I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This book is a fusion of international thriller and historical puzzle. Set predominately in Italy this is intriguing and fast-paced. The story is full of historical detail, which sets the scene for the mystery con man Rossi and historian Nero needs to unravel.
The action is adrenaline-pumping and violent, aptly illustrating the people chasing Rossi and Nero. Sub-plots converge as the menace intensifies. Rossi and Nero are an unlikely partnership, but they need each other to survive. The mystery’s complexities complement the action sequences drawing the reader into the story.
When Crystal’s pimp, protector and former lover, Gilly, dies of a drugs overdose Crystal is bereft. She refuses the paid protection of a rival pimp, determined to go it alone. But a vicious beating from a client leaves her feeling vulnerable and angry.
Meanwhile, Crystal’s daughter, Candice, is asking difficult questions about her job. Crystal decides it’s time to make some changes, and, when a high-profile judge offers her payment to keep schtum about his nefarious activities, it gives her an idea. Perhaps other clients will also pay for her silence…
Crystal engages on a revenge mission to rob, blackmail and expose her most depraved clients. But some of these men are highly dangerous and, if Crystal wants to exact her plan of revenge, she must accept the risks that go with it.
Heather Burnside is back with this breath-taking, heart-racing series
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus -Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The third book in the gritty and gripping working girls series features Crystal. Addicted to alcohol and drugs, Crystal reaches an all-time low when her partner and pimp Gilly dies. It’s decision time for Crystal. She chooses to fight against her addictions and take revenge against her worst clients. Blackmail forms the basis of Crystal’s exit strategy from her old life, but she fails to see the inherent dangers.
Crystal’s significant character development makes the ending positive in this story of redemption and revenge. Characterised by a pacy, twisty plot and positive female protagonists working girls is an addictive series worth reading.
Crystal – Heather Burnside – Extract
Ruby was becoming irritated as she listened to Crystal defending Gilly. ‘I know he had a temper but I never f**kin’ saw him lose it big time with anyone else,’ she snapped. ‘You were the one that was always on the receiving end and don’t forget that you were the one he beat unconscious as well.’
‘No, he didn’t just lose it with me,’ said Crystal. The guilty expression had returned and Ruby knew there was something more.
‘Go on. Who?’
Crystal swallowed and without further encouragement she came out with it. ‘He killed a man.’
Ruby sprang back in her seat. ‘You’re f**kin’ joking!’
The words hit her like a thunderbolt. It wasn’t only the revelation; it was because it brought home to her that she too was a killer. But, despite prompting Crystal to confide in her, there was no way Ruby was going to share her own secret. Too many people knew already; her partner, Tiffany, and her cousins who had helped her to dispose of the body.
Ruby’s mind drifted back to the scene when Kyle, her childhood nemesis, had tried to take advantage of her. Then she thought of her own callous treatment of him and stifled a shudder of revulsion. Although she was ashamed of how far she had gone, she refused to feel guilty for the piece of shit that was Kyle Gallagher. He was another one who deserved everything that happened to him. And, at the end of the day, she had only paid him back for what he had done to her.
Not content with scarring her for life as a child, Kyle had then moved on to her business, a city centre brothel, where he’d collected protection money and manhandled her girls. But when he’d tried to manhandle her it had been a step too far. There was no way she was going to submit herself to him so he’d had to die.
‘What happened?’ she asked, quickly shifting the focus back to Crystal and blocking her memories but not before she had subconsciously run her finger over her facial scar.
‘He didn’t mean to,’ said Crystal.
Ruby held back her irritation again as Crystal went on to describe how Gilly had made it his mission to punish a client who had abused her. When they’d eventually tracked him down Gilly had driven him to a secluded place, intent on retribution. But the man had retaliated fiercely, forcing Gilly to take desperate action to stop him.
‘He did it for me,’ Crystal added. ‘He felt really bad about it afterwards. He never meant to kill him.’ She paused and took a deep breath before adding, ‘So we went back and buried the body. It was on the news about the man disappearing. But we just kept quiet. Gilly didn’t want anyone to know.’
‘So you kept it secret for him?’ asked Ruby. ‘As well as helping him to bury the f**kin’ body!’
