields, where weeds, poppies, cornflowers and dandelions are stifled and beaten back, past this small town where life feels unchanged, where time seems to have stopped while the country around it changes name, fights wars, languishes on the precipice of economic collapse, harbours its war criminals, ashamed of itself but too proud to admit its own mistakes. That country contains dozens of identities, nationalities minorities, majorities, languages. It has signed the UN Declaration of Human Rights but doesn’t uphold its contents.

The river will come into blossom any day now. People are saying ut will be the biggest flowering in living memory. Perhaps right now millions of mayfly larvae are beginning to hatch and dig their way out of the mud on the riverbank. Soon they will swarmabove the river like a giant, beautiful cloud of flying flowers; they will mate, lay eggs and die. People gather along the riverbank to celebrate, many takimng their boats out on the water, in among the insects, so they can feel the delicate beating of their wings and the touch of the insects’ rubbery bodies on their skin. The flowering is a wonderous carnival of life and death, an event the town eargerly awaits and that people celebrate with great verve. Nothing like this happens anywhere else in the world – only at this bend in the river, at the centre of this town. As though the town was special, blessed.

Droplets of blood. They converge on the light-green wallpaper into a large, blackening pattern, a giant amoeba. The wall is around two-and-a-half metres high, five metres in length, and behind it is one of the house’s two bedooms. The wall is bare – no paintings, no mirrors. Only plain, light-green wallpaper, and now that pattern in the middle, the anoeba, the poppy field.

A moment earlier a figure cast a shadow as he sat down at the antigue desk by the window. The desk was bare; it had just been cleared, its drawers emptied. From outside came the sound of footsteps, the happy laughter of children walking past, laughter that seemed out of place in the atmosphere of the room.

A road leads directly past this house. In this part of town all the houses are built like this, snuggly against one anither and so close to the road that they form a wall along the narrow pavement. A cherry tree can be seen through the window. It stands on a small strip of grass between the road and the pavement, its leafy branches shading the house so well that the occupants rarely need to lower the blinds, though the afternoon sun shines mercilessly on this side of the building. The blinds in this window are drawn last of all, in a futile attempt to hold back the heat when the summer outside is so sweltering, so oppresive that it penetrates everything. The branches are heavy with cherries – dark-red, juciy globes, ripe and ready to be plucked. Will anyone pick them this summer, preserve them in syrup, organise the jars in rows on the shelves in the pantry behind the kitchen?

A moment longer after he sat down, then his head and body worked together.The sturdy barrel of the pistol was placed squarely beneath his jaw; at such an angle that the bullet would go right through his skull and not just injure his face, leaving him alive but in pain. The pistol was loaded, his hand wasnt trembling in the slightest, his body was steady and prepared. With one exception,  his head always had perfect control over his hand and pistol.

A shot, and before that thought: hell is here. Right now.

My thoughts:

This novel has started off with a bang and something I literally can’t put down! I love the international flavour in this novel and features the main detective Anna Fekete returning to her homeland. The author weaves such beautiful descriptions into a hard, gritty crime novel and isn’t afraid to tackle tough topical issues. I can’t wait to find out how it ends!

About the author:


Kati Hiekkapelto was born in 1970 in Oulu, Finland. Kati worked as a local private detective between 1979 and 1982, and solved many serious crimes committed by her neighbours. By the age of twelve she had read all Agatha Christie’s novels, and was sure that her mother is going to poison her. Today Kati is an international crime writer, punk singer and performance artist. Her books Kolibri (The Hummingbird) was published in Finland by Otava in 2013 and Suojattomat (The Defenceless) in 2014. To date, they have been translated into seven languages. The Hummingbird was shortlisted for the Petrona Award in the UK in 2015 and The Defenceless won the prize for the best Finnish Crime Novel of the Year 2014. The Defenceless was also one of the top ten bestselling books in Finland last year, across all genres.She lives and writes in her 200-year-old farmhouse in Hailuoto, an island in the Gulf of Bothnia, North Finland. In her free time she rehearses with her band, runs, hunts, picks berries and mushrooms, and gardens. During long, dark winter months she chops wood to heat her house, shovels snow and skis. Writing seems fairly easy, after all that.

With thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my advanced review copy.

To buy this book on Amazon just click here

Or to order this book from Waterstones click here.
To find out more about Kati Hiekkapelto follow her on Twitter at @HiekkapeltoKati.

Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this mammoth tour!

