The Husband Trap – N J Moss


He’s just proposed to his girlfriend—but another woman has him in her sights.


Liam finally popped the question, and Emily said yes. But that very same night, Liam gets abducted . . . and wakes up to a nightmare.

On a large estate in the middle of nowhere, Liam finds himself the object of a woman’s twisted affections—and confined to a stone cell. A servant ignores him. A guard watches over him.

Meanwhile, Emily struggles to take care of their newborn child and tries to find the strength to move on. Can Liam ever escape and recover the life that was stolen from him—or will this bizarre prison be the last place he ever sees?

The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill – C.S. Robertson

Creepy, Disquieting, Subtle, Thought Provoking,  Addictive, 

Just some of the ways to sum up this absolutely phenomenal book which kept me up until the wee small hours to finish.  A mystery within a mystery, there are hundreds of thoughts and emotions that run through your mind as you are completely absorbed in the life of Grace McGill.


DEATH IS NOT THE END. FOR GRACE McGILL IT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING.

When people die alone and undiscovered, it’s her job to clean up what’s left behind – whether it’s clutter, bodily remains or dark secrets.

When an old man lies undetected in his flat for months, it seems an unremarkable life and an unnoticed death. But Grace knows that everyone has a story and that all deaths mean something more.

Criminally Crafty

I’ve been reminiscing over those pre-lockdown days, when we were all able to attend bookish events around the country, by digging out my collection of goodie bags and t-shirts I picked up along the way. I had to dig around drawers and cupboards to find them all, and this got me thinking. Surely the point of mementos and keepsakes is to enjoy them, so in full on up cycling mode I cracked on and turned these

Into these for my wall

Covid-19, Traditions and of course books…..

I’ve had for as far back as I can remember, a reading related habit. Every time I was in an airport, I had to buy a book. In my early years it was whenever I went with my Mum to say goodbye to my Uncle, who lives in Canada, and had been over for a visit. When I began travelling myself I kept up the tradition. Every time I went on holiday I would buy a book. When I went to Florida I bought a Jack Higgins novel which my Dad said he we like to borrow once I had finished reading it. I passed it over to him at the end of the flight. Another time I bought the latest Lee Child, and again ended up leaving it behind at the hotel for someone else to read, as I had finished it. The time that sticks in my mind the most though, resonates more than ever at the moment.

I was going on holiday with my family, and true to form I bought myself a book to read on the plane and while I was away. The book I bought was Airframe by Michael Crichton, an author I had long enjoyed, and was about a mid air incident on a flight. My Mom, couldn’t understand why I would want to buy such a book when I was hours away from getting on a plane. I never thought about it at the time, it was just a book I fancied reading by an author that I liked.

I’ve recently revisited this line of thought however, with my current choice of reading. The first book, was Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama, a story around a massive plane crash and the impact it had on those who had to regularly climb a mountain to the crash site, and of those who had the report the news every day. It was a book I picked at random because again I like the author.

Then, I decided I needed to re-read Day Four by Sarah Lotz. On Day four of a luxury cruise, the ship becomes stranded in the middle of nowhere, with everything on board from the lights to the toilets systematically shutting down. After all the stories of stranded cruise ships due to Covid-19 it felt, well…

That was when I remembered how much I love the dark writing of Sarah Lotz, so next up was her book The White Road, where an adrenaline junkie has a close call whilst caving, and when his video of the tragedy goes viral, ends up trying to beat the ratings by climbing Mt Everest, where, well let’s face it, it all goes a bit pear shaped. It’s quite the unnerving tale, and as fascinating it is to read it has also peaked my interest in the real life adventures and mysteries that surround the mountain and those risking it all to get to the top, which has given me something else to investigate during the lockdown.

Finally, staying with the mountain climbing theme, I re-read Michelle Paver’s Thin Air. Another ghostly tale of how things can go badly wrong when climbing. This one I have on audio book rather than physical, and I can only say one thing. Don’t listen to it on your own, late at night. You will not be able to sleep afterward.

