Thursday, 23 May 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ Stolen by Paul Finch

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Stolen by Paul Finch nwhere I've an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

She continued to observe the men as they greeted each other with high fives and bear-hugs, before swaggering over to Mahoney and thrusting at him the wads of banknotes that made up their admission fees.
Another cop came into the hide behind her. It was PC Malcolm Peabody, once Lucy’s probationer when she too had been in uniform. He was still only young, but a tall, rangy lad, with short red hair, a freckled face and jug-handle ears. Currently, he wore heavy-duty body-armour, plus a ballistics helmet with its visor raised and strap tight under his chin. 
‘Sergeant Frobisher says everyone’s in position,’ he said quietly.
‘Everyone except you, Malcolm,’ Lucy replied, thinking that if it suddenly kicked off, she didn’t want handy lads like Peabody anywhere other than the front line. ‘There’s not enough space for all of us in here. Go back to your LUP and stay sharp.’
Peabody nodded and stooped back out through the low, narrow entrance.
None of them knew what the hide had originally been constructed for. It might indeed have been a wildlife observation point in the past. But it made a perfect OP for today: a flimsy, flat-roofed wooden hut, partly dug into the ground so it had an earthen floor, its exterior covered with vegetation, which, at the tail-end of summer, partly obscured the horizontal viewing port at the front – partly, but not completely. 
Its interior was so restricted that it could only contain two with any comfort. But it gave an excellent view of the farm cottage, some fifty yards beyond the trees, and the open grassland to the east of it, where at this hour nothing stirred save a couple of tethered ponies munching the cud.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ Tick Tock by Mel Sherratt

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Tick Tock by Mel Sherratt where I've an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

‘It’s not looking likely,’ Dave said. ‘Maybe your killer was disturbed when the other girls came back to look for her. Poor kids will be traumatised, no doubt.’
‘If they had nothing to do with it.’ Grace nodded, knowing they’d be talking to their witnesses very soon.
‘We need to check out any known offenders in the area, regardless,’ Nick continued.
Grace moved closer to the victim. ‘Are we looking at an opportunist?’ she asked. ‘We’re in the middle of a field. Our killer might have seen the pupils out on a run, else how would someone have known she’d fall behind? And there would only have been a matter of minutes to pounce.’
‘It’s a tricky one.’ Nick paused. ‘We’ll inform the parents after talking to the headmaster. And we’ll have to be quick as I bet it’s already broken out on social media.’
‘But she was ID’d by her teacher,’ Perry said, ‘as well as the girls who found her.’
Grace finally stepped out of the tent and breathed in heavily. It always got to her when she first saw a victim’s body – the heaviness, the sadness, the sheer callousness of these acts. She wondered how Dave coped with it all the time.

Alongside Nick and Perry, she removed her forensic clothing and placed everything carefully into evidence bags. Then they began the walk back to the school. All around her was that feeling of bleakness, a sense of desolation. Glancing back, she reflected again on the pointless loss of life.

Monday, 13 May 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ Sleep by C.L.Taylor

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Sleep by C.L. Taylor where I've a review of her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie. Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

When we meet Anna, she's on her way with three members of her team that she works with to a team-building retreat for weekend when tragedy strikes. Anna walks away but was it her fault?? She lives with her boyfriend Alex but you can tell that things aren't really right between them and all Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But with crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night they are making everything impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…
To try and escape her past, Anna decides to apply for and take a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.
Each of these guests have a secret, but one of them is lying about who they are and why they're on the island. There's a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they've set their sights on Anna.

Well, where do I start with this........I absolutely LOVED it. I thought C.L. Taylor's books were all brilliant especially her last two books, The Escape and The Fear but Sleep was even better, I devoured it in a couple of days, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I LOVE the way Cally's writing is so different to other books I've read before, it's not a 'whydunit' story as we do get to know that from near the start but it's more of a 'whodunit' with layers upon layers of deception and lies that unfold before our eyes the deeper you get into it. Sleep is told from multiple characters throughout the book, each with their own story. I have to say that I absolutely loved the characters and especially the murderer, they were everything you'd expect with a sociopath - cold, calculating, manipulating and has no regard for anyone's feelings or who they hurt on their path of destruction and what an opening chapter to open a book, it was brilliant, but I don't want to really say too much more without spoiling it other than just go out and buy Sleep. It is just brilliant and I'd HIGHLY recommend it so make sure you grab a copy to bring along with you on holidays as it'll be the perfect beach read.

Sleep is available from all good bookshops, libraries, audio and on Kindle where it is currently £3.99 at the time of publication of this review.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ Perfect Crime by Helen Fields

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Perfect Crime by Helen Fields where I've an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

‘Your best guess as to cause?’ Ava asked.
Ailsa folded her arms and tipped her head to one side. ‘I’m hesitant,’ she said. ‘This is a bit of a reach.’
‘But it’s the reason we’re here, right?’ Ava raised her eyebrows.
‘Indeed. This definition and shape is unusual. Without the fracture, I’d have been less positive, but a substantial amount of force was applied, so weight was put onto the finger. It looks to me like the tip of a boot’s tread mark. That would explain the fracture, too. As I say, that’s not backed up by anything else. There are no other injuries that can’t be explained by the fall. No other defensive wounds. In these circumstances, without witnesses or a clearer picture of what happened, I wouldn’t be able to base a legal case on it.’
‘Well, let’s hope there’s an innocent explanation. We haven’t had a murder in Edinburgh since that gang retribution killing in Braidburn Valley Park at Christmas. I was hoping we’d manage to go more than a couple of months without another murder investigation.’
‘I’m just telling you what I see,’ Ailsa muttered. ‘Maintaining law and order’s your area of expertise.’
‘Not really. My squad just gets to clean up after societal norms have been decimated. Anyway, standing here won’t provide answers,’ Ava said. ‘Perhaps when we’ve identified him, we’ll get a clearer picture. Send me your report. I’ll open an enquiry but keep an open mind for other possibilities. Does that sound reasonable?’
‘It does indeed,’ Ailsa smiled. ‘This man’s only in his early thirties. I think we owe him this much at least. It’s no age to die, under any circumstances.’

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Breakers by Doug Johnstone where I have an extract from his latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Anne Cater from Random Things Tours who organised this tour in conjunction with Orenda Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this extract so without further ado, here it is:

The trick was confidence. You can get away with anything if you act like you know what you’re doing. That’s how the elite did it, the poli- ticians, army officers, Oxbridge guys running banks and companies, just act as if you’re entitled to the world and people go along with it. Tyler had heard about a scam two guys from school ran on a slice of waste ground between tenements off King Stables Road. They stole hi-vis jackets and charged a fiver a go for parking. Ran it every day for weeks over the summer, right in the centre of Edinburgh, and made thousands. Never got caught.
Barry and Kelly were buzzing up ahead. Tyler rolled his neck and tried to stay loose behind them. Barry went straight up to the front door and rang the doorbell. They were already pretty sure no one was home, but just in case. One time they’d done this, got no answer, then gone round the back. Saw a middle-aged couple hard at it, fucking each other’s brains out on the kitchen floor.
Barry didn’t look through any of the front windows, too suspicious. Instead he led the way round the side of the house, down the dark pas- sageway, past recycling boxes and into the back garden. Tried the back door, locked. The windows likewise. A quick look under plant pots and bins for a spare key. Nothing.
They turned their attention to the garden, walked towards the shed at the bottom. Barry twitched as he went, Kelly wiping her nose on her sleeve. Tyler looked around. Neat lawn, cherry-blossom and crab-apple trees along the left-hand wall, sheltering them from the neighbours’ upstairs windows. Perfect. On the other side were some rose beds in front of a six-foot stone wall with shards of broken glass cemented along the top. What use was that if you could just walk round from the front? People didn’t think about security.
 The shed had a small padlock on it but the wood was old. Barry lifted his boot and kicked it, and the metal plate peeled away from the plank beneath. One more kick and it was splintered, the door sagging open to meet them.
Barry put on leather gloves and went into the shed, then signalled for Tyler to close the door behind him. Tyler put on his own gloves and saw the light from Barry’s torch slip through the cracks between the wooden panels. A minute later Barry came out carrying a pair of secateurs with long telescopic handles. Everyone had these for pruning trees, perfect for jimmying a back door.
Barry pushed past Kelly to the back of the house. Wedged the seca- teurs’ blade between door and jamb at the level of the lock. He heaved it forwards and back, bending and tearing the uPVC around the lock, making a gap. He kept going a few times, the door creaking with each exertion.
Tyler heard something and looked around. He put a hand on Barry’s arm. Barry flinched and almost punched him. Tyler tugged at his earlobe and all three of them listened. The sound of a car far away, wind rustling in the cherry blossoms. Then a hiss.
Tyler turned to face the sound. A black cat high on the wall between this garden and next door, staring down at them. It had four white paws like it had stepped in paint, and they glowed in the gloom. Weren’t black cats meant to be lucky? Tyler put his hand out and made a beckoning sound between his tongue and teeth, but Kelly took a step towards it and lunged, making it leap down into the other garden. 
Barry removed the secateurs and handed them to Tyler, then threw his shoulder against the door. It shook but stayed solid. Again, same result. Barry tutted under his breath and tried again. The door bent in the middle but only a little. A decent deadbolt, most likely with five bolts into the frame up and down the door. Probably hooked too. It wouldn’t give. Modern doors like this were becoming more common, but around here you still sometimes got the old plastic ones with a single bolt, or even original wooden doors that you could almost blow open.
 Barry turned to the kitchen window. It was one large pane with two smaller hinged fanlights along the top. He took the secateurs from Tyler and thrust them into the point below the window lock. Pushed the handles and it popped first time. No one ever reinforced fanlights, they were always a weak point. Half the time they weren’t even locked.
Barry dropped the secateurs as Kelly lifted a black wheelie bin over, careful not to drag it and make a sound. Barry helped Tyler onto the bin then held it steady with both hands. Tyler pushed the small window open as far as it would go then gripped the open ledge and pulled himself through the gap headfirst. He was midway, his weight balanced half inside the kitchen, half outside. Kelly reached out and gave the soles of his trainers a shove and he slid forward, hands out. He was skinny but his hips stuck in the window frame. Kelly gave another shove. He was over the kitchen sink, his hands near the draining board, and he wriggled his jeans against the lip of the open window, squeez- ing one hip sideways then the other. He slipped the last few inches, braced his hands against the draining board, swivelled his legs sideways through the gap and flopped onto his hands and knees next to the sink.
He paused for a second assessing his body, listening for noise inside the house. He’d done this dozens of times but his heart still throbbed in his ribcage, the pulse like a message in his ears. He scooted onto his bum then jumped down into the kitchen. He was lithe and flexible but he still wished he had a cat’s body, the ability to slip gracefully through the world. He looked around. Marble worktops, brushed chrome hob and oven, long oak breakfast bar. They’d spent their money on that rather than security.
He went to the back door. Sometimes they left the key in the door, but not this time. He had a quick look round, found a spare set on a shelf next to some hardback cookbooks, faces he recognised from television.
He put the key in the lock. It was stiff because of the damage Barry had done from outside but it turned with a jiggle.
He opened the door.
‘Good work,’ Barry said, coming inside, Kelly trailing after.
He raised his eyebrows at Tyler and tilted his head, meaning upstairs.
'The usual,’ he said.
Tyler ran upstairs. It was good to be away from the other two. He did a quick tour of the rooms, three bedrooms, a bathroom and an office. No one home. Always best to check, you never knew if someone had gone to bed early, taken something, slept through the doorbell.
The d├ęcor was old-fashioned, a retired couple maybe, kids grown up and left home. That was common, not many younger people could afford places like this.
Tyler stood in the hall for a moment, collecting himself. Soaking up the atmosphere, imagining the people, the lives they lived here. What was it like to be them? Worked in a bank or office all their lives, kids at university now, time to enjoy the garden.
In the master bedroom he went into the linen closet, pulled out a couple of pillowcases. There was a dresser with a mirror, a few jewellery boxes and trinkets. He swept it all into a pillowcase. Tried the drawers, more jewellery, mostly costume but some nice silver and gold. You could accumulate a lot of stuff over a lifetime.
He had a quick look through a chest of drawers, in case valuable stuff was hidden underneath pants or socks, but nothing. He checked bedside tables. Scottish crime novels on her side, books about military history on his. A half-empty packet of Viagra in his drawer.
He did the office next. Shelves lined with hardback books, classics mostly. A laptop and an iPad on the solid desk. He scooped them into the pillowcase. Checked through the desk drawers and lifted out power supplies and charging cables, bundled them up. He looked around. A bottle of expensive whisky, two crystal glasses, a water jug. An old record player and some shelves of vinyl, classical and jazz. Nothing portable.
In the bathroom he lifted two bottles from the cupboard, temaze- pam and morphine. Barry would want them. He looked at the toiletries and thought if they needed anything at home. Threw the Colgate and Radox in the pillowcase.
The other two bedrooms were mostly empty. Tyler had been right, grown-up kids had moved away. In the back bedroom he found an old Nintendo DS and games, pocketed them. Spotted the charger and took that too. Sometimes you got PlayStations or Xboxes, but not here. In the other bedroom he found an old Polaroid camera with two packets of unused film. He couldn’t sell it but he took it anyway. Maybe Bean would like it.
He was done and downstairs in a few minutes.
When he walked into the living room Barry had his cock out and was pissing on a sofa, Kelly watching and smiling.
‘Fuck’s sake,’ Tyler said.

This wasn’t the first time, Barry had been pushing things recently. ‘Anything good?’ Barry said, zipping up.
The smell of piss snagged at Tyler’s nostrils. He stared at Barry for

a moment before answering. ‘Laptop and iPad, some necklaces and rings.’
Barry had a DVD player, another laptop and some other stuff in a tote bag. Kelly waved some money she’d found in a drawer and a pair of expensive headphones.
Tyler looked around. More bookshelves, they were big readers. A couple of original paintings on the wall, abstract things, pastel shapes that didn’t make sense. Dark leather sofas, pictures of the kids on the mantelpiece, a phrenology head on display. Classy people living quiet lives. He wondered how they would take this.
‘Come on,’ Barry said.

They went back through to the kitchen.
Barry stopped at a bowl in the middle of the breakfast bar and rum-

maged through it. Loose change, golf balls, a calculator, stained corks from wine bottles.
‘Fuck, no car key.’
Barry looked around the kitchen and Tyler followed his gaze. A set of flashy knives in a block, copper pans hanging up, a huge fridge- freezer. He thought about what they had to eat at home.
Barry took one of the knives from the block and dropped it in the middle of the floor with a clatter that was shocking. A warning to the owners. He went out the back door. Kelly smiled at Tyler and followed. Tyler took a last look round and left the house. 

Saturday, 27 April 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ The Passengers by John Marrs

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Passengers by John Marr where I have a review of John's latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers who organised this tour in conjunction with Penguin Random House and Ebury Publishing to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this review so without further ado, here it is:

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

Driverless cars are safe, aren't they?? Driverless cars are unhackable, aren't they?? WRONG!! When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife - and parents of two - who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

Well, where do I start with this apart from saying I absolutely LOVED it. I don't want to say too much about the plot or expand on it above as I'll be afraid that I'll give something away. But I will say having loved the One by John Marrs, I was delighted to be able to read this latest one. I read it at break neck speed, I couldn't put it down. It was full of twists and turns which will keep your attention and you guessing right until the end. There is the storyline from The One in this book too but this book is a standalone and can be read that way too. I'm sure this book will stick in all our minds because of the storyline as I'm sure we've all read and heard about some incidents about driverless cars and after reading this book I definitely won't be getting a driverless car anytime soon but i would LOVE to see this been made into a film or tv series.

The Passengers is available from all good bookshops from May 16th, libraries, on audio and available on kindle where it is currently £0.99 at the time of publication of this review.

The best thriller I've read so far this year. Go and get a copy, you won't be disappointed. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

Friday, 26 April 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ Dark Sky Island by Lara Dearman

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Dark Sky Island by Lara Dearman where I've a review of her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers who organised this tour in conjunction with Trapeze and Orion Publishing Group to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

Sark is a tiny island that lies isolated in the dark waters of the Channel Islands. No cars are allowed. No streetlamps light its paths. It is the world’s only Dark Sky Island. This breathtaking patch of land seems the picture of tranquility―but at its heart lies a web of murder, deceit, and hidden danger. 

When bones are discovered on Derrible Bay and an elderly resident is violently murdered, DCI Michael Gilbert from the nearby island of Guernsey is called in to tackle the case. With his department under fire, he needs to find the killer―and fast. Joining him is newspaper reporter Jennifer Dorey, whose father died in a mysterious drowning off the island. As Michael struggles to crack the case and Jennifer launches her own investigation, the island’s residents are left reeling and soon, their dark secrets begin to unravel threatening everything. 

On an island steeped in superstition, where tales of hauntings and devil craft abound, Michael and Jenny race to discover the truth in Dark Sky Island, the second tantalizing installment of Lara Dearman’s Jennifer Dorey mysteries.

I really enjoyed this book, full of mystery and suspense with a real dark atmospheric setting where I could feel the winds howling at times in my mind. This story also raised my heartbeat on more than one occasion. Set in Sark which is off the coast of Guernsey and with only a population of 450, which is somewhere I wouldn't mind living with such a small population. We also follow Jennifer's search for the truth into her father's accidental death with circumstances that she doesn't believe are true, are these deaths connected and will she find out the truth?? 

Dark Sky Island is Lara Dearman’s follow-up to the first Jennifer Dorey mystery, The Devils Claw. I didn't realise that this was the second book in the series but can be read without reading the first one, although there were a few references to the first book so I will definitely go back and read the first in the series and I'm hoping that this isn't the last we hear from Jennifer and Michael.

Dark Sky Island is definitely going to find fans in readers of Susie Steiner and Sharon Bolton. If you've watched certain TV series like The Bay, Unforgotten and Broadchurch you will certainly love this series too.

Dark Sky Island is available in all good book shops, libraries, audio and on Kindle where it is currently £3.99 at the time off publication of this review and The Devil's Claw is £1.99 if you wanted to make a start on the series.