#BlogTour The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday

Today it’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday. It has a gothic vibe, and yet simultaneously it has the feel of pulsing modern crime story, both elements feed on each other to create a captivating read.

Susi author photo.jpgAbout the Author

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December.

Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls has  been described by David Mark as ‘Dark as a smoker’s lung.’ She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

Follow @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks on Twitter, Visit sjiholliday.com

Buy The Lingering

About the book

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.


At first it appears as if Ali and Jack are just seeking a place to find some peace. A secluded old hospital with a suspicious reputation, now run by a small cult-like group, sounds like just the right place to do exactly that.

Bit by bit the reader learns that Ali and John have their own secrets to protect, and that a secluded isolated house fits into their plans to keep certain aspects of their lives hidden. Instead of connecting with the others Ali is stand-offish and behaves as if Jack is a ticking time-bomb only she can control.

Angela tries to connect with her, perhaps more so out of morbid curiosity and with her own slightly stalkerish and creepy research in mind. Ali’s odd behaviour makes Angela take a closer look at the strange couple, which sets off a tragic sequence of events.

Holliday combines layers of paranoia, fear and suspicion from the past and the present to create an unstable environment, which keeps the reader on their feet. Are we dealing with unhappy souls walking the halls looking for a semblance of revenge or is the cold calculating ruthlessness of a possible killer skewing the aura of the so-called peaceful commune environment?

This is an intriguing mixture of crime and the paranormal. It has a gothic vibe, and yet simultaneously it has the feel of a pulsing modern crime story, both elements feed on each other to create a captivating read.

Buy The Lingering at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Orenda Books

#BlogTour The Red Hand of Fury by R.N. Morris

It is a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Red Hand of Fury by R.N. Morris.  At the bottom of the post there is a Giveaway (International Yay!) to win a hardback copy of this fantastic crime with a gothic horror vibe.

About the Author

R. N. Morris is the author of eight historical crime novels. His first, A Gentle Axe, was published by Faber and Faber in 2007. Set in St Petersburg in the nineteenth century, it features Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoevsky’s great novel, Crime and Punishment. The book was published in many countries, including Russia.

He followed that up with A Vengeful Longing, which was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. A Razor Wrapped in Silk came next, followed by The Cleansing Flames, which was nominated for the Ellis Peters Historical Novel Dagger. The Silas Quinn series of novels, set in London in 1914, began with Summon Up The Blood, followed by The Mannequin House, The Dark Palace and now The Red Hand of Fury, published on 31 March, 2018.

Taking Comfort is a standalone contemporary novel, written as Roger Morris. He also wrote the libretto to the opera When The Flame Dies, composed by Ed Hughes.

Follow @rnmorris  @severnhouse on Twitter

Buy The Red Hand of Fury

About the book

London, June 1914. A young man is mauled to death at London Zoo after deliberately climbing into the bear pit. Shortly afterwards, another young man leaps to his death from the notorious Suicide Bridge. Two seemingly unconnected deaths – and yet there are similarities.

Following a third attempted suicide, Detective Inspector Silas Quinn knows he must uncover the link between the three men if he is to discover what caused them to take their own lives. The one tangible piece of evidence is a card found in each of the victims’ possession, depicting a crudely-drawn red hand. What does it signify? To find the answers, Quinn must revisit his own dark past. But can he keep his sanity in the process …?


Do you believe there is such a thing as true evil? Can someone who has committed the most heinous of acts ever be redeemed, and should they then be allowed to walk amongst the innocent of society? Allowed to prowl the streets like a caged hungry tiger, who is always only one step away from devouring its next meal.

How many men and women with a lust for pain and killing have convinced their peers that they are merely victims of a moment of mental instability, as opposed to beings who crave the pleasure of sadism, thereby laying their own path for inevitable freedom somewhere in the future.

The truth is the criminal system is flawed, and the containment of psycho- and sociopaths in mental institutions is perhaps the biggest flaw of all. Where an attempt is made to heal and rehabilitate, and assessments are made which enables patient killers to one day prowl the streets again.

Silas Quinn can see Timon Medway for what he is, and the danger he represents to everyone around him. Even the most brutal of guards can often distinguish the difference between lunacy and true evil.

