#BlogTour Blood List by Ali Carter

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Blood List Ali Carter. It’s a psychological thriller with shades of Dr Foster, but rather more deadly.

About the Author

Ali Carter was born in Surrey in 1958 and moved to East Anglia in 2003, settling just outside King’s Lynn 4 years later where she currently lives with her husband, 5 dogs and 6 cats. (Yes she knows the dog/cat thing is a bit mad!)

She originally found some success in writing poetry in the 80’s and 90’s, but inspiration for her debut novel ‘Blood List’ came after the Shipman case hit the headlines – a few years later the dark and deeply psychotic G.P. ‘Charlotte’ was born. The full story took its time in completion however as there was a very long period of writer’s block about three quarters of the way through the book. It was an author friend who finally persuaded her to pull it out of the laptop and finish it, for which she will be eternally grateful. At the time of writing, a sequel is in its infancy which she sincerely hopes won’t take another 12 years to come to fruition!

Ali is also a proud mum to two grown up sons, and an extra proud nanny to her adorable granddaughter, although at only 5 she won’t be reading ‘Blood List’ anytime soon!

Follow @alicrimewriter on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit alicarterauthor.com

Buy Blood ListAbout the book

Think the Lake District is a lovely place to visit? Think again. A Psychological & Chilling Thriller set in and around the fictional town of Kirkdale in Cumbria. One by one the young women of Kirkdale are being found grotesquely murdered, with no clues as to why.

Lying between the great lake Kirkwater and the base of Kirkby Pike, although beautiful, Kirkdale isn’t exactly the most exciting place on the planet. But after young reporter Jenny Flood moves into the relaxed Cumbrian town, it sets a catalogue of events in motion that brings this comfortable community to its knees.

When middle aged G.P. Charlotte Peterson discovers Jenny has followed her from Bradenthorpe, six years after a fling with her philandering doctor husband Miles, it stirs deeply buried mental health issues from her youth. In the run up to the Kirkdale country show, the arrival of this third and most recent adversary triggers the already edgy and emotionally scarred Charlotte into finally stepping over the edge. Her longing to destroy Jenny has been on a slow and very resentful burn for years, now the reality of achieving that presents itself as a genuine possibility.

Can journalist Andrew Gale protect new colleague Jenny, girlfriend Gina and her best friend Molly from the psychotic GP’s insane agenda? How will sarcastic ex Met. Officer Harry Longbridge deal with Andrew’s continued interference?

Then there’s the unexpected arrival of an American mystery woman. And just who is on the Blood List?Review

I sincerely hope I never feel any man is worth becoming so deranged that I self-implode and destroy my own life and future. Charlotte places his fidelity above everything else in her life. Above her career, her happiness and her peace of mind. It’s all about what Miles is doing 24/7, and with whom. It’s obsessive, controlling and perhaps a wee bit insane.

Miles is a dog. There is no doubt about it. If he could get away with it he would probably have an affair with every attractive woman in his vicinity. However his greed appears to be bigger than his wish to be a single man.

Then there is the person who makes up this triangle of messiness, Jenny. She inadvertently starts the ball rolling in this fast-paced and often ruthless story.

There is a lot going on in this book. The beginning is packed full of characters, It’s a lot to take in, so I would suggest giving it all a minute to sink in. The motives of the killer seem pretty clear until you start digging around and uncover the why. There is more to this story than meets the eye.

It’s a psychological thriller with shades of Dr Foster, but rather more deadly. The jealous wife, the philandering husband and an obsession that turns deadly.

I’m not going to give anything away about the ending, but I was a little bit like: What? But that means they are… Yeh, I wonder how that will get sorted out and it sounds as if the psycho has more in store for them. Nothing keeps a goal driven bat crap crazy person down for long.

Buy Blood List at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Troubador Publishing; pub date 11 Oct. 2018.

#BlogTour The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear. It’s crime fiction in an historical setting with a compassionate, brave and intuitive main character.