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*Blog Tour* My Sisters Bones

Today I’m on the final stop of My Sisters Bones blog tour by Nuala Ellwood. I was so excited as soon as received my review copy of this book and couldn’t wait to get my teeth into it.

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Kate Rafter is a successful war reporter. She’s the strong one. The one who escaped Herne Bay and the memories it holds. Her sister Sally didn’t. Instead, she drinks.

But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.

What secret has Kate stumbled upon?
And is she strong enough to uncover the truth . . . and make it out alive?

This is such a page-turner!

This is the story of Kate Rafter, a successful war reporter who spent much of her time reporting in war-torn countries. But when she receives news that her mum has passed away her life is torn apart. Struggling with PTSD Kate starts to hallucinate  a number of things or does she? Which forces her to question everything she ever knew about family and herself.

This novel is told through Kate’s point of view and follows her in the ‘present day’ as she is interviewed at Herne Bay police station and jumps back in time to a week earlier which slowly chronicles the events which led to her being detained by the police.

As the novel picks up pace Kate’s mindset becomes increasingly erratic as her nightmares blur into her waking life. Are her nightmares fact or fiction? And what is going on? I just couldn’t work out what was going on which I loved.

Her sister Sally is also a big part of this story who is struggling to cope with her alcoholism and whose love-hate relationship with Kate is at the very heart of this novel.

The author does such a wonderful job of hooking me in and then slowly revealed little nuggets of truth while raising more questions which just kept me glued to the book.

I absolutely loved this story and cannot believe this is a debut novel. I think this will be a stand-out novel for 2017 and will be looking out for more novels from this author.

I won’t say anymore but what I will say is this novel is such a page-turner full of pace which really packs a punch. I would definitely recommend this story for avid crime fans who love a haunting psychological thriller.

With thanks to Annie Hollands at Penguin Random House for my advanced review copy

The good news is you can buy this book from Amazon as an Ebook now just click here

To find out more about Nuala Ellwood on Twitter at @NualaWrites.

About the author:

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Nuala Ellwood moved to London in her twenties to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter, but ended up writing novels instead. She comes from a family of journalists, and they inspired her to get Arts Council funding to research and write a novel dealing with psychological trauma in the industry. My Sister’s Bones is her debut thriller.

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Blog Tour: What Alice Knew by T.A Cotterell

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting the next stop on the What Alice Knew Blog Tour by T.A Cotterell. So, as part of the tour I have some exclusive content from the author interviewing Nell, Alice’s teenage daughter, along with my review. Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on the Blog Tour!

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How far would you go to protect someone you love? Would you lie to the police,
knowing your loved one is guilty as charged, or would you watch their life fall
apart because of a terrible accident?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

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*Exclusive Author Content*

Interview with Nell:

  • What’s your earliest memory of your parents?

I have kind of a bad memory but the first thing I think I remember was when we went to visit granny at Highlands just before Arthur was born. I remember going on a walk with mum and dad and uncle Matt. It was so cold but I had a fluffy pink coat on and yellow duck wellies. Me and Uncle Matt were running so fast (or fast for a four-year old) holding hands and mum and dad were talking about adult things and dad waved but I don’t think mum saw us zoom past.

  • What’s your greatest fear?

I have a maybe irrational fear of being on my own. I know it’s weird, I’m not four anymore, but I just prefer it if I know someone’s in the house with me. Whether it be Arthur playing some mindless game or mum in her own world painting, I just feel much more at ease knowing there’s somebody there.

  • Do you get on better with mum, dad, or brother and why?

Probably my dad because although he’s always busy he tries to find time for us and if mum is ever away he always comes home early and makes whatever we want for supper. I love my mum. She loves to do girly things like shopping and taking my friends out for lunch. But when she’s on a painting she can be distant and get irritated easily. Arthur and I don’t always get on. Even before he starts to annoy me, he’s annoying me. It’s like, after all these years, I can anticipate what’s to come so I get ready to shout for mum or dad before he’s even started being annoying.

  • Have you ever kept a secret from your family?

I don’t tell them that much, especially not about my social life. Mum hears the odd thing, especially if something drastic happened at school. Sometimes she gets angry or takes something seriously and sometimes she doesn’t. Dad is more calm and predictable, so if I’m upset I probably would tell him. I don’t tell anything to Arthur ever since he ratted that it was me and my friend Eve who stole some wine before we went to Grace’s party. I got grounded for a week.

  • What did you think when your dad didn’t come home that night?

