Monthly Archives: August 2016

Monthly Round Up – August 2016

August Overview

So the summer is coming to a close and we are heading into my favourite season, autumn.  I have to say I’m really looking forward to some cooler weather and so are the poor dogs with their thick coats. We had to buy Freya a fan which I think she liked…

Freya and fan

Reading wise, it has been a great month!!! I was whisked away to Barbados in Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean and Me, was blown away by a totally unexpected ending in Saving Sophie, attended A Wedding In Cornwall, got a scary glimpse into a potential Britain of the future in To Retribution, was stunned by the beauty of The Museum Of You, broke my heart reading Dear Mother, got wrapped up in secrets and lies in The Perfect Girl, and met the psycho ex from hell in Baby!

Coffe Tea the Caribbean and MeSaving SophieA Wedding in CornwallTo RetributionMuseum of YouDear MotherThe Perfect GirlBaby

Blog Tours

I was lucky enough to take part in three blog tours this month for The Unravelling, Saving Sophie and Good Girl Bad Girl.

10 Books of Summer Challenge

Unfortunately I didn’t succeed in my challenge, reading only six books out of ten, only managing to read The Color Purple by Alice Walker this month.  This is due to my own weak will in being unable to say no when I am offered amazing sounding ARCs!  What I have taken away from the challenge is that I will definitely try to make time each month to read at least one book that has been on my TBR list and that has been published for a while.  It felt really good to, hopefully, encourage people to read those books that have been out for a while. 

The Color Purple

Sneaky Peak at September

September is already looking to be an exciting month! I am thrilled to be part of some amazing upcoming blog tours.  You can catch me on the following tours –

3rd September – All Fall Down by Tom Bale

4th September – The Secret Wife by Gill Paul

5th September – Jacques by Tanya Ravenwater 

12th September – Mistakes We Make by Jenny Harper

18th September – The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards

All-Fall-Down-Kindle[61321]The Secret WifeJacquesMistakes we MakeThe Devil's Work

I also plan to read Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow, Matching The Evidence by Graham Smith, Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre, Buy Buy Baby by Helen MacKinven, and Untouchable by Sibel Hodge.  I’m sure this will be added to as I go along!

I’m also starting a new regular feature in which authors talk about the books that have influenced their writing.  This will kick off with crime writer James Raven on 7th September.  I’m really excited about this and hope you enjoy it!

Again I give huge thanks to the authors and publishers who give me the opportunity to read and express my views on their books, the brilliant bloggers who support and share and everyone who takes the time out to read my reviews and the guest posts.

Quote Of The Month

This month’s quote comes from the stunning The Museum Of You by Carys Bray.  The way Carys describes emotions and feelings takes my breath away!

‘When you grow up in the saddest chapter of someone else’s story, you’re forever skating on the thin ice of their memories’

 

Review – Baby by Marie Campbell

 

Baby

The Blurb

When Michael Stanton goes to work one day and doesn’t come back, everyone – friends, family, police – thinks his pregnant girlfriend Jill should accept he’s left her.  After all, he’s done it before.  But Jill just won’t believe that Michael would walk away from her and their unborn child.  Increasingly desperate and alone, she’s determined to find him.  Just where is Michael? What Jill doesn’t know is that his beautiful ex, Anna, wants him back, and won’t take no for an answer.  And it isn’t just him she wants…In a maze of captivity, sexual tension and dark desire, Michael battles with his feelings.  Does he really want his normal life back, or could there be a future with the woman who terrifies, controls and fascinates him?  Baby is a compelling, sexy, disturbing and unforgettable thriller.

My Review

A dark and disturbing thriller, Baby, tells the story of Michael and Jill, expecting their first child, whose lives are turned upside down when Michael’s ex-girlfriend, Anna, makes a sudden re-appearance into their lives.

The tone is sinister from the outset, and Marie draws you in completely from the first, perfectly paced chapter. The warning signs are there about Anna, but what follows takes you by surprise.

Baby is well written and flows beautifully. Told through the perspectives of Michael and Jill, Marie has done a great job of keeping the continuity and links what is happening to each character perfectly.

Loss, grief and mental health are major themes in this book. Marie has created a character in Anna that chills you to your bones and yet you can’t help but feel a degree of sympathy for her. I got where she was coming from in relation to what often seems to be a great unfairness in life, especially when you are coming to terms with the fact that something you automatically assume will happen to you is taken away and your life is not going to be how you expected.

Jill’s situation, feelings and frustrations have been written about wonderfully. Marie has totally captured the emotions you would expect someone to feel in her situation. I found myself really empathising with her and was with her every step of the way through the book.

Michael is caught between how his body responds to Anna due to his past relationship with her and his heart and head. I wasn’t, and still aren’t, sure if I liked him or not. I got his responses but at the same time I didn’t, if that makes sense. I would be interested to hear what other people think of him.  I wasn’t sure how the book would turn out, as Michael’s thoughts and behaviour, at times, went against how I would expect someone in this situation to react.  I really liked this element of the book, it made me contemplate his reactions and I found myself mulling over Baby when I wasn’t reading it.  Exactly the effect you want a book to have on you.

You read this book shouting in your head at the characters. So many times I was urging Michael to act in a different way, that may assist him and I felt that frustration of seeing how close Jill was to the truth but not being able to tell her. It’s fair to say I was totally absorbed in this book.

This is a great debut thriller and I look forward to reading more by Marie Campbell. It is tense, dark and creepy…brilliant!

Thank you to Marie Campbell for the copy in exchange for my review.

Published 14 July 2016 by The Conrad Press.

Cover Reveal – The Alibi by Jaime Raven

I’m very excited to be able to share with you the cover and blurb for Jaime Raven’s second novel The Alibi.  Publishing on 29th December in eBook and paperback by Avon Books, it sounds like a cracker!!!

So what’s it about…

Secrets, lies and revenge brim to the top in this gritty thriller.  Perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Kimberley Chambers.

A perfect crime needs a perfect alibi…

Crime reporter Beth Chambers is committed to uncovering the truth – and she’s not afraid of bending the rules to get there.

When troubled soap star Megan Fuller is found stabbed to death in her South London home, all eyes are on her notorious gangster husband, Danny Shapiro.  There’s just one problem: Danny has a watertight alibi.

Determined to expose Danny as a cold-blooded killer, Beth obsessively pursues him.  But in her hunt for the truth, her family are set to pay the ultimate price…

The Alibi

#10BooksOFSummer – Book #6 The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple

The Blurb

Set in the deep American South between the wars, The Color Purple is the classic tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage.  But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny.  Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

My Thoughts

‘Nothing but death can keep me from it.’

I remember watching the film as a teenager and had always meant to get round to reading the book. The 10 books of summer challenge gave me the impetus to finally get it read.

Set in 1930’s Southern America, it follows the life of Celie, a poor black woman surviving in a country where segregation between African Americans and white people still exists.

Told in first person narrative through Celie’s letters, firstly to God and then to her sister Nettie, we are given a first hand account of the impact of race, gender and class on an ordinary woman.

Alice’s characterisation is second to none. The use of colloquial language and the phonetic spelling of a woman who has not had the privilege of a decent and continuing education, all add to the essence of Celie and the time and place she is living in.

Celie’s experiences do not make for comfortable reading. Treated appallingly by her family, her start in life is not a good one. Her relationship with her estranged sister and the hope that she will see her again keeps her going.

Celie is downtrodden by her family life and the lack of expectations for her. However, as the book progresses we see Celie gain an inner strength through her relationship with Shug Avery and her eventual blossoming results in an uplifting tale.

The inequalities are quite astounding and sadly a realistic portrayal of America during this time. Domestic abuse is rife, with the men viewing themselves as having to keep their women in their place. I was struck by the racial inequalities particularly when Celie talks of going to the ’coloured cemetery’. Gender impounds on this racial inequality further – if African Americans are second class citizens then the African American females are the third class citizens.

A powerful and moving book, often sad and shocking, I am so glad I finally got round to reading this wonderfully written piece of literature.

First published in 1982, this edition published 2014 by Phoenix eBook.

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Book Review – A Wedding In Cornwall by Laura Briggs

A Wedding in Cornwall

The Blurb

It’s the career move of a lifetime, and Julianne can’t believe it’s hers: a position as an event planner at a country house in Cornwall, England, beginning with the wedding of a celebrity!  If her old firm’s senior planner back in the States hadn’t suddenly fallen sick with the chicken pox, Julianne would never have found herself chosen for a life in one of England’s most beautiful coastal counties, surrounded by rugged shores, quaint cottages and a house to die for. 

