Posted in Author Guest Post, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Guest post, Murder Mystery, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

The Scorched Earth Rachael Blok 4* #Review #GuestPost @MsRachaelBlok @HoZ_Books @Aria_Fiction #CrimeFiction #Suspense #PsychologicalThriller #PoliceProcedural #DCIJansen #BlogTour

#TheScorchedEarth

Who really killed Leo Fenton?

Two years ago, Ben Fenton went camping with his brother Leo. It was the last time they ever saw each other. By the end of that fateful trip, Leo had disappeared, and Ben had been arrested for his murder.

Ben’s wife Ana has always protested his innocence. Now, on the hottest day of 2018’s sweltering heatwave, she receives a phone call from the police. Leo’s body has been found, in a freshly dug grave in her own local churchyard. How did it get there? Who really killed him?

St Albans police, led by DCI Jansen, are soon unpicking a web of lies that shimmers beneath the surface of Ana’s well-kept village. But as tensions mount, and the tight-knit community begins to unravel, Ana realises that if she wants to absolve her husband, she must unearth the truth alone.

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

My Thoughts…

The second book featuring Dutch detective DCI Jansen, who finds himself mystified by the close-knit English village community. It seems no one believes in plain-speaking, preferring closing ranks, and relying on innuendos.

The story is a sad one. Two brothers take a camping trip two years earlier. One is presumed dead, the other convicted of murder, but is it that simple. Ana, the accused brother’s partner. believes not. She has no chance of proving this until the missing brother’s body is found buried in the village. Now, his brother can’t be the murderer. DCI Jansen has to find the real killer, but although gossip is rife in the village, there is nothing of substance, and everyone is keeping secrets.

DCI Jansen suffers a personal tragedy, which he has to conquer, to stop his emotional state having a detrimental effect on the case. Ana wants to help her partner but doesn’t want to reveal what she knows. She feels threatened, and the suspense and menacing ethos surrounding her are well-written.

There is a strong psychological element to this story, particularly from Ana’s perspective, as events from her past invade her present situation. Events are revealed, from Leo’s point of view, in the past, and Ana, Ben and DCI Jansen’s points of view, in the present. The two timelines create dramatic irony, the reader knowing things the characters don’t at that time.

Scene setting and character dynamics form the first part of the book, this slows the pace, but the short chapters and active voice, keep the story moving satisfactorily, ensuring reader engagement. There are several viable suspects, and even though you may guess who did it, early on in the story, there are plenty of smoke and mirrors. to make you doubt it.

Clever twists and a final reveal, make this a good story, with its solid police procedural theme tempered with psychological suspense.

#RachelBlok

Rachael Blok grew up in Durham and studied Literature at Warwick University. She taught English at a London Comprehensive and is now a full-time writer living in Hertfordshire with her husband and children.

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Guest Post- Rachael Blok – ‘The Scorched Earth’, and Ana: where she came from.

The Scorched Earth has a number of different voices, but my protagonist is Ana, a woman struggling with grief as her partner is in jail, and then ghosts from her past emerge: she begins to hear footsteps behind her in a car park late and night; she begins to look over her shoulder…  Ana’s experiences are both ideas I’ve wanted to write about for a while. It was a pleasure to see her come to life on paper.

Women are told to shout ‘fire’ instead of ‘rape’ if they’re being attacked…

As a woman, I’ve felt on more than one occasion a burst of fear walking home in the dark, or walking into a car park late a night. My mum, my sister and I all took a self-defence course years ago, and we were told to shout ‘fire’ instead of ‘rape’ if we’re attacked – people respond more if their property is threatened! I have no answer for this, but I find it terrifying. This fear resonates in the novel and I think, it’s fear men and women should both be aware of. I always tell my husband that if he’s walking behind a woman on her own, late at night, he should drop back – make sure she doesn’t have to look over her shoulder or be concerned about a threat. And the very real issue of stalking is taken more seriously now than it has been in the past, but there is still some way to go. When relationships break down and men find it hard to let women go, it can be a very scary time, and women find it difficult to get concerns taken seriously, often until after an attack.

