#CoverReveal – A Friend Is A Gift You Give Yourself – William Boyle

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After Brooklyn mob widow Rena Ruggiero hits her eighty-year-old neighbor Enzio in the head with an ashtray when he makes an unwanted move on her, she retreats to the Bronx home of her estranged daughter, Adrienne, and her granddaughter, Lucia, only to be turned away at the door. Their neighbor, Lacey “Wolfie” Wolfstein, a one-time Golden Age porn star and retired Florida Suncoast grifter, takes Rena in and befriends her. When Lucia discovers that Adrienne is planning to hit the road with her exboyfriend, she figures Rena is her only way out of a life on the run with a mother she can’t stand. The stage is set for an explosion that will propel Rena, Wolfie, and Lucia down a strange path, each woman running from their demons, no matter what the cost.

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#BlogTour – Overkill by Vanda Symon – Exclusive Extract

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When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems.

Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands.
To find the murderer … and clear her name.
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The cellphone ring snapped me out of my trance. Well, it didn’t ring, strictly speaking. It performed an electronic abomination that would have made Bach scream with indignation.

‘Ah, God damn it.’

I slowed up, pulled the phone from my running-shorts pocket and gulped in a few quick breaths.
‘Shephard.’

‘Gore Watch House.’

It would have to be work. They could find you anywhere.

‘Hi. What’s up?’

‘We have had a missing person report come in. Wyndham Road. Are you able to attend?’

Wyndham Road? I knew several people down there. I glanced down at my watch and calculated it would take another ten minutes to run home.

‘Yes, I can be there. It could be half an hour, though. You caught me out on a run. What number?’

‘One fifty-three. The Knowes household.’

‘Knowes?’ Lockie? Missing? My heart rate jumped up again.

‘Yes, the reported person missing is Mrs Gabriella Knowes. Mr Knowes called it in.’

‘Thanks. I’ll be there soon.’ I hung up, tucked the phone back in, then set off at a jog in the direction of  home. My quiet little winddown after work was out the window.

Gaby Knowes? At least it wasn’t Lockie. Curious, though: he wasn’t the kind of man to panic if the wife was late home and there was no dinner on the table. And it was only 5.15pm. He must have only just got in from work and called the police straight away.

As the sole-charge policewoman at the Mataura station, it was my lot to be on call more often than not. But call-outs after hours were a rarity now. When I lived at the police house behind the station, I
was fair game for the slightest gripe at any hour of the day, or night. The situation had improved only when I moved to a flat and put some distance between me and the job. Nowadays call-outs were
usually for a fracas at the pub or a minor car accident – something quick to sort out.

I looked up at the horizon, judged that there were, at best, two or three hours of light left and took off at a trot, preferring the regularity of running on the road rather than on the scraggy roadside gravel
and overgrown grass, and having to dodge the matchstick roadside markers. There was only the odd car to worry about, and they generally gave me a big swerve. Occasionally, I’d get some idiot who’d
almost force me into the drainage ditch, but they were the exception around here. For the most part, farming folk were very polite. I knew most of the occupants of the houses on the outskirts of town. Molly Polglaise had lost her husband of forty-five years only a few weeks back; her granddaughter had moved in for a month or so as consolation company. The smell of her freshly trimmed macrocarpa hedge reminded me of Christmas. The Mayberry household had a new baby. John, who was out watering the garden, gave me an absentminded wave as I passed. Considering it had rained the day before, I wasn’t quite sure why he was bothering.

Mataura was quintessential small-town New Zealand, although if I was being honest, it was a slightly shabbier and more run-down version of it. Like most towns, it struggled to provide employment
and ways to entice the young folk to stay. How could it compete with the excitement of the city? It had a smattering of pubs, stores – mostly empty – and churches: the main ingredients for life in the sticks, although the pubs saw a lot more patronage than the churches.  I knew the area intimately, and its residents. That included Lockie Knowes, though I hadn’t had more than a passing conversation with
him for an age. The fact I’d avoided him probably had something to do with that. Since he’d married the city girl and settled down to do the family thing, I’d pretty much sidestepped any contact – an achievement in itself, given the size of the town and my job. Now it looked like a good dose of professional detachment would be required. I would have to ignore the tightness in my stomach.

I slowed up the pace only when I reached the gateway to my house and its slightly skewiff letter box. Running was my vice – freedom of the road, isolation, being able to tune out everything but the rhythmic rush of blood pumping and powerful breathing. A legal high. 

Bugger the telephone.

#BlogTour Death Rope – Leigh Russell

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Can Geraldine catch the killer or has the killer caught her? 

Mark Abbott is dead. His sister refuses to believe it was suicide, but only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel will listen.

When other members of Mark’s family disappear, Geraldine’s suspicions are confirmed.

Taking a risk, Geraldine finds herself confronted by an adversary deadlier than any she has faced before… Her boss Ian is close, but will he arrive in time to save her, or is this the end for Geraldine Steel?

While my colleagues were cheering on Tiger “Woods” in The Open, I found myself addicted, as always, to reading the latest Geraldine “Steel”. Putting a new spin on an long serving character, Russell has moved Steel from London to York, demoted her and made her former sergeant her new boss, an interesting change in their dynamic.  With all these changes I was wondering how this book would pan out, but as usual all thoughts of whether it would be another winner were soon banished once the book was begun.

Once again Leigh Russell has proven why her books consistently enter the charts on Amazon, and every other book seller out there,with a great plot that keeps you guessing right until the very end, some subtle subplots, brilliant characters both old and new and as ever a completely gripping read.

I would just say one thing, if you’ve not read a Geraldine Steel book before, don’t start here. Go right back to the beginning and work your way through. Geraldine and Ian have been through a lot together and knowing their history shows off this change in their friendship/working relationship all the more.

#Blogtour I Never Lie – Jody Sabral Guest Post

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Writers and Reviews

It’s an exciting time, publishing my first debut psychological thriller. Having found the agent, then the publisher, it’s now the books turn to find its readers and that is both thrilling yet terrifying at the same time. The early reviews are starting to flood in. Upwards of sixty people secured a copy via NetGalley – a website where avid readers of books are encouraged to read and review pre-publishing date.

Like any new author, I obsessively and secretively checked the review page daily as it started to make waves to see if I’d pulled it off or not. The sheer joy of reading a brilliantly positive review is something one cannot put into words, says the writer who should be able to put absolutely anything into words! It’s a real moment that makes you feel it was all worth it. It took two years to write this book and it was devoured in two sittings. There’s oddly something satisfying in that.

Then came the first negative review. I won’t lie. It stung. It’s not easy to take that kind of criticism when you’ve labored over it for hundreds of hours, putting your all into it. Having tried your best to make an entire world out of just words. I found myself Googling ‘how to cope with bad reviews.’ And to my delight I found a best-selling author saying she felt exactly the same way, but that in all honesty there is always someone who doesn’t like it and instead of just passing on writing a review they have to have their say. The more people who read it, the more negative reviews there will inevitably be, but on the upside and to my relief the good reviews outnumber the bad.

As the reviews started to stack up I came to realise that in actual fact the negative reviews were just as helpful as the positives. I started to see a pattern in the criticism, which has ultimately informed me on aspects of my writing and story telling which I can improve on. I’m a work in progress as are all writers. I think we like the constant challenge of personal development. Of constructing and deconstructing our thoughts. So I decided to see the positives in those negatives and turn that into an opportunity for growth as a writer. So this is a personal thank you to all who have commented on the book. I deeply appreciate it.

Alex South, my protagonist isn’t for everyone. She is a tricky customer. And as most readers have commented her character is the driving force in the book unlike most thrillers. One review I read the day before publication really summed up what I tried to do with Alex. “I’m not sure if it was intentional, but I thought this carefully crafted novel sent out a powerful message about the dangers of alcoholism. A mix of excitement and nerve-wracking! There was humour, four dead bodies and loads of suspects. It’s a food-for-thought novel.”

A food-for-thought novel. Yes, I wanted I NEVER LIE to kick-start a positive conversation around alcoholism in this country having lost a friend to the bottle, but obviously I wanted it to entertain too. It is a tricky combination to get right. I have always felt that art and literature have the power to transform society unlike the other business I’m in, the news business, which in my opinion is often more to do with keeping power accountable. I still remember scenes I read in novels fifteen years ago that touched me and shaped my grown up self.

You will be in utter despair with Alex, frustrated by the voice in her head, and often sad for her, but ultimately she is just flawed, living in a constant state of denial. We track how that can create all kinds of problems. It’s her character that drives the plot, which is characteristic of my writing. Whatever you make of her, please do leave a review good or bad for it is in these moments of commentary I find a new sense of development as a writer, which hopefully shall help shape my future writing!

Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit…?

Alex South is a high-functioning alcoholic who is teetering on the brink of oblivion. Her career as a television journalist is hanging by a thread since a drunken on-air rant. When a series of murders occur within a couple of miles of her East London home she is given another chance to prove her skill and report the unfolding events. She thinks she can control the drinking, but soon she finds gaping holes in her memory, and wakes to find she’s done things she can’t recall. As the story she’s covering starts to creep into her own life, is Alex a danger only to herself – or to others?

Jody Sabral is based between the South Coast and London, where she works as a Foreign Desk editor and video producer at the BBC. She is a graduate of the MA in Crime Fiction at City University, London. Jody worked as a journalist in Turkey for ten years, covering the region for various international broadcasters. She self-published her first book Changing Borders in 2012 and won the CWA Debut Dagger in 2014 for her second novel The Movement. In addition to working for the BBC, Jody also writes for the Huffington Post, Al–Monitor and Brics Post.

#blogblitz Deception Wears Many Faces – Maggie James

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When Lyddie takes her sister to Devon to recover after a recent suicide attempt, it starts a train of events that will put their lives in grave danger.

Ellie has been the victim of a professional con artist, one who stole her savings, then disappeared from her life. Driven by her own history of failed relationships, Lyddie vows revenge on the man who broke her sister’s heart.

Soon she assumes a false identity and begins her hunt for a man she knows to be cold, calculating and ruthless. But who is fooling whom? And can Lyddie find the justice she seeks and heal her damaged sister?

 

A super quick read, with some sneaky surprises…

Late to the party again I grabbed this to read a couple of days ago, and was almost immediately left cursing myself that I hadn’t picked it up sooner.

It’s a remarkable easy read that soon sweeps you up in it’s momentum, as Lyddie puts to good use internet dating sites, and female forums in order to try and help her sister find the con man who broke her sisters heart and left her once more struggling with thoughts of suicide.

However we soon find out that many of the assumptions we’ve been led to make are well and truly false, as the twists come quickly, keeping you frantically flipping through the book desperate to know what will happen next.

Lyddie, is well written, in the way she deals with what is happening, trying to tackle things head on, and making the occasional mistake or assumption that makes things worse, it’s all a very real possibility in today’s world.

In my opinion it’s certainly one to get.

 

 

 

Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. Accountancy does not, but then it never did. The urge to pack a bag and go off travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!

The Camera Lies by A B Morgan

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Konrad Neale is a television presenter. His waning career has been given a new lease of life since he took on a series of hard-hitting documentaries that investigate miscarriages of justice.

Matthew Hawley has been convicted of the brutal murder of his wealthy, attractive wife, Helena. However, he has no memory of the events and insists he is not responsible for willingly killing her.

When Konrad interviews Matthew in prison, he explores the details of the murder and the possible motives behind it. But all is not as it seems. Did Matthew murder his wife? Soon the search is on to identify who else might be involved in the murder of Helena, and Konrad is about to learn that sometimes the camera lies.

Wow, wow, wow, Just wow…..

I’ve loved every book of A B Morgan’s that I’ve read to date, but this is definitely my favourite.

The Camera Lies begins with Konrad investigating the case of Matthew Hawley, who brutally killed his wife but can’t remember anything about it.  As Konrad and his team delve further into the crime they come across a person of interest. Someone who despite insisting that they don’t want to be found, ends up becoming the stalker from hell, who systematically begins to destroy Konrad’s life piece by piece.

With a completely twisted villain at its heart The Camera Lies is an exceptionally well put together twisted and dark thriller, that will keep you guessing all the way to the end.

The Darkness – Ragnar Jonasson

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A young woman is found dead on a remote Icelandic beach.

She came looking for safety, but instead she found a watery grave.

A hasty police investigation determines her death as suicide . . .

When Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik police is forced into early retirement, she is told she can investigate one last cold case of her choice – and she knows which one.

What she discovers is far darker than suicide . . . And no one is telling Hulda the whole story.

When her own colleagues try to put the brakes on her investigation, Hulda has just days to discover the truth. A truth she will risk her own life to find.

Jonasson delivers again, I absolutely bloody loved it.

A speedy read, with a great character in the about to be forcibly retired Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir.

I enjoyed her tenacity, and her inner reflections on her history in the police as she doggedly tries to uncover the killer before she finishes work.

With a whopper of an ending it’s highly recommended.