Blog Tour: Evidence of Death by Peter Ritchie

Today, I’m also on the blog tour for Evidence of Death by Peter Ritchie, published by Black & White Publishing with a review.

Blurb:

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Billy Nelson is back home in battle-scarred Belfast. But the Troubles have cut this ex-Army Loyalist hard man deep – and now that his city’s allegiances have shifted, nothing is quite the same.

An outbreak of gang violence forces Billy to move on. This time to Edinburgh, where he muscles in on the capital’s drug trade and the family who run it. As the balance of power tips, underworld rivalries between Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast spill out onto the streets.

With a spate of horrific incidents and a trail of victims, the pressure is mounting for Grace Macallan, new superintendent of the Crime & Counter Terrorism Directorate. Troubled by her own demons and with everyone baying for the blood of Billy Nelson and his old paramilitary contacts, can Grace hold her nerve?

What I say:

This is the second in the series featuring Detective Grace Macallan, which picks of where the first book Cause of Death left off and features hard hitting themes about gang violence and drug dealing.

I really liked the character of Grace, who has to deal with a horrible boss and is increasingly isolated, surrounded by a city full of criminals she has to catch.

At the beginning of this book there is a handy glossary with lots of laguage which the characters use, ensuring the author can still use Irish and Scottish dialect without slowing the plot down.

You can tell this book has been thoroughly researched and the in-depth knowledge the author has of the police force really makes this an authentic read.

I did think this was a bit of a slow burner, but a very good read as I could sympathise with many of the characters and the plot contained many twists and turns.

Even though I haven’t read the first book in the series, I could still follow what was going on as this story is self-contained.

If you like a police procedural full of research, authentic and interesting characters and a twisty plot then I would definitely recommend!

About the Author:

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Peter followed his forefathers and started his working life at 15 as a deep sea fisherman.

He eventually joined the police service moving through the ranks of CID/Murder Squad/Regional Crime Squad in Scotland. He then went on to manage the Organised Crime Unit in the National Criminal Intelligence Service in London where he ran a multi agency team drawn from various branches of the law enforcement and the security services. This was a unique concept at the time and Peter travelled to many parts of the world in this role. He was subsequently appointed as the UK Liaison Officer to Europol in The Hague where he spent five years.

He returned to Lothian and Borders heading the Major Crime Team before taking on an advisory role for a project in Croatia. Following his retiral he worked on a number of private investigations before spending the next few years as part of the public inquiry team looking into the murder of the LVF leader Billy Wright in the Maze Prison.

Big thanks to Lina Langlee and Black & White Publishing for my ARC.

Evidence of Death is out now and can be ordered from Amazon here.

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

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Blog Tour: Come A Little Closer by Rachel Abbott

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Today, I’m super pleased to be on the next stop on the blog tour for Come A Little Closer by Rachel Abbott. For something a little different, I have agreed to take part in the author’s writing challenge, which I am both excited and a little scared about!

So the challenge:

Rachel Abbott has written a killer opening paragraph and all I had to do was finish off the story in no more than 800 words. One other thing – I had to make sure I included four key items which are; a bath, a Facebook post, a single lightbulb and a glass of sweet sherry. 

First up the blurb for Come A Little Closer:

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They will be coming soon. They come every night. 

Snow is falling softly as a young woman takes her last breath.

Fifteen miles away, two women sit silently in a dark kitchen. They don’t speak, because there is nothing left to be said. 

Another woman boards a plane to escape the man who is trying to steal her life. But she will have to return, sooner or later.

These strangers have one thing in common. They each made one bad choice – and now they have no choices left. Soon they won’t be strangers, they’ll be family …

When DCI Tom Douglas is called to the cold, lonely scene of a suspicious death, he is baffled. Who is she? Where did she come from? How did she get there? How many more must die? Who is controlling them, and how can they be stopped?

Now for the challenge:

Gemma had been afraid of the dark for as long as she could remember. As a child, she had blamed the cold, ancient house they had lived in – its endless corridors had too many closed doors for people to hide behind, too many secrets concealed in the shadows. But now there was no excuse. Her flat was modern, open, with huge windows.

It made no difference, though. Each night of the long winter months as she stood outside the block, she imagined all the doors she would have to pass before she reached her own, wondering if the lights in the hallway would be working, or whether they would flicker and go out, leaving her blind in the inky black void. Alone with her fear.

Perhaps she had always known that this day would come. She took a deep breath and stepped into the silent entrance, her heels tapping out a warning that she was coming on the polished concrete floor of the long corridor.

As Gemma walked towards her flat, a single bulb flickered in the hallway before extinguishing itself. She was alone in the darkness. She felt like it was suffocating her. Closing in on all sides. It felt as if someone was watching her, waiting to get her. Gemma could hear her breath coming out in short gasps. She needed a hot bubble bath, that would calm her down. She could picture her large bath with its golden feet and shiny taps. If only she could reach her flat. It was only a few steps away. Wasn’t it? She held her hands out so she could touch the walls on each side of her, and let her hands guide her to her front door.

After escaping into the confines of her flat, Gemma opened the kitchen cupboard and poured herself a glass of sweet sherry. She needed to get a grip on herself. As she took a sip her mobile phone vibrated in her pocket. She pulled it out and she saw it was a Facebook post notification. Someone had probably commented on her latest rant about socialism. That could wait, surely? But something inside of couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching her. She needed to know what it was, because only then could she stop the panic she felt.

Gemma unlocked her phone, opened her Facebook and clicked on the post. The words ‘I’m coming. Closer and closer’ had settled itself on her wall, along with an emoji of an eye. What the hell? She looked at the person who had posted it, she hadn’t taken it in before. She gasped. The post was from Daniel May-Banks, her ex-boyfriend and boss. Gemma dropped the glass in her hands; the brown liquid seeped across the floor.

But that was impossible. He was dead. She should know. She had held the pillow over his face until his legs had stopped twitching. Someone knew her secret.

About the Author:

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Rachel Abbott, born and raised in Manchester, founded her own interactive media company in the 1980s, before selling it and retiring in 2005. She then moved to Italy where she worked on the renovation of a 15th century Italian monastery, and it was here that, one day, she found herself snowed in and decided to begin writing for pleasure. This became her debut novel Only The Innocent, which she went on to publish via Kindle Direct Publishing, topping their chart for 4 weeks.

A true self-publishing pioneer, Come a Little Closer is Abbott’s seventh novel. All of her previous thrillers have hit no.1 in the Kindle charts. She splits her time between Alderney in the Channel Islands and Italy.

To find out more about Rachel Abbott, follow her on twitter @RachelAbbott or check out Rachel’s website.

Come A Little Closer is out now and can be ordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

Big thanks to Maura Wilding and Rachel Abbott for allowing me to be a part of this tour.

As always don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this fabulous blog tour!

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Blog Tour Q&A: A Darker State by David Young

Today, I’m delighted to be hosting the next stop on the Blog Tour for A Darker State by David Young, published by Bonnier Zaffre Books. For the tour I have a fabulous interview with the main protagonist from the series, Karin Muller, who I’m sure everyone would like to know a bit more about – although I warn you it was very difficult to get much out of her…

The Blurb:

For the Stasi, it’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.

Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.

Can she navigate this complex political web and find the missing boy, before it’s too late?

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Interview:

Location: East Berlin

Interviewer: Rachel Emms, (RE), Reporter.

Interviewee: Oberleutnant Karin Muller, (KM), Major of People’s Crimes.

RE: How did you feel coming back to work so soon, leaving behind your newborn twins? Especially leaving them in the care of your grandmother? How long have you known her?

KM: First let me say it is highly irregular for a reporter from the BRD or one of the fascist imperialist nations to be permitted to talk to an officer of the People’s Police. However, you have produced a signed authorisation. My deputy, Comrade Hauptmann Werner Tilsner is taking steps to check the authenticity of your documents at this very moment, and should we find any irregularities you will find yourself placed under arrest and detained here at our headquarters in Keibelstrasse, and the consular officials of your country will be informed. We will also be checking whether you crossed the Anti-Fascist Protection Barrier under false pretences.

I also have to warn you that I will not answer questions about any of our ongoing inquiries to you or indeed any reporters from the Republic either. This could jeopardise our investigations.

Your question about my children is a very personal one. However I am prepared to answer it this way. It is the duty of every woman and man in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik to play his or her part in working for the success of the workers’ and peasants’ state. Why should mothers be any different? All women should work for the good of the state and its workers be they mothers or not. It is true that my twins are currently being cared for by my grandmother, but the crèches, nurseries and preschool education in the Republic are some of the best in the world and I will have no hesitation in letting my children join the education system at the correct time. The day my son or daughter comes home singing the well-known song “I want to be a Volkspolizist” will be a very proud day for me.

The question about how long I have known my grandmother is a personal one that I am not prepared to answer. However, as the first female head of a murder squad there are a number of official publications that mention me that you could consult. VEB Buchveröffentlichkombinat Bonnier Zaffre have two titles I can recommend, Stasi Child and Stasi Wolf which have details of my career and life up to this point. Any details of current investigations that the People’s Police wish to release are – or soon will be – available in a document entitled A Darker State.

RE: I decide to try my luck, hey you only get one interview with Karin Muller. What do you think happened to that poor boy who drowned? I heard he was only young.

KM: As I explained in my first answer, I am not prepared to answer anything concerning People’s Police operations. You will have to consult the official documents. I recommend A Darker State.

RE: I try to push her again. I’ve heard whispers about Markus Schmidt disappearing, is it true? He’s your forensics guy’s son isn’t he?

KM: I am not prepared to answer anything concerning People’s Police operations.

RE: She really isn’t budging. I scratch my nose with the end of my pencil. Do you think it’s connected?

KM: I’m wondering if perhaps you have something wrong with your hearing, or your ability to understand German? I repeat, I am not prepared to answer anything concerning People’s Police operations.

RE: Do you trust everyone on your team? I’ve heard they have spies everywhere….

KM: You have been watching or reading too much counter-revolutionary propaganda, Ms Emms. Should you wish to re-educate yourself, I can recommend some of our more balanced current affairs television programmes such as Der schwarze Kanal. Every People’s Police officer swears an oath to, and I quote, “be loyal to my socialist fatherland, the German Democratic Republic and its government at all times, to keep official and state secrets, and to strictly obey laws and instructions”. I think that answers your question sufficiently well.

RE: I’m really not getting anywhere, and to be honest I’m starting to feel a little uneasy. What made you want to fight crime? Especially at this dangerous time?

KM: Once we have created the ideal socialist state, there will be no need for police force or any agency to suppress the proletarians. However, while there are still counter-revolutionaries trying to undermine that, I will, without reservation — under risk of my life — protect the socialist social, state and legal order, the socialist property, the personality, the rights and the personal property of the citizens against felonious attacks.

RE: Are you afraid of the Stasi?

KM: If you are referring to the Ministry for State Security, or MfS, then please give it its proper name. The goals of the MfS and the Volkspolizei are the same. The MfS is the sword and shield of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany.

RE: I think it was a big mistake coming here. Don’t you ever feel like packing it all in? Leaving the Stasi to it? Everyone else does….

[Hauptmann Werner Tilsner re-enters the room with two guards and whispers in Müller’s ear]

KM: I’m afraid, Ms Emms, that your papers, as I suspected, have proved to be false. These officers will be handing you over to agents of the Ministry for State Security. I can assure you that they will not be as accommodating as myself. I hope you will enjoy your stay in our socialist republic. But I doubt you will find the prisons at Hohenschönhausen, Hoheneck or Bautzen as comfortable as your fascist imperialist hotels back home.

RE: Prison? I gasp.

Big thanks to David Young for answering my questions, on behalf of Karin Muller –  a formidable woman I certainly wouldn’t want to mess with, especially after locking me up in prison!

