The Mistake. K.L. Taylor Blog Tour

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It’s my turn on the Blog Tour for K.L Slater’s The Mistake.

I blogged about this book a few weeks ago and just had a quick look at my review. I think it’s quite obvious how much I enjoyed it.

But why did I enjoy it so much? Why does K.L Slater grab me more than most authors?

I had a look at her on line Bio, and read a few articles on line to find out more about her.

Kim Slater has been writing for years, and has had children’s books published by MacMillan, no mean feat.

Like so many other authors she has a stack of rejection letters, but undeterred she took herself off to University and gained an MA in Creative Writing.

This shows me that she never gives up, and that she likes to study and improve herself. That is reflected in her writing.

It is not luck that the books she writes are amongst the best psychological thrillers on the shelves. I can only imagine the amount of research that goes into the plot before the first word reaches the page.

The Mistake is the 4th Book she has written for adults. The previous 3; Safe With Me, Blink, and Liar have all been excellent but this one is the best so far.

My Review of the mistake is at the end of this blog, but before you read it I’d just like to say

Thank you Kim L. Slater for a great story.

 I can’t wait for the next. 

My Review of The Mistake by K.L. Slater

Split between happenings 16 years ago and the present day, this psychological who-done-it thriller had me gripped from start to finish.

16 years ago, Rose is an eighteen-year-old girl suffering the angst of college life.

Her younger brother Billy goes missing and is found murdered, but who is responsible.

In the present day, Rose is a slightly awkward, mid-thirties, library assistant, who still lives under the stigma of what happened when her brother was killed.

A discovery whilst looking after her ailing neighbour sends Rose on a hunt for the truth about Billy’s death.

The passages set 16 years in the past are a warning tale of grooming, how a 17-18 girl with low self-esteem can be cajoled into a relationship with an older man, at the expense of her family and friends.

Rose lies to her family, and although her best friend initially encourages her, she too starts to distrust the older and controlling man.

The effects on everybody around Rose are devastating, but who is to blame for the things that start to happen around them.

This book had me second guessing myself from start to finish. Empathy, sympathy and frustration was aimed at all the characters, especially Rose.

The end? I don’t think anyone will see it coming, but it won’t be a “that-would-never-happen” moment either.

A great book written with reality, and emotion in abundance.

Pages: 330

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 4th October 2017.

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Louise Jensen The Surrogate Blog Tour

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It’s my Turn on The Surrogate Blog Tour.

Before I started to write this blog, I did a little bit of research. I sometimes get caught up in my own opinions of books, that’s why I never put bad reviews on my blog; just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean everybody else won’t.

So, when I enjoyed a book as much as this one, and Louise Jensen’s previous 2 The Gift, and The Sister, I wondered what everybody else was thinking.

Reading the reviews on Amazon and Netgalley told me everything I needed to know. It’s not just me. This is a brilliant writer writing brilliant stories.

There is a strange reality to what she writes. Not are the scenarios realistic, but they are the sort of thing that will get you thinking, that could so easily have happened to somebody I know.

Her characters are strong but subtle. It’s easy to relate the them and the situations they find themselves in. In this book, I found myself outside the story screaming in “can’t you see what’s happening?”. But was I right. Read the book and see what you thing.

My Original Review of The Surrogate

Louise Jensen has written some of the most original thrillers I have ever read, and this sits right at the top of the pile.

The story starts with a crime scene in which there are two bodies, and then continues to revolve around a few characters, any of which could be one of those bodies, on the lead up to the crime.

The main character is Kat, a 30-year-old woman who is desperately trying to adopt a child with her Property Developer husband Nick.

Kat has a secret, 10 years ago she was involved in an accident and she has moved away to start a new life.

All is going well until she bumps into an old friend from the past, Lisa.

Lisa has been a surrogate mom before, and persuades Kat and Nick to let her be their surrogate.

What is Lisa up to? Did she really just happen to bump into her old-school friend, or was it more by design?

As the story unfolds it becomes clear Nick has his own secrets, and so does his best friend Richard.

Richard happens to be Nicks old business partner, and his solicitor, and is handling the legal side of the surrogacy.

