Blog Tour Review: Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Today, I’m super excited to host the next stop on the Blog Tour for Hydra by Matt Wesolowski, published by Orenda Books, where I have a reviewed this book.

Blurb:

In November 2014 Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and sister to death with a hammer. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation.

King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out.

This is the second book in the ‘Six Stories’ series which sees Scott King back with a new podcast looking back into the case of Arla Macleod and whether she was really culpable for the massacre which took place on that fateful evening.

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What I thought:

Wow – this just blew my mind!

I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this as I loved the first book, Six Stories, from Matt Wesolowski and this didn’t disappoint.  Just like it’s predecessor, Hydra is told from the point of view of six people which are set out as podcasts. In this novel however, the author adds in an audio file at the end of each podcast which allows the reader to slowly delve deeper into the chaotic mind of Arla Macleod, which only added to the creepy atmosphere.

One of the things I loved about this story is the way the reader was able to see the vulnerable side of Scott King , as he is faced with his own Troll who seems to be not only stalking him online, but manages to find out details about him so they could threaten him personally. This gave the novel another layer of suspense along with the massacre at the heart of the story.

This tale was just so chilling and at times very disturbing which touches on the supernatural, particularly with the appearance of the ‘black-eyed kids’ which I must say gave me the heebie-jeebies.

This was a cross between a crime story mixed with horror which tackled the stigma around mental illness, particularly amongst teenagers as well as religion and the lengths some parents would go for their staunched beliefs.

I won’t say anymore about how phenomenal this book is as I think everyone should read it themselves. But, I must admit I may have scared myself by reading this book late at night, by lamplight, and my did my mind play tricks on me – I would advise you not to do that as I kept imagining black eyes staring back at me. And whatever you do Don’t Let Them In!

This is an original, chilling, and disturbing novel which will keep you awake at night! If you haven’t read any of this series I would highly recommend you do so immediately.

About the Author:

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Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for children in care and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North.

Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous magazines and US anthologies.

Wesolowski was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at ‘Bloody Scotland’; Crime Writing Festival 2015 and his short crime story ‘Tulpa’ was subsequently published in the Northern Crime One’ anthology (Moth Publishing 2015). Matt’s debut novel Six Stories was published by Orenda Books in 2017, with the follow-up Hydra published in 2018.

To find out more about Matt Wesolowski follow him on twitter @ConcreteKraken.

Hydra is out now and can be ordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

Big thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my ARC and invite to the blog tour.

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

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Blog Tour Q&A: Close To Home by Cara Hunter

Today, I’m delighted to be hosting the next stop on the Blog Tour for Close To Home by Cara Hunter, published by Penguin Random House and a Richard and Judy Book Club Pick. Following on from another popular Q&A I’ve done with a character from a crime novel, I have interviewed the main protagonist from Close To Home, DI Adam Fawley who is a new series character I thought we could all be introduced to.

First up is the blurb:

How can a child go missing without a trace?

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows that nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.

That means someone is lying…
And that Daisy’s time is running out.

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Location: A cafe, around the corner from the police station, Oxford

Interviewer: Rachel Emms, (RE), Reporter.

Interviewee: DI Adam Fawley, (AF), Detective Inspector part of Thames Valley CID in Oxford.

 

RE: Thanks for meeting with me Adam, can I call you that?

AF: No problem. Most people do.

RE [I flip open my notebook with my pen poised. I hope to get some scoop from the detective which my editor will be able to run with.] What was your first thought when you found out Daisy Mason was missing? Surely you see it all the time.

AF: We see more of it than we want to, but however often you’ve handled a missing child case it’s always tough. Perhaps the toughest job any police officer ever does.

RE: How long exactly have you worked for Thames Valley?

AF: Nearly twenty years now. I was a DS here for a while, then an inspector in uniform before coming back to CID.

RE: There’s been a lot of talk and speculation on social media about the case with Daisy. Do you find this helpful? Surely any information is good for the investigation?

AF: Yes and no, to be honest. Of course we need all the help we can get and the more people who are out looking for Daisy the better. The public can be invaluable eyes and ears on the ground. But unfounded speculation is not helpful, neither to us or the family. It makes our job harder and it can mean I get side-tracked answering questions when I should be putting all my efforts into the investigation. I’m sure none of us wants that.

RE [I lean forward.] I believe your team put out the call on Twitter for help. Do you think then that modern policing is now redundant and we can do the work for you online?