To begin with I wasn’t worried like he often comes back late if something’s gone wrong at work, but I was up on a group call with my friends till really late when suddenly I clocked it was almost midnight and neither he nor mum were home. I checked my texts and realised it was pretty weird they hadn’t let me know. It isn’t the kind of thing they’d forget (especially dad). I called him first but there was no answer, so I guessed he must be in an emergency. Then I called mum. I did get worried because there’s one thing about dad: he always does what he says he’s going to do.

  • Do you believe your mum when she says everything is fine?

I used to. But now I sometimes feel she says whatever is needed, like a white lie to keep us all happy, particularly if she’s painting and doesn’t want to be distracted. The night when dad didn’t come home I could hear some doubt or surprise in her voice even though she pretended there wasn’t. Maybe she thinks I’m too young to know. Which is ridiculous as I’m nearly 15. It might be true for Arthur though. That night she said it was all fine when it blatantly wasn’t so that’s when I got a bit worried.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this novel with its easy writing style, vivid descriptions and fully rounded characters who I were so unpredictable I wasn’t sure which direction the novel would take.

This novel takes you on Alice’s and Ed’s journey where a shocking secret bubbles to the surface threatening their lives which will alters their relationship and themselves.

I had no idea what to expect from this book but boy was I surprised! The author kept the truth hidden from the reader and also kept Alice’s true motives at bay until the very last moment which was very unexpected.

There are a number of themes in the novel including the question of morality and responsibility and the effect of living with a lie where much of the action in the novel centred around. I loved the change in Alice’s character as she slowly became more and more erratic which for me really showed the moral dilemma she was struggling to deal with.

I thought Ed was a very interesting character as he was someone who on the surface you thought you knew and trusted but underneath lay something else which I think was part of the charm of his character. By the end of the novel I found myself sympathising with him even though I knew it was wrong.

I won’t say too much more as I don’t want to spoil it for you but what I will say is this novel was full of tension and Alice’s claustrophobic world really made it feel like I was right there with her – I literally had no idea what she would do next and every time I thought I had her sussed out she turned round and surprised me again.

About the Author:


T. A. Cotterell read History of Art at Cambridge University. He worked in the City before resigning to become a freelance writer. He is now a writer and editor at the research house Redburn. He is married with three children and lives in Bristol.

With thanks to Rebecca Hunter at Transworld Publishers, Penguin Random House for my advanced review copy.

This novel isn’t out until December 2016 as an E Book and Trade Paperback in April 2017 but the good news is you can preorder this book from Amazon just click here

To find out more about T.A Cotterell on Twitter at @TACotterell1.

Finnish Invasion Blog Tour: The Mine by Annti Tuomainen with Book Giveaway

I’m thrilled to host the next stop on The Finnish Invasion Blog Tour today where I’ll be focusing on The Mine by Antti Tuomainen, published by Orenda Books. I am really excited as I have a special treat for you – I’m giving away TWO yes that’s right TWO signed copies of this fabulous book as well sharing an extract with you. Please don’t forget to check out all the other great stops on the tour

So without further ado here is the blurb:

A hitman. A journalist. A family torn apart. Can he uncover the truth before it’s too late?

In the dead of winter, investigative reporter Janne Vuori sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company, whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in Northern Finland. When the company’s executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents, and Janne’s personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life.

A traumatic story of family, a study in corruption, and a shocking reminder that secrets from the past can return to haunt us, with deadly results …

The Mine Extract –  Part One Nickel

Finally the blood started flowing.
It rushed and flowed as the hot water caressed his body, as it pressed evenly against every inch of his skin. It was as though he’d found someone bigger than himself, someone who knew his body well, knew how to hold it, how to take it in its embrace and warm it. He stretched his short, stocky legs. The bathtub was the perfect length. He tensed his chubby thighs, his round calves, and relaxed them again. The water buoyed him up, slowed his movements. On an evening like this, after spending all day in the freezing cold, he had earned a soak in the steaming bath.
Outside the wind was whipping up a flurry of snow, the January cold and the darkness swallowing all living things. A moment earlier Pirjo had packed the boys and their ice-hockey equipment into the car and left. For the first time in what seemed like an eternity, he had the house to himself. He moved his right arm, scratched his chest.
He leaned the back of his head against the edge of the bathtub and closed his eyes.
It is an unfortunate truth that with your eyes closed you often see much more than usual. The day’s people and events all flickered behind his eyelids like a confused news bulletin. A clear indication of stress.
He opened his eyes. The pressure! All the decisions that had to be made quickly and implemented regardless of whether someone disapproved. Someone always disapproved. He wiped the sweat from his brow. The bath water was almost scalding. He glanced at the windows. They were covered in a thin layer of steam. The lights on the veranda were switched on, and through the steam he watched the whirl of the snow. There was something hypnotic about it, something relaxing.

