The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay

The Skylarks’ War marks the centenary of the end of the First World War and is a classic in the making.

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An evocative and heartbreaking novel of family and friendship in wartime from Hilary McKay, award-winning author of the Casson Family Chronicles.

 

Book blurb

The Skylarks’ War is a beautiful story following the loves and losses of a family growing up against the harsh backdrop of World War One, from the award-winning Hilary McKay.

Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September – boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer.

When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?

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My thoughts

This is the story of Clarissa ‘Clarry’ Penrose and her brother Peter along with their cousin Rupert and friends Simon, his sister Vanessa and Violet. It starts in 1902 and finishes sometime after 1918.

This is a wonderful story it depicts life in the early 20th century for Clarry and Co. in language that brings an understanding of the times so clearly and without fuss. It will make you laugh, cry and it will carry you along with the delightful and the dreadful stories of childhood and youth. Clarry is wonderful and Hilary McKay has used her voice beautifully to bring her family, friends and the period vividly to life.

An outstanding book, exquisitely written which will engage the reader and draw them into the lives, the life and the times keeping them engrossed until the very end.

This book may be for 9-11 year olds but it is a book that anyone who reads will be captivated by. It is timely to be published on the 100th anniversary of WWI ending but this is not solely a wartime story and so can be read at any time and, surely, it will be read often and by many over the years. Of course, it can and should be used as a vehicle in the study of the Great War and young peoples, especially girls, lives at the time in schools, libraries and homes. This is a book worthy of any and every bookshelf everywhere, deserved of all the praise and plaudits it has and should receive. I liked it and would highly recommend to all.

I received an e-copy off The Skylarks’ War from the publisher via NetGalley – for which, my thanks. I have not received any payment and all thoughts are my own.

 

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Information

Publisher:        Pan MacMillan Children’s Books

Age Range:      9 – 11 years

Published:       Main Market edition (20 Sept. 2018)

Hardcover:     320 pages             Language: English

ISBN-10: 1509894942                  ISBN-13: 978-1509894949

Buy:               Amazon UK

Author:   

4F37C9B3-6963-4348-AFAB-8BC7DD338849Hilary McKay is a critically acclaimed award-winning author, having won the Guardian Fiction Prize for her first novel, The Exiles, and going on to win the Smarties and the Whitbread (now the Costa) Award for The Exiles in Love and Saffy’s Angel. Hilary studied Botany and Zoology at the University of St Andrews and went on to work as a biochemist, before the draw of the pen became too strong and she decided to become a full-time writer. Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales was her first book with Macmillan Children’s Books and is a critically acclaimed classic-in-the-making, whilst her novel The Skylarks’ War is a classic in the making. Hilary lives in Derbyshire with her family.

Hilary McKay Website

@hilary_mckay

 

#BlogTour – The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond

The Golden Orphans offers a new twist on the literary thriller.

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Book Blurb:

Within the dark heart of an abandoned city, on an island once torn by betrayal and war, lies a terrible secret…

Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…

My thoughts

The book opens with the narrator attending the funeral of his old tutor and friend Francis Benthem. Benthem had come to Cyprus some years before and they had lost touch over the years but he still regarded him as a father-figure, a mentor of his formative years as an artist. It was a curious funeral and our narrator, whose name we never learn, wonders about Benthems death and the life he lived in Cyprus. Who is Illy Prostakov and what was the work Benthem did for him?

Our narrator is curious, some might say too curious for his own good! As we follow him around Cyprus, meeting a variety of strange and fascinating souls in a variety of weird and wonderful places our curiosity equally draws us in.

For a short novel, there’s just 155 pages, it packs in plenty of mystery and given that the language and plot has to be tight you do not feel rushed. This literary thriller is somewhat dark but there is nothing graphic with much of the action coming toward the end of the book. And what an ending it is, nicely done!

Cyprus is splendidly brought to life and we get a real sense of history, culture and setting. I really enjoyed this element of the book. We learn who the ‘Golden Orphans’ are and their origin. The descriptive narration truly enhances the mystery and tension, evoking a real sense of disquiet throughout the book.

Blog tours are such fun as they bring books to your attention that you might not otherwise have come across and so you are able to enjoy different genres or types of genre such as The Golden Orphans. This novel was captivating and for those who like a dark, atmospheric read this book may well be one for you.

