Blog Tour: We Were the Salt of the Sea

Today, I’m excited to be the next stop on the blog tour for We Were The Salt of The Sea by Roxanne Bouchard, published by Orenda Books and translated by David Warriner.

Blurb:

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Truth lingers in murky waters…

As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation.

On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters. It’s enough to make DS Morales reach straight for a large whisky…

What I say:

Wow, this was just…poetic enveloped inside a good murder mystery!

This novel is told from the point of view of Catherine Day, a woman who is trying to find her birth mother, and detective sergeant Joaquin Morales in charge of the investigation – both outsiders looking into this remote and closed of community they have found themselves in. This gave me as the reader the opportunity to see with fresh eyes the beautiful, but sad setting of the Gaspe Peninsula – an area which is centred around the sea, where the life of the characters are regularly disrupted from tourists.

I loved getting to know the many characters within this novel, with their odd natures, quirks and captivating personalities I was dying to know more, especially the life of Marie Garant, Catherine’s birth mother and whose beauty and wild nature were renowned in the village but ended tragically.

I thought the writing itself was beautiful, poetic, lyrical and just haunting which just pulled me further into the story. Yet again Orenda Publishers have found another new pearl in the crime genre!

This novel was just hauntingly sad, beautiful and poetic with a good murder mystery t its heart. It is a story which slowly draws you into the mystery of Marie’s death and a claustrophobic fishing village whose secrets lurk beneath the water.

About the Author:

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Roxanne Bouchard is a multi-award winning author and playwright from Quebec, Canada, and We Were the Salt of the Sea is her first novel to be published in English. She is currently writing an essay on literary creativity, and plotting the next Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales investigation.

To find out more about Roxanne Bouchard follow her on twitter @KJHAuthor.

We Were the Salt of the Sea is out now on Ebook or released on 30th March in paperback and can be preordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

Big thanks to Anne Cater and Karen Sullivan for allowing me to be a part of this tour.

Don’t forget to swim over to the other stops on this blog tour!

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Blog Tour: The Search by Howard Linskey

For today’s post I’m super excited to host the next stop on The Search blog tour, penned by Howard Linskey and published by Michael Joseph, Penguin. As always don’t forget to check out all the other fab books on this tour!

First up it’s the Blurb:

9780718180362Someone knows where the bodies are buried…

Little Susan Verity went missing during the heatwave of 1976. An unprecedented amount of police resource went into finding her, but to no avail. Until now.

Convicted serial killer Adrian Wicklow was always the prime suspect. In the past, he’s repeatedly lied to the police about where Susan’s body is buried – playing a sick game from behind bars. 

But this time, he says, he’ll tell the truth. Because Adrian Wicklow is dying.

Detective Ian Bradshaw works with investigative journalists Helen Norton and Tom Carney to find the body. However, this is Wicklow’s life’s work. Would a murderer on death’s door give up his last secret so easily…?

This is a story which centres around the investigation into the disappearance of a child in 1976. In 1976, six children went out to play but only five returned, little Susan Verity disappeared without a trace. Andrew Winklow, the prime suspect and convicted child killer who originally confused to her murder later retracted his confession. Now on the 20th anniversary of her disappearance, DS Ian Bradshaw is tasked with her case to try to uncover what really happened, because Adrian Winklow is dying and time is running out to discover the truth once and for all.

Wow! This story just grabbed my attention from the very beginning which opened with the creepy words of Adrian Winklow, and as the narrative unfolded kept me glued to the page.

This story is set in both the past, 1976, and the present day which in this case is 1996. The author does a fantastic job of interweaving both of these timelines into the main plot with both timelines revealing little clues along the way while still keeping up the pace and mystery.

What I really liked about this novel was the fact that the main narrative focused on an interesting cold case which managed to retain the strong sense of a life and death situation and fast-paced action which comes from novels with a ‘present day’ serial killer.

I adored the creepy, disturbing character of Adrian who even when he is at death’s door still manages to plays games with everyone. I’m not sure what really says about me but I do love a good villain!

I also really liked the main characters of DS Ian Bradshaw and journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton who he turns to for help, to try and unpick the truth from a serial killer’s twisted and clever mind. I was also interested in their dynamic relationships which are just at the heart of this novel and I suspect the series. The author’s writing style just made me feel very invested in these characters and sympathetic – I really cared about what happened to them.

