#BlogTour Hidden Steel by Stuart Field

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Hidden Steel by Stuart Field. It’s the second book in the John Steel series.About the Author

Stuart Field was born in the UK, in the West Midlands. He spent his early years in the army, seeing service in all the known (and some unknown) hotspots around the world. He now lives in Germany with his wife Ani. When not engaged in highly confidential security work, he writes thrillers which perhaps mimic his life-experience more than the reader would like to believe.

Follow @StuartField14 on Twitter, on Facebookon GoodreadsBuy Hidden Steel

About the book

In the UK, Detective John Steel is investigating the organization who killed his family. When he comes across information that something big is going to happen on the cruise ship Neptune, Steel goes undercover. He has fourteen days to figure out what is going to happen – and to stop it.

In New York, Steel’s NYPD partner, Detective Samantha McCall, is investigating a series of deaths. All seems run of the mill for the homicide detective until they find out that the deaths are somehow connected to the cruise ship John Steel is on.

McCall is convinced there is a mole in the department, but can she figure out who he is – and who he’s working for? Meanwhile, Steel is running out of options… and the clock is ticking.

Review

This is the second book in the John Steel series, both books can be read as standalone novels.

The book seems to be split into two storylines with no apparent connection, aside from the fact John Steel and Sam McCall know each other. Steel is on a cruise ship playing his – my name is Steel, John Steel – role. He does have a wee bit of super spy aura going on. He is everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.

He is working undercover chasing something based on information that the Neptune is linked to a possible crime in the making. He isn’t sure what he is looking for he just knows that something wicked this way comes.

Meanwhile Sam McCall and the rest of the NYPD team are dealing with a series of deaths. What appears to the inexperienced to be accidental is something more nefarious to the more weathered eye of McCall.

I like the way the author creates this imperfect perfect and almost mystical figure in Steel. His reputation proceeds him as he appears to save people and situations with such ease and power. Then Field balances the story by giving readers the normality of his police colleagues. The banter, the crime and the personalities, it all gels really well.

It’s a fast-paced thriller, a combo of police procedural and action thriller. Field presents both storylines as separate entities at first, which makes for a split read, but not a disjointed one. The two are woven together naturally as the read progresses.

Buy Hidden Steel at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in paperback and digital formats by Next Chapter Publishing on 25th December 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour A Wash of Black by Chris McDonald

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Wash of Black by Chris McDonald.

About the Author

Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure, before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime.

He’s a fan of 5-a-side football, has an eclectic taste in music ranging from Damien Rice to Slayer and loves dogs.

Follow @cmacwritescrime and @RedDogTweets on Twitter, on Instagramon Goodreadson Amazon, Visit macsbookreview.wordpress.comBuy A Wash of Black

About the book

It’s not life that imitates art. It’s Death.

Anna Symons. Famous. Talented. Dead.

When the body of a famous actress is found mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, recreating a scene from a blockbuster film she starred in years ago, DI Erika Piper must find the culprit; the media-dubbed ‘Blood Ice Killer.’

Having recently returned to work after suffering a near fatal attack herself, she must once again prove her worth. But when another body is found, and the killer issues a personal threat, Erika must put her demons aside and crack the case, or suffer the deadly consequences.

Review

DI Erika Piper is hesitant to step back into her job and career. After a vicious attack she is still uncertain, and what’s more important is the lack of trust between herself and the person she feels is partly responsible for her being subject to the attack. Resentment can fester, especially if one of the parties believes they are beyond reproach.

Erika is thrown head-first into the very deep end of a bloody and brutal murder when a body is found slaughtered to the tune and direction of a book and film scene. A film star with no lack of obsessed fans and perhaps also one who decided to take it too far.

Erika, who is dealing with a lot of disruption in her private life, finds herself drawn into the world of film, which isn’t as fun as it sounds. Anger, jealousy and petty rivalry. A film student who obsesses about the inaccuracies of the film, a disgruntled boyfriend and a hostile working environment.

It’s a police procedural crime thriller. A fast-paced crime read – a possible series with plenty of potential for development. The author keeps everything to a bare minimum. Less is more and has the added bonus of being able to take both the characters and the stories in any direction.

This is a solid beginning for a debut novel and crime series. Going forward I hope McDonald trusts in his own talent to give the readers a great story. Open the doors and let loose. There is a lot more in there and I want to read it.

Buy A Wash of Black (DI Erika Piper #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Red Dog Press

#BlogTour Beyond the Margin by Jo Jackson

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Beyond the Margin by Jo Jackson.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win signed copies of Beyond the Margin and Too Loud a Silence by Jo Jackson. (UK only)About the Author

Jo Jackson reads books and writes them too.

Having worked with some of the most vulnerable people in society she has a unique voice apparent in her second novel Beyond the Margin.

She was a nurse, midwife and family psychotherapist and now lives in rural Shropshire with her husband. She loves travelling and walking as well as gardening, philosophy and art.

Her first novel Too Loud a Silence is set in Egypt where Jo lived for a few years with her husband and three children. Events there were the inspiration for her book which she describes as ‘a story she had to write’.

About the book

Is living on the edge of society a choice? Or is choice a luxury of the fortunate?

Joe, fighting drug addiction, runs until the sea halts his progress. His is a faltering search for meaningful relationships.

‘Let luck be a friend’, Nuala is told but it had never felt that way. Abandoned at five years old survival means learning not to care. Her only hope is to take control of her own destiny. The intertwining of their lives makes a compelling story of darkness and light, trauma, loss and second chances.

Review

Nuala is abandoned to starve and die as a five-year-old. Her experiences as a child and in care define her character and choices, which aren’t always the right ones. Both Nuala and her choices are driven by her fear of abandonment, the fury about being powerless and the confusion she feels about her father. Love is mixed in equal measures with anger and longing.

Joe is a drug addict running away from his past and his life in general. He stumbles upon an elderly couple, who live an isolated life on an island. They recognise a young man in need of support. Joe struggles with inner demons – the call of the drugs that help him forget, and with his own difficult childhood.

Jackson has her finger on the pulse when it comes to the emotional depth and rawness of her characters. There is no sugar-coating of the truth or over-hyping of the same. It’s just out there – to be accepted or not. It’s uncomfortable, but the truth often is when it isn’t being hidden or glossed over. Our care systems are inadequate and children fall through the huge cracks all the time, and yet colour us surprised when they grow up to become the criminals, addicts and vulnerable adults of our societies. Children in care are jobs to over-worked, understaffed, and desensitised social workers who also lack the resources to help them when they need it the most.

It’s an emotional hard-hitting contemporary read. To some it might highlight the fact that we shouldn’t give up so easily on those who struggle or are difficult and don’t fit into the norm society dictates. Second chances can be given, but are often rejected because it’s hard to believe someone could actually care enough when those who are supposed to didn’t or weren’t capable of doing so.

This book will be going on my stand-outs of the year list. Jackson writes with such compassion and brutal honesty – the result is a breathtakingly down-to-earth and compelling read.

Buy Beyond the Margin at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Apedale Press; pub date 23 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win signed copies of Beyond the Margin and Too Loud a Silence by Jo Jackson. (UK only)

Click here to Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#SeriesBlogTour Tomorrow’s Ancestors: The Base of Reflections by A.E. Warren

It’s my second turn on the Blog Tour for the Tomorrow’s Ancestors series by A.E. Warren. I blogged about the first book The Museum of Second Chances a few days ago and today it’s all about the second book, The Base of Reflections.

About the Author

AE Warren lives in the UK. A not-so-covert nerd with mildly obsessive tendencies, she has happily wiled away an inordinate amount of time reading and watching sci-fi/ fantasy and gaming. She is interested in the ‘what ifs’.

The Museum of Second Chances is her first novel and she is currently writing the third book in the ‘Tomorrow’s Ancestors’ series.

Follow @amauthoring on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagramon Goodreadson Amazon, Visit aewarren.comBuy The Base of Reflections

About the book

What happens when the future abandons the past?

Elise and her companions have made it to the safety of Uracil but at a price. Desperate to secure her family’s passage, she makes a deal with Uracil’s Tri-Council. She’ll become their spy, jeopardising her own freedom in the process, in exchange for her family’s safe transfer. But first she has to help rescue the next Neanderthal, Twenty-Two.