 

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My thanks to Gary Raymond and Parthian Books for providing me an e-copy of this book & Emma (#damppebblesblogtours) for inviting me to participate in the blog tour….

Blog Tour

Like to find out more about The Golden Orphans ? Then why not take a spin around the rest of these terrific blogs…..

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Information

Published:     Parthian Books on 30th June 2018  @parthianbooks

Buy:                Amazon UK         Amazon US        KOBO      Waterstones

Author

585FD98D-34DB-4CF3-86F9-A389FD60A17AGary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’, The Review Show, and is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review. He is the author of two novels, The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018) and For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015). He is a widely published critic and cultural commentator.

 

Gary Raymond on Twitter

Gary Raymond on Facebook

Amazon Author Page

 

 

#BlogTour – No Time To Cry by James Oswald

From one of the UK’s biggest crime writers – a phenomenal new series guaranteed to have your heart in your mouth. 

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From the man who brought you the bestselling Inspector McLean novels.

Book blurb

Undercover ops are always dangerous, but DC Constance Fairchild never expected things to go this wrong.

Returning to their base of operations, an anonymous office in a shabby neighbourhood, she finds the bloodied body of her boss, and friend, DI Pete Copperthwaite. He’s been executed – a single shot to the head.

In the aftermath, it seems someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the wrecked operation falls squarely on Con’s shoulders. She is cut loose and cast out, angry and alone with her grief… right until the moment someone also tries to put a bullet through her head.

There’s no place to hide, and no time to cry.

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I’m delighted to have been invited to join the No Time To Cry BlogTour by Anne Cater of RandomThingsTours and to be opening the tour today alongside  @collinsjacob115  Do take a look at the BlogTour details below.

My thoughts

Although I’ve heard good things about his books I’d not read any James Oswald before! So when the opportunity arose to join this tour I jumped at it.

I’ve often said that one of my main reasons for reading a series from a writer, apart from a cracking good story of course, is the ability to get to know it’s characters especially the main character(s), the author has the time to bring that insight and depth. With No Time To Cry there is one main character and the reader is immersed in DC Constance ‘Con’ Fairchild. The story is told from her point of view, by her and we are immediately plunged into her thoughts, life and character.

The premise is terrific DC Fairchild is working an undercover operation and is called into the operations base where she finds her boss DI Pete Copperthwaite dead, he’s been shot, executed. DCI Bain attends the scene, even in the initial response to Pete’s murder it’s fast becoming clear that something is seriously amiss. Con is sent home to await a debrief.

She takes a slight detour on the way home to the station to check out the surveillance system in the ops base. What she finds only confirms all her fears and when she comes in for the debrief it’s clear where the blame is being laid.  Is Con really a suspect – how could that be? Pete wasn’t just her boss, he was her friend someone she looked up to and respected she could never do such a thing! Surely they know that….

Professional Standards are being brought in and Con’s life and career seem to be going down the pan fast. Then someone tries to kill her.

An old school friend makes contact with Con, asking for help, her little sister Izzy has disappeared. Con’s a bit surprised – why hasn’t Izzy been officially reported missing?

The characters are well drawn, as you would expect from such an experienced author, the story builds pace and tension with plenty to keep you guessing along the way. Some of the characters are not too nice and some of the subject matter may be difficult but there is nothing overly graphic. I liked Con, although the role Pete was given irked ever so slightly, she has an interesting background and a strong spirit.

As the plot thickens we follow Con north to escape the threat in London and get some space to work out what’s going on. There are twists and turns to this elaborate plot which unfold as Con puts the pieces together. Will she find Izzy before it’s too late? Will she clear her name of Pete’s murder and find the real killer? This is a compelling story.

I look forward to reading more of Constance Fairchild.

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Now enjoy the BlogTour Wildfire Q&A with James Oswald……

 

Quickfire Questions with James Oswald

Give us three adjectives to best describe your new novel?                   Thrilling, breathless, short

What are the three most important character traits of your protagonist? Dogged determination, ability to think on her feet, she doesn’t much care what others think of her

Where is the novel set?
London, Northamptonshire, Perthshire and Angus

Who is your biggest influence as a writer?
Without a doubt, Terry Pratchett

Have you ever killed anyone off from real life in one of your novels?
Frequently. One friend even asked if he could be the villain. He dies naked in his bath.