Not one of these people is innocent, any of them could be one of the two victims at the original crime scene; but just as much they could all be the perpetrator of the crime.

This is one of the most complex crime/psychological thrillers I have ever read. At times, I was swayed in favour of all of the main characters, in a sympathetic way. At other times, I hated each one of them. There were times when I was convinced I knew who the victims were and who had killed them, but then I changed my mind; or had it changed for me.

But the end, that comes as quite a shock.

What a great book.

Pages: 374

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing date: 27th September 2017.

The Girl Who Came Back Kerry Wilkinson

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Its my turn on the Blog Blitz to review Kerry Wilkinson’s new stand-alone crime thriller The Girl Who Came Back.

The Book

The main protagonist in this book is a young woman, Olivia Adams, a woman that is about to turn one family upside down.

Why? Because 13 years earlier Olivia had disappeared when she was 6 years old, and nobody has seen or heard from her since.

So, when she casually walks up to her mother in a Café in a small town, and says hello, she starts the expected round of questions.

Is she really Olivia?

Where has she been?

Why has she come back?

What does she want?

Her family and friends all have ideas about the answers to all these questions. Some people are sympathetic to her, and others are outwardly unbelieving and hostile.

The story twists and turns to a conclusion that I didn’t see coming.

There were times when I was happy I could predict the end, only to change my mind to a completely different idea two chapters later.

What I didn’t anticipate is the actual ending.

 

The Author

Kerry Wilkinson writes some very good books. Unusually for a man, he tends to write from a female point of view, but he does it very well. I was shocked to read in his bio that he had only just turned 30. How does somebody come up with such complex storylines and such diverse characters in their 20’s.

 

My Thoughts

I enjoyed this book. I’ve enjoyed all of Kerry’s books, but I have one thought.

How would DI Jessica Daniel handle this, a missing person turning up years after going disappearing as a six-year-old.

Maybe this is a thought for a new idea in books. Establish a long series with a cracking detective.

Then write a stand-alone novel such as this.

In the next book in the successful series, bring the acclaimed detective in to investigate the crimes which may, or may not, have taken place.

I believe the American Drama Series on TV call them cross over episodes.

Maybe we need some cross over books.

A good read, thank you Kerry.

Pages: 302

Publisher: Bookouture

Available now on Amazon

Buried Secrets T.J. Brearton Blogtour

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I must admit I hadn’t come across C.J. Brearton until I read this book. Now his back catalogue is at the top of my to-be-read pile.

The quote below is from his bio on his own website;  www.tjbrearton.com

After fiddling around with college, pursuing a range of subjects including psychology and philosophy, Brearton went to film school and worked in industry for a few years. He’s also worked construction, demolition, carpentry, and bartending; he’s waited tables, managed a non-profit, and once cleaned the moss off tombstones. Now he lives in the Adirondacks with his wife and three children where he writes full time, takes out the trash, and competes with his kids for his wife’s attention.”

I have used this quote because it shows the life experience Brearton has. Like all the best authors he has lived a life, and brings a reality to his books.

He not only creates good characters but he can put the right fears and emotions into them. They make choices we would make, not always the best ones, and not always the right ones, but choices which are understandable, and justifiable.

In this book, the main protagonist discovers human remains in the grounds  on his property. He helps the Police, he does everything expected of him, but he sees a chance. As a failed writer with an inquisitive mind he can’t help following up on the discovery in the hope of writing the elusive Best-Seller

I think I would probably have done the same thing.

That’s why I think this book is special.

Its believable

This is my original review of Buried Secrets

A happy young couple, Brett and Emily, buy their dream small holding in upstate New York.

Digging an area of garden, close to the edge of some woods, Brett uncovers some human bones.

Meanwhile reformed criminal James Russo is arrested for failing to pay his fines for driving whilst uninsured. With no means of paying the fines he is sent to the famous Rikers Island Jail in New York. His cell mate is an ex mixed martial arts fighter Nate Reuter. Nate is in jail for being part of a lame group of bank robbers the press labelled “The fighting Bandits”

The Police Investigators seem to be going through the motions with the investigation into the buried bones but one of the Officers casually shows the mug shots of the Fighting Bandits to Brett, stating it’s an unrelated inquiry.

