Being held hostage at gunpoint by her childhood friend is not Dr Heather Gilmore’s idea of a good day at work. It only gets worse when she hears that her nineteen-year-old daughter Leah has been kidnapped.
Sergeant Claire Boyle wasn’t expecting to get caught up in a hostage situation during a doctor’s appointment. When it becomes apparent that the kidnapping is somehow linked to the hostage-taker, a woman called Eileen Delaney, she is put in charge of finding the missing girl.
What happened between Eileen and Heather to make Eileen so determined to ruin her old friend? Claire Boyle must dig up the secrets from their pasts to find out – and quickly, because Leah is still missing, and time is running out to save her.
One Bad Turn is the third book to feature Sergeant Claire Boyle and I have to say since I’ve absolutely adored the first two books, Can Anybody Help Me? and Are You Watching Me?, I was chuffed to bits to be invited onto the blog tour for this one.
Totally addictive, One Bad Turn was for me the perfect way to spend a wet May Bank Holiday. Nestled in a comfy sofa with the sound of rain against the window, kindle in hand with a fantastic new book. One Bad Turn is a real one sitting read that makes sure you don’t want to put it down until you know what’s happening next in the story. I lost track of the amount of times I thought to myself “just one more chapter then I’ll go do…” because the go do never got done.
One Bad turn is the story of friendship turned sour, enhanced by the impact of the financial and political situation in Ireland on the lives of Heather and Eileen. It switches regularly in its time frame between present day and flashbacks of the circumstances surrounding the polarisation of their friendship, ensuring the reader gets a fully rounded awareness of the characters and a true understanding of how the two have ended up where they are.
It’s a fascinating story and one that you can easily read without having read any of the previous novels, but as a true book geek I’d recommend reading them first in order to truly appreciate the amazing way the Crowley makes our protagonist so realistic, heart warmingly supportable and a force of nature to be reckoned with.
Investigating a severed hand found on the 3rd green of a Cumbrian golf course was not how Detective Inspector Avison Fluke had planned to spend his Saturday. So when a secretive unit from London swoop in quoting national security, he’s secretly pleased.
But trouble is never far away. A young woman arrives at his lakeside cabin with a cryptic message: a code known to only a handful of people and it forces Fluke back into the investigation he’s just been barred from.
In a case that will change his life forever, Fluke immerses himself in a world of new age travellers, corrupt cops and domestic extremists. Before long he’s alienated his entire team, made a pact with the devil and been arrested under the terrorism act.
But Fluke is only getting started. A voice has called out to him from beyond the grave and he has no intention of ignoring it.
Body Breaker is the second full novel, but third book by Mike Craven to feature Detective Inspector Avison Fluke, and after previously reading the first two books I knew I was in for a treat and I wasn’t disappointed.
In this book, D.I. Fluke is investigating a dismembered body found at a golf course. The case is swiftly taken over by the Metropolitan Police Force, so when Fluke discovers that the victim is someone from his past he decides to work the case off the books to solve it. He also has to enlist the help of someone he’d rather never deal with again and Fluke knows this will come back to bite him but he feels that he doesn’t have a choice.
I was blown away by the high calibre of Mike’s writing, his attention to detail and the way he invests in his characters, which makes them all the more real. I could identify with each and every person, and felt that I was right there at Fluke’s elbow as he fought to see justice done. It’s a compelling read from start to finish, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Ann B x
MW: It’s been a while since the last DI Spicer novel, Sleeping Dogs, what have you been doing?
CS: I’ve been busy, scribbling away in my shed – but not on detective novels. I’ve always enjoyed writing dark psychological thrillers (my first two novels fell firmly into that category), so I decided to take some time away from Spicer to write two more that had been festering in my head. Sing Me To Sleep is about a lady called Laura Wilkinson who moves to an isolated cottage and immediately starts hearing faint echoes of a bird singing. She fears tinnitus. But Laura’s also suffered psychological problems in the past and can’t be sure if the noise isn’t a manifestation of mental illness or something more sinister… It’s just been optioned for a film.Dead Gorgeous follows a beautiful and fame-hungry young woman, Mandy Cost. To attract the attention of the paparazzi, she has a salon fit her with the longest, palest hair extensions they can find. Mandy appreciates the best extensions are made with human hair – but doesn’t question where hers came from. It’s something she comes to regret. Bitterly.
MW: Where did DI Spicer originate?
CS: As is often the case with characters, Spicer is a blend of various traits I’ve seen in different people. He’s one of those men who, though powerfully built, exude a strength that’s more than just muscular. He’s fiercely loyal, highly tenacious and not good at etiquette. A lot of people – characters in my books and readers of them – find him quite infuriating. Not that he’d be bothered.
MW: You’re known for writing your stories by hand, explain your process.
CS: The truth is, I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of an artist. So my initial planning is on A3 sheets; I’ll sketch the principal characters and add little comments and observations, all in pencil. Then comes mind-maps of the plot. It seemed natural to extend this approach to the actual writing – so I use a lined A4 pad and only write on one side. (With a Blackwing pencil.) That leaves the facing page free for later amends, additions or general thoughts. I love doing it this way – until I have to type up 90,000 words of spider-like scrawl.
MW: Manchester is key in your novels. Do you create the setting around the plot or the other way round?
CS: Both. Hell’s Fire came about because my train into Manchester passed what looked like a massive, derelict, charred church. Who would wreck such a majestic building, I began to wonder. In Savage Moon, I wanted to explore the scenario of someone being killed by what, at first, appears to be an Alien Big Cat (like the Beast of Bodmin). For a setting, you don’t get much more bleak and creepy than Saddleworth Moor that overlooks the city.
MW: Death Games is a change of direction for DI Spicer. What made you decide to move him on?
CS: His own pig-headedness forced me into it! Essentially, he ran out of bosses in the Major Incident Team willing to have him as their responsibility. Kicked out and demoted to Detective Constable, it was a case of ‘any port in a storm’ when the Counter Terrorism Unit made contact.
MW: For your new novel you’ve brought together your two series characters – DI Spicer and DC Kahn – why?
CS: DC Khan was already in the CTU – and struggling with its macho, testosterone-fuelled culture. I thought: what a great pairing. Her: measured, intuitive and diminutive in size. Him: a great big bull in a china shop. Plus, the CTU allows me to deal with plots on a grander scale than before.
MW: You write many short stories, very different to the crime novels, which do you prefer to write?
CS: I love short stories for their brief, self-contained nature. Before the actual writing, you can hold them in the palm of your hand and look at them from every angle. If you want to experiment with something, you can. Novels, in contrast, are vast, sprawling things. George Orwell said writing them was like a long bout of painful illness. But when it’s finished? The scene of achievement is mighty.
MW: What are you working on next?
CS: The screenplay of Sing Me To Sleep is almost done. I got a short story in the bag over Christmas. So next…it’s novel time. I have a nice Manchester-based idea, but can’t decide whether to toss it Spicer’s way or hand it to a brand new character.
Manchester: an injured survivor from a motorway pile-up flees the scene, leaving behind evidence that a terror attack is being planned…
Jon Spicer, newly trained as a Specialist Firearms Officer, has joined Manchester police’s Counter Terrorism Unit. Thrown out of his previous department and demoted to Detective Constable, he is being kept in the force only because he’ll take on the most dangerous of jobs.
Iona Khan is struggling to find respect and recognition in the male-dominated Counter Terrorism Unit. Her mind might be sharp, but many of her colleagues value physical strength above anything else.
As the investigation quickly snowballs, Spicer and Khan are thrown together. The two officers must learn to trust each other – and fast. Because in this chase, any wrong move could be your last.