Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Bright Lies A.A. Abbot 4* #Review @AAAbbottStories #thriller #CrimeFiction #Domestic #Noir #Betrayal #Lies #noircrime #psychological #suspense #BrightLies @RandomTTours

She’s learned too much, too young. Can she break free?

Emily’s dreams come true when her mother marries wealthy painter, David. Thanks to him, Emily’s artistic talents shine. Then he starts teaching her things a 14-year-old shouldn’t know. While Emily breaks free, she’s forced to sleep in a rat-infested alley.

Bad boy Jack has turned his life around. Working as a DJ with ambitions to open a club, he rescues Emily from the streets when he sees a woman in trouble. He doesn’t know she’s still only 15 – and trapped in a dark web of secrets and lies.

David must find Emily and silence her. As he closes in, Jack faces the hardest choice of all. If he saves Emily, he’ll kiss goodbye to his future…

What would you sacrifice for love?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a disturbing, intense psychological suspense, an insightful and sensitive exploration of domestic and child abuse and the resultant damage. The subject matter is difficult to read. Emily and Jack’s vulnerability and the perversions of David and his ilk are well-written without the need for an overly graphic description. This exploration of a contemporary issue is relatable and sinister because it parallels reality.

The characters are defined, and flawed some are easy to empathise because of their vulnerability. Others are despicable and easy to hate.

Although this more suspense than a thriller, the writing style and structure keep the momentum and make this a page-turner. The pacy plot keeps the reader on edge, the undercurrents of menace apparent and intensify as the story progresses.

This is noir crime creating a gritty, vice-ridden world that you want the protagonists to escape.

A.A.Abbott

British crime thriller writer A.A. Abbott (also known as Helen Blenkinsop) loves to escape with an exciting and emotional read, and that’s what she aims to write too. Based in Bristol, she’s also lived and worked in London and Birmingham. All three cities feature in her pacy suspense thrillers. Her latest psychological thriller, ‘Bright Lies’, begins in North Somerset with a posh art exhibition in Bath. Young Emily meets the man who will change her life and cause her to run away to a squat in Birmingham, work in a nightclub and get further entangled in a web of lies.

To write ‘Bright Lies’, Helen has had advice from thirty beta readers on subjects as varied as police procedure, drug abuse, grooming, art, music, DJing and clubbing. She’s grateful to them and to her editor, Katharine D’Souza, for making huge improvements to the story.

Helen’s earlier 5 book Trail series is a lighter read focused on a vodka business. Snow Mountain is a premium vodka made in the former Soviet Union, and its owners have blood on their hands. The saga follows the fortunes of two families running the business and what happens when they fall out with each other and with a London gangster. Glamorous heroine Kat is the girl readers love to hate at the beginning of the series, but by the last book, she has won them over. Book research for the series included prison life, hotel research and vodka. Helen especially enjoyed a tour and tasting with the helpful folk at the Chase Distillery in Herefordshire.

Like 10% of us, many of Helen’s family are dyslexic. While she is not, she wants her books to be enjoyed by readers with dyslexia and visual impairment too. She publishes her thrillers in a Large Print dyslexia-friendly edition as well as the standard paperback and Kindle versions. (You can also adjust the font on your Kindle to suit your needs.) Audiobooks are definitely on the cards – watch this space!

Helen likes speaking to book groups, business networks and social circles, and reading thrillers and short stories at live fiction events and on Zoom. If you’re a book blogger, litfest organiser, reviewer or simply adore books, she’d love to hear from you.

Helen is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Bristol Fiction Writers’ Group, and Birmingham’s New Street Authors.

Find out more and get a free e-book of short stories at https://aaabbott.co.uk

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Extract, Murder Mystery

Murder At The Gorge Frances Evesham 4* #Review #Extract @FrancesEvesham @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #BlogTour #boldwoodbloggers #BookReview #MurderMystery #ExhamOnSea #MurderAtTheGorge #MondayBlogs

A joke? A prank? Or something more sinister?