Like I said, there are some things about social media that are a genuine help to the police, and I’ve worked on cases where we got real breakthroughs that way. But there’s a definite downside. I’m very concerned we may see the Mason family targeted online. That sort of thing is intrusive and it’s ill-informed. I’m afraid that in a case like this people are very quick to judge, and they need to think very carefully before they say anything at all on social media. Just because you’re in the virtual world doesn’t mean there won’t be repercussions in the real one.

RE: Would you say you trust everyone on your team?

AF: Of course. They wouldn’t be on it if I didn’t.

RE [maybe I can use his personal life as an angle…] What’s your family life like? Didn’t you have a child of you own who died –

AF [Adam folds his arms across his chest.] That’s not something I’m prepared to discuss. My private life is of no relevance to this investigation.

RE [Maybe not then. I change tact.] How do you think the tights got there? Is the blood really Daisy Mason’s?

AF: The item you mention is being analysed by our forensics team as we speak. They will determine whether the blood is Daisy’s. And depending what they say, we will take the investigation in the appropriate direction.

RE: Finally, do you have any new suspects/leads? Surely it must’ve been someone from the party?

AF [Adam checks his watch.] Our first priority is to establish exactly when Daisy was last seen and by whom. Clearly that involves interviewing everyone who was at the party, and collecting any phone or video footage they might have. That’s taking some time, as you can imagine. But in the meantime we have a huge team out searching the area, and if anyone has any information at all – even something that might appear to be insignificant – please contact Thames Valley CID straightaway. I really can’t emphasise that enough.

[Adam Fawley gets up and shakes my hand] 

RE: Thanks very much for meeting with me Adam.

[He nods before exiting the cafe which is just beginning to fill up.] What the hell am I going to show my editor?

Interested to discover more about DI Adam Fawley and what happened to Daisy Mason? I know I am.

To order Close To Home from Amazon just click here or to order this from Waterstones click here.

Big thanks to Cara Hunter for answering my questions and to Poppy North for my ARC and for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

About the Author:

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Cara Hunter is a writer who lives in Oxford, in a street not unlike those featured in her series of crime books. Close to Home is her debut featuring DI Adam Fawley, and her second, In the Dark, is coming soon.

To find out more about Cara Hunter, follow her on twitter @CaraHunterBooks.

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

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Orenda Blog Tour: Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir

Today I’m excited to be hosting another stop on the Snare Blog Tour, published by Orenda Books. Snare is the first in the Reykjavik Noir series written by Icelandic crime writer Lilja Sigurdardottir and translated by Quentin Bates.

The Blurb:

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After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonja is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonja embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash.

 

What I say:

Wow – what can I say about this novel without giving too much away. I love the atmosphere which the author does a brilliant job of creating a murky criminal world in Iceland and shows the type of lengths people will go to, to survive.

Sonja is a mother who has been separated from her son after a very messy divorce. She’s desperate to share joint custody with her ex-husband, Adam, but down on her luck her desperation gets the better of her. This forces her to survive in the criminal world of drug smuggling as she creates new ways to deliver the merchandise and evade capture from the customs officials.

Running parral to the main action her girlfriend, Agla, is struggling to cope with a fraud investigation following the financial crisis which causes her to drink heavily and jeopardise her relationship with Sonja. But Sonja’s ex-husband is not who he seems in the surface as he slowly becomes more and more embroiled in the same investigation.

Th character of Sonja is a new twist on the archetypal protagonist, she is an intruging woman who is ingenious, driven and thinks fast on her feet. Sonja’s relationshp with her son Thomas takes centre stage and as the novel progresses you can really feel the emotional turmoil Sonja is living everyday trying not to be ‘snared.’ It was too easy to be caught up in the action as I feared her being caught. When I started reading this novel I didn’t expect to root for a drug smuggler before which just shows the writer’s skill.

I absolutely loved the character of Bragi, a customs officer, even though he’s the nemesis of Sonja I really felt for him as he dealt with his wife’s deterioting illness. I also loved his observations about the world of the airport he works in and really enjoyed his point of view chapters.

The chapters themselves are very snappy which I thought fitted this novel, cutting from one scene to another like a film being played right in front of your eyes and built pace and tension.

The translation is excellent from Mr. Quentin Bates, a talented crime novelist himself, with his translation the story flowed right off the page and drew me deeper into the dark criminal world of Reykavik.

This novel is full of tension and a brilliant cast of characters full of fiendish malice. I think this is a fresh new voice in Scandinavian Noir – I will definitely be looking to read more books in the series.

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About the author:

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardottir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Translation rights have been sold in eight countries to date, and film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavik with her partner.

Snare is out now and be purchased via Amazon here.

To find out more about Lilja Sigurdardottir follow her on Twitter at @lilja1972.

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

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Blog Tour Race To The Kill by Helen Cadbury

Today I’m absolutely honoured to be hosting the next stop on the Race To The Kill blog tour, the third crime novel in the Sean Denton series by Helen Cadbury and published by Allison and Busby.

 

51YcjllpUWL._SY346_First up is the blurb:

It is the middle of a long night shift for PC Sean Denton and his partner PC Gavin Wentworth when they are approached by a dishevelled-looking woman desperate that they follow her. She leads them to the old Chasebridge High School where they find the dead body of a refugee. The investigation which points to the neighbouring greyhound stadium finds Denton caught up in a world of immigration, drugs and sexual abuse, and one in which his private life becomes increasingly entwined.

My Review:

PC Sean Denton stumbles across the dead body of a refugee, squatting in the old derelict high school Sean used to go to as a child. After discovering he has passed his interview to join CID he is seconded to the Murder Investigation Team and quickly becomes caught up in the case. But there are sinister goings-on in the newly fashioned Greyhound Stadium nearby where nothing is as it seems.

This is the first novel I have read in this series and I have no idea how I had missed it – I just loved it.

There are so many different things that was great about this novel I’m not sure how to begin. This story gripped me from the very beginning, with a plot which builds in tension and pace at every chapter and a cast of characters who I truly cared about. This story does contain hard hitting themes about the injustices of society with a focus on the working classes or the people in society who are marginalised for their circumstances, which the author does a brilliant job of weaving into the plot without hitting the reader over the head with it.

One of the stand out things is the characters, who really came to life in this novel. I felt like I could understand and empathise with many of them, even if I didn’t agree with their actions. My favourite character has to be PC Sean Denton – he is a PC who notices the little things which makes him such a good policeman but is struggling with his dyslexia as well as dealing coping with his father’s illness. Sean is just your average guy but is such a lovable character because of it and one of those people who you just root for. He’s not your classic archetypal hero, but he is definitely a new love of mine.

This isn’t a high action, all guns blazing police procedural but that’s one of the things I loved about this as it allowed me to be slowly drawn into the character’s lives alongside trying to solve a good mystery.

I thought this novel works very well as a stand-alone as the author does a fantastic job of showcasing Sean’s life and background without getting to bogged down in what happens in the previous novels. Though I will certainly be reading the other two books in the series. I don’t want to spoil it by giving too much away but what I will say is I think it is one of those stand-out novels which really speaks for itself.

A big thank you to Anne Cater and Allison and Busby for my ARC and allowing me to be a part of this blog tour. A massive thank you as well to Helen’s family for allowing this novel to be published.

I would definitely recommend this novel which is out now and can be purchased on Amazon here.

Or Waterstones here.

My thoughts:

I was saddened to hear about Helen passing. Being a relative newcomer to the crime fiction writing world, I had seen Helen Cadbury at writing events but it wasn’t until I went to Iceland Noir last November that I managed to meet her properly. Immediately, she made me feel welcome and while chatting to her I remember thinking how warm, friendly and funny she was. I’m sad I didn’t get to meet her again but I hope her voice lives on in her writing.

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Helen Cadbury on a panel at Iceland Noir 2016

About the Author:

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Helen Cadbury wrote fiction, poetry and plays. She worked as an actor before becoming a teacher and recently spent five years teaching in prisons. She had an MA in Writing from Sheffield Hallam University. Her debut novel, To Catch a Rabbit, was the winner of the inaugural Northern Crime Competition. Helen passed away in June 2017.

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Blog Tour – Good Friday by Lynda La Plante

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting the next stop on Lynda La Plante’s Good Friday blog tour which is published by Bonnier Zaffre Books. As part of the tour I have an interview with the author herself (which I was so excited about). As always don’t forget to check out the other great stops on this tour.

First up the blurb for Good Friday:

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BEFORE PRIME SUSPECT THERE WAS TENNISON.

Every legend has a beginning . . . 

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not. 

Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation. 

‘Good Friday’ is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target. As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can she convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London’s entire detective force?