When men start committing suicide in the most bizarre and brutal way possible, the obvious assumption is some sort of momentary madness or desperation. Which isn’t completely impossible, even it weren’t for the fact they all have something minor in common. Just something any other person would dismiss as a coincidence, but Silas and his team are used to sniffing out the anomalies in the strange cases they solve.

It’s an intriguing combination of mystery and crime with a gothic horror vibe. You can feel the insidious nature of the beast seeping into the pages. Morris plants this almost hypnotic suggestion about not looking into the eyes of evil, thereby confirming not only the fears the characters have, but also your own.

What makes Silas Quinn such a compelling character is the fact he has crossed the line between reality and his own conjured up visions of insecurities and fears. One gets the feeling that he never quite knows what he is doing and whether or not he is about to lose the plot completely. Who better to recognise the devil than someone who has danced with him themselves.

The story has an element of the macabre feel of a Poe at his darkest, and yet it is lightened by the imperfections of Quinn and his bloodhound knack of sensing when a crime is afoot. It’s a well-written riveting piece of fiction.

Buy The Red Hand of Fury at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Kindle edition Buy The Red Hand of Fury at Amazon com

Giveaway – Win a hardback copy of The Red Hand of Fury (Open Internationally) Click on the link below to enter

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter above. 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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.*

#BlogTour The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

Welcome to the BlogTour for The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James. It has a real feel of the old classics. Echoes of Rebecca and Jane Eyre can be heard in the hallways. Enjoy this Gothic Horror come Ghost story featuring a vengeful woman, who influences the lives of her enemy for years after her demise.

About the Author

Rebecca James was born in 1983. She worked in publishing for several years before leaving to write full-time, and is now the author of eight previous novels written under a pseudonym. Her favourite things are autumn walks, Argentinean red wine and curling up in the winter with a good old-fashioned ghost story. She lives in Bristol with her husband and two daughters.

Follow @HQStories

About the book

‘You’ll be the woman of this house, next, miss. And you’ll like it.’

1947 – Governess Alice Miller loves Winterbourne the moment she sees it. Towering over the Cornish cliffs, its dark corners and tall turrets promise that, if Alice can hide from her ghosts anywhere, it’s here. And who better to play hide and seek with than twins Constance and Edmund? Angelic and motherless, they are perfect little companions.

2018 – Adopted at birth, Rachel’s roots are a mystery. So, when a letter brings news of the death of an unknown relative, Constance de Grey, Rachel travels to Cornwall, vowing to uncover her past.

With each new arrival, something in Winterbourne stirs. It’s hiding in the paintings. It’s sitting on the stairs. – It’s waiting in a mirror, behind a locked door.


The story has echoes of the classics, it has a distinct feel of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, which is especially evident in the writing and the first few chapters.

The story ventures into three periods in time beginning with the woman who goes on to influence the paths of quite a few women in Winterbourne, and not in a good way. Her presence is felt in the area and in the house. A nefarious essence lurking in every corner, every swirl of mist and each drop of water in the cold murky sea.

Rachel inherits the decrepit old mansion, and finds herself drawn into the mysteries of the past during her attempts to trace her real parentage. She also wants to know why her mother gave her up for adoption. The answers she finds are completely unexpected, and she is really surprised by how drawn she is to the house and the local people.

She finds evidence of a governess called Alice, who used to live there in the late 40s. She left under a cloud of mystery and scandal. It seems as though she was one in a series of women with a tragic connection to Winterbourne and the family de Grey.

It has a haunting gothic vibe and is infused with a creepy sense of foreboding. James pulls the readers, and some of the characters, along on kind of a red herring trail with the majority believing Laura is controlling the house. The truth is far more sinister.

The author creates an eery atmosphere which seeps through the characters, the house and the surrounding area, almost like a dark cloud of evil. Even when it seems as if the characters are finally getting the upper-hand or moving on, something or someone puts them back in their place. Once a Winterbourner always a Winterbourner.

James has created a ghostly read with a vengeful presence controlling the narrative, it is a dark and compelling read.

Buy The Woman in the Mirror at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Kindle pub date 14 June 2018  Paperback pub date 14 June 2018

Publisher: HQ – Harper Collins UK

#BlogTour Medium Wave by Rose

Today I am delighted to take part in the BlogTour for Medium Wave by Rose Zolock. Medium Wave is the story about a woman who makes the mistake of sneering at the dark by using it to make money and herself famous, then the dark comes looking for her…

About the Author

Her Irish grandmother first told Rose about the Banshee when she was just a small child. How the wailing sound of the spirit of the dead and dying could be heard when someone was about to pass.