‘Yes,’ Crystal whispered before finding renewed vigour as she continued. ‘But, like I said, he did it for me so it was the least I could do.’
Ruby shook her head but Crystal wasn’t finished yet. ‘I feel really bad about that too. Now that I’ve lost Gilly I realise what that man’s family must have felt like. I think I should tell the coppers everything.’
‘What, and take the rap for what Gilly did? Are you off your f**kin’ head? You keep schtum about the f**kin’ lot, Crystal.’ Ruby looked at her friend who had now bowed her head low and was sobbing again. ‘Are you listening?’
‘Yes,’ Crystal mumbled.
Heather Burnside spent her teenage years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester and she draws heavily on this background as the setting for many of her novels. After taking a career break to raise two children Heather enrolled on a creative writing course. Heather now works full-time on her novels from her home in Manchester, which she shares with her two grown-up children.
A stolen painting. A gangster intent on revenge. And nothing is what it seems.
Art consultant Kate Carpenter has an off-the-books sideline in art recovery, dealing with thieves, gangsters and the occasional war criminal to reunite priceless artworks with their owners. But when she refuses a request from the owner of one missing painting, Yuri Sokolov isn’t prepared to take no for an answer.
Her knowledge has cost him millions, he wants revenge, and he isn’t planning to show any mercy. The only way that Kate can get Yuri Sokolov to keep his distance is to find out exactly what happened to his painting, but when she starts scraping away at the surface, she finds that nothing is exactly as it appears.Don’t Blink is the first book in the Kate Carpenter series.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This story gives tantalising glimpses into the world of art and crime. Kate Carpenter is an art consultant with a rich and powerful clientele. Her less well-known role is as an art recovery expert. She loves this dangerous work which draws her into the darker side of life.
Kate’s associates are complex characters who give the plot its authenticity and vibrancy. Kate’s romantic life is never dull, but she is wary of commitment. Kate’s romance with Pete fizzles out, in favour of the flamboyant Koyla which perturbed me slightly after reading the prequel Vanishing Point.
The suspenseful plot is addictive. Kate is an enigmatic protagonist who is easy to like.
Vanessa Robertson has lived in Scotland for over twenty years. A former publisher and bookseller, she won the Pitch Perfect event for unpublished writers at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in Stirling in 2015.
Death Will Find Me, a crime novel set in 1920s Edinburgh featuring former spy, Tessa Kilpatrick, was her first novel, and Don’t Blink, the first in a series set in the world of art crime investigator Kate Carpenter was published in May 2020, with the second, Trace Evidence, scheduled for later in the year. Vanessa has also published a short novella, Vanishing Point, introducing the character of Kate, which is available on Amazon and free via her website at www.vanessarobertson.co.uk.
Vanessa lives in a cottage in the middle of a Scottish wood with her family and ridiculously large dog. Currently, she’s editing the third Kate Carpenter thriller, researching the next Tessa Kilpatrick 1920s novel, and trying not to be distracted by new plot ideas. Vanessa loves windswept beaches, the coffee-scented fug of Venetian cafes and wandering around art galleries.
The Player meets Get Shorty in this thrilling debut from Mark Grenside.
An LA screenwriter is killed shortly after completing his latest script, FALL OUT – a thriller destined to be a blockbuster but written with a secret double purpose. Echoing events from the past the screenplay is sent to a very specific group of people and will change their lives forever. All are connected to a movie that had abruptly stopped shooting in the jungles of the Philippines years before. FALL OUT exposes the truth about a conspiracy and murder that led to a half-a-billion-dollar fortune for a select few.
Follow the story of Producer Marcus Riley, who sets out on an increasingly dangerous quest to get FALL OUT made. From a powerful Agent’ s office in Hollywood, hidden treasures in Belgravia and a remote chalet in the Swiss Alps to murder at the Cannes Film Festival, Marcus teams up with designer Melinda (Mako) de Turris as they and the other recipients of the screenplay are pursued by an assassin from the past.
With clues cleverly concealed in the screenplay, Marcus and Mako unravel a lethal puzzle that for some will bring death, others the truth and ends in a cave with a shocking secret…..
I received a copy of this book from Urbane Publications in return for an honest review.
