Publication Day Review: Yesterday by Felicia Yap

Today it’s publication day of Felicia Yap’s debut novel, Yesterday. So I thought it would be a good idea to repost my original review of this fab book, which I just loved!

Blurb:

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There are two types of people in the world. Those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police? Can you trust your husband? Can you trust yourself?

Humans are divided into two categories, they are either a mono or a duo.

Monos: Can only remember the day before

Duos: Can not only remember yesterday but the day before as well

When a women turns up dead in the River Cam the police suspect foul play. How can you solve a murder when everyone can only remember what happened yesterday?

I can’t actually describe anymore of this book without giving anything else away. I thought this novel was just CAPTIVATING and I actually read this in two sittings! It is a high-concept dystopian thriller which plays on the memories of the characters and sweeps the reader along on a complex and exciting narrative.

The story is told from the point of view of Hans, the police officer who is investigating  the murder, Mark who is a duo and had been having an affair with the dead woman, his wife Claire who is a mono and Sophia. It is also features many of the characters’ diary entries which I found fascinating.

The author Felicia, does a brilliant job of creating a realistic world where humans have to rely on technology to capture their memories otherwise they will be lost forever. I found the world of the novel refreshing and was so different from other books I’ve read recently it just sucked me in and I can tell you I loved every second of it!

Weirdly, one of my favourite characters was Sophia – a character with a very strange world view and whose thoughts and actions were very catatonic, I just couldn’t wait to read the chapters where I was in her head.

This is a book full of pace, has a number of clever twists and turns and is fraught with emotions. I found this such a refreshing and different read it kept me glued to the page. I also felt the themes of memory loss were explicit and very realistic and made me question how I would cope if this ever happened to me.

I’m not sure which one I would want to be – a mono or a duo, I think they both have their problems. Is it better to know more than others in your society or live in blissful ignorance? What one would you be?

This is one of those novel I would recommend looking out for and would rate this as one of my tops reads so far this year!

I would like to say a massive thank you to Millie Seaward, WildFire Books and Headline Publishers for sending me an advanced review copy.

The good news is this book is out today and can be ordered from Amazon by clicking here

Or to order this book from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Felicia Yap follow her on Twitter at @FeliciaMYap.

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Blog Tour Review Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Today, I’m absolutely ecstatic to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Fierce Kingdom penned by Gin Phillips. As part of the blog tour I have reviewed the book and I have an exclusive extract of the novel which I will share with you later on today. Don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this fab blog tour!

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First up is the blurb:

Lincoln is a good boy. At the age of four, he is curious, clever and well behaved. He does as his mum says and knows what the rules are.

‘The rules are different today. The rules are that we hide and do not let the man with the gun find us.’

When an ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare, Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved son. She must summon all her strength, find unexpected courage and protect Lincoln at all costs – even if it means crossing the line between right and wrong; between humanity and animal instinct.

It’s a line none of us would ever normally dream of crossing.

But sometimes the rules are different.

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My Review:

I love thriller novels and I had heard so much about this novel, so when I was sent an copy I just jumped at the chance to read this.

Joan and her four year old son, Lincoln, decide to visit one of their many favourite haunts, the local zoo, after school to catch the last of the day’s sunshine. But as time fades quickly Joan and Lincoln have to make a mad dash towards the exit before the zoo closes for the night; but all too soon they are faced with a bigger danger – a man with a gun is blocking the exit and is on the hunt for humans. Joan is faced with every parent’s nightmare and the fight for survival.

Wow – what can I say about this novel? I absolutely loved the action and the drama of this story which was just utterly breathless – the pace was relentless from start to finish and I found myself holding my breath a lot willing Joan and Lincoln to survive.

I most admit some of the decisions Joan makes along the way made me question how I would react in the same/similar situation? What is apparent though is the strength and determination which Joan has, which I felt made her an outstanding heroine. Joan’s desperate need to protect her son also shines through this novel and I loved the relationship between Joan and Lincoln which really showed the love between them – it made me want to close my eyes at times because I just felt so scared for these characters.

I think what made this book so scary for me is that it hits on themes which seem very relevant in the society we live in now.