When the Exham-on-Sea residents are targeted by anonymous emails containing apparently harmless nursery rhymes, no one knows whether to laugh or shudder until an unexplained death touches the town.

Libby Forest, baker, chocolatier and Exham’s very own resident private investigator, alongside her partner Max Ramshore, set out to solve the puzzle before more people die. But when Max’s ex-wife arrives on the scene, ahead of Max and Libby’s long-awaited nuptials, things go from bad to worse.

With the town and their relationship under threat, Max and Libby need the help of the Exham History Society if they’re going to find the nursery rhyme killer in time.

Murder at the Gorge is the seventh in a series of Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set at the small English seaside town full of quirky characters, sea air, and gossip.

If you love Agatha Christie-style mysteries, cosy crime, clever dogs and cake, then you’ll love these intriguing whodunnits.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

As I haven’t read any books in this series, I can confirm it reads well as a standalone. There are sufficient backstory and character details to immerse a new reader in this tale of murder. Amateur sleuths Libby Forest, and Max Ramshore, have their wedding plans sidelined when poison pen letters turn to murder and Max’s ex-wife infiltrates his life.

This story is set in Exham-On-Sea a fictional coastal village in Somerset, which has a vibrant community and a penchant for murder. The plot is full of twists with numerous suspects and historical connections to be investigated. The characters are well-written and draw the reader into the village. The village ethos is believable and gives the murder mystery authenticity.

This is something to escape with for a couple of hours, and I plan to read the whole series.

Extract from Murder At The Gorge – Frances Evesham

The wind blew them back to Max’s Land Rover, parked near the jetty, in half the time it had taken them to reach the lighthouse.

As they flung open the doors and the dogs scrambled on board, Max’s phone rang. He shot a glance at the screen and his stomach lurched. Stella. His ex-wife. He hadn’t heard from her for years. His finger hovered over the red button for a second, but he knew she’d just call again. Reluctantly, he answered.

‘Hello?’

‘Max, I need your help. I’m in Bristol. Come and see me. Now.’

Max stared at the phone, stunned into silence.

Libby climbed into the passenger seat. ‘Who is it? Business?’

Max croaked into the phone, ‘I’ll call you back,’ ended the call and dropped the phone into his pocket as though it had burned his fingers.

Libby pulled her seat belt tight. ‘That was a bit abrupt. You’ll frighten customers away. You could take a lesson from the way Mandy answers the phone at work. Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, these days.’

She chattered happily about Mandy, her lodger and chocolate-making apprentice, soon to become the sole tenant of Hope Cottage when Libby moved into Max’s house near the sand dunes. She didn’t seem to notice that Max still stood by the open driver’s door, answering in grunts, not hearing a word she said.

Stella. After all these years?

‘Well, let’s go,’ Libby said.

‘Yes, sorry.’

He made an effort to pull himself together, climbed into the car and started the engine.

‘Who was it, anyway?’ Libby asked.

He couldn’t tell her, not now. He couldn’t spoil her excitement over the wedding. ‘Old colleague,’ he muttered, and the lie seemed to hang in the air, like a cloud.

‘One of your old business mates? Did you get cut off?’

‘That’s right. Might be some work coming my way. I’ll call back, later.’

Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. In her spare time, she collects poison recipes and other ways of dispatching her unfortunate victims. She likes to cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other, her head full of murder―fictional only.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Happy Family Jackie Kabler #CoverReveal @JackieKabler @0neMoreChapter_ #CrimeFiction #Psychological #suspense #preorder #4June2021 #TheHappyFamily

A mother who disappeared…
When Beth was 10 years old, her beautiful, wild mother Alice walked out and never came back. Beth’s life since hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but now she is happy and settled, with a successful career, a loving family and a beautiful home.

An unexpected visitor…
Then one day there’s a knock at the door. Alice has returned. Overjoyed to have the chance to rebuild their relationship, Beth invites her mother to move in.