Now for the interview with LYNDA LA PLANTE

Welcome to the CKT Blog, Lynda I’m so pleased you have kindly agreed to answer some questions for my blog.

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To start off with, could you tell us a little bit about your new novel Good Friday and how you came up with the idea for it?

This is the third novel in the Tennison series where I’ve taken Jane Tennison back to her early career. The first book ‘Tennison’ was set in 1973 so after ‘Hidden Killers’, the date time line for ‘Good Friday’ was the year after the Belcombe Street siege, so I wanted to incorporate what was then happening in London.

Good Friday is the third novel which explores Jane Tennison’s early years. Did you find it easy to delve into Jane’s past and write from an earlier point in her career? Did you find any of this a challenge?

To begin with I found it quite constricting to realise that there were no mobile phones, no DNA, but then I started to enjoy using the problems – especially the DNA. We have come to expect such fast results and to realise that computers were only just being introduced was another interesting level to work from. So no data finger printing; fingers prints were matched by eye and magnifying glass!

Good Friday is set during the 1970s when the IRA bombings were becoming a regular occurrence in London. As this is a period of time which was within our lifetime, did you do a lot of research for this? And if so, did you find anything you didn’t know about or new and fascinating about this period which you had to include in your novel?

I was a student at this time and so I was very aware of the bombings but I found it odd that I had no clear memory of ever being fearful. I had to do a lot of research into the bomb disposal sections and I found it fascinating and my respect for the Bomb disposal squad has deepened. There is so much scientific expertise now with drones etc – back then it was down to steely nerves and training.

What books would you recommend for the devoted crime reader?

Please read Patricia Cornwall’ s brilliant research and detail in the hunt for Jack the Ripper.

And finally, just for fun, if you could have a dinner party for three select guests, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Marlon Brando because I was such a fan of his. I would also ask if Napoleon was available, simply because he holds such fascination. There is a silent movie about him from the 1920s that is five hours long and every minute is stunning and Abel Ganse a brilliant director. Lastly, I would like Greta Garbo to join us as she is such an iconic beauty. With the other two guests I doubt she would get a word in edgewise, but I would just like to see her in the flesh.

A huge thanks again to Lynda for answering my questions.

Good Friday by Lynda La Plante is out now – published by Bonnier Zaffre price £18.99 hardback

Good Friday can be purchased via Amazon here.

Or Waterstones here.

To find out more about Lynda La Plante follow her on Twitter at @LaPlanteLynda.

 

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Publication Day Review: Yesterday by Felicia Yap

Today it’s publication day of Felicia Yap’s debut novel, Yesterday. So I thought it would be a good idea to repost my original review of this fab book, which I just loved!

Blurb:

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There are two types of people in the world. Those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police? Can you trust your husband? Can you trust yourself?

Humans are divided into two categories, they are either a mono or a duo.

Monos: Can only remember the day before

Duos: Can not only remember yesterday but the day before as well

When a women turns up dead in the River Cam the police suspect foul play. How can you solve a murder when everyone can only remember what happened yesterday?

I can’t actually describe anymore of this book without giving anything else away. I thought this novel was just CAPTIVATING and I actually read this in two sittings! It is a high-concept dystopian thriller which plays on the memories of the characters and sweeps the reader along on a complex and exciting narrative.

The story is told from the point of view of Hans, the police officer who is investigating  the murder, Mark who is a duo and had been having an affair with the dead woman, his wife Claire who is a mono and Sophia. It is also features many of the characters’ diary entries which I found fascinating.

The author Felicia, does a brilliant job of creating a realistic world where humans have to rely on technology to capture their memories otherwise they will be lost forever. I found the world of the novel refreshing and was so different from other books I’ve read recently it just sucked me in and I can tell you I loved every second of it!

Weirdly, one of my favourite characters was Sophia – a character with a very strange world view and whose thoughts and actions were very catatonic, I just couldn’t wait to read the chapters where I was in her head.

This is a book full of pace, has a number of clever twists and turns and is fraught with emotions. I found this such a refreshing and different read it kept me glued to the page. I also felt the themes of memory loss were explicit and very realistic and made me question how I would cope if this ever happened to me.

I’m not sure which one I would want to be – a mono or a duo, I think they both have their problems. Is it better to know more than others in your society or live in blissful ignorance? What one would you be?

This is one of those novel I would recommend looking out for and would rate this as one of my tops reads so far this year!

I would like to say a massive thank you to Millie Seaward, WildFire Books and Headline Publishers for sending me an advanced review copy.

The good news is this book is out today and can be ordered from Amazon by clicking here

Or to order this book from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Felicia Yap follow her on Twitter at @FeliciaMYap.

*Blog Tour* Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

Today, I’m thrilled to be hosting the next stop on the Sweet Little Lies blog tour, penned by Caz Frear and published by Bonnier Zaffre Books. As part of the tour I have a fab interview with the author. As always, don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this tour.

Welcome to the CKT blog, Caz. To start off with, can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel, Sweet Little Lies?

Of course!  Sweet Little Lies tells the story of DC Cat Kinsella, a young detective with the Met, who starts to believe that her father may be involved in the murder she’s investigating to and the disappearance of an Irish teenager in 1998.  It’s very much a police procedural at heart, however it has strong domestic/family noir overtones as Cat struggles to balance her professional responsibilities and her personal allegiances.

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How did you get into writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Like most authors, I’ve been writing my whole life, on and off.  And yes, I always wanted to be a writer, even if I forgot for a few years in my mid-late-twenties when boys, boozing and going out kind of took over J  Things really started to come together though when I was selected to join the Curtis Brown Creative course a few years ago.  This was a huge personal challenge but also a privilege to work alongside other aspiring writers and learn from industry-leading experts.  I finished the course in 2015 with the seeds of Sweet Little Lies sown (although it has changed quite a bit since then) and in 2016, I became aware of the Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller competition.  The rest, as they say, is history….

 You have a killer premise, how did you come up with the idea for Sweet Little Lies and how long did it take you to write?

The honest answer is I don’t know, or can’t remember, how exactly I came up with the idea for Sweet Little Lies.  I always had an image of a young Irish woman travelling to the UK for an abortion and something happening to her, and I also knew I wanted to explore a toxic dad-and-daughter relationship as I think it’s a fascinating dynamic and not as represented in fiction as mothers-and-daughters.  Added to that, I’d always always wanted to write a police procedural (even though I wasn’t sure if I was qualified to!)  so the three things eventually collided, really, and after a lot of false starts, Sweet Little Lies just came to be!

All in all, Sweet Little Lies probably took just under two years to write but that’s taking it right from initial conception until that glorious moment when I tapped The End, and there were certainly periods during that time where life took over and I didn’t write as much. Having the deadline for the R&J competition was a godsend though, as I’d probably only written 30,000 good words by the end of 2015 (plenty of bad words!) but then in 2016 the remaining 80,000 were written in a 7 month deadline frenzy!

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

I secretly wish that I could just dive right in and see where I end up but I’m a really plotter.  Sweet Little Lies and Book 2 spent their early lives on an Excel spreadsheet rather than a Word document, and I refer back to it all the way through – it helps me track who’s in which scene, whether the red herrings are evenly paced, whether there’s too much ‘personal’ stuff and not enough procedural etc.  Having been through the Excel stage with Book 2, it now currently exists as a 12,000 word novella – basically I’ve written it in incredibly messy form, I’ve got the gist of everything down and now I need to go back and tell the story properly.  I should add, I don’t always stick to the plan, there were a few twists and turns in Sweet Little Lies that actually surprised me, but I need a detailed plan to work from, at least.  I find it hard to get going if I can’t see where I’ll end up.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everyone and everywhere!  Characters are usually an amalgamation of several people I’ve crossed paths with.  Just overhearing a conversation on a bus can inspire a whole new piece of dialogue.  I think ‘inspiration’ is a slightly mystical term as usually there isn’t one image or anecdote that literally inspires the writing of a 100,000 word novel.  You just start with a character and a dilemma and get writing (or in my case, get plotting!).  Just writing, even badly, fuels inspiration, rather than the other way around.  If you wait for the killer idea or the killer hook to hit, you could be waiting a very long time!

Your book is set in London and Ireland and features a detective. How much research did you do for Sweet Little Lies?

In terms of locations, I know London extremely well as I lived there for fourteen years and I know the west coast of Ireland as well as any regular tourist as my parents both hail from there.  Mulderrin is a fictional town though.  As Ireland only features in very short chapters, I was conscious that I wouldn’t do justice to the beauty of the real towns I know across County Galway and County Mayo and therefore I made a deliberate decision to keep the Irish location pretty vague.

I did a lot of research for the procedural element of the novel.  A hell of a lot!  While I don’t doubt there’s still a few holes and inaccuracies, it was really important for me to get this bit as right as I could.  I’m a huge Lynda La Plante fan and I’m in awe of how authentic her books feel and so I strive towards this, at least.  Luckily in the course of writing the novel, I met the most patient and generous police officer who didn’t mind me fact-checking and putting scenarios to him on a daily basis!  And obviously these days, Google can be your guide – there isn’t a lot you can’t find out online (although I still think you can’t beat actually speaking to someone in the know.)Caz Frear

What would you say are your top five books you would recommend? (I know this is a hard one)

Very hard!  I’ve written a few times about my favourite crime novels but personal favourites are obviously very subjective so instead I’ll try to think of the top five books that I recommend to literally everyone – the crowd-pleasers.

  • The Shock of the Fall, Nathan Filer’s novel about mental health tells the story of Matt and the guilt he feels over his younger brother’s death when they were younger.  Sounds depressing, right?  It isn’t.  It’s funny, sharp and made me laugh out loud and cry like a baby.  Such clean, unaffected writing too.  I force everyone to read it!
  • What Was Lost, Catherine O Flynn tells the story of Kate Meaney, a 10 year old girl who went missing from a shopping centre in 1984, and the people who try to find out what happened years later.  Again this is a bittersweet tale – a really sad story that still manages to make you laugh and feel warm inside.  In Kate Meaney, O Flynn nails a precocious but also desperately lonely 10 year old.  She’s one of the strongest child narrators I’ve read.
  • Rachel’s Holiday, Marian Keyes had well and truly hit her stride by this 1997 cracker!  Rachel’s holiday is actually a stay in a Betty Ford-style rehab centre and while she’s initially pleased, thinking it’ll be a hotbed of celebrities and relaxing massages, what she finds is something quite different.  This novel is peak Marian Keyes in terms of combining fierce wit and warmth with a serious subject matter – addiction.
  • The Burning Air, Erin Kelly crafts the perfect psychological thriller – atmospheric, taut, beautifully plotted and with a mid-point twist that makes your jaw drop.
  • Lying in Wait, Liz Nugent is a recent addition to the ‘authors I rave about’ list.  Her first novel, ‘Unravelling Oliver’ was good but Lying in Wait is something else.  And what an opening line –My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle but the lying tramp deserved it.’  So deliciously sinister – I absolutely love it.

Just for fun, if you could have a dinner party with three guests (dead or alive) who would they be?

Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac – I just think she’s the coolest woman that’s ever lived – I even named my novel after a Fleetwood Mac song!  Actually that’s a lie, my editor came up with the title but I like to think it’s serendipity…

Arsene Wenger – Because I’m a massive Arsenal fan and I’ve got several bones to pick with him.  At least around the dinner table, we could keep it civilised.

Victoria Wood – She was an absolute genius and makes me cry laughing every time.  I love how she always gave the best lines to other people and she could be known to spend days on one joke, trying to make sure it was as sharp as it could be.  I adore that level of perfectionism.  I actually have a quote from her as my screensaver, it reminds me that even writing geniuses struggle like the rest of us…

I used to find writing scary but now I’ve got used to it once it gets going. I used to find it hard to start. Fear of the blank page. The first thing you write down won’t bear any relation to what’s in your head and that’s always disappointing.”

Are you working on anything at the moment? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes – work has definitely started on Book 2!  Cat and MIT4 will be back for more fun and games and Cat’s family will still feature.  It’s a completely new story and one that Cat isn’t personally attached to this time (don’t want her becoming a Jessica Fletcher type, even though I’m a big fan J)  However the events of Sweet Little Lies will still cast a shadow over Cat’s life (and potentially her career *she added cryptically)

Finally, what is the rest of 2017 looking like for you?

Busy!  I’m doing lots of promotional stuff for Sweet Little Lies but then I need to roll my sleeves up and properly crack on with Book 2!  As I mentioned, I have the most detailed synopsis for Book 2, and I’ve started to have fun with key scenes and key characters, but what I really need to do is stop plotting and playing and just start getting the story in down in a linear way.  I’m sure my editor agrees J

Big thanks, Caz for answering my questions!

Thanks so much for asking them!

Sweet Little Lies is out now and can be purchased on Amazon here.

Or Waterstones here.

To find out more about Caz Frear follow her on Twitter at @CazziF.

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