I thought Fierce Kingdom was a gripping novel which takes the reader on a fast-paced journey of a mother’s fierce protection for her child. This was such a thrilling read which I just couldn’t put down and I would urge you to read – just don’t read it in a dark room on your own!

I would like to say a huge thanks to Alison Barrow and Transworld Publishers for my advanced review copy.

This novel is out 15th June which you can preorder from Amazon just click here

Or to preorder this book from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Gin Phillips follow her on Twitter at @GinPhillips17

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.

Thriller Review: See How They Run by Tom Bale

First Line: ‘Any noise in the night could wake him now.’

Blurb:  How far would you go to save your family?

In the dead of night, new parents Alice and Harry French are plunged into their worst nightmare when they wake to find masked men in their bedroom. Men ruthless enough to threaten their baby daughter, Evie.

This is no burglary gone wrong.
The intruders know who they’re looking for – a man called Edward Renshaw.
And they are prepared to kill to get to him.

When the men leave empty handed, little do Alice and Harry realise that their nightmare is just beginning. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Who is Renshaw? And what is he hiding?  One thing is clear – they already know too much.

As Alice and Harry are separated in the run for their lives, there is no time to breathe in their fight to be reunited. And with their attackers closing in, there is only one choice:  STAY ALIVE. OR DON’T.

Meet Harry and Alice French – they are ordinary people who are new parents to an eight-week old baby daughter Evie. One evening  masked men break into their house looking for a man called Renshaw and threatening Evie, their lives are turned upside down. But as they think their ordeal is over, the very next day Harry and Alice find two police officers knocking on their door asking about a mysterious package to Renshaw, they begin to realise they have become targets along with Renshaw. Now Harry and Alice must separate to save their daughter Evie and fight for their lives.

The only way I can begin is by saying one word: WOW!

I absolutely loved this novel which is full of so many surprising twists and turns; everytime I thought I had it figured out the author pulled out yet another shocker keeping me on my toes – I even gasped out loud at many points in the novel.

The characterisation in this novel is spot on with two seemingly unimportant but very likeable characters of Harry and Alice as their ordinary lives are thrown into disarray while they are caught up in a number of life and death situations. The action is completely full on with guns, car chases and lots of running on foot but still manages to evoke a lot of empathy for Harry and Alice. The author really captures the desperate plight of both of these characters while still maintaining the suspense and tension right until the very last moment of the book.

I found this such a believable plot as Harry and Alice are forced to make split second decisions to not only find eachother again but to ultimately save their family. It is very easy as a reader to see how one rash decision can lead to such devastation and as the novel progresses, the author introduces more characters as a way to build even more tension which left me wondering whose side each character is on and who can I really trust?

I cannot praise this book enough! This is a breath-taking, edge of the seat thriller which held nothing back with a tightly weaved plot which will keep you guessing right until the very end.

With thanks to Net Galley and Bookouture for my copy of See How They Run.

To buy this book on Amazon Kindle click here

To find out more about Tom Bale follow him on Twitter @t0mbale.

The Evolution of Fear Blog Tour – Paul E Hardisty

Today I’m delighted to be kicking off The Evolution of Fear tour and have Paul E Hardisty here to talk about his new novel and what inspires him.

Welcome Paul to the CKT blog for a stop on your awesome #EvoultionOfFear blog tour.

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To start off with, can you tell us a little bit about your new novel The Evolution of Fear?

The Evolution of Fear is the sequel to the CWA Creasy New Dagger award short-listed The Abrupt Physics of Dying. Claymore Straker is a fugitive, on the run from the authorities in the UK, and hunted by the Russian Mafia.  As the assassins close in, Clay learns that the people who want him dead are also after Rania, the woman he loves. Breaking cover, Clay flees his safe house in North Cornwall to find Rania, who has gone missing. The trail finally leads him to Cyprus, where his worst fears are eclipsed, and Clay learns that he has so much more to fight for and lose than he had ever imagined. The Evolution of Fear is first and foremost a thriller, but it also explores some fundamental questions about the nature of fear, and the evolution that we must all go through if we are to conquer those fears which can so easily lead us to betray ourselves, those we love, and the things we believe in.

This is the second novel which features the character of Claymore Straker, how did you create such a dynamic and interesting protagonist?

