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

The Telephone Call Michael Pakenham 4*#Review @BookGuild @rararesources #CrimeFiction #DCIDanielAppleman #BlogTour #BookReview #MichaelPakenham #Giveaway #Paperback #Noir #Detective #WeekendReads #SaturdayThoughts

When Rosemary Sherwood overhears a disturbing conversation between her husband, Harry Sherwood and an unknown caller, she has no idea that her life’s about to change forever. Fleeing to France for fear of her own safety, Harry threatens to kill their son if she ever dares to breathe a word of anything she overheard.

Torn between hiding out in France and re-connecting with her estranged son, Rosemary returns to England twelve years later believing that she and her son are now out of danger…

A web of deceit and lies has been woven over the years to cover up the antics of Harry and his friends, who are no strangers to violence and murder and who will stop at nothing to ensure they aren’t exposed.

Private Detective Daniel Appleman takes on the case, but can he track down these men before they wreak havoc on the Sherwood family?

#TheTelephoneCall

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

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My Thoughts…

This is a story for those who like noir crime. The ethos of the story is dark, fueled with tales of abuse, depravity and disregard for life.

Told from multi-points of view, the plot is complex, it requires concentration, especially in the early chapters, as you get to know the cast of characters and their motivations. There is an element of family drama in this story, Rosemary overhears her husband’s telephone conversation, what she hears is life-changing, and puts her and her son in imminent danger.

Told in different time scales, you begin to get the complete picture of what Harry and his consorts do, and it’s not good.

The investigation part of the story, brings Daniel Appleman into the plot, as he embarks on, at times, a desperate journey to uncover the web of dark secrets and lies and keep Rosemary and her son safe. The investigation is intense and interesting, as different lines of enquiry and various leads and suspects are pursued.

There are lighter scenes to counter the darkness, and the comparison of the detective’s family life and Rosemary’s is marked.

The suspense building and underlying menace increases as the story progresses, and leads to a realistic and satisfying conclusion.

Overall this a good crime story. It will appeal, to those that like their thrillers full of dark deeds and depraved antagonists.

#TheTelephoneCall

Michael Pakenham is part of a well-known Irish literary family. Generations of his family lived at Langford Lodge on Loch Neagh outside Belfast. His father was killed in the Second World War and the estate was sold. His mother then took Michael and his sister to Tucson Arizona until the end of the war. On returning to England, his mother bought a farm in Hampshire and Michael has lived in the county ever since. Having served in the Grenadier Guards – the fourth generation to do so – Michael returned to take over his mother’s farming enterprises until he sold his farming interests in 1990 and started his writing career. This will be his eighth book and the second in the Daniel Appleman series. He lives outside Winchester with his wife. He has three children and a string of grandchildren.

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Giveaway to Win 5 x Paperback copies of The Telephone Call (UK Only)

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway link 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 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 be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the 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.

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

Hiding In Plain Sight Eoghan Egan 4*#Review @eoghanegan #BlogTour #Bookreview #Thriller #CrimeFiction #IrishCrimeFiction #IrishCrime #smalltown #FamilyDrama #secrets @Lovebookstours @LoveBooksGroup

A vicious serial killer roams the Irish Midlands… with his sights set on the next victim. A successful businessman has found the perfect recipe for getting away with murder. No bodies, no evidence.No evidence, no suspect. High art and low morals collide when graduate Sharona Waters discovers a multi-million euro art scam in play. She delves in, unwittingly putting herself on a direct trajectory with danger as the killer accelerates his murder spree. When Sharona gets drawn into the killer’s orbit, she peels away his public persona and exposes the psychopath underneath. Suddenly, the small town has no hiding place…

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

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My Thoughts…

A brilliant, fast-paced beginning, gets the adrenaline pumping and the mind working, wondering what next?

Then, the frenetic pace slows and a multitude of new characters are introduced, Some have a connection to the ‘Art Dealer’, others don’t, yet. The pacing in this part of the story is slow, but necessary for the reader to meet the players, appreciate their connections and dynamics, and to realise this story is about more than just a serial killer on the rampage.

The setting is atmospheric and the characters are believable, some are easy to empathise, others the opposite, but they all provoke a reaction. The plot is twisty and doesn’t give up all its secrets, there are avenues to be explored at a later date.

The intensity returns as the story progresses. The killer escalates, and the art crime and family drama subplots reach a crescendo as the plot strands fuse. I like the originality of the setting and the fusion of genres, which is cleverly done, making the story authentic and addictive.

A native of Co. Roscommon, Eoghan studied Computer Programming in college, works in Sales Management & Marketing, but his passion for reading and writing remains.

Eoghan’s work got shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Short Story Prize, and Listowel’s 2019 Bryan McMahon Short Story Award Competition. His novel was a contender in literary agent David Headley’s opening chapter Pitch Competition, and during March 2019, Eoghan’s entry won Litopia’s Pop-Up Submission.

A graduate of Maynooth University’s Creative Writing Curriculum, and Curtis Brown’s Edit & Pitch Your Novel Course, Eoghan’s novel Hiding in Plain Sight – the first in a crime fiction trilogy based around the Irish Midlands – will be available in paperback and audio on January 11th 2020.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Gangland Crime, Thriller

The Liar's Daughter Claire Allan 4*#Review @AvonBooksUK @ClaireAllan #CrimeFiction #NorthernIreland #FamilyDrama #Secrets #Lies #BlogTour #BookReview

No one deserves to be taken before their time. Do they?

Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon.

But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.

As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…

A gripping suspense novel about deadly secrets and lies. 

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

My Thoughts…

There’s a claustrophobic vibe to the story from the beginning. It impacts intensifies, as the plot reveals its secrets. The suspense builds steadily to a shattering conclusion, as all the dark secrets are revealed, but will justice prevail?

A dark story of abuse, and unforgivable betrayal of trust. Joe is dying and he wants his family with him, but why are they so reluctant to come? Why does he want them to? Is it to share what time he has left? Or to ensure their continued silence?

Heidi and Ciara are both emotionally damaged, they share a bond of hate, mostly directed at each other. As the story progresses they have more in common than they realise. Told from multi-points of view, in the past and the present day. Mostly from Heidi and Ciara’s but also Joe, Alex and Kathleen’s. The reader becomes immersed in their anger and pain. The setting is beautifully described and the culture and traditions add an extra layer of tension in an already fraught and intense environment.

The plot is not overly complex, what draws the reader into this story is their empathy and in some cases disgust for the characters, who are both authentic and relatable. I guessed the twist, but the sense of dramatic irony, of knowing something the characters in the story didn’t, gave the story an added twist, rather than spoiling it.

The last chapters are both emotionally draining and satisfying. It’s not a story you enjoy but is one that you can believe in.

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

The Final Trail A.A. Abbot 4* #Review #TheTrailSeries @AAAbbottStories #thriller #CrimeFiction #Domestic #Noir #Revenge #Betrayal #Lies @LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours

Family feuds just got bloodier… A gripping thriller, and a great story of death, revenge and vodka.

To save glamorous Kat White’s life, Ben Halloran killed his gangster father. Now his brother wants to even the score.

The gripping Trail series of British crime thrillers reaches its dramatic conclusion in this compelling page-turner. 

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

My Thoughts…

‘The Final Trail’, is book five in ‘The Trail Series’ set predominately in Birmingham. I haven’t read the previous books in the series, but I enjoyed this one, as the characters are well written and there is sufficient back story.

The immersive, intense writing style makes it easy to connect with the characters and work out their motivations and relationships. The short chapters each from a main characters point of view, lets the reader see developments from several points of view.

Business, family and politics are the points of conflict. The suspense building is good, especially around the political aspects involving Erik. This story explores many areas of life. Business crime, family, love and politics, are all fused into an adrenaline-packed story.

Reading this book makes me want to read the whole series.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, International Thriller, Thriller, Travel

The Profit Motive David Beckler 5*#Review #SterlingandMason @DavidBeckler1 @LongStopBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #Thriller #InternationalThriller #China #BookReview

How do you deal with an implacable foe in an alien land…?

Manchester, England, and Wenzhou, China, 2001

When firefighter Adam Sterling arrives at the scene of a horrific car crash, little does he imagine it will lead him back to his mother’s homeland.

Kate, the woman he pulls from the wreckage, needs his help. Her father has been left for dead after a hit-and-run, in Wenzhou, China.

She suspects it wasn’t an accident and so does Jie Gang, the senior policeman investigating the case, and whose efforts are obstructed from on high.

When events escalate, Kate employs Adam and Byron Mason, Adam’s best friend and fellow former Royal Marine, to go with her to China.

Catapulted into an alien environment, and unable to trust anyone, Mason and Sterling face escalating challenges.

The struggle becomes personal, and Adam has to confront a ruthless enemy determined to destroy him and Kate. 

THE PROFIT MOTIVE is the second crime novel in the Mason & Sterling thriller series: gritty, hard-boiled page-turners with an urban setting.

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

My Thoughts

Enticed in with a mystery and an unexplained hit and run, leaving an English businessman gravely injured. The adrenaline starts to pump, as the thought processes wonder, who is behind the attack. Back in the UK one-half of the investigators has family problems to solve. Another accident draws in his partner, and the plot takes you on a roller-coaster ride across continents and cultures, with complex characters and vivid scenarios and settings.

The plot threads appear unconnected, but as the story progresses they converge into a breathtaking, unexpected conclusion.

The second in the series, it reads well as a standalone, as the story is complete, and there is sufficient characterisation to discern the main protagonists, their background and team dynamic. The international setting is vibrant and well researched. You get a sense of place, and experience the culture and ethos, through the people and places.

An exciting, immersive international thriller, with a clever plot and authentic characters.

#DavidBeckler

I write fast-paced action thrillers populated with well-rounded characters.

Born in Addis Ababa in 1960, I spent my first eight years living on an agricultural college in rural Ethiopia where my love of reading developed. After dropping out of university I became a firefighter and served 19 years before leaving to start my own business.

I began writing in 2010 and use my work experiences to add realism to my fiction.

The Mason and Sterling series centre on two ex-Royal Marines, Byron who now runs a security company and Adam who is a firefighter. A strong cast of characters support my protagonists. Long Stop Books published Brotherhood, the first novel in the series, in September 2019 and will be publishing the second, The Profit Motive, on December 16th 2019. Brotherhood is set in Manchester and The Profit Motive in Manchester and Wenzhou, China.

I live in Manchester, my adopted home since 1984. In my spare time I try to keep fit—an increasingly difficult undertaking—listen to music, socialise and feed my voracious book habit.

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

The Beach House P.R.Black 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @PatBlack9 #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller #Holiday #Secrets #Lies #CrimeFiction #noir #BlogTour #GuestPost #BookReview #MondayBlogs #MondayBlues

This vacation is about to turn deadly…

 Cora’s on the island vacation of her dreams: a private beach in paradise, a romantic proposal, and an eight-figure cheque following the sale of her new fiancé’s business.

When their island turns out to be not so private after all, Cora tries to make the best of a bad situation by inviting their strangely friendly neighbours to celebrate with them.

But it doesn’t take long for her once-in-a-lifetime holiday to take a very sinister turn…

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

My Thoughts…

From the blurb, the reader knows that this is not the idyllic holiday you’d expect, but nothing prepares you for the twists and turns that appear with increasing alacrity as the story progresses.

Cora and Jonathan are on a dream holiday, Cora seems unsure whether she wants to be there. Jonathan is full of surprises, and it seems that life is on track. Until, their exclusive holiday retreat becomes crowded, with another couple, and they can’t fail to see the resemblance to themselves.

The story has a strong technological theme, which adds depth and complexity to the plot.

Progressing, through Cora’s point of view, things start to spiral in an increasingly uncomfortable way. The characters are believable and complex. They are not what they appear to be on the surface.

Cora is an unreliable narrator, and as the story progresses, she presents a hidden side to her character. Flashbacks to incidents in her past illuminate and reinforce her present actions. The last part of the story is an adrenaline rush, and at times full of confusion.

Even at the end, I still wasn’t sure I’d understood everything, but that’s what you want from a psychological thriller.

An absorbing, addictive read.

Guest Post : Smiling assassins By Pat Black

The psychopathic, murderous villains in my new novel The Beach House drew inspiration from a lovely couple we met on holiday.

When I’m on holiday I tend to stick to my own pen. I wouldn’t say I was unfriendly, but I am guarded. I realise this doesn’t reflect well on me, but bitter experience has taught me to be wary.

I remember one couple I got to know on holiday years ago who passed out business cards and tried to flog their home renovation business at every opportunity. This was odd enough – before the boorish male in that pairing then made some utterly jaw-dropping comments about the looks of a woman as part of a third couple who joined the group. I was astounded at the cheek, and the fact the woman just smiled and laughed at these comments, instead of absolutely battering him. “People like that actually exist! In the real world!”

Another couple on an overnight boat trip didn’t realise I was joking when I was… making jokes. It’s not like any of the daft comments and dad-on-holiday patter were certificate X, either. It was a bit like explaining that, you know, it doesn’t really matter why the chicken wanted to cross the road, or what might have awaited it on the other side. Now imagine that sort of scrutiny after every utterance. “It’s your accent,” the woman explained later, as if that explained anything.

So, I’ve learned. I’m happy enough drinking cocktails in our own group of two, reading a stack of books on my tod, worrying about sharks while we go for a swim in a pair, and forming our own pub quiz team.

Then one night (a while ago now, mind you; pre-kids anyway), we were approached by this cracking couple from the South West. The shutters went up immediately, but then something strange happened: I lightened up, and we… Well. We made friends. They were loads of fun. They didn’t want anything from us. They got my jokes, and I got theirs. Importantly, they also knew not to crowd us – I looked forward to having a drink with them at night back at the hotel, and was genuinely sorry to see them go home, a couple of days before we did.

Hey – maybe for them, we were the weirdos?

It was a nice, human experience. So of course my imagination twisted this into something unpleasant for The Beach House.

I wondered what would happen if you had genuinely evil people try to befriend you on holiday – evil people with an evil purpose. And you couldn’t easily extricate yourself from the situation. When your own sense of manners and social skills over-ride your instincts, which might have to scream at you in order for you to protect yourself and your partner.

One of my favourite parts of any modern thriller is in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, when Mikael Blomkvist confronts the novel’s villain. He has a chance to get away, but he refuses, because of good manners. The villain reflects on this with some astonishment. “All I had to do was offer you a cup of coffee.”

All my baddies had to do was order my heroine a pina colada. And it could happen to you. Of course it could. They’re out there. They walk among us. They go on holiday. They sit beside you on a train. They seem nice. They know exactly what to say to people. They see a person or a situation, and their minds instantly move onto how they can strip it to the bone.

Have you seen my business card, incidentally? Maybe we could swap? Hey, networking is networking, after all. No sense in ignoring the business angle, hey? We’ve all got to eat. Fancy a cocktail? Maybe we could go to the pub quiz…

Author and journalist PR Black lives in Yorkshire, although he was born and brought up in Glasgow. When he’s not driving his wife and two children to distraction with all the typing, he enjoys hillwalking, fresh air and the natural world, and can often be found asking the way to the nearest pub in the Lake District. His short stories have been published in several books including the Daily Telegraph’s Ghost Stories and the Northern Crime One anthology. His Glasgow detective, Inspector Lomond, is appearing in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He took the runner-up spot in the 2014 Bloody Scotland crime-writing competition with “Ghostie Men”. His work has also been performed on stage in London by Liars’ League. He has also been shortlisted for the Red Cross International Prize, the William Hazlitt essay prize and the Bridport Prize.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Family Drama, Parenting and Famlies, Thriller

The Nursery Asia Mackay 5*#Review #Spy #Thriller #FamilyDrama #Parenting #Humour #BookReview @bonnierbooks_uk @ZaffreBooks @abmackster

Lex Tyler is trying to have it all.

But being a working mother is so much more difficult when you’re a secret agent for an underground branch of the security services.

Platform Eight have been tasked with tracking down and eliminating the traitor in MI6 who has been selling information to the highest bidder through a headhunting website for the criminal underworld that connects intelligence operatives with all manner of bad people with a simple right swipe. Deals get made. Secrets get sold. Missions fail, and agents die.

Lex’s own home life is not much easier. With a husband who rings her in the middle of a gunfight to complain she’s yet again forgotten to pick up his dry-cleaning, and a two-year-old daughter who has a newfound love of biting, surviving both the Terrible Twos and a traitor might just be too much for one exhausted mother to handle.

Amazon UK

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

My Review

More adventures, or misadventures of Lex and Platform eight. She’s tasked with finding a double agent in the secret services, and action and danger surround her.

Her home life is arguably more challenging. The mother of a two-year-old, she faces the terrible twos on a daily basis. Combining motherhood and being a spy leads to lots of drama and many humorous moments.

The plot is fast-paced and well written with twists, danger and delightful comic moments. The characters are vividly created but believable, and it’s easy to like Lex, the main protagonist.

Perfect escapism. A delightful mix of laughs and thrills, and parenting moments that are relatable for any parent.