*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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Blog Tour Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

Today I am part of the blog tour for Exquisite by Sarah Stovell, published by the wonderful Orenda Books, along with my counterpart Being Anne whose review you can check out here. Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this epic blog tour!

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Blurb:

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.

Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.

When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops… Or does it?

We are first introduced to Bo Luxton, a successful writer who is runs a writing course, is married to Gus, twenty-two years her senior with two daughters and lives in a beautiful house in the Lake District.

Alice Dark’s life seems to be at a standstill; she lives in a squalid bedsit in Brighton with a loser of a boyfriend who seems to drink and take drugs and works for cash in hand – she wants more from life.

When the two women meet at the writers retreat Bo is organising, they hit it off and end up staying in touch via email once the retreat is over. As their kinship develops and Bo invites Alice to stay with her a sinister relationship develops.

The novel is told from both women point of view, sometimes via email or telephone along with a characters view point from prison which immediately tells the reader that something bad will happen.

I adored the beautiful imagery and language the authors uses throughout this novel to draw the reader in and sets up a claustrophobic atmosphere which made the action even more chilling.

The author weaves an intricate plot with a brilliant ending I didn’t see coming and does a superb job of creating two such disturbing characters – even now I’m unsure who was telling the truth – or are they both liars?

This is a novel full of tension, toxic passion, breathless pace and disturbing characters – I loved it and cannot recommend this book enough! This is a psychological thriller at the top of its game.

Big thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour and for my ARC.

About the author:

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Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.

This novel is out now and can be purchased on Amazon here.

Or Waterstones here.

To find out more about Sarah Stovell follow her on Twitter at @Sarahlovescrime

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Blog Tour Review Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Today, I’m absolutely ecstatic to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Fierce Kingdom penned by Gin Phillips. As part of the blog tour I have reviewed the book and I have an exclusive extract of the novel which I will share with you later on today. Don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this fab blog tour!

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First up is the blurb:

Lincoln is a good boy. At the age of four, he is curious, clever and well behaved. He does as his mum says and knows what the rules are.

‘The rules are different today. The rules are that we hide and do not let the man with the gun find us.’

When an ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare, Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved son. She must summon all her strength, find unexpected courage and protect Lincoln at all costs – even if it means crossing the line between right and wrong; between humanity and animal instinct.

It’s a line none of us would ever normally dream of crossing.

But sometimes the rules are different.

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My Review:

I love thriller novels and I had heard so much about this novel, so when I was sent an copy I just jumped at the chance to read this.

Joan and her four year old son, Lincoln, decide to visit one of their many favourite haunts, the local zoo, after school to catch the last of the day’s sunshine. But as time fades quickly Joan and Lincoln have to make a mad dash towards the exit before the zoo closes for the night; but all too soon they are faced with a bigger danger – a man with a gun is blocking the exit and is on the hunt for humans. Joan is faced with every parent’s nightmare and the fight for survival.

Wow – what can I say about this novel? I absolutely loved the action and the drama of this story which was just utterly breathless – the pace was relentless from start to finish and I found myself holding my breath a lot willing Joan and Lincoln to survive.

I most admit some of the decisions Joan makes along the way made me question how I would react in the same/similar situation? What is apparent though is the strength and determination which Joan has, which I felt made her an outstanding heroine. Joan’s desperate need to protect her son also shines through this novel and I loved the relationship between Joan and Lincoln which really showed the love between them – it made me want to close my eyes at times because I just felt so scared for these characters.

I think what made this book so scary for me is that it hits on themes which seem very relevant in the society we live in now.

I thought Fierce Kingdom was a gripping novel which takes the reader on a fast-paced journey of a mother’s fierce protection for her child. This was such a thrilling read which I just couldn’t put down and I would urge you to read – just don’t read it in a dark room on your own!

I would like to say a huge thanks to Alison Barrow and Transworld Publishers for my advanced review copy.

This novel is out 15th June which you can preorder from Amazon just click here

Or to preorder this book from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Gin Phillips follow her on Twitter at @GinPhillips17

*Blog Tour* Need You Dead by Peter James

I’m super excited to be a part of Peter James’ official blog tour for Need You Dead where I’ll be sharing Peter’s dream dinner party along with all the book details. #LoveRoyGrace

Need You Dead. HB. High Res Jacket.jpgFirst up is the Blurb: 

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape her marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, even those you consider closest to you may not be who they say they are, and a chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything.

When the body of a woman is found in the bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first, it looks like an open and shut case but Grace is hesitant as ever to make assumptions and as the investigation lengthens so does the list of men with motives for killing Lorna.