Claymore Straker, I suppose like so many characters, is a child of many parents: me, who I might have been, and perhaps who I would have liked to have been, if I could have chosen to be someone else. But that child has grown since conception, and as the Abrupt Physics of Dying developed, so did the character.  In The Evolution of Fear, Clay changes and grows as the kindness of strangers, the loyalty of friends, and the love of a good woman begin to erode the wall of hate and regret he has built around himself.  Just when he thinks he can trust no one but himself, events prove him wrong. And just when he thinks he can never be forgiven for the wrongs of his past, the people closest to him show him how.

Claymore Straker is a fantastic name for a leading hero, how did you come up with the name?

I always liked the name Claymore, and for this protagonist, it was ideal.  First because, as a soldier in the Border War in Angola in the early 1980’s fighting the communist insurgency, he on many occasions deployed and used the eponymous M18 directional anti-personnel mine (the Claymore), with its prophetic inscription “Front Towards The Enemy.”  It was Clay’s father, originally from Scotland, who named him after the famous Scottish two-handed broadsword.  Growing up as a boy, Clay loved his name, exactly for these combative characteristics. But after his harrowing experiences during the war (the subject of the prequel to the first two books, which I am now writing, titled Reconciliation for the Dead), he has come to hate it. Straker is actually the family name of some good friends in Perth, Western Australia, where we live. They said I could borrow their name!

There never seems to be any let up for Clay, which I loved. How did you come up with the idea for the story?

Clay is a character born of conflict. His life has been shaped by three little known regional wars, first in Angola during the border war in the 19880’s (the subject of Reconciliation for the Dead, out in 2017), the Yemen civil war of 1994 (the setting for The Abrupt Physics of Dying), and now in The Evolution of Fear, the Cyprus conflict, which began with the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish Army, and remains unresolved to this day.  I know all of these places well, and have studied these conflicts extensively, and in the cases of Cyprus and Yemen, first-hand. Because the Abrupt Physics of Dying left a number of questions unanswered, the Evolution of Fear was a natural extension of the story, taking Clay back to an island he already knew well, to face his and Rania’s destiny.

There are a number of locations which feature in the novel including; Cornwall, Turkey and Cyprus. What made you choose to set the story in all of these very beautiful, but very different locations?

I love writing about places I know – making them come alive for the reader. I lived in the West Country of the UK for several years, and always loved the rugged and isolated Cornish coast. Also, after the sun-scorched adventures in Yemen in the first book, I wanted contrast that suited Clay’s situation – dark, stormy, cold, with sheets of gusting rain.  The first half of the book takes place in rain and darkness.  Fighting through a storm, he slowly comes out into the hazy ozone-choked sunlight of Istanbul , one of my favourite cities in the world. I stayed at the Pera Palas hotel several times while I was living and working in Turkey during the 1980s, and wanted to re-create its atmosphere of faded end-of-century glory. Cyprus, where I lived for almost a decade, is a beautiful beguiling island which has been embroiled in conflict for over 40 years. In many ways, the island’s problems reflect Clay’s own battle with himself.

Paul Hardisty.JPGCan you tell us a little bit about your writing process? Do you plot out all of the action first or do you just start writing and see where it takes you?

I am an engineer, and still work full time. My training has influenced how I write. It is very systematic. I start with an essential theme I want to explore through the character’s experience. Then I develop a core structure and plot line in advance, sketching out the action from beginning to end. I break up each day’s writing into a specific block or outcome, with a specific goal. Once the first draft is complete, and the structure can stand and bear weight, I start to allow myself more creative license, and start to weave in things that I think will add beauty, thematic relevance, or plot twists and turns. I love writing.  Absolutely love it. I have to find a way soon to stop working full time at science and engineering, so I can write more.

Who would you say is the biggest influence on your writing?

I guess like most writers, there are a whole number of authors that I admire, and who have in one way or another influenced me. Hemingway, McCarthy, Kim Stanley Robinson, Balzac, Maupassant, Houllebecq.  But I would have to say the person who has most influenced what I write about, and how, is my father. From a young age he bred in me a love and fascination for travel and other cultures, and a spirit of risk taking and discovery.  Those are the things I try to put into my writing.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author, like myself?