Twenty-Two has never left the confines of the steel walls that keep her separated from the other exhibits. She has no contact with the outside world and no way of knowing why she has been abandoned. With diminishing deliveries of food and water, she has to start breaking the museum’s rules if she wants a second chance at living.

One belongs to the future and the other to the past, but both have to adapt—or neither will survive…Review

This is part of a series and I would definitely suggest reading the first in the series, The Museum of Second Chances. Aside from the intricacy of the plot, and it is a really well thought out and intriguing premise, it is necessary to get the entire gist of the story and the characters.

The first book ends with Elise and her companions heading towards Uracil and this one begins with them arriving at their destination. The council is willing to help Elise in return for a favour – they want her to spy for them. She also has to rescue Twenty-two.

Meanwhile Twenty-two is just as determined to escape, especially because the powers that be have been treating her differently to the other human species – the Neanderthal exhibits. For some reason there seems to be a concerted effort to starve and deprive her of her basic needs. Some of their experiments are inhumane, which in itself says a lot about the post-apocalyptic society in power.

Warren deserves to be on quite a few radars. The plot is clever and compelling, and is very much driven by the emotional element that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

It’s a futuristic, dystopian post-apocalyptic tale – an intriguing look at the worst side of so-called intelligent life form. How easy it is for humankind to swing from survival instinct to excusing acts of cruelty and oppression in the name of science, evolution and development.

Buy The Base of Reflections at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Museum of Second Chances by A.E. Warren.

#BlogTour When the Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgwick

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour When the Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgwick.About the Author

Helen Sedgwick is the author of The Comet Seekers, selected as a best book of 2016 by the Herald, and The Growing Season, shortlisted for the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year in 2018. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University and won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. Before she became an author, she was a research physicist with a PhD in Physics from Edinburgh University. She now lives and writes in the Scottish Highlands.

Follow @helensedgwick on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit helensedgwick.comBuy When the Dead Come Calling

About the book

A murder investigation unearths the brutal history of a village where long buried secrets threaten a small community.

When psychotherapist Alexis Cosse is found murdered in the playground of the sleepy northern village of Burrowhead, the local police force set out to investigate. It’s not long before they uncover a maelstrom of racism, misogyny and homophobia.

But there’s worse to come. Shaken by the revelations and beginning to doubt her relationship with her husband Fergus, DI Georgie Strachan soon realizes that something very bad is lurking just below the surface. Meanwhile someone – or something – is hiding in the strange, haunted cave beneath the cliffs.

Review

The atmosphere created in this story reminded me of thrillers in the 70/80s. The Hammer House of Horror kind of heavy on the creepy, laced with taut tension and fear lurking in the background to jump all over them. You can’t trust anyone and you never know what is behind closed doors.

At first there is terror and desperation, as we are narrated by someone being stalked or chased. Shift gears and the reader is drawn into the complacent marriage of Georgie and Fergus, which leads to the discovery of a body, which comes as a shock to the small community of Burrowhead.

What appears to be the normal multitude of problems in a small village, such as misogny, sexism, homophobia and racism, is just the cherry on top of a very dark sundae. Somewhere beneath the surface lurks something DI Strachan just can’t seem to put her finger on. Whilst none of these problems are acceptable they also don’t lead Strachan closer to any answers.

The author has a talent for description – the writing is almost lyrical at times. You’re hiding in the cave. You can hear and see the sea. Feel the presence that has laid itself on top of Burrowhead, almost like a darkness no one can see, but everyone is aware of on a certain level. Evil sits on the back of your neck just waiting to do something. You’re not sure what and the expectation is exactly what drives this read.

It’s a psychological murder mystery that has a wonderfully intense atmospheric element to it that lasts until the final page. Sedgwick surprised me. There is this sense of confusion, of being in the dark or surrounded by something, and yet not knowing by what or by whom. I was expecting a straight up crime read, but she has infused it with so much more and added an ending that lends itself to many more stories going forward.

Buy When the Dead Come Calling (The Burrowhead Mysteries #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Point Blank, pub date 9 Jan. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie.About the Author

Alex Craigie was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and all she can remember about it is that: it was written in pencil in a book with weights and measures on the back the two heroes were Prince Rupert and his brother (whose name was changed to Sam to facilitate the rhyming process.) as writer, producer and director she ‘bagged’ the part of female lead. When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines and since then has fulfilled her ambition to write a novel.

Someone Close to Home has won two ‘Chill with a Book’ awards – The Reader’s Award and the Book of the Month Award.

Alex lives in a small village in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and knows that she and her husband are lucky to have their children and grandchildren living nearby. It’s often chaotic and noisy but these are her most treasured moments and she savours them – even if she’s reduced to an immovable heap after they’ve gone.

As an independent author, without a big publishing machine behind her, she is very grateful to all the people who have found and bought her first book – and a huge thank you to those who’ve gone out of their way to write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. These reviews make a massive difference to ‘Indies’ and the positive ones encourage other readers to risk buying a copy.

What else can she say?  Nothing, really. Writing this personal promotion has been very, very hard and she needs to go away now and lie down in a darkened room, preferably with a big bar of chocolate…

She looks forward to any contact from fellow lovers of books and any honest feedback is very welcome.

Follow Alex Craigie on GoodreadsBuy Someone Close to Home

About the book

Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon. But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.

Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.

And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people. Just how far will Annie go?

Review

It’s hard to imagine what it must be or feel like to be entirely dependent on other people and physically unable to move or communicate with anyone, and yet be aware of your surroundings at the same time. No power. Exposed to everything and everyone.

The reader experiences the vulnerability, the fear and the anger of Megan. We see it and hear it through her eyes, as a woman in a care facility trapped in her own body. Some of the carers are nice. They take the time to interpret her grunts and noises, but there are some that don’t, and others who just enjoy being sadistic.

The story moves from present to past as Megan retreats into the depths of her mind and her memories to survive the hopeless situation she finds herself in. We experience her as the child, the young woman, the musical prodigy, and slowly learn which events led to her living in a care home.

Craigie really gets down to the nitty-gritty of what it’s like for the elderly and the more vulnerable in our society, and sheds a light on the loopholes in the care system. Lack of responsibility and accountability combined with overworked staff contribute to many becoming victims – victims who can neither defend themselves or tell anyone what is happening to them. This is most poignant aspect of the story.

I’ll admit part of me was hoping the author would end the story the way it progressed for the majority of the book, because it is so close to reality and the truth hurts. It won’t do anyone any harm to have their eyes opened to what it feels like to be vulnerable and absolutely powerless.

It’s a domestic thriller – a tense, emotional and gripping read.

Buy Someone Close to Home at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ashford Carbonel Publishing, pub date 9 Dec. 2016. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell.

About the Author

Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School. She worked at a prestigious Manhattan law firm before spending eight years fighting crime in NYC as a federal prosecutor. Her debut novel It’s Always the Husband was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller.

Follow @MCampbellBks on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit MicheleCampbellBooks.com

About the book

There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aidan, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aidan for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, he life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

Review

Poor Caroline is being played for a fool by her supposedly loving hubby. Not only is he straying from the marital bed he also has the audacity to bring the harlot to their home and parade her in front of their friends and family.

In her despair Caroline ends up having a drunken fling with a younger man. She has no idea that he has a dark and volatile past, and that he might be dangerous. He starts to stalk, threaten and scare her. It’s all too much to deal with as she has to watch the life she loves slowly disintegrate.

Then the coin is flipped and the reader follows Aiden and his perspective on the story, which can in all honesty often come off as stalkerish, possessive and creepy. Simultaenously you get short moments of the desperation he feels to be accepted by family, friends and society in general. Is his connection to and concern for Caroline real? He certainly seems to be unusually invested in keeping her safe. Or is it keeping her to himself?

The story is very much a he said/she said scenario. Should the reader believe Caroline or Aiden? Their stories are so different and yet at times very similar. It’s hard to determine who is telling the truth or who is telling great big fat lies. Well I’m not telling you – you will have to read it and find out.

It’s a psychological thriller, a tense game of half-truths and betrayal. Campbell keeps the narrative of both parties flowing seamlessly – with only tiny glimpses of the actual truth here and there.

Buy A Stranger on the Beach at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; eBook £2.99 pub date 23 July 2019 – Paperback £7.99 pub date 9 Jan 2020 – Audiobook £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell