When a body is found floating in London’s Royal Albert Dock, successful public relations expert Kay Christie is sent to quiet the media, but things get complicated when it emerges that she knew the victim.
As events spiral out of control, Kay discovers that those close to her may be harbouring another secret – the story of a missing girl. Can Kay discover the truth before her life unravels and she risks losing everything?
In the Wake questions whether we can ever truly leave our pasts behind and explores the lengths that we will go to protect the people that we love.
I received a copy of this book from Urbane Publications in return for an honest review.
A dark crime thriller, with a fusion of psychological suspense, police procedural and noir romance making this book a riveting read.
This story starts with an unnoticed disappearance, then a body and finally a connection. The reader is thrown into a maelstrom of crime, drama and suspense, which ramps up with each turn of the page.
Told in the third person from Kay’s point of view, with illuminating flashback chapters to two historical time periods, you wonder if she is hiding something, and she is. Past connections and present-day loyalties and dangerous sexual attraction, make Kay vulnerable. If she cannot work out what is happening and who she can trust, she will pay the ultimate price.
This is a fast-paced, gritty thriller, with sex and violence taking centre stage. Kay takes the role of an unreliable protagonist. A clever, intriguing noir crime thriller, that makes an enjoyable read for those who like a seamless fusion of literary genres.
Helen Trevorrow is a graduate of the 2016 Faber Academy creative writing programme. She studied at Leeds University and has worked in marketing and public relations in London. She is a specialist food and drink PR. Helen’s debut novel IN THE WAKE is a feminist crime thriller about family, unrealised trauma and alcoholism. Helen has ghost-written many articles for newspapers, magazines and websites. She lives in Brighton, Sussex with her wife and child.
The Wicked Lord’s Mistressis set in the late Victorian period (1886) for fans of upstairs/downstairs dramas and steamy romances. It explores the continuing love story between Lily, a lady’s maid at Torrington Hall, and a handsome, mysterious aristocratic hero called Lord Edgar Wilson.
Lily is surrounded by challenges from all sides. She is being blackmailed by the evil Malkins, she has a secret past that she is trying to hide, and her forbidden love affair with Lord Wilson grows riskier every day. Can their lusty affair transform into the tender and lasting love that Lily craves? And given the differences in their class, is a happy ending possible for them?
Then a new enemy
comes into Lily’s life, someone who is determined to destroy her. Lily finds
herself facing the greatest challenge of her life, and hopes that Lord Wilson
will be her hero.
I received a copy of the first two books in this series from the author in return for honest reviews.
Lily works as a lady’s maid at Torrington Hall. Haunted by a conniving conman who has bribed her, she is forced to attempt to steal valuables from the glamorous guests who visit. One of these is Lord Edgar Wilson, a handsome and mysterious guest. When he and Lily begin to flirt and he catches her stealing from him, he is furious and declares that Lily must pay.
But as Lily finds herself falling for the Lord, she notices that he, in turn, seems attracted to her…
Will Lord Wilson discover the secrets in Lily’s past? And why does he want her to attend his secret London gentleman’s club with him? Can a lady’s maid conquer the heart of a Lord?
A love story filled with heart and fiery passion, The Wicked Lord and the Lady’s Maid is the first in a trilogy called The Lord’s Seduction.
This book is a short introduction to an erotic Victorian romance trilogy – The Lord’s Seduction. The story is told mainly from Lily, a lady’s maid point of view. The story throws you straight in with little backstory, but read on, and you will soon grasp that Lily is a victim of a particularly dark blackmail plot by a dangerous, perverted man.
Lily is a victim of circumstance, but she is also attracted to a guest at the house where she works. What happens throws her into his sight, and mutual attraction leads to a dangerous, erotic romance.
This is partly a ‘what the butler saw‘ Victorian saucy affair, but some dark issues are explored concerning the position of women and servants in the late Victorian era.
Book 2 -The Wicked Lord’s Mistress
The second book in the Lord’s Seduction trilogy follows on from the first . Although, the continuation of the romance can be enjoyed if this is read as a standalone. It’s best to read the first book, in the series, which is short, to fully grasp the main themes of this Victorian erotic romance. The book has some astute observations on Victorian society, and its attitudes, to servants, sex and women.
Lily and Edgar continue their illicit affair, but someone else wants the handsome Lord and is prepared to get him at any costs. Lily’s position becomes increasingly dangerous, and her vulnerability makes this a poignant read. She is a strong character, who goes after what she wants, but she loves someone more than herself, and this makes her susceptible. Edgar is likeable and seems to want to be a good man, but his attraction to Lily blinds him to the dangers of their liaison especially for her.
The romance is risque and sensual but is accompanied by a story that tugs at the heartstrings. The characters draw you in, more than you would expect, and you want Lily to find justice. Making reading the final part of the trilogy essential.
Scarlett Jameson works in publishing by day and by night enjoys writing steamy historical romances. A lover of all things Victorian, she lives in London with her cat. You can subscribe to Scarlett’s newsletter here https://tinyletter.com/scarlettjameson
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…
I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.
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.
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.
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…
I received a copy of this book from Atlantic Books – Corvus Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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.
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.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
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.
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.
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.
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.
Blois, 1705. The chateau of Duc Hugo d’Amboise simmers with rivalry and intrigue.
Henriette d’Augustin, one of five mistresses of the duc, lives at the chateau with her daughter. When the duc’s wife, Duchesse Charlotte, maliciously undermines a new mistress, Letitia, Henriette is forced to choose between position and morality. She fights to maintain her status whilst targeted by the Duchesse who will do anything to harm her enemies.
The arrival of charismatic tarot reader, Romain de Villiers, further escalates tensions as rivals in domestic politics and love strive for supremacy.
In a society where status is a matter of life and death, Henriette must stay true to herself, her daughter, and her heart, all the while hiding a painful secret of her own.
Author Interview – Kate Murdoch – The Orange Grove
What inspired you to write ‘The Orange Grove’?
Since my teens I’ve loved everything about French culture—I’ve studied the language and travelled to France numerous times. So, the idea of writing a French book felt like a natural step. I’m also fascinated by the period of Louis XIV’s rule, the extreme decadence of life at court and for nobles in general before the Revolution. This made researching the book a joy because I discovered many details about how people lived, their outlooks, and what their motivations were at different levels of society.
When you begin a new story, what is the first thing you develop; characters, plot or setting? Why is this?
The setting, because I can’t have an understanding of what might happen in the story and who my characters might be if I don’t know the context of their immediate environment and the historical background.
What is the unique selling point of your story? What do you hope will make it stand out in the historical fiction genre?
A lot of historical fiction focuses on a key event and/or a particular historical figure. In The Orange Grove, I was interested in exploring how a fixation on status and position, prevalent in France in the early 18th century, might have impacted peoples’ behaviour and their relationships. How self-preservation can erode integrity and morality.
Do you find it easy or difficult to write dialogue? How do you make historical dialogue sound natural and believable?
I find it relatively easy once I work out who my characters are. It’s one of my techniques for understanding my characters—I figure out who they are as I write dialogue and watch them speak to one another. Perhaps that’s why I write a lot of dialogue! I would say I’m the most immersed in the act of writing during these ‘conversations.’
What is the best thing about being a writer? Are there any negatives?
The sense of community and understanding shared with other writers. I really enjoy the friendships and connections I’ve made since becoming a writer. I also feel so much joy when a reader understands and enjoys my words, is immersed in my stories. That’s very satisfying. A negative would be being so consumed that it’s sometimes hard to find a balance with other aspects of my life.
Do you enjoy reading? What are you reading at the moment?
I adore reading. At the moment I’m devouring The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt alongside research books for a new project.
What are you currently writing?
I’m writing a dual-timeline story set in World War Two Croatia and 1960’s Melbourne, through the perspectives of three generations of women.
Kate Murdoch is the author of Stone Circle. She exhibited widely as a painter both in Australia and internationally before turning her hand to writing.
Her short-form fiction has been published in various literary journals in Australia, UK, US and Canada.
Stone Circle is a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy. It was released by Fireship Press, December 1st 2017. Stone Circle was a First in Category winner in the Chaucer Awards 2018 for pre-1750’s historical fiction.
Kate was awarded a KSP Fellowship at the KSP Writers’ Centre in 2019 to develop her third novel, The Glasshouse.
Her novel, The Orange Grove, about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France, will be published by Regal House Publishing in 2019.