But life in Cornwall isn’t exactly as Julianne imagined it.  Her first bride-to-be is a resentful, petted snob, the groom is immature and bored, and the Cornish staff of Cliffs House have a difficult time believing that an event planner from a mid-level position can handle a wedding this big.  And then there’s a personal matter – the handsome, sometimes charming, sometimes standoffish gardener Matthew Rose.  He and Julianne have a strangely complicated relationship somewhere between friendship and attraction.  But with a secret in his past, and a scheming bridesmaid plotting to have Matthew all to herself, will Julianne find a way to untangle her feelings and the problems of planning a perfect Cornish wedding?

My Review

A Wedding in Cornwall was the perfect, light-hearted read to pass the time away on a rainy, miserable ‘summer’ day here in the UK.  At 91 pages it is a novella, but as the saying goes good things come in small packages.

Julianne, an events co-ordinator from Seattle, has landed her dream job as events co-ordinator at the grand Cliffs House in Cornwall. Her first job is organising a wedding for an A list celeb couple who don‘t make her first job easy!

I warmed to Julianne immediately and loved her American view of the British upper classes. It made me laugh and smile as her expectations are not always lived up to. I enjoyed reading about her settling into Cornish life, organising her first big event with a less than helpful couple and making friends. As romance blossoms, Julianne discovers you don’t need the quintessential British knight in shining armour to make you happy.

All of the characters are very likeable and despite being a quick a read you become fully immersed in their lives. Laura has managed to pack an engaging story into a few pages.

The descriptions of Cornwall are lovely and credit to Laura for getting the essence of Cornwall across despite never having being there herself. It totally transported me away from the North East and was a delightful escape in the few hours it took me to read it.

A great quick read that is entertaining and charming. If you are after something light and easy to read with a dash of romance to pass a couple of hours, check out A Wedding in Cornwall.

Published 11 August 2016.

Thank you to Laura Briggs for the copy in exchange for my review.

Author Spotlight and Giveaway – Stacy McWilliams

luminosity_and_ignition_horizontal_banner-Stacy_McWilliams-authorpa

all3-2d-Stacy_McWilliams-authorpa.com-1000px-04Stacy McWilliams is the mum of two boys, a wife and a writer. She loves reading a variety of genres and enjoy a diverse range
of
movies.

She writes paranormal
romance and loves to meet new people.

Amazon Author Page

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McWilliams
Newsletter


Luminosity-Stacy_McWilliams-authorpa.com_01Luminosity

Jasmine Johnstone’s life was
relatively normal until she was forced to live with the Stevenson
family. As she stayed she found she had no choice but to battle
mythical creatures. Strengths she never knew she possessed began to
surface, surprising those around her. Her only chance of surviving the
rising tide of evil was Nathan Stevenson. Could she really trust him
as he fought against his love for her? With the world against them and
time running out, would their love be enough to defeat demons? (204
pages)

 

Ignition-Stacy_McWilliams-authorpa.com_01

Ignition

Life has never been easy for Jasmine
Johnstone, but failing for Nathan Stevenson brings a whole new level
of difficulty. Since she arrived at his home he’s blown hot and cold
with her, turned against her and revealed a deadly threat. He is sworn
to kill her, and fights against his love for her more than ever, but
he knows he can’t live without her.

As they run from monsters, and each
other, can their love survive?

Time begins to run out and with new
friends and enemies in the strangest places, will they learn who to
trust in time?

With their love stronger than ever,
but forces pulling them apart, is love enough to keep them together or
will Nathan’s parents succeed in pulling them apart? (214 pages)

candlelight-2d-Stacy_McWilliams-authorpa.com-350pxCandlelight

***This novella is the prequel
to
Luminosity****

Life was full of nothing but darkness
for Nathan Stevenson until Jasmine appeared in his life. She brought
his innermost desires to the surface. She burned her way through to
his heart to become embedded in his soul. He knew she was dangerous
but would she break down his wall as he dreamed of her touch and
fought against the impulse to protect her? Would their love be enough
to defeat his demons? Was he strong enough to resist her or would her
light burn irrevocably? (95 pages)


Candlelight Excerpt

School passed in a blur and that night, I spent my time catching up on all
the work I had missed. The following day, an opportunity presented
itself to me and I couldn’t resist getting my message across to that
fucker.

James walked a little ahead of me during class time. It looked as if he
headed to the library. He didn’t notice me as I looped around the
corridor and caught him before he entered, pushing him into a disused
office. I slammed him full force up against the wall and put my arm
over his throat. I allowed my hands to morph into claws, holding them
at a vein in his throat as fury pulsed through me.

I froze him with my powers. I could feel his powers trying to find a way
around mine. I brushed them aside, as though they were no more than a
fly in my face. Demon power raced through me and I stood tall before
spitting out, “I know what you did and I know what you are trying to
do. You won’t succeed. For every single time you try, I will ruin
something you care about. You are not getting away with this; I will
make sure of it…”

I broke off and turned my hand back to normal before I punched him full force
in the nose. I relished the sound of the bone breaking. He would heal
it in seconds, though he wouldn’t be able to get rid of the blood from
Demon sight. Strolling towards the door, I called over my
shoulder,
“Mop yourself up, you disgusting piece of filth.”

To request review copies, please stop
by here.

GIVEAWAY

2x 1 e-book copy of Candlelight
2x 1 e-book copy of Candlelight & Luminosity
1x 1 e-book copy of Candlelight, Luminosity & Ignition

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Blog Tour – Good Girl Bad Girl by Ann Girdharry

Good Girl Bad Girl_Banner [78899]

I’m thrilled today to be the next stop on the Good Girl Bad Girl Blog Tour.  You can find out about Ann Girdharry’s debut novel, find out what I thought about it and a bit more about Ann.

The Blurb

Mother missing, the discovery of a powerful and corrupt syndicate and dark secrets about her father revealed leaves 28-year old Kal determined to pursue her own investigations, no matter what sinister truths she uncovers, in this intense psychological thriller.

Kal is convinced her investigative journalist mother must have been working on a controversial, and top level, news story, it is the only explanation for her sudden and suspicious disappearance. Although mistrustful of the police, Kal allows Detective Inspector Spinks, the officer assigned to her mother’s case, to accompany her when she visits her grandmother to break the news. What they don’t expect is to uncover a file of shocking research cataloguing the deviant activities of seven members of London’s political and business elite. Back on the streets of London, the survival instincts and specialist expertise she learned from her late father, kick into overdrive, as Kal resolves to not only find her mother but continue her work and unveil the conspiracy hidden amongst those in power.

My Review

From the very start I was hooked. Ann effectively opens Good Girl Bad Girl with a first chapter that leaves a lot of questions in the mind of the reader that you just have to find the answers to. What has happened to her mother? Why have the family been receiving threatening notes? What was the main character’s father teaching her as a child that was so unusual?

Kal, a photojournalist, is dragged into a seedy underworld following the sudden disappearance of her mother. Taken on a journey she didn’t expect to be a part of, the reader follows her every step of the way. The intrigue and action does not let up, eventually resulting in the climatic conclusion.

Kal Medi is a great character. She is independent, intelligent, single-minded and strong and yet I was able to empathise with her as you get glimpses into her vulnerabilities which make her all the more human and relatable to. The relationship she had with her father is an interesting one and adds another layer to both the character and the story. This is the first in what is going to be a series of books and I really look forward to meeting Kal again.
Good Girl Bad Girl has a cleverly woven plot, with what initially feels like three disparate storylines coming together perfectly. The psychological element was something I loved. It is clear that Ann knows a lot about psychology and Kal’s observations of and descriptions of the other characters add an extra layer to this book. The way Ann describes the nuances of how the emotions effected Kal physically really made me go through what Kal was going through.

An intelligently written, multi-layered psychological thriller, I really enjoyed Good Girl Bad Girl and look forward to reading the next Kal Medi book.

Published on 23 August 2016 by Create Space and Kindle Direct.

About the Author

Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years for agencies working with: carers, vulnerable older people and those with dementia, survivors of abuse, and victims of racism and racial attacks. Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children. As well as her passion for writing, Ann enjoys gardening and is a member of her local roller blading club.

Ann has previously published a series of short stories called Tales of the Unexpected (2015-2016). Her debut novel, and the first in the Kal Medi series, Good Girl Bad Girl by Ann Girdharry (published by CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing 23rd August 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores.

You can connect with Ann via her website www.girdharry.com and on Twitter @GirdharryAnn

A huge thank you to Ann and Authoright for the advance copy of Good Girl Bad Girl and for inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour.  Be sure to catch the rest of the stops!

Saving Sophie Blog Tour – *Guest Post by Author Sam Carrington

Saving Sophie Banner

Welcome to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books’s stop on the Blog Tour for Sam Carrington’s Saving Sophie.  I am delighted to have Sam as a guest, talking about the three books that have had an impact on her life.  So without further ado, I will hand over to Sam. 

Author picture-Sam Carrington [159307]

 

Three Books That Have Had An Impact On My Life

Being a writer, you can only hope that your novel will have some kind of effect on the reader. Whether it’s as simple as bringing some entertainment and enjoyment, or whether it leaves a lasting impression, it’s wonderful to think that your words; your story, has touched someone in some way.
Books can affect us in many different ways. Sometimes a book might have a minor impact: a small effect on an area of our lives, perhaps teaching us something about a previously unknown subject. Or sometimes a book will have a major effect: change the way we actually think or feel about something, or encourage us to take an unknown path. The three books I’ve chosen as ones that have impacted on my life, have been for different reasons. I thought I’d share them with you.

Sam Carrington Post 3
The Outsiders by S.E Hinton is a coming of age novel set in America and depicts boys from rival gangs: the Greasers and the Socs. It’s ultimately about friendships, loyalty, class conflict and family ties. I first read it when I was twelve. This story will always hold a special place for me; because of it, a lifelong friendship formed. I’d just started at secondary school and another pupil, Jo Frazer, was also reading it. It’s through talking about the themes in the book that our friendship was firmly forged. To this day, some thirty-two years later, we still quote lines from the book – and we frequently tell each other to ‘stay gold, Ponyboy’!

Sam Carrington Post 2
Into the Darkest Corner, by Elizabeth Haynes, is a fabulous psychological thriller with believable, well-drawn characters. It tackles the topic of domestic abuse, and with deftly crafted prose takes you right into the scary, creepy actions of Lee as he exerts his power, control and obsession over his girlfriend, Catherine. It’s the ease of how the character of Lee is able to come across to her friends as a loving partner and quite ‘a catch’ one moment – then quickly change his behaviour when he’s alone with Catherine the next, that really shocked me. Personally there were things that resonated with me and after reading it I made a few life-changing decisions myself! So, this book stayed with me long after I’d read the last page, and has remained one of my all-time top reads.

Sam Carrington Post 1
My third pick is Postmortem, by Patricia Cornwell. When I finished this novel I knew I was going to love Dr Kay Scarpetta for a long time and would be buying book after book in the series! This was possibly the first time where I’d read a book with a strong female lead, and it was this novel that propelled me into my obsession with forensics and the crime genre, (where, give or take a few books from other genres, I’ve stayed for twelve or so years). After reading Postmortem, my dream job became that of a medical examiner – undertaking post mortems and piecing together evidence to bring the killer to justice. Obviously I have not realised this particular dream!
But perhaps this novel had a part to play in how I came to my current writing career… And having sold more than 100 million books, Patricia Cornwell is certainly an author to aspire to!

About Saving Sophie

Saving Sophie

A teenage girl is missing.  Is your daughter involved, or is she next? 

Your daughter is in danger but can you trust her?  When Karen Finch’s seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers,  no one is smiling the morning after.  But Sophie remembers nothing about how she got into such a state. 

Twelve hours later, Sophie’s friend Amy has still not returned home.  Then the body of a young woman is found. 

Karen is sure that Sophie knows more than she is letting on.  But Karen has her own her demons to fight.  She struggles to go beyond her own door without a panic attack.  As she becomes convinced that Sophie is not only involved but also in danger, Karen must confront her own anxieties to stop whoever killed one young girl moving on to another – Sophie. 

A huge thank you to Sam for being a guest on the blog and writing a fantastic post.  You can read my review for Saving Sophie here.  Published on ebook on 12 August, it can be purchased from Amazon. Be sure to catch the rest of the Blog Tour!

 

 

Review – The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan

The Perfect Girl

The Blurb

To everyone who knows her now, Zoe Maisey – child genius, musical sensation – is perfect.  Yet several years ago Zoe caused the death of three teenagers.  She served her time, and now she’s free. 

Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life.

By midnight, her mother is dead. 

The Perfect Girl is an intricate exploration into the mind of a teenager burdened by brilliance, and a past she cannot leave behind.

My Review

An unexplained, sudden death, a family full of secrets and a tragic event all add up to the compelling read that is The Perfect Girl.

Zoe is a gifted teenager who unfortunately, in the past, was involved in a tragic event when the car she was driving crashed, killing three of her ’friends’. At the start of the book, we discover that Zoe’s mother has died, we don’t know how or why. Through the narration of Zoe, her Aunt Tessa, solicitor Sam and later her Uncle Richard, we learn of the events leading up to her mother’s death and also the story of Zoe’s past.

Told over a twenty-four hour time period, we find out a lot about the family through close scrutiny and their thoughts and all is definitely not as it seems.

I felt an increasing unease about Zoe’s immediate family that slowly unfolded as the story progressed. They have created a façade to mask a controlling, unnatural environment. I really felt for Zoe and Lucas, who are unable to be ‘normal’ teenagers. The aftermath of Zoe’s crime has resulted in her mother hiding her true self to create a perfect life and gain back the security she lost. I didn’t know who could be trusted throughout as the secrets and lies prevail.

As well as been a cracking psychological thriller, The Perfect Girl raises issues such as the impact of pushy parents, bullying over social media, trying to fit in and the wide impact of a single, horrific event. It highlights that things are never black and white and the crime that Zoe committed certainly isn‘t. The moral issues that arise throughout the book certainly make you think. I was left feeling a sense of loss at the end of the novel over how we make decisions within our lives to ensure the wellbeing of others rather than what would be best for ourselves.

The Perfect Girl is well written with beautiful descriptions such as;

‘…and that those jaws were lined with stiletto-sharp teeth’

and I loved the butterfly analogies, which were stunning and wonderfully written.

Written in first person narrative, I found it a little difficult to differentiate between the characters narrating. Zoe does not come across as a teenager, however, given her experiences and the image she has to live up to she seems, in some respects, older than her years and then at other times immature. This didn’t, however, effect my enjoyment of the book and I was totally wrapped up in the story.

I really enjoyed The Perfect Girl, it has all the right ingredients of a compelling psychological thriller with the added bonus of giving you food for thought which makes you examine your moral compass. It would make a great book for a reading group.

Thank you to Gilly MacMillan, Little, Brown Book Group and Netaglley for the advance copy in exchange for a review.

Published on ebook 3 March 2016 by Little, Brown Book Group and paperback on 6 September 2016.

*Guest Post* Author Harry Bingham Interviews Fiona Griffiths – The Dead House Promo

Dead House Cover

Book Promo

I’m really pleased to have author Harry Bingham taking over today to tell you more about his new novel The Dead House, featuring the irrepressible DC Fiona Griffiths.  He has managed to meet Fiona for an interview to tell you more about Dead House

Harry Interviews Fiona Griffiths

Harry Bingham, author of the Fiona Griffiths series of crime novels, is today meeting with his main character in an effort to get her to spread the word about their latest book, The Dead House, which is currently an Amazon Deal of the Week. Harry has paid for a fancy lunch at a smart Cardiff hotel, but Fiona is not looking particularly pleased to be there. Harry’s literary agent is present, but sits back, watching fretfully – nay, anxiously – from a nearby table.

Harry     Hi, welcome. Thanks so much for coming. What can I get you?
Fiona    Oh, for fuck’s sake!
Harry   What?
Fiona   This again? We have to do this again?
Harry   Fiona –
Fiona   You’re going to say that you’re my author, aren’t you?
Harry   Not just say it, Fiona. There’s a book that has my name right across the front cover.  Big fat red letters.
Fiona   That’s not very strong evidence, is it? Any fool can get a book printed up these days. It’s not even expensive. But let’s run with that whole idea. Let’s say you’re my author. Then presumably you know what I drink.
Harry   I was going to get a bottle of fizzy water.
Fiona   Right. And you’re going to get some fancy-schmancy salad for me, because that’s the kind of thing I always order in a place like this. Only you’ll get something sensible – something that involves chips – and halfway through this damn meal, I’ll start nicking your chips and you’ll just groan and give in.
Harry sighs. Orders. Gets a fancy-schmancy salad for Fiona and something that involves chips for him. They get fizzy water.
Fiona (muttering, trying to be polite) Thanks.
Harry   You’re welcome.
Fiona   So?
Harry   So?
Fiona   Well, look, “author”, you’re never nice to me unless you want something, so what is it you want?
Harry   I don’t want anything. I just thought I’d share our good news.
Fiona (Instantly suspicious.) Good news?
Harry   Yes, our latest book, The Dead House, has been chosen as an Amazon Deal of the Week. That’s a huge deal. It’s like the biggest book retailer on the planet has chosen to promote our book. They love the reaction from readers. They love the quality of the writing. You know, one blogger wrote, “This is a quite brilliant novel and Griffiths a superb protagonist . . . Only one issue stands out after this novel: why aren’t Harry Bingham’s books number one on every chart?” That’s a lovely thing to hear, right?
Fiona   No.
Harry   What do you mean, no? That’s what –
Fiona   They like seeing me –
Harry   Yes, of course, you’re at the absolute heart of –
Fiona   No, they like seeing me suffer. That’s what you do. You set up these situations . . .
Harry   It was good, wasn’t it? There’s a body lying in a country churchyard. No signs of violence. But why is she wearing a thin white dress on this howling October night? And who placed the candles all around her? And why has no one come forward to identify the corpse?
Fiona (shrugs) You gave me a barley seed. The clue wasn’t that hard to follow.
Harry   For you, maybe.
Fiona   But that’s not what Amazon wants. They don’t care about bodies in churchyards. What gives them a kick is all that stuff in the cave? And then right at the end of the investigation –
Harry   In the monastery –
Fiona   With the walls rising –
Harry   And knowing that what lay ahead –
Fiona   Was potentially this, this thing, for ever –
Harry (suddenly anxious) Hey, hey. I don’t mind the odd teaser, but we don’t want any actual plot spoilers.
Fiona   So my answer’s No.
Harry   What do you mean?
Fiona   No, I’m not going to help you market this damn book. I didn’t want you to write it. I don’t want anyone to read it. I didn’t want to go into that damn cave. If that book just curls up on its back and dies, I. Don’t. Care. Quite frankly, I hope the book vanishes and Amazon decides not to stock it.
Harry   Fiona –
Fiona  And now I’m going to steal your chips.
She steals his chips. Harry lets her do it. Then she stands.
Fiona   I’m a detective. You are – or you claim to be – my author. So do what you need to do. I don’t know writing. Editing. Fooling around with literary agents and editors and whatever you have to do. Me, I have criminals to catch. Murderers. I’ll do my job, you do yours. Oh yes, and my job actually matters.
(She pauses. Makes a face. Tries hard.)
Thanks for the chips.
She leaves. Harry sighs. Somewhere in the corner of the room, Harry’s agent has his head in his hands.

Harry’s biography in 25 words

Harry Bingham author pic
Forty-something. Married. British. Kids. Oxfordshire. Runs The Writers’ Workshop and Agent Hunter. Used to be a banker. Now writes full-time. Likes rock-climbing, walking, swimming. Done.
Fiona’s biography in 25 words

fiona-skyTTTD-image [170637]
Young thirties. Petite. Cardiff. In recovery from Cotards Syndrome. Teetotal. Strange. Capable of violence. Dad used to be a big-time criminal, now (supposedly) retired. Done.
You can find out more about them both at HarryBingham.com

Whet your appetite? Here’s the blurb for The Dead House

British detective Fiona Griffiths, one of the most engaging female protagonists in crime thrillers, is back with her toughest case yet. 

When the body of a woman is found in an old ‘dead house’ – the annexe where the dead where stored before burial in medieval times – of a tiny church in a small town in Wales, it seems that past and present have come together in a bizarre and horrifying way.  For DC Fiona Griffiths , the girl – a murder victim whose corpse was laid out with obvious tenderness – represents an irresistibly intriguing puzzle, given Fiona’s unusual empathy for the dead.  And when her investigations lead her to an obscure and secretive monastery hidden in a remote valley, she finds that the murder victim is far from the only victim of a dark and disturbing melding of modern crime and medieval religious practices.  Only Fiona is capable of solving this brilliantly crafted mystery.

Ebook currently only £1.99 from Amazon.  Click here to purchase a copy.