Mixing It Up with Bonnier Zaffre

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Those fabulous people at Bonnier Zaffre books had a bit of a doo at Harrogate festival this year, to which the lovely Katherine Armstrong invited me along. Once I found the not so secret, ‘Secret Garden’ (there was a big sign pointing to it) These were just a few the lovely people I managed to mix with and snap. There were plenty more there, and a fab couple of hours were passed by.

 

Ooh Look Fizz! (I may have had a tad too much)

David Mark, Katherine Armstrong and LifeOfCri.me’s Kirstie Long

Sarah Hilary looking relaxed 🙂

Susi Holliday

Laura Wilson

Daniel Pembrey and Anya Lipska

As always, ‘Pretty in Purple’, Leigh Russell

The ever lovely Barry Forshaw

Martyn Waites and Alex Marwood showing the differing approaches to unexpected photos. 😉

Martin Edwards, charming as always

The fantastic Laura Lippman.

One of my favourite people in the world.  Zoe Sharp is a great author, and also an amazing cook!

It wouldn’t be Harrogate without Mark Billingham

It isn’t a proper party until you’ve got the dazzling duo, Kevin Wignall (above) and Simon Kernick (below)

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Top Books from 2015

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The last year for me has been a strange mix, with book related activities on the increase and yet with reading taking a back seat to life, and reviews sitting further behind.  My motivation for keeping here updated as been at an all time low, and as such I have a list of reviews that I should get posted which is much longer than I would like.

That said I’ve managed to put together just some of the books that I have enjoyed over the last year. There’s no ranking to this, it’s just a list of those books that I’m still talking about and regularly recommending.

wpid-screenshot_2015-01-20-04-13-34-1.pngThe Liars Chair – Rebecca Whitney

A fabulously dark psychological thriller with a story you’ll love and a protagonist you won’t.

wpid-screenshot_2015-02-21-07-32-30-1.pngThe Ties That Bind – Erin Kelly

Gangster gone good meets Journalist determined to prove his murderous past. Tight and twisty plotting it’s Erin Kelly’s best yet.

IMG_2095Day Four – Sarah Lotz

Re-defining the phrase “Holiday from hell”, no one does fear and hysteria like Sarah Lotz.

IMG_2167Sophie Hannah – A Game For All The Family

Sophie Hannah at her dark and twisted best.  A thriller with a riddle, just who is telling the truth?

imageDoug Johnston – The Jump

I’ve honestly struggled to sum this one up since I first read it a few months ago and I’m not sure why.  It’s a compelling read full of the emotional aftermath of tragedy, the struggle to find understanding and to discover a meaning for existence in the wake of devastating loss.  Suffice is to say however, months later I am still fascinated by it, and think of it often.

imageDavid Mark – Taking Pity

DS Aector McAvoy is fast becoming one of my favourite damaged detectives. In Taking Pity the fourth installment of the series he’s down but not out, and you’ll be cheering his corner with every turn of the page.

imageSteve Cavanagh – The Defence

Love Mickey Haller, The Lincoln Lawyer?  Then this one’s for you, Michael Connelly’s got some competition here, and I can’t wait to read more about Eddie Flynn.

imageMichel Bussi – After The Crash

Well I wasn’t expecting that….

I dare anyone to figure this one out . A truly surprising ending to an addictive and melancholic tale.

screenshot_2015-11-25-14-57-20-1.pngAngela Marsons – Lost Girls

Angela Marsons has been one of this years big winners, with over 1,000,000 e-books shifted since the release of her first book in February.  Lost Girls is the third and best installment in her DI Kim Stone series.

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Christopher Fowler – Bryant & May London’s Glory

The perfect filler.  While we all eagerly anticipate the next full length installment in Bryant & May’s adventures, revel in a collection of short stories filling in gaps, and explaining occasionally mentioned exploits.  Pick it up, put it down, enjoy and repeat.

imageAlex Marwood – The Darkest Secret

Out in e-book now and paperback next week, The Darkest Secret is full of characters you will love to hate, I see this appearing in a lot of top recommendations over the next few months. You won’t put it down.

 

The Killer Next Door – Alex Marwood

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No. 23 has a secret. In this bedsit-riddled south London wreck, lorded over by a lecherous landlord, something waits to be discovered.

Yet all six residents have something to hide.

Collette and Cher are on the run; Thomas is a reluctant loner; while a gorgeous Iranian asylum seeker and a ‘quiet man’ nobody sees try to stay hidden. And watching over them all is Vesta – or so she thinks.

In the dead of night, a terrible accident pushes the neighbours into an uneasy alliance. But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing in on their next victim…

As a cloying heatwave suffocates the city, events build to an electrifying climax in this dark, original and irresistibly compelling thriller.

“Not to be read while you’re eating lunch…”

I’ve had this book on my To Be Read pile ever since it first came out back in June last year and am now kicking myself that I didn’t read it sooner, because it is absolutely brilliant. If it’s sitting in your to be read pile I recommend you go and move it now to your next read, and if it’s not there, why not?

Dark, chilling and impeccably plotted, The Killer Next Door is an intriguing look into the secrets that lurk behind closed doors, how little notice we often take of the world around us and asks the question just how well do we ever really know our friends and neighbours?

We begin with Collette, discover the reason she is on the run and about her arrival at Beulah Grove, where she takes over the room of the mysteriously vanished Nikki.  From there we meet each of her ‘neighbours’ in the house that they all share, learning about their lives, their secrets and the circumstances that have brought them all to renting a single room with shared bathroom, cash in hand and no questions asked from #23’s slum landlord.

Their intertwining stories are at times scary, tragic, and filled with melancholy showing how easy it can be to find yourself in such dire situations as much through the actions of others, as well as your own.  My favourite part was how the characters all appeared drawn towards Vesta, finding it easy to tell their stories and offer up their secrets to her for safe, or perhaps not so safe, keeping. 

It’s a brilliant read that you won’t want to put down, although in my case it was easier for me to read and read, as I actually downloaded my copy of The Killer Next Door as an unabridged audiobook, via audible.co.uk.

The narrator is perfectly selected, and the editing slick, which meant listening to the story added an extra creepy dimension to the haunting passages of the killer and his thoughts.  It also highlighted just how vividly descriptive Marwood’s writing is, making sure you experience all of the sights, sounds and smells of the situation, which is a fabulous thing to read but certainly in my case means there is at least one bathroom section you may not want to be reading (or listening too) while you’re eating lunch…