Maybe one day some people would realise they didn’t have a monopoly on being in the right; weren’t the only ones possessed of ultimate truths. Maybe…
An exceptionally dense swirl of snowflakes flurried past the window and the thick ice on the window ledge crackled as though a packet of boiled sweets had been scattered on the floor. That’s a lot of snow, he thought. He turned his head and gazed at something even more relaxing than the snow: the white tiling and dark-grey grout, the purity and cleanness of the pattern, its exactitude, its repeating logic. How beautiful, how practical. One of mankind’s greatest achievements. What was it he’d been thinking about? Ah yes, decisions. Making tough decisions. People who didn’t like his decisions. That’s what it had come to. Whenever you wanted something and tried to get something done…
The bedroom.
As though someone had pushed a plug into a socket. Was there someone in the house? Surely not.
Only the moan of the wind in the chimney flue and the waves of snow washing past the window. He lay still, and a moment later the water followed suit. This was the best thing about taking a bath: stopping, as though you had succeeded in stepping outside time itself, into its centre, a place where everything condensed. Again he closed his eyes. His breath was light and shallow. Old air out, fresh air in. Almost as though someone was approaching.
Not quite footsteps, but something, somewhere.
He saw the bathroom’s white tiled wall and through the door a strip of the bedroom. Again he heard the wind whistling through the flues. A sudden thought entered his head: something bursting into flames.
An ‘electric shock’ is a misleading term. The word ‘shock’ gives the impression that the electricity only hits you and leaves the body. That’s not what happens. Electricity flows, that’s what electricity does. As it courses through the body, electricity causes massive burns, interferes with the functioning of the heart, fills the lungs with water, suffocates you.
Electricity clotted his heart, burned his organs, snapped his arteries, pummelled his muscles.
He writhed and trembled. Water sputtered and splashed.
Then, a moment later, an immense calm. It was hard to establish where his body ended, where the water’s surface began. Both lay utterly still, as though fused together.
A column of snow blew past the window. Snowflakes whipped against the window frame.

To: Janne Vuori <<>>
From: Pain Increases Knowledge <<>>
Subject: Suomalahti
Hello Janne,
We have been reading your articles on tax avoidance and the grey economy.
You might just be the journalist we’ve been looking for. Perhaps you’re not.
We’ll soon find out.

You will probably be familiar with the nickel mine at Suomalahti in northern
Finland. We recommend you look more closely at both the mining complex
itself and the company administering the site. According to information we
have received, the mine is engaged in hazardous activities and, what’s more,
the company is fully aware of the matter. We are convinced that we will soon
be looking at a full-blown environmental catastrophe.

A little background. The mine at Suomalahti was opened seven years ago.
Its owner, a company called Finn Mining Ltd, owns three other mines. The
Suomalahti complex differs significantly from the other three. This mine
was opened with the blessing of government authorities and the business
world. One of the mine’s primary goals is to promote an innovative new
technology, using the precious metals that can be extracted from Finland’s
ore-depleted ground in an efficient and environmentally friendly fashion.
This method has been extolled as the future of the mining industry, and it is
hoped that this will propel Finland towards a new economic boom, the like
of which has not been seen since the advent of Nokia in the 1990s.
This is all a pack of lies. The truth is we’re digging our own grave.
If we see evidence that you are serious about our case, we will be in touch.
We guarantee it will be worth your while.

Author Bio:

Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labeled The Healer – the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki – ‘unputdownable’. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen “The king of Helsinki Noir” when Dark as my Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula.

To find out more about Annti Tuomainen check out his website here. To buy this book on Amazon click here.

**This competition has now closed and winners notified**


  • Tweet the link to this post with @emms_rachel in the post, retweet one of my tweets about the giveaway OR comment on the post below. (You’ll need to follow me on Twitter, so that I can send you a direct message if you win.)
  • Rules: 
Only one entry per reader.
  • Open to UK residents only.
  • I will draw the winnerS at random. There will be no cash alternative
  • The competition closes for entries at 10.00pm GMT on Tuesday 22nd November 2016
  • My decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Thriller Review: Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb

Blurb: ‘Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.

Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.’


OMG I have no words to express how amazing this book is. I literally read this in a day because I just couldn’t put it down – it was that good!