About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in Kent and emigrated to the USA in 1990. She has written extensively for journals, newspapers and magazines, and has worked in book publishing on both sides of the Atlantic. The Maisie Dobbs series of crime novels is beloved by readers worldwide always going into the New York Times top 10 on publication. Jacqueline will be available for interviews, events and written features.

Visit jacquelinewinspear.com, Follow Jacqueline Winspear on Facebook,

Buy The American Agent

About the book

When an American war correspondent’s murder is concealed by British authorities, Maisie Dobbs agrees to work with an agent of the US Department of Justice to help an old friend discover the truth.

With German bombs raining down on London, Maisie is torn between the demands of solving this dangerous case and the need to protect a young evacuee. And what will happen when she faces losing her dearest friend and the possibility that she might be falling in love again?Review

Maisie doesn’t just solve a case and present the guilty party, she goes around and picks up every single thread she encounters on the way. It’s her way of maintaining a sense of justice in a world full of chaos and injustice. She cares about the people she meets and that no one is left behind.

She is asked to help when a young American correspondent is found brutally murdered. The autopsy reveals evidence of her keeping quite a few important secrets. The question is whether her ambition led her to a dangerous story or was she hiding something worth killing for?

Sometimes the finer and often quite important historical details, which could have influenced the outcome of conflicts, battles or wars given slightly different circumstances, are lost in history books and old newspaper articles. That also includes the political beliefs of people in positions of power, the kind of beliefs that are glossed over as time goes by, because they are controversial and put the rest of the family in a bad light.

People like the head of the infamous and powerful Kennedy family, who is mentioned in this book. He was a nazi sympathiser, as were many members of the British aristocracy including one short-lived British king. These people spent a lot of time hobnobbing with the Nazi elite. The not so subtle influencers who fade away as time speeds forward.

Winspear gives readers the stories within the bigger picture. In this case the bigger picture is the Blitzkrieg in Britain 1940. The story within is a murder that takes place as bombs destroy entire neighbourhoods and kills without compunction.

It’s crime fiction in an historical setting. It’s also book 15 in the Maisie Dobbs series, which means there are plenty more to read if you like compassionate, brave and intuitive sleuths.

Buy The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear at Amazon UkPublisher: Allison & Busby; Hardcover pub date 26 March 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Rogue Killer by Leigh Russell

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Rogue Thriller by Leigh Russell. This is a fast-paced police procedural with a killer who leads the police on a merry chase.

About the Author

Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi, Class Murder and Death Rope. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide.

Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow.

Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

Follow @LeighRussell @noexitpress on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit leighrussell.co.uk

Buy Rogue Killer

About the book

When the targets are random you could be next.

A man is killed in an apparently random attack, and suspicion falls on a gang of muggers. Only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel thinks this is the work of a more deliberate murderer. Two more victims are discovered, after further seemingly indiscriminate attacks, and this time the muggers have a concrete alibi. All the while the killer remains at large. When Geraldine finally manages to track down a witness, she finds her own life is in danger…

Review

DI Geraldine Steel is determined to find the killer, and is also enraged by the set of circumstances that create the perfect environment for someone to commit a crime that nearly passes as a group incident. Steel thinks it is more than just the wrong place at the wrong time.

The DI is opinionated, feisty and not afraid to seek the truth where others have always decided on the result of their investigations. She has a nose for crime and a penchant for trouble.

Russell incorporates an interesting view on mental health and culpability. When someone commits crimes, but is seemingly unaware of the consequences or commits them because there is a lack of support in place. Irrational, antisocial or volatile behaviour doesn’t always equate to a mental health diagnosis though. If there are no mental health issues and a person commits crimes, especially when they involve clarity and planning, then surely they should be culpable for their actions? Instead of being grouped in as someone who isn’t guilty per se by reason of insanity or due to mental health issues.

And why are people who show early or previous signs of severe mental health issues not evaluated sooner? This is often the case with children and young people, who fall victim to an inadequate system and end up harming themselves others.

It’s certainly a slippery slope our society sits upon. This is a fast-paced police procedural with a killer who leads the police on a merry chase.

Buy Rogue Killer at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; Ecopy pub date 21 Mar. 2019. Paperback pub date 23 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Material Remains by Richard Bray

Today it’s my turn to take part in the BlogTour Material Remains by Richard Bray. It’s an emotionally explosive tale, but written in a subtle way. Not at all what I expected.

About the Author

Richard W. H. Bray is a writer and winemaker. His first book, Salt and Old Vines, won Best French Wine Book at the 2015 Gourmand Awards. He lives in London.

Follow @RWHBray @unbounders on Twitter, Visit rwhbray.net

Buy Material Remains

About the book

On a hungover Friday morning, archaeology student Mike McEwan’s life of tea, pints, late mornings and the occasional essay comes to an abrupt halt. Consumed with guilt, grief and confusion Mike haunts the ruins of St Andrews, rebuilding them in his mind and obsessing about the loss of someone he barely knew, unsure of his place in her life, or her death.

The discovery of an ancient plague burial site drags Mike back into contact with those around him. But life has changed, both for himself and others, and the burial ground holds more than the bones of those long dead. As university life continues around him Mike peels back the layers of earth and its dark history, trying desperately to connect the victims of the past to the tumult of his present.

Review

At the centre of this story is how Mike deals with an unexpected traumatic event in his life. It has repercussions for his relationships, his academic career, his psychological well-being and completely changes his outlook on life.

Imagine making a romantic connection with someone, a special moment that could potentially be something more important going forward. Then that person is abruptly ripped from your life. With no explanation, no reason and just empty unknown space instead.

For Mike the event is the catalyst for an internal and external avalanche. He questions and doubts everything in his life and about himself. He is consumed with grief for the stranger he only knew for such a short time and ridden by the guilt, and feeling, that he might have missed some kind of signal or sign.

He has to deal with the suspicion and recriminations of those who find it hard to deal with the loss of a young person with a long life ahead of them, and such promising prospects. It’s easier to blame the living breathing person in front of them when it is impossible to ask the dead for explanations.

In the midst of this chaos Mike finds his true calling. Whilst working through this complicated time with denial, avoidance and plenty of alcohol, he finds something he is truly intrigued by. It’s probably not a coincidence that he is pulled in by the uncovering the mysteries of the long dead and answering the questions surrounding their deaths.

I think it’s important to read what is written between the lines in this story. It is very much a searching of soul, a battle of inner conflicts and ultimately it’s a story about a young man finding a way forward after experiencing a traumatic event.

It’s an emotionally explosive tale, but written in a subtle way. The complicated lives of the young characters and their drama seems to take precedence, as the more poignant emotional aspect takes place in the background, almost like an afterthought. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting.

Buy Material Remains at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound; pub date 7 Feb. 2019

#BlogTour The Wrong Boy by Cathy Ace

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Wrong Boy by Cathy Ace. There is a focus on the relationships between the female characters and not just on the murder, which is an effective alternative when it comes to #crimefiction.

About the Author

This is the 13th novel from Cathy Ace. Her criminal psychologist, overindulgent-foodie sleuth, Cait Morgan, has stumbled upon Corpses with a Silver Tongue, Golden Nose, Diamond Hand, Garnet Face, an Emerald Thumb, Platinum Hair and Ruby Lips during her globetrotting. Ace’s WISE Enquiries Agency series features four softly-boiled female PIs who solve quintessentially British cases from their stately home-based office in rural Wales, where Cathy was born and raised. Shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award for Best Light Mystery by a Canadian three times in four years, winning in 2015, she was also shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story in 2017.

Follow @AceCathy on Twitter, Visit cathyace.com/

Buy The Wrong Boy

About the book

Perched on a Welsh clifftop, the ancient, picturesque hamlet of Rhosddraig has its peaceful façade ripped apart when human remains are discovered under a pile of stones. The village pub, The Dragon’s Head, run by three generations of women, becomes the focal point for those interested in the grisly find, and it’s where layers of deceit are peeled away to expose old secrets, and deep wounds. The police need to establish who died, how, and why, but DI Evan Glover knows he can’t be involved in the investigation, because he’s just two days away from retirement. However, as the case develops in unexpected ways, it becomes irrevocably woven into his life, and the lives of local families, leading to disturbing revelations – and deadly consequences . . .

Review

This story has multiple threads, all of which link together eventually. You have the complicated relationships of a multi-generational family, the retired police officer who won’t let it go and the secrets hidden in plain sight.

The reader meets DI Evan Glover, a police officer at the end of his long career. He finds it difficult to let go of his daily routine and most importantly the mysteries behind the crimes. After being part of the initial investigation Glover just can’t get rid of the gut instinct that his colleagues have got the wrong culprit, and he doesn’t want to let it go, despite his wife being infuriated by his obsession with the truth and his old job.

What the author does really well is the realistic description of life in an isolated rural Welsh village and the majority of roles and personality types women embody. Just take Nan, Helen and Sadie for example, three generations of one family and each one of them represents a different era and way of life.

Nan is old school. She is also controlling and opinionated , which she believes also gives her the right to determine and plan the lives of others. Helen is more or less an unpaid skivvy, who is still trying to get over an abusive relationship and earn the respect her mother denies her. Sadie on the other hand, is trying to break free of both mother and grandmother to live her own life. The three of them run a pub, the core of the small village. There isn’t anything these women don’t find out or pass on, especially Nan. 

I am not giving any indication of who did what to whom and/or why. Ace turns and points the reader in multiple directions, so they can pick up clues and slowly realise the implications of those clues. It’s a slow burner, but one that allows for insights into each character, as the plot winds in and out of the murder storyline. The strength is in the dialogue and inner dialogues of the women, especially the women in the pub.

Buy The Wrong Boy at Amazon Uk (Paperback)or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. HardcoverKindle

Publisher: Four Tails Publishing Ltd (January 9th 2019)

#BlogTour Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

Today it is my absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Changeling by Matt Wesolowski. It is the third book or episode in the brilliant Six Stories series. If you haven’t read a book in this series then I can only suggest you do so, because it is a fascinating premise.

About the Author

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- and US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime WritingFestival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller.

Follow @ConcreteKraken or @Orendabooks on Matt-Wesolowski on Facebook or visit him at mjwesolowskiauthor.wordpress.com

Buy Changeling

About the book

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little boy…

Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought-provoking, Changeling is the latest in the critically acclaimed, international bestselling Six Stories series, written as six Serial-style podcasts, and which are being adapted for TV by a major US studio.

Review

Changeling is the third part of the Six Stories series, an innovative fresh idea in a sea full of stories.

This episode of Six Stories is different in a sense that Scott King immerses himself in a completely different way this time. In the other episodes there was always an element of distance to the people, the crimes, the myths and the folklore. In this episode the reader gets a deeper look into the main characters soul, and also into that of the author.

The disappearance of a seven-year-old boy over three decades ago is still a story that gets tongues wagging. He vanished into the darkness in the middle of the night near a forest. A wooded area connected to a lot of disturbing tales and a lifetime of folklore. The fairie folk have taken him, the monsters in the woods have eaten him or maybe the trees have made the little boy become one with them. All of that and plenty more is fodder for the curious, the gossips, the amateur sleuths and even the family members of the child.

I often think it is easier for society to believe the unbelievable than to accept the possibility that humans are worse than the monsters we imagine in our minds. The inability to acknowledge the inhumanity in some of us leaves us weakened and unprotected against the evil living among us.

Kudos to the author for giving a platform to the abuse featured in this particular mystery. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re experiencing or seeing when you encounter this kind of subtle, hidden systemic abuse. The problem is people are happy to pass on a malicious rumour or assume something they have been told is the truth without knowing whether it is or not.

Been there, done that, met the monster and got the t-shirt..

If you haven’t read a book in this series then I can only suggest you do so, because it is a fascinating premise. I can’t wait to see what the TV adaptation looks like. It is a dark menacing premise that Wesolowski has given a 21st century vibe to. He delves into the darkest depths of human nature, and plays with fractured memories, hidden fears and the ancient folklore and myths embedded in our culture. Podcasts meet rumours, theories and facts to create a fascinating murder mystery with a thriller come horror vibe. You don’t want to miss this series or the author.

Buy Changeling (Six Stories #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Orenda Books; pub date 24 Jan. 2019

Read my review of Six Stories #1

Read my review of Hydra (Six Stories #2)

#BlogTour And The Swans Began to Sing by Thora Karitas Arnadottir

Today it is my turn on the BlogTour And The Swans Began to Sing by Thora Karitas Arnadottir. It’s a heartfelt and emotional journey. Kudos to Gudbjorg for sharing it and for looking for help.

About the Author

Thora Karitas Arnadottir studied drama in Britain and is best known for the award winning TV series, Astridur, in her home country and for hosting Unique Iceland, a highly popular travel magazine show about Iceland.

Thora is currently working on her first novel, which will be released in Iceland in 2019.

Thora Karitas is an Icelandic actress and author and this is the English translation of her Icelandic debut. It’s a narrative non-fiction about her mother’s life in Iceland. Throughout her childhood Thora’s mother, Gudjborg was raped on a regular basis by her grandfather.

Follow @ThoraKaritas @Wildpressed on Twitter, Visit thorakaritas.co.uk

Buy And The Swans Began to Sing

About the book

The swans on the pond, quite abruptly began to sing. It was a singing so loud they were almost screaming. The swans were screaming, screaming as if they saw the horror of the world.

Gudbjorg Thorisdottir has been hiding from the ghost of an ugly secret for most of her life. When she finally faces the truth of what happened throughout her childhood, the ghost floats away. Painting an evocative picture of her life in Iceland, this is the story of a little girl who didn’t know how unnatural it was to experience both heaven and hell in the same house.

Thora Karitas Arnadottir (b. 1979) studied drama in the UK, and is a producer as well as appearing on stage and television. And the Swans Began to Sing is her first published book; her mother’s story, and formed the final dissertation for her MA in Creative Writing. The book was nominated for the Icelandic Women’s Literary prize Fjoruverdlaunin in 2016.Review

This is the story of Gudbjorg Thorisdottir, the grandmother of Thora Karitas Arnadottir. In a way it is her way of healing the wounds of the past by telling the world her story in her own words, even if it is through the pen or medium of her granddaughter. She is facing the gossips and the tellers of tales head-on.

I think this is one of the things that seems to hurt her – the fact others have taken it upon themselves to tell her story, her secret. People, and I am thinking of her ex-husband in particular, who believe it is their secret to share just because they think it is their knowledge to control. Gudbjorg is an adult, who has confronted her abuse, has worked through it in therapy and is trying to come to terms with it, so it is her secret to share with others.

It would be entirely different if we were talking about an ongoing situation or someone who needed help to deal with the abuse. If you do suspect a child is being abused, especially if it is a gut reaction, then don’t wave it aside. The majority of sexual abuse is ignored because adults would rather not confront a taboo or label someone by mistake. Believe me you will know, but our instinctive reaction is to ignore what we find impossible to believe. This is definitely the case when the abuser is a family member.

The other element of this tragic story that shines through is the relationship Gudbjorg has with her mother, and the question of whether she knew what was going on. I think Gudbjorg is well aware, after talking to friends and family many years after the fact, that her grandfather was a known abuser, which then leaves her with the difficult truth that her family left her in a vulnerable position. Her mother chose to ignore her instinct, and her family members turned a blind eye, because placing the truth on the table would have broken the family apart. Difficult to acknowledge, but often the case in family abuse and incest.

I think it is incredibly brave of Gudbjorg to speak out, even after all these years. I hope it brings her some peace and lessens the guilt. The guilt that doesn’t belong anywhere on her shoulders by the way. The drink didn’t make him do it, the grief didn’t make him do it, and I can guarantee you he had more victims than Gudbjorg realises.

All of that is irrelevant though, because the most important thing is that she was a child and he stole her childhood, her innocence and many first moments from her. It’s time she stopped letting him steal from her.

It’s a heartfelt and emotional journey. Kudos to Gudbjorg for sharing it and for looking for help.

Buy And The Swans Began to Sing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for an other retailer.

Publisher: Wild Pressed Books (10th January 2019)