There is all the usual stuff, which is good and true. Writers write. So write. As much and as well as you can. It’s a career like any other – you only get good by working at it over many years. Don’t give up. For me the most important thing is to back yourself – find your own voice, and your own way of telling a story and trust in yourself that if it is good enough, eventually, someone else will want to read it and will enjoy it. There is no point just copying what others have done.

What are you reading at the moment?

Right now I am reading Musashi, the quintessential Japanese novel about the life of the famous 16th Century samurai, Miyamoto Musashi, written by Eiji Yoshikawa before the Second World War, and translated by Charles Terry. I am also reading Jihadi: A Love Story, by fellow Orenda author Yusuf Toporov, and ploughing my way through A La recherché Du Temps Perdu by Proust, in French (my first language).

And finally, what is the rest of 2016 looking like for you?

Busy. I will be attending the UN Conference on Climate Change Adaptation in Rotterdam in May for work, and the Boucheron writing festival in New Orleans in September.  Before the end of the year I am also planning to go back to Yemen to see and report first-hand on the effects of the current civil war there (if I can get into the country).

I would like to say a HUGE thanks to Paul E Hardisty for chatting to me today as part of his blog tour. Don’t forget to check out all of the other fab stops on The Evolution Of Fear blog tour!

To buy this book on Amazon click here or to buy on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Paul E Hardisty follow him on Twitter @Hardisty_Paul or check out his website here.

Now for the Evolution of Fear Blurb:

Claymore Straker is a fugitive with a price on his head. Wanted by the CIA for acts of terrorism he did not commit, his best friend has just been murdered and Rania, the woman he loves, has disappeared. Betrayed by those closest to him, he must flee the sanctuary of his safe house in Cornwall and track her down. As his pursuers close in, Clay follows Rania to Istanbul and then to Cyprus, where he is drawn into a violent struggle between the Russian mafia, Greek Cypriot extremists, and Turkish developers cashing in on the tourism boom. As the island of love descends into chaos, and the horrific truth is unveiled, Clay must call on every ounce of skill and endurance to save Rania and put an end to the unimaginable destruction being wrought in the name of profit.

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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.

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN your very own copy of WICKED GAME BY MATT JOHNSON:

  • 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 *******

 

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Thriller Review: Wicked Game by Matt Johnson

First Line: ‘Jed Garrett and Mac Blackwood stepped out of the artificially cool aircraft cabin into a wall of heat.’Wicked Game copy 2

What the blurb says: 2001. Age is catching up with Robert Finlay, a police officer on the Royalty Protection team based in London. He’s looking forward to returning to uniform policing and a less stressful life with his new family. But fate has other plans.

Finlay’s deeply traumatic, carefully concealed past is about to return to haunt him. A policeman is killed by a bomb blast, and a second is gunned down in his own driveway. Both of the murdered men were former Army colleagues from Finlay’s own SAS regiment, and in a series of explosive events, it becomes clear that he is not the ordinary man that his colleagues, friends and new family think he is. And so begins a game of cat and mouse a wicked game in which Finlay is the target, forced to test his long-buried skills in a fight against a determined and unidentified enemy.

Meet Robert Finlay, a soldier turned policeman with a wife and new baby girl who has long since buried his murky military past. When a series of murdered policemen turn out to be former Army colleagues from Finlay’s own former SAS regiment, he realises that his past is coming back to haunt him and that he is the next on the target list.

Faced with the terrifying prospect of losing his wife and child, Finlay must face his demons and dig deep into his past to use his long-buried fighting skills to protect his family. But can he find the enemy before it is too late?

This gripping debut novel is set in 2001 and contains a lot of dramatic action which refuses to let up. I loved the main character Robert Finlay, a strong, determined yet resourceful policemen who would do anything to protect his family. The novel also uses many flashbacks of Finlay’s military past which I found as a reader gave me a better understanding of his character and evoked a lot of empathy.

I found the vivid descriptions and settings really brought the novel to life for me, making it feel like I was right in the action.

This is a breath-taking, debut novel which will have you on the edge of your seat.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Matt Johnson follow him on Twitter @Matt_Johnson_UK or check out his website here