Now I’m off to read Sarah Lotz The Three, about four simultaneous plane crashes and their four survivors, because, you know, I’m sensing a bit of a theme here…

The Last Act by Brad Parks #ExclusiveExtract

Former Broadway star Tommy Jump isn’t getting the roles he once did. As his final run as Sancho Ponza draws to a close, Tommy is getting ready to give up the stage, find a steady paycheck, and settle down with his fiancée.

Cue Special Agent Danny Ruiz. An old school friend of Tommy’s, now with the FBI, Ruiz makes Tommy an offer that sounds too good to refuse. All Tommy has to do is spend six months in prison, acting as failed bank robber ’Pete Goodrich’.

Inside, he must find and befriend Mitchell Dupree, who has hidden a secret cache of documents incriminating enough to take down New Colima, one of Mexico’s largest drug cartels. If Tommy can get Dupree and reveal where the documents are hidden, the FBI will give him $300,000, more than enough to jumpstart a new life. But does he have what it takes to pull off this one final role?

 

For at least the tenth time in the last twenty minutes, Amanda Porter looked at the clock that hung on the wall of the kitchen—which was also the living room, her studio, and the only room in this shabby, stifling, non- air- conditioned second- floor apartment that wasn’t a bedroom or a bathroom.

Five fifty- two. Were this an ordinary matinee, Tommy would have been back by now. He was obviously still saying his good- byes. The ceiling fan took another spin through the same hot air it had been futilely recycling all afternoon. She sighed, appraising the painting
she had been halfheartedly jabbing at, knowing she was too distracted to give it the kind of attention it demanded.

Was this one headed for the trash? She tossed way more than she kept. For months now she had been sending photos of her completed work to Hudson van Buren, the proprietor of the Van Buren Gallery and one of the most influential voices in the business. He didn’t need
to see the bottom ninety- eight percent of her work. Only the top two, thank you very much.

When people met Amanda Porter, they immediately underestimated her, because she had this cute southern twang; because she was five foot two, blue- eyed, and adorable, with her wavy strawberry- blond hair, her button nose, her freckles; because she was twenty-seven but could get carded buying a lottery ticket.

Those looks belied the fierceness with which she attacked her work. No one looked at her and thought scrappy, but that’s how she thought of herself. She was the scrappy girl who had made it from this little nowhere town in Mississippi to a scholarship at Cooper Union and now to the brink of artistic stardom by outworking everyone and refusing to compromise. She poured her drive for perfection into her art. It was excellence or nothing.

#blogblitz Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen

Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.

When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.

As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.

Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?

Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…

When you are found asleep on the sofa after being up all night reading you know it’s a goodie.

A stark story, written excellently. Highlighting how women are treated, even in our modern age.

#ChristmasCrackers The Adulterer’s Wife by Leigh Russell #bloodhoundbooks

Julie is devastated to learn that her husband, Paul, is having an affair. It seems her life can’t get any worse – until she comes home to find his dead body in their bed.

When the police establish he was murdered, Julie is the obvious suspect.

To protect her son from the terrible situation, Julie sends the teenage boy to his grandparents in Edinburgh while she fights to prove her innocence.

With all the evidence pointing to her, the only way she can escape conviction is by discovering the true identity of her husband’s killer.

But who really did murder Paul?

The truth is never straightforward…

The Adulterer’s Wife, is Leigh Russell’s first foray into psychological thrillers amid an extremely successful career of writing police procedurals.  This is just one of the reasons why I was excited to read this book, I’ve read many authors over long periods of time and I find it thrilling when any choose to move away from their ‘norm’ and embrace a new challenge.

This book is such a thing and it was fabulous, I slipped into the story easily, comfortable in the knowledge of Leigh’s style and pace, but eager to discover this whole new ‘side’ to one of my favourite authors, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Julie’s flawed character might make you question yourself, would you make the decisions she made? Would you have behaved differently? You may think her actions questionable, but how would you react in a similar situation?  When a book makes me not only wonder the motivations of the character, but to also ask myself these sorts of questions as I’m reading, I consider that to be a winner.

It’s a definite one sitting read, and perfect for one of those lazy days by the pool, or sunbathing in the garden.  You won’t put it down until you are done.

My only lingering thought is that no matter how focused I was on the matters of the day, would I not truly realise my husband was dead?

 

 

 

#blogtour – The Doll Collector by Joanna Stephen-Ward

A couple and their young son burn to death in a house fire.