A chilling complex international thriller. An uncompleted film, a missing man and a historical war criminal mystery are all threads of this cleverly constructed plot.
Told from multi-points. of view the story of betrayal and greed unfolds. Glamorous settings and historical events, both actual and fictional, make this an absorbing read. The authentic and relatable characters each have a part to play in solving the mystery.
The detailed story varies in pace as it seamlessly moves between characterisation, flashbacks and adrenaline-pumping action. Full of visual imagery, the story reveals its secrets as if the reader is an eye witness. The use of screenplay interspersed with the prose, adds interest to the story. It provides important clues to the mystery.
The ending is exciting and gives the reader the completion they seek.
Mark Grenside began his working career straight out of school at Lloyds of London, specializing in Kidnap, Ransom and Extortion Insurance. At 25 it was time for a career change and to dump the suit and tie so he started his media career working for Jim Henson and The Muppets. From that moment on he has been involved in Entertainment and nearly every aspect of it. Mark then went on to create and produce a number of television series and mini-series. At the same time he started a music management company launching million seller artist Neneh Cherry. In 2004 he arranged a $250 million buy-out of the Hallmark Channel International which was then successfully sold to NBC. He returned to producing a number of movies and mini-series.
He has recently somehow morphed into a serial entrepreneur and is now a co-founder of seed to shelf CBD producer Dragonfly Biosciences (www.dragonflybiosciences.com) and a founder in two separate digital companies…. but has also seen a very good return from his love of cooking in an expanding waistline.
A probably unhealthy amount of time and money is lavished on a collection of classic cars that he has raced all over the world. He enjoys risk and has parachuted in New Zealand, scuba dived in the Pacific, hang-glided in the Himalayas and even tobogganed down the Cresta Run. In nearly every case chasing after his wife who is utterly fearless!
He is now writing the follow up to Fall Out, entitled The Bastion. In addition he writes also puts out a humorousblog with subscribers in more than 40 countries.
Mark has two grown sons, two daughters in law, three grandchildren and lives with his wife, a pug and a French bulldog in Malta.
His first thriller Fall Out publishes in May 2020.
Art advisor Kate Carpenter has an off-the-books sideline in art recovery, dealing with thieves and gangsters to reunite valuable artworks with their owners. But this time she’s taking it up a notch. Only a day after her ex-boyfriend was convicted of assaulting her, she’s off to Belarus on the trail of a priceless van Gogh with a posse of ex-soldiers riding shotgun. Right now, the buzz of securing the return of that painting is just what she needs.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
As an introduction to the intrigues of the art world and Kate Carpenter, art recovery expert, this novella works well. The detailed story draws you into Kate’s world. It’s a fascinating place to be. The story has a steady build-up of suspense, pacy with a touch of gentle romance.
Kate is a complex character. Past events have left their emotional scars, and there’s an undercurrent of danger in her life. I’m looking forward to the first full-length novel after this insight into her world.
Midlander by birth, Scot by choice, Vanessa Robertson won Pitch Perfect at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. Death Will Find Me, a crime novel set in 1920s Edinburgh featuring former spy, Tessa Kilpatrick is her first novel. Later in 2019, Vanessa will be launching a series of thrillers set in the world of high stakes art crime, and the second Tessa Kilpatrick book will be published in early 2020.
Vanessa lives in a cottage in the middle of a Scottish wood with her family and an unfeasibly large dog. She enjoys wild beaches, Venetian cafes and wandering around art galleries. She dislikes celery, cheap notebooks and writing about herself in the third person.
When a plane explodes over the Atlantic Ocean, killing hundreds of passengers, including controversial US presidential candidate Dale Victor, it appears to be a clear-cut case of terrorism. The suspect has even confessed to the bombing. But as criminal barrister Michael Devlin is about to discover, everything is not as it seems.
Also suspecting there are other forces at work, intelligence agent Joe Dempsey is driven to investigate. Who would have wanted Victor out of the way – and would commit mass murder to do it? As the evidence begins to mount, everything seems to point to the US government itself, all the way to the top. And now someone is determined to stop Dempsey and Devlin from discovering the truth. At any cost.
