Blog Tour: CWA Anthology Mystery Tour

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting a stop on the Blog Tour for the CWA Anthology of Short Stores, Mystery Tour, which has been edited by Martin Edwards and published by the fabulous Orenda Books. As part of the tour I have reviewed a selection of the stories and also have a fab giveaway to offer one lucky winner, but more more of that to come….

The Blurb:

Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour.

Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood. Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

CWA_Cover_Image.jpgContributions from:

Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor, Susi Holliday 

Martin Edwards, Anna Mazzola, Carol Anne Davis 

Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson 

Ed James, Gordon Brown, J.M. Hewitt, Judith Cutler 

Julia Crouch, Kate Ellis, Kate Rhodes, Martine Bailey 

Michael Stanley, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul Charles 

Paul Gitsham, Peter Lovesey, Ragnar Jónasson 

Sarah Rayne, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Vaseem Khan 

William Ryan and William Burton McCormick

And edited by Martin Edwards

I loved reading this fabulous collection of short stories! There were crimes ranging from blackmail, guilt and just plain old revenge!

I don’t usually read short stories but this collection is just so diverse and riveting it made such a refreshing change. The stories themselves are cleverly written and each story is self-contained. I have only read a selection of these stories but I will be dipping into these stories over the coming cold winter evenings, snuggling up with a nice cuppa while these fantastic writers scare me.

My top stories so far include:

The Queen of Mystery by Anne Cleeves – This is about a woman writer at the top of her game and the lengths some people will go to stay on top…this literally packed a punch.

Return to the Lake by Anna Mazzola – features a young woman who returns to the scene of a mystery from her childhood, trying to deal with what happened. This was very atmospheric and emotive.

Accounting for Murder by Christine Poulson – this story was cleverly told through receipts which draws you in to slowly reveal a twisted tale of betrayal. I don’t want to say anymore because this was a refreshing and fantastic way to tell a story.

Wife on Tour by Julia Crouch – this story is about a wife fed up with the way her husband treats her and decides to take the ultimate revenge. I can’t say anything more than just brilliant.

Snowbird by Kate Rhodes – A story about a man who moves to a beautiful new town  after retiring from his career. But is there something dangerous lurking in the shadows? Oh this tale was so descriptive drawing you into a sinister tale of revenge….

Writer’s Block by Paul Gitsham – A story about a failing writer who gets caught up in a crime he hadn’t intended. Very cleverly plotted and just devious.

A Postcard from Iceland by Ragnar Jonasson – This is one of the shortest tales in the anthology but still manages to get you. Brilliantly atmospheric and draws you in to a fantastic climax, it’s still very mysterious.

A Slight Change of Plan by Susi Holliday – this is a tale of twisted love and a man out for revenge. I can’t even describe what this is about without giving it away but it showcases the superbly evil mind of Susi Holliday.

If there is one book you should read this winter than it is this anthology. It is one of those books you can just dip in and out off, picking a story at random which will take you on a short adventure for the evening and I can tell you some of those stories I’ve read are just so twisted and dark, it will keep you thinking…

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

This publication isn’t out until 15th November 2017 but the good news is you can preorder your copy from Amazon here.

Now for the Giveaway Alert!!

So now I have a fantastic giveaway, arranged by Anne Cater and the publisher, for lucky winner to win a copy of Julia Crouch’s latest novel, Her Husband’s Lover, who is one of the author’s from this fab anthology.



  •  Retweet one of my tweets about the giveaway (@emms_rachel
  • OR comment on the post below with your favourite crime motive. I think you can’t beat some good old fashioned revenge. (You’ll need to follow me on Twitter, so that I can send you a direct message if you win.)
  • Rules: 
Only one entry per reader.
  • Open to UK residents only.
  • I will draw the winners at random. There will be no cash alternative
  • The competition closes for entries at 13.00pm GMT on Monday 13th November 2017
  • My decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.


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


My Blog Is One Today

So, a year ago today I decided to launch my blog into the world. I had been playing with the idea for a little while but it took me a while to finally commit and press that publish button. The idea originally started in my first year at City University, where many of you may know I am studying an MA in Crime Novel writing.

I love connecting with the blogger world as it has really widened my reading and I have found a number of authors and novels which I wouldn’t have necessarily have picked up on my own but have turned out to be superb. I have also met a lot of awesome new people; bloggers, authors, publicists etc. and talk daily to my bookish friends.



Since starting my blog I have had a lot more confidence in myself and have put myself out there more. Last year, I went to some amazing crime festivals and met such lovely friendly people;  I attended Deal Noir, Greenwich Book fest, Crimefest, Theakstons Crime Festival in Harrogate, Killer Women and Iceland Noir. I have also been to a number of First Monday Crime events, Rooftop book club events, and some fantastic book launches. I hope to attend many more this year.


Recently, I have also been quoted in two published books, Before I let You in by Jenny Blackhurst and Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb – which I would never have imagined a year ago!


I would like to say a huge thank you to all my blogger friends, readers, publicists, author friends and the wonderful people on Book Connectors and The Book Club for supporting my blog – I love being a part of this community. Also thanks Sam Dee, William Ryan and Steph Broadribb, aka Crime Thriller Girl for helping me take the plunge (apologies for the self-indulgence by this point)

**This competition has now ended and the winners notified**


So as a little thank you – I am running a competition. For one lucky person I have up for grabs:

A copy of Steph Broadribb’s Deep Down Dead – one of my top picks for 2016

A shiny new notebook

And a little chocolate treat

 To enter click on the Rafflecopter giveaway link.

Entries only open to people who live in the UK due to postage (apologies).

Blog Tour: Corpus by Rory Clements

Today, I’m super pleased to be hosting the next stop on Rory Clements’ Corpus blog tour, published by Zaffre.

As part of the tour I can reveal I have some exclusive content from the author himself on the books that inspired Corpus, along with a fabulous prize to win one of two, hardback copies of the novel – you lucky people! As always don’t forget to stop off at all the other stops on this blog tour – #Corpus

Corpus_Blog Tour Banner.jpg

First up it’s the Blurb: 


Europe is in turmoil.
The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland.
In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror.
Spain has erupted in civil war.

In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.

In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division. Dons and students must choose a side: right or left, where do you stand?

When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe – and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson…


*Exclusive Author Content*

The Books That Inspired Corpus

I have read and delved into bucket loads of books in researching Corpus, my new 1930s thriller. But some stand out as more inspirational than others. Here are my top picks of both fact and fiction.

Memoirs & Diaries

Nothing compares to a diary if you want to discover the real atmosphere of a certain time in history. I was fortunate to be able to call on two of the finest diarists in my research – Harold Nicolsons Diaries & Letters and Chips by Sir Henry ‘Chips’ Channon. Both men give an insider’s view of the ruling class in the 1930s and should be read for pleasure not just to garner information.

For a very different perspective, there’s George Orwell – his gritty memoirs Homage To Catalonia and The Road To Wigan Pier provided first-hand accounts of the Spanish Civil War and the appalling living conditions of the northern working classes in England.


A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre is the story of Soviet spy Kim Philby and the friends he betrayed. It’s all true, of course, but it is so well written and packed with such fascinating stories that it reads like a first-rate thriller.


Some thrillers are ‘counterfactual’ – ie they assume history panned out in a different way. For instance, the premise of Fatherland by Robert Harris, SS-GB by Len Deighton and The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick is that the Nazis won the war. I love them all, but Corpus fits more into the ‘secret history’ pigeonhole. And the best of these, for me, are The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins and The Day Of The Jackal by Freddie Forsyth. Great fun, truly thrilling – and they certainly inspired me.

1930s Novels

Sometimes a novel can tell you as much as a history book. Two novels in particular gave me a wonderful insight into 1930s Germany. The first was Flotsam written in 1939 by Erich Maria Remarque (author of All Quiet On The Western Front) and the second was Mr Norris Changes Trains, written by Christopher Isherwood in 1935.  Flotsam tells the heartbreaking story of the migrants fleeing Hitler or cast out by him but unable to find refuge in other countries. Remarque loathed the Nazis (who had burned his books) and moved to Switzerland. Sadly, his sister Elfriede stayed and in 1943 was guillotined for ‘undermining morale’ by saying that the war was lost. Isherwood’s book, meanwhile, describes Berlin in the time of transition from democracy to tyranny.

Cambridge Novels

Two novels set in Cambridge taught me a great deal about the way the university worked in the early part of the twentieth century. The Masters by C.P.Snow is set in a fictional college (believed to be Christ’s) in 1937 when the Nazis were threatening. The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald also takes a fictional Cambridge college as its setting.

About the Author


Rory Clements is the bestselling author of the John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers. His six acclaimed novels, Martyr, Revenger, Prince, Traitor, The Heretics and The Queen’s Man, follow Elizabeth’s Intelligencer, John Shakespeare, brother to the playwright William, through the dark underworld of Tudor England as he unmasks the traitors and conspirators who plot against the Queen.

Rory Clements won the Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award in 2010 for Revenger, and has been shortlisted for CWA Awards for Martyr, Prince and The Heretics. A TV series is currently in development. To find out more about Rory Clements check out his website here.


To buy this from Amazon just click here

To buy this from Waterstones click here.

