#BlogTour Irony in the Soul by Pete Adams

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Irony in the Soul by Pete Adams. It’s a slightly chaotic character-driven crime story full of humour and action.

About the Author

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.

 

About the book

As a disconsolate detective examines a series of religiously motivated murders, a conflicting internal struggle is roused – will he thwart the perpetrator, or become a conspirator?

Recuperating from a dauntless child rescue mission, disturbed but driven Detective Inspector Jack Austin returns to work amid a personality clash with a retired Colonel, who happens to be his new Chief Constable. When the Constable is kidnapped – and returned in pieces – DI Austin’s hapless hunt for the culprit begins.

The second addictive thriller in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, Irony in the Soul follows DI Austin as he investigates a string of cryptic murders including a beheaded minister, a drowned woman in a Hijab, and a band of terrorists with explosives. As the transgressor is revealed – and strangely befriended – DI Austin battles a grievous inner conflict. Will he abet the malevolence plaguing the town, or arrest it?

Review

This is the second book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series. Although this can be read as a standalone I would suggest reading the first in the series, especially when it comes to Meesh and Jack. Their relationship and bond is defined and cemented in the first book. To understand the gravity of the situation, which brings the two of them together, you have to experience their story yourself.

Adams creates this interesting juxtaposition between the tone of the piece in whole, which is very much boys banter and Lock Stock and Smoking Barrels kind of gangster and police vs the very in-tune with his emotions Jack Austin. It certainly makes for some unusual scenes.

That’s not even counting the crimes and the murders. It’s fair to say Jack has his work cut out for him when it comes to the crimes he has to solve. At times he feels as if it’s more than he can cope with or just the police in general. A power struggle between good and evil, and Jack feels as if it is up to him to control the ebb before the city is swallowed.

It’s a slightly chaotic character-driven crime story full of humour and action. The author tries to give his readers a balance between lighthearted, emotionally charged, cheeky banter and intriguing crime scenarios.

Buy Irony in the Soul (Kind Hearts and Martinets #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Next Chapter Publishing in ebook and paperback formats on 28th June 2019. Buy at Amazon comAt GoogleBook Depository.

#BlogTour Last Orders by Bill Todd

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Last Orders by Bill Todd. It’s a murder mystery solved Danny Lancaster style.About the Author

Bill is a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. He loves a good wilderness. He received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.

Bill has written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. He’s also written three short factual military histories. He lives to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

Follow @williamjtodd  and @DannyLancaster3 on Twitter, on Goodreadson Instagramon AmazonDannyLancasterInvestigates on Facebook, Visit billtodd.co.uk

About the book

Big Eddie Archer is throwing a celebrity party for the reopening of The Bellerophon public house. When singer Paul Toopen, star of TV reality show Dreamboat, goes missing there is only one man the pub’s guv’nor can call on. But Danny Lancaster is off his game after overdoing Eddie’s free hospitality at last night’s dress rehearsal. Fans besiege the pub and the media are everywhere. This could be a public relations disaster but Eddie reckons if Danny can crack the case before closing time it will make the new Bellerophon famous. Danny’s head is pounding but Eddie’s star guests might just be trapped in a pub with a killer. And the clock is ticking down to last orders. #TheBigBellBash

Review

This is a novella length story, but Todd manages to deliver an entertaining read worthy of a novel. I kinda liked this one a lot more than the full-length ones though, perhaps because the focus is on less rather than on more. It’s just Danny and his devil-may-care attitude and a few side characters, which is all the story needs.

The story is really quite simple. A minor celebrity goes missing at an event, during the event actually, and Danny is called in to solve the mystery of the disappearing guest. The author takes that scenario and turns it into so much more.

There was this moment during the story – the most poignant one in my opinion. It’s a comical one, and I admit to laughing out loud at that moment. Then bang the author flips the switch and takes the reader straight into a flashback. The reader is right there with Danny as he relives the trauma and the horror of the situation he finds himself in once again.

The juxtaposition of the comedic moment and traumatic flashback is a stroke of genius. It actually gives the reader similar visceral reactions as they are reading. Laughter melds into uncertainty, then shock and finally the realisation of what is happening. Kudos to Todd for that particular part of the story.

It’s a murder mystery solved Danny Lancaster style, as only he can solve them. It’s snarky, funny and a jolly good read.

Buy Last Orders:Trapped in a pub with a killer (Danny Lancaster) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in paperback and ebook formats by DLE-Fiction on 1st August 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of Rock Hard and Rough Diamond by Bill Todd.

Buy Rough DiamondDeath SquadThe Wreck of the Margherita (free download)Gargoyle Pixie DogGodlefe’s Cuckoo all by Bill Todd.

Today is Paperback Publication Day for Appetite for Risk by Jack Leavers

It’s Launch weekend for Appetite for Risk by Jack Leavers! Today is Paperback Publication Day for this fast-paced riveting action thriller.