With countless more lives on the line, Dempsey must find a way to prove who’s pulling the strings, and free the White House from the deadly grip that has taken hold of power.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Political thrillers always intrigue me, and this one is exciting, frightening and realistic. The two main characters, one in the US and one in the UK, have featured in previous novels. I read this as a standalone and didn’t find it lacking.
The scenario is a popular contemporary one, high-level conspiracy, threatening the basic tenants of democracy, in the search for ultimate power. This story has something unique to bring to this storyline, which is delivered with adrenaline-fueled action, devastating human collateral damage, and a complex pacy plot.
The cast of characters are well written and the plot layers are continually more addictive as the story progresses. A compelling, thought-provoking contemporary thriller written in an easy to absorb style that keeps you reading until the conclusion.
Tony Kent is a 40-year-old criminal barrister who draws on his legal experience to inspire and bring unusual accuracy to his thrillers. Long ranked as a ‘leader in his field’, Tony has prosecuted and defended the full range of criminal trials. He now specialises in the defence of serious crimes such as murder, kidnap, armed robbery, extortion and high-value fraud. A regular at London’s Old Bailey, Tony’s case history includes many high-profile, nationally reported trials. Before his legal career Tony represented England as a heavyweight boxer and won a host of national amateur titles.
The first novel in an explosive new series inspired by Robert Ludlum’s Bourne universe, The Treadstone Resurrection introduces an unforgettable hero and the shadowy world that forged him…
Treadstone made Jason Bourne an unstoppable force, but he’s not the only one.
Operation Treadstone has nearly ruined Adam Hayes. The top-secret CIA Black Ops program trained him to be an all but invincible assassin, but it also cost him his family and any chance at a normal life. Which is why he was determined to get out. Working as a carpenter in rural Washington state, Adam thinks he has left Treadstone in the past, until he receives a mysterious email from a former colleague, and soon after is attacked by an unknown hit team at his job site.
Adam must regain the skills that Treadstone taught him–lightning reflexes and a cold conscience–in order to discover who the would-be killers are and why they have come after him now. Are his pursuers enemies from a long-ago mission? Rival intelligence agents? Or, perhaps, forces inside Treadstone? His search will unearth secrets in the highest levels of government and pull him back into the shadowy world he worked so hard to forget.
Coinciding with the much-anticipated return of the Treadstone series – released by Amazon in January 2020 in the UK – and with the 40th anniversary of the first Bourne book, The Treadstone Resurrection is the latest instalment of the franchise. Picking up the baton from Robert Ludlum, Joshua Hood is an author and former Airborne Division fighter, whose real-world experience and combat training makes him the perfect writer for The Treadstone Resurrection.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.
If adrenaline-pumping, dark political, techno-thrillers are your thing, and they are certainly mine, this one is for you. Set firmly within the ‘Treadstone’ ethos, created by Robert Ludlum, with his iconic Jason Bourne character. Joshua Hood’s story has new characters, twenty-first-century issues, but the same addictive, resonating characters and plot. From the fast-paced, poignant beginning, you know you’re hooked. The short, snappy chapters draw you in, wanting to know ‘what next?’, ‘who’s doing this?’ ‘Will the enigmatic Adam Hayes, a former Treadstone operative survive?’
I like the topicality of the storyline, the authentic characters and the vast array of technology and evil antagonists. It’s dark, gory and horrific. An epic battle of good versus evil. Although classic, in its themes and intensity, the characters, and scenarios are twenty-first-century creations. It gives them an edge. Makes you believe, in the main protagonist and empathise with him. The emotional side is there too. Adam has suffered. He has personal demons, which emphasise his humanity, a stark contrast against the relentless evil he faces.
Something for everyone, here, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, someone who likes to see good and evil battle it out, or a lover of clever twisty plots, this book delivers it all.
Extract From The Treadstone Resurrection – Joshua Hood.
LA CONNER, WASHINGTON
Adam Hayes was lying in the center of the bed when the nightmare came. The tremor started at the edge of his lips, a ripple that twisted into a feral snarl. He started to sweat, hands tearing at the sheets, eyes pinballing behind closed lids, mind trapped in the horrors of the past.
He waited in the shadows, eyes closed, ears straining for the sound of his approaching prey. Kill them all— hat was the order. He was just the instrument— man conditioned to kill without hesitation. His hand closed around the hilt of the knife at the small of his back. The metal hilt felt cold through the latex gloves. The blade came free with the hiss of steel on leather and Hayes opened his eyes; the sentry’s face was green in the night vision.
Now, the voice told him, and he struck.
Hayes’s hand snaked under the pillow and his fingers closed around the reassuring steel of the Springfield 9‑millimeter EMP. He rolled off the bed and dropped into a crouch, the hardwood cold as a corpse on his bare knees. Muscle memory had taken over, and his hands worked independently of thought. The snap of the pistol onto the target and the flick of the thumb disengaging the safety came unbidden.
It was only when his index finger curled around the trigger, compressing the spring until all it would take was a whisper of pressure for the gun to fire, that Hayes became conscious of the moment.
Then the nightmare evaporated.
Hayes blinked the world back into focus, his eyes falling to the outstretched pistol, sights centered on the shirt hanging on the back of the door. Jesus Christ.
He let go of the trigger and snicked the safety into place. The realization that he’d come within a hairsbreadth of sending a 9‑millimeter hollow-point through the door made him sick to his stomach.
It was 5:05 in the morning and the nightmares were getting worse.
When he trusted his legs to hold him, Hayes grunted to his feet, placed the pistol on the bedside table, and padded across the hardwood to the bathroom. He palmed the wall switch and the overhead lights flashed to life, revealing the mass of scars that crisscrossed his bare torso like lines on a topographic map.
He stopped at the sink, plucked the orange pill bottle from the open medicine cabinet, and twisted the cap free. He shook a dose into his hand. The oblong pill in his callused palm reminded him of the last appointment with the shrink in Tacoma.
“What about the nightmares?” she asked, over the scratch of her pen across the paper.
“Haven’t had one in months.”
“Adam, you are making wonderful progress,” she said, tearing the sheet from the prescription pad, “but.”
There’s always a but.
“But there will be setbacks.”
He felt the anger stir in his gut, like a wolf waking in its den. Three nightmares in one week wasn’t a setback; it was a fucking meltdown. He was pissed. Mad that he’d listened to her— et himself believe that he’d made progress.
That he could be normal.
“No,” he said aloud. “That’s not who I am anymore.”
He took a breath, placed the pill in his mouth, and gently closed the door. He took a drink of water from the sink, and when Hayes looked up, his eyes alighted on the sheet of construction paper taped to the glass. The stick-figure family holding hands beneath a lemon-yellow sun.
Hayes brushed his finger over the “I love my Daddy” scrawled in crayon, a sad smile stretching across his face.
In the shower, he twisted the cold-water knob all the way to the left and ducked under the showerhead. The water came out of the pipe ice- old and hit his flesh with the sting of a bullwhip. His mind recoiled, muscles tensed like hawsers beneath his skin, forcing the air from his lungs, but Hayes stood fast and waited for the question that had greeted him every morning for the past eighteen months.
How did I get here?
The first time Hayes heard about Treadstone, he was in Afghanistan. Three months into a six-month tour and he’d already lost two men. That’s when things started to go sideways. Lines that had been black and white started looking gray. Hayes wasn’t sleeping, but he had it under control— or that’s what he told himself.
Robert Ludlum (1927 – 2001) was the author of twenty-seven novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 225 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into 32 languages in 50 countries. Among his best-sellers were The Scarlatti Inheritance (1971), The Osterman Weekend (1972), The Matarese Circle (1979). He is most famous for the Jason Bourne series – The Bourne Identity (1980), The Bourne Supremacy (1986) and The Bourne Ultimatum (1990). The series was adapted for TV in 1988, for a film featuring Matt Damon in the lead role in 2002, and for a brand-new TV production from the writer behind Heroes and Chicago Hope in January 2020.
Joshua Hood is the author of Warning Order and Clear by Fire. He graduated from the University of Memphis before joining the military and spending five years in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was a team leader in the 3-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, conducting combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2007 to 2008, Hood served as a squad leader with the 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan for which he was decorated for valour in Operation Furious Pursuit. On his return to civilian life, he became a sniper team leader on a full-time SWAT team in Memphis, where he was awarded the lifesaving medal. Currently, he works as the Director of Veteran Outreach for the American Warrior Initiative.
Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man. She was the first of his victims but not the last. Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all. The whole world is watching her every move. And so is the Magpie Man.
I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK Books in return for an honest review.
‘Are You Watching?’ has universal appeal for those drawn to page-turning reads. The social media and YouTube concept is aimed at young adults.
Jess hopes her story will attract a viral audience and draw out her mother’s killer. Told from her point of view, the reader has immediate and uncensored responses from the main protagonist. It also maintains the mystery, as we only know what she does. Relatable and realistic, Jess is a likeable character, with authentic teenage emotions and motivations.
This is an emotional story. Jess feels her mother’s loss but also griefs her family’s demise. Her father is an understandable emotional wreck and she is doing this for him as much as for herself. Parents may question, whether they would have allowed their teenager to do this. Jess’s father feels guilty about his daughter’s damaged life, and will make amends anyway he can.
The book’s structure of short chapters aids the pacing and suspense, which builds as the story progresses. The plot has twists and an unexpected ending.
This story has dark themes, but it is written to engage its target audience. Contemporary fiction focused on crime, relationships, suspense and technology, which will appeal to an older adult audience too.
Vincent Ralph has been writing in one form or another since his teens and always dreamed of being a novelist. He owes his love of books to his mother, who encouraged his imagination from an early age and made sure there were new stories to read. Vincent has lived in London, Cornwall and Chester but he now lives in his home county of Kent with his wife, son and two cats.
The final thriller in the million-copy-selling Katie Maguire series.
In the driver’s seat of a Jaguar, on a country road, a good man burns.
Justice Garrett Quinn should have been at a sentencing. He was one of the good ones, fighting for order in a lawless world. In a burned-out car, on the outskirts of Cork, DS Katie Maguire finds what’s left of him.
But this is only the beginning. The judge’s death sparks a gang war fought with bullets and bombs, and civilians are caught in the crossfire. As the city spirals deeper into violence, Ireland’s most fearless detective must find the courage to fight for her hometown one last time.
Katie Maguire is no stranger to sacrifice – but she has lost so much already. Facing new horrors each day, Katie must decide: can she do her duty when she has nothing left to give?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
An action-orientated, crime thriller set in Cork. ‘The Last Drop of Blood is a mix of ganglit, police procedural and political thriller with a distinctive Irish ethos.
Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire battles against establishment misogyny, warring crime gangs and an indiscriminate murderer. Recently bereaved, her personal and professional lives clash. Despite this, her survival instinct keeps her moving forward, steadily solving the complex web of crimes and outwitting those who would prefer her to fail.
It’s addictive reading and leaves you in no doubt about the evil lurking on the streets of Cork. The dialogue draws you into an Irish world, and gives the story it’s engaging authenticity. The characters are complex and easy to visualise. You see the world as they see it, and sometimes it’s a scary place to be. The violence is vividly portrayed as are the episodes of domestic abuse. Sex is shown to be both a weapon and a solace for the characters in this story.
This is reputed to be the last in the series, but it is the first Katie Maguire crime thriller, I’ve read. There are many characters, but the story focuses on Katie’s point of view for the most part, with other characters offering theirs at pertinent moments. There is sufficient backstory to read this as a standalone, I was hooked from the beginning and the plot layers and reveals kept me turning the pages.
The crime detection is believable, and the clues are commensurate with the progression of the police investigation. The ending is powerful and leaves the door open.
Author Interview with Graham Masterton – ‘The Last Drop of Blood’ Blog Tour
What inspired you to write the Katie Maguire thrillers?
In 1999, my late wife Wiescka and I moved to Cork for a while, attracted (a) by a change of scenery since our three sons had all grown up and left home; and (b) by the fact that the Republic of Ireland does not charge authors income tax. We found a huge old Victorian house to rent in Montenotte, high above the River Lee, so that we could see the tankers and the pleasure boats passing to and fro from our upstairs windows.
Cork is an extraordinary and interesting city, with a very varied and colourful history because it is the second deepest harbour in the world after Sydney and over the centuries has seen the arrival of Vikings, Spaniards, as well as Sir Francis Drake and his fleet. It was the last port of call for the Titanic before she set sail across the Atlantic. Because of that, it has a slang all its own and an accent quite distinct from the smooth Dublin Irish. People still say ‘take a sconce to that’ when they mean ‘take a look at it’ — in other words, hold up a candle to it. Shopping is ‘the messages’ and ‘benjy’ means a bad smell like BO, and ‘langered’ means drunk.
I was fascinated by the city and its heritage…especially as the centre of the Irish struggle for independence in the 1920s. The British Army burned down the shopping centre of St Patrick Street in December of 1920 in revenge for an ambush of British Auxiliary Forces, and Cork is still known as the ‘Rebel County.’ I realised that very few thrillers had been set in Cork, if any, and that’s what inspired me to write the first novel about Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire.
I also wanted to write about a woman who has been promoted to a high position in a male-dominated environment, and how she copes with resentment and misogyny from her male colleagues…as well as solving crimes and having a very tangled love life. My closest friends have always been women and even though a man will never be able to think like a woman 100 per cent, those friends have given me understanding and empathy with female thinking.
At the moment one of those close friends Dawn G Harris and I are writing short horror stories together and I have never known two creative minds click together like ours.
‘The Last Drop of Blood’, is the last in the series, are you sad to say goodbye to the character? How did you know the series was at an end?
To be honest, it was my publishers who suggested that after 11 Katie Maguire novels it might be time to take a break. They say it’s the last and maybe it will be, but it won’t be a spoiler to tell you that Katie survives and may live to fight crime another day.
How do you create your characters? Are your characters, based partly on real-life individuals?
My characters seem to come to life spontaneously! Of course, they are based on close observation of real people, particularly the way they talk and dress and react to stressful situations. But it’s amazing how they seem to be born fully-fleshed and with a personal history and a personality of their own…sometimes a personality that I wasn’t expecting and which causes problems in developing the story. I was trained as a newspaper reporter and so I was taught to notice everything about the way in which people behave, and this is tremendously useful in developing fictional characters.
How do you create authentic-sounding dialogue in your novels?
If you were to write dialogue verbatim, in the way that people really speak, it would be either boring or incomprehensible (especially in the case of Corkinese) or both. So I have to write dialogue that ‘sounds’ real, even though it is more like film dialogue. I studied Cork slang and use quite a lot of it in the Katie Maguire thrillers to make them sound realistic, but if I had quoted it in the way that it is actually spoken, none of my readers would have been able to understand a word of it. Such as ‘he’s the bulb off your man in that thing’ = ‘he looks exactly like the actor in that other film that I can’t remember the name of’.’ and ‘the place was jointed’ = the club was so crowded it was difficult to push your way through and ‘that 3-in-1 gave me the gawks’ = that curry rice and chips made me puke. Every sentence has the word ‘like’ in it somewhere, and almost every sentence ends with ‘d’ya know what I mean, like?’
Do you enjoy reading crime fiction? If so, what attracts you to this genre? Or, do you prefer to read other genres?
I read almost no fiction at all of any genre. When you have been writing fiction all day it would be like being a chef and spending the evening cooking. Also I am highly critical of my own writing and just as critical of other writers and if I come across a poorly-developed plot or an awkward sentence, it totally suspends my disbelief. Almost all of my reading is non-fiction, especially historical books, for research.
Are writing another crime fiction series? If so, can you share a little about it here?
In parallel to Katie Maguire I have written two crime novels set in the 1750s in both London and America – SCARLET WIDOW and THE COVEN. The heroine is Beatrice Scarlet, who is the daughter of an apothecary. Her childhood training from her father in chemicals gives her the qualifications to be something of an 18th-century CSI. I am planning to write more about Beatrice but I also have ideas for another major crime series, but it is a little too early in its development to share it at the moment. I promise you, though, it will be very unusual. And of course I continue to write horror fiction….the Horror Writers Association gave me a Lifetime Achievement Award last year so it would be churlish not to!
Graham Masterton trained as a newspaper reporter before beginning a career as an author. After twenty-five years writing horror and thrillers, Graham turned his talent to crime writing.
The first book in the Katie Maguire series, ‘White Bones’, was published by Head of Zeus in 2012 and became a top-ten bestseller. The series was inspired by Graham’s five-year stay in County Cork.
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…
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
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.