As well as dealing with one of his most mysterious cases yet, Grace must cope with an unexpected new addition to the family. His existence may have only just been discovered following the death of Grace’s ex-wife, but ten-year-old Bruno is moving to Brighton to live with his Dad.

As the case unfolds, with each possible conclusion as tantalisingly plausible as the next, a sudden turn of events reveals the case to be more sinister than Grace could ever imagine.

Need You Dead, the thirteenth in the award-winning DS Roy Grace series by Peter James, is out 18th May (Macmillan, £20.00) and can be purchased here.

 

 Now over to Peter James for his Dream Dinner Party

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This is a tough one! Aside from my close family and friends here is my ten in no particular order…

Oscar Wilde – for his entertaining company

Lucretia Borgia – for being one of the most evil women who ever lived

Graham Greene – for writing the book that made me want to be a writer

Peter Cooke – for being one of the funniest people ever

David Attenborough – because of my wife’s fascination for wildlife

Winston Churchill – someone I have always greatly admired

Arthur Conan Doyle – because Sherlock Holmes was always a big inspiration to me

May West – because she would be fun

Dorothy Parker – for all her witty sayings

W C Fields – I love his curmudgeonly attitude to almost everything such as ‘How do you like children, Mr Fields?’ To which he replied ‘Fried’

Some fab choices here!

A little Research…

Dedicated to authenticity, Peter bases his books upon real life experiences he has witnessed through shadowing the Sussex Police.

In Need You Dead, he focuses on domestic violence and, in particular, a case in which the police are called out to a tearful woman reporting that her live-in boyfriend had pushed dog faeces into her mouth. Peter was invited in to hear the woman’s story.

Peter also studied the increasing number of internet crimes that are now outweighing the number of thefts and burglaries that take place.

 

About the Author:

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PETER JAMES is one of the UK’s most treasured crime and thriller novelists. His Roy Grace detective novels have sold over 18 million copies worldwide in total. The series is now published in 37 territories.  Peter’s first non-fiction title ‘Death Comes Knocking’ written in association with Graham Bartlett, Head of Sussex Police was published in July 2016, scoring Peter a hat trick of titles in the Sunday Times charts within a month.

Peter’s novella, ‘The Perfect Murder’ (2010) was adapted into a play called The Perfect Murder which did its first, smash hit tour starring Les Dennis in 2014. This was followed by the play of Dead Simple in 2015, starring Tina Hobley and Jamie Lomas which was an equally big success during its 6-month nationwide run. Not Dead Enough, the third of Peter’s books to be translated to stage, is currently touring the UK to critical acclaim, starring Shane Ritchie as Roy Grace and Laura Whitmore as Cleo Morey.

Peter, an established film producer, was educated at Charterhouse then at film school. He has produced numerous films, including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino. He has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Brighton in recognition of his services to literature and the community, is Patron of Neighbourhood Watch nationwide, Patron of Crimestoppers in Sussex, Patron of Brighton & HoveSamaritans, and Patron of Relate, among many other charitable posts he holds.  Peter has been two-times Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and has won many literary awards, including the publicly voted ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards People’s Bestseller Dagger and he was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize.  As popular internationally as in the UK, he won the US Barry Award, for Best British Crime Novel in 2012.  Last year, 2015, he was voted by WH Smith readers as The Best Crime Author of All Time. 

Born and brought up in Brighton, Peter divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill, London and Sussex. Peter is available for interviews and to write features.

Find out more about Peter James at www.panmacmillan.com and Peter’s website www.peterjames.com and follow him on:

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/peterjames.roygrace

Twitter. http://twitter.com/peterjamesuk

Instagram: https://instagram.com/peterjamesuk

YouTube: You can subscribe for free here: www.peterjames.com/YouTube

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

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*Blog Tour* The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett

Today, I’m really excited to be a part of the blog tour for The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett. As part of the tour I have some exclusive author content from Simon talking about the Forensic research which goes into the successful David Hunter novels (big thanks to Simon for sharing). Pssst…don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this fabulous blog tour!

*Forensic Crime Writing by Simon Beckett*

Before I visited Tennessee’s renowned Body Farm in 2002, I’d never really given forensics much thought. I was making my living working as a freelance journalist, and although I’d already written several novels they were all psychological thrillers. So when I got off the plane into the humid Tennessee heat, I’d no idea that this trip would lead to my writing a long-running series about a forensic anthropologist.

I’d been commissioned to write about highly realistic crime scene training that was being held at the Body Farm, at the time the only facility in the world to use human cadavers to research decomposition. The course was aimed at providing practical forensic experience for US police officers and CSIs, and although the crime scenes they had to process were carefully staged, the bodies used in them were very real.

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On the last day, I was given a pair of white overalls by an instructor and cheerfully told to help excavate a grave containing a body buried six months earlier. It was a surreal experience, and I came away both affected and impressed by what I’d seen. It also provided the inspiration for The Chemistry of Death, the first in my series about British forensic anthropologist David Hunter. A specialist in analysing badly decomposed, burnt or damaged human remains, Hunter is an emotionally wounded narrator through whose eyes we see this grimly esoteric world. It’s therefore vital for him to know what he’s talking about. Which means I have to know what he’s talking about as well.

Since I’m not a forensic expert that boils down to background research. A lot of it. The internet has made accessibility to information easier than ever, providing it’s used selectively, and I’ve also acquired a respectable collection of forensic text books. But whenever possible I prefer to consult a real-life expert, whose knowledge is based on actual experience. If I want insight into, say, the effect of fire on human bone, then I’ll ask a forensic anthropologist who has carried out work in that field. It’s the same for other factual aspects of the stories, whether it’s police procedure, rare neurological conditions or caving: if you don’t know something, find someone who does.

Occasionally my requests for help have been declined, which I can perfectly understand. I’m not sure how I’d feel if a completely stranger wanted to pick my brains either. However, most experts I approach have been happy to assist, and seem to enjoy puzzling over the sometimes-bizarre questions I throw at them. For which I am immensely grateful, since it contributes a degree of authenticity to the books it would otherwise be hard to achieve.

Obviously, this sort of relationship shouldn’t be abused: these are busy, professional people, and I try to keep my questions short and to the point. But gathering the information is only part of it: the real work for the writer comes with integrating it successfully into the narrative. The temptation is to include all those arcane details you’ve so painstakingly discovered, but that’s a mistake. Fascinating as they may be, it’s important to remember that they’re meant to inform and support the story, not overwhelm it.

Working as a feature journalist helped, since that typically involved writing with authority on unfamiliar subjects, as well as presenting often complex information in a concise and readable way. On occasion that led to misunderstandings: after one magazine article about how to cook the perfect chip (journalism isn’t all trips to Tennessee) I received several interview requests myself, as though I were the expert rather than the chefs I’d spoken to.

But that’s a sign you’ve done your job as a writer. When someone picks up a David Hunter novel, I want them to believe he really is a forensic expert, talking about what he knows best. The research itself is only a part of that.

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So now for the Blurb:

‘Composed of over sixty per cent water itself, a human body isn’t naturally buoyant. It will float only for as long as there is air in its lungs, before gradually sinking to the bottom as the air seeps out. If the water is very cold or deep, it will remain there, undergoing a slow, dark dissolution that can take years. But if the water is warm enough for bacteria to feed and multiply, then it will continue to decompose. Gases will build up in the intestines, increasing the body’s buoyancy until it floats again.
And the dead will literally rise . . . ‘

Once one of the country’s most respected forensics experts, Dr David Hunter is facing an uncertain professional – and personal – future. So when he gets a call from Essex police, he’s eager for the chance to assist them.

A badly decomposed body has been found in a desolate area of tidal mudflats and saltmarsh called the Backwaters. Under pressure to close the case, the police want Hunter to help with the recovery and identification.

It’s thought the remains are those of Leo Villiers, the son of a prominent businessman who vanished weeks ago. To complicate matters, it was rumoured that Villiers was having an affair with a local woman. And she too is missing.

But Hunter has his doubts about the identity. He knows the condition of the unrecognizable body could hide a multitude of sins. Then more remains are discovered – and these remote wetlands begin to give up their secrets . . .

About the author:

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After an MA in English, Simon Beckett spent several years as a property repairer before teaching in Spain. Back in the UK, he played percussion in several bands and worked as a freelance journalist, writing for national British newspapers and magazines. Some of his more memorable assignments included going on police drugs raids, touring brothels with a vice unit and trying to learn how to win a gun fight in Nevada.

To buy this from Amazon just click here

To buy this from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Simon Beckett follow him on Twitter  or check out his website here.

*Blog Tour* The Special Girls by Isabelle Grey

Today I’m delighted to host the next stop on the #BlogTour for The Special Girls written by Isabelle Grey and published by Quercus. Don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous stop on this tour!

The Blurb:

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They are called the ‘special girls’. How are they special and why were they chosen? Historical child sex abuse is linked to the murder of a young doctor.

A doctor is found beaten to death in woods close to a summer camp for young women with eating disorders. The camp is run by the charismatic Professor Chesham. DI Grace Fisher is called in, but is quickly pulled from the investigation – to head up a cold case inquiry involving Chesham himself.

Some years earlier, one of Chesham’s patients made allegations that he sexually assaulted her.

As Grace uncovers the lies that led to the doctor’s murder, she discovers the full extent of the damage done to the special girls – and the danger they are still in.

This is the third novel in the DI Grace Fisher series which sees Grace investigating the murder of Tim Merrick who was beaten to death, he was a psychiatrist who worked with Professor Ned Chesham  with vulnerable teenage girls who suffer with eating disorders. As Grace starts to delve she finds no clues to the culprit but before she can get too comfy she is pulled from the case to look into an old police enquiry which looked into an allegation of child sex abuse against Professor Chesham.

This is the third novel in the DI Grace Fisher series which sees Grace investigating the murder of Tim Merrick who has been beaten to death, he was a psychiatrist who worked with Professor Ned Chesham helping vulnerable teenage girls who suffer with eating disorders. As Grace starts to delve into the case she finds no clues to the culprit but before she can get too comfy, she is pulled from the case to look into an old police enquiry which looked into an allegation of child sex abuse against Professor Chesham.

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I really enjoyed this novel which has a solid and compelling narrative with very believable characters.

First of, I loved the setting of Wryford Hall, an old stately home with a big wooded area where the summer camp is held yearly and where Tim Merrick is found murdered in the opening passages; it is remote and just downright creepy.

I also liked characters in this novel which were all well-rounded who I cared about causing me to read on. I especially loved the main protagonist, Grace Fisher a courageous DI who will do everything in her power to uncover the truth.

There is not much violence in this novel but it does tackle some very dark, controversial themes of historic child sex abuse cases where abusers are figures with political or celebrity status and police cover ups, which are in fact very contemporary issues at the moment and made for a gripping and refreshing read. The content is very emotive and at times just harrowing which the author does a fantastic job of sustaining sympathy for the victims in this case and keeping that emotion at the forefront for the reader.

In this novel it really showed how much the author had done her research into police procedures and forensics which trickled throughout the narrative, giving it a very authentic and believable feel. I thought the writing style was very easy and the story just gripped me from the very start. The investigation has a solid narrative which picked up pace and ramped up the tension with Grace’s career in jeopardy.

If you like police procedurals with a sensitive subject, which I thought the author handled very well, than this is definitely one for you!

Big thanks to Quercus books for my advanced review copy.

This novel isn’t published until 6th April but the good news is you can preorder this from Amazon now just click here.

To preorder this from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Isabelle Grey follow her on Twitter at  @IsabelleGrey ‏.

 

*Blog Tour* Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

Today I’m really pleased to be hosting the next stop on the Six Stories blog tour, penned by Matt Wesolowski and published by Orenda Books.

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Blurb:

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who took that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.

2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure.

In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame… As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.

The concept of this novel is brilliant; it is broken up into a series of Podcast episodes very much like the popular Podcast series ‘Serial.’ In Six Stories, a masked reporter Scott King delves into ‘cold’ criminal cases and re-investigates the evidence by interviewing key witnesses – allowing the ‘listener’ or in this case the reader to make their own conclusions. In this novel each episode features a new character’s voice and at the end of each episode it features the point of view of Henry Saint Clement-Ramsey who found the body of Tom Jeffries – a year after he had disappeared.

My Review:

Oh my, I’m not sure how to describe my thoughts about this book and do it justice. It just stole my breath and blew my mind!

I am a big fan of Serial so I couldn’t wait to read this novel! One of the things I loved about the Podcast, Serial was the way the narrator brings each voice to life which I felt the author, Matt, pulled off and brought to this story – by ensuring the main protagonist stepped back and allowed the story to slowly trickle through all six stories, while revealing another layer of the mystery with each episode or rather chapter.

The mystery surrounding the disappearance and potential murder of Tom Jeffries was brilliant and captivated me from the very beginning. I loved learning about all the little ticks and troubled past of each character which they were clearly hiding from Scott and the reader.

One of the best things about this novel is the setting – Scarclaw Fell. This setting for me was both atmospheric and very creepy which through the descriptions and the characters thoughts and actions really unsettled me as the reader (which I loved and must admit kind of freaked me out).

The narrative also, slowly builds tension and really picked up the pace towards the end – which incidentally the ending – I just didn’t see some of that coming which just threw me!

This novel just packs a punch and is such an original and refreshing read, where the main protagonist takes a back sit and allows the reader to come to their own conclusions about what exactly happened to Tom Jeffries. I absolutely loved this and cannot recommend this highly enough: it is a must read for all crime fans! 

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). His debut crime novel ‘Six Stories’ is available through Orenda Books from the spring of 2017.

Big thanks to Orenda Books for my review copy.

To buy this on Amazon click here.

To buy this on Waterstones click here.

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

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

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