Follow @jackleavers on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit jackleavers.com, Buy Appetite for Risk

About the book

A fast-paced action thriller inspired by real events in the aftermath of the Iraq War.

With Saddam Hussein deposed and an entire country in need of rebuilding, former Royal Marine John Pierce hears the siren call of adventure and opportunity. His fledgling UK business is struggling to support his young family and he has connections in the Iraqi capital – fate seems to point one way.

In early 2004, Pierce rolls the dice when he jumps into a taxi in Jordan and heads for the turmoil of postwar Baghdad to grab a share of the reconstruction gold rush. But when Iraq spirals into the hell of a full-blown insurgency, he must rely on his wits and his local friends if he’s to evade the rampant bloodshed.

As the action rolls across the blood-stained Iraqi landscape and embraces London’s seedy underbelly, Pierce tangles with the authorities at home and finds himself thrust into the heart of British and American covert operations against Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Having set out with little more than ambitious goals and an appetite for risk, can a determined ex-bootneck survive the mounting chaos unscathed and succeed in hitting the jackpot?Review

I think I was somewhere between fascinated and thrown off by the way John has whole conversations with himself inside his head during the majority of the story. It’s written in a constantly flowing and updating journalistic report kind of way, and appears to be an ongoing thought process.

At first John appears to be a man with no threads or connections. The perfect person to move between all parties without inviting too much interest or attracting any for that matter. Not a spy, a silent asset or a company man. He is just someone who will use his expertise and excellent gut instinct to navigate dangerous situations for people who would rather remain hidden.

It’s very much a Jack Reacher kind of read, but with a more grounded family guy, who unfortunately appears to have a voracious appetite for dangerous situations. He is always smack bang in the middle of the action.

What Leavers does spectacularly well is to capture the tension between foreigners and the native inhabitants of Iraq. He doesn’t sugar-coat the volatility, the mistrust or the disdain towards foreign nationals. He straight up gives it to the reader in a brusque manner. Look, this is what happens when the dissidents capture you. Your life has no meaning to them other than honour for relieving the world of an infidel.

It’s a fast-paced riveting action thriller. The main character has a certain charm, which is directly linked to his need for speed and adventure.

Buy Appetite for Risk at Amazon Uk – Paperback – Kindle or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Book Guild Publishing Ltd; Paperback pub date 28 July 2019. Buy at Amazon com – Paperback – Kindle, Buy at Barnes&Noble.

#BlogTour Wicked Girl by I.V. Olokita

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Wicked Girl by I.V. Olokita.

About the Author

I.V. Olokita has been providing medical care most of his life, specializing in management of medical aid to disaster areas all over the world. He also has a BA degree in logistics, and an MA degree in emergency and disaster situations management. He volunteers to rescue missions in disaster areas all over the world. I. V. Olokita is a happily married father of two adolescents and a foster father of five cats and two dogs.

Olokita’s first book (in Hebrew), Ten Simple Rules, was published in 2014. It won an Israeli literary prize, and immediately made an online bestseller. The following year, another book by Olokita, The Executioner From The Silent Valley, made a local bestseller in Israel. In May 2016, his third novel, Wicked Girl, was published, to great success, and is now presented in English. Olokita’s books are characterized by direct writing, twists and turns, requiring the reader to delve into and maintain vigilance from the beginning of the book to its surprising end.

Follow @OloKital on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Facebook, on Instagram,

Visit wickedgirl-olokita.com, Buy Wicked Girl

About the book

“Even if a dog goes mad, it will always be a dog.”

So said a small white sign hung on a wall in Birmingham Mental Institution Ward number 3. It had a black frame, written in a hand they were all well acquainted with. The letters had faded over time. In the end, among all the calligraphy in the frame, one could detect a blurred signature. It was mine.

John Wilcox is a young idler who loathes people except for young women. His destiny brought him near Birmingham Mental Institution during an earthquake. At that time Wilcox saves Elsie, an eccentric, half-deranged teenager. John pulls out every manipulation at his disposal to convince her that he is the right person to help her recover. Grey, Alessi’s father, goes on a quest for his lost daughter. She, too, like her mother, was trying to escape him. And so, began the tragic story between prey, and it’s supposed predator.

Wicked Girl is a psychological crime fiction, where a sequence of accidents generates cold-blooded, and blood-curdling actions. It is a fascinating combination of romance, tension, and humor, unpredictable to the very end. Presented in a clear, straightforward way, yet its plot is packed with wit, action, and surprises grabbing the reader’s attention all the way to the last word.

Review

I’m going to assume that this was written in the authors native language first and then translated into English. There doesn’t seem to be a mention of a translator, so presumably the author did that himself. It’s entirely possible that the essence of the story that the author wanted to convey hasn’t quite hit the mark with the English version. However it’s also possible that this would have been the end result anyway.

I found it hard to find a thread or thought process to connect with. Aside from being salacious, disjointed and confusing, it’s also disturbing at times. It might be a case of not my cup of tea or not in the right frame of mind, but I am going to go with this plays off like something between a collection of assumptions on abuse and tropes that shouldn’t be repeated, which starts with the title.

The insinuation of blame on the victim. The girl is wicked, naughty, ergo indecent and seductive. The suggestion being of blame because of the wickedness, which of course is victim blaming 101. The opposite side of the coin, which doesn’t play into it in this case really is the perpetrator/s using exactly that thought process to take any accountability for their actions. Oh wait, they don’t, because hey the girl is wicked.

The writing of a mind in meltdown – jumping from idea to inspiration and possibly encompassing some emotional baggage along the way. Perhaps this was the intent though. A kind of noir meets trash come performance art kind of vibe. Then again maybe it’s not.

Buy Wicked Girl at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Book Depository.

#BlogTour Rock Hard by Bill Todd

Today it’s my turn on the Danny Lancaster BlogTour, this time with the book Rock Hard by Bill Todd. It’s an action packed read full of suspense and a main character who is making a name for himself.

About the Author

Bill is a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. He loves a good wilderness. He received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.

Bill has written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. He’s also written three short factual military histories. He lives to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

Follow @williamjtodd  and @DannyLancaster3 on Twitter, on Goodreadson Instagramon AmazonDannyLancasterInvestigates on Facebook, Visit billtodd.co.uk

Buy Rock Hard

About the book

When Danny Lancaster gets a call from an old friend it looks like a chance to swap work and women worries in Brighton for a sunshine reunion.

Danny hasn’t seen Pogo since they fought together in Afghanistan. They have war stories to retell, beers to drink. But Pogo is broke, sick and in serious trouble. It started in Gibraltar smuggling cigarettes to pay his debts. Now his Russian boss has taken on a dangerous job for a mysterious businessman. A priceless package must be smuggled into Europe across the narrow straits from Africa.But unseen eyes are watching. Lives are in danger. A game of Russian roulette is just the start of a deadly clash where two continents meet.

The two friends are way out of their depth. And Danny must make a decision. How far do you go to help the man who saved your life?

Review

This is the fourth book in the Danny Lancaster series, and although there are threads that reappear in the books they can all be read as standalone novels.

In this book Lancaster accidentally falls into a deep well of danger, when he visits an old army pal and gets completely blathered on a night out. Their liquid adventure is the beginning of domino stones falling across the world, all of them somehow connected to our military vet come detective.

It’s a brutal and vicious read. It’s also uncomfortable at times. Todd knows how to present fiction on a plate and serve it with a portion of brusque reality.

I think it is fair to say that Todd has a very specific style when it comes to plotting. Imagine drawing a spider web from the outside towards the inside instead of the other way round. Direct lines lead towards the centre and the interlinking threads are the various storylines and subplots in the story. Danny Lancaster is threaded through the web like the unwitting fly being drawn into whatever trouble awaits him.

Todd isn’t satisfied with any old scenario. His stories are ambitious and action-packed. It’s interesting how Lancaster often falls into the midst of everything almost by accident. He isn’t looking for trouble it just seems to come looking for him.

Lancaster doesn’t mind, perhaps part of him believes he has to excel at taking down the bad guys and saving his friends and himself to prove he is still the man he was before his injury. The truth is he isn’t and never will be. He is defined by his experiences and a more driven man because of it.

It’s an action packed read full of suspense and a main character who is making a name for himself.

Buy Rock Hard at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Buy Rough DiamondDeath SquadThe Wreck of the Margherita (free download)Gargoyle Pixie DogGodlefe’s Cuckoo all by Bill Todd.

Read my review of Rough Diamond by Bill Todd.

#BlogTour Kill for Me by Rebecca Bradley

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Kill for Me by Rebecca Bradley. It’s a fast-paced crime thriller.About the Author

Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective. She lives in the UK with her family and her two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.

She writes the DI Hannah Robbins police procedural series and has also released a standalone novel, Dead Blind, about a cop who acquires prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness.

To receive a free novella sign up to her readers’ club and you will be able to download the prequel to Hannah Robbins series. Find it on the blog at rebeccabradleycrime.com.You’ll also be provided exclusive content and giveaways.

Follow @RebeccaJBradley on Twitter, On Facebookon InstagramAmazon Author page, on Goodreads, Visit rebeccabradleycrime.com

Buy Kill for Me

About the book

A deadly game. An unstoppable killer. The perfect alibi.

Lucy Anderson is late collecting her daughter from nursery. A mistake that could prove fatal. Her daughter is gone and there is only one way Lucy can get her back. The ransom is simple, she has to kill someone…

And this is just the beginning. A deadly game with a domino effect has started as the real killer forces others to do his bidding.

Can detective inspector Hannah Robbins find the killer’s next puppet before they’re forced to strike or will this be the case where her opponent has found the perfect way to kill?

Pick up Kill For Me for impossible choices and moral dilemmas and see where you would fall.

Review

This is the fifth book in the DI Hannah Robbins series and can absolutely be read as a standalone novel.

This is a domino effect crime. Pressure person A to kill unknown variable, blackmail person B to get rid of the evidence aka person A, and so on. Seems to be the kind of crimes that remain motiveless and perhaps even unsolved. The person at the helm, who is controlling the kills and the narrative is sure nothing can lead straight back to the source.

Would you kill to save a loved one? Would you go against every instinct in your body and kill an innocent person? Weighing the life of an innocent against your own or that of your child. Would you, could you?

The other recurring storyline is Robbins dealing with the way her boss is treating a member of her team. Whilst I absolutely support a diverse and inclusive work environment, and abhor mobbing and/or discrimination, there is a point I want to make.

Given the fact that their boss is only privy to fifty percent of all the information, and said colleague decides to keep his disorder and disability a secret, both Robbins and said colleague shouldn’t expect special treatment.

As far as their commanding officer is concerned the colleague is being rude and disrespectful, and there is no way he is completing his job correctly with earphones in his ears. The fact that they might be a medical or mental health necessity may not cross his mind, because he can’t make assumptions. In this case I felt he had a point, at the same time I understand the need to keep certain issues private, but if it is something so in your face then it has to be addressed in the work environment.

It’s a fast-paced crime thriller. The perpetrator appears to be ahead of the police all of the time, except of course the truth is everyone makes a mistake, even if it just a small one.

Buy Kill for Me at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any retailer. Published in ebook and audio formats on 14th February 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of the Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley.

#BlogTour The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

Happy Publication Day to The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North, and it’s also my turn on the BlogTour today! It’s a psychological thriller, and in equal measures a story about grief and mental health.

Lauren+North+©+Lindsay+Wakelin+Photography

Copyright Lindsay Wakelin Photography

About the Author

Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.

Follow @Lauren_C _North @TransworldBooks on Twitter, or Lauren on Facebook, on Goodreads,

Buy The Perfect Betrayal

About the book

After the sudden death of her husband, Tess is drowning in grief. All she has left is her son, Jamie, and she’ll do anything to protect him – but she’s struggling to cope.

When grief counsellor Shelley knocks on their door, everything changes. Shelley is understanding and kind, and promises she can help Tess through the hardest time of her life.

But when a string of unsettling events happens and questions arise over her husband’s death, Tess starts to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. Tess knows she must do everything she can to keep Jamie safe – but she’s at her most vulnerable, and that’s a dangerous place to be.

Review

I’m going to try and be careful not to give away anything that might reveal the plot in its entirety, because the emotional crescendo at the end and psychological aspect of the story is what makes it such a captivating read.

When Tess loses her husband unexpectedly her grief envelopes her whole world. She becomes fiercely protective of her young son Jamie, almost to the point of being paranoid and self-destructive. A grief counsellor called Shelley tries to help Tess deal with her loss, but ends up making her doubt herself and her surroundings even more.

The paranoia Tess experiences is magnified tenfold by her brother-in-law Ian. He is pushing Tess to deal with the financial aftermath of the death, pushing entirely in his favour of course. His greed and the fact there seem to be discrepancies and unanswered questions about the death of her spouse make Tess even more sensitive to the odd things that start happening around her.

The author captures the intensity of the grief process and how it manifests differently in each of us. In some people it manifests in feelings of anger, guilt, fear, perhaps even relief depending on the circumstances of the loss. Grief isn’t necessarily rational and can cause an altered state of mind.

I think the most difficult thing is that the people outside of that intense inner ring of grief often lack compassion, empathy and understanding about the way a grieving person may react. They expect the grieving person to deal with it, get over it and just move on to the next chapter of their lives. It isn’t that simple. Grief is a pit of embers that alights when triggered. Those embers may be less likely to precede a fire with time, but make no mistake they are always hidden somewhere deep inside.

It’s a psychological thriller, and in equal measures a story about grief and mental health. How the emotional turmoil caused by despair, death and losing the people you love the most can drive a person to the brink.

North brings the story full circle at the end, and in a way brings the most realistic element of this tale into the last few pages. Tess makes a decision for her own well-being, perhaps not what everyone thinks is best, but in that moment in time it’s the right thing for her or is it?

Buy The Perfect Betrayal at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in paperback format by Corgi Books on 27th June 2019. (also available in ebook and audio formats). Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Kobo. Buy at Waterstones. Buy at Book Depository. Buy at Hive.