Review – My Girl by Jack Jordan

The Blurb

Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man.
She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house.
Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death?
Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets.
But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me.
From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan’s My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won’t want to miss.

My Thoughts

I had heard so many good things about Jack Jordan’s My Girl and I was excited to finally be able to get stuck into it. At around 248 pages, My Girl is a quick read and it was compelling enough for me to get through it in a few hours, which is unusual for me.

It would be an understatement to say that Paige Dawson’s life is a mess, but understandably so. Ten years ago she lost her 14 year old daughter, Chloe, and two months previously her husband took his own life. Paige’s life has spiralled completely out of control as she self-medicates with alcohol and prescription drugs. Things are, however, about to take a dramatic turn as she finds a gun and a mobile phone in her husband’s desk drawer. And so begins Paige’s quest to find out the truth about her daughter and husband.

My initial impression was that I was not going to settle into My Girl and I found myself wondering if I had been taken in by the hype. Very quickly though Jordan completely threw me off course and pulled an absolute blinder that had the simultaneous effect of taking me totally by surprise and making me feel quite nauseous. As it became apparent that Jordan was not afraid to fully address the seamier side of life and thrust it into your face with no holds barred, I began to get a glimpse of the reason behind the hype.

The character of Paige Dawson is well developed and Jordan has ensured that her substance and alcohol misuse are realistically portrayed. He manages to accurately portray the all-encompassing nature of addiction and has clearly taken time to research this issue. Paige is not a particularly likeable character but you cannot help but be empathetic towards her. I switched between wanting to hug her and give her good shake!

My Girl is split into three parts with the initial and final part concentrating on Paige’s perspective and narrated in the third person. The middle part of the book is narrated in first person by … you will have to read it yourself to find out! I always enjoy a shift in perspective in a novel and Jordan pulls it off well and it certainly adds to the story.

I was taken in a totally different direction to the one I thought I was heading in with My Girl, and Jordan certainly knows how to put a twist in the tale. I did feel that there were a few loose ends left dangling which I would have liked to see tied up, and I think there was scope to make My Girl a longer novel to address these.

My Girl is gritty, gripping and unflinching in its storyline as Jordan touches on some uncomfortable and chilling issues. Jordan can clearly tell a cracking a tale and, this being his second novel, as his writing style develops I have no doubt he will become a formidable force in the crime/thriller genre.

My Girl was published in paperback on 3rd July 2016 by CreateSpace and on ebook on 1 June 2017 by Corvus. Grab your copy HERE.

I reviewed my own copy of My Girl and this is my honest and unbiased review.






Author Influences With Barbara Quinn

Hello and welcome to this week’s Author Influences. I’m joined by the lovely Barbara Quinn for today’s book chat.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
The Nancy Drew series captivated me. So did Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Alice in Wonderland.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
English was always a favorite. I loved learning about historical times and delving into fantastical journeys such as Jules Verne’s undersea adventures in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the
genre you write?
I mainly read a lot of fiction. Yes, it does influence my writing! Good stories spur me on to make my own better.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’ve written in several genres including paranormal, fantasy, chick lit, and women’s fiction. I’m working on a steampunk story which is a new and challenging genre. I tend to go where the muse takes me. A women’s fiction is also brewing.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write
and if so who, what and why?
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland enthralled me as a child and through my teens. The wonderful characters came alive in my mind and made me want to travel down my own rabbit holes.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you
have to get it?
Anne Tyler is always a favorite.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I
had written that’ and what was it about the book?
The Great Gatsby has been a huge influence and always sets the bar for my own writing. The deceptively simple language reminds me to stay away from adjectives, adverbs, and other weakening words. And the story itself shows there can be a fascinating tale in any situation.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life
events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
For sure real life events and people influence me! My latest novel, The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me, is set at the Jersey shore in the heart of Springsteen country. The novel is a tribute to the healing power of music and Springsteen’s songs in particular. You don’t need to love Springsteen to enjoy it! The story is about a woman who finds a way to move forward after suffering losses. Music helps her heal. Each chapter is titled with a Springsteen song and that song is woven into the fabric of the chapter.

Another book, The Speed of Dark, a coming of age tale, opens with a young boy encountering a girl with magical powers as they ride their bikes in the fog spewing behind a DDT truck. It’s hard to believe now, but we used to do that when I was a kid growing up in the NY suburbs! I liked the idea of something special arising from that poisonous cloud.

Massive thanks for taking part, Barbara. You have mentioned some of my much-loved books here.

Barbara’s latest book The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me is out now. Here is what it’s about:

Arriving home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects—and on today of all days.

So, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing never to look back.

Seeking solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbor, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits.

In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.

About Barbara Quinn

Barbara Quinn is an award-winning short story writer and author of a variety of novels. With roots in the Bronx, Long Island, and Westchester, NY, she currently resides with her husband in Bradley Beach, NJ and Holmes Beach, FL. Her travels have taken her to forty-seven states and five continents where she’s encountered fascinating settings and inspiring people that populate her work. Her many past jobs include lawyer, record shop owner, reporter, process server, lingerie sales clerk, waitress, and postal worker. She enjoys spending time with her son and his family and planning her next adventure. She wants to remind everyone that when you meet her, SHE’S NOT SHOUTING, SHE’S ITALIAN.

Website Link:

Instagram: authorbarbaraquinn

Twitter Name: BarbaraQuinn

Review – The World is [Not] a Cold Dead Place by Nathan O’Hagan

The Blurb

I have developed a detachment from the rest of the human race. I don’t fear them. I don’t consider myself above them. It’s just that I genuinely loathe them. There is no reason. I wasn’t abused as a child. There were no traumatic events in adolescence, no heartbreak or rejection in early adulthood. Nothing to account for the person I have become. I shall offer no explanation, no mitigation for what I am. But whatever the reason, I have come adrift from mankind, and that is where I intend to stay.

Welcome to Gary Lennon’s world. It isn’t a cold dead place. You’ll like it there. You’ll see things his way and you’ll want to stay. But Gary’s therapist has other ideas. He thinks Gary should get a job, meet people and interact with the real world. Look out, people. Look out, world.

My Thoughts

I have had this book on my TBR pile for what feels like a ridiculously long time, but I’m pleased to have finally got around to reading it. The World is [Not] a Cold Dead Place is very different to what I have been reading recently but in a good way and, as they say, a change is as good as a rest.

The world we inhabit as we read The World is [Not] a Cold Dead Place is Gary Lennon’s. Living in Birkenhead, Gary’s world is isolated and revolves around his flat, his two friends and his therapy sessions. Gary’s obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety and depression mean that he has a certain way of viewing life. His relatively small world is about to be rocked, however, as his therapist has decided that he should get a job and start meeting people.

Gary is acerbic, cynical and has a very bleak view of the world. With biting black humour, O’Hagan has written a book that has you both laughing and nodding in agreement with his acute observations of the more ridiculous and astounding aspects of modern life. I really warmed to Gary, he is an anti-hero who says and does the things you wish you could but can’t as you would never get away with. There are some pretty heart-breaking moments in the book and I was particularly affected by the story behind one of Gary’s friend’s nickname.

This could be a bleak and depressing read, but O’Hagan’s mix of humour and biting observations ensure that this isn’t the case. O’Hagan is clearly astute and questions what is going on around him and this shines through in The World. He has created a well-rounded character in Gary Lennon and, despite him not being a conventionally lovable character, you can’t help but like him. The World is not a fast-paced book that is rammed with action and yet it is engrossing and during the periods when you can’t read you are itching to get back to Gary and his world.

The World is [Not] a Cold Dead Place is a scathing, suspicious yet accurate account of modern society as seen through the main character’s eyes – a character who in the same turn is endearing – and it is incredibly funny in places. If you like your humour on the darker side and you find yourself rooting for the underdog, introduce yourself to Gary Lennon by grabbing a copy of O’Hagan’s book.

Published on 21 August 2015 by Armley Press you can grab a copy HERE.

#AroundTheUKIn144Books book 11. County: Merseyside

Author Influences With Ross Greenwood

Welcome to another Author Influences, I’m delighted to be joined by Ross Greenwood this week.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Anything and everything. All my dad’s books, even some of my mum’s. Worryingly I’m still a bit partial to the odd romantic saga set in Liverpool now.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was one of the fastest to learn to read but then wasn’t particularly interested in reading Shakespeare and The Classics. I wanted action and easily accessible gore, not the colours of the drapes in pre-renaissance England.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I can read anything and like to mix it up. I like the odd bit of fantasy and science fiction but it’s quite hard to find fantastic books, whereas I think there are loads of great crime and thriller writers out there.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Science Fiction. I love Star Wars and Alien, and would love to do something in that style.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Orson Scott Card’s twist in Ender’s Game got me going. I also loved the way Wilbur Smith transported you to a different time and place.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I followed the Clan of the Cave Bear until the end but not generally in the past. Since signing with Bloodhound I’ve read more crime series books so I do now, and I also enjoy their thriller writers’ latest efforts.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Oddly short books tend to stick in my memory. Some of Paolo Cuehlo’s are fantastic in their simplicity. I loved Of Mice and Men when I got round to it. I also like to read the odd life enhancing book such as The Power of Now and The Celestine Prophecy again to keep me grounded.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Yeah, loads of my first book and plenty in others. I tend to be able to write quickly and more profoundly when drawing on past memories. Then they can be tweaked so they are more emphatic. This will hopefully stop them recognizing themselves and issuing the afore mentioned writ!

Thanks for taking part, Ross. 

Ross’s latest book Fifty Years Of Fear is out now. Here’s what it’s about:

Could you forgive murder? What if it was something worse? A childhood accident robs Vincent of his memories, causing him to become sensitive and anxious around others. His differences attract bullies, and he comes to rely heavily on the support of his family. After the devastating loss of his parents, a remarkable woman teaches him to embrace life and, little by little, he realises the world is far more forgiving than he imagined. When fragments of his memory return, he begins to unravel his past. Who was his mother? What kind of a man is his brother, Frank? And why does death surround them? Fate is cruel. History is dark. Things are not as they seem. Perhaps he should have stayed at home.

About Ross Greenwood

I was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until I was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. I then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

I found myself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually when things had gone wrong. It was on one of these occasions that I met my partner about 100 metres from my back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. I’m still a little stunned by the pace of it now.

Lazy Blood was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave me the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep I completed it in the early morning hours.

The Boy Inside followed and my latest book, Fifty Years of Fear, came out in October. Each book has different themes; Loyalty, Choices, and Forgiveness. The odd character crosses over but they can be read in any order.

Please feel free to get in touch:

Review – Last Orders by Caimh McDonnell

The Blurb

As a wise man once said, just because you’re done with the past, doesn’t mean the past is done with you.

Paul can’t let an incident from his past go. When he finds out a rival detective agency played a key role in it, he drags MCM Investigations into a blood feud that they can’t hope to win. Soon they’re faced with the prospect of the company going out of business and Brigit going out of her damn mind.

When long-buried bodies are discovered in the Wicklow Mountains, Bunny’s past starts closing in on him too. Who can he trust when he can’t even trust himself? When he finds himself with nowhere left to run and nobody he can turn to, will the big fella make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the ones he loves?

When all that’s left is the fall, the fall is everything.

And even the mighty fall.

Last Orders is the thrilling conclusion of the critically acclaimed Dublin Trilogy, which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly Irish acerbic wit. It’s best enjoyed having read the other books in the series, particularly the prequel Angels in the Moonlight.

My Thoughts

I have to start off by saying I am gutted that Last Orders is the final book in The Dublin Trilogy. I have loved spending time with Bunny, Paul, Brigit, Phil and especially Maggie. If you haven’t read the other two books in the trilogy yet and the prequel you are missing a treat. Last Orders probably can be read as a standalone but in order to get maximum impact you really need to have read the other books first.

It is no secret that I adore this series and Last Orders is the perfect ending to a fab trilogy. It had everything I had come to expect from McDonnell – acerbic Irish wit, fast-paced action and a cracking plot – and more. As we saw in Angels In The Moonlight, McDonnell’s writing gets better and better with each book as he also adds a deeper layer of emotion. I don’t want to give anything away plot wise, but I found myself deeply concerned for Bunny as his past starts to catch up with him and he suffers the impact of what happened to him in The Day That Never Comes. McDonnell perfectly captures all of the sadness involved in seeing a strong man slowly deplete from both the perspective of the man himself and those around him. Be prepared to go through a whole rollercoaster of emotions while reading Last Orders.

As Paul wages a war against a rival private detective agency, further pushing him and the exasperated Brigit apart, the pace maintains a speedy momentum throughout the book via humour and intrigue. As McDonnell flings curveballs around until it comes together beautifully at the end you realise how perfectly the plot has been planned and put together.

Part of the beauty of these books is the characterisation. As a reader you can’t help but feel a great affection for them all and a part of me is in mourning as the series closes. Each character is well thought out, well-developed and rounded. You get completely wrapped up in the characters and live every moment with them to the point that I found myself talking to them and whispering ‘oh, don’t do that’ to them.

I can’t end this review without mentioning McDonnell’s observations on society and life in general. They range from the seriously accurate to pee-your-pants funny. Paul’s thoughts on wind chimes are just ace and resonated loudly with me as I bloody hate wind chimes!

An absolute corker and a great way to end the series, Last Orders is brilliant. I loved everything about it and it, along with the other three books, will be one I return to again and again. I’m gutted it’s over but excited to see where McDonnell takes us next. If you haven’t yet read any of these books go out and buy them all now; I promise that you will love them!

Published on eBook on 3 March 2018 and paperback on 6 March 2018 by McFori Ink. You can grab your copy HERE.

A huge thank you to Caimh McDonnell and Elaine Ofori at McFori Ink for my advance copy in exchange for my review.

Read my reviews of the other books in The Dublin Trilogy by clicking on the pictures!


Blog Tour – End Game by Matt Johnson *Review*

I’m delighted but a little bit sad to be taking part in the blog tour for End Game by Matt Johnson today. Why am I sad? Because this book signals the end of the Robert Finlay series. I am very excited, however, to see where Matt Johnson takes us next. Anyway, here is the all-important blurb and then my thoughts on End Game.

The Blurb

Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.

My Thoughts

I’m sad to say that End Game is the conclusion to the Robert Finlay trilogy and he is a character who will be missed. However, Matt Johnson has brought the trilogy to a fantastic end and this instalment will not disappoint the fans of his previous two books.

Johnson has a great talent for creating fast-paced books while managing to maintain plot intricacies that come together perfectly at the end and End Game displays this talent to perfection. When close friend Kevin Jones’s girlfriend is murdered and he is subsequently arrested for the killing, it appears that he and Finlay have been framed. Teaming up with MI5 agent, Toni Fellowes, to get to the truth results in his life being thrust into danger and the uncovering of a plot that goes far deeper than he thought.

I have a great affection for Robert Finlay and Johnson has created an authentic character who you automatically root for. Finlay’s issues and his empathy toward fellow ex-soldiers comes across as genuine and it is clear that Johnson has called on his own experiences in creating him. I’m quite upset that we won’t be seeing him again but I feel satisfied at the conclusion.

End Game starts with a bang and this sets the tone for the rest of the book. As the tension increases with each page turn, End Game immediately grabs your attention and doesn’t let it go until the end. You will find yourself thinking about it during the time you have to spend away from reading it.

Johnson has written a trilogy of books that are intelligent and thoughtful and yet nothing is taken from the thrills and terror that End Game provides. I think I said in my review for Deadly Game that Johnson’s books would make great films and he has confirmed this for me with the final book. So, come on film companies, snap them up and let’s see Robert Finlay on the big screen!

While I’m sad that End Game is, indeed, the end game, I feel satisfied by the conclusion. This is a great series of books and while you could read End Game as a standalone, I highly recommend that you read the first two books as well. It delivered on everything I expected from Matt Johnson in terms of great characters and plot and once again I was totally hooked from the outset. Another great read.

Published on eBook on 6 February 2018 and paperback on 31 March 2018 by Orenda Books. Grab your copy HERE.

My thanks go to Matt Johnson, Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater at Random Things Blog Tours for my advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the tour. Be sure to catch the rest of the tour…


Author Influences with N.M. Brown

Grab yourself a cuppa, relax and enjoy this week’s Author Influences with N. M. Brown.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
The first children’s book I remember reading was The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I still find it magical and engaging even now. To me, that strange wardrobe serves very much like books. You open it in the ordinary world and then you vanish into somewhere extraordinary.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I honestly didn’t always attend class. I was always too much of a daydreamer to cope with school – tending to sneak off to slump on a beanbag in the school library. But when I did attend class – if reading or composing fiction was involved- I generally enjoyed it. I always found composition fairly effortless, and couldn’t understand how my classmates would often struggle to write stories. To me, being given the chance to create a story was always like being given an opportunity to slip out the confines of school for a while.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I like to read everything from crime fiction to magical realism. As a teenager I loved getting lost in Clive Barker’s worlds, but I grew to appreciate the rich storytelling of writers such as John Irving and Joyce Carol Oates. However, I generally enjoy most novels that featured an aspect of mystery, and this is reflected in my own writing. I think that a good story will hook the reader with an engaging character who has a discovery they want or need to make. That way, the reader can accompany them on their journey.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Some type of Gothic Horror possibly. I like the freedom it presents to establish the everyday and then create another world below it.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
More than anyone else, Ray Bradbury inspired me to write. He was not only a clever writer, he also invested real affection and warmth in his writing. If my protagonist- Leighton Jones – elicits any love from the reader at all it is probably thanks to Ray.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Not so much authors now as particular books. However, new titles by masters like John Irving and Bill Bryson still excite me, and although I don’t catch every novel he writes, I thought Stephen King’s Joyland was exceptional and pulled me back in time with both the style and content.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind it was practically dripping with description. It felt like such a rich evocation of place and time, that every time I read a few pages, I felt like I was somewhere else. If I could write something like that, I would be very proud of my work.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!).
The basic premise of The Girl on the Bus is based upon a genuine trip I once made. I was travelling from Inverness to Stirling by coach when I fell asleep, and awoke later to find that I and the few strangers on the bus were in the middle of a desolate landscape. Like most crime authors, I began to imagine countless scary possibilities – and the novel was born.

Thank you for taking part. N. M. Brown’s latest book The Girl on the Bus is out now and can be purchased HERE.

The Blurb

A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears.
Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her old friend, Laurie, for a break at her deserted beachside home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up.
Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter.
Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice.
The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods they track down the answers across the dusty freeways of North America. Soon Vicki and Leighton will find themselves in grave danger.
Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie?
And can they both escape with their lives?

About N. M. Brown

Norman has enjoyed writing for more than two decades. He has always considered a combination of decent fiction and good coffee as providing the best way to unwind and slip out of ordinary life for a while.
Having grown up Central Scotland, he studied English at Stirling University, where he began penning poetry, drama scripts and short stories. However, his real commitment to writing resulted from spending a snowy winter attending a series of fireside writing workshops in Perth.
More recently, Norman’s love of crime fiction led him to create the weary detective Leighton Jones. Having based his debut novel around this character, Norman felt so intrigued by him that he decided to give Jones at least two more outings.
Aside from his family, Norman’s other passion is cooking, which may explain why culinary elements always seem to creep out of his kitchen and into his stories.

Connect with N. M. Brown

Blog Tour – Blue Night by Simone Buchholz *Review*

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Blue Night by Simone Buchholz today. Before I share my thoughts, here is what the book is about.

The Blurb

After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital, Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon
gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived…

My Thoughts

Blue Night by Simone Buchholz marks the start in a cracking new series featuring Chastity Riley, Hamburg’s state prosecutor. Recently demoted to the witness protection department following her whistle-blowing on a colleague, Chas is feeling unfulfilled in her new role. However, things are about to change when an unknown man who is unwilling to talk arrives at the local hospital following a severe beating in which almost all of his bones are broken and a finger has been taken from one of his hands, and Chas is tasked to look after him.

The prologue hit me like a sucker-punch, as Buchholz’s description of someone taking a beating is poetic in its prose for such an horrific event. The short sentences work really well in delivering the brutality of the attack while simultaneously mesmerising you. The rest of Blue Night continued to be written in a way that is so unlike most of the books I have recently read. I have to admit that it took me a while to settle into its rhythm as Buchholz has a really unique way of writing and each chapter contains flashbacks from various characters in the book. Initially I wasn’t sure what I made of it, but as the book progressed and I became accustomed to the style and structure I began to really enjoy it. I ended up really liking the way Buccholz has structured the book as she adds different characters to the back stories in each chapter enabling you to view things from different perspectives. The way she knits it all together towards the end is brilliant.

I would describe the first half as slow-burning while we get to know Chastity, her friends and colleagues and as she attempts to build up a trusting relationship with the man she has been charged to look after. The second half of the novel, for me, had more pace and its grittiness really drew me in. The subject matter that Buchholz deals with is seamy, sordid and the observations she makes are depressingly spot on making it realistic. The ending … wow!

I really warmed to Chastity Riley and the rest of the characters in the book. Buchholz has effectively given just enough about each character to make you want to find out more about them and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Blue Night is a really unique read and I grew to love the structure and style. Beautifully written and seamlessly translated, Buchholz offers something refreshingly different to what’s on the market currently and I urge you to check it out.

About the Author

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied
Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and
trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in
Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne
Award as well as runner-up for the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue
Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for
months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her
husband and son.

Blue Night was published on eBook on 24 December 2017 and paperback on 28 February 2018 by Orenda Books. Grab a copy HERE.

My thanks go to Simone Buccholz, Karen at Orenda Books and Anne Cater at Random Things Blog Tours for my advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.



Author Influences With Mark Tilbury

Chase away those mid-week blues with some bookish chat. Mark Tilbury joins me for this week’s Author Influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I loved Enid Blyton, particularly the Famous Five. I used to devour the adventures of the four children and their dog, Timmy, then write my own stories. I can’t really remember much about them, but I can guess they were probably in a very similar vein, and the plots were more than likely nothing short of plagiarism.
I also loved Agatha Christie as I got a bit older. She used to live about a mile away from me on the edge of town. We’d sometimes go carol singing at her house at Christmas hoping to see her and have untold riches bestowed upon us. No such luck!

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved English. I was naturally good and didn’t really have to work too hard to get good marks. To be honest, there’s quite a gulf between being good at English and creative writing, as I’m learning on a daily basis.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I love horror, dark humour and psychological thrillers. I think my novels are a combination of all three, although they are predominantly psychological thrillers.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’d like to have a go at children’s books one day. I have an idea for a series, so you never know. The birth of my first grandson in January seems like an excellent reason to seriously think about doing so.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Without doubt Stephen King’s Misery. Annie Wilkes was the first antagonist I’d ever read who made me think wow! This is someone who really inspires me. Her contradictions. The way she hated profanity, yet could chop a man’s foot off and make him suffer. Annie had the lot for me.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Stephen King is the usual, but there are so many great authors out there. Shani Struthers, Mel Comley, Mark Wilson, Sarah England, Tony Forder and David MacCaffery.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
As I said earlier, Misery by Stephen King. Also The Green Mile because of the way King ties the whole book up with the characters in the prison. I could probably list at least half a dozen of his books. But my favourite is From the Corner of his Eye by Dean Koontz. The antagonist, Junior Caine, made me laugh and scream in equal measure. This book has everything, and I urge anyone who hasn’t yet read it to do so.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
The Abattoir of Dreams was influenced by some bigwig being named as an abuser by a guy who used to be in a children’s home. Then, the guy said he’d made a mistake and got the wrong man. As far as I was concerned, the abused guy was leaned on and forced to retract his accusation. It got me to thinking how these disgusting bastards get away with it just by virtue of their standing in society. It made me so angry, The Abattoir of Dreams poured out of me in less than three months as a result.

All my other stories have been purely a product of my imagination, but I’m sure there have been many influences on a subconscious level.

Thank you for taking part, Mark. 

Mark’s latest book, The Liar’s Promise, is out now. You can grab a copy HERE.

The Blurb

How does a mother protect her child from the unknown?
During a visit to a local theatre, four-year-old Chloe Hollis becomes hysterical. But her mother, Mel, doesn’t realise that this is just the beginning of the nightmare. In the coming weeks, Chloe talks of The Tall Man – Of death.
At her wit’s end, Mel confides in Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school where she works. But what Mel doesn’t know is that Charles is linked to what is happening to her daughter.
Will Mel learn the terrible truth? And can she overcome her own tragic past and save her daughter before it’s too late?
The Liar’s Promise is a story of past lives and future torment.

About Mark Tilbury

I grew up in a small town in Oxfordshire, but moved to the beautiful county of Cumbria two years ago with my girlfriend. I have two daughters and a beautiful grandson, George who is nine months old.
I’ve had a love of writing from an early age, but it was only a few years ago, with the introduction of Amazon kindle, that I started to seriously attempt to get published. I self-published my first two novels, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused, and then Bloodhound Books published my third book, The Abattoir of Dreams and republished the first two. My fourth novel, The Liar’s Promise was published by Bloodhound on 28th November.

My blog:
Facebook Author page:
Twitter: @MTilburyAuthor

Review – Anna: One Love, Two Stories by Amanda Prowse

The Blurb

One Love, Two Stories.
Anna Cole grew up in care, and is determined to start a family of her own. Theo Montgomery had a loveless childhood, and wants only to find his soulmate.
Then, one day, Theo meets Anna, and Anna meets Theo. Two damaged souls from different worlds. Is their love for each other enough to let go of the pain of their pasts? Or will Anna and Theo break each others’ hearts?
There are two sides to every love story. This is Anna’s.

My Thoughts

I’m going to start this review by saying I absolutely loved Anna: One Love, Two Stories by Amanda Prowse. Two stories about one love affair, Prowse introduces us to Anna, one half of Anna and Theo, in the first book in this duet.

Beginning in 1977 when Anna is a child, Prowse takes our hand and guides us through Anna’s life. This gives us unique insight to all of Anna’s thoughts and feelings in order for us to understand how she grows in to the adult she becomes and the impact this has on her side of the relationship she has with Theo. Now, I’m not a person who cries or gets upset easily but Prowse broke me at chapter 2! This is a testament to her skill as a writer and the talent she has for portraying raw emotions in such a way that you feel them alongside the character.

From the outset you are invested in Anna and her journey. I adored her and by the end of the book I felt as though I was saying goodbye to an old friend. As a self-confessed people-watcher, I love getting under the skin of people and understanding their nuances and what makes them tick, Anna appealed to me greatly as it is about life and one person’s take on their relationship. Prowse has created a well-rounded character in Anna and one who is believable and authentic. Anna is very much a character-based book that gets right to the core of the emotions felt by our heroine via Prowse’s beautiful use of words. Anna is seeking her sense of belonging and she believes she has eventually found it in Theo and the possibility that with him she can finally have the family she has longed for. Of course, relationships involve two unique individuals and, as a result, the course of love rarely runs smoothly.

I really enjoyed the way Prowse takes you through the decades in Anna. I adored the suspicion that Anna and her work colleagues had about moving from the typewriter to the computer. The various time periods came through credibly in Anna as Prowse doesn’t try too hard to get it across. Subtlety in her descriptions ensured that it came across naturally and not contrived.

I really can’t wait for Theo to come out as Prowse leaves you with just enough knowledge about him for you to be intrigued and to find out his side of the story. Having the two sides of one relationship split over two books is a great idea and Prowse pulls it off wonderfully.

Beautifully written and completely all-absorbing, Anna is a wonderfully emotional portrayal of life and all the ups and downs it can bring. Be prepared to devour Anna’s story, and ensure you have a box of tissues at hand as you will need them. Just gorgeous!

Anna: One Love, Two Stories is published on eBook on 8 March 2018 and paperback on 4 October 2018 by Head of Zeus. You can pre-order your copy HERE.

A huge thank you to Amanda Prowse for my advance copy of Anna.