Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Extract, Guest post, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

The Snow Killer Ross Greenwood #DIBarton 5*#Review @greenwoodross @BoldwoodBooks #Thriller #Extract #PoliceProcedural #Suspense #GuestPost #PsychologicalThriller #BlogTour #boldwoodbloggers #BookReview #PublicationDay

#TheSnowKiller

‘Fear the north wind. Because no one will hear you scream…’

A family is gunned down in the snow but one of the children survives. Three years on, that child takes revenge and the Snow Killer is born. But then, nothing – no further crimes are committed, and the case goes cold.

Fifty years later, has the urge to kill been reawakened? As murder follows murder, the detective team tasked with solving the crimes struggle with the lack of leads. It’s a race against time and the weather – each time it snows another person dies.

As an exhausted and grizzled DI Barton and his team scrabble to put the pieces of the puzzle together, the killer is hiding in plain sight. Meanwhile, the murders continue…

The first in a new series, Ross Greenwood has written a cracking, crackling crime story with a twist in its tale which will surprise even the most hardened thriller readers.

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

My Thoughts…

A medley of crime genres expertly woven by the author into a fast-paced, intriguing thriller which focuses on the Snow Killer who appears to be killing again fifty years after the first snow killing.

The story is told from two points of view. The killer’s which is compelling, immersive and poignant and in keeping with the unreliable protagonist of a psychological thriller. The second point of view is Detective Inspector Barton’s this is in the third person and follows the accepted line of a contemporary police procedural.

The setting for the story is Peterborough, characterised by its relative remoteness for a cathedral city, in the rural heart of east England. The difference between Peterborough fifty years ago and now is marked. Well described, the area provides a perfect backdrop for the events its stages.

The cast of characters is varied and the characters are believable. Notably, the lead detective is an ordinary man, with a family. This makes the contrast between the detective and the killer greater. The plot has clues and twists aplenty and a final twist, which is unexpected and cleverly done.

The first book in a new series, it is hoped that the mix of genres continues with the skill, success and succinctness demonstrated here.

The Snow Killer – Ross Greenwood – Extract

WINTER

50 YEARS AGO

Chapter 1

I must have been ten years old when I first tidied up his drug paraphernalia. I didn’t want my sister crawling over it. We called her Special – a take on Michelle – because she was an enigma. Special was a term of endearment for us, funny how nowadays it could be considered an insult. She never spoke a single word and seemed more of a peaceful spirit than a physical entity. Give her a crayon or pencil and a piece of paper, though, and her smile filled the room.

I monitored my father’s habit through his mood swings or by how much time he spent in bed. The foil and needles increased rapidly just before we escaped London a few years back. I cried because both my parents left evidence of their addiction.

In many ways, my mother was as simple as Special. Swayed by my dominant father, she did everything he said, even though she had more common sense. Joining him in his heroin habit was inevitable.

Until the night we left, we took holidays and ate out in restaurants. I didn’t know where the money came from because I had no idea what my father did.

The evening we fled London, we packed our suitcases at ten at night and caught the last train to Peterborough, arriving at two in the morning. I recall beaming at my parents, especially when we checked into a huge hotel on the first night. My mum’s brother, Ronnie, lived nearby. When we eventually found him, he helped us move into a cottage in rural Lincolnshire, which was cheap for obvious reasons. The single storey building had five rooms and no internal doors. You could hear everything from any room – even the toilet.

Six months after we settled in our new home, I lay in the damp bed with my sister’s warm breath on my neck and heard my father casually say he’d shot the wrong man. The fact my mother wasn’t surprised shocked me more.

Life carried on. My parents continued to avoid reality. We ate a lot of sandwiches. Lincolnshire is only two hours north of London but it felt like the edge of the world after the hustle and bustle of the capital city. I walked the three miles to school. Special stayed at home where she painted and coloured. My mum sold Special’s pictures. She drew people and animals in a childish way, but they captivated people as the eyes in the pictures haunted the viewer.

One freezing night, my sister and I cuddled in bed and listened to another argument raging in the lounge. We had our own beds but only ever slept apart in the hot summer months. At six years old, she didn’t take up much room.

‘You did what?’ my mother shouted.

‘I saw an opportunity,’ my father replied.

‘What were you thinking?’

‘We’re broke. We needed the money.’

‘What you’ve done is put our family in danger. They’ll find us.’

‘They won’t think I took it.’

I might have been only fifteen years old, but I had eyes and ears. My parents constantly talked about money and drugs. By then, that was all they were interested in. That said, I don’t recall being unhappy, despite their problems. Normal life just wasn’t for them.

My mother’s voice became a loud, worried whisper. ‘What if they come for the money? The children are here.’

‘They won’t hurt them,’ my father said.

A hand slammed on the kitchen table. ‘We need to leave.’

‘It’s three in the morning and snowing. No one will look now. Besides, where would we go?’

‘We’re rich! We can stay where we like.’

Crazily, they laughed. I suppose that’s why they loved each other. They were both the same kind of mad.

That was the sixties and a different time. Not everyone spent their lives within earshot of a busy road. In fact, few people owned their own car. If you’ve ever lived deep in the countryside, you’ll know how quiet the long nights are. So it makes sense that I could hear the approaching vehicle for miles before it arrived. The put-put-put we gradually heard in unison that night sounded too regular for it to be my uncle’s ancient van. And anyway, good news doesn’t arrive in the middle of the night.

Guest Post – Ross Greenwood‘s Interesting Facts

Two books that influenced me.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It contains the ultimate twist. I felt diddled in such an amazing way that I’ll never forget the smile on my face as I put the book down.

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. It felt like reading a book that someone had just spewed out. He didn’t care what people thought, or anything of style or standards. This was his book and that’s how it was. The criminal antics were so realistic but told with black humour. The first publisher he sent it to picked it up, which must have been lovely for Mr Welsh. 😊.

Two songs that influenced me

I only really listen to music in the car. I need silence to write; someone eating an apple in the lounge two rooms away unsettles me. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor was one of the first songs I bought. I used to go jogging with it playing on one of those old personal stereos. I’m not built for jogging, so it was hugely motivational. When I hear it now, I still think of the batteries and me dying near the end of each run.

The other, oddly, is Barbie Girl by Aqua. At the time it came out, the girl from the video reminded me of my then girlfriend. She was a pretty, ditzy, unsuitable girl, and we used to joke it was our song. We sadly broke up (I was sad) and then I had to listen to the song every time I turned on the radio for the next 6 months. Excellent. That was 25 years ago. When I hear it now, I remember a young man living life and having fun.

Two films that influenced me

Shawshank is hardly original but I love it. There’s a flow and rhythm to it that I try and emulate in my writing. It’s a hard film about prison. If it’s done beautifully, I can watch and read anything.

Empire Strikes Back is the first film I remember seeing at the movies. I was 7. I can still remember my eyes bulging at the massive screen as the first AT AT’s came into view.

Two people who inspired me.

Nelson Mandela is influential to many people but it wasn’t until I visited Robben Island where they imprisoned him that I realised he was something incredible. He was kept for so long in such terrible conditions, literally breaking rocks with a small hammer in a sunburned courtyard, that it would have been understandable if he’d been bitter and vengeful. Instead, he was the reverse. His story is so inspiring.

The second person is my dad. Slightly cheesy, but it’s not for anything outstanding. It’s his approach to life. He’s 80 now, and looks to enjoy his days and get on with things, and always has. I remember buying a house which needed completely repainting. The first day, I stood in the lounge with a brush in my hand and thought, ‘Oh my God’. He bent down next to me, picked up a tin and a roller, climbed the ladder, and began to paint the ceiling. Admittedly, we ruined the carpet. But that sense of getting-on-with-things was stirring. Many years later, when I felt I had a story to tell, I remembered that day.

So, I sat at my desk, picked up my pen, and began to write.

#RossGreenwood

Ross Greenwood, an author from Peterborough, has written six crime thrillers. He uses his experience of travelling and working all over the world to create layered believable characters that will capture your imagination. In 2011, Ross decided to take on a new challenge and became a prison officer. He writes murderers, rapists and thieves brilliantly because he worked with them every day for four years.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Noir, Political Thriller, Scandinavian Crime, Suspense, Thriller

Cage Lilja Siguroardottir 4*#Review @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks #Orentober #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @AnneCater #IcelandNoir #ReykjavikNoirTriology #Cage #Thriller #CrimeFiction #politicalthriller #Translator #QuentinBates @graskeggur

#Cage

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla when her sentence for financial misconduct ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.
As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed. Ruthless entrepreneur Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home. And at the same time, a deadly threat to Sonja and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive…

The lives of these characters are about to collide in a shocking crescendo until the winner takes it all…

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

My Thoughts…

This is the final book in an Iceland Noir trilogy, which explores the underbelly of Iceland. The underworld of crime that appears to be gaining a foothold, as Iceland becomes increasingly globalised.

I haven’t read the previous two books in this trilogy, and so can only review the final book. Whilst I gained a taste of the ethos of the setting, and the motivations of the main characters, this would be more powerful, if you read the previous two books.

The story focuses on Agla, Maria, Sonja and Ingimar. characters featuring in the two previous books. The characters have experienced various fortunes as the story progresses, and in the main, they are not easy to empathise. Drugs, financial crime and stripping of natural resources are the main themes in this final part of the story. There is also a terrorist subplot which runs concurrently, but the connection with the other crimes is not immediately apparent.

The pacing is fast, and this makes it unique in Iceland and Scandinavian Noir, The plot is complex and original, and the characters. who are explored in some detail in this book are intriguing, if not likeable.

The ending is powerful.

#LiljaSiguroardottir

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare and Trap, the first two books in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

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Posted in Book Review, Mystery, Noir, Scandinavian Crime

Little Siberia Antti Tuomainen 4*#Review @OrendaBooks @antti_tuomainen #BlogTour #BookReview #RandomThingsTours #mystery #noir #humour #ScandinavianCrime #Orentober #LittleSiberia @AnneCater

LittleSiberia

A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland when there is a flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.

But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant. Unfortunately, Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his.

As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation and discover who the father of the baby really is.

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

My Thoughts…

If you’re searching for something original and quirky to read, this is it. Apart from the unique plot, this is a wonderfully descriptive story, with vividly portrayed characters.

The story starts with an unlikely and unusual event, that snowballs into a fast-paced thriller, with curious insight into human nature, and what happens when there is a chance to make easy money. There are many satirical observations, which will appeal to many.

The story is many things and so will have a wide appeal. The characters are mainly, not easy to like, the chance to be rich, brings out the dark side of many of the villagers. It also draws in other criminals interested in profiting from the strange event. There are some astute observations on humanity, and how it differs living in such a claustrophobic, dark setting.

A short, but action-packed read, with humorous and poignant character observations. A refreshingly different Scandi Crime novel.

#AnttiTuomainen

Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died (2017) became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards. Palm Beach Finland (2018) was an immense success, with The Times calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Noir, Suspense, Thriller

Rewind Catherine Ryan Howard 4*#Review @cathryanhoward @CorvusBooks #CrimeFiction #TechnoThriller #Noir #Suspense

#Rewind


PLAY Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself? 

PAUSE Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for… 

REWIND Psycho meets Fatal Attraction in this explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…


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

My Thoughts…

An interesting fusion of crime fiction genres.

The setting and some of the characters give this story a noir twist, the suspense and level of menace keep the reader turning the pages, and if you’re reading it alone, probably wishing you weren’t.

There is a murder, a cast of possible suspects, and an amateur sleuth working out whodunnit, more efficiently than the authorities. Part of the enjoyment is not just finding out who, but also why, and what the others part in the mystery is.

This is also part techno-thriller, the victim is a social media influencer, there are strange online groups and the dangers of the dark web. Living life in the full glare of social media may reap celebrity and monetary rewards for some, but there are setbacks, in terms of obsessive fans and haters.

The thriller also had an original layout, scenes are short and prefaced by media playback terms; play, pause, fast forward and rewind. This emphasises the media aspect of the story and enables the story to be told from different viewpoints and different periods, before, during, after and outcome.

Complex characters, a brave and largely successful mix of genres and something a little different, which is always exciting to find and read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Friendship, Mystery, Noir, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

Bollywood Wives Alex Khan 5*#Review @HeraBooks @alexkhanauthor #BollywoodWives #glamour #romance #Crime #secrets #lies #BlogTour #thriller #BookReview #India #Bollywood #Films

#BollywoodWives

Zara Das is Bollywood’s hottest property, her every move watched by the eyes of the press. Riding high from the success of a string of blockbusters, she has the world at her feet, but the scandal from her latest film threatens to dethrone her as Bollywood’s reigning queen.

So when superstar director Raj Dillon stages a lavish retelling of Pride and Prejudice, moving the shoot from Mumbai’s soundstages to London, Zara knows this is the role that could put her back on top. Coming with them are the Bollywood Wives – Jackie, Sasha, and Rani – bringing their own off-screen drama.

But behind the diamonds, designer clothes and seven-star hotels lies the truth of how Zara reached the top. And when a dead body is found in her hotel room, it seems that someone is determined to take Zara down – and will stop at nothing to expose her darkest secrets.

Zara has spent years running from her past. But now it’s caught up with her…

A sexy, gripping, scandalous novel set in the world of Bollywood.

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

My Thoughts...

This is a story full of contrasts, It opens up the Bollywood film world, and is fascinating to read, but there is a darker side to this book. Intelligent commentary on Indian society, and the deceit and depravity that simmers below Bollywood’s glamour and ostentatious wealth.

There is a wonderful cast of characters, including Zara, who the story revolves around. Despite her celebrity status, she has secrets, and these make her vulnerable. The writing style is informative and inclusive, you feel part of what is happening, even though most of the readers will have little experience of such a glamorous, dangerous world.

On one level this a bonkbuster romance, snapshots of lives, full of sex, secrets and money, but underneath there is a hidden noir world of abuse and desperation. The thriller is well-plotted and gives the story additional depth and interest.

The ending is poignant, but ultimately hopeful, as people who can make a difference and help others not to suffer, as they did, finally find the courage to act.

An insightful look at an important twenty-first-century phenomenon, with a clever fusion of genres, and believable, complex characters.

# AlexKahn

Alex Khan has spent his life dreaming of writing and starring in Bollywood movies while travelling the world visiting some of the most glamorous and exciting locations. Moonlighting as a crime writer he finally got the courage to pen the novel he wanted to write all his life-Bollywood Wives. Taking you into the glamorous sexy thrilling environment of the world’s biggest movie stars and the secrets they hide.

Alex also writes crime under the name ALEX CAAN.

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#BollywoodWives
Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Gangland Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Silent Money G.D.Harper 4*#Review @harper_author @rararesources #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller #noir #crime #Glasgow #1970s

~
#SilentMoney

Glasgow, 1972. Michael Mitchell is ambitious, talented and determined to succeed. But he learns the hard way that he will never achieve his goals in life – unless he plays by a different set of rules.

He partners with a small-time crook to help the Glasgow underworld launder the proceeds of their crimes. As the operation grows, Michael is forced to become more and more ruthless to protect what he has built.

Shocked by who he has become, he vows to leave the criminal world behind and start a new life. But the past has a way of catching up. Finally, he gambles everything on one last desperate attempt to break free.

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#SilentMoney

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

My Thoughts…

Set in Glasgow in the 1970s, this story’s ethos is gritty and full of moral dilemmas. Michael is a hard worker and he wants to succeed, but his efforts are overlooked, and soon he uses his powerful intelligence to become successful in a less orthodox way.

Like the author’s previous book set in 1970s Glasgow and London, Love’s Long Road, this story has excellent characters, a clever plot and you constantly question Michael’s choices, there are so many grey areas,

The pacing is fast, and there is a good balance of action, dialogue and introspection. The setting once again steals the show for me, it encompasses the desperation of the 1970s, a time of high unemployment, and the demise of British industry like coal, shipbuilding and steel. When for many crime was the only way out of poverty.

A good, thought-provoking thriller.

#SilentMoney #Blogtour

I was placed third in the 2015 Lightship Prize for first-time authors, won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition.

In 2017, I was one of twelve authors selected for Authors in the Spotlight at the Bloody Scotland book festival in Stirling, showcasing who they considered to be the best emerging talent in crime fiction, and was the only self-published author to be chosen. I have spoken at numerous other book events, including Blackwells’ Writers at the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; a stand-alone slot at the Byres Road Book Festival in Glasgow, and the Aye Write! Book Festival, also in Glasgow.

I went to Glasgow University in 1975 and lived in the city’s West End, the time and place for the setting of the majority of Love’s Long Road.


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Read my #review of Love’s Long Road
Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Domestic Thriller, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Through The Wall Caroline Corcoran 4*#Review @cgcorcoran @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #BookReview #Paperback #PsychologicalThriller #DomesticThriller #Neighbours #ThroughTheWall #noir

#ThroughTheWall

Lexie’s got the perfect life. And someone else wants it…

Lexie loves her home. She feels safe and secure in it – and loved, thanks to her boyfriend Tom.

But recently, something’s not been quite right. A book out of place. A wardrobe door left open. A set of keys going missing…

Tom thinks Lexie’s going mad – but then, he’s away more often than he’s at home nowadays, so he wouldn’t understand.

Because Lexie isn’t losing it. She knows there’s someone out there watching her. And, deep down, she knows there’s nothing she can do to make them stop…

A dark women’s fiction novel with a universal hook about the anonymity of cities, the dangers of social media, and how we always need to be careful of strangers…

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

My Thoughts…

This book explores how isolated we all are. Even though, many of us live in overpopulated cities, how many people do we interact with face to face in a meaningful way?

Lexie and Harriet live next door to each other, Lexie lives with Tom and is desperately trying to get pregnant. Harriet lives alone, but often has noisy parties, Lexie never goes to. Both can hear muffled sounds of life through their apartment wall, and they both envy each other’s life to a degree. Told from both of the women’s points of view, a story of deceit, obsession and deteriorating mental health unfolds.

Harriet’s past life is gradually revealed and you realise what an unreliable protagonist she is. Her story is heartbreakingly sad, and as you understand what motivates her behaviour, the sense of menace and suspense builds.

Lexie is also in the grip of an obsession, she wants a baby to exclusion of all else, this puts a strain on her relationship with Tom, and makes her wonder what it would be like to be Harriet, someone she knows little about.

The story is slow-paced and detailed, and probably slightly longer than it needs to be, but the characters are complex, flawed and relatable, and the plot has many subtle twists. However, what you see, is actually what you get. Whilst this story lacks the big reveal, the delivery has a relentlessness about it, that makes you dread, what is going to happen next. You know it isn’t going to end well for someone.