A girl dies from a nut allergy.

A woman falls under a train during the rush hour.

An accountant falls down the steps to his basement.

Their deaths appear to be accidents but Gloria knows they were murdered because she murdered them. And every time Gloria kills she buys a doll.

But how many dolls will she need to keep her satisfied?

When Gloria takes a room as a lodger her behaviour starts to spin out of control. Gloria wants love and happiness and friendship and she will do anything she can to get what she wants…

Wow, Gloria is quite possibly one of the most repugnant characters I’ve read for quite some time and it was fabulous.  I tore through The Doll Collector in just a couple of sittings as I really found that I wanted to discover all about the murders and of course the accident.

As we learn about Gloria’s horrible past, both inflicted on her and by her, we also uncover the history of Maurice, the unfortunate man who has offered Gloria a home.  There are plenty of vile characters in his life too.  Men who want nothing but money and power at don’t care for anyone who stops them doing it.

I will admit that for a short while around the middle I was unsure where the story would go next but as I eagerly read on I was brilliantly surprised and thrilled, and I thought the ending was suitably fabulous.

I highly recommend The Doll Collector as well worth every penny of your hard earned pounds…

#blogtour – The Cornish Retribution by Amanda James #GuestPost

After a tragic car accident, Samantha is left widowed and bereft.  Her husband Adam was everything to her. But at least the home they shared together in Cornwall provides her with some security. Or does it?

Upon returning from a school reunion in Sheffield, where Sam met her old friend, Penny, and an old flame from her school days, Dan, she discovers that Adam had invested money unwisely and she is now penniless.

When Penny and Dan, who are now married, arrive in Cornwall to visit Sam, Dan comes up with a way in which Sam can keep the house. He suggests she turns it into a writing retreat. And he is willing to invest.

Despite his wife’s reservations, Dan gets his way but at what price?

Why is Dan so keen to help? Has Sam put herself in harm’s way?

Some relationships are built to last. Others are deadly.

INTERVIEW WITH SAMANTHA LANE

I’m sitting in The Merrymoor Inn opposite the beach at Mawgan Porth, about four miles from Newquay.  The smell of pasties, fish and chips and a sausage or two mingles with a whiff of Cornish Cyder and my stomach is rumbling. Through the window I spy Samantha, or Sam, as most call her. She’s the protagonist in my book, The Cornish Retribution. Sam’s hurrying up the steps from the carpark, her dark curls lifting on the breeze as she walks. As she enters the bakery, her lively blue eyes light up and her smile reflects mine as she hurries over to my table. She looks self-assured comfortable in her own skin. She’s come a long way, and that makes me happy.

 

‘Hi Sam, how are you?’ I say giving her a quick hug.

‘I’m good, thanks. Really good.’ She smiles again and sits opposite.

‘You look it. Now, can I get you a pasty or a pint?’

Sam looks towards the bar at the delicious food on offer, and then back to me with a mischievous twinkle. ‘Hmm, can we be naughty and have both?’

I laugh, and we order a pasty each and a delicious pint of crisp cyder. Back at the table she regards me thoughtfully over the rim of glass. ‘What brings you to Mawgan Porth today then, Mandy?’

Sam always uses Mandy rather than Amanda. ‘To see you of course. It’s been a while. Also, would you mind answering a few questions, so the readers of The Cornish Retribution can get to know you a little more?’

‘I’d be delighted. Anything to help.’

‘Great. Okay, first question, how old are you?’

‘You know the answer, you gave me life after all.’

‘I did indeed,’ I say from the corner of my mouth as it’s full of pasty. ‘But then I know all the answers. The readers don’t though.’

‘I’m forty-five.’

‘And what do you do for a living?

‘I run a writers’ retreat in the grounds of my home up on the cliff over there.’ She points through the window across the beach. ‘I write full time too.’

‘How’s that going?’

‘It’s so busy! The retreat is booked solid and I have a novel out at the end of the year.’  Sam blows on her pasty and takes a big bite. ‘I like busy though.’

‘You sound happy, are you?’

She swallows and gives me a huge smile. ‘I have never been happier.’

‘Couldn’t say the same a year or so ago though, eh?

A dark cloud slips behind her eyes. ‘No.’