I have never read any of Howard Linskey’s previous books but I will certainly be picking them up now after reading The Search because this was such a fascinating and brilliant read.

This is a fabulous fast-paced and twisty page-turner which is a must for the avid crime-reader.

Big thanks to Jenny Platt and Michael Joseph Books for my advanced review copy.

You can purchase this book from Amazon here.

Or from Waterstones here.

To find out more about Howard Linskey follow him on Twitter at @HowardLinskey.

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*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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Thriller Review: Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb

Blurb: ‘Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.

Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.’

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OMG I have no words to express how amazing this book is. I literally read this in a day because I just couldn’t put it down – it was that good!

Lori is a bounty hunter struggling to make ends meet and cover her daughter’s hospital bills so when she is handed a seemingly straight forward assignment she thinks her luck has changed. That is until Lori comes face to face with the bounty – JT; her ex-mentor who she has a history with.

I love love love the character of bad-ass Lori; a single mum who has had to toughen up just to survive, and charismatic JT who have to work together once again as they face a number of different enemies hell-bent on destroying both their lives.

Lori is such a stand-out character who is like a female lioness, unrelenting in her quest to protect her daughter and will stop at nothing to make sure she does. It is so refreshing to have such a strong and fierce female action hero, I just fell in love with her character.

Reading this book you can’t forget JT, he is literally oozing sex appeal and one who I’n dying to read about again. I also enjoyed Dakota’s story which the author, Steph, does a wonderful job of capturing the innocence of a doe-eyed nine-year old girl who is forced along on her mum’s bounty hunter journey.

As I read this novel I discovered more about Lori’s past and her history with JT which the author does a stand out job of weaving it into the present day action without it spoiling the main narrative.

One other thing I adored was Steph’s descriptions of the theme park Winter Wonderland in Florida with the intricate details really made me feel like I was right there running along with the characters.

I won’t say much more as I think the novel does that for itself. What I will say is this: It is a fast-paced, nail-biting, hard hitting novel which not only takes you on an all guns blazing action adventure but will also take you through the emotional ringer. Yet another stand out novel published by Orenda Books which every crime fan must read. I just can’t wait to get my mitts on the next instalment in the series!

With thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my advanced review copy.

This novel isn’t out until January but the good news is you can preorder this book from Amazon just click here

Or to preorder this book from Waterstones click here.
To find out more about Steph Broadribb aka Crime Thriller Girl follow her on Twitter at @crimethrillgirl or check out her website here.

Killer Review: A Death At Fountains Abbey by Antonia Hodgson

A Death at Fountains Abbey (Hardback)

Blurb:

Late spring, 1728 and Thomas Hawkins has left London for the wild beauty of Yorkshire – forced on a mission he can’t refuse. John Aislabie, one of the wealthiest men in England, has been threatened with murder. Blackmailed into investigating, Tom must hunt down those responsible, or lose the woman he loves forever.

Since Aislabie is widely regarded as the architect of the greatest financial swindle ever seen, there is no shortage of suspects.

Far from the ragged comforts of home, Tom and his ward Sam Fleet enter a world of elegant surfaces and hidden danger. The great estate is haunted by family secrets and simmering unease. Someone is determined to punish John Aislabie – and anyone who stands in the way. As the violence escalates and shocking truths are revealed, Tom is dragged, inexorably, towards the darkest night of his life.

This is the third instalment which features Thomas Hawkins struggling to come to terms with the shocking events from the previous book which had him staring death in the face.

In the wild Yorkshire countryside John Aislabie discovers a dead fawn with a note pinned to its carcass which promises to burn him and his family. When John asks the royal family for help, Tom is commanded by the Queen to aid John Aislabie and find the culprits before they strike, but Tom has his work cut out as John is the most hated man in England and there are no shortage of suspects. As events at John Aislabie’s house escalates Tom and his ward Sam Fleet discover that in the world of the wealthy danger lurks behind every corner.

I adored this novel! It had everything I could have hoped for pace, engaging characters, humour, sharp witty dialogue and hair-raising twists.

One of the main things which really stood out while reading this novel was the characters.

Thomas Hawkins is not your stereotypical hero. He is a rogue who gambles, drinks and generally likes to keep his nose out of trouble, although that never happens for him! He is a lovable rogue whose unique ability to sit on the fringes of society means he can infiltrate into all levels of society within Georgian England.

Thomas’ ward, Sam Fleet is a fourteen year old boy who has a knack for thieving and violence which gets him into trouble a lot but his love of drawing and puzzling things out still made him a character you wanted to look after so I ended up sympathising a lot with him.

I think my favourite character of all was Kitty, Tom’s wife for all intent and purposes, is someone who ‘loves a tavern brawl,’ which for me really sums up her character. I loved her relationship with Tom which shone through and became the backbone of this novel and made me fall in love with both characters. I couldn’t wait to see how their relationship would be tested, and tested it really is!

I thought it was a really interesting period of history to set a crime novel in, one full of political intrigue, drama and deadly villains. It is also a period I have never really been able to delve into before which I really enjoyed. I could tell straight away the author had done a substantial piece of research which she managed to weave into the story to reflect the period without it getting in the way of the main plot.

I thought this novel was multi-layered and compelling which took me on a thrilling adventure along with the characters. I even had trouble working out who the culprit was which really highlights Antonia’s sneaky writing (which I loved).

I haven’t read any of the other novels in this series but after reading A Death At Fountains Abbey I certainly will.

With thanks to Kerry Hood and Hodder & Stoughton for my advanced review copy.

To buy this book from Amazon click here.

To buy this book from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Antonia Hodgson follow her on Twitter @AntoniaHodgson.

Author Interview: David Mark

Today I’m thrilled to have David Mark, author of the DS McAvoy series, joining me for a quick chat all about his new novel Dead Pretty.

Welcome to the CKT blog David!

To start off with, can you tell us a little bit about your new book in the DS McAvoy series, Dead Pretty and what sparked your idea for the story?

I spend a lot of time wondering about in the woods and sitting in old churches, letting my mind drift and getting all existential. I was out at this gorgeous little church in East Yorkshire and was just having a bit of a daydream and because I’m the sort of person who plays the music of his life on the black keys, my thoughts turned dark. It was a gorgeous sunny day and I just had this notion that human beings see the sunshine as being full of hope and fairy-tales but nature is a different beast. I was thinking about how ladybirds look pretty until you see them chewing through an aphid. And I imagined a young girl, excited and happy and full of zeal for her clandestine meeting, and the peril she was putting herself in with her big heart and naiveté. It snowballed from there really. I found myself really interested in the sliding scale we use to qualify tragedy. Of course, that all sounds like a very Radio 4 kind of answer, so if you’re after a thrilling police procedural, I hope it ticks that box too. This is the story of a good policeman’s obsession with getting justice – even as a vicious killer exacts justice of their own. It involves armpit-scalping and a murder involving a toilet seat. I’m giving you no more than that.

I love the title of your novel, where did the inspiration for this come from?

That’s a hangover from my journalism days. Whenever there had been a murder it would be up to one of the journalists to acquire a picture of the dead. It was so strange that people thought it was somehow more tragic if the murdered girl was a look. You’d catch people saying ‘she’s dead pretty’ and then feeling awful for being callous.

I found the central investigation into the disappearance of Hannah Kelly and Ava Delaney’s murder compelling with a number of twists and turns I didn’t see coming. Did you plot the story out first or did you dive right in and see where the story took you?

I never dive right in. I’m a careful plotter. Sometimes parts of the narrative take off under their own steam but I like to know how it will end before I begin. I always knew that I wanted to write a story about the character of Reuben Hollow, who may or may not have killed somebody who bullied his daughter. I identify with that character very closely. Don’t judge me.

Who is your favourite recurring character in the series and why?

I think that would have to be Trish Pharaoh, Aector’s boss. She makes me laugh and she writes her own lines, in a way. I think she’s the most believable character I’ve ever written. But I do love the giant, scarred gangland enforcer, Mahon, who disappeared over the clifftop at the end of TAKING PITY and reappeared in the e-book A BAD DEATH. There may one day be a book about his youth, if anybody would like to make me an offer …

There is always a lot of debate about where the best place is for an author to write, where is the best place that you have found to write? And do you have any rituals or writing quirks?

I’m very lucky in that regard. I have a lovely office in my house, full of all the essentials, like books and maps and wrestling figures, and I just get my head down and get on with it. It’s a big change from all the years when I was unpublished – scribbling in notebooks while waiting for juries to return from murder trials.

David Mark ©a r t E A S TJust for fun…if you could collaborate with one author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I always thought it would be an honour to work with Terry Pratchett, but everybody I’ve spoken to says he was an absolute terror, so I may spare myself that. I’m actually very energised by mixed media projects and have half an idea that would work as a graphic novel so perhaps somebody in that area. I’d go into a coma of excitement if I got to work with Alan Moore. But I’m a bit of a control freak so it would be hard to share the creative process, I fear. I suppose if I was brutally honest I would like to have collaborated on one of the so-called ‘classics’ like Pride and Prejudice or Mill on the Floss. Perhaps that way I would have made them vaguely engrossing.

Finally, are you working on anything at the moment? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it without giving too much away?

I’m always working on something! I write constantly. If I don’t, the voices in my head start to scream. I have my first historical crime novel coming out next year and there is another McAvoy, CRUEL MERCY, out in January, taking Aector to New York.  I’ve got a few radio projects up my sleeve and hope to dip my toe in the true-crime market. There’s no rest when you write about the wicked.

I would like to say a huge thank you to David for answering my questions for the CKT blog!

Don’t forget to grab your copy of David’s fabulous novel Dead Pretty which is out now and can be purchased from Amazon here or from Hodder here.

To find out more about David Mark follow him on Twitter @davidmarkwriter.

Killer Review: Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

Blurb: At a university in Reykjavík, the body of a young German student is discovered, his eyes cut out and strange symbols carved into his chest. Police waste no time in making an arrest, but the victim’s family isn’t convinced that the right man is in custody. They ask Thóra Guðmundsdóttir, an attorney and single mother of two, to investigate. It isn’t long before Thóra and her associate, Matthew Reich, uncover the deceased student’s obsession with Iceland’s grisly history of torture, execution, and witch hunts. But there are very contemporary horrors hidden in the long, cold shadow of dark traditions. And for two suddenly endangered investigators, nothing is quite what it seems … and no one can be trusted.

This is the first in the Thóra Guðmundsdóttir series which introduces Thóra, a thirty-something single mother and lawyer who is struggling to get by. When the body of Harold Guntlieb, a german student studying at the University in Reykjavik, is found in the history department with his eyes gouged out and weird mysterious symbols carved into his body Thóra is hired by Harold’s parents to investigate.

For the Guntlieb’s believes their son’s killer is not the small time drug dealer who is currently in police custody but something far more sinister is at work; so they send over ex-policeman and friend Matthew Reich to discover the truth and they will pay anything to find the real killer.

But as Thóra and Matthew dig deeper into Harold’s life they are pulled into his world of witchcraft and the grisly world of torture.

What can I say but Fascinating!

Thóra is an appealing character who is struggling to bring up two children on her own as well as running a successful law practice. She has a dry sense of humour which I really enjoyed bringing a unique perspective on the investigation. I also enjoyed the relationship between Thóra and Matthew where they spent a lot of the novel sparring which really balanced out the dark moments in the story and helped lighten the atmosphere.

One of the themes of this novel is the medieval history of the witchcraft hunts in Iceland and Europe and the superstitions people had in the past which drove them to do some very dark acts including torture. I thought this was a facscinating element to the story and the author does a fantastic job of weaving this history into the present day of the novel without the reader becoming lost in the plot which can happen in crime novels.

There is some gore and gruesome descriptions in this novel but the author manages to use these only when neccessary to help enhance the dark atmosphere within the novel and thankfully doesn’t linger too long on these descriptions.

One of the highlights of this novel is the dazzling setting of Iceland which the author really brings to life through her descriptions where much of the landscape hinders the investigation at times and helps to add tension and pace to the story.

There is a low body count in this novel which I found refreshing. This has all the hallmarks of a classic murder mystery set within the beautiful but harsh landscape of Iceland.

I would recommend this novel and I’m very much looking forward to reading more from Yrsa.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Yrsa Sigurdardottir follow her on Twitter @YrsaSig.