It was family folklore that the women in the family had ‘the touch’, the ability to see spirits and other dimensions. Rose listened and grew up fascinated by those who claimed to have supernatural or psychic abilities.

Rose does not claim to have those powers. Take her to Venice in February when the mist swirls over the canals, walk by her side along the darkened streets of Greenwich Village in New York City in high summer, listening to a ghost walk tour guide tell the stories of death, murder and the unexplained – Rose would say those stories and our belief in them gives her a power to see into the shadows within our imagination.

As a journalist, Rose takes every opportunity to explore and investigate strange stories, myth and folklore. Living in rural Yorkshire, with a rich library of ghost stories and literary tradition, Rose also has a sceptical and forensic insight into those who peddle the stories which feed our imagination but of which we have yet found no proof. She has listened to the debunkers who argue against those believers who are convinced that sand the dark side exist.

Rose’s mind is open. Is yours?

Follow @RoseZolock @caffeinenights

Visit rosezolock.com

About the book

Becky Moran has built a career claiming to talk to the dead. A successful clairvoyant medium, a Cambridge graduate with her own radio show ‘Medium Wave’ and a team dedicated to crafting the celebrity myth – because Becky Moran is a fake. Until, one night, something supernatural, inexplicable, breaks through live on air as she is broadcasting. Becky Moran discovers the paranormal is real, the dead can indeed speak and she is being pursued relentlessly towards a battle for her very survival.

‘This thing has no defined shape. Whatever energy exists within it, it cannot settle on a shape. The strands of darkness curl out and then wrap back inwards. The bulk of the shadow becomes concave, then bulbous, the height building in on itself but lacking any skeletal structure to wrap itself around. There are no eyes, no clearly defined head shape. It is creating itself from darkness, like a swirl of ebony ink dropped into a vat of putrid water, spreading silently….’


Scientists will tell you there is a logical explanation for every unusual occurrence or events very often described as psychic, unexplained or mystical. The majority of us want to believe in entities beyond our reach or in a higher power we cannot see or hear, and yet feel as if we it-they-him-her is there with us. It’s what faith and most religions are based on.

Fact and logic based arguments will apply scientific knowledge to any experience termed as impossible or mystical in nature, but the truth is not even scientists know or can explain everything, so perhaps there is some small avenue for the unexplained or mysterious events none of us have stumbled upon as yet.

Mediums and so-called psychics make a profitable career out of scamming the vulnerable. Let me say this though, some of their clients want to believe the dead can speak through someone, despite knowing it isn’t true. They want to be comforted by the thought that their loved ones are at peace and happy on the supposed other side.

Becky Moran is one of the really experienced cold readers, who makes a lot of money and celebrity from her status as a medium. It is kind of ironic that she ends up connecting with the dark side that she has sneered at in the past, and doesn’t exist according to her.

The dark, the occult and the evil finds a path to her via an ancient object, and after that door is opened Becky finds herself inundated with visions, images and new perceptions. Suddenly she can pass on real messages and interact with the other side. Sounds like a good business venture right, except for the fact evil seems to be trying to find a way to take control of her.

Zolock combines a gothic horror vibe with a paranormal urban fantasy. She plays with the aspect of our hidden fears and shadows in the dark like a violin virtuoso. Do you believe in monsters in the dark? Have you ever invited them in to play? Well this author invites them in, plays with them, and then hands them back to the main character and asks her to deal with them instead.

Buy Medium Wave on Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

the silent companionsIt is has a gothic spooky feel to it mixed with a wee bit of horror.

The reader follows the story of two women in the same grand house. One in the distant past and the other  in the more past. Elsie’s story starts in an insane asylum charged with quite a few murders. The doctor in charge is trying to get her to communicate, because he is convinced there must be more to the story. Why would a well situated woman suddenly go off the deep end and cause such brutal mayhem?

Before ending up in the asylum Elsie is pregnant, has just recently lost her husband and is returning to his childhood home accompanied by her husband’s impoverished cousin. This isn’t exactly her choice, as her decisions are being made by her much younger brother. Her brother is more concerned about the way it looks to society and any possible scandals. Women weren’t allowed to own anything per se in that era and any property, inherited or otherwise would always fall to the men. This includes husbands, brothers, fathers and cousins.

It isn’t long before the women in the household start experiencing strange events. Footprints and messages in the dust, empty rooms suddenly become fully furnished clean ones, and peculiar wooden statues start appearing throughout the house.

A peaceful retreat turns into a fight for sanity and a fight to survive. Elsie finds herself drawn into the dark abyss of the past and the personal tragedies of the previous inhabitants of the house.

It’s a decent premise, however the execution could have been better. The companions are an excellent idea, they give the whole story a creepy vibe, and the ending is wonderfully macabre. Purcell is creative enough to pull off a great story, this one just needs a bit of a polish.

Buy The Silent Companions at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @spookypurcell @BloomsburyRaven

Visit laurapurcell.com

Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory

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Does it steer close to the kind of macabre horror Poe is known for? Well, it starts off with good intentions but flounders towards the end. Gregory seems to be trying to lead with two story-lines at once.

First the creepy Poe cursed tooth one, and then the family dynamic of the main character and his guilt. Pick one and go with it. You want to mess the borders between good, bad, evil and downright creepy as hell? Then do so with abandon and a little less of the dilly dallying.

There were some other issues that distracted from the Poe-esqueness of it all. Yes, I totally made that word up. The first being the strange meanderings of paedophilia both in thoughts and accusations. Sentences like ‘a cherub with baby tits’ leave an uncomfortable after-taste.

What was the point? Unless the guilt inside him has come from that core issue or the evil he is experiencing is his own lack of acceptance, hence  the disgust at his hidden desires. Then perhaps it would have made more sense, as it is it just seemed to be a touch one too many times in the wrong direction. Pardon the pun.

The second issue was the constant need for the main character to be utterly and completely naked in the majority of scenes. Who wanders round in sooty, dusty attics and book-stores with their crown jewels dangling in the wind? Who thinks it is appropriate to be completely naked with their also completely naked young daughter in the middle of the night?

Again, if the idea was to have the main character fight an internal yet subconscious battle with the idea of his own paedophilia it makes sense. The desire to be unclothed indicating his inappropriate desire for her, for instance. If not then all that nakedness makes no sense and is merely gratuitous.

Gregory appears to have an aptitude for Gothic horror and a love of Poe, however the plot needs to tighter, as does the clarity of the plot.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert


An information thief with a sideline in paranormal visions, sounds like a decent way to make a living right? Well, maybe if the people you are trying to outwit don’t turn out to be ten steps ahead of you in both the IQ and occult department, then you might just find yourself in a deep well of danger and mystical uncertainty.

Gabriel certainly thinks highly of himself and is quite arrogant about his abilities. That eccentric arrogance was his downfall once and the ruin of a promising career. Now it leads him straight into the arms of dimensions he cannot begin to comprehend.

His major issue at first is trying to discover the woman he thinks is his soulmate, all whilst trying to find out whether she or her sister have killed his clients son. He is so open to being seduced into the web of lies, seduction and immorality that the reader begins to suspect his intentions. This is especially the case when Gabriel finds out what Morrighan and Minnaloushe are really looking for.

In the end the tale of seduction and murder melds together with the mystery of alchemy. The search for the wisdom, knowledge and science of the soul turns into one of desperation and unfulfilled longing. It no longer seems important who killed whom and why. All that remains is to find the key to that of many doors.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

The Quick by Lauren Owen


I think I got about a quarter way into the book when the entire plot seemed to just go pop bang hiss. I actually went back and read the pages leading up to it again just to make sure I hadn’t mistakenly picked up the wrong book.

Up to that point it was a Gothic tale with mysterious grand buildings, tragic children and a sense of impending tragedy. A promising forbidden love story between the main character and his friend. A relationship shunned and scorned by society. A sub-plot which could have carried the entire book. Instead the story took a turn in a completely different direction.

It was  advancing at a slow pace and then hiss, chomp and ravage out popped the vampires. From that point on-wards everything becomes a little unclear and hazy. Reasons why were only sort of hinted at for maximum creepiness.

I think the book suffered from too much trying to be a work of literary Gothic art, however that didn’t gel very well with the vampire plot. Not because of the theme per se but rather because in an attempt to seem prolific the story lacks direction and clarity.

The cliffhanger ending implies a possible second book, in which I hope the author manages to capture the essence of the beginning of this book and display it throughout the next tale.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley