Killer Review: Quieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary

Blurb:

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It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

Oh my – I cannot begin to describe how awesome this novel is! I read this in one weekend, I was so engrossed I forgot to watch the England Rugby match on TV (which I usually never miss).

Quieter Than Killing is the forth installment in the DI Marnie Rome series which sees Marnie and her partner Noah trying to piece together a number of assaults which are escalating in violence. But as they delve deeper and uncover a number of chilling secrets, they realise the culprit has plans which they could never have imagined…

I do think this is one of her best yet, it is chilling and disturbing which really captures the fear of the victims. The sub-plots with Marnie’s foster brother and Noah’s troubled brother also come to the forefront of this novel which I found fascinating – I couldn’t wait to see what happened! The investigation itself focuses on Marnie having to deal with a vigilante who is attacking ex-convicts, teenage gangs, a missing child no-one knows is missing and convicts with a grudge – which kept me on the edge of my seat.

I really enjoyed the bleak descriptions of a harsh London winter which the author depicts, creating a chilling and haunting atmosphere for the characters.

The main protagonist DI Marnie Rome is at her very best in this novel, she isn’t your stereotypical detective – she evokes sympathy for the victims and has a gritty determination to see the job through not matter what even though she is struggling to come to terms with the murder of her parents. One of the things I love about this series is Marnie’s relationship with Noah – they bounce off each other and their friendship is at the heart of this novel.

For anyone who hasn’t read this series yet, I would highly recommend. Sarah manages to weave an effortless plot, has hard hitting themes and strong and lovable characters who you can’t help rooting for.

I loved loved loved this book and cannot recommend this enough. It has everything you can want from a gritty police procedural; surprising twists and shocking truths, a compelling plot and a fantastic cast of characters who you can get under your skin in a number of ways.

I am a massive fan of Sarah’s novels and this one didn’t disappoint. If anything I can’t wait for book five.

This novel isn’t out until 9th March 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 Sarah Hilary follow her on Twitter at @sarah_hilary

Blog Tour: The WitchFinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

Today I’m thrilled to host the next stop on The WitchFinder’s Sister Blog Tour penned by Beth Underdown and published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House. As part of the blog tour I was very fortunate to interview Alice Hopkins, the protagonist in the story. As always, don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this tour!

 

 

Blurb:

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1645.

When Alice Hopkins’ husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.

But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women’s names.

To what lengths will Matthew’s obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

Based on the true story of the man known as the Witchfinder General, this exquisitely rendered novel transports you to a time and place almost unimaginable, where survival might mean betraying those closest to you, and danger lurks outside every door.

 

So without further ado, welcome Alice to the CKT blog.

You have had a tough time of it recently, after the death of your husband. What were your first thoughts when you knew you had to return home?

When my husband died, I was stunned. Knowing that I had to go back to Manningtree came to me only little by little, through a fog of grief. I had no wish to go back, but no way of supporting myself in London. I would even have stayed on as a servant – but by the time Joseph died, I knew I was pregnant, and nobody wants a servant with a child in tow.

 

Manningtree is an interesting place, full of colour, to have moved back to after recent events; is there anything you like particularly about the town?

I do love the docks, and the silver light on the estuary when the tide is out. But more than this, when I first came home, suddenly I felt as though people could see me again. In London, people’s eyes would skip past me in the street as though I wasn’t there, but when I came back to Manningtree, my brother being so respected in the town, men doffed their hats as I pass by.

 

 

How did you feel seeing your brother again, especially after your time apart?

I was anxious about seeing him, especially about telling him of my pregnancy. But at the same time, I felt that what had been keeping us apart was my choice of husband. Matthew had not liked my marrying Joseph, so I thought perhaps now I was a widow, we would be able to get along as we had as children. But I did not realise that Matthew had changed since I had gone away.

 

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Your tale is extraordinary, why did you decide to tell us the truth when you did?

When I wrote my tale down, there was nothing left to do but tell the truth.

 

Is there one thing you could’ve done differently, what would it have been?

There are many things I wish I had done, but I’m not sure what I could have done. Unless perhaps I could never have come back to Manningtree in the first place – perhaps I ought to have turned around and found someone to take me back to London that very first day.

 

And lastly, do you believe there is such a thing as a witch?

I think things happen that we cannot name the cause of. But I’m not sure they can be willed to happen by any person living. Such things that are God’s business, or else the devil’s.

I would like to say a big thanks to Alice for stopping by, I know how difficult it is at the moment after everything.

About the author:

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Beth Underdown was born in Rochdale in 1987. She studied at the University of York and then the University of Manchester, where she is now a Lecturer in Creative Writing.

The WitchhFinder’s Sister is her debut novel, and is based on the life of the 1640s witch finder Matthew Hopkins.

She first came across him while reading a book about seventeenth-century midwifery. As you do.

 

This fantastic novel is not out until 2nd March 2017 but is available to preorder from Amazon here.

