Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Mystery, Thriller

The Body in the Mist #BlogTour – Nick Louth @canelo_co @NickLouthAuthor #AuthorInterview #DCICraigGillard #crime

A brutal murder hints at a terrifying mystery, and this time it’s personal.

A body is found on a quiet lane in Exmoor, the victim of a hit and run. He has no ID, no wallet, no phone, and – after being dragged along the road – no recognisable face.

Meanwhile, fresh from his last case, DCI Craig Gillard is unexpectedly called away to Devon on family business.

Gillard is soon embroiled when the car in question is traced to his aunt. As he delves deeper, a dark mystery reveals itself, haunted by family secrets, with repercussions Gillard could never have imagined. 

The past has never been deadlier.

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Q&A with Nick Louth – #DCICraigGillard series

What are the inspirations behind this series, and this story in particular?

The DCI Gillard book series started as these things so often do, almost by accident. I had an idea for a detective story, which was quite different from the suspense thrillers I had been writing previously. It was a particular plot involving an extremely clever female murderer, who managed to conceal her crimes. I wanted to show in the book how each and every step that she took was actually possible, which is something that very few crime writers actually do. My publishers, Canelo, then thought that this should make the start of a good series. The inspiration for the Body in the Mist, number three in the series, was to make the story very close to home for the protagonist. Two aunts, by turns endearing, eccentric and later chilling, cause huge conflicts between his role as a detective and as a nephew. I also wanted to have a wild and stormy setting for this particular book and chose Exmoor in Devon. It becomes a very dark tale indeed.

Do you think creating a likeable and memorable detective is important in books of this genre? Why do think this is?

In crime fiction, everything hinges on your protagonist: DCI Craig Gillard doesn’t suffer the alcoholism or marital difficulties which have become such a cliche in the genre, but he has his weaknesses. He is, of course, rugged and capable; I suppose one could create a male detective who isn’t – like TVs Ironside or  Columbo – but then you get different kinds of difficulties, much harder to solve on the page unless you want to pursue a purely cerebral enquiry. Likeability is an interesting one – your protagonist must be reliable, someone that can be trusted, even if they are perhaps a little cold or distant, in the mould of Jack Reacher for example. They can even be love rats, but if so they must be lovable rogues. It’s a hard balancing act to get right. The crux of this is that the reader will be looking over the detective’s shoulder at scenes often too grisly to experience in a first-person narrative. That’s where the trust and reliability come in.

Do you draw your characters from real life, your imagination, or are they a mix of both? How do you make your characters realistic?

My characters are a mixture, often with particular minor traits that I have observed, but overall they are led by my imagination. Making them realistic is often done by show-don’t- tell. The male foot, resting territorially on the edge of the airport baggage carousel – we’ve all seen it – or the imposing black car driven by a short but aggressive man, all hint at something we have seen and understood. Quite often I use third per person viewpoints to hold a mirror to a particular character. In the Body in the Mist, Gillard’s wife Sam plays a major role in giving us a perspective on her husband’s internal conflicts.

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

I read a selection of current bestsellers in my own genres, just to see what the competition is like, but I don’t get as much time as I would like to read for pleasure.

 What are you currently writing?

The Body in the Snow, my current project, is the story of the murder of an Indian businesswoman, bludgeoned to death on a snowy March morning in an English park. She is a celebrity chef, as well as the matriarch of £1 billion business called the Empire of Spice Ltd. There is a seething undercurrent of rivalry and hostility within her family, driven by money, envy, and hate. My deadline is the end of October!

What are the best and the worst things about being a writer?

The best thing about being a writer is that each and every part of my work is enjoyable. I just love it! The worst part is an element of isolation. I used to be a foreign correspondent for Reuters, which was far more stressful of course but had an enjoyable camaraderie which I sometimes miss.  

Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992 while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies and been translated into six languages.

The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled  ‘When evil and beauty collide’ was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, is being published by Canelo in September 2017. 

Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and Money Observer, and has published seven other books. Nick Louth is married and lives in Lincolnshire.

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

My Thoughts…

There is a very dark start to this crime thriller, a body is found on a road in Exmoor, seemingly the victim of a hit and run, but the injuries make identification tortuous. DCI Gillard finds that a family member may have connections to the incident. What follows is an in-depth look at Gillard’s family and the revelation of long-hidden family secrets that put him in an unenviable position.

This chapter in his life, we meet part of his family, they are not what they first appear to be, and the hidden personality traits that are eventually exposed are written convincingly.

His wife is an important character in this story, and her trust and support, despite her own fears and misgivings, help him to keep a perspective on the situation, as he faces up to, and accepts the dark side of his family.

The plot is varied, with a murder, a cold case to solve and a court case that makes compelling reading. ‘A Body in the Mist’, is a dark, driven, dramatic crime thriller, which puts the protagonist through the mill but demonstrates his strength and integrity.

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Posted in Book Review

The Little Book Cafe Series – Georgia Hill – 5* Review

Posted in Book Review

The Little Book Cafe – Amy’s Story – Georgia Hill – 5* Review

Amy, the manager of The Little Book Café, is a hopeless romantic who had her heart broken, but quietly refuses to give up on love.

With her friends Tash and Emma, not to mention their shared love of books and delicious cake from the café next door, Amy might just find the courage to fall for a real-life romance this time…

Amy’s Story is the final instalment of The Little Book Cafe series.

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

Amy’s story is the perfect way to end this romantic series. which spotlights some hard-hitting issues among the books, cakes and romance.

Amy has featured in the first two books in the series, but she deserves her own happy ending and Patrick, the Irish charmer may just be the man to give it to her. Amy has more emotional baggage than most. She has her reasons for being shy of relationships. Her lack of self-esteem is compounded by her overcritical mother, who has her own regrets, which she takes out on Amy. Patrick is her friend, always there to help and doesn’t judge, she’s in love but he seems content to remain just friends.

Amid, the book clubs, parties and solving the local crime wave, love finds a way and this story ends on an undeniably hopeful note. The only drawback, this is the last one. Hopefully, there may be a few more tales to be told in Berecombe yet?

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

 

Posted in Book Review

Where There’s a Will- Ottercombe Bay #1 – Bella Osborne – 5* Review

 

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

 Amazon UK

Amazon 

 

My Thoughts…

I read the first part of this serial for completeness, having already read the rest of the book. Part one is an entertaining read and sets the scene well for what follows. It highlights the mystery and tragedy surrounding Daisy’s mum’s death and lays the foundation for the attraction between Max and Daisy. Daisy is drifting, and the death and legacy of her great-uncle challenge her to evaluate her current life choices and fulfil her potential by coming to terms with her demons.

A lovely introduction to a humorous, poignant and romantic series.

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

Posted in Book Review

Ottercombe Bay- #4 – Shaken and Stirred – 5* Review – Bella Osborne

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A lovely end to a charming serial.

Devon makes a colourful coastal setting for this romantic tale with a hint of mystery and lots of humorous moments. Daisy returns to her childhood home, Ottercombe bay to fulfil her great uncle’s legacy.  She develops a successful business but can she be lucky in love too? Daisy and Max’s tumultuous relationship makes this unlikely at times.

This final part of the series solves the mystery surrounding her mother’s death but is the truth worse than not knowing? The ending ties up all the loose ends and leaves you with a warm hug.

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

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Ottercombe Bay – 5* Review Bella Osborne – Gin and Trouble #2


Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

With a title like ‘Gin and Trouble’, you get an inkling that everything isn’t going to go smoothly for the folks in Ottercombe bay. This is my first taste of Ottercombe bay, and obviously, it’s better to have read the first book, but there’s enough backstory to make it readable as a standalone and still enjoy it. Not reading the next instalment is not an option as this ends on a cliffhanger and you have to know what happens next.

Daisy last connection with her mother has been stolen, and she is sad. Her mother’s untimely death is shrouded in mystery, which may become more evident as the series progresses. Her unexpected and unwelcome inheritance is the subject of this book, and it’s an idea from Max her nemesis that leads to her renovating the old railway buildings with Max her unlikely but a willing helper. There is definitely, a romance in the making here. More mystery revolves around the return of Max’s father, and there is angst and guilt as Max comes to terms with this.