They locked him up, but they locked her up, too…

Whilst researching the novel, I spent some time in prison, which is not at all like I imagined! My main experience had been from movies and the TV. I found the reality much scarier. I saw homemade weapons; I heard stories of attacks on officers and other prisoners; I spoke to many different people from all aspects of prison life, and it was such an eye-opener. I think as a society we lock people away in all respects – there’s a sense of being forgotten, completely. Women whose partners are in jail spoke of the shame, and also the halted grief – they miss their partners, but can’t grieve for them, they can’t move on. This grief is something Ana wrestles with, and I hope I’ve done it justice.

The prison scenes almost wrote themselves after I’d visited. Even the smell is distinct. My prison officer guides me into the contraband room, where they keep the confiscated drugs. Spice is the drug they have the most problems with at the moment, which is synthetic cannabis. It’s smuggled into the prisons in all sorts of ways. One of the ways is through books and magazines. The pages are soaked in the spice, and so prisons have to scan all books now. So many ideas for plots!

It’s been a pleasure to write the guest blog and thanks to Jane Hunt for giving me the opportunity to mull over the ideas for the novel. I hope you enjoy The Scorched Earth!

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Political Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

A Friend In Deed G.D.Harper 5*#Review @harper_author #Thriller #CrimeFiction #InternationalThriller #Suspense #Investigative Journalist #PsychologicalThriller #PoliticalThriller @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview

#AFriendInDeed

Britain: a few years from now. A new populist political party has won the recent general election.

Duncan Jones, freelance political journalist and blogger, loses his weekly column at a national newspaper and turns to investigative reporting. The chance remark of a friend leads him to suspect that the Russians are directing the new British government’s policies and decisions. As he visits Moscow and Ukraine to discover more, scandal follows intrigue, dark forces attempt to silence him by whatever means possible and he turns to an unlikely ally for help.

A Friend in Deed is a fast-paced psychological thriller set in an all-too-believable near future. It is also the story of how one man confronts the traumas in his past and works out how to resolve them.

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

My Thoughts…

‘A Friend In Deed’, moves forward to the near future, when Britain is in political turmoil, and a reactionary new political force is running the government. Duncan, who we first met in ‘Love’s Long Road’ is in his sixties, a political blogger and journalist, he is still suffering from the fallout of his first novel and its real-life implications, for himself, Bobbie and Michael, two characters featured in earlier books.

This is a topical political thriller, which could easily be fact rather than fiction. Like the other books, the characters are complex, with many flaws that give them authenticity. The writing style is easy to read, and the fast-pace keeps the reader engaged with a clever plot. which has the right balance of adrenaline moments and deeper more insightful reflection.

The author’s effortless connection with past, present and future, gives the story character development and depth of interest. It can happily be read as a standalone thriller, but I have enjoyed reading the other books.

#AFriendInDeed

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 worked in Russia and Ukraine for ten years, which gave me the ideas for the plot and setting that I used in A Friend in Deed.

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#GiveawayPrize UK Only
Giveaway to Win all 3 paperbacks of GD Harper’s Psychological Fiction Trilogy
(Open UK Only)
 Prize features all three books, Love’s Long Road, Silent Money and A Friend in Deed

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  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 Cover Reveal, Crime, Family Drama, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

The Other Woman Jane Isaac Cover Reveal @Aria_Fiction @JaneIsaacAuthor #CoverReveal #CrimeFiction #FamilyDrama #Preorder #DCBethChamberlain #PoliceProcedural

The grieving widow. The other woman. Which one is which?

When Cameron Swift is shot and killed outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer. Her role is to support the family – and investigate them.

Monika, Cameron’s partner and mother of two sons, had to be prised off his lifeless body after she discovered him. She has no idea why anyone would target Cameron.

Beth can understand Monika’s confusion. To everyone in their affluent community, Monika and her family seemed just like any other. But then Beth gets a call.

Sara is on holiday with her daughters when she sees the news. She calls the police in the UK, outraged that no one has contacted her to let her know or offer support. After all, she and Cameron had been together for the last seven years…

Until Cameron died, Monika and Sara had no idea each other existed. As the case unfolds, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets. Especially the dead…

Previously published as After He’s Gone.

