Orenda Blog Tour: Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir

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

The Blurb:

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

 

What I say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About the author:

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

Snare is out now and be purchased via Amazon here.

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

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

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Blog Tour 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* 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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Blog Tour: Deadly Game by Matt Johnson

Today I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Matt Johnson’s new novel Deadly Game, published by Orenda Books. I have something a bit different today, with the 35th anniversary of the death of Matt Johnson’s friend and colleague WPC Yvonne Fletcher coming up, I handed over the reigns to Matt to talk about her loss and what happened on that fateful day.

Before I hand over, I wanted to share with you the blurb for Deadly Game – plus don’t forget to stop off at all the other stops on this tour!

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Blurb:

Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed. Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered. Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK.

To buy this on Amazon click here.

To find out more about Matt Johnson follow him on Twitter @Matt_Johnson_UK.

 

Now over to Matt.

Losing a friend by Matt Johnson

17th April sees the 35th anniversary of one of the worst days I have ever experienced. It is a day when a friend and colleague was shot and killed. Three decades later, despite the identity of the killer being known, he remains a free man.

On 17th April 1984 I was a 27 year old advanced car driver working in central London on a police traffic car. WPC Yvonne Fletcher was a 25 year old officer on the Vice Squad at West End Central Police Station. My wife of the time served on this same squad. Yvonne was one of her best mates and part of our circle of friends.

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Yvonne had been at a house-warming party at my home a few weeks before this fateful day. My lasting memory of her is of seeing her sitting at the bottom of the stairs in my house, looking relaxed and chatting with friends.

At 10.18 am Yvonne was with a small contingent of officers supervising a demonstration outside the Libyan Peoples Bureau in St James Square, London. Her fiancé was among the officers with her. Yvonne had her back to the Bureau.

Without warning, someone in the Libyan bureau fired a Sterling submachine gun into the group of protesters and police officers. Eleven people were hit by bullets, including Yvonne.

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Severely injured WPC Yvonne Fletcher being helped by colleagues

An ambulance was quickly sent to the scene and my patrol car was sent to escort the ambulance to the Westminster Hospital.

Anyone who has worked in central London will know just how quickly a major incident can cause the streets to become blocked. Main roads rapidly snarl up and the side streets and rat runs that the taxis and locals use, soon follow. Gridlock is the result.

Getting the ambulance to the hospital proved to be a nightmare. We were forced to drive onto pavements and, on several occasions, we had to get out of the car to get vehicles moved so we could get through. At that time we were aware that the casualty was a police officer, but didn’t know who.

I remember that the ambulance overtook the police car just before we reached the hospital. We had to get out of the car to clear traffic from a junction and the crew seized the opportunity to make progress and get through. When we pulled in behind the ambulance, Yvonne had already been taken into the emergency area. I remember seeing the fantastic efforts and the work that was being put in by the nursing staff to help her. They were fantastic and couldn’t have tried harder.

Yvonne died from her wounds one hour later. She had been shot in the back and abdomen.

After escorting the ambulance, my car was sent to help with the traffic chaos that followed the start of the resulting siege.

I went home that afternoon and switched on the six o’clock news. It was only then that my former wife and I learned that the murdered officer was our friend.

The following day, I was assigned as a driver to the SAS team that had been brought in and stationed at a nearby RAF base. My job was to run the lads around, in short I was a gofer and taxi driver. I made frequent trips to the infamous ‘blue screen’ that was built to block the view into the square and I was present on the night that something amazing happened.

Yvonne’s hat and four other officers’ helmets were left lying in the square during the siege of the embassy. Images of them were shown repeatedly in the British media. They came to represent something quite iconic as a symbol of unarmed police officers who had been attacked so ruthlessly.

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What happened was that a PC, acting completely on his own, ran into the square and snatched Yvonne’s hat. There were shouts of ‘get back, get back’ from the firearms officers but the unarmed PC was determined and fast. As he returned to the blue screen, he was bundled away by a senior officer and a firearms officer. I never did find out what happened to the PC but I suspect he got into trouble.