What was your favourite ‘terrible’ review?
The Hangman’s Song, book three in the Inspector McLean series, has a one star Amazon review that ends “Incidentally, even the title is misleading – there’s no singing in the book.”

What is your favourite writing snack?
Chocolate. It’s the perfect brain food.

Which of your characters would you most like to have dinner with?
Madame Rose. Or maybe Mrs McCutcheon’s Cat.

Blog Tour

With thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join the No Time To Cry Blog Tour and to Wildfire for a copy of the book. Like to hear more about it? Then check out these brilliant Blogs………

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Information

Published by:  36D76A6F-4EA2-46D5-AB7D-33FC7DF32D00     Wildfire an imprint of the Headline Division of Hachette UK

HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP (An Hachette UK Company)   @HachetteUK

Publication: 1 Nov. 2018        Paperback; Ebook and Audiobook are also available.

Author

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James Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series. James’s first two books, NATURAL CAUSES and THE BOOK OF SOULS, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. AS COLD AS THE GRAVE is the ninth book in the Inspector Mclean Series.

James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

James Oswald Website     @SirBenfro

Books

Inspector McLean Series

 

As J D Oswald, James has also written a classic fantasy series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro. Inspired by the language and folklore of Wales, it follows the adventures of a young dragon, Sir Benfro, in a land where his kind have been hunted near to extinction by men. The whole series is now available in print, ebook and audio formats.

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#BlogTour – TRAP by Lilja Sigurdardóttir (Translated By Quentin Bate)

A breathtakingly original thriller by international bestselling Icelandic author Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Book 2 in the acclaimed Reykjavik Noir series

Film rights sold to Palomar Pictures

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Book blurb

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.
Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all …   Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.
With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…
Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My thoughts

I recently bought, read and reviewed Snare the first in this series and loved it so when the opportunity came along from Anne Cater and Orenda Books to join the BlogTour for Trap I was delighted, thrilled and happy to do so.

Would it be as good? Second books often take a dip for the reader, perhaps the after glow  from a such a good first book means anything else has to do such a lot to even come near to matching that. Well Trap doesn’t disappoint.

It takes up the story from Snare seamlessly, which means that you really should read that first, it is written in the same crisp, clever and deft way with the short passages not only keeping you gripped right from the start but bringing pace, life and tension into this wonderfully plotted story.

We’re in 2011, Sonja is in Florida with Thomás but not for long. Freedom can be very fleeting as Sonja realises and running away turned out to be all too short. Back in Reykjavík Sonja finds herself back to square one, perhaps even worse off as she is not being allowed to see Thomás. She is formulating another plan because not seeing Thomás isn’t an option and she wants to be free. Still plans can be made but there are no guarantees they will work out as well as is hoped. There are many twists and turns in the book so even when unexpected help seems to offer you what you desire it may not be quite what it seems and maybe the cost will be too high.

We continue to hear from Agla both through the investigation that is being conducted into the financial crisis and with her relationship to Sonja. This thread sets the timing, the modern period, of the book and allows us to better understand it. It also gives the book more depth partly for this reason but also, more importantly for me, because of the way it connects and weaves the characters stories. Something that Lilja Sigurdardóttir does so well.

I loved many of the characters, I didn’t love some characters. None of them are wholly innocent but, as in ‘real life’, are often flawed. Telling the story mainly through Sonja’s perspective allows the reader to empathise even if we don’t agree with what happens, we can understand why the situation has come about, similarly with Agla and Bragi, which is perhaps why it is easy to connect to their stories. Thomás’ voice, which we hear now and again, is wonderful and gives a further perspective on how adult choices can impact their children’s lives and how children see the resulting situation.

The translation by Quentin Bates ensures that you live in the world created by Lilja Sigurdardóttir so fully you can feel the icy blasts or the drip of sweat, both from the geography of the book and the situations within it.

This is a terrific book, a cracking read and most definitely recommended. I for one can hardly wait for the third book – Cage – to be published in English.

 

With huge thanks to Orenda Books for an e-copy of Trap and many thanks to Anne from #RandomThingsTours for inviting me on this wonderful #BlogTour

Blog Tour

Enjoy following the #Trap #BlogTour brought to you by the fabulous Orenda Books and Anne Cater…..

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Information

Publisher:       6CD2608E-0DFB-429A-940D-E582FB98C696    Orenda Books   (18 Oct. 2018)

Language:       English         Paperback: 230 pages

ISBN-10: 1912374358           ISBN-13: 978-1912374359

Buy:                  Amazon UK

Author

98A11A54-4DAD-4EFA-A37E-AF32B4BC3420Icelandic 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, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Follow Lilja on Twitter  and on her Website

Books:

Steps (Spor), 2009
Forgiveness (Fyrirgefning), 2010
Snare (Gildran) 2015 (Reykjavík Noir 1)
Trap (Netið) 2016 (Reykjavík Noir 2)
Cage (Búrið) 2017 (Reykjavík Noir 3)
Svik (no English title yet) 2018

Lilja’s latest book, Svik is a standalone thriller with a political twist and will be published in Iceland in October 2018 by Forlagid publishing.

 

Translator

A058E33B-78A4-4702-A31F-A65537E19136Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language, a new profession as a seaman and a family before decamping en masse for England.

He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism largely by accident. He has been the technical editor of a nautical magazine for many years, all the while keeping a close eye on his second home in Iceland, before taking a sidestep into writing fiction. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, and Cold Comfort), which have been published in the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, Finland and Poland. He has translated a great deal of news and technical material into English from Icelandic, as well as novels.

Visit him at Quentin’s website or on Twitter.

 

#BlogTour PALM BEACH FINLAND by Antti TUOMAINEN #Extract (Translated from the Finnish by David Hackston)

‘Fargo meets Baywatch’

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Book Blurb

Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary. With a nod to Fargo, and the darkest noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a wicked black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives … from the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’.

My thoughts

Many thanks to Anne from #RandomThingsTours for inviting me on this wonderful #BlogTour I am delighted to be hosting an extract from Palm Beach Finland by Antti Toumainen ……

Extract

from Part One – Dreams


The property in question was situated at the end of a magnificent peninsula. On either side of the peninsula was a beautiful sandy beach, and looking from the mainland the beach rose gently to the left and ended in a broad, thick area of forest, on the other side of which, completely hidden from view, was the area that belonged to Palm Beach Finland. Chico knew that Jorma Leivo had already come to an arrangement about the purchase of this land. Chico and Robin lay on their stomachs beneath the pines and stared at the house. Darkness had fallen. ‘What’s Leivo got against Olivia?’ asked Robin in a whisper. ‘Nothing, I suppose,’ Chico whispered back. ‘So why does he want us to piss through her letterbox?’ ‘We’re not going to piss through Olivia’s letterbox.’ ‘So what are we going to do then?’ Chico didn’t have a chance to answer. Lights came on in the ground floor. Olivia had come home. To be completely accurate, Olivia had come home a few months earlier, immediately after her father’s death. He had suffered a massive heart attack while out in his kayak. The wind had carried him into the children’s swimming area and he had frightened the kids, hunched over, his face stiffened into a permanent smile and an oar jutting upwards in his hands. Someone had taken a picture, which Chico had later seen. The day after his death, Olivia Koski had returned to her former hometown, alone, and decided to stay. Alone.