Lori is a bounty hunter struggling to make ends meet and cover her daughter’s hospital bills so when she is handed a seemingly straight forward assignment she thinks her luck has changed. That is until Lori comes face to face with the bounty – JT; her ex-mentor who she has a history with.

I love love love the character of bad-ass Lori; a single mum who has had to toughen up just to survive, and charismatic JT who have to work together once again as they face a number of different enemies hell-bent on destroying both their lives.

Lori is such a stand-out character who is like a female lioness, unrelenting in her quest to protect her daughter and will stop at nothing to make sure she does. It is so refreshing to have such a strong and fierce female action hero, I just fell in love with her character.

Reading this book you can’t forget JT, he is literally oozing sex appeal and one who I’n dying to read about again. I also enjoyed Dakota’s story which the author, Steph, does a wonderful job of capturing the innocence of a doe-eyed nine-year old girl who is forced along on her mum’s bounty hunter journey.

As I read this novel I discovered more about Lori’s past and her history with JT which the author does a stand out job of weaving it into the present day action without it spoiling the main narrative.

One other thing I adored was Steph’s descriptions of the theme park Winter Wonderland in Florida with the intricate details really made me feel like I was right there running along with the characters.

I won’t say much more as I think the novel does that for itself. What I will say is this: It is a fast-paced, nail-biting, hard hitting novel which not only takes you on an all guns blazing action adventure but will also take you through the emotional ringer. Yet another stand out novel published by Orenda Books which every crime fan must read. I just can’t wait to get my mitts on the next instalment in the series!

With thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my advanced review copy.

This novel isn’t out until January but the good news is you can preorder this book from Amazon just click here

Or to preorder this book from Waterstones click here.
To find out more about Steph Broadribb aka Crime Thriller Girl follow her on Twitter at @crimethrillgirl or check out her website here.

First Monday and Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst

With the next First Monday fast approaching I thought it would be a great idea to repost my review of Jenny Blackhurt’s newest novel Before I Let You In, one of the fabulous authors who is featuring on this month’s panel.

Firstly the Blurb: 

Karen is meant to be the one who fixes problems.

It’s her job, as a psychiatrist – and it’s always been her role as a friend.

But Jessica is different. She should be the patient, the one that Karen helps.

But she knows things about Karen. Her friends, her personal life. Things no patient should know.

And Karen is starting to wonder if she should have let her in . . .


Amazing! I cannot rave over this book enough.

This is a tale of three best friends who have been friends since nursery who are now in their thirties; Karen is a psychiatrist who has a need to help ‘fix’ people, Bea is a single woman and so-called party goer who is struggling with her past and Eleanor, a wife with two children struggling to adjust with the birth of her three month old baby – each with their own secrets and whose lives are rocked forever when Jessica Hamilton walks into their lives. That’s all I will say about this book as I don’t want to reveal any spoilers!

From the very beginning I was hooked; it was clear something truly bad had happened but it wasn’t until the last page did I truly find out what went wrong and boy was there fireworks!

I loved the characters and found it very easy to become sucked in to the lives of all of them, they were very relatable and I really cared about what happened to each of the characters even the villain which I found refreshing (although after the big twist it forced me to rethink what I thought I knew about each of them – which I loved).

Throughout the story Jenny slowly weaves each of the characters pasts into the main narrative without giving anything away which led up to the fantastic and explosive ending which I never saw coming. This novel really showcased Jenny’s brilliant writing and her clever but devious mind at work.

I loved this story which showed just how destructive relationships can be and how one day can change everything. This is a novel jam-packed full of shocking twists and turns, unreliable narrators, a claustrophobic atmosphere, a terrifying plot and fabulous fully-rounded characters.

It was heart-stopping, confusing, claustrophobic, amazing, terrifying! The author does a fantastic job of leading the reader on a roller coaster of emotions only to flip it all on its head and trust me its worth the read.

Tickets are available for the next First Monday so grab them quickly! They can be purchased via the Goldsboro website here.

To order this novel from Amazon click here.

To find out more about Jenny Blackhurst follow her on Twitter @JennyBlackhurst.

*Blog Tour* Frozen Minds by Cheryl Rees-Price

Today I’m delighted to launch the beginning of the Frozen Minds Blog Tour and to kick off the tour, I would like to welcome Cheryl Rees-Price today to talk about her new novel Frozen Minds and fictional detectives.


Welcome Cheryl to the CKT blog.

To start off with, can you tell us a little bit about your new novel Frozen Minds?