Fact is, what he did was a reckless thing to do. It is quite possible that the hat may have been playing a part in the hostage negotiations that were going on behind the scenes. We will never know. But what I can tell you is how much that PCs actions lifted the spirits of people like me who were sitting watching while the ‘powers that be’ seemed to be doing very little. Grabbing Yvonne’s hat from under the noses of the terrorists stuck two fingers up to them and told them what we thought of them.

To that anonymous PC, I say thanks.

The ‘Peoples Bureau’ was surrounded by armed police for eleven days, in one of the longest police sieges in London’s history. Meanwhile, in Libya, Colonel Gaddafi claimed that the embassy was under attack from British forces, and Libyan soldiers surrounded the British Embassy in Tripoli.

No satisfactory conclusion was reached in the UK, and following the taking of six hostages in Tripoli, the occupiers of the Bureau were allowed to fly out of the UK. The Tripoli hostages were not released for several months, ironically almost on the exact day that the memorial to Yvonne Fletcher was unveiled.

In July 2012 Andrew Gilligan of The Sunday Telegraph received reliable reports that Salah Eddin Khalifa, a pro-Gaddafi student, fired the fatal shot. Unlike a previous suspect named as the killer, Mr Khalifa is known to be alive and may, one day, be arrested. He is currently living in Cairo, a city to which he moved as the Gaddafi regime crumbled.

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Yvonne’s death is still the only murder of a British cop on UK soil to remain unsolved.

But, we haven’t forgotten.

About Matt Johnson:

Matt2016Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for 25 years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1993, and one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital. Hidden wounds took their toll. In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism. One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. His bestselling thriller, Wicked Game, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, was the result.

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Blog Tour: Cursed by Thomas Enger

I’m really pleased to be a part of the Orenda Books blog tour for Cursed a new novel in the Henning Juul series by Norwegian writer Thomas Enger. So now it’s my turn on the tour, I have some exclusive author content today from Thomas discussing the Curse of Being a Writer – (big thanks to Thomas for sharing his thoughts with us).

*Exclusive Author Content*

The Curse of Being A Writer: by Thomas Enger

First, if you are a bit confused by the title of this blog post – I consider “being a writer” the best possible occupation in the world. It’s what I’ve been dreaming about my whole adult life, probably since I was around 16. I feel so fortunate to be able to do this for a living, and I hope that I can continue to be inspired and to have readers around the world for as long as I live.

A lot of people also look upon the whole “being a writer” thing with an ounce or two of romanticism. “It sure sounds lovely to be a writer, to sit somewhere and just chuck your thoughts and creative ideas down into a computer, and then have someone print it and read it.” I totally agree with that. It’s a privilege, one I wouldn’t change for anything.

But it definitely is a curse as well.

Let me explain what I mean.

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Being a writer, for me, means that I never shut down. Never. I’m always on the lookout for stories, for characters, for bits and pieces here and there that I can put into my novels or short stories. When I’m watching a movie, my mind is half present in the story which unfolds in front of me, whereas the other part is churning, thinking of how I can put a spin on this or that idea, this or that scene, if a piece of this or that character is something I can put to good use in another character or scene.

When I’m out walking the streets of Oslo, or New Delhi for that matter, I’m not just looking at the buildings or the cars or the flowers. I’m taking mental pictures for later, I’m constantly thinking about ways to put my experiences into my books. That means I’m secretly taking notes in my head as I meet other people, whether they are complete strangers or close family. Like I sometimes tell my readers, with a wry smile on my face; anything you say and do when you meet me, can and will be used against you.

I’m the same when I’m reading the newspapers, or when I’m watching the news, when I talk to my kids or my kids’ friends, when I taking the bus or the tram, when I’m going through security at the airport, or when I’m out running in the streets of Oslo or even when I’m reading a book. My mind never shuts down.

So how do I relax? How do I unwind?

Well, it’s not easy, that’s for sure. I have found that playing a round of golf with my friends is very good for my brain. When I’m out there hacking that little round ball from A to B, or, in my case, Z, I’m almost completely absorbed into playing. It’s just the best form of escapism for me.

Going for a swim, too, in a warm country, also helps. But I’m sort of just stuck with my curse, which is having a brain that’s always searching for ideas.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m sure a lot of us know exactly what you mean, Thomas – I know I do!

So now for the blurb:

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When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests.

Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Norway’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. When their lives are threatened, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.

About the author:

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Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young
Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

To buy this from Amazon just click here

To buy this from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Thomas Enger follow him on Twitter @EngerThomas.

Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this tour – it’s too good not to miss!

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Blog Tour: Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson

Today I’m pleased to host a stop on the Rupture blog tour by Ragnar Jonasson. Rupture is the fourth novel in the Dark Iceland series published by Orenda Books and translated by Quentin Bates. The action of Rupture follows on from Blackout but before the events of Nightblind.

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Now for the blurb:

1955.

Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…
In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik, who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.

In the quaint town of Siglufjörður, the inhabitants are forced to keep themselves locked behind doors as a deadly strain of a virus hits which has everyone in a panic, and the whole town trapped in a quarantine.With no-one to seemingly ‘police’ Ari Thor is left with a lot of time on his hands. So when someone brings in an old photograph which provokes him to look into an very old case, Ari uncovers more than he bargains for. Running parrallel to this is Isrun, a news reporter who is concealing her own health issues who is forced to unpick a dangerous mystery of her own.

What can I say about this novel without giving anything away? 

I loved revisiting Ari Thor and his world, as he struggles to face yet another mystery which seems just out of his grasp, forcing him to rely on his own initiative – which gets him into lots of trouble!

There are a few different point of view characters in this novel each with their own story line which blend seamlessly into one narrative, which I thoroughly enjoyed and just demonstrates the amazing writing skill of this author.

At the end of each chapter the author raises yet more questions which kept me on my toes with its subtle mysteries and mini-cliffhangers – I just couldn’t put this book down!

I have always enjoyed the descriptions in the Dark Iceland series and this one didn’t disappoint! The author showcases yet more of the beautiful but terrifying landscape of Iceland in this novel which built into yet another atmospheric but chilling read.

I thought this was another brilliant novel from Ragnar which has all the ingredients of a fantastic golden age mystery novel with hard-hitting themes and a flawless writing style which lulled me into a false sense of security.

If you haven’t read any of the Dark Iceland series it is a must! And Rupture is definitely my favourite novel of the series so far.

With thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my copy of Rupture.

To buy this book from Amazon just click here.

About the author:

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Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teaching copyright law at the Reykjavík University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavík, and is co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. Ragnar’s debut thriller Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015, with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout following soon after. To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner, and had rights sold in fourteen countries. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.

To find out more about Ragnar Jónasson follow him on Twitter @ragnarjo or visit his website here.

Don’t forget to check out all the other stops on the tour as well!

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*Blog Tour Deep Down Dead Part Two*

As I said earlier, I have interviewed JT from Deep Down Dead, as part of the blog tour, which I must say was one of the most challenging interviews I have ever had to do. You’ll see what I mean anyway.

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Location: The Hinkey Harlow bourbon bar, Jacksonville, Florida

Interviewer: CKT Blog aka Rachel Emms.

Interviewee: James Robert Tate (JT). Bounty Hunter

 

The Hinkey Harlow is an old speakeasy tucked down a side street a little ways out of downtown Jacksonville. It’s not a place I’d ventured before, but JT insisted that if I wanted to meet face-to-face, this was the place he’d be. Seeing as I’d flown out there for the interview I thought I’d better agree to his terms.

The bar is all dim lighting, dark polished wood, and gleaming bottles of bourbon. I spot JT immediately. I can count the number of patrons on one hand, and he isn’t easy to miss –  a big guy nursing a glass at the end of the bar.

I cross the room, my heels knocking a steady beat on the scuffed floorboards. No one looks up. As I get closer I see he was little older than I’d imagined, the lines etched deeper around his eyes, his blond hair a little greyer. Hot though. Definitely hot.

I say hello, and he nods to the stool beside him.

I climb onto it and order us both a bourbon. I’d been warned he doesn’t say much, so I know it’s up to me to ask the first a question. I’m feeling nervous. He doesn’t make small talk and he’s got this stillness, an intensity, about him. When he looks at me with his vivid blue eyes I almost forget my first question.

Bounty Hunting is a pretty niche occupation, how did you get into the business of being a Bounty Hunter?

He stares at me as I’m asking the question, his expression unreadable. He stays silent for so long I’m not sure if he’s going to answer at all. Then, just as I’m about to ask another one, he nods.

JT: Oftentimes I don’t like looking backwards. I prefer moving forwards, looking at what’s ahead rather than behind, if you know what I mean? But, what I will tell you, is that everyone finds their own way into the life. Folks come from just about everywhere. Sure a lot are retired military or cops, but that’s not essential. Might give you a head start on the tracking and the practicalities, but there’s a whole bunch of legal stuff that you need to get learnt.

How long did it take you to train as a Bounty Hunter and have you always lived by your unique set of rules?

He narrows his eyes, squinting at me. I can tell he’s suspicious.

JT: You seem real interested in what I do, you looking to start in the business yourself?

No, I tell him. I’m just interested to know more about him. I nod at the bartender, have them pour us both another bourbon.

JT: Learning is something that’s never done. I learn as I go along. Find new ways to do things. Make mistakes too.

He looks away a moment, like he’s remembering something, someone. Then turns back to me.

JT: The rules came about from my learning from mistakes. I started out with eight, then added a couple more:

  1. Never trust no one
  2. Be prepared, always
  3. Limit your risks
  4. Don’t make assumptions
  5. Create your own blueprint
  6. Always have a plan
  7. Focus on the facts
  8. Force only as necessity, never for punishment
  9. Pick your moment real careful
  10. Past behaviour can predict future behaviour

A friend of mine added another one, number eleven, no so long ago: Use whatever you’ve got to get the job done. Like I said, I didn’t make that one. I might use it though.

What is your favourite thing about being a Bounty Hunter?

JT: The freedom. I’m my own boss. I take the jobs I want. I’m not bound to an office or any corporate bullshit.

What do you do to relax when you aren’t collecting a runaway felon?

JT: I like fixing up old cars. I’ve got a 1968 Ford Mustang. If I get time I might get another.

You have quite a history with Lori, but how did you feel seeing her after all this time?

He shakes his head.

JT: That’s personal.

How did you feel when you realised Lori had brought her daughter, Dakota, along to pick you up? I can imagine it’s not the type of situation you would’ve imagined yourself in.

He frowns.

JT: That’s another personal question. I told you I don’t answer them. What I will say is that chasing a fugitive is a dangerous job. It’s no place for a child. Me and Lori, we’ve had words about that.

And lastly, you’re a pretty fearless guy, but what is your biggest fear?

He holds my eye contact and I see a whole range of emotions past through his expression. I realise my mistake, it’s another personal question, and he’s already warned me off asking them. But I wait, hoping he might answer.

JT: There’s a bunch of things I try not to think on. Not sure I’m ready to talk about them just now.

He gives me a half smile as he gets down from the barstool.

JT: Pleasure meeting you. And thanks for the drink.

I want to thank him for letting me pick his brains, but I can’t get the words out. Instead I smile (mysteriously I hope) and watch him turn and walk away.

To find out more about JT, Lori and Dakota all you’ll need to do is purchase a copy!

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To find out more about Steph Broadribb aka Crime Thriller Girl follow her on Twitter at @crimethrillgirl  or check out her website here.