As a failed journalist/writer Brett sees an opportunity to resurrect his career and write a book and starts his own investigation. Unfortunately, he reaches out to his ex-girlfriend Meg to help him, much to Emily’s frustration; but is Meg really helping, or is she in it for her own gain, journalistic or personal.

In jail Reuter is attacked and Russo steps in to his aid. Because of the fight his jail time looks set to increase until a visit from a female prisoner changes everything. She will post his bail if he does one job for her, and just as an encouragement she sends a psychopath to his wife and daughter.

And so, begins a story which kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish. The two storylines are obviously connected but how and why. Who do the bones belong to, and why are they buried with a cryptic note.

 This story doesn’t hide anything, there are no surprises. Its hook is the naive innocence of Brett; the attempts of Russo to stay on the straight and narrow and still protect his wife and daughter; the conniving drive of Meg. To have captured all of these characters so well is a testimony the writing of T.J. Brearton

Pages: 328

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

I’m off now to start downloading his Brearton’s back catalogue

The Good Sister Jess Ryder Blog Tour

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When I was asked to take part in this blog tour the first thing I did was to research Jess Ryder.

I’m so glad I did, what an inspirational woman. If there is anybody who doubts the need to be flexible as an author, they should look at her writing history.

It turns out that Jess Ryder is a pseudonym, her real name is Jan Page.

Jan Page has written since she was a young girl, for pleasure; and as a woman, has made a living out of writing children’s books a and producing Children’s TV series’.

As Jess Ryder, she is writing a genre of books she has wanted to write for some time, psychological thrillers. Her first one, “Lie to Me” was a big success and her publishers, Bookouture, asked her to write more.

I found this quote from Jess Ryder’s web site

When Bookouture asked me for some more novel ideas, a story about a pair of half-sisters popped into my head. I have no idea why – I don’t have a sister and have no experience of how that relationship works.”

Well, I think there are two half-sisters in their somewhere one named Jan Page, and the other Jess Ryder, they just occupy the same body.

Thank god Jess has emerged and started writing because THE GOOD SISTER is one of the best, and most original, psychological thrillers I have ever read.

What do I think of it?

This is my original blog.

The Good Sister      Jess Ryder

This may be a short book, at 230 pages, but it packs more twists and turns than a Himalayan Mountain track.

When a University Lecturer dies, speeding down a country lane on his motor bike, nobody could expect the secrets that are about to be revealed.

Two women, that could look like twins, born five days apart proclaim to be his daughter.

They could not be any different.  

Josie “A boring young fogey, the easy-care daughter”

Valentina “wild, daring, spontaneous, unrestrained”

Both living completely separate lives, but one of them has been having dreams for years that she has a sister, and that she was hurt by her, badly.

The story sees both girls getting to know each other. The wild Valentina causing chaos in the quiet reserved life of Josie.

The family of both girls dealing with the death of the man, who called himself their dad, but did either family know about the other.

Threatening text messages, from a mysterious person who watches every move Valentina makes.

From the posh houses of a London suburb, to the squalid existence of a derelict pub; from a leafy Derbyshire Cottage, to a run-down student terrace in Manchester the plot unfolds.

Jess Ryder wrote the story in the first person, alternating chapters from Josie’s point of view to Valentina’s. That is what makes this story so good; because at times you don’t know which sister is carrying the narrative. Then oh it’s her, really? 

There are times when I thought, is there only one woman and does she have  split personalities.

Then I wondered if one of the sisters was imagining some of the things that were happening to her.

I felt empathy for Josie, then I felt empathy for Valentina.

I liked and hated both women equally through the story. It’s a testimony to Ryders writing that my loyalty swung from one to the other all the way to the end of the book.

The twists in the plot are brilliantly penned with the last twist coming right at the end; and I didn’t see it coming.

It’s hard to write too much about this book without giving plot spoilers. So much happens in such a short space of time.

All I can say is READ IT!!!!!!!

