#BlogTour To The Dark by Chris Nickson

It’s the last day and my turn on the Blogtour To The Dark by Chris Nickson.

About the Author

Chris Nickson has published 28 novels, all historical crime, most of them set in Leeds, whose people and history are his passion. The Richard Nottingham series began things, taking place in the 1730s, followed by the Tom Harper novels, which begin in 1890 and have now moved to the 20th century. Between them, Lottie Armstrong, Urban Raven and Dan Markham cover Leeds from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The three books featuring thief-taker Simon Westow explore a changing Leeds, growing rapidly in the 1820s as industry – the factories and mills and belching chimneys – comes to dominate the town. The Hocus Girl, the second in the series, received starred reviews from Kirkus, which called it a “tour de force,” and Publishers Weekly, which declared “historical mysteries don’t get much better than this.’

Chris grew up in Leeds, but lived in the US for many years, making his living as a music journalist. He still reviews occasional releases, but his focus these days is fiction.

Follow @ChrisNickson2 on Twitteron Amazonon Goodreads, Visit chrisnickson.co.ukBuy To The Dark

About the book

Thief-taker Simon Westow is drawn into a deadly puzzle when the melting snow reveals a dark secret in this gripping historical mystery, perfect for fans of Anne Perry and Charles Finch.

Leeds, 1822. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for thief-taker Simon Westow and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river at Flay Cross Mill.

A coded notebook found in Laurence’s room mentions Charlie Harker, the most notorious fence in Leeds who’s now running for his life, and the mysterious words: To the dark. What was Laurence hiding that caused his death? Simon’s hunt for the truth pits him against some dangerous, powerful enemies who’ll happily kill him in a heartbeat – if they can. (less)

Review

This is the third book in the Simon Westlow Mystery series. It can be read as a standalone novel.

I’m not sure I had read the term thief-taker before, a private individual who captures criminals. I wonder what Sherlock would have thought at being called something so common, merely a thief-taker and not a sleuth, which is what Simon and his team are.

A local thief is found dead, in his possession a notebook with the mysterious words ‘to the dark’ written within, which means nothing to them. Simon has crossed paths with him before in his endeavours to retrieve stolen goods and is determined to solve this crime.

This author has a particular eye for detail when it comes to describing early 19th century Leeds. This enhances the feel of the historical read, because the atmosphere goes hand in hand with the well-developed characters. I think the strength lies within the way the crimes take an almost secondary place to the characters and their relationships, which is a different way of going about it.

It’s a nineteenth century urban crime mystery – a modern crime in an old-fashioned era with a flair of the unknown woven throughout. A series with plenty of potential.

Buy To The Dark at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Severn House Publishers; pub date 1 Feb. 2021. Buy at Amazon com

#BlogTour Psychotopia by R.N. Morris

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Psychotopia by R.N. Morris. It’s futuristic and speculative fiction with an intriguing premise.

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway (below) –  to Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)

About the Author

R. N. Morris is the author of ten novels. The latest is Psychotopia, published 31 October, 2018.

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 Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (as the CWA Gold Dagger was briefly known). 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 The Red Hand of Fury. The next novel in the series, The White Feather Killer, will be published in April 2019.

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 on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit rogernmorris.co.uk

Buy Psychotopia

About the book

A game for the times we live – and die – in. Enter Psychotopia, a dark new dystopian novel from the author of the acclaimed Silas Quinn mysteries.

PSYCHOTOPIA, LEVEL ONE. Create your own boutique psychopath, then deceive, manipulate and be ruthless, spreading mayhem and destruction to reach the next levels.

It’s the computer game for our times. After all, the amount of crazy in the world is increasing. Senseless violence on the streets is becoming the norm. Can Dr Arbus’s ground-breaking device identify and neutralize psychopaths before it’s too late? In this increasingly dysfunctional world, surely Callum standing by Aimee after her devastating encounter with Charlie is proof that real love and goodness can still win in a world that’s increasingly rotten . . . Or can it?

Review

Right! R.N. Morris needs locking in a room with no access to the outside world and no internet – his ideas are far too dangerous.

A video game based on psychopathy, one that interacts and evolves based on the pathology of someone’s lack of empathy, conscience and in general what is considered the normal emotional response based on societal norms. The idea is dangerous.

I wondered, as I am sure many readers will, what the underlying message is. To establish a world with psychopaths in the control seat? Perhaps the idea that they can be functioning and useful members of society or indeed that there are plenty of undiagnosed psychopaths at large. The game and the response to it is also a way to diagnose and recognise different types of a pathology that experts still don’t quite understand.

Is there a rise in the number of psycho and sociopaths, and if so is it because our DNA is evolving with the environment in a way that suggests they would have a better survival rate. What a worrying thought, the natural survivor of the late 21st century could be humans with no empathy and capable of killing without compunction. Hmm.

Science is already capable of identifying specific genes that suggest a predisposition towards violence, perhaps eventually the same will apply to other or similar sub-categories or extensions of anti-social behaviour such as psychopathy. We already have tests in place to identify psychopathic tendencies.

What I found really fascinating is the labelling of P or NP, and whether the actual labelling would lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy or alternatively whether the true nature would persevere, despite the label.

I think the sex scene was perhaps superfluous, keeping the strength of the storyline in mind, and it slipped into the dangerous zone of gender tropes. I also thought the graphic reference to the two-year-old in the beginning could deter some readers from enjoying or finishing the read, despite it only being a quick example of deviant behaviour. The truth is still considered a taboo in some subjects unfortunately, because the majority of people would rather not be confronted with the atrocity of sexual deviancy.

It’s futuristic and speculative fiction with an intriguing premise. Perhaps video game development and the advancement into virtual reality as it melds into real life deserves to be a sub-genre in its own right.

Psychotopia takes the reader to a world of open doors and what you take away from this book will be an individual experience depending on your own frame of references, including whether there is a clear conclusion or closure at the end. Hypothetical reality meets base human nature, depravity and a lack of conscience.

Buy Psychotopia at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Severn House Digital; pub date 1 Feb. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Red Hand of Fury by R.N. Morris

Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)

Click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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.*

#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 …?

Review

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*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.*