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#JaneIssac

Jane Isaac is married to a serving detective and they live in rural Northamptonshire UK with their daughter, and dog, Bollo. Jane loves to hear from readers and writers.

Sign up to her book club at http://eepurl.com/1a2uT for book recommendations and details of new releases, events and giveaways.

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

Woman in the Water Katerina Diamond 4* #Review @TheVenomousPen #BlogTour @AvonBooksUK #CrimeFiction #Thriller #Suspense #PoliceProcedural

Mature Adult Read

#Womanin the Water

I’m alive. But I can’t be saved . . .

When a woman’s body is found submerged in icy water, police are shocked to find she is alive. But she won’t disclose her name, or what happened to her – even when a second body is discovered. And then she disappears from her hospital bed.

Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey follow their only lead to the home of the Corrigans, looking for answers. But the more they dig into the couple’s lives, the less they understand about them.

What’s their connection to the body in the river?

Why have other people they know been hurt, or vanished?

And can they discover the dark truth of their marriage before it’s too late?

Smart, shocking and twisty. 

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#WomanintheWater

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

My Thoughts…

This is a compelling, emotional, twisty thriller. Part of a series of detective stories featuring DS Mills and DS Grey. It reads well as a standalone police procedural, as enough backstory on the detectives is given to illuminate their relationship and the dynamic of the police investigation team.

The story begins with a drama and a mystery to be solved, then a murder which focuses on a local business empire. The story is primarily told from the two detectives point of view, with the woman in the water’s point of view solving bits of the mystery as the story progresses.

The turning point for the thriller occurs half-way through and involves a graphically described act of violence, which is unexpected in its ferocity. It alters the tone of the investigation and introduces an intensity not previously evident.

This is a pivotal moment in the story, but the description is brutal and horrible to read. Since this is my first book by this author, I’m not sure if her regular readers expect to read such gratuitous violence, I didn’t.

I read the second half of the story reeling from the previous violence. The ending has a few more twists, which I guessed. It still leaves loose ends, which will alter the focus of any books that follow.

An excellent story, which keeps you engaged, but the levels of violence will not be for everyone.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

Keeper of Secrets Lynda Stacey 4* #Review @LyndaStacey @RubyFiction @ChocLitUK #Suspense #Secrets #FamilyDrama #Mystery #BlogTour #BookReview #RomanticSuspense @rararesources #BlogTour

#KeeperofSecrets

Should some secrets stay buried?

For as long as Cassie Hunt can remember her Aunt Aggie has spoken about the forgotten world that exists just below their feet, in the tunnels and catacombs of the Sand House. The story is what inspired Cassie to become an archaeologist. 

But Aggie has a secret that she’s buried as deep as the tunnels and when excavation work begins on the site, Cassie is the only one who can help her keep it. With the assistance of her old university friend, Noah Flanagan, she puts into action a plan to honour Aggie’s wishes. 

It seems the deeper Noah and Cassie dig, the more shocking the secrets uncovered – and danger is never far away, both above and below the ground …

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

My Thoughts…

Intriguing, poignant and romantic, ‘Keeper of Secrets’ is romantic suspense full of mysteries to solve, an undercurrent of menace and a strong family drama. Set predominately in Doncaster, it has an urban feel, with poverty, and strong family values at the forefront. The sense of place and the authentic characters are evident and give the plot a sense of realism. The prologue sets the ethos for the story. Young sisters bullied and escaping from their tormentors, only to experience something even more devastating.

The setting for the archaeological dig is real, although the artistic license comes into play with the exact nature and the timings of the dig. The descriptions are excellent and bring the setting to life in a vivid, visual way.

Aggie’s poignant secret is also grounded in reality and makes it sadder. Cassie is a strong, loyal character, she is willing to put herself in danger for the woman who raised her, and this makes her the perfect protagonist.

The mysteries are well written, but it the atmospheric setting, and sense of unease Cassie experiences that keep you turning the pages. The romance is a lovely lighthearted side of the story, which stops it becoming too dark and sinister.

The ending draws the mystery element to a satisfactory close.

An easy to read romantic suspense with intriguing elements of mystery and absorbing family drama.

