Blog Tour Character Q&A: My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland

Today,  I’m super pleased to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland, who also writes under her name Steph Broadribb and blogs as Crime Thriller Girl. My Little Eye is published by Trapeze and is the first in the Starke and Bell series.

For my stop I have managed to interview Clementine Starke, one of the main protagonist from the novel – and I can tell you she wasn’t very easy to pin down.

But before the interview, here’s the blurb for My Little Eye:

KISS THE GIRLS
A young woman is found dead in her bedroom surrounded by rose petals – the latest victim of ‘The Lover’. Struggling under the weight of an internal investigation, DI Dominic Bell is no closer to discovering the identity of the killer and time is running out.

AND MAKE THEM DIE…
As the murders escalate, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime group determined to take justice in their own hands – to catch the killer before the police. Hiding a dark secret, she takes greater risks to find new evidence and infiltrate the group.

As Starke and Bell get closer to cracking the case neither of them realise they’re being watched. The killer is closer to them than they think, and he has his next victim – Clementine – firmly in his sights.

My Little Eye

 

Over to the Interview:

Location: Clerkenwell.

Interviewer: Rachel Emms, (RE), Reporter for CKT

Interviewee: Clementine Starke, (CS), PHD Researcher

RE: Thanks for meeting with me Clementine, I really appreciate it. Clementine just nodded her head. Might as well just dive in then. What made you want to study online true crime fanatic groups?

CS: The conversations in true crime groups are a lot more interesting than looking at feed full of users posting pictures of their dinner. True crime addicts have such purpose and drive. And anyway, people are fascinating, aren’t they, the way they behave? They give away so much of themselves online, and yet many of them do not even realise what they’re doing. I see it, though. And I see the cracks in the personas they create too. Online you can be anyone you want to be. There’s something liberating about that, something that makes people feel like they are safe to experiment. Or at least a lot of people think that they are safe.

RE: Interesting. You’re part of one aren’t you? Don’t you think you are taking your research a step too far?

CS: I have joined a true crime forum, yes. But going too far – no, I don’t think so – after all, how far is too far? I’m an action researcher not a scientist in a lab coat. I participate alongside my subjects for a deeper immersive experience. The data is richer this way, and my learning from the subjects is fast-tracked. Potentially what I’m doing will be ground breaking.

RE: What types of things have you got up to while you’ve been in the group?

CS: She gives me a hard stare before answering. I’m not at liberty to talk about our investigation in detail. What I can tell you is that we study crime cases, some active and some cold. We investigate them, and we’re very good.

RE: I’d better change tact. Do you think then that the Met are limited in their resources and there should be more online crime fanatics going around solving the case for them? Surely all these people would get in the way?

CS: Well, obviously I’m going to say that I think the idea has potential. Certainly not all groups of true crime fans are like mine. Each of us has a very specific set of skills that we bring to the group which lets us know more facts than the average member of the public, and gets us access to information usually only seen by the police and the medical examiner. Just to be clear, though, I’m not admitting to breaking the law. All I will say is that we bend the law just about as far as it goes.

RE: I lean forward. Since getting to know this group have you changed your opinion about the police?

CS: Why would I? What have you heard? I don’t like what you’re insinuating.

RE: Dead end. I’ll ask about the killer instead, might find out something juicy.  Doesn’t it scare you knowing The Lover is still out there, preying on young women? You’re very brave putting yourself out there to try and catch him or her

CS: It’s not a question of being brave. It’s a question of getting a killer off the street. He needs to be caught, and the police aren’t doing it are they? So we had to step in. I’m confident that we will beat the police at their own game. We’re getting closer.

RE: Can you shed any light on anything you’ve found out from the true crime group that the police have refused to tell the public? Surely some of them have contacts and have found something? I only have the public’s best interests at heart.

CS: I’m sure the police have their reasons for keeping some details secret, and I’m hardly likely to just come out and tell you all that I know, am I? For all I know you could be part of a true crime group as well, you might think you’re some kind of serious rival to True Crime London.

She gives me a serious expression.

CS: Just so you know, you’re not.

RE: Time to push one final time. I don’t think I’m getting anywhere, she definitely keeps her cards close to her chest. Do you have any idea who the murderer is? Surely one of these crime fanatics know? Or maybe it’s one of them?

CS: We have a hypothesis and a number of leads that we’re following. We work as a group, a team, and we pool our information in a special online area set up by our leader, Death Stalker, to serve the collective good. Most of the time, anyway. Just as long as there isn’t any rivalry getting in the way.