I feel guilty for dragging up the past, but if readers are to know Sam, we must visit it. ‘If you’re okay to, would you mind if we went back to how you were after your husband, Adam died?’

A deep sigh. ‘I guess not. I was distraught over his death and later on, almost destitute due to some daft deals Adam did unbeknown to me.’ Sam takes a sip of cyder and doodles a face in the condensation on her glass.  ‘But thankfully all that stuff’s all behind me now…all I can see ahead is sunshine.’

She’s not really given me much, so I take a sip of my own drink and plunge straight in. ‘The fact that your old flame Dan invested in your retreat helped a lot didn’t it?’

‘Yes. I can safely say that if it hadn’t been for him I would have lost the house, lost everything.’ Sam shrugs and chews her pasty thoughtfully.’

‘You didn’t want to accept his help though did you, because he behaved badly towards you when you were teenagers?’

Sam twists her mouth to the side. ‘Behaving badly is putting it mildly. He betrayed me with my best friend, as you know.’

I nod and give her an encouraging smile. ‘What do you mean by betrayed?’

‘Well, just for your readers, I’ll elaborate.’ The pain in her eyes makes me wonder if it’s a good idea raking over the past, but she hurries on.  ‘Basically, I refused to sleep with him when I was sixteen and he was seventeen. My oldest friend Penny obliged instead and they ended up getting married.’ Sam’s face brightened. ‘He regretted the hell out of it through later. Couldn’t forget me and was determined to win me back. He had a controlling nature and wouldn’t let things go. I soon put a stop to his games though.’ She alters her smile as if she’s realised she might have said too much, dabs at her mouth with a napkin and stares at her plate.’

‘But he did love you really, didn’t he? Even though he was controlling and ruthless.’ I put my hand on her arm.

She looks at me and nods. ‘God yes. It’s just that I couldn’t cope with what he’d done…what he would have done again.

‘No. But don’t say more as we don’t want to give too much away do we?’

‘Make your mind up. You’re asking the searching questions.’

She’s looking fierce, so I change the subject. ‘Although you were born and brought up in Sheffield, this is where your mother’s from and your grandmother, isn’t it…you see yourself as Cornish don’t you?

Sam gives me a withering look and yawns. ‘You know I do, you wrote the story. This interview is a bit daft really. Can we talk about you for a change? I never really got to know much about your life.’

‘Er, perhaps another time. Humour me.’

‘Okay. Yes. I see myself as Cornish, hence the title of the book.’

‘Do you think the retribution was justified?’

‘I do under the circumstances.’

‘Do you wish it all could have been different?’

‘No. I think the story panned out really well to be honest.’ Sam swirls her glass, drains it and sets it carefully down. Then she looks out of the window at the turbulent ocean.

I decide that enough is enough and ask, ‘How are the family? I bet your grandson is a real handful now.’

Sam beams. ‘He is, and my granddaughter’s arrival is imminent. I can’t wait!’

‘I bet. I drain my own glass and ask, ‘Do you see much of Harry?’

‘Wouldn’t you like to know?’ Sam gives me a slow smile but no more information. start with.

I return her smile. ‘I would, yes.’

‘Right. Shall I fill you in with what I’ve been up to recently?’

‘Best not, because that might give too much away too,’ I say and shrug my coat on. ‘Let’s go up to yours for a drink. The readers won’t hear us there. I’d love to hear all your news.’

Sam grins. ‘Now you’re talking.’

We stand and I follow her out of the pub into the bright sunshine.

Amanda has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published, given that she left school with no real qualifications of note apart from an A* in how to be a nuisance in class. Nevertheless, she returned to education when her daughter was five and eventually became a history teacher. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when her first short story was published. Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published.
Amanda grew up in Sheffield but now has realised her lifelong dream of living in Cornwall and her writing is inspired every day by the dramatic coastline near her home. She has sketched out many stories in her head while walking the cliff paths. Four of her mystery/suspense novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel, Behind the Lie and Rip Current. The Cornish Retribution is also set in Cornwall and will be published by Bloodhound Books in October 2018.
Amanda, known to many as Mandy, spends far more time than is good for her on social media and has turned procrastination to a fine art. She can also usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.