I promise you’ll love it.

When you make your mind up which is the “Good Sister” let me know; because I still can’t make my mind up.

So, what do you think, which one is the good sister.

Have a look at these two websites and make your own mind up.

Like I said. I’m just glad we have both Janet and Jess, especially Jess, she writes my style of book.

 

www.janpagewriter.com

www.jessryder.com

 

The Stolen Girls Blog Tour

 

 

The Stolen Girls Blog Tour

Last year Patricia Gibney arrived on the crime book scene with her debut novel The Missing Ones.

The first book was excellent and this book hasn’t proved to be the “difficult second book” in fact, if anything, The Stolen Girls is even better than the first.

This story has many layers, there are plots that run parallel to the main one and create their own intrigue, whilst weaving in and out of the main story.

The young girl being held captive and abused.

The immigrants held in the local “immigration centre”

The young woman, forced into prostitution, and her son that turn up on DI Lottie Parker’s door step.

The mutilated bodies that start turning up in roadworks all over the small midlands Irish town of Ragmullin.

A local gangster that has been in hiding in Spain, returning to town and causing chaos.

The Kosovo conflict of the late 90’s and the actions of some of the British troops, and the effect those actions are having today.

Gangland rivalries.

The list doesn’t end there but I don’t want to spoil the book.

All, of these threads are crafted together like different twines in a tapestry to make a fantastic picture.

The story is fast paced, and even at a moderately thick 461 pages the book flies by.

It’s not just the story that makes the book special, it’s the characters.

Patricia’s main protagonist is Lottie Parker, a mid 40’s Detective Inspector in Ragmullin’s Major Investigation Team. Lottie is struggling to bring up her 3 teenage children on her own since the death of her Husband Adam. She buries herself in her work and relies on her mother to help her with caring for the children. But the children have problems and Lottie isn’t seeing them. This provides a great subplot to the main story.

DS Mark Boyd is a great foil for Lottie. They work together well and have a great bickering but supportive relationship; and they need it because their boss Superintendant Corrigan is an Arse. These two supporting characters make Lottie’s working life more than a little interesting.

The villians and the victims are also well written and add so much to the realism of the books. Is everybody as they seem, maybe not. Patricia has a great way of making the reader believe a character is bad, or good, whilst twisting what they do and say to make your opinion of them change throughout.

The crimes are that well written that at times I thought Patricia was trawling the newspapers to find the dark side of the criminal world to incorporate them in her novels. The balance works so well that, as a reader, I never thought it was far-fetched, it flows, from beginning to end, and it kept me hooked.

When Bookouture approached me to do this blog I asked if I could ask Patricia a few questions. She agreed so between an email exchange, a few twitter interchanges and a little bit of research this is what I know about the lady who is, in my opinion, the best debut Crime Fiction writer of the last 12 months.

I asked Patricia about where the character Lottie had come from

I created Lottie as this strong (and at times, not so strong) character. If I’m t be honest, she was a little bit of an enigma to me. When I was writing her, I felt her come alive – I saw her as a real person. I know that’s an old cliché but it is true.

I am a widowed mother with three children and I said to myself, lets put Lottie in the same situation and see how she copes. I gave her three teenagers, hyped up the mayhem and drama, and let them loose. I must say Lottie is prone to making a mess of things at home and at the same time she is highly dedicated to her job. When she is working on a case, I believe she forgets that Adam is dead and conjures up an image of him at home with the kids. No matter what she thinks, she hasn’t come to terms with Adam’s death or with her own family history. Therefore, she can come across as a bad mother. I want the reader to delve beneath Lottie’s surface and realise that inside, Lottie is struggling big time.

As I’ve continued with her journey, her home-life and family woes have evolved, and in Book 3 I try to let the reader see something of what might be another reason why Lottie is the way she is.

 My next question was about the crimes and the characters involved in the book. For a little Irish Midlands town they seem to have the same problems as some of our inner cities. I love them by the way. So where do these crimes come from. Your imagination or does something in the news at home, or from further afield trigger an idea. In her answer she talks about situations from her first two books

 I have a very dark and murderous imagination! And then every town has secrets it wants to keep buried.

I attempt to give some context to the murders via historical and more recent historical events. In Ireland we’ve had the revelations of the horrific treatment of women and girls in the mother and baby homes and also the issue of worldwide clerical sexual abuse. I didn’t set out to write about this – I was actually writing about corruption re planning and developers – but St Angela’s reared it’s head and the little children looked out of the window and I was drawn into their story.

The Srebrenica massacre horrified me – I compared it to the horror from the Nazi regime – but I was also struck by the illegal organ harvesting in Kosovo. With The Stolen Girls, I focused on the Kosovo atrocities and brought the terror to present day Ragmullin.

 Your description of the Police, they’re procedures, and what is going on in the teams minds are great. Have you spent time doing the job, or researched it somehow.

 I am an avid crime thriller reader and love watching TV police series. I also have a couple of detective friends who hate to see me coming or my name popping up on their phone! Only joking, I think. When I have queries on procedures etc, I lift the phone and hound my detective friends.

Also in this book you used the illegal organ trade and the Balkan conflict. My question there is did the problems of the war give you the idea for the story. Or was there a story line in your thoughts and then you researched to find a war that would fit the blog

 History was my overall favourite subject at school and I read a lot about the Balkan conflict as it was unfolding. I fictionalised events for the story but the illegal organ harvesting that occurred during and after the conflict is based on fact. So to answer your question, I created the storyline around the conflict.

My last question is about future books. I look forward to seeing what’s happening to your characters as much as I do the next story. So. Are things going to get any better for Lottie and her Adam. Or can we expect more heartache and stress for Lottie whilst the kids carry on struggling through their different problems.

 Oh you can be sure things are not going to get much better! But I’m not totally heartless, so I might allow Lottie a little light relief and happiness along the way.

I have also found out that Patricia is editing the third book whilst writing the 4th in the series. Great news I am already looking forward to reading both of these.

Patricia. Thank You for answering my questions, but most of all thank you for these great books.

The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney is published by Bookouture, and is available on Amazon.The two links below are to my original reviews of The Stolen Girls and The Missing Ones.

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/the-stolen-girls/

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/the-missing-ones-patricia-gibney/

the lighterman Simon Michael

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Charles Holborne. A Barrister that changed his name from Charles Horowitz to improve his chances in the legal profession.

Charles Holborne, the man whose morals and ethics keep him sane.

Those morals and ethics are about to be tested.

In the previous two books in this series Charles Holborne has acted as a defence Barrister in some high profile cases. He has lost his wife, who he was arrested for murdering; he has gone head to head with crooked Police Officers; annoyed the Kray Twins, and been alienated by his peers. He has started relationships and lost his families trust.

In this book, we find out more about Charles. How his family were bombed out of their home during the blitz. How the young Charles ran away from being a refugee in Carmarthen, and returned to his bombed-out home. How he ended up working with family on tugs and barges on the Thames before joining the RAF to become a fighter pilot.

When, in 1964, one of the boat crew is accused of murder Charles is immersed in the working boat world of the Thames again.

The story looks at the gangland culture of London. Examines the bribery and corruption by, and off, Police Officer’s in and around Soho. Delves into the Gay culture of the mid 60’s, and its dangers.

In 1964 Charles is just beginning to attract clients again, but is living under the threat of being on Ronnie Kray’s “list”.

Merlin is accused of Murdering a Waterguard, a 1960’s river Policeman, come Customs Officer, and Charles is manipulated into representing him in Court: But who is Merlin and why has Charles been made to represent him.

The answers, to those question, lie in this marvellously written story. Not only does this book stand alone as a good novel, but it complements the two previous books. The reader will learn more about Charles, his youth, his family, and his private life.

I love books which have me reaching for the internet to research things that are mentioned in them. I spent ages looking at the world of the boat workers of the Thames. I found myself reading about the London gang wars of the 1960’s.

I picked this book up and was immediately hooked, 5 hours later I put it down, finished.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book, from front to back, in one sitting.

Pages: 400

Publisher: Urbane Publications

Available on Amazon for the Kindle.