To learn more about Beth Underdown follow her on Twitter @bethunderdown

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Blog Tour: Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith

I’m thrilled to be on the next stop for the Desperation Road Blog Tour by Michael Farris Smith. Desperation Road is published by No Exit Press on 23rd February 2017. As always don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this tour!

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First up is the Blurb:

A novel set in a rough- and-tumble Mississippi town where drugs, whiskey, guns, and the desire for revenge violently intersect

For eleven years the clock has been ticking for Russell Gaines as he sat in Parchman penitentiary in the Mississippi Delta. His time now up, and believing his debt paid, he returns home only to discover that revenge lives and breathes all around.

On the day of his release, a woman named Maben and her young daughter trudge along the side of the interstate under the punishing summer sun. Desperate and exhausted, the pair spend their last dollar on a motel room for the night, a night that ends with Maben running through the darkness holding a pistol, and a dead deputy sprawled across the road in the glow of his own headlights.

With dawn, destinies collide, and Russell is forced to decide whose life he will save his own or that of the woman and child?

This is the thrilling story of two apparently unconnected, but broken people who are down on their luck just trying to make their way in the world, despite the inexplicable odds.

Russell has just been released after an eleven-year stretch inside for a crime he feels he has finally been punished for. As he steps off the bus in his hometown he is set upon by two brothers out for revenge.

On the same day, a desperate woman named Maben,  with nothing left of her former life but a black sack and a young daughter, seeks refuge for the night at a truckers pit stop. But when she makes the decision to try and make ends meet, she ends up risking her own life and that of a local deputy’s life.

When their paths cross Russell is forced to step up to the plate and save the lives of Maben and her daughter, Annalee, if he has only hope of salvation.

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Wow – I literally read this in two sittings!

What can I say without giving too much away? The narrative is compelling and seamlessly blends the parallel stories of Maben and Russell together, taking the reader on a heartbreaking story of regret, revenge and hope.

I loved both these characters and couldn’t help but sympathise with their plights. This just showed the skill of the writer who manages to weave compassion and action into the narrative without it ever becoming too overpowering.

I also loved the setting of this novel within a run-down Mississippi town full of booze, woman and lawlessness.I thought the author’s beautiful descriptions evoked a lot of imagery for me as the reader, which in turn pulled me into the story and felt like I was right there with the characters.

This is a novel I wouldn’t have necessarily picked up to read on first glance, but I am really glad I did. I would highly recommend this – it is a fantastic and compelling crime novel set in a small American town with a cast of characters you cannot help but empathise with.

I would like to say a big thanks to No Exit Press and Anne Cater for my advanced review copy.

About the author:

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Michael Farris Smith is the award-winning author of Rivers and The Hands of Strangers. Rivers was named in numerous Best Books of the Year lists, and garnered the 2014 Mississippi Author Award for Fiction. His short fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his essays have appeared with The New York Times, Catfish Alley, Writer’s Bone, and more. Two novels are forthcoming, Desperation Road (Feb 2017) and The Fighter (2018) with Lee Boudreaux Books, a specialty fiction imprint with Little, Brown. He lives in Columbus, Mississippi, with his wife and daughters.

To preorder this from Amazon just click here

To find out more about Michael Farris Smith follow him on Twitter @michael_f_smith.

 

Blog Tour: Cursed by Thomas Enger

I’m really pleased to be a part of the Orenda Books blog tour for Cursed a new novel in the Henning Juul series by Norwegian writer Thomas Enger. So now it’s my turn on the tour, I have some exclusive author content today from Thomas discussing the Curse of Being a Writer – (big thanks to Thomas for sharing his thoughts with us).

*Exclusive Author Content*

The Curse of Being A Writer: by Thomas Enger

First, if you are a bit confused by the title of this blog post – I consider “being a writer” the best possible occupation in the world. It’s what I’ve been dreaming about my whole adult life, probably since I was around 16. I feel so fortunate to be able to do this for a living, and I hope that I can continue to be inspired and to have readers around the world for as long as I live.

A lot of people also look upon the whole “being a writer” thing with an ounce or two of romanticism. “It sure sounds lovely to be a writer, to sit somewhere and just chuck your thoughts and creative ideas down into a computer, and then have someone print it and read it.” I totally agree with that. It’s a privilege, one I wouldn’t change for anything.

But it definitely is a curse as well.

Let me explain what I mean.

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Being a writer, for me, means that I never shut down. Never. I’m always on the lookout for stories, for characters, for bits and pieces here and there that I can put into my novels or short stories. When I’m watching a movie, my mind is half present in the story which unfolds in front of me, whereas the other part is churning, thinking of how I can put a spin on this or that idea, this or that scene, if a piece of this or that character is something I can put to good use in another character or scene.

When I’m out walking the streets of Oslo, or New Delhi for that matter, I’m not just looking at the buildings or the cars or the flowers. I’m taking mental pictures for later, I’m constantly thinking about ways to put my experiences into my books. That means I’m secretly taking notes in my head as I meet other people, whether they are complete strangers or close family. Like I sometimes tell my readers, with a wry smile on my face; anything you say and do when you meet me, can and will be used against you.

I’m the same when I’m reading the newspapers, or when I’m watching the news, when I talk to my kids or my kids’ friends, when I taking the bus or the tram, when I’m going through security at the airport, or when I’m out running in the streets of Oslo or even when I’m reading a book. My mind never shuts down.

So how do I relax? How do I unwind?

Well, it’s not easy, that’s for sure. I have found that playing a round of golf with my friends is very good for my brain. When I’m out there hacking that little round ball from A to B, or, in my case, Z, I’m almost completely absorbed into playing. It’s just the best form of escapism for me.

Going for a swim, too, in a warm country, also helps. But I’m sort of just stuck with my curse, which is having a brain that’s always searching for ideas.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m sure a lot of us know exactly what you mean, Thomas – I know I do!

So now for the blurb:

Cursed

When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests.

Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Norway’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. When their lives are threatened, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.

About the author:

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Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young
Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

To buy this from Amazon just click here

To buy this from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Thomas Enger follow him on Twitter @EngerThomas.

Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this tour – it’s too good not to miss!

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Blog Tour: Corpus by Rory Clements

Today, I’m super pleased to be hosting the next stop on Rory Clements’ Corpus blog tour, published by Zaffre.

As part of the tour I can reveal I have some exclusive content from the author himself on the books that inspired Corpus, along with a fabulous prize to win one of two, hardback copies of the novel – you lucky people! As always don’t forget to stop off at all the other stops on this blog tour – #Corpus

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First up it’s the Blurb: 

 

1936.
Europe is in turmoil.
The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland.
In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror.
Spain has erupted in civil war.

In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.

In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division. Dons and students must choose a side: right or left, where do you stand?

When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe – and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson…

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*Exclusive Author Content*

The Books That Inspired Corpus

I have read and delved into bucket loads of books in researching Corpus, my new 1930s thriller. But some stand out as more inspirational than others. Here are my top picks of both fact and fiction.

Memoirs & Diaries

Nothing compares to a diary if you want to discover the real atmosphere of a certain time in history. I was fortunate to be able to call on two of the finest diarists in my research – Harold Nicolsons Diaries & Letters and Chips by Sir Henry ‘Chips’ Channon. Both men give an insider’s view of the ruling class in the 1930s and should be read for pleasure not just to garner information.

For a very different perspective, there’s George Orwell – his gritty memoirs Homage To Catalonia and The Road To Wigan Pier provided first-hand accounts of the Spanish Civil War and the appalling living conditions of the northern working classes in England.

Biography

A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre is the story of Soviet spy Kim Philby and the friends he betrayed. It’s all true, of course, but it is so well written and packed with such fascinating stories that it reads like a first-rate thriller.

Thrillers

Some thrillers are ‘counterfactual’ – ie they assume history panned out in a different way. For instance, the premise of Fatherland by Robert Harris, SS-GB by Len Deighton and The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick is that the Nazis won the war. I love them all, but Corpus fits more into the ‘secret history’ pigeonhole. And the best of these, for me, are The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins and The Day Of The Jackal by Freddie Forsyth. Great fun, truly thrilling – and they certainly inspired me.

1930s Novels

Sometimes a novel can tell you as much as a history book. Two novels in particular gave me a wonderful insight into 1930s Germany. The first was Flotsam written in 1939 by Erich Maria Remarque (author of All Quiet On The Western Front) and the second was Mr Norris Changes Trains, written by Christopher Isherwood in 1935.  Flotsam tells the heartbreaking story of the migrants fleeing Hitler or cast out by him but unable to find refuge in other countries. Remarque loathed the Nazis (who had burned his books) and moved to Switzerland. Sadly, his sister Elfriede stayed and in 1943 was guillotined for ‘undermining morale’ by saying that the war was lost. Isherwood’s book, meanwhile, describes Berlin in the time of transition from democracy to tyranny.

Cambridge Novels

Two novels set in Cambridge taught me a great deal about the way the university worked in the early part of the twentieth century. The Masters by C.P.Snow is set in a fictional college (believed to be Christ’s) in 1937 when the Nazis were threatening. The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald also takes a fictional Cambridge college as its setting.

About the Author

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Rory Clements is the bestselling author of the John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers. His six acclaimed novels, Martyr, Revenger, Prince, Traitor, The Heretics and The Queen’s Man, follow Elizabeth’s Intelligencer, John Shakespeare, brother to the playwright William, through the dark underworld of Tudor England as he unmasks the traitors and conspirators who plot against the Queen.

Rory Clements won the Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award in 2010 for Revenger, and has been shortlisted for CWA Awards for Martyr, Prince and The Heretics. A TV series is currently in development. To find out more about Rory Clements check out his website here.

 

To buy this from Amazon just click here

To buy this from Waterstones click here.

Now for the Fabulous Prize offered by Zaffre

*This Comp has now closed and the winners notified*

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ONE of TWO COPIES of CORPUS BY RORY CLEMENTS

  •  Retweet one of my tweets about the giveaway (@emms_rachel), 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 13.00pm GMT on Thursday 9th February 2017
  • My decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.