#LyndaStacey

Lynda is a wife, step-mother and grandmother who grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire.

She is currently the Sales Director of a stationery, office supplies and office furniture company in Doncaster, where she has worked for the past 28 years. Prior to this, she’d also been a nurse, a model, an emergency first response instructor and a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor … and yes, she was crazy enough to dive in the sea with sharks, without a cage.

Following a car accident in 2008, Lynda was left with limited mobility in her right arm. Unable to dive or teach anymore, she turned to her love of writing, a hobby she’d followed avidly since being a teenager.

Her own life story, along with varied career choices, helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.

She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her ‘hero at home husband’, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.

Lynda joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers’ Scheme and in 2015 her debut novel House of Secrets won Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition. Lynda writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction.

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#KeeperOfSecrets
Posted in Book Review, Crime, Suspense, Thriller

The Boy Tami Hoag 5*#Review @OrionBooks #TamiHoag @TrapezeBooks @TamiHoag #CrimeFiction #Broussardand Fourcade #Suspense #Thriller

#TheBoy

MOTHER. LIAR. MURDERER?

When Genevieve’s seven-year-old son is found bleeding to death in his own home, she’s horrified when the police turn to her for answers. There’s no evidence of a break-in, and parts of Genevieve’s story don’t seem to make sense. But could a mother really kill her own child?

Twenty-four hours later, teenager Nora Florette is reported missing – and panic begins to spread. Someone is preying on the local children – and the police are caught in a race against time to catch the killer.

Detective Nick Fourcade and his partner Annie Broussard must uncover the truth about Genevieve’s past before it’s too late. Is she simply a grieving mother? Or is she a danger to them all?

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

My Thoughts…

It’s a while since I’ve read a thriller by this author, who has always been a favourite of mine. Coincidentally, this story is set in the Louisiana Bayou area, where her earlier novels that I enjoyed so much were set.

The story concerns the murder of a young boy, which is not easy to read, but the descriptions are not overly graphic, concentrating more on the emotions of the detectives and the suspects.

The plot is cleverly written, nothing is as it appears on the surface. With each twist, the suspects’ increase, the suspense builds, and the detective’s skills are pushed to their limits.

The characters are distinctive and depict the Cajun population of the area well. The politics of police work and the public relations angle of a high profile murder case is integral to this thriller, Nick Fourcade is a powerful character, driven, but maverick. The person you’d want investigating if you’d lost someone. Annie Broussard, his wife is equally dedicated, but she provides her husband with the grounding he needs to work in such a politically correct setting.

Their relationship inevitably reflects their work, and since their son is a similar age to the victim, they are both personally, as well as professionally affected by the tragedy, and its outcome.

A fast-paced, intense thriller, with relentless suspense building, a cast of close-knit believable characters, and clever detectives with human flaws, who are easy to empathise. Addictive, reading with a unique setting and characters that keep you reading.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Gone Leona Deakin 4*#Review @LeonaDeakin1 @TransworldBooks #PsychologicalThriller #MissingPersons #Game #Suspense

#Gone

Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

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I received a copy of this book from Random House UK – Transworld Publishers – Black Swan via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A thriller with a strong psychological element and complex, sinister characters. It is slow-paced and focuses on unravelling the psyche of a schoolgirl, and a group of missing people, who appear to have left their lives to join a mind game.

The main protagonists are a criminal psychologist and her partner, who specialises in finding missing persons. Augusta Bloom is the stronger of the characters, and she takes the lead into finding the missing people, who appear to be drawn to a strange, potentially dangerous game. Her professional meetings with a schoolgirl who has been involved in a violent incident run alongside her other investigation. Are they connected directly, or indirectly or not at all? Where are the missing people? Are the victims or the antagonists?

The build of suspense is good, the knowledge of the human mind apparent, and you learn interesting facts about profiling and psychopaths. These subjects need to intrigue you for this novel to appeal, the clues are there, but well-spaced, so unless you have a good memory, you may forget them when they are returned too,

Worth reading, if you are interested in what makes the human mind work, from a psychologist’s point of view. and enjoy case study thrillers.