And now: lights in the window, a human shadow on the wall. Chico wasn’t the kind of man to operate without a plan of action. He picked a hefty-looking stone up from the ground and showed it to Robin. Robin took the hint, and picked up a stone of his own. Chico explained the plan, which had probably been in existence since Neanderthal times: run up to the house, throw the stone, run away. On the count of three. At two, Robin sped off, and Chico followed him. They ran through the woods and into the yard, and threw the stones at the same time. The illuminated downstairs window shattered. Chico and Robin were about to round the corner of the house and disappear back into the woods when they heard it. Something between a squeal, a gasp of pain, and a shrill cry for help. They stopped in the darkness of the yard, stood on the spot as though turned to pillars of salt. Again, the same sound. ‘I told you we should have pissed through the letterbox,’ Robin whispered. ‘It doesn’t hurt anyone, and it’s fun.’ Chico tried to think. This wasn’t part of the plan. ‘We’re going to have to…’ he began but didn’t know how to con- tinue. They would have to do something. Something. ‘We have to make sure nothing bad has happened.’ The same sound again, this time followed by knocking and banging.
They turned, quietly paced along the wall of the house to the veranda, walked up the steps and opened the door. The veranda, complete with a sofa and all the trappings, looked pleasant and empty. The sound was coming from deep inside the house. Chico walked in front, Robin close behind him. The glass-fronted internal door creaked when Chico opened it. Startled, he clenched his teeth together. He stopped and sensed Robin tight up against him. The light was coming from the right. Chico could see cupboards and furniture typical of any kitchen. He listened carefully, but now everything was silent. No sounds, no knocking, no banging. Again he took a few steps, towards the kitchen door, and when he reached the doorway he stopped and peered inside. A tiled floor, a dark wooden countertop, cupboards, the broken window. But more importantly: blood. Blood and shards of broken glass. Everywhere. A pool of blood right beneath the window. Drop- lets and spatter everywhere. A red streak across the white fridge door leading…
Right here. Chico could taste the electric whisk in his mouth. He was falling backwards – he knew that much. He tried to stay upright but his legs weren’t quite in the position he’d imagined them, so he simply spun on the spot. And as he fell, everything around him was bright and then dark- ening, like a series of disparate images: long dark hair, a face covered in blood, Olivia’s slender figure in black jeans and a black polo-neck jumper, the white plastic shell of the electric whisk as it reflected light from the spherical lampshade above. As Chico came crashing to the floor, he saw Robin peer into the kitchen, just as Chico had a moment before. And just like him, he too got a whack from the whisk, this time on his temple. Robin fell to his knees in the doorway as though begging to be let into the kitchen. Chico’s surprise was tinged with annoyance: they are worried about her, they come into the house to check she’s all right only to get whacked in the face with a bloody kitchen appliance. Now Chico heard footsteps, and he guessed what was coming but didn’t have time to do anything about it. Large black spots still obscured his field of vision. The whisk struck him like a bear’s paw: it was painful and dizzying. ‘We only came to help,’ he whimpered. But Olivia wasn’t listening. She had already turned round. The whisk rose into the air and came down like a guillotine. Robin remained on his knees despite the blow. Chico’s ear felt like it was on fire, and a searing pain ran down that side of his head. They had to get the situation under control. Chico grabbed the table for support and pulled himself to his feet. The dark figure was approaching. Chico leapt forwards. He caught Olivia by the thighs, making her lose her balance. He hollered at Robin to grab hold of her. They toppled backwards towards Robin, and he lunged for them. The whisk fell from Olivia’s hand. Olivia ended up lying on her stomach on the floor. Chico was holding her by the legs, while her head was under Robin’s armpit. Chico was shouting instructions. They struggled to their knees. She was light. It turned out there was some use for Robin’s stubbornness after all; his grip on Olivia didn’t flinch. Chico’s plan was the third he’d had that evening: they would take her outside, into the fresh air; they’d talk about it and sort things out, Chico would repay the cost of the broken window. Their down payment would cover it. Of course, paying damages like this wasn’t exactly in the spirit of their agreement with Jorma Leivo, but needs must. Running away is out of the question, he told Robin, she knows who we are. Robin looked as though he understood what Chico was saying. With some difficulty they struggled to their feet. The body dan- gling between them was wriggling, grappling, lashing out. Chico took a firmer grip and shouted at Robin to hold tight. We’ll take her outside. Robin nodded, turned to get into a better position. Chico did the same. He shifted his weight to the other leg, shouted ‘Now’ and tensed his muscles. The pool of blood, in which Olivia had been lying face-down and where Chico now stood in his Adidas trainers, was fresh and slippery. He lost his footing. As he stumbled backwards he instinctively tightened his grip. At the same moment Robin, with Olivia’s head still under his arm, yanked them towards the front door. The crack was like a dry plank snapping in two. Olivia’s body went limp. Robin was still carrying her headfirst into the yard. Chico was holding on to her legs, and staggered to his feet in the pool of blood. Chico bellowed at Robin, shouted at him to stop and let go. Chico let go. Olivia slumped to the floor.

Chico clambered to his hands and knees. Robin was standing in the doorway. ‘I’ve never seen her like this,’ said Robin. Talk about stating the bleeding obvious, thought Chico. He took a few cautious steps towards Robin, then brushed the body’s long dark hair back from its face and wiped one of the cheeks with a sleeve of the T-shirt, just enough to make out its features. The skin on the gaunt face was strangely white and taut, and the eye staring intensely at the tall skirting board in front of it was bright blue, the ear was small, the moustache thin and the goatee on the chin narrow and black, as though etched in pencil. For once Robin was right. Chico had never seen Olivia like this either. The reason was clear: it wasn’t Olivia.

It’s Me again!

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, whoops! Well that’s some start to a book! You just know it’s going to be a blast! Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. I would like to thank Orenda Books for an e-copy of Palm Beach Finland. I will be posting my thoughts in the coming weeks. In the meantime do enjoy the rest of this fabulous #BlogTour from Orenda and Anne Cater…..

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Enjoy following the #PalmBeachFinland #BlogTour brought to you by @OrendaBooks and @AnneCater 

Information

Publishers:                  6CD2608E-0DFB-429A-940D-E582FB98C696        Orenda Books (October 2018)

ISBN:                 978-1-912374-31-1

EISBN:               978-1-912374-32-8

Buy:                    Amazon

Translator:        David Hackston

Author

 

9DC3154A-AC56-471B-B4FE-5E2FF631A0FCFinnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards.

 

Follow Antti on Twitter @antti_tuomainen, on Facebook facebook.com/AnttiTuomainen and on his website: http://www.antituomainen.com

Books

Author of seven novels:

A Killer I Wish, My Brother’s Keeper, The Healer,

Dark as My Heart, The Mine, The Man Who Died

and his latest – Palm Beach Finland.

 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Coming February 7, 2019.

Book blurb

Only she knows what happened only I can make her speak.

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

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My thoughts

I finished reading this book some time ago, it became one of my #20booksofsummer challenge, now but since it isn’t out until February thought perhaps I should wait to set down my thoughts but then I thought, why wait?

 

It all started, back in July, with an intriguing invitation from Orion Publishing……

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It was quite hush, hush 🤫 don’t you know! Twitter was awash with silence 🤐 ……

and then an extract came, it was all getting to be very exciting!

Until, finally, the day came – it arrived! …..

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And inside…..

 

At last! Time to read –

So I did.

Well, Alicia did it – you know this right from the start, even the book blurb tells you that, so what’s the mystery? Why the silence?

So I read on. (Note: Me, thinks: ‘Theo’s making such an effort to help her, he’s as intrigued as I am about what happened.’)

Theo is the storyteller, the psychotherapist, who starts to get a bit too caught up with Alicia. He doesn’t care throwing caution to the wind, even when he is at risk, Theo ploughs on determined to find out what happened and give Alicia her voice back.

Does Alicia want to talk? She’s already incarcerated in this institution, The Grove, without much chance of getting out. If she spoke, told her story what would happen? Perhaps she would enter the mainstream prison system and so, presumably, she would also then get the opportunity to be released at some point? Of course, she could be so damaged that this would not be possible.

As a reader you are thinking up all sorts of reasons why Alicia is silent, what really happened, who might know something, could Gabriel have done something terrible, maybe the strange goings on with her gallerist, Jean-Felix Martin.

Questions, questions!

Set mainly in The Grove we meet Diomedes, Yuri, Christian, Indira, Stephanie, Rowena and Elif. Theo isn’t confined and his curiosity, his need, his desire to breakthrough with Alicia takes him to talk to Max, Tanya, Paul, Lydia, Barbie and Jean-Felix. We get to learn things but does it help? We get to know more about Theo too as he shares his home life and past with us so we meet Ruth and Kathy.

We learn more of Alicia the child, the wife, the friend, the artist. Will she trust Theo be drawn out, begin to heal, to come to terms with what happened, with what she did? Are there some extenuating circumstance? Or is she simply a cold blooded killer who should be exactly where she is?

This book draws you in and you can’t stop reading, will Theo reach Alicia? Will there be a breakthrough? The tension builds until you get almost there, then a little more until… the end and there you have it….. yes, that!

And what a read it was!

Alex Michaelides certainly knows how to weave a twisty, dark, clever tale with a cast of wonderful characters and an ending that will take your breath away.

Surely, you didn’t think I was going to tell you the ending? That would be so wrong now, wouldn’t it?

Information

Publisher: Orion (7 Feb. 2019)

Hardcover: 352 pages. Language: English. ISBN-10: 1409181618  ISBN-13: 978-1409181613

The Silent Patient will be published in the US by @CeladonBooks  an imprint of  Macmillan Publishers

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Author

AF5DD058-C461-4DAD-86BA-44A22B856BAEAlex Michaelides was born in Cyprus in 1977. He wrote the film The Devil You Know starring Rosamund Pike, and co-wrote The Brits are Coming.The Silent Patient is first novel, and was inspired by a post graduate course in psychotherapy, and working part-time at a secure psychiatric unit.

               @AlexMichaelides

 

 

 

 

 

#BlogTour: Dead End by Rachel Lynch #Extract

Out: 8th October 2018

A gripping DI Kelly Porter crime thriller (Detective Kelly Porter #3)

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Don’t miss this gripping crime thriller featuring an unforgettable detective. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Patricia Gibney and Robert Bryndza.

Book blurb

When the seventh Earl of Lowesdale is found hanging from the rafters at Wasdale Hall, everyone assumes the aging, hard-partying aristocrat had finally had enough of chasing the glory of his youth. But when the coroner finds signs of foul play, DI Kelly Porter is swept into a luxurious world where secrets and lies dominate.

At the same time, two young hikers go missing and it’s up to Kelly to lead the search. But digging deeper reveals ties to two other unsolved disappearances and Kelly and her team find themselves in a race against time.

Now, as all roads of both investigations and Kelly’s own family secrets lead to Wasdale Hall it becomes more important than ever for Kelly to discover the devious truths hidden behind the walls of the Lake District’s most exclusive estate…

 

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My thoughts

I am absolutely delighted to have been invited to host an extract from the third book in Rachel Lynch’s DI Kelly Porter series Dead End having read and loved the two previous books Dark Game and Deep Fear …..

Many thanks to Ellie at Canelo for inviting me to take part in the Dead End Blog Tour.

 

I am so glad to see this series continuing to bring such terrific stories from Rachel Lynch. We have also been able to see Kelly and Johnny’s relationship develop. Here they are chatting about Kelly’s career but then an item comes on the news ……

 

Extract – Chapter Two

‘It’s the same in the army,’ Johnny said now. ‘The better you are in the field – allegedly – the higher you go and the further away from the real troops. You end up getting a bunch of muppets sitting behind desks in Whitehall, making decisions for the boots on the ground and risking their lives. They get out of touch. It’s like teaching or the NHS: top heavy with honour-seeking egotists. It’s crazy but unavoidable.’ He never had to explain army jargon to Kelly, because it was so close to the language used by coppers. It was one of the things they loved about each other.

‘And that’s exactly what I don’t want. I joined to be a copper, not a document-handler. Paperwork doesn’t excite me, Johnny.’

‘I know, but there are benefits too: you’d have the authority to get other people to do stuff on your behalf,’ he pointed out. ‘Isn’t that what always frustrates you? When you know what you’ve got to get through, when you should be concentrating on connecting the dots rather than drawing them all first? I’ve seen it, I’ve seen you doing it, and you hate it.’

‘I know, but if I’m not there at the beginning, then I’m playing catch-up. It’s Hobson’s choice,’ she said. She stood up and pulled her jeans over her wet bikini bottoms; she’d rather do that than hang around and get colder. They started to pack up.

‘What about the money?’ he asked.

‘You don’t strike me as the type to bother about that kind of thing,’ she said, and smiled.

‘I only don’t bother about it because I have enough of it. Stop evading the question. No one refuses promotion, Kelly.’

‘Well I do. I’m happy where I am, and I’ve built a cracking team that works.’

‘Can’t you take the title and stay where you are?’ he asked.

‘I already asked that. They’re thinking about it.’

Johnny shook his head. She’d been sitting on the information all along.

She slipped on flip-flops and picked up her things, wet hair dripping down her sweater. She didn’t mind; she wasn’t the type to get prissy about it. He slapped her bottom again, probably half because he knew it pissed her off, and half because he wanted to touch her. She rounded on him and stuck her chin out.

‘I love that face,’ he said.

She turned around and marched away, with Johnny bringing up the rear. She knew he was watching her swing her hips from side to side, as she did when she was making a point.

***

When they reached her house in Pooley Bridge, she went straight to the fireplace to start a fire. The evening air still had a pinch in it, and besides, Kelly liked to take advantage of the open fireplace in her new home whenever she could. She could stare at the flames lapping over glowing logs all evening. Johnny opened a bottle of wine, and Kelly flicked on the news. They were growing more comfortable with each other, and moved around like a couple. Occasionally Kelly considered making things official, but more often than not she dismissed the idea straight away.

The TV had been left on full volume for some reason, and the noise assaulted them.

‘Concerns are growing as to the whereabouts of two young women in Cumbria,’ said the reporter. The man was standing ten minutes from Kelly’s door, at Howtown campsite. Both Kelly and Johnny were aware of the drama unfolding not ten minutes from where they lived; Johnny had been a part of the initial search for the girls, which was still ongoing. They watched the report intently and Kelly sipped her wine. It was full-bodied and herby, just the way she liked it. She’d put one of her junior officers in charge. These types of cases usually ended up the same way: with the unfortunate hikers being found stuck on some crag somewhere with piss poor equipment and no phone. Kelly laid her head on Johnny’s chest, and he moved so that he could put his feet up with hers. He probably wouldn’t be going anywhere tonight.

‘The two women were last seen at around six o’clock on Sunday evening, two days ago.’

Kelly’s eyes half closed as she allowed herself to relax. She was trusting Rob Shawcross to investigate the case; unless something major changed to elevate the file beyond missing, she herself wouldn’t need to become involved. Now, however, photographs of the missing girls appeared on the screen, and she sat up.

‘What is it?’ Johnny asked.

The missing persons’ case had been just that to Kelly: a report containing data that needed to be classified, and that was all. It wasn’t necessary for a detective of her rank to delve further unless it was elevated to suspicious, and that didn’t normally happen for forty-eight hours, by which time they’d surely be found. She hadn’t seen the girls’ photographs. Until now.

The two young women were in their late teens. They attended Lancaster University together and had been on a camping trip to Howtown, near Ullswater, when they disappeared. Initial enquiries had unearthed ordinary profiles; nothing that raised alarms. The girls seemed to be sensible, skilled and used to the mountains, with no history of rash decisions or risk-taking. Rob had contributed the details in the team brief this morning, and mountain rescue was working round the clock.

Kelly fiddled with her hair and looked at the photographs again. Johnny watched her.

As she studied their faces, she bit the inside of her lip. Both girls had striking blonde hair, and were also extremely pretty. It was something in the shape of the faces, as well as the hair colour and age, that made Kelly reassess the status of the inquiry. In February, another young woman had gone missing and there’d been a medium-scale hunt involving local TV and radio, but the case had been passed to Lancaster when it was revealed that the last sighting was Carnforth train station. Now, alarm bells were ringing.

‘They look just like Freya,’ she said.

‘Who?’ Johnny asked.

‘Freya Hamilton. She went missing just under four months ago. We got a call from Humberside Police – that’s where it was reported, by her sister – saying she was working in the Lakes at the time. We took it on, but it quickly became clear that there’d been a sighting of her since then in Lancashire, so we passed it to them.’

‘You never mentioned her,’ Johnny said.

‘I know, the case was off my desk as quickly as it landed really. To be honest, I never gave it a second thought after it went to Lancashire Police.’

‘So you’ve no idea if she was found?’

‘No.’

‘But now you want to know?’

She looked at him and nodded, biting her lip.

‘Yes, I do.’

 

My thoughts – part 2!

Wow! Well that just left me wanting to rush off and read more! I’ll definitely be reading and reviewing this wonderful book soon, thanks Ellie and Canelo for a copy.

So, here in the third book it looks like we are getting to know Kelly even more on a personal level, which is what a series gives to the reader and one of the reasons I enjoy reading them. Also, from this extract, we can see the start of another amazing story and it’s sure to be another cracker. Like to see more about Dead End? then do read on…

Blog Tour

So, you’d like to read more about Dead End? Well just look at all these blogs you can check out on the rest of this terrific tour…..

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Information

Publisher: Canelo

ISBN: 9781788630214

Buy:        Amazon (UK)       Kobo (UK)         Google Books (UK)         Apple Books (UK)

 

Author

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Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.

Rachel Lynch at Canelo           Twitter: ‎@r_lynchcrime

Previous Books

Dark Game and Deep Fear

Genre: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural