Tuesday, 11 July 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Importance Of Being Me by Caroline Grace-Cassidy


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the final day of the Blog Tour for The Importance Of Being Me by Caroline Grace-Cassidy where I welcome Caroline to my blog where I've got a review. I was thrilled to be asked by Lina Langlee from Black & White Publishing to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

With huge thanks to Black & White Publishing, I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review......

When was the last time you put yourself first?

Meet Courtney Downey who is a thirty-eight-year-old divorcee and she has no idea who she is anymore.  She has a fifteen year old named Susan who is mad into the celebrity-obsessed, Snapchat-filtered teenage world but Courtney can't understand this kind of world and sadly they’re growing apart. But when Susan announces that she wants to live with her Dad, David and his new and much younger girlfriend, Courtney is beyond devastated. But could the end of one life be the beginning of another?

When Courtney is offered a job in beautiful, sun-kissed St. Ives in Cornwall, she and her bubbly best friend Claire whom has her own issues follow their hearts and leave their problems behind for a summer of sand, sea and second chances. And when she meets sexy but infuriating builder Tony, Courtney rediscovers her passions for life, for cooking and for love.

Just as Courtney is finally looking to the future, a crisis with Susan pulls her back to Dublin, and back into old habits. Will she ever be able to let go of the past and embrace the importance of being herself?

Well,I didn't like this, I absolutely LOVED it.  It is all about taking chances, following your heart and has made me think about putting myself first for a change.  It is a very bittersweet and heart-warming read, the story flows really well throughout the book. I loved the interactions of Susan and her Mum Courtney, it reminded me so much of me at that age growing up thinking I knew everything at fifteen. Ashamedly I admit that this is the first book I've read by Caroline and I really enjoyed Caroline's latest book which I read in less than 2 days, it kept me turning the pages until the very end. This story had it all a little bit of humor, love, family, friendship, protectiveness to more sensitive issues - I found I had a little tear in my eye at the end along with shedding a few along the way, so grab this book, curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and a box of chocolates and prepare to have a few lump in your throat moments too. It definitely didn't disappoint. I will definitely be reading more of Caroline's books and you should too.

The Importance Of Being Me is available from all good bookstores and on Kindle and is currently £2.84 at the time of publication if this review.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Boneyard by Mark Sennen


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Boneyard by Mark Sennen where I welcome Mark to my blog where he's kindly provided an extract from his 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 extract so without further ado, here it is:

‘Now, you’re going to run.’ Once again he waved the gun, this time in the direction of the treeline some thirty paces from the track. ‘I’ll give you a hundred seconds head start and then I’m coming to find you. And when I do, you’ll lie still and we’ll have some fun, right?’
‘You don’t have to do this. You don’t—’
‘Oh, but I do.’ The man smiled. ‘And I’m going to start counting now. If I was you, I wouldn’t waste a second. Not. A. Second. Of course, it’s your choice. One, two, three . . .’
Which was when she’d scrambled down the scree at the side of the track, cutting her feet on the sharp stones, before disappearing into the shadows beneath the tall trees. She’d half expected to hear a shot, feel a bullet implant itself between her shoulder blades. But she’d reached the treeline unharmed, stumbling into the quiet of the forest, the only sounds that of her breathing and her feet rustling in the dead wood and leaves as she scampered away from him as fast as she could. 
Now she’s worn out, the huge tree not just something to hide behind, but something to cling to, to slump against as she tries to recover her breath. She doesn’t know how far she’s run, only that it’s all been downhill. Twice she’d fallen and sprawled in the soft loam, tumbling over and over. The hundred seconds are long gone and now he must be coming after her. She wonders about heading off to the right or left and following the contours. Perhaps that might confuse him. At least the change of direction would give her a fifty-fifty chance.
She pushes herself away from the tree and bears off to the right. She trots along a narrow animal trail which weaves among the sequoias. At each trunk she pauses for a moment to listen. There’s nothing. She moves on. She pauses again. Nothing.
Up ahead a gash of grey stone slices through the hillside. She walks forward to where a ravine blocks the trail. The sides are steep and the bare rock sharp. There’s no way across. She has to turn left and forge her way downhill once more.
She catches her foot on a bare root and trips again, rolling in the dirt before pushing herself up and following the edge of the ravine towards the valley bottom. Down, down, down through the lines of trees until all of a sudden the rocks spill out onto a flat plateau. The trees are fewer here, but taller. And they’re still watching. Watching over . . .
She shivers at the sight. Dozens of rusting automobiles lie scattered amongst the trees. Several trucks. A school bus with yellow paint peeling away from decaying panelling. An old sedan has a wide grille and empty holes where the headlamps have fallen out. Like the trees, the car is watching. Next to the sedan, a young sapling sprouts from the bed of a pickup. Where there are no vehicles, scrub creeps across the ground. Snaking through the scrub are pathways where the vegetation has been cut back. Someone comes here. Someone tends this place. 
She steps forward, a glimmer of hope rising within. She reaches for the cross again. Perhaps her prayers have been answered. Perhaps this isn’t the wilderness after all, but a park somewhere on the edge of a town. As if in answer to her thoughts, a figure steps from behind one of the metal husks. In the shade of the trees she can’t make out his features, but he’s not as tall as the man who kidnapped her. He’s older, too. Her heart begins to pound, sensing a relief from her troubles.
‘Help me!’ she shouts out to her saviour. She begins to trot over towards the man, winding her way along one of the paths. The man nods, a smile forming on his lips. She realises she must be quite a sight. Her dress torn up the side and front, her body half smeared with mud and leaves. She crosses her arms, trying to cover herself. ‘I’ve been attacked. Help me!’
‘Sure, lass,’ the man says, his accent strange and unfamiliar. His smile grows and she feels his eyes feasting on her exposed flesh. ‘No problem.’
She slows as she reaches him. Hesitates now she’s just a few steps away. She turns to look over her shoulder, but there’s no sight of her pursuer. And when she turns back, the older man fades from view, stepping deep into the shade of a tree.
‘Hello?’ She slides forward on the grass. ‘Please help me!’
‘Found you!’



Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Chase The Rainbow by Poorna Bell


Thanks to Simon & Schuster, I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.....

Poorna is an executive editor of The Huffington Post UK whom is married to Rob, a native of New Zealand who is described as a punk rocker, a book lover and a bird nerd. They've a dog named Daisy and a career as a well respected science journalist. But beneath all this Rob struggled with his mental health and drug addiction which led him to self-medicate his illness. In 2015, Rob ended his life in New Zealand on a winter's night.

But what happened and why did this happen? How did a Catholic boy from the suburbs with brains to burn and who had loads of friends and family who loved him end up dying alone by his own hand? How did it get to this point? In a bid to understand the man she loved and how he arrived at this desperate and dark moment, Poorna goes on a journey that takes in both New Zealand and England to discover more about him.

Well, I read this a couple of weeks ago and it's taken me a little time to gather my thoughts on this book but I didn't just like it, I LOVED it. Coincidentally, I picked this book up to read the week of my friends 20th anniversary of her death so I think it was quite fitting to honour both losses. It was such a beautiful read, I even had tears in my eyes when I'd read the prologue alone, I knew that this was going to be quite a sad read.

When I read this quote I had to put it in this review as it sums up beautifully how I amongst others whom have lost someone feel about my friends death "When it comes to suicide, every pinprick of light that surrounded the darkness of their death is pounced upon; we hope against hope that our  loved ones, while they died alone, didn't just die with despair."

Poorna has written a deep and personal journey that teaches us to seek hope and happiness, even in the most tragic of circumstances. Trying to shatter the stigma around depression and suicide, Poorna challenges us to talk to people and about our fears and to better understand the personal struggles of those we love. It is a story that is a brave, warm, at times raw and funny. I had tears streaming down my face by the end of it and everyone should read this, both men and women alike and no matter whether you've lost someone to suicide or not so make sure you've a box of tissues at hand.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Chase The Rainbow is available from all good bookstores and on Kindle where it is currently £7.99 at the time of publication of this review.  Click here to buy Chase The Rainbow by Poorna Bell

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Always In My Heart by Pam Weaver


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Always In My Heart by Pam Weaver where I welcome Pam to my blog with an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Bethan James from ED Public Relations 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 extract so without further ado, here it is:


Florrie asks Mrs Andrews for help 

But Florrie didn’t know where to start. This was alien to her. She’d never asked for help before, not even when her husband left. She glanced up at Mrs Andrews’s kindly face, remembering the past and all that had happened. Back then, Mrs Andrews had said if ever she needed help, she was to go to her at once. Florrie had dismissed the offer with a wave of her hand, but here she was. And desperate too. She’d never wanted to bother the woman again, but what could she do? 

Married to a doctor, Mrs Andrews, played an active part in the community. She was a member of the Towns’ Women’s Guild and several other organizations as well. Sitting on the edge of her seat, she gave Florrie her full attention. 

It took every ounce of courage she had, but finally Florrie explained everything. She had been hasty. She’d said no to evacuation and now it looked as if she might be too ill to care for her children. The WI lady had said that if she refused to let her put Shirley and Tom on her list, their places would be given to other children. What was even worse, she’d become irritated by the woman’s insistence and she’d been rude. In fact, she’d used a swear word, and for that she was truly sorry, but instead of looking shocked or telling her off, Mrs Andrews threw her head back and laughed. ‘You swore at her? Oh dear, poor Cynthia, but don’t worry, I suspect she’ll dine out on that tale for several weeks.’
Florrie’s eyes filled with tears when she talked about Tom. She didn’t say it, but in her heart she’d always felt that the way Tom was had been her punishment for giving away the baby. How would she have coped without Mrs Andrews back then? When she’d told her about the pregnancy, Mrs Andrews hadn’t taken the moral high ground as so many others had done. She’d offered to arrange everything. Right now, the ache in Florrie’s chest wasn’t just from the cough, it was the ache of loss. The loss of that pretty little girl she’d last seen when she was only a week old. She swallowed hard. Now she was making a fool of herself. She was losing control. The words just gushed from her mouth like a waterfall. She was saying far too much.

Mrs Andrews left her own chair and came to sit on the sofa next to Florrie. Taking her hands in hers, she said, ‘There’s no shame in asking for help, my dear. I shall be pleased to do what I can.’
Florrie looked up at her. ‘Do you ever hear anything about—’

‘You know better than to ask me that,’ said Mrs Andrews firmly. ‘Best to leave the past where it is. Right now, we have to concentrate on you. I’m sorry to hear about your ill health, but let’s hope you’ll soon be on the mend.’

They smiled at each other even though they both knew the words were hollow and that Florrie’s recovery, if there was to be one, would take an awfully long time. 
‘Now,’ said Mrs Andrews, giving Florrie’s hands a final squeeze, ‘here’s what we’ll do.’


Always in My Heart by Pam Weaver is out now from Pan Macmillan (£6.99 paperback) 

Always in My Heart

Sunday, 18 June 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Trust Me by Angela Clarke Q&A


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Trust Me by Angela Clarke where I welcome Angela to my blog where she has kindly taken part in a Q&A session with me. 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 guest post so without further ado, here is the Q&A:


  • What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was a memoir, so I guess I inspired me. Ha! Just kidding. I’ve always loved telling stories and entertaining people, and when I started regaling friends with tales of the fashion industry, which I worked in then, they seemed to like it. A friend of a friend was the Femail editor of the Mail Online and she asked to meet me. She loved the stories too, and I started writing the anonymous Confessions of a Fashionista column for them. But the fun tongue-in-cheek tales of fashion industry madness only showed one side of the picture, and so I started to write the memoir of the same name: Confessions of a Fashionista, to show a more rounded view of the industry.


After that I set out to write a novel about the internet, and how many people forget there’s a real person on the end of their interactions online. But lots of characters died, so it became a crime thriller set on Twitter. Follow Me was born, which ended up being the first in the Social Media Murders, and the rest, as they say, is history.


  • What books have most influenced your life?

That’s such a hard question! So many. Too many to count. I’ve always been a keen reader and currently get through between two and three books a week. Books have offered me escape, education, joy, sadness, love, laughter and so much more. They shape me every day, in a myriad of little ways that are impossible to measure. I wouldn’t be me without books and reading.


  • What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

Trust Me is the third in the Social Media Murder Series, and though I know the characters and the world well, I wanted to make sure the action didn’t feel formulaic. It’s important to me to believe that each project I work on can be better than the last. I pushed myself in terms of character development and narrative style, and the final book has a number of different points of view throughout. I really hope my readers like it. At the time of writing this, not many people have read it, but those who have loved it. So fingers crossed that’s a good sign!

Oh, and another challenge was finding a plumber to help me with some specific research. But I can’t tell you what because it’ll be a spoiler!


  • What was the hardest part of writing your book?

There is a rape storyline at the centre of Trust Me, inspired by a real-life case where a young woman’s sexual assault was live streamed over the social media app Periscope. It was an extremely upsetting subject matter to write about, and I wanted to do the female character involved justice. I didn’t want the rape to be a mere plot point. I didn’t want to make it titillating. I’ve tried to convey the situation respectfully, without showing too much on the page. Sexual assault is a horrible brutal reality that too many endure, and the weight of responsibility when writing about it is great. My books often explore the point misogyny intersects with technology and the online world, and though they are first a foremost entertainment, I hope they are also awareness raising. If just one person thinks differently about rape culture, or their own actions (from an online joke, upwards). I would take it as a win. Recently I attended a book club in HMP Thameside, a male category B prison. The inmates had read Follow Me and Watch Me, and I was struck by how much they took Freddie to heart. Some spoke of not really thinking about things from a female perspective before they’d read Watch Me, and it was one of the proudest moments of my career. Plus they liked my jokes.


  • Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I really enjoyed Ali Land’s Good Me Bad Me, it was a fantastic exploration of character, and so tense! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Don't Wake Up by Liz Lawler


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Don't Wake Up by Liz Lawler where I welcome Liz to my blog with a guest post on how her writing has been influenced. I was thrilled to be asked by Emily Burns from Bonnier Zaffre 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 the guest post so without further ado, here it is:


How growing up in a large family influenced my writing

How could it not? With so many conversations to have and adventures to share there was never an idle moment to spare. I grew up in a very noisy household, which my mother ran with military precision. As young children we were up, dressed, fed, watered and out to play as early as ten o’clock with expectations of staying out to play, from out under her feet, till teatime so that she could put the house back to order. There were two meal times in our household: breakfast and dinner. Lunch was what the other kids went home to have, while we stayed out in the street or in a park with our paper bags of Black Jacks, Fruit Salads, Liquorice Catherine Wheels and a bottle of Cream Soda to share.

Sharing in such a large family was as natural as breathing; a necessary requirement in most cases. I topped and tailed throughout my childhood, sharing a double bed with either two or three of my sisters, and we were often scolded, well past the lights out, for giggling too loud or being caught having a midnight feast under the blankets with a torch. I thought nothing of sharing a toothbrush with my sisters and quite often waited in line to use it. I think the first time I ever owned my own toothbrush was when I went on a school trip and remember feeling excited and little bit important that there were things in my suitcase that were bought solely for my use.

I was 18 by the time I had my very own bed; it was the day I left home to become a nurse and not only did I have my own bed, but my own bedroom. The room held a wardrobe, a single bed, desk and sink; it measured no more than six foot by ten and I could not believe that all this space would belong to me.

As a child there were few books in our home apart from the bible and the Britannica Encyclopaedia collection. Twenty red hardback books, where all information was obtained for doing homework. All other books were borrowed from the library and as a child my favourites were always The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. As a teenage I discovered Mills & Boons, much to my mother’s dismay as she was always trying to get me to read the classics, and I possibly missed a great many lessons in school while reading these books in class, hidden on my lap behind the desk. I went to a convent and I remember the total embarrassment I felt when one of the nuns discovered what I was reading. You would think I had been reading porn, from the dressing down she gave me.

I look back on my childhood with extremely fond memories, feeling in no way deprived. For though we lacked in material things, we were enriched by the abilities of two incredible parents.  My mother, by far, was the most intelligent and could converse on most any subject; history and English literature were her passions and weekly she would return from the library with her bag of books. Our father was a story teller, though I believe he never read a single book in his entire life, and never tired of making up stories or simply telling us tales of the hardships of his childhood. They were great teachers and every one of us could run a house, cook, clean, shop, mind the younger ones, probably by the age of eleven.

I grew up feeling different to my friends, possibly because my parents were nearer their grandparent’s ages, and as a child I used to fret that by the time I got to be an adult they would be dead. Fortunately they were both made of stern stuff and lived enough years to see us all properly grown up.

It was exciting growing up with so many brothers and sisters as some were already grownup with children of their own, while some of us were still in infant primary school and their children were closer to our ages so we were aunts and uncles to the kids we played with. There are now twelve of us, six of each and I am number 9. If all fourteen children were still alive I’d be number 11. I grew up in a noisy household where everyone shouted to be heard over each other, and as adults we are just the same, only noisier as we all tell our different stories eager to be counted and eager to be heard.


BLURB:

Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.
The man who stands over her isn't a doctor.
The offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.
But when Alex re-awakens, she's unharmed - and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.
And then she meets the next victim.

So compulsive you can't stop reading.
So chilling you won't stop talking about it.
A pitch-black and devastatingly original psychological thriller.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay


Thanks to Corvus Books, I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review....

Seven years ago you stole my child.  Now I want her back......

Zoe and Ollie Morley are a married couple who tried for years to have a baby and couldn't, so they turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to a adopt a little girl from birth whom they named Evie.

Fast forward seven years, they have moved to Yorkshire from London and they have grown with a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben.  When Evie starts receiving letters and gifts from a sender claiming to be her birth father.  He has been looking for his daughter and now he will stop at nothing to take her back. Zoe is a working Mum and it's not easy for her as her husband never seems to be there when she needs him, is there more to Ollie than he is letting on??

Well, I absolutely LOVED this, it was fantastic and was gripped right fom the first page. I could feel the tension on every page that I turned. The storyline is very true to life and explores a lot of what can and has happened to children and this storyline could be a little upsetting for some reading this so it is far from roses and puppies and it will definitely stick long in my mind due to the subject matter.  I was suspicious of every character in the book, I didn't know who to trust or if I could for that matter.  I could feel my heart pounding at times towards the end of the book.  I thought that I'd had it worked out but I was wrong and it kept me guessing right until the end which I love as nothing worse than knowing the twist long before it's revealed. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

This is Sanjida's second book, her first been Bone By Bone which I haven't read yet but will definitely be doing so soon as I thoroughly enjoyed The Stolen Child.  The Stolen Child is available in all good bookstores and is currently on Kindle for £3.79 at the time of publication of this review.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please ~ COVER REVEAL



Lottie is about to discover that even when you think you’ve lost everything, hope and romance can be just around the corner . . .

It takes time to build your life. To get into a long-term (albeit boring) relationship. To find a job (you don’t completely hate). Lottie might not be thrilled with the life she’s put together, but it’s the one she’s got.

So when in the course of one terrible evening, it all comes crashing down around her, Lottie has a choice: give herself over to grief at being broke, single and completely lacking in prospects.

Or, brick by brick, build herself a new life. And this time, with a little help from friends, a crumbling cottage in Devon and a handsome stranger, maybe she can make it the one she always wanted.

The Summer of Second Chances is an irresistibly funny read about never giving up, whatever the world throws at you. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Jane Costello and Christie Barlow.


EBook Coming on 17 July

BLOG TOUR ~ Obsession by Amanda Robson


Hi Everyone,


Today I host the final day of the Blog Tour for Obsession which has been fantastic and I'd like to welcome Amanda to my blog today where Amanda has very kindly taken the time to give me an extract from her debut novel, Obsession as part of the Blog Tour but be warned it's a little racy so reader discretion is advised . I was thrilled to be asked by the lovely Helena Sheffield from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers too.  You can find out who else took part in this fabulous Blog Tour below. So without further ado, here is the extract:


I arrive first. I always arrive first. The receptionist at the Travelodge recognises me as soon as I enter, a red baseball cap covering my short golden hair – for I use the same disguise every week.

I perform my usual ritual, once I’ve checked into the room. The ritual I have honed over the last few weeks, ever since my first night with Craig. Closing the curtains. Lighting a joss stick. Stripping to my stockings and black lace body. I am wet and throbbing just thinking about him; he is the best lover I have ever had. Sex with Craig has improved sex with Rob. Craig has taught me new tricks and Rob enjoys them, not knowing who to thank.

Sitting on the bed, legs apart, right hand inside my silken panties, I play with myself idly, just as a warm up, feeling the erect springy bud of my clitoris like a taut piece of guitar wire.

He’s here. I am pressed against him as soon as he’s inside the room, the door closed safely behind him. His lips find mine, his tongue penetrates my mouth. I remove his jacket. My hands tremble as I unbutton his shirt. We are on the bed now, ripping one another’s clothes off, my large breasts wide and firm, topped by their perfect jutting nipples. The large breasts that I am so proud of. I sit next to him on the bed, laughing with happiness. Moments like this are the best moments of my life. I know how to sit, legs to one side, indenting my waist to show my perfect breasts to advantage. He nuzzles towards them, but I move away. Not today. There are other plans today.

I pull away from him to admire him. He has pale skin and dark hair; he is beautiful. Lucky Jenni. But at least I can have a piece of him. Rob wants a piece of Jenni. I want a piece of Craig.



Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French ~ COVER REVEAL


Three women throw caution to the wind and move from England to run a B&B on a Greek island. They’ve all reached a point in their lives when the need a change – one divorced, on empty nester, one made redundant from the job she’s held since leaving school many moons ago. The move test their friendship to the limits, brings errant husbands running their own metamorphosis, but will they choose to stay in Greece when the holiday season winds down?

The perfect escapist read for fans of Lucy Diamond and Milly Johnson – transport yourself to a Greek island and forget about your troubles with this glorious summery romance.

A gorgeous summer read to escape with this summer!

About The Author:
Kat French lives with her husband, two little boys and two crazy cats. She loves all things romance – reading it, watching it and writing it. She also writes steamy erotic romance as her bestselling alter-ego Kitty French.

Coming July 2017 (EBook 22 June & Paperback 13 July)

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Her Last Breath by Tracy Buchanan ~ COVER REVEAL


When fifteen-year-old Poppy O’Farrell goes missing a media frenzy ensues. None of this has anything to do with lifestyle blogger Estelle Forster – so why would someone send her a picture of the missing girl and a note, claiming to know Estelle’s secrets? To find out, Estelle must return to her coastal hometown and the shameful past she thought was long behind her. A dangerous game is being played, and the answers lie in the impenetrable community Estelle once called her own. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, C.L. Taylor and Clare Mackintosh, this addictive, twisting, emotionally powerful book will have you hooked until the very last page.


Praise for Tracy Buchanan:

‘A pacy read about the strong bonds between three sisters.’ Daily Mail

‘An ambitious and deeply poignant story that will take you into another world.’ Heat

A former travel editor, Tracy Buchanan lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and daughter.


Coming June 2017 (EBook 12 June, Paperback 29 June)

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Little Bones by Sam Blake


Meet twenty-four-year-old Garda Cathy Connolly, she might be a fearless kick-boxing champion but when she discovers a baby's bones concealed in the hem of a wedding dress during what seems to be a routine break-in, the case becomes personal.

The bones are another mysterious twist when artist Zoe Grant's mother disappears. Then her grandmother, head of the Grant Valentine department store empire and owner of the dress's original owner is found dead, and a trail of secrets is uncovered that threatens to shake a dynasty.

In the meantime, a fugitive killer has already left two dead in execution style killings across the Atlantic - and now he's in Dublin with old scores to settle. Will the team track him down before he kills again?

As she searches for answers, Cathy is drawn deep into a complex web of secrets and lies spun by three generations of women but as she struggles with her own secrets, Cathy doesn't know how dangerous and personal this case will become.

Well, I had this on my TBR pile since last year after been at the launch for Little Bones and with everything it just stalled in pile but to be honest I didn't like it, I LOVED it. I'm just sorry that I never picked it up before now. From the first page I was hooked and couldn't read it fast enough, even when I thought I'd worked out the whole case before Cathy even did, I ended up been completely wrong.  And THAT ending, I really didn't see it coming so I now have to rush out and pick up the next installment, In Deep Water ASAP to see what happens - such a rollercoaster!!  As I was reading it, it reminded me on the Irish drama Red Rock that is currently showing on TV3 and BBC2 and Garda Cathy Connolly was a kickass character just like Garda Sharon Cleere in Red Rock. There's is definitely a new heroine on the block in the form of Garda Cathy Connolly & I've got a new girl crush too.  Highly Recommended.

Little Bones is available in all good bookstores and is currently £4.07 on Kindle at the time of publication of this review.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ My Husband's Wives by Faith Hogan


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for My Husband's Wives by Faith Hogan & I'm delighted to welcome Faith to my Blog today where I have an extract from her debut novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Faith Hogan herself to take part along with some other fab book bloggers which you can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of my review, so without further ado here is the extract:

Prologue
2016


‘Mum, there’s a funny old lady at the door who says she’s married to Dad?’ Delilah wore an expression that sat somewhere between amused and unsettled. Grace supposed anything was better than bored and indifferent. It seemed that had been the permanent expression since she turned fifteen a few months earlier.
‘She’s at the wrong house,’ Grace said absently. They were going for a picnic. The sun was shining and Grace hoped a day at the seaside might recapture some of the closeness she’d shared with her daughter before it was just the two of them here.
‘No, she’s sure. She says her name is Evie…’ Her usually ambivalent voice held a note of perplexity. ‘Evie Considine Starr – but Mum, I think, she’s a generation out.’ She stuck a finger to the side of her head and wound it around. It was her shorthand language for mental health issues. Grace tried to discourage it, but still never mentioned the antidepressants deep in her own handbag.
‘Oh. Evie?’ The name registered deep in her brain; still, it sounded strange on her daughter’s lips. ‘Evie is here?’ Grace’s hand shot up to smooth her hair back, an involuntary movement, hated herself for it. Why did she care what Evie Considine thought of her? ‘At the front door, now?’
‘Well, yes.’ Delilah stumbled over her words, for once thrown by her mother’s reaction. ‘You know her? She’s actually…’ The words petered out, same as Paul’s – Evie Considine it seemed was still an unfinished chapter in Paul’s life.
Grace stood straight, imagined herself being pulled by an invisible central rope, lengthening her out, just as the nuns had taught her. She threw her shoulders back with more confidence than she really felt, and made her way to the front door.
‘Hello Evie.’ She stuck out a hand. ‘It’s nice to meet you at last…’ It was a lie, but only a white one.


1
Grace Kennedy

Paul Starr was tall – well, anyone was tall to Grace – he might have been gangly, but his thick dark flop of hair and chestnut eyes distracted her from noticing. His smile was easy, his voice low so it made her lean closer; she was charmed instantly. He was the most successful surgeon in Ireland. He was confident, sophisticated and, rumour had it, married. Grace knew who he was. Everyone in Ireland knew who he was. It was said that he was responsible for keeping a former U.S. President alive, as well as half the royal family over sixty.
‘You don’t want to believe everything you read,’ he said, and she realized that she’d never felt so equal to anyone who towered over her so much. She was used to being the short one; five foot just, before she put on her heels. She fingered the amulet that hung always at her neck. It was her father’s; a token to enhance the artist within. Its green gemstone brought out the emerald of her eyes and it made her feel safe, as though her father was still near.
‘Who said I’d be reading about you?’ She couldn’t help fidgeting with her long dark hair any more than he could stop his eyes drinking in every moment of her.
‘This is impressive.’ He waved a hand about the exhibition. It was her second in a year. She felt she’d rushed it, but maybe some things were meant to be. They stood for a few minutes, making small talk. He wasn’t a collector – she could spot them a mile off – not of art anyway. She was about to move away, but he reached out, touched her lightly on the arm. The silver stacking bracelets that she wore jangled, the only sound between them that mattered in the crowded room. The effect was electrifying. ‘I’m just looking at this one…’ He walked towards a watercolour she’d painted two winters earlier, a stark white lighthouse against the rocks and grey waves of the western coastline. ‘It’s breathtaking.’ He caught her eye as he murmured the words. The look sent ripples of what she supposed was desire through her; she’d never felt anything like it before in her life. ‘I’m making changes,’ he said, moving closer to her so his voice was little over a whisper. ‘Making changes and it might suit; do you think anyone has their eye on it, yet?’
‘I wouldn’t know,’ she smiled at him, flirting in some strange subconscious way, couldn’t stop herself, even though she’d spotted his wedding ring immediately. ‘You’d need to talk to Patrick.’ Her eyes skimmed the room for Patrick Marshall. Usually she could find him easily – he was never far away. His languid easy pose tended to dominate whatever space he was in, and she spotted him now surrounded by a coterie of enchanted hangers-on, regaling them with one of the funny stories he always had to hand. He was all she had here; Patrick knew this without ever having to mention it. ‘Oh, he looks busy. Anyway, you can always leave your name with the gallery.’
‘Perhaps I could commission a piece for my rooms,’ he smiled, catching her by surprise, ‘…at the clinic.’ His voice was light, she guessed they were a similar age, but she had a feeling he knew much more of life than she. He reached into his pocket; he wore an elegant off-the-peg navy jacket that moved fluidly. ‘Take my card. Maybe you could drop by, if you’re passing. We could…’ his eyes held an unmistakeable promise, ‘…have coffee.’
Grace wasn’t sure how she managed to walk away from him, but she made it to the other side of the room, her legs like jelly, her stomach a wasp’s nest of restless commotion. She silently cursed herself. The last thing she needed was to fall for a married man. She’d stay well clear of him, or so she told herself. She sipped sparkling wine gently – there were still speeches to be made, people to talk to, sales to close. Even if there weren’t, she’d had enough of being attached to people. She’d spent a lifetime taking care of her sisters and her mother. Her father had taken the easy way out – a double barrel, kept for foxes, in the end. She’d been the one who found him in his studio. He’d probably wanted it to be her. ‘You’re the strong one, Grace.’ He’d said it so many times.
In the end, it was all she could remember of him. She’d spent almost ten years being the one who had to hold it together. All the time, her mother descended further into a bleak haze, clouded by prescription drugs for a series of spurious health problems, one of which would surely stick, someday. Grace got out at twenty-three. It took almost two years to make the break completely, for them to understand that they were on their own. She did what she could. It was either get away or die slowly, as her mother seemed intent on doing.
Painting saved her. It made no demands, beyond those she was prepared to sacrifice and it gave her solace when she had nowhere else to turn. It kept her world together, and now it was her life.
This was her biggest exhibition yet and she’d been nervous when Patrick suggested it. It made good sense, he said last time round, the paintings were picking up a minimum of ten thousand a canvas; of course it made sense. Once she had said yes, Patrick came up with the venue. She had a feeling he’d had it up his sleeve for a while, what she couldn’t understand was why he’d decided to let her have it rather than some of the bigger names he represented. The Dublin City Library and Archive had only reopened months earlier after a total revamp. She had to concede as she had stood beneath its imposing faΓ§ade – it was overwhelming. The exhibition room seemed vast when she’d come here first. A daunting space filled with echoes of great Dubliners lingering within the repointed stone and polished timbers. How would she fill it? Could she really be good enough to sit with collections like Yeats and Stoker and Swift? Somehow, the building made her nervy and calm all at once. A strange mix of expectation and complete confidence ran through her and propelled her from the moment she set foot in the great hall. She’d pulled out some of the work that she’d started years ago. It added poignancy to the exhibition, she thought. True, it was darker than her more recent work, but it held the loneliness of her past, something that seemed to draw people. The first exhibition had been an unexpected success; it was the reason Patrick suggested a second.
‘What do you expect when all you do is work?’ Patrick had said when they’d met a few months earlier. ‘Note to yourself, Grace Kennedy: get a life.’ He flapped his arms about in that theatrical way he had, so she only half took him seriously and never took his advice, unless it was professional. This was as close as Grace got to friendship. ‘What about family?’ Patrick asked her one bleary night after they’d been drinking wine in her little studio; she, feeling creatively stuck, he, depressed because he’d lost the love of his life. To be fair, every man he dated seemed to be the love of his life for the first six weeks, and then…
‘What do you expect,’ she fired back at him, ‘when all you do is work?’



ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Faith Hogan was born in Ireland.  She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.  She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, children and a very fat cat called Norris.

She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Her debut novel, ‘My Husband’s Wives,’ is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin. It will be published by Head of Zeus on 4th of May 2017 in Ireland and is available in all good book shops. She is currently working on her next novel.  

Faith Hogan Contact:
Follow Faith on Twitter at @gerhogan or like her on Facebook.comFaithhoganauthor/ or, if you’re really interested, you can catch up with her on www.faithhogan.com


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields


Thanks to Helena Sheffield & Avon Books, I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review......

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.  In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach was a Detective in France but why he left to come to Edinburgh we don't really know but he has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But in Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes but the real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

WOW, WOW, WOW!!! What a novel Perfect Remians was, it was absolutely fantastic. The sociopath/kidnapper character was absolutely brilliant, very well written and cleverly constructed. 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 I LOVED them, yes, weird I know.  At times, I could feel I was right there with the victims.  I will admit that I found parts of the story hard to read and in places it made my skin crawl but it definitely didn't disappoint. It was a spine-chilling , pulse pounding, heart thumping rollercoaster ride. I know that his book will stick in my memory longer than most because of the subject matter that was involved. I am really looking forward to Helen's next book, Perfect Prey already which will be released on July 27th, a couple of days before my birthday and I'm very excited to see whats next in store for DI Luc Callanach and the team. I'd definitely recommend it for fans of Angela Marson, Mark Billingham and M. J. Aldridge will be gripped by this chilling journey into the mind of a troubled killer.

Perfect Remains is available in all good bookstores and on Kindle where it is currently FREE, yes I said FREE at the time of publication of this review but for a limited time only.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Trust Me by Angela Clarke ~ COVER REVEAL


What do you do if you witness a murder…but no-one believes you?

When Kate sees a horrific murder streamed live on her laptop, she calls the police in a state of shock. But when they arrive, the video has disappeared – and she can’t prove anything. Desperate to be believed, Kate tries to find out who the girl in the video could be – and who her killer is.

Freddie and Nas are working on a missing persons case, but tensions in the police force are running high and time is ticking. When Kate contacts them, they are the only ones to listen and they start to wonder – are the two cases connected?

Dark, gripping, and flawlessly paced, Trust Me is the brilliant third novel in the hugely popular social media murderer series.

PUBLISHES IN EBOOK & PAPERBACK: 15th June 2017

Thursday, 30 March 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Escape by C.L. Taylor


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Escape by C.L. Taylor. I was thrilled to be asked by Helena Sheffield 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 my review.

Thanks to Avon Books, Helena Sheffield & Cally Taylor, I received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review........

"Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.  The stranger knows everything about her, she knows Jo's name, her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise. What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her.  No one believes that Elise is in danger and as Jo suffers from depression and anxiety issues, when things start happening to Jo and in her home when she's not there everyone from the social workers to her husband Max, they are trying to convince her that she is the one responsible for all that's been done and that she's taking things far too serious and that it's all in her head until everything starts closing in on her and she begins to panic and this is where Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

I  loved, loved, LOVED it and it definitely didn't disappoint.  I would even say that The Escape is the BEST book that Cally Taylor has written and I CAN'T recommend it enough. It is a psychological thriller that is set in 2 parts, part 1 is set in Bristol and part 2 is set in Clogherhead in Ireland which is coincendentially only about 15 minutes from where I live so it was great to be able to visualise the scenes that were written into the book.  I had it read in just a few days as I couldn't put it down.  There were some great twists and turns too which I loved and I didn't know who to trust at times. It's a very face paced story and I even had to slow down reading it as I didn't want it to end, talk about a white knucle ride 😱😱😱 There were parts in the book I could feel my heart thumping so it's definitely not for the fainthearted.  I actually found myself thinking about the ending upto a few days after I'd turned the last page, it wasn't what I'd expected at all and the last sentence spoken was just perfect.

This is C.L. Taylor's fourth novel, her first been The Accident which I haven't read just yet  but I will definitely be picking it up really soon, her second book was the Lie, the third was The Missing which I really enjoyed too and I'm really looking forward to C.L. Taylor's next book already (no pressure) πŸ™ŠπŸ™Š



The Accident, The Lie, The Missing and The Escape are all available on Kindle and from all good bookstores.  At the time of this review been published The Accident is £3.24 and The Lie is £2.49 and The Missing and The Escape are only £3.49 on kindle so grab it while you can, you won't be disappointed so don't say I never told you so!!!

Monday, 27 March 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan



Hi Everyone, 

Today I'm on the Blog Tour for The Bluebell Bunting Society and I'd like to welcome Poppy to my blog today where Poppy has very kindly taken the time to give me an extract from The Bluebell Bunting Society as part of the Blog Tour. I was thrilled to be asked by Bethan James from Canelo Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers too. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour below. So without further ado, here is the extract:

It’s Friday night and with the newly expanded Bluebell Society filling the newly painted Hall, there’s an energy here I haven’t felt since it was my tenth birthday party and Mum and Gran filled the place with purple balloons (my favourite colour), hired a mini bouncy castle and put smiley faces on all my fairy cakes.
Everyone is just about ready and assembled but we’re missing two vital members: Dom and Polly. I send a quick text to Dom.

Hey! You guys OK?

Sorry. Ten mins late. Polly missing

My heart leaps into my chest. She’s missing? Oh my god. What should we do?
But another text pings in straight after it.

Missing bus home didn’t help. will be there just as soon as she’s changed.

With a long exhale, I put my phone in my back pocket and go and ready some big jugs of squash and the tea urn Flip has borrowed from the WI. Tea means bunting, this much we know.
‘Room for a little one?’ Steve’s voice makes me leap out of my skin, as I’d been daydreaming about bunting flapping in the breeze, decorating the fete and charming everyone nearby, and them all whispering, ‘Yes, it was made at the Hall. By hand! I’m going to have my grandson’s christening party there, you know.’
‘Jeez, Stevie, practise your ninja creeping skills much? Anyway, what are you doing here? Did Luce forget something?’
‘Just her secret, ripped missile.’ He kisses a bicep and pulls an Arnie pose.
‘Huh?’
He knocks me on the forehead with his knuckles, just a touch too hard. ‘I’m here to help, numpty. Abel’s tucked up with granny, for the whole weekend might I smugly add, and seeing as my lovely lady wife can’t stop talking about how great the Hall is looking and about these plans of village domination and legal battles, I thought I should get a piece of the action.’
It’s probably not until I take in his words and see his big dorky smile that I realise I’ve been carrying my shoulders up to my hairline so far tonight. Something eases off inside enough for me to laugh. ‘Well, I can’t wait to see how you handle a sewing machine.’
‘I was thinking of more of a support role – mopping brows, fitting thimbles, pouring tea through a funnel. Luce tells me that the way I put ties and shirts together means I should never get close to any fabric design choices. Here, let me,’ he takes over the filling of the kettle and the assembling of mugs, ‘you go off, do some leader-like thing. Everyone is here because of you, you know.’
I look into the busy, bustling hall full of keen local faces. There’s a burble of happy chatter in the background as the tables are being set up and supplies laid out. We could do it tonight. It could really happen. And in trying to save the Hall, it’s getting a much longed-for taste of its original purpose – to bring Hazlehurst together, to let villagers share memories and pastimes. Even if we come out of this session with half a metre of wonky bunting and pin-puncture fingers, in a way I’ll still be happy.
Two new faces appear at the door: Dom and Polly, at last. So now it’s really time to begin.



When the going gets tough, the tough get sewing...

Welcome to Bluebell Hall. Pull up a wonky chair, grab a cream bun and settle into a story about a little village, a determined caretaker – and bunting…
At twenty-nine, Connie isn’t quite where she thought she’d be. When her beloved gran died Connie returned to Hazelhurst, the village she grew up in, and took over her gran’s old job as caretaker at the village hall. It might not be the stuff of dreams, but Connie loves working at Bluebell Hall – the heart of the community.
So when Bluebell Hall is threatened with closure, Connie is determined not to let greedy property developers get their hands on it. She hatches a plan bonkers enough that it just might work. All it takes is a needle and thread, scraps of old material and willing hands. Can Connie convince the people of Hazelhurst that their village hall is worth saving? And will she save herself in the process…?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Poppy Dolan lives in Berkshire with her husband. She's a near-obsessive baker and a keen crafter, so on a typical weekend can be found moving between the haberdashery and kitchenware floors of a department store, adding to her birthday wish list. She has written three novels: The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp, There's More to Life than Cupcakes and most recently The Bluebell Bunting Society. The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp made it into the Amazon top 100 bestseller chart, so clearly someone other than her mum must have read it. She's currently working on her fourth novel – it's about friends, siblings and crafty things – and drinking far too much tea.

PUBLICATION DETAILS

The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan is published on 27th March by Canelo,
price £1.99 as an ebook


SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES
Author Twitter @poppydwriter (and on Facebook at /PoppyDolanBooks)
Publisher Twitter @Canelo_co




Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Darkness Within by Lisa Stone ~ COVER REVEAL



A gripping new crime novel from the global bestseller Cathy Glass writing as Lisa Stone

You know your son better than anyone. Don’t you?



When critically ill Jacob Wilson is given a life-saving heart transplant, his parents are relieved that their loving son has been saved.

However, before long, his family are forced to accept that something has changed in Jacob. Their once loving son is slowly being replaced by a violent man whose mood swings leave them terrified – but is it their fault?

Jacob’s girlfriend, Rosie, is convinced the man she loves is suffering from stress. But when his moods turn on her, she begins to doubt herself – and she can only hide the bruises for so long.

When a terrible crime is committed, Jacob’s family are forced to confront their darkest fears. Has the boy they raised become a monster? Or is someone else to blame?


PUBLISHING IN EBOOK & PAPERBACK: 13TH JULY 2017

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Born Bad by Marnie Riches


Hi Everyone,


Today I'm on the Blog Tour for Born Badand I'd like to welcome Marnie to my blog today where Marnie has very kindly taken the time to give me an extract from Born Bad as part of the Blog Tour. I was thrilled to be asked once again by Helena Sheffield from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers too. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour below. So without further ado, here is the extract:

Jonny peered out of the window to the car park immediately below, avoiding looking at Strangeways, now, for fear that he might somehow jinx his precarious freedom. There were two cars he didn’t recognise parked out front, next to his own Maserati. A silver Toyota and a black Mondeo. Tax man’s cars. He willed his hand to stop shaking. Gripped the phone harder.

‘No, you’re alright. I’ve got it covered. If they’ve got eyes on the street and spot you coming out of there, we’re totally buggered. Stay put. I’ll call when they’re gone.’

His secretary’s instantly recognisable rat-a-tat-tat on the door said it was time to put on the grand performance.

Clad in a frumpy blue suit with her banana legs and fat ankles stuffed into cheap shoes, Darley was already strutting through the warehouse, examining the stock. Jonny willed himself to smile before she had even turned around to face him, lest he make it too obvious that he’d like Asaf to bone her like a haddock with his sharpest knife. In his peripheral vision, he clocked her minions – two men: one who looked about ready to retire and the other who didn’t look more than twenty. They were speaking to the workers, who were bundling the cheap jewellery into even cheaper packaging.

‘Ms Darley,’ Jonny said, adopting his magnanimous and friendly voice that he used for PTA meetings. ‘What a pleasure to see you again.’

Darley turned on her heel, a grim expression on her face that implied the pleasure was not mutual. ‘Mr Margulies.’ She held out her right hand and treated him to the iron handshake of a woman who broke balls for a living. In her left hand, she clutched an oversized accountant’s briefcase. ‘I’m here to search your premises. Please make all your accounts and employee records available.’

Jonny felt like his bowels were somehow ingesting themselves. The tell-tale sensation of needing the toilet, fast. But he wouldn’t show this bitch any fear. The authorities were like dogs; the moment they caught a whiff of guilt, they knew they had you. Tariq was relying on him. Both of their families depended on his giving a convincing performance. He put one foot in front of another and showed her to an office that looked onto the main factory floor through a large plate-glass internal window.

‘You can work in here,’ he said politely, switching on the flick-flickering strip lighting and pulling out an uncomfortable-looking brown plastic chair. It was cold in there. The thin carpet tiles were peeling upwards, revealing perished rubber underneath. Let the tax bastards suffer.
‘Where is Mr Khan?’ she asked, touching her no-nonsense brown bob. It appeared rigid and moved only slightly.

‘Family emergency. He’s been called away.’

Darley looked over her purple plastic-framed glasses, fixing him with hard hazel eyes. ‘Convenient.’

Shrugging, he held his palms aloft in a gesture of honesty.

‘Am I my business partner’s keeper?’

Jonny wished he could run away. Give it all up. Hide on a beach in Israel or South America or even crappy Marbella would do right now. Silently, he cursed Tariq for having chosen that morning, of all mornings, to visit their other place, leaving him to sort out this gargantuan shit-storm on his own.

As the day wore on, Jonny felt his spirit ebbing away, answering intrusive questions and observing his book-keeper, old Mohammed, delivering box after box of files to the temporary hub of HMRC investigation.

Knocking timorously on the door, he popped his head in to see Ruth Darley busily going through a sheaf of invoices with a determined look on her face. Her underlings flanked her, like Padawans studying beneath some great Jedi. Jonny looked at his watch pointedly.

‘It’s getting late,’ he said. ‘Would you like my secretary to bring you and your colleagues a coffee?’

Darley looked at him and slid her glasses further up her nose. Glanced at Jonny’s wrist. ‘I don’t need a Breitling watch to tell me what time it is, Mr Margulies.’ She offered him a grimace that was an approximation of a smile. ‘We’ll be leaving in ten minutes, but we’ll be back tomorrow.’

Jonny folded his arms. Imagined for a second that he could hear the inmates inside Strangeways jeering at him from behind their barred windows.

‘Back? Oh. You haven’t seen everything you need today? I thought Janice had given you access to the full monty. We’ve got nothing to hide here, you know.’

Ruth Darley stood and held a separate sheaf of invoices aloft. Invoices written in Chinese, by the looks of it. At that moment, a sweat broke out on Jonny’s top lip and he wished, however improbably, that he knew the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese. Had the invoices somehow got mixed up? Maureen would surely never allow that to happen.

‘I have found anomalies, Mr Margulies.’ Her smile was genuine that time.

Shit. Those were the last words he had wanted to hear.