RE: With that Clementine checks the time on her phone, stands up and walks off before I can even draw another breath. Guess that’s the end of that interview, but at least I got a name – Death Stalker.

A massive thank you to Stephanie for answering my questions for Clementine – an amazing protagonist!

About the Author:

Stephanie Marland

Stephanie Marland has worked in the University sector for over ten years and published research on how people interact and learn together in virtual environments online. She’s an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and an avid reader of all things crime fiction, blogging about books at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com. Steph also writes the Lori Anderson action thriller series (Deep Down Dead and Deep Blue Trouble) as Steph Broadribb.

To find out more about Stephanie Marland, follow her on twitter @crimethrillgirl.

Intrigued? My Little Eye is out now and can be ordered from Amazon here. Or Waterstones here. It’s a thrilling read!

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

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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!

To buy this from Amazon just click here

To buy this 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.

*Blog Tour Deep Down Dead Part One*

So today I’m thrilled to be hosting a stop on the wonderful Deep Down Dead Blog Tour by Steph Broadribb, published by Orenda. For the tour I thought I would re publish my review of Deep Down Dead. But do check out my blog a bit later for my interview with JT, one of my favourite characters from this novel.

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

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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.

To buy this from Amazon just click here

To buy this 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.

My Favourite Reads from 2016

So, for the past fortnight I have ended up taking an unplanned blogging break to concentrate on a big assignment I had to hand in for my MA so apologies for not hearing from me – but I’m happy to say it went well.

Anyway, I thought it was high time I picked my favourite books from this year, so today I’m going to do just that and reveal my top reads I have read in 2016. It was a very hard decision and I couldn’t narrow it down to ten so I have been very cheeky and picked twelve.

So here are my twelve favourite reads from 2016 which I heartily recommend for any crime fan:

 

Number Twelve

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See How They Run by Tom Bale

Oh I loved this breath-taking thriller, which sees the two main characters running for their lives just because of a package. It has a tightly weaved plot and a number of twists and turns which left me breathless and wanting more.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

Number Eleven

Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson

What can I say about this novel? This is the second novel in the Dark Iceland series and boy does it pack a punch. I love the small world of Siglufjörður which the author paints as well as the small cast of interesting characters. This is a classic murder mystery infused with dark undertones which really brings the beautiful and eerie setting of Iceland to life.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

Number Ten

 Before I Let You in by Jenny Blackhurst

This is a fantastic read where the author slowly weaves each of the characters pasts into the main narrative without giving anything away. This led up to the fantastic and explosive ending which I never saw coming. This novel really showcased the author’s brilliant writing and her clever but devious mind at work.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

 

Number Nine

The Constant Soldier (Hardback)

The Constant Soldier by William Ryan

When I started reading this, I knew it was something special. This novel is set in 1944 with an injured German Soldier as the protagonist which I found inspiring. It is a novel littered with beautiful descriptions and historical facts, which the author skillfully weaves into the story without it overpowering the narrative. It made it feel haunting, emotive and very authentic.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

Number Eight

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Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes

This is the fifth instalment in the Alice Quentin series which features Forensic Psychologist Alice Quentin catching a new killer – one that leaves behind blood packets. I found the characters compelling and sympathised with many of them. I also loved how the author manages to fuse an historical event, The Tainted Blood Scandal, with a modern day killer.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

Number Seven

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

This is a debut novel which is set in London in 1837 and explores the real life story of Sarah Gale, sentenced to hang for her involvement in the murder of her lover’s fiance. This was a gripping story full of murky secrets. The author also weaved beautiful and vivid descriptions throughout which really brought Victorian London to life for me.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

 

Number Six

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Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes

This story is full of bone-curdling creepy drama which I couldn’t stop reading. I felt the author came into her own by bringing the creepy and atmospheric setting to life for me, and loved the descriptions of the harsh and claustrophobic Yorkshire landscape which hindered the characters and added something sinister and somewhat special to the novel.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

Number Five

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

This was a novel I was glued to from the very first page. It was told over fifteen years which led to the eventual downfall of the character(s). I especially loved the shady character of Joe Thomas whose charm and complexities won me over, despite his faults and just general creepiness.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

Number Four

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The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

Wow – The Bird Tribunal. This is such a haunting and claustrophobic read! The author did a superb job of making me, as the reader, feel truly creeped out (in a good way). It is only a short novel but man does it pack a punch. By the end of it I was truly lost for words, which doesn’t usually happen to me.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

Number Three

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

This was without doubt a read I didn’t see coming. The characterisation in this novel is superb, with each character having their own twisted logic of death which made for a boiling pot of deceit and betrayal. The author managed to lull me into a false sense of security only to go WHAM! This novel literally had me screaming out loud.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

Number Two

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Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb

This is Steph’s debut novel which features Lori Anderson, her daughter Dakota and the charismatic JT. This had all the ingredients for a superb thriller, it’s fast-paced, full of high-stakes, has a kick-ass heroine and has a tightly weaved plot. It also deals with hard-hitting themes and has pure emotion at the heart of the novel. I honestly couldn’t put it down.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

 

Number One

Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary

Without a doubt, Tastes Like Fear is a police procedural at its very best! It is the third in the DI Marnie Rome series featuring Marnie Rome, an empathatic and intelligent DI who is still struggling with her past. It is a novel jammed packed with suspense, has beautiful vivid descriptions and compelling characters you can relate to. What’s more it has a tightly weaved plot and an amazing twist I didn’t see coming – it made for a killing read. I couldn’t just couldn’t stop reading and for anyone who hasn’t read the series I would recommend you read them immediately!

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

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.

Orenda Book Publishers Event

On Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the Orenda Book Publishers Salon Event at Waterstones Piccadilly.

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Orenda Book Publishers are an independent book publishing company, the brainchild of Karen Sullivan, who publish literary fiction but with a heavy emphasis on the crime and thriller genre.

This was a fabulously informal event which featured 12 amazing authors, published by Orenda, discussing each of their books in turn. Each author spoke a little bit about what their novels are about, the themes in their novel, their characters and how they became a published author.

The event also featured wine, cupcakes with pictures of the novels on, book signings and time at the end to talk to the authors.

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So for the featured authors and novels:

David Ross is a scottish author and has penned two novels; The Last Days of Disco and The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespers. Both of these novels are set in the 1980s; The Last Days of Disco features to young boys setting up a mobile disco and his second novel follows on from his first and is written in vernicular. – @dfr10.

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trolliop from South Africa and has penned two novels; A Death in the Family and Deadly Harvest with a third due out soon. Deadly Harvest is set against the beautiful but harsh landscape of Botswana. –@detectivekubu.

Kati Hiekkapelto is an author from Finland and has written the Hummingbird and the Defenceless. The Defenceless is the second in a police series which features drugs, gangs and a protagonist originally from Yugoslavia who now lives in Finland but still feels like an outsider. – @HiekkapeltoKati.

Matt Johnson is the author of Wicked Game. Wicked Game is the story of Robert Finlay, an ex-army soldier now turned police officer who faces a race against an unknown enemy who is murdering police officers – will Robert be next? Check out my review of Wicked Game here. – @Matt_Johnson_UK.

Amanda Jennings is the author of the beautiful psychological thriller In Her Wake. Amanda is half cornish which one one of the many reasons she sets her novel in Cornwall. This is her third published book. Check out my review of in her wake here. – @MandaJJennings.

Yusuf Toropov is the author of thriller Jihadi: A Love Story. Which contains two competing voices set in a world of terrorism but shows love amongst the wreckage. It features an intelligence officer who is wrongly accused of terrorism and is sucked into the prison system. – @LiteraryStriver.

Louise Beech author of How to Be Brave contains two very personal stories to her which she wove into fiction. She said ‘there are a number of braveries in this book,’ which in turn inspired the title. “If you know how to be happy, if you know how to be sad then you know how to be brave.” – @LouiseWriter.

Paul E Hardisty author of The Abrupt Physics of Dying and The Evolution of Fear. They both feature Paul’s fab protagonist Clay Straker and spoke about how he writes about Clay’s fears and how they control him against a backdrop of evil and terrorism. –@Hardisty_Paul.

Michael Grothaus is the debut author of Epiphany Jones, a story with a strong emotional core which is features the protagonist Jerry. Jerry suffers from psychotic delusions and becomes entangled in the world of sex-trafficking amongst the Hollywood elite. –@michaelgrothaus.

Michael J Malone is the author of A Suitable Lie, a new psychological thriller which features Andy Boyd whose first wife dies in chidbirth. Then he finds love again with Anna, marries er and then things go horribly wrong. This novel is out in September 2016 but is available to preorder.- @michaelJmalone1.

Steph Broadribb, also known as Crime Thriller Girl, is the debut author of Deep Down Dead – an action thriller set in America which features Lori, a single mother and bounty hunter who has three days to find and capture JT. But Lori and JT have a past. Deep Down Dead is out in January 2017. – @crimethrillgirl.

Su Bristow, is the author of Sealskin, which is a new twist on the selkie story; the scottish legend of the selkies, or seals who can turn into people. This is out next year in 2017. –@SuBristow.

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