Frozen Minds is the second book in the DI Winter Meadows series. It centres on a murder in a residential home for adults with learning difficulties. The victim, a seemingly well-liked and respected man, was the supervisor and had worked at the home for many years. Suspicion falls on the residents and the investigation requires sensitivity and understanding to gain the residents trust. The team soon uncover some unscrupulous dealings among the staff as well as a culture of fear. Just when Meadows thinks the case is solved the killer strikes again, and the home, which should be a sanctuary, is no longer safe.

DI Winter Meadows, your main protagonist, is not your stereotypical detective. For anyone who hasn’t read your novels, how would you describe DI Meadows?

DI Meadows was born and raised in a commune. He was home schooled until he was fifteen, then was sent to main stream school when the family moved. He had a tough time with bullies, his name, Winter, and background singling him out from the other teenage boys. Despite this he grew up retaining his principles and treats everyone as equal, he doesn’t see social status, race, class or sex, just people. His need to always try to see the best in people which can sometimes be his downfall, however; he is highly intuitive and has an uncanny gift for finding the truth.

Frozen Minds is the second novel in the DI Winter Meadows series. When you were writing your first novel did you have the idea for a series character in mind?

Yes, although the series I had in mind was for another character. I initially started writing the first book with DI Lester as my protagonist. I created Winter Meadows as a side kick for Lester. As it turned out Meadows was so much more interesting than Lester so I instantly promoted him. Lester still plays small part in the series as Meadows’ boss.

In Frozen Minds the first murder takes place at a home for adults with learning difficulties. I found the portrayal of these characters authentic, how did you go about researching this theme and incorporating it into your characters?

I have a family member who is autistic so was very fortunate to have the opportunity to talk with some of the carers as well as some other young adults who have autism and Asperger’s syndrome. It is a subject close to my heart. There has been reported cases of abuse in residential homes, yet no reports on the wonderful work some of the dedicated carers do. It’s not always an easy job. I wanted to try and portray this in the book.

Despite all the information we have at hand it surprises me that so few have an understanding of mental disabilities. One young man told me he gets called names and even has things thrown at him when he is out shopping. I was appalled listening to his story. The characters in the book are not based on one singular person but a mixture of the people I met. I hope I did them justice in the book and also hope that I managed to raise a little awareness.
Cheryl by Rasa Mombeini (6).jpg

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process; do you plot the story out first or dive right in and see where it takes you? Or a mixture of the two?

I tend to do a lot of preparation before starting on the first draft. I start with creating the cast and backstories then work through the plot. Once the research is complete I put all this information into a file for easy reference. Usually when I start work on the first draft the story veers away from my plan, then I just have to go along with the characters and see where the story takes me.

Who are your favourite fictional detectives and why?

R.D Wingfield’s Inspector Jack Frost is one of my favourite detectives.  I’ve read all the books, more than once. Frost is down to earth, a little shabby, and useless with paperwork. He has a wicked sense of humour but can be sensitive and compassionate. Frost doesn’t always stick to the rules but getting results is more important to him than moving up the ranks. He’s certainly a memorable and realistic character.

Anne Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope is another of my favourites.  Vera doesn’t appear at first to be a likable character. A bit of a loner, she is short tempered and has little regard for her team’s family life. As the series progresses you get to know the character and witness her devotion to the job as well as some moments of compassion. Again I find this character to be realistic and memorable.

 What books would you recommend for the devoted crime reader?

So many books to choose from! I think Tania Carver’s The Creeper is a good one to keep you up half the night turning pages. It certainly plays on your fears.

 And finally, are you working on anything at the moment? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it without giving too much away?

I’ve just finished writing the third in the DI Meadows series.  It’s a little darker than the first two and sees Meadows pushed to the limits in a desperate search for a missing child.  That’s about all I can tell you at the moment.

This sounds really intriguing! I would like to say a huge thanks to Cheryl for answering my questions.

Now for the Frozen Minds Blurb:


When a man is found murdered at Bethesda House, a home for adults with learning difficulties, local people start to accuse the home’s residents of being behind the killing. The victim was a manager at the home, and seemingly a respectable and well-liked family man. DI Winter Meadows knows there’s more to the case than meets the eye at first, though. As he and his team investigate, Meadows discovers a culture of fear at the home – and some very sinister dealings going on between the staff. Does the answer to the case lie in the relationships between the staff and the residents – or is there something even more sinister afoot?


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To find out more about Cheryl Rees-Price check out her Facebook page or visit her website here.