Now for the Fabulous Prize offered by Zaffre

*This Comp has now closed and the winners notified*


  •  Retweet one of my tweets about the giveaway (@emms_rachel), OR comment on the post below. (You’ll need to follow me on Twitter, so that I can send you a direct message if you win.)
  • Rules: 
Only one entry per reader.
  • Open to UK residents only.
  • I will draw the winners at random. There will be no cash alternative
  • The competition closes for entries at 13.00pm GMT on Thursday 9th February 2017
  • My decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Wicked Game Blog Tour

Today it’s my pleasure to share a sneak peek of Matt Johnson’s superb thriller Wicked Game as part of the Wicked Game Blog Tour and to give one lucky person the chance to win their very own copy of this fab book.

Wicked Game copy 2.jpgWicked Games extract:

‘Fucking hell, Jed, what is that smell?’ asked Blackwood, as they joined the other passengers on the short, stifling walk across the tarmac to the waiting airport bus.

Garrett had smelled Kalikata before. Sweat, exhaust fumes and local spices combined to produce a pungent, musty aroma that some loved but many found hard to bear.

‘That’s the smell of India, Mac. Get used to it, we’re gonna be here a while.’

As they boarded the bus, Garrett could see his friend becoming impatient. He was anxious to get to their hotel and get their business underway. Garrett smiled. Mac was going to have to adjust to the slower pace of life here. The perpetual heat and humidity would soon put paid to any ideas of doing things quickly. Mac Blackwood was used to the chilly, windswept streets of Glasgow, whereas Garrett was from Florida and had been to India many times before.

In the welcome air-conditioned atmosphere of the arrivals hall, Mac relaxed again.

‘No wonder they call this the black hole of Calcutta,’ he said pointing through the window of the crowds who stood outside waiting to beg from, or sell to, the arriving travellers. There were hundreds of them. Men, women and children of all ages. Kids with filthy hands, blackened nails and puppy-dog eyes chased around, pleading for small change from the tourists.

‘I fuckin’ hate this place already.’ Blackwood turned away from the window. ‘Ach, for Christ sake. Look at the state of that kit.’ He pointed to the uniforms of the soldiers who milled around the airport concourse, trying to looks efficient.

Garrett was starting to get tired of his companion’s constant moaning. He stayed silent until their bags appeared on the carousel.

Outside, he hailed a taxi. But as the driver took their bags, children surrounded them, their tiny hands open and extended. ‘Gimme dollar, gimme dollar.’

One youngster held up a soiled copy of Penthouse. ‘You buy, you buy,’ he called.

As Mac Blackwood reached for his pocket, Garrett grabbed his arm and pulled him towards the car. He knew giving just one child some cash would mean another fifty blocking their way.

‘Oberoi Hotel,’ he told the driver. Blackwood had to prise tiny fingers from the door handle before he could join Garrett in the back. They accelerated slowly away, stained and grimy hands smacking incessantly on the windows as the taxi driver sought out a route through the throng.

With the noise and bustle of the airport fading away behind them, Garrett sighed and shook his head at Blackwood. ‘Over three million kids die every year in this country from diseases caused by poverty,’ he said. ‘They’ll do whatever they can to survive. Help one, and they’ll all want a piece of you.’

Blackwood simply nodded. Not helping a needy kid didn’t sit comfortably with him.

They had been travelling for only a minute or two when the taxi started to slow.

‘What now?’ Blackwood leaned forward. The taxi driver was stopping to let a cow cross the road.

‘Cows are sacred here, Mac,’ said Garrett, putting a hand on his friend’s shoulder. ‘ Just be patient.’

At that moment, the front passenger door swung open and a filthy teenager in a simple shirt and trousers jumped in. The first thing Blackwood noticed was the smell. Garrett saw the holdall the kid carried.

‘American?’ The boy smiled as he turned to ask them the question.

‘Canadian,’ Garrett lied. Canadians were popular everywhere.

‘Have a nice day.’

The last thing Jed Garrett saw were the two wires that stuck out from the side of the bag the boy was carrying and the swift movement as he reached down to press them together.

To find out more about Matt Johnson follow him on Twitter @Matt_Johnson_UK or check out his website here. To buy this book on Amazon click here.


  • Tweet the link to this post with @emms_rachel in the post OR like or retweet one of my tweets about the giveaway. (You’ll need to follow me on Twitter, so that I can send you a direct message if you win.)
  • Rules: 
Only one entry per reader.
  • Open to UK residents only.
  • I will draw the winner at random. There will be no cash alternative
  • The competition closes for entries at 9.30pm GMT on Tuesday 5th April 2016
  • My decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

* ****This competition has now ended and the prize winner notified *******


Wicked Games Blog tour.jpg

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