About the Author:

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David Young was born near Hull and, after dropping out of a Bristol University science degree, studied Humanities at Bristol Polytechnic. Temporary jobs cleaning ferry toilets and driving a butcher’s van were followed by a career in journalism on provincial newspapers, a London news agency, and international radio and TV newsrooms. He now writes in his garden shed and in a caravan on the Isle of Wight, and in his spare time supports Hull City AFC.

To find out more about David Young, follow him on twitter @djy_writer.

Sound intrigued? If you haven’t read any of the series yet by David Young I would highly recommend!

A Darker State is the third in the Karin Muller series and can be ordered from Amazon here.

Don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this fabulous blog tour!

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Chiller Review: The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst

Blurb:

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger…

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Bad things seem to follow little Ellie Atkinson around – dangerous things are happening to people who make her angry. Her teachers and fellow students believe she is evil and someone to be feared – but is there more to it?

Imogen Reid, a child psychologist agrees to take on the case of Ellie after recently moving back to her own town of Gaunt with her husband Dan. But as Imogen refuses to listen to people’s warnings about Ellie, she becomes increasingly more obsessed with her. But she hiding a secret of her own…

What I say:

What a wicked mind the author Jenny Blackhurst has!

This story had me gripped from the very beginning with a chilling opening and breath-taking twisty action which didn’t let up until the end.

The author does a fantastic job of capturing the voice of a troubled eleven-year-old girl, who slowly spirals out of control. Ellie is such a fabulous protagonist who becomes increasingly alienated for being ‘strange’ but as she fights back, the town has other ideas. Her voice is so compelling and quite frankly freaked me out. Some of the other characters in this book are just plain creepy and quite sadistic which just added to the horror elements in this story.

I particularly loved the setting of this book; the town of Gaunt, which Ellie is forced to live in and Imogen has moved back to. Gaunt is claustrophobic and suffocating, slowly forcing the characters to breaking point. Imogen is someone who views the town as a complete outsider, having escaped to London for years which gives the reader a glimpse into this creepy place.

The author manages to play with the readers misconceptions and stereotypes as the tale become darker and more terrible than even I could’ve guessed, showcasing the superb writing and wicked mind of Jenny Blackhurst.

The Foster Child definitely got under my skin and had me glued to the pages. This is a story full of chilling characters, a claustrophobic setting and a tightly woven plot full of twist and turns and a dash of horror mixed in. What’s not to love?

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

The Foster Child can be ordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

Big thanks to Millie Seaward and Headline for my ARC.

Blog Tour: Killed by Thomas Enger

Today, I’m pleased to be on the next stop on the blog tour for Killed by Thomas Enger, published by Orenda Books and translated by Kari Dickson.

Blurb:

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Crime reporter Henning Juul thought his life was over when his young son was murdered. But that was only the beginning…

Determined to find his son’s killer, Henning doggedly follows an increasingly dangerous trail, where dark hands from the past emerge to threaten everything. His ex-wife Nora is pregnant with another man’s child, his sister Trine is implicated in the fire that killed his son and, with everyone he thought he could trust seemingly hiding something, Henning has nothing to lose … except his own life. 

Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-awaited finale of one of the darkest, most chilling and emotive series you may ever read. Someone will be killed. But who? 

This is the fifth instalment in the Henning Juul series, and my did it start off with a bang! I loved the opening which really sets up the action in the novel and didn’t let up.

There are a lot of characters which feature in this book but there’s a handy glossary at the front which sums up/reminds you who everyone is which was great.

The author does such a fantastic job of creating a dark twisted story, soaked in criminality and which left me breathless. Especially after discovering what really happened with Henning’s son (which I didn’t expect).

I was sad to discover the series finished with this novel and I’m looking forward to reading more from Thomas Enger.

I read this as a stand alone but I think it would work so much better being read as part of the series, so would recommend reading this as a whole. Especially with discovering some great characters in this novel and seeing the relationship between them. I know I will definitely read the rest of this series immediately.

If you like a good crime series with a slice of dark menace – I would definitely recommend this!

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 2009, 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. 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 find out more about Thomas Enger follow him on twitter @EngerThomas.

Killed is out on Kindle now, and paperback this month, and can be ordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

As always, don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this fab blog tour!

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