A life that comes crashing down…
At first, everything seems wonderful. But then Beth’s friends begin to drift away, strange things start to happen at home, and rumours begin to circle about her past. As the mysterious events around Beth become darker and more dangerous, she is forced to question everything. Is somebody in her life trying to destroy her happiness? And how far will they go?

#Preorder

Amazon UK

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Noir, Nordic Noir

Fallen Angels Gunnar Staalesen 4* #Review @OrendaBooks #FallenAngels #NordicNoir #GunnarStaalesen Translator Don Bartlett #BlogTour #BookReview #VargVeum

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Eighth in an international-bestselling series of Nordic-Noir thrillers

When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former
classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly
reunited with his old friend Jakob – guitarist of the once-famous 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.
Their rekindled friendship is thrown into jeopardy by the discovery of a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own
adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I understand that this is the eight book in a long-running series, but this sees the private investigator Varg Veum as a younger man than some of the earlier books, in a story that delves into his past and shows how he became the man he is. So, in many ways, this is a good starting book for new readers like me. The story reads as a standalone and is true to the Nordic Noir genre.

The themes of good and evil and spirituality and sin underscore this story. It has noir themes which are disturbing to read but are essential to the character of the story. There is a murder mystery which has its roots in Varg’s past, which is described strikingly both in events and location.

The writing is immersive and vivid. The characters distinctive, but not likeable, which is often a given in this genre. It’s not an easy read, but it is insightful, and the Norwegian setting is of intrinsic interest too.

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies.

Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona
Award for Nordic Crime Fiction and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019.

He lives with his wife in Bergen.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Travel

The Chalet Catherine Cooper 4*#Review @catherinecooper @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #TheChalet #FrenchAlps #CrimeFiction #Revenge #Secrets #BlogTour #BookReview

French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 years later…

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.And somebody will pay

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set in La Madiere France, this story evokes the ski resort ethos to create a believable setting with the author using sensory imagery well to create a claustrophobic atmosphere with a hint of menace. Multi-points of view highlight significant events and character motivations in this dual timeline story.

Set in 1998 and 2020 the story focuses on two groups of skiers’ stay in La Madiere. They have little in common in terms of age and financial status, but something sinister connects them. In 1998, a skiing trip ended tragedically for four young people. In 2020, The Chalet’s occupants lives unravel with the discovery of a body.

As dangerous secrets emerge, someone is seeking revenge creating a menacing ethos amongst the group of self-serving individuals in the Chalet. This an atmospheric story which makes a simple plot effective. The characters are hard to empathise, and whilst the outcome is guessable, it is relatable and resonates.

Catherine Cooper

Catherine Cooper is a journalist specialising in travel, hotels, and skiing who writes regularly for the Telegraph and the Guardian among others. She lives near the Pyrenees in the South of France with her husband and two teenage children, and is a keen skier. The Chalet is her debut novel. www.catherinecooperauthor.com

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Folk Tales, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Travel

The Coral Bride Roxanne Bouchard 4*#Review @RBouchard72 Translator David Warriner @givemeawave @OrendaBooks #Detective #Quebec #TheCoralBride #DSMorales @RandomTTours

In this beautiful, lyrical sequel to the critically acclaimed We Were the Salt of the Sea, Detective Moralès finds that a seemingly straightforward search for a missing fisherwoman off Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula is anything but.

When an abandoned lobster trawler is found adrift off the coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, DS Joaquin Moralès begins a straightforward search for the boat ’s missing captain, Angel Roberts – a woman in a male-dominated world. But Moralès finds himself blocked at every turn – by his police colleagues, by fisheries bureaucrats, and by his grown-up son, who has turned up at his door with a host of his own personal problems.

When Angel’s body is finally discovered, it ’s clear something very sinister is afoot, and Moralès and son are pulled into murky, dangerous waters, where old resentments run deep…

An exquisitely written, evocative and poetic thriller, The Coral Bride powerfully conjures the might of the sea and the communities who depend on it, the never-ending struggle between the generations, and an extraordinary mystery at the heart of both.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review..

My Thoughts…

This is the sort of book you can get lost in. It’s claustrophobic, immersive and lyrical. Focused on a fishing community in Quebec, Canada, it has a similar quality to Icelandic and Nordic noir. The opening chapter is both beautiful and horrifying at the same time. It raises as many questions as answers.

DS Morales is an unusual man, a loner, a stranger whose motives are not immediately obvious to the community around him. He has a complex family life. This story brings the father and son dynamic into focus and serves as a contrast to the familial relationships exposed in the fishing community.

The plot keeps its secrets well, whilst providing numerous motivations for murder among Angel’s colleagues, family and friends. The insular nature of the community is well described and the importance of nature and folklore interwoven into the investigation giving it depth and originality.

This is a standalone read, but DS Morales is a complex and interesting man. Reading the first book where he features would make this even more enjoyable.

Roxanne Bouchard

Over ten years ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies.

Her fifth novel (first translated into English) We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, sure to be followed by its sequel, The Coral
Bride. She lives in Quebec
.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship

Forgive Me Susan Lewis 5*#Review @susanlewisbooks @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #RestorativeJustice #Crime #Domestic Suspense #Forgiveness #Family #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #ForgiveMe

I can’t forgive myself. Not after what I did. Could you?


This is Claudia Winters’s last chance for a fresh start. Changing her name and leaving her old life behind, she has fled to the small town of Kesterly with her mother and daughter. Here, she hopes they can be safe for the first time in years.

But the past can’t stay hidden forever. And even as Claudia makes new friends and builds a new life, she can’t help feeling it’s all about to catch up with her… Until one disastrous night changes everything forever.

Tense, emotional and gripping, Susan Lewis’s latest novel is a spellbinding story of love, family, and the price of forgiveness. 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a contemporary emotional story focusing on crime, domestic abuse, family and forgiveness. From the beginning, you aware that someone is seeking forgiveness, but alongside this runs the story of three women, a mother, daughter and grandmother who are seeking a new start. The connection, if any between the two stories, is not immediately apparent.

The characters, especially the female protagonists, are well written. The familial relationship is powerful. This is a story of forgiveness, healing and love. It demonstrates the importance of these in all relationships in a way that resonates.

Despite his actions, the antagonist draws reluctant empathy from the reader, which increases, as the story progresses. Not all the characters are likeable, but they are authentic and play their part, in this family drama with a moral dilemma.

This story is addictive and hard to put down. The protagonists are admirable and human.

Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including One Minute Later and Home Truths and My Lies, Your Lies. Susan’s novels have sold nearly three million copies in the UK alone. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Susan has previously worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. She’s lived in Hollywood and the South of France, but now resides in Gloucestershire with husband James, two stepsons and dogs.

Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Friendship, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy, Romantic Suspense

Withholding The Key T.L Mahrt #CoverReveal @tlmahrt @rararesources #WithEmma #Romance #CrimeFiction #DomesticThriller #RomanticSuspense #Noir #Crime #WithholdingTheKey #preorder

Withholding the Key, Third and Final Book of With Emma Trilogy.

Will Emma unlock her heart and truly allow herself the happiness she deserves?

Emma Andrews finds herself and everyone she cares about within the walls of the penthouse. Only, this time, it was her who locked the door and threw away the key. Emma finds herself not only planning to take Jarret out for good, but trying to destroy his empire and all who are within it.

Jarret won’t know what hit him…

What Emma doesn’t expect is to see a face that before had only appeared in her dreams.

With Chance’s life holding on by a thread, Emma is pulled to him. Will he prove his love to her, allowing Emma to completely unlock her heart to him? Or, will the man that has taught her to accept her strength, be the man Emma finds her true-self in the bounds of his love…

There is one thing for certain, in order to take Jarret out, Emma will need to rely upon the bond formed from an unexpected friendship.

Pre-order Link – Amazon UK

Publication Date – 31st January 2021

T. L. Mahrt is a former business owner, where she utilized her education in cosmetology, barbering, and massage therapy for several years. She was raised on and is currently living on a farm in Nebraska, where you can find her running barefoot in the countryside with her loving husband, inspiring children, and massive dogs.

After having her son, who was born with Cerebral Palsy and DYRK1A Syndrome, she made the life altering decision to stay home to care for her two children and pursue her love of writing. She has a passion for romance and poetry where her overactive imagination, along with her adventures and upbeat lifestyle drives her motivation for her writing.

T. L. Mahrt has a thirst for knowledge and is currently working on her Bachelor of Applied Science in Communication Studies degree.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Incognito Michael Winson @michaelwinson4 @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #BookBlitz #CrimeFiction #Conspiracy #Thriller #Detective #Mystery #Incognito

Betrayal deserves vengeance….Redemption needs sacrifice 

Still reeling from leading a disastrous raid, SO15 anti-terror officer Lisa Reid is grateful for an easy assignment this time out; identify and bring in a target thought to have information on a fugitive cell leader

There is no such thing as a routine job for Lisa though, and a devastating chain of events quickly plunges her, and her partner Will, into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with thousands of lives hanging in the balance

As the scale of the threat is revealed, and the body count starts to rise, the pair have to make choices that could cost their partnership, if not their lives. But one of them has a deadly agenda all of their own, and as the man that’s been pulling all the strings steps out of the shadows to choreograph his masterpiece, that could end up costing a lot more…..

Amazon UK

Michael Winson

I am a proud Dad to 4 strong and bright boys of whom I’m immensely proud. I live in Northamptonshire with my beautiful wife Lisa, the inspiration for the lead character in my first book Incognito.

In my day job I work in financial services, a ‘Fixer’ of sorts I deal with everything from phone routing through to in-depth data analysis and customer engagement strategy. Exciting I know!

It was on one of the more tedious commutes into central London that the kernel of an idea came to me. With some nurturing, this idea grew to become my first book, INCOGNITO.

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing. I always felt that I could do it and I’m not one to back away from anything so, once I had the idea formed, I took a week off work, locked myself out of the way of the kids and got to it. That was the base done, then it was just months of edits and re-edits, countless knock-backs from agents and publishers (rite of passage, I’m telling myself) and eventually I was happy to publish what you can see here.

I’ve learned more from self-publishing than I could’ve ever hoped, and the next books in this series, and the ones to follow that are already niggling at me, will be all the better for it.

I don’t expect my life to change as a result of writing my first book, but I love the idea of someone other than me enjoying something that I’ve created, and so far the reviews and feedback have been great.

Posted in Book Spotlight, Crime, Fantasy, Psychological Thriller

The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce by Tom Gillespie @tom_gillespie @VineLeavesPress @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #BookBlitz

A spiralling obsession. A missing wife. A terrifying secret. Will he find her before it’s too late? When Dr Jacob Boyce’s wife goes missing, the police put it down to a simple marital dispute. Jacob, however, fears something darker. Following her trail to Spain, he becomes convinced that Ella’s disappearance is tied to a mysterious painting whose hidden geometric and numerical riddles he’s been obsessively trying to solve for months. Obscure, hallucinogenic clues, and bizarre, larger-than-life characters, guide an increasingly unhinged Jacob through a nightmarish Spanish landscape to an art forger’s studio in Madrid, where he comes face-to-face with a centuries-old horror, and the terrifying, mind-bending, truth about his wife.

Amazon UK

Tom Gillespie grew up in a small town just outside Glasgow. After completing a Masters in English at Glasgow University, he spent the next ten years pursuing a musical career as a singer/songwriter, playing, recording and touring the UK and Europe with his band. He now lives in Bath with his wife, daughter and hyper-neurotic cat, where he works at the university as an English lecturer. Tom writes long and short stories. His stories have appeared in many magazines, journals and e-zines. He is co-author of Glass Work Humans-an anthology of stories and poems, published by Valley Press.

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