I loved the characters in this book, realistic and quirky, and the problems associated with renovation and opening a new venture add interest to this lovely story, can’t wait for the next one.

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

Posted in Book Review

Bring Me Back B. A. Paris 5*Review

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The Disappearance
Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.

The Suspicion
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.

The Fear
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…

Amazon

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

Fast-paced, totally addictive suspense fiction that draws you in from the first lie until the final terrifying twist. Written from Finn and his missing girlfriend’s point of view, you learn their past and current thoughts, without slowing down the story.

Finn is troubled he has a shady past that occasionally resurfaces with devasting results, his obsessive love of Layla his missing girlfriend makes him an obvious suspect in her disappearance but his well-placed lies and excellent legal advice leave him free to rebuild his life.  Twelve years later, Finn has moved on, but random events collide to make him believe the past hasn’t done with him yet.

Focusing on Finn, his current girlfriend, a longtime friend and ex-girlfriend, the cast of this sinister thriller is small. As the menace escalates, Finn cannot trust anyone, and this sense of isolation builds his anger to boiling point.

The gripping final chapters reveal an unexpected twist, with horrific consequences for the story’s major players. I guessed this before the end, but even then, the ultimate revelation is not quite as I envisaged. For me, part of the enjoyment is trying to foresee the outcome before the story’s end. 

The tagline #forgetsleep is true. I read this book through the night yesterday.

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

 

30 July 2018:- P.S. There is another ending to this story, which will please the romantics amongst us,

but the first ending wins for dramatic impact.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Author Blog Challenge

The Best Holiday I Ever Had… Author Blog Challenge – #LifeBooksWriting

This weeks Author Blog Challenge  is ‘The Best Holiday I Ever Had’. I’ve been thinking about this and it’s hard to narrow it down to just one holiday. So  I’ve decided to  highlight my favourite holidays and why, from childhood to my first holiday as a gran.

Childhood

Holidays weren’t a big  feature of my childhood but one that stands out is a holiday in Cornwall in the late sixties, when we stayed in St Agnes Bay and Penzance. I remember making a friend at the holiday camp we stayed at and eating butterscotch, we had a photo at Lands End and my parents bought me the cute cat ornament, which I still have today. Other holidays were in Bournemouth and there were always day trips to Mablethorpe on the east coast of England.

Teenage

Camping holidays with youth club are the standout memories from my teenage holidays. Camping is not really me, the ground is too hard and I always get cold and dislike sharing my tent with a variety of insects. Nevertheless I always enjoyed these trips, especially  the one where I got to know my future husband, we celebrate thirty three years of marriage today, so that was definitely a holiday worth going on.

Twenties

My honeymoon  should be my standout holiday of  my twenties and it was lovely. Cornwall again, we went to Newquay, sun sea and  lots of lovely memories. I visited a vintage kitchen shop in Penzance and bought some glass storage jars with cork lids and I still have them thirty three years later obviously a good buy!

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I was first introduced to The English Lake District in my mid twenties and the scenery and beautiful lakes are still a favourite holiday destination of mine. So much so there are the inspiration for my first book The Dragon Legacy.

The Dragon Legacy Cover
My first book inspired by the Lakes

Brighton was the destination of my last twenties holiday with my lovely daughter 8 months old – Such a lovely time .

Holidays with my children

These were certainly fun. Bournemouth  and Devon were favourite destinations. We even stayed in the prestigious Sandbanks. Woolacombe was another favourite, great for kids and dogs.

 We also had a few holidays in Europe during this time.  A camping trip to France’s Verdun region , turned out to be short-lived , after only four days we had to home  as my mother was seriously ill. Holidays in The Costa Dorada in Spain and Lake Garde in Italy were more successful, although we did manage to get lost both times driving from the airport, not the best start to a holiday but the rest of it was full of great memories, as you can see from the photos. My trip to Lake Garde inspired the setting for my second book ‘The Revenge Masquerade’.

The Revenge Masquerade Cover  October 26 14

 

Discovering Northumberland

Regular blog readers will know I love Northumberland, I first visited in 2014 and went again this year with my new grandson Arthur. The weather wasn’t fantastic but we still had a good time.

