Category Archives: Blog Tours

Blog tours Bloomin’ Brilliant Books has participated in.

Blog Blitz – One Dark Night by Tom Bale *Review*

Today I am taking part in my last ever blog blitz/tour and I am delighted that my final one is for Tom Bale and his latest book One Dark Night. Regular readers of Bloomin’ Brilliant Books will know that I’m a huge fan of Tom Bale’s and so I’m very excited to be sharing my thoughts on his latest book which is out today. 

The Blurb

He sees his wife’s eyes watching him in the rear-view mirror, the kids up on their knees to get a better look. That’s when he hears the scream…

You’re driving home from a family outing one afternoon, when a speeding car cuts you up, nearly causing you to crash. Like anyone would, you pull over to confront the driver.

But a glance into the backseat of the speeding car reveals a woman fighting to escape. She is terrified and she’s screaming for your help: these men have murdered her husband…

What would you do?

An addictive thriller with plenty of twists – fans of Harlan Coben, James Patterson and Robert Dugoni will be completely hooked.

My Thoughts

It’s no secret that I love a Tom Bale book and I always eagerly anticipate his latest novel. I was therefore delighted to be able to read an advance copy of his latest book One Dark Night.

When Adam and Katy Parr’s car is damaged by a speeding motorist on their way home from a family day out with the children, Adam’s temper gets the better of him and he chases after and confronts the motorist. He soon regrets his actions as he had his family end up being kidnapped by a criminal gang.

Bale once again puts his characters through the mill by placing them in an extreme – and not in a pleasant way – situation. What I love about Bale’s books is that they are pure escapism. The whole intention of One Dark Night, in my opinion, is to take the reader on a full-throttle ride and this is one hundred per cent achieved. Bale’s writing and the perfectly paced chapters ensure that the reader is kept hooked from the outset.

I was completely behind the characters of Adam, Katy and their children Freya and Dylan. Because of their ordinariness you can relate to them and it makes the situation they find themselves in all the more scary. Bale also ensures however, that there is a depth to his antagonists as well which makes One Dark Night well-rounded.

Bale firmly places One Dark Night in the present by including current social and political issues within the storyline making it current and relevant. I enjoyed some of his wry observations on society and the media.

One Dark Night is another fast-paced thriller from Bale full of the thrills and spills you would expect from this author. If you are looking for pure adrenalin-filled enjoyment, check One Dark Night out.

One Dark Night is published on 23 October 2018 by Bookouture.

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://geni.us/ODNCover
iBookstore: https://tinyurl.com/y8lt6a89
Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/y82k6jnt
Googleplay: https://tinyurl.com/yautyxz3

About the Author

Tom Bale is the author of nine books, including the bestsellers See How They Run and All Fall Down. His latest book, One Dark Night, is out October 23rd 2018.

Social Media Links
Twitter: https://twitter.com/t0mbale
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tombalewriter/
Website: http://www.tombale.net/

A huge thank you to Tom Bale, Bookouture and NetGalley for the advance copy of One Dark Night and for inviting me to take part in the blog blitz.

Blog Blitz – The Righteous Spy by Merle Nygate *Quiz: Know Your Tradecraft’ Part 1*

I am incredibly excited to be taking part in the first ever blog blitz for Verve Books today.  The Righteous Spy by Merle Nygate is their first publication and today I am hosting a quiz. You can submit answers in the comment boxes on the blog or look out on Twitter @Verve_Books the next day for the answers!  

So, get your thinking caps on and flex your fingers to get answering and let’s see if you ‘Know Your Tradecraft’.

1. What is a deadletter drop?

A A letter impregnated with poison used in targeted assassinations
B A secure spot to leave clandestine messages
C The department at the Royal Mail where suspicious letters are opened

2. What is Five Eyes?

A A derogatory term for someone with poor vision
B Slang for a surveillance team
C Signals intelligence services from allied countries

3. What are Swallows and Ravens?

A Sequel to a Victorian adventure novel by Arthur Ransome
B Jargon used by undercover teams for allies and enemies
C Women and men who seduce and compromise targets for intelligence

4. What is a RAT?

A Code for someone from the feared superfamily Muroidea
B A device that can remotely control a mobile or laptop so the microphone can be switched on
C A member of a special unit that infiltrates enemy installations via subterranean tunnels

5. What are Cut Outs?

A Children’s colouring books used to conceal secret messages
B A go-between used to stop direct contact between two spies
C A faked body double that’s positioned in cars to trick CCTV cameras

Good luck. Remember you can check your answers on Twitter tomorrow @Verve_Books.

About The Righteous Spy

‘Intriguing and atmospheric. Merle Nygate is a writer to watch.’
– Charles Cumming
WINNER OF THE 2017 LITTLE BROWN / UEA CRIME FICTION AWARD
Innocent lives are at risk. But who is the real enemy…?

Eli Amiram is Mossad’s star spy runner and the man responsible for bringing unparalleled intelligence to the Israeli agency. Now, he’s leading an audacious operation in the UK that feeds his ambition but threatens his conscience.
The British and the Americans have intel Mossad desperately need. To force MI6 and the CIA into sharing their priceless information, Eli and his maverick colleague Rafi undertake a risky mission to trick their allies: faking a terrorist plot on British soil.
But in the world of espionage, the game is treacherous, opaque and deadly…

A twisting international spy thriller, A Righteous Spy is a shocking page turner that portrays a clandestine world in which moral transgressions serve higher causes. A must-read for fans of Homeland, Fauda, The Americans and NCIS, it will also appeal to readers of Daniel Silva and John le Carré.

Sounds great, right? Published on 18 October by Verve Books you can get your copy HERE.

About Merle Nygate

Merle Nygate is a screenwriter, script editor, screenwriting lecturer and novelist; she’s worked on BAFTA winning TV, New York Festival audio drama and written original sitcoms; previously she worked for BBC Comedy Commissioning as well as writing and script editing across multiple genres. Most recently, Merle completed her first espionage novel which won the Little Brown/UEA Crime Fiction Award. It was described by the judge as ‘outstanding’.
https://twitter.com/MerleNygate
http://www.merlenygate.com/

Blog Tour – The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul *Review and Giveaway*

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul today. Along with my review of Gill’s latest book I have a giveaway! Read about the book and my thoughts on it and then find out how to enter to win a paperback copy of The Lost Daughter and a The Lost Daughter postcard signed by Gill!

The Blurb

A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret…
From the author of The Secret Wife, a gripping journey through decades and across continents, of love, devastating loss and courage against all odds.
1918
With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia’s imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.
Fifty-five years later . . .
Val rushes to her father’s side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: ‘I didn’t want to kill her.’ As she unravels the secrets behind her mother’s disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world’s greatest mysteries.

My Thoughts

After loving The Secret Wife I was extremely excited to discover that Gill Paul was once again revisiting the Romanov dynasty in her next book, The Lost Daughter. I have been fascinated by Russian history since I did an A level in Modern British and European History many (many!) years ago and so to read a fiction novel that incorporates Russian history is always going to be a book I want to read, especially when it is written by Gill Paul.

The Lost Daughter is told over two timelines. One follows Maria Romanov in Russia from April 1918 onwards and the other follows Val in Sydney, Australia, from October 1973. Both women are going through difficulties but for very different reasons and both stories are incredibly emotional. Paul once again demonstrates her skill as a writer as she manages to seamlessly weave between eras and countries without ever leaving the reader feeling more invested in one storyline over the other. Her writing and characterisation is such that you are equally interested in each.

Val’s story centres on her quest for the truth following the death of her Russian father. On his death bed her father says ‘I didn’t mean to kill her’ and Val is, obviously, keen to discover what he meant given her mother mysteriously left the family when Val was a teenager. A cold man, Val wonders if he actually killed her mother. What she goes on to learn about her father and his history turns out to be beyond anything she could ever have imagined.

Paul has created a depth around Val’s storyline and it never feels like a secondary part to The Lost Daughter. Val escapes from an abusive husband during a time in which domestic abuse was not taken seriously, and the reader can’t help but be drawn in to Val’s struggle and to be moved by the challenges she faces.

My favourite thread has to be the one that follows Maria Romanov, though. Imagine if one of the Grand Duchesses survived the execution that was meted out to the family? What would life have been like for her and how would she survive and go undiscovered? Paul answers these questions in The Lost Daughter and makes it realistic. This realism, however, brings with it heartbreak so be prepared to shed tears.

I really like the way that Paul delicately portrays both sides of the Russian people at that time. While she clearly portrays Maria as innocent – a victim of who she was born to – which she was, she also portrays how the Russian people were suffering under the Romanov’s rule. While the Tsar and his family lived in luxury the Russian people were starving. Maria seems to have been oblivious to this fact and this may well have been the case.

It is clear that The Lost Daughter has been carefully researched as Paul takes us through Russia following the revolution, through Lenin and Stalin’s rule to Brezhnev. She completely captures the fear and paranoia that the Russian people felt during Stalin’s rule to the point that they could not speak openly in front of their own children. The Lost Daughter is utterly heartbreaking at times as Paul brings to life the atrocities faced by the Russian people during this era.

Another wonderful book by Gill Paul, I can’t recommend The Lost Daughter highly enough. It is beautifully written, full of emotion, historically accurate and fascinating. She has managed, once again, to bring to life one of the most interesting albeit brutal periods of history and make it accessible and readable. The Lost Daughter is a must for your bookshelf.

The Lost Daughter is published on 18 October 2018 by Headline Review. You can buy your copy HERE.

About the Author

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, Another Woman’s Husband, is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Gill’s other novels include The Secret Wife, published in 2016, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.
WEBSITE : www.gillpaul.com

TWITTER : @GillPaulAUTHOR

Giveaway

I am delighted to be able to giveaway a paperback copy of The Lost Daughter and a signed The Lost Daughter  postcard to one lucky reader. Unfortunately, the giveaway is only open to UK residents – sorry! Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be announced on Tuesday 23 October 2018. Good luck!

Huge thanks to Gill Paul and Headline Review for the advance copy of The Lost Daughter and to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour.

Blog Tour – Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the debut by Ronnie Turner, Lies Between Us, today.

The Blurb

Will they ever learn the truth?
Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . . .

A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Clare Mackintosh, Shari Lapena and Lisa Jewell.

My Thoughts

I was extremely excited to finally read Ronnie Turner’s debut novel, Lies Between Us, and also a little bit apprehensive as she is a fellow book blogger. I am delighted to finally be sharing my thoughts on this epic blog tour.

Lies Between Us follows three characters over three different timelines. We see Miller, a child in the 1980s, Maisie an ICU nurse in 2016 and John, whose daughter has been kidnapped, in 2015. Throughout we are left wondering how the three threads will eventually come together. Lies Between Us is an ambitious debut novel and hats off to Turner for trying her hand at such a complex plot.

Turner is an incredibly talented writer and Lies Between Us is beautifully written. The chapters in which we follow Miller really demonstrate what Turner is capable of and had me in mind of a kind of reverse We Need to Talk About Kevin. Her portrayal of a child who is clearly a psychopath is incredibly chilling and unnerving. Miller’s sections are written in second person narrative, often a difficult feat to pull off, but Turner does it brilliantly and this adds to the creepiness of Lies Between Us.

The rest of the characterisation in the book is also really well done. John’s parts in particular are incredibly emotional. Turner’s portrayal of a parent whose child has been kidnapped is really moving and she has a real sensitivity when it comes to describing emotions and conveying them to the reader.

I did have a few difficulties with the plot. I guessed quite early on who the perpetrator was and the ending left me feeling confused and almost as though the plot and the layout of the book were at odds with each other. I feel that it could have been set out better and that the headings of some of the chapters may have been better left anonymous as this was what caused me the most confusion.

Lies Between Us is a slow burner and while the pace fit perfectly with the storyline, I felt that Maisie’s thread slowed it down a little too much at times. By the end of the book I did struggle to understand the significance of her storyline.

Turner has clearly demonstrated her skill as a writer and while I did have some issues with the execution of Lies Between Us, I adored Turner’s use of language, her ability to show emotional acuity and her skill at developing solid, believable characters. An ambitious debut, Ronnie Turner has shown herself to be an author to watch out for and I look forward to reading her future novels.

Published on E-book and audiobook on 1 October 2018 and paperback on 13 December 2018, you can get your copy HERE.

About the author

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Twitter:@Ronnie_ _Turner

Facebook: @RonnieTurnerAuthor

Instagram: @ronnieturner8702

Website: www.ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/RonnieTurner

My thanks to Ronnie Turner, HQ Digital and NetGalley for the advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Blog Tour – In Her Shadow by Mark Edwards *Review*

 

I am beyond delighted to be on the blog tour for In Her Shadow by Mark Edwards today. Before I tell you what I thought, here is the all-important blurb.

The Blurb

Isabel’s life seemed perfect. Successful business, beautiful house, adoring husband. And then she was dead.
For four years Jessica has never doubted that her sister Isabel’s death was an accident. But when Jessica’s young daughter seems to know long-forgotten details about her aunt’s past, Jessica can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more sinister truth behind the tragedy.
As Jessica unearths disturbing revelations about her sister, and about the people she loved and trusted most, it becomes clear Isabel’s life was less than perfect and that Jessica’s might also be at risk.
Did someone murder Isabel? Are they now after Jessica and her family? The key seems to lie in the hands of a child. Can Isabel reveal the truth from beyond the grave, or is the answer closer to home?

My Thoughts

Mark Edwards has really turned up the chill factor for In Her Shadow as this book is part ghost story, part crime novel, part thriller. A difficult feat to pull off but Edwards has done it with style.

Four years ago Jessica’s sister Isabel died and the family had believed it was an accidental death. When Jessica’s daughter Olivia starts to talk about things she couldn’t possibly know about her aunt, Jessica begins to doubt that her sister’s death was an accident.

In Her Shadow is a twisty book about family secrets, obsession and manipulation. If you thought The Retreat was spooky, you haven’t read anything yet! In Her Shadow has all the creepiness of his last novel and more. Much more. Edwards has used techniques used in classic horror films and books to give In Her Shadow that spine-chilling edge and it certainly makes the hairs on your arms stand on end.

Edwards confirms his place as the king of red herrings as he once again threw me completely off course in this book. In Her Shadow is an incredibly compulsive thriller and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what had happened to Isabel. Split into two parts, the end of part one had me saying ‘Oh my God’ out loud and desperate to discuss it with another reader. In Her Shadow is another real page-turner.

Edwards cleverly builds up the story by switching between present day and past. These sneaky peaks at what went before ensure that you are kept guessing and second-guessing all the way through the book.

It is clear as the story progresses that Edwards has been influenced by the recent ‘Me Too’ campaign. The incorporation of this theme gives In Her Shadow a contemporary and relevant edge. He deals with this issue in a manner that shows he has researched the issue of sexual harassment and the impact it has on its victims along with the methods used by the perpetrators.

There are a few books out at the moment that combine crime thriller with a supernatural element and In Her Shadow holds its own in originality and storyline. Gripping, goosebump-inducing and just overall great, In Her Shadow is another fantastic book by Mark Edwards and fans and new readers alike will not be disappointed.

In Her Shadow was published on 4 October 2018 by Thomas & Mercer. You can get a copy HERE.

Blog Tour – Cold Breath by Quentin Bates *Review*

Unusually for me, I am on two blog tours today. The second one I am taking part in is for Cold Breath by Quentin Bates and I am delighted to share my thoughts on his latest book. But first, the all-important blurb…

The Blurb

Gunnhildur reluctantly allows herself to be taken off police duties to act as bodyguard to a man with a price on his head . . .
Hidden away in a secure house outside Reykjavík, Gunna and the high-profile stranger, a guest of the interiors minister, are thrown together – too close for comfort. They soon find they are neither as safe nor as carefully hidden as Gunna and her boss had thought. Conflicting glimpses of the man’s past start to emerge as the press begin to sniff him out, as does another group with their own reasons for locating him. Gunna struggles to come to terms with protecting the life of a man who may have the lives of many on his conscience – or indeed may be the philanthropist he claims to be.
Isolated together, the friction grows between Gunna and the foreign visitor, and she realises they are out of their depth as the trails lead from the house outside Reykjavík to Brussels, Russia and the Middle East.

My Thoughts

I was delighted to be approached to take part in the blog tour for Cold Breath by Quentin Bates. I was familiar with Bates due to his work translating for Orenda Books and I had been meaning to check out his own books. This gave me the perfect excuse.

Cold Breath is the seventh in the Gunnhildur Mystery Books but this was my first and it works really well as a standalone. I had no problems following the story, getting to know the characters and I didn’t feel as though as I was missing anything in backstory.

Police officer Gunnhildur is taken off normal police duty and appointed to protect a politician’s guest during his stay in Iceland. It soon becomes clear that the guest may not be all that he seems and conceals a shadowy side.

The pace from the outset is relentless and Cold Breath hurtles along, keeping the reader completely on their toes. Bates has ensured that every chapter is packed with either action or intrigue. Each chapter flips from one character storyline to another and while I would normally struggle to keep up, there is something about Bates’ execution of the book that makes it easy to follow. You are never too far away from any of the characters due to punchy paragraphs which make it easy and enjoyable to follow.

The characterisation is great and despite being unfamiliar with Gunnhildur, it didn’t take me long to get the feel of her and like her. Gunnhildur really goes through the mill in Cold Breath and I am eager to read the next book to ascertain how she moves on from it. I adored her and reporter Skúli.

Cold Breath is tightly plotted and combines crime, murder and political intrigue. I liked the way it explored how your job can have you questioning your morals and values, as Gunnhildur wonders if the man she is being paid to protect is worth protecting given as the truth about him and his actions are brought to life.

A great action-packed novel set against the fantastic backdrop of Iceland, I thoroughly enjoyed Cold Breath. Bates’ writing is superb and I am so glad I got to check out his work. A great addition to the book shelf of any crime fiction lover.

Published on 11 October 2018 by Constable, you can get your copy HERE.

My thanks to Quentin Bates and Constable for the advance copy and to Emily at Brand Hive for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Blog Tour – Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek and Dave Philpott *Review*

 

I am delighted to be joining the blog tour for Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek and Dave Philpott today. This book is completely different to anything else I have read. Here is what it is about followed by my thoughts.

The Blurb

For more than a decade, Derek Philpott and his son, Dave, have been writing to pop stars from the 1960s to the 90s to take issue with the lyrics of some of their best-known songs.
But then, to their great surprise, the pop stars started writing back…
Dear Mr Pop Star contains 100 of Derek and Dave’s greatest hits, including correspondence with Katrina and the Waves, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro, Devo, Deep Purple, Nik Kershaw, T Pau, Human League, Eurythmics, Wang Chung, EMF, Mott the Hoople, Heaven 17, Jesus Jones, Johnny Hates Jazz, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Chesney Hawkes and many, many more.

My Thoughts

Every now and again we need a total change from the types of books we normally read. Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek and Dave Philpott certainly offered that change. A series of letters by Derek Philpott to various bands and pop stars querying certain aspects of their lyrics is an interesting concept and even more so when those he writes to writes back.

This book is like nothing I have read before and I suspect it is highly unlikely that I will again. Dear Mr Pop Star is set out as the letters Philpott has written to the various stars. The majority are followed by responses from the stars and others are like postcards that have not been responded to. The letters are hilarious and Derek Philpott’s observations are dry, witty and have you shaking your head in agreement while laughing out loud. Being a proofreader, I really appreciated his observations on the grammar of some band names and lyrics. The letter he wrote to Doctor and the Medics is brilliant. I’m not going to go into detail, you will have to read it yourself, and it is worth getting the book for that one alone. Other gems include his observations on Nik Kershaw’s ‘The Riddle’, Bananarama’s ‘Really Saying Something’ and Cutting Crew’s ‘I Just Died in your Arms Tonight’. They are undoubtedly funny but they also demonstrate a real intelligence and quick wit.

What really surprised me was the amount of responses he had received back. They are not brief responses either. The various stars have really taken their time over their responses and I was delighted to see how they took Philpott’s observations in good humour.

Being of a certain age *cough, cough* I really appreciated the letters to the above and other stars of the 80s and 90s such as T’Pau, EMF, Carter USM and others. I have to confess that there were a few bands that I didn’t know and I tended to skip over these letters as I didn’t really get what was being referred to. This did not, however, impact on my enjoyment of Dear Mr Pop Star.

Incredibly quirky, Dear Mr Pop Star is a work of real ingenuity and the letters are very well written. This is a book I will dip into time and time again when I need a good laugh. A completely unique concept that I hope the Philpott’s will continue and bring out more volumes of. Highly recommended.

Published on 20 September 2018 by Unbound, you can get a copy HERE.

A huge thank you to Derek and Dave Philpott for my advance copy of Dear Mr Pop Star and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

 

 

Blog Tour – After He Died by Michael J. Malone *Review*

It’s always exciting to read the latest book by Michael J. Malone and I am delighted to be part of the blog tour today for his latest novel After He Died.

My thanks go to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater at Random Things blog tours for the advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the tour.

The Blurb

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…
When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought she knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger. Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

My Thoughts

You know your partner inside out, right? And, of course, you trust them implicitly don’t you? Imagine your partner suddenly died and while trying to get through the funeral you are slipped a note by a person you don’t know who suggests that your partner wasn’t who you thought they were. This is what happens to Paula Gadd in Michael J. Malone’s latest book After He Died.

As Malone sets up the premise of the book, starting at the above-mentioned funeral of Thomas Gadd, you may be forgiven for thinking this is going to be your fairly average ‘how well do you know your partner’ domestic noir, but this is Michael J. Malone and of course there is going to be nothing standard about it. The emotion hits you straight in the face as Malone perfectly describes the grief Paula is feeling in the opening lines. Immediately you empathise with this woman you do not yet know. And from there you can’t help but want to read further.

One of the things that always sets Malone’s work apart is his skilled use of words. He is able to make his characters multi-faceted and rounded and Paula Gadd is no exception. She is not a particularly likeable character but you cannot help but feel for her. Malone’s ability to describe the full range of emotions Paula goes through from her grief to each horrifying discovery about her deceased husband and his family members is outstanding as he writes with sensitivity and feeling.

Again, Malone has managed to combine gripping thriller with character driven humanity. After He Died is as much a comment on social class and the issues that arise in each as it is a piece of domestic noir. In Cara Connolly he has created the antithesis to Paula and I warmed to her completely.

As each revelation and family secret is revealed, you can’t help but be completely hooked on After He Died and Malone has you having to read just one more page.

Another great read from Michael J. Malone, After He Died is completely different from his two previous books published by Orenda, and his talent lies in being able to produce something totally fresh and totally brilliant every time. If you want a domestic noir that is well-written, keeps you hooked and also makes you think and feel deeply check out After He Died.

About the Author

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up
in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary
magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland
and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize
from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes:
Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The
Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a
number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines soon
followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also
worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

After He Died was published on ebook on 30 July 2018 and is published in paperback on 30 September 2018 by Orenda Books. You can get your copy HERE.

 

Blog Tour – Dead Of Night by Michael Stanley *Author Influences*

 

 

I am very excited to be taking part in the Dead Of Night by Michael Stanley blog tour today. I have read the book and it’s bloody brilliant, but unfortunately I haven’t had time to write my review yet. However, instead of my review I have a very special Author Influences with Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip instead.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?

Michael: I read all the usual books, but a few others stick in my mind. The Hobbit, of course, made me fall in love with Tolkien, and I immediately ploughed into The Lord of the Rings although I was much too young to really appreciate it. I also remember being fascinated by The Tree That Sat Down by Beverley Nichols and read it several times. Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass were big favourites too.

Stanley: Over the years growing up, I read a huge variety of books: Enid Blyton, The Hardy Boys, Teddy Lester’s Schooldays, Alice in Wonderland, Biggles, Nevil Shute, historical fiction, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Bernard Shaw, Alan Paton.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?

Stanley: Yes and yes! In high school, I had wonderful teachers who instilled great enthusiasm in me for language. I was even excited by grammar! In addition, every other year, the school produced a Shakespeare play (I played Salerio in Merchant of Venice), which gave me a love for the power of drama.

Michael: I wasn’t particularly good at it, but I did like it. I recall writing ridiculously long and, no doubt, boring essays with no regard for the poor teacher who had to mark them!

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?

Michael: I do read a lot of crime fiction and that was certainly a factor in the attraction of the genre. When I was younger, I liked science fiction – the more science or character driven kinds such as Clement’s Mission of Gravity and Farmer’s The Lovers. I tried my hand at writing it when I was a student. Fortunately, none of my stories was ever published!

I also read widely in non-fiction – history and biography mainly. 

Stanley: I read mysteries and thrillers, as well as history. Both genres have influenced my writing. The two books that had the greatest impact were Nevil Shute’s On the Beach and Alice in Wonderland – the first for the power of words to pull a reader into another world; the second for the appeal of imagination.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?

Stanley: I’d probably write about people on whom events have had a powerful impact. This interest probably emanates from my passion for the poetry of World War I – the bitterness of the soldiers and the agony of their families.

Michael: I think I might try science fiction again because the alien settings allow one to explore people under new and unusual stresses. It wouldn’t be the space adventure kind, though.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?

Michael: I would say PD James and John Le Carré. I think they are both superb writers. They make one think: ‘Could I do that? Could I at least try?’

Stanley: As mentioned above, Nevil Shute and Lewis Carroll influenced me greatly, but no one inspired me to be a writer. They influenced me more on how I wrote.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?

Stanley: All the authors on the Murder Is Everywhere blog, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Tim Hallinan, Kent Kruger, and Seon Meyer.

Michael: There are a few authors whose books I must read as soon as I can. John Le Carré and South African crime author Deon Meyer are in that category.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?

Michael: Two examples –

Le Carré’s The Mission Song. Although not generally regarded as one of his best novels, I felt that the characterisation of the African translator Salvo was brilliant. The African corruption theme has been done to death, but here it’s balanced by the much more cynical British corruption. It’s very hard to make all that work!

Deon Meyer’s Fever. The slightly future setting and the post apocalypse South Africa are brilliantly combined in a coming of age story. Again, characterisation is everything. I think that’s what good writing is all about.

Stanley: So many! Charles Dickens, John le Carré, P D James, Nevil Shute, Lewis Carroll.

 

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)

Stanley: All our characters incorporate aspects of many people. So I’m not concerned about a law suit. However one friend, whose name we used in A Carrion Death for a character whom we killed off, has threatened to sue when we become a mega-success. I’m not losing much sleep!

Michael: Our book Deadly Harvest is loosely based on the real case in Mochudi of a young girl, Segametsi Mogomotsi, who was abducted by witch doctors and killed for body parts. When we were working on our first book, the then director of the Botswana CID told us that was what we should be writing about. We felt he was right, even though it was several years later before we actually did so.

Our rotund Detective Kubu isn’t based on anyone we know, but many of his characteristics are!

A huge thank you to you both for taking part.

Michael Stanley’s latest standalone novel Dead of Night is out now. It is an absolute corker and here is what it’s about:

When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, while searching for her missing colleague. But, within a week, she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that may hold the key to everything.
Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late. She has a shocking story to tell, if she survives long enough
to tell it…
Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller that exposes one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…

You can buy your copy HERE.

About the Authors

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both
were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. On a
flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a
wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their
first mystery,  A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the
Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards,
including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and
their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for
an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’
award. Dead of Night is their first stand-alone thriller.

 

 

Blog Tour – Do No Harm by L. V. Hay *Review*

I am delighted to be one of today’s stops on the Do No Harm by L. V. Hay’s blog tour. Check out the blurb and then my review.

The Blurb

Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

My Thoughts

L. V. Hay is back with her latest psychological thriller, Do No Harm. This is one of the books I have been highly anticipating this year following her scorching debut, The Other Twin.

Do No Harm follows Lily as she and her son embark on a new life with partner Sebastian. Sebastian is the absolute antithesis of her ex-husband, the possessive Maxwell, and life should be plain sailing and happy. However, Maxwell has decided that Lily and their son should still be with him.

Sounds like your average domestic noir, right? Wrong! Hay takes the domestic noir, shakes it up and turns it completely on its head. Do No Harm is more twisty than a slinky toy and as unpredictable in which direction it is going to take.

Do No Harm is skilfully written as Hay has cleverly weaved a plot that keeps the reader totally on the back foot when it comes to trying to work out what is going to happen. My theories were completely blown out of the water every time. The twists and turns are cleverly executed and utterly chilling. Hay has a way of building the tension to the point that when you finally reach the crescendo you feel as wrung out as the poor characters involved.

Using first and third person narrative to convey Lily and Sebastian, we are given unique access to the thoughts and views of those closely involved. The characterisation is totally on point and I couldn’t help but become totally immersed in the lives of Lily and Sebastian. It’s clichéd to say, but Do No Harm is unputdownable.

Hay will make you look at love in a whole new way. In Do No Harm, the concept of love is portrayed via those whose interpretation of what love is is totally skewed, and the result is a clever, chilling and utterly unnerving thriller. In Do No Harm, Hay takes the shock factor you expect in a psychological thriller and increases it by a hundred. One of the must-read thrillers of 2018.

Published on 15th June by Orenda Books, you can buy your copy HERE.

About the Author

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan and Lucy V. Hay for my copy of Do No Harm and to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.