Blog Tour: In The Dark by Cara Hunter

Today, I’m super excited to be on the next stop for Cara Hunter’s In The Dark blog tour, published by Penguin Random House.

Blurb:

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive …

No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock – how could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

And that no one is as innocent as they seem . . .

What I say:

Wow – what a fantastic instalment in the DI Fawley series!

This is the second novel which sees DI Adam Fawley faced with a complex case where nothing is as it seems….how did the woman and child get there? How are they still alive? What happened to them? These were just some of the gripping questions I was dying to know!

I thought this was such a twisty story which even led me up the wrong path before flipping it all on it’s head.

One of the stand out things about this series is the characters – DI Fawley is such a interesting and believable protagonist and is not your most obvious hero. His relationships with the other members of the team also make for fascinating reading and had me invested even more into the story.

I don’t want to say too much as it’ll spoil the story for you, but I loved the way the author switched between social media updates, media reports, formal police accounts and the main characters view points, which made it all the more thrilling!

This is an artfully plotted, tightly woven storyline full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing up until the end! Yet another outstanding detective novel – I can’t wait for book three.To find out more about Cara Hunter follow her on twitter @CaraHunterBooks

Sound intrigued? If you haven’t read any of the series yet I would urge you to start!

In The Dark can be ordered from Amazon here.

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

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Blog Tour Extract: Find Me

Today, I’m hosting the next stop on the Find Me blog tour which is published by Head of Zeus. The novel Find Me is written by J.S Monroe. For the blog tour, I am pleased to be able to share an extract of the novel to give you a little taste of this book.

The blurb:

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Five years ago, Rosa walked to Cromer pier in the dead of night. She looked into the dark swirling water below, and she jumped. She was a brilliant young Cambridge student who had just lost her father. Her death was tragic, but not unexpected.

Was that what really happened?

The coroner says it was. But Rosa’s boyfriend Jar can’t let go. He hallucinates, seeing Rosa everywhere – a face on the train, a distant figure on the hillside. He is obsessed with proving that she is still alive. And then he gets an email.

Find me, Jar. Find me, before they do…

Find Me Extract:

Jar had considered group-emailing the office from Paddington, to explain his own lateness, but he wasn’t sure how it would have gone down: ‘Just seen my girlfriend from uni who took her own life five years ago. Everyone tells me I’m imagining things, that I must move on, but I know she’s alive, somehow, somewhere, and I’m never going to stop looking until I find her. She wasn’t ready to die.’

He has told Carl everything, but not the others. He knows what they think. What’s a prize-winning young Irish writer, debut collection of short stories a critical if not commercial success, doing in the seventh circle of office hell in Angel, chasing web-traffic figures by writing click-bait on Miley Cyrus? It was unfortunate that the first piece he was asked to le was on writer’s block: ten authors who had lost their mojo. Sometimes he wonders if he ever had it.

In recent months, he has seen Rosa increasingly often: at the wheel of passing cars, in the pub, on top of the Number 24 bus (front seats, where they always sat when they were in London, riding up to Camden). The appearances have their own name, according to the family GP back in Galway: ‘post-bereavement hallucinations’.

His father has other ideas, talking excitedly of the spéirbhean, the heavenly woman who used to appear in Irish visionary poems. ‘How can you be so insensitive now,’ his mother chided, but Jar doesn’t mind. He is close to his da.

He spent a lot of time at his home in Galway City in the immediate aftermath of Rosa’s death, trying to make sense of what had happened. His father owns a bar in the Latin Quarter. They would sit up late, talk through the sightings, particularly one, on the Connemara coast. (He did all the talking, Da listened.) Some he knows are false alarms, but others, the ones he can’t challenge…

‘You look like death, bro,’ Carl says, slumping down in his chair, which lets out a hiss of air. ‘Just seen a ghost?’

About the Author:

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Jon Stock, now writing as J.S. Monroe, read English at Cambridge University, worked as a freelance journalist in London and was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4. He was also a foreign correspondent in Delhi for the Daily Telegraph and was on its staff in London as Weekend editor. He left Telegraph in 2010 to finish writing his acclaimed Daniel Marchant spy trilogy and returned in 2013 to oversee the paper’s digital books channel. He became a fulltime author in 2015, writing as J.S. Monroe.

His first novel, ‘The Riot Act’ was shortlisted by the Crime Writers’ Association for its best first novel award. The film rights for ‘Dead Spy Running’, his third novel, were bought by Warner Bros, who hired Oscar-winner Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana) to write the screenplay. It is currently in development. He is the author of five novels and lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife, a photographer, and their three children.

To find out more about J.S Monroe follow him on Twitter at @JSThrillers .

Find Me can be purchased via Amazon here.

As always don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this 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:

Simon Beckett December 2016

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.

Killer Review: The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer

So last month Belinda Bauer featured on the November First Monday Crime Evening Panel, so when asked whether I would like to review this book I jumped at the chance.

Blurb:

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‘I give you the art,’ he said, as if he’d read her mind. ‘And you put on the show.’

Eve Singer needs death. With her career as a TV crime reporter flagging, and increasing pressures at home, she’ll do anything to satisfy her ghoulish audience. Her career is built on the bones of the dead; her one aim to secure that perfect shot of the body bag. And luckily for Eve, there is a serial killer at work in London…

The killer needs death too. He sees beauty in death and revels in watching his victims take their final breath. For the killer, the line between artist and executioner is irrevocably blurred. He even advertises his macabre public performances, inviting the public to see his ‘show.’

When he contacts Eve and offers her unpresented access to his plans, she welcomes the chance to be first with the news from every gory scene. Until she realizes that the killer has two obsessions.

One is public murder.

And the other one is her . . .

The story centres around Eve Singer, a TV crime reporter who is always looking for the next big exclusive to keep her at the top of her career and to satisfy her viewers. But the sight of blood and gore makes her sick, which in her line of her work makes her a target of her colleagues. So when the killer starts messaging her with hints at his next kill, Eve jumps at the chance to get the story first – but little does she know that the killer has set his sights on her.

I loved this story!

I have previously read Backlands by Belinda Bauer which I adored, so when I was recommended this novel I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this.

The story opened with an absolute corker – I won’t spoil it for you here but what I will say is it really sets the tone to this novel and hooked me into the story right away.

The story is told from the point of view of Eve and the killer, who I must say is such a fascinating character and not your average murderer. He had such a twisted mindset and acted in such a way that I couldn’t guess what he would do next! I was so engrossed in his crimes I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page.

Eve is such a strong character I couldn’t help but rooting for her and her determination to keep her job in order to care for her father comes through the narrative and makes her actions realistic if somewhat questionable.

I also loved the characters of Eve’s father Duncan, who suffers from dementia but has such a sweet soul, Mr Elias, Eve’s bumbling and lonely neighbour and Joe, Eve’s cameraman, who she has a lot of banter with. I was so absorbed in the lives of these characters I couldn’t get enough of this book.

I found myself sympathising with all the characters throughout – I know worryingly even with the killer. I thought Eve’s relationships with both her dad and Joe made this an emotive and pacey story.

The story is a slow burner where the pace really ratchets up towards the last third of the novel but this just kept me on my toes.

I thought this was a new twist on the classic serial killer thriller making this a refreshing and exciting criminal read. I would recommend this for any crime fan who loves a good psychological thriller with a difference.

With thank to Becky Short at Penguin Random House for my advanced review copy.

To buy this book on Amazon just click here

Or to order this book from Waterstones click here.
To find out more about Belinda Bauer follow her on Twitter at @BelindaBauer.

First Monday is a crime night devoted to readers, writers, hard core crime fans or industry professionals a chance to mingle and to hear about the latest crime books. First Monday happens on the first Monday of each month with a different panel of authors designed to cater to a wide-range of tastes. I love First Monday evenings which never fails to deliver!

For more information check out the Goldsboro Events page here or follow them on Twitter @1stMondayCrime.

 

 

Killer Review: Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton

First Line: ‘Leaves, mud and grass deaden sound. Even screams. The girl knows this.’

Now You See Me: Lacey Flint Series, Book 1 - Lacey Flint 1 (Paperback)

Blurb: She can’t stop shivering. But this isn’t cold. This is terror.

A savage murder on London’s streets, 120 years to the day since Jack the Ripper claimed his first victim. A crime with all the hallmarks of a copycat killer.

Detective Constable Lacey Flint has never worked a murder case, until now. When another mutilated victim is found she agrees to be the bait to lure out the monster.

But this killer is one step ahead, and already fixated on Lacey . . .

This is the first in the Lacey Flint series and introduces the character of DC Lacey Flint tackling her first murder case. One evening when Lacey finds a woman propped against her car bleeding to death, she is launched head-first into an investigation where a killer is reenacting the canonical five Jack the Ripper murders; something which Lacey is something of an expert in. As the body count rises and the killer seems to be one step ahead at every turn, Lacey realises the killer has set its sights on her…

This novel starts off with a bang and refused to let up which gripped me from the very start. The story is set across North London which the author brings to life through her vivid descriptions and Lacey’s point of view of the world.

One of the things I loved about this novel is Lacey who is a complex character with many hidden layers which are slowly revealed as the novel progresses. All I will say is that Lacey is not your typical police officer with a shady past and is hiding a killer secret, a secret which the killer also knows!

The chemistry between DC Lacey Flint and DS Mark Joesbury was also another highlight for me as they seemed to detest one another but as the novel progresses it was interesting to see how their relationship twisted and changed and grew in intensity as do the murders.

The author, Sharon Bolton, manages to weave Victorian history with the victims and the murders of Jack the Ripper into its narrative but still keeping it fresh and contemporary with the majority of the story set in the present making it a very compelling read.

For me it was one of those thrilling reads which kept you hooked, guessing who the killer was, what secrets were lurking beneath the surface – and when you think nothing else could possibly happen it does.

This book is not for the feint-hearted but the plot twists and complex but interesting characters make this a must read.

This is a disturbing yet thrilling read which will keep you guessing until the very end and I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Sharon Bolton follow her on Twitter @AuthorSJBolton.

Highlights: Greenwich Book Festival

On the bank holiday weekend I headed down to Greenwich and attended a few panels which was part of the fantastic Greenwich Book Festival.

The festival is now in its second year which takes place in the historic buildings and grounds of the Old Royal Naval College and is a two-day event which features a host of local authors, an array of children events and has a creative strand for emerging writers.

I was fortunate enough to attend a panel on Inside Stories with YA author Melinda Salisbury, Little Brown editor Karen Ball, Journalist Anna James, Literary agent Lucy Luck and chaired by festival co-founder and Hodder & Stoughton creative director Auriol Bishop.

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This was an engaging panel which featured each panelist’s insights into publishing, their individual backgrounds, how they got into their chosen careers, top tips for aspiring authors and even gave the audience the chance to ask their own questions about the publishing industry.

On the Saturday I attended a panel on How to Get your Book Published. This was a fab whistle-stop discussion with Fanny Blake ex-publisher and author of six novels including House of Dreams and Lucy Atkins author of The Missing One and The Other Child. The panel focused on what an agent is, how to find and submit to one, the role of the editor and some top tips for aspiring writers.

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One of the top panels of the day was Inside Grip-Lit with crime/thriller authors; Gillian Slovo, author of Ten Days, Sam Baker, author of The Woman Who Ran, Fiona Barton, author of The Widow and chaired by Lucy Atkins.

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This was a jam-packed novel where the authors discussed each of their novels, their characters, the themes in their books, the publishing industry, ‘planning versus plundering,’ gender versus power and book covers.

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This was my second year of attending the festival which was ever bit as great as last year. This is a unique festival which caters to fellow book lovers of all ages, including the little ones, with a friendly atmosphere and a diverse range of events to go to. I would definitely recommend going if you get the chance next year!