 

Next Holiday

I’m hoping my next holiday in Woolacombe in September will be  full of good memories too. I’m really looking forward to holidaying with my kids and little grandson and Jazz and Oby of course. We’re staying close to the wonderful child  and dog friendly beach so look out for more blogs on this in September.

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So that’s a whistle stop tour of my holiday memories. Share your holiday memories with me in the comments below or on #LifeBooksWriting

#HappyHolidays

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Posted in Author Blog Challenge

Author Blog Challenge: A day in my life… #LifeBooksWriting

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 So a typical day in my life starts early… I’m usually  awake about 5 am, earlier at the moment because it’s so light. I love Springtime and Summer and I don’t want to miss a minute of it.

 5 am

 DSCN0389Read emails on phone, let the dogs out, make a coffee or a smoothie  but to be honest it’s usually coffee with cream of course. The plan then is to write; book reviews, blogs or my latest work in progress. For my regular blog followers you will know that I’m a sporadic writer, when it comes to my books but once I’m hooked, writing is all  I want to do.

8 am 

Vince and I usually take Jazz and Oby out for a walk on the trail or in Pleasley country Park. If possible, I like to go earlier than this because its at its best when there is no one else there.

9 am

IMG_0035Breakfast with my daughter and grandson, definitely one of my favourite parts of the day. Though the clearing up is taking longer now he can have his own piece of toast.

 

10 am

Then its work time, this is usually writing of some description.  I don’t normally stop for lunch, so I work through until 5 pm when its time to feed the dogs, prepare the dinner and catch up on domestic chores.  Some days, I do house work or cooking during my work time, especially if I’ve managed to write earlier in the day. The best thing about working from home as  a writer is the flexibility.

7pm

 Another walk for the dogs and then I  eat,  watch TV, usually soaps, house programmes or US drama. 

10.30 pm

 

Read and or write in bed. until I fall asleep…

Not a very dynamic life but I love it. 

 

 

Posted in Blogging Communty, Writing Journey

Have You Ever Stayed in a Haunted House?

At the weekend my husband and I were looking at holiday cottages on the internet. We came across a lovely property which was pleasantly furnished and would let us take our two dogs then I saw it – the suit of armour in the living room and I knew nothing could convince me to stay at that house.

Image credit Rama. Medieval armour complete. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/Maximilienne-p1000557.jpg

 Where did this ‘strange’ phobia originate?

Many years ago when I was about ten I stayed at an old rambling house in Exmouth Devon England. The house was spacious and able to accommodate my parents, grandparents and me with ease. The only drawback was some of the artifacts it housed.

It also had a weird atmosphere  that my mother noticed  as soon as she went in. Being so young  I didn’t know why the house felt creepy just that it did.

The house had three floors and I slept on the first floor in a room across from my grandparents. My parents slept on the top floor and in their room was  a suit of armour.

Even in the daylight the ambience of the room was odd. At night my mother heard noises. She dismissed these at first. It was an old house and bound to have creaky floor boards and squeaky door hinges  and suspect plumbing but would this account for the clanking she heard in the dead of night which seemed to stem from the room she was asleep in?

My father never heard a thing sleeping deeply all the time my mother lay frightened in bed. The following morning  she dismissed what she heard as an overactive imagination but was it?

I slept badly the whole time we were there and finally I spent part of the night in my mother’s room  whilst my father slept downstairs. That night my mother woke and saw the suit of armor which stood against the wall closest to the foot of the bed move. I slept through it all safe now I was with my mother .  Half asleep my mother wasn’t too disturbed  she had  experienced paranormal happenings before. It was only when she recalled what she saw in the cold light of morning that she wondered if the house was haunted. It must have spooked her because we left the following day and stayed elsewhere and now whenever I see  a suit of armour I always remember that house and the way it made me feel and my mother’s experience with the  strange suit of armour in her bedroom.

Have you ever stayed or lived in a haunted house or a house with an atmosphere? I would love to know. 🙂

Ghostly Encounters in the Lakes? Read Here.