The once tranquil woods in a picturesque part of Lenchester have become the bloody stage to a series of ritualistic murders. With no suspects, Detective Chief Inspector Whitney Walker is once again forced to call on the services of forensic psychologist Dr Georgina Cavendish.
But this murderer isn’t like any they’ve faced before. The murders are highly elaborate, but different in their own way, and with the clock ticking, they need to get inside the killer’s head before it’s too late.
For fans of Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsons and L J Ross, Ritual Demise is the seventh book in the Cavendish & Walker crime fiction series.
Ritual Demise is #7 in the series featuring Cavendish and Walker. It can also be read as a stand-alone.
There have been some gruesome murders in Lenchester, there seems to be a ritualistic element to these crimes. Is there a serial killer at work? What links the victims and who will be next?
DCI Walker and forensic psychologist, Georgina Cavendish are working together again to find the killer before anyone else dies.
I won’t say much more about the plot for fear of spoilers, but I can say that with an incredible plot and great characters, this dark and twisty thriller is so utterly compelling from start to finish.
Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Ritual Demise. This is my honest and unbiased review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sally Rigby was born in Northampton, in the UK. She has always had the travel bug, and after living in both Manchester and London, eventually moved overseas. From 2001 she has lived with her family in New Zealand (apart from five years in Australia), which she considers to be the most beautiful place in the world. After writing young adult fiction for many years, under a pen name, Sally decided to move into crime fiction. Her Cavendish & Walker series brings together two headstrong, and very different, women – DCI Whitney Walker, and forensic psychologist Dr Georgina Cavendish. Sally has a background in education, and has always loved crime fiction books, films and TV programmes. She has a particular fascination with the psychology of serial killers.
Two years ago, teenagers Rob and Paige broke into the house of Paige’s school counsellor and stole only a necklace, but traumatised their victims in the process. No one knows why. And Paige hasn’t been seen since that night. Having spent her life in children’s homes and the foster system, no one cared enough to look for her.
Now Rob is out of prison, and probation officer Wren Reynolds has been tasked with his rehabilitation. But Wren has her own reasons for taking on Rob as a client. Convinced that Rob knows what happened to Paige, and hiding a lifetime of secrets from her heavily pregnant wife, Wren’s obsession with finding a missing girl may tear her family apart..
Set over two timelines, the past and the present. Here in the present, Wren is a probation officer working on a rehab program for newly released offenders. She’s helping Rob, who had committed a robbery with Paige. Rob was caught and convicted and Paige disappeared.
As the story jumps to the past, you learn more about Rob, Paige and Rob’s brother, Luke. It deals with some dark moments as you hear of their backgrounds.
Wren begins to look into Paige’s disappearance…
This is a compelling psychological thriller with family drama at its heart. It’s dark, twisty and a thoroughly engrossing read.
Thank you to Rachel at Viper Books for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of A Ruined Girl. This is my honest and unbiased review.
Major Grubane is commander of the Aurikaa, the most feared cruiser in the UFS arsenal.
His crew is handpicked and fiercely loyal. Together, they have never failed a mission, and their reputation precedes them.
But this time he’s been sent to a key planet that is caught up in political tensions at the centre of the freedom debate. What he thought was a simple diplomatic mission turns out to be the hardest choice of his career. His orders: eliminate one million inhabitants of the planet, and ensure their compliance.
Grubane has also rediscovered an ancient game called chess, and plays it against the ship AI as a form of mental training. But maybe it could be more than that as he finds himself asking questions.
Can orders be reinterpreted? How many moves ahead is it possible for one man to plan? And how many players are involved in this game?
Grubane, a novella set in the Lost Solace universe is a game of chess.
Major Grubane plays this ancient game with A.I Aurika 12 and he learns strategy and forward planning….
He receives orders to suppress a rebellion. But he has doubts.
Grubane is thought provoking sci-fi, the interactions between Grubane and 12 make you wonder if A.I can have real emotions, a soul. A short novella which helps build the background to Lost Solace and that universe. Very clever and sci-fi at its best.
Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Grubane. This is my honest and unbiased review.
Author Bio – Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.
He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.
When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.
Adam Ferranti was drinking away his waking hours, getting by in a regional newspaper in the North of England. An award-winning journalist, he moved to England to escape the media glare that followed his spectacular fall from grace at The Washington Post; only to be thrust back in it when a mysterious serial killer decides to make him his confidante.
DS Stephanie Walker is a successful member of the West Yorkshire Police force. Whilst she is tough and results-driven at work, with a fearsome reputation on the streets, she hides the domestic abuse she suffers at home.
She finds Ferranti exceptionally difficult to deal with, but he’s her only chance to stay close to what the elusive killer is planning next. Ferranti reluctantly complies with the Police, even though he is fighting his own personal demons, but when his best friend is murdered by the killer, it suddenly gets personal. And suddenly, no-one is quite who they seemed to be
DS Stephanie Walker works for the West Yorkshire Police, she’s strong, determined and known for her toughness on the streets. But she’s also the victim of domestic violence, but hides this from her colleagues as she feels she can’t show any weakness in this male dominated world.
Adam Ferranti is a journalist, he’s in contact with someone who seems to have inside information relating to a serial killer and his victims…eventually he takes the information to the police when someone he knows dies.
That’s all I can really say about the plot for fear of spoiling it…..but oh my god……!
This is dark, gruesome and twisty with a truly gasp inducing ending…..just wow.
If you like an involved, intense and dark thriller…you are going to love Deadline.
Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Deadline.. This is my honest and unbiased review.
Available from 1 September
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A long time ago, Geoff Major had an idea for a story, whilst walking his girls to primary school. Two years ago, he decided he had the time and patience to try to write the story down. His wife was wholly supportive, so he turned from full-time to part-time for four months and now – 23 years after that idea first popped into his head – it has been published.
As a self-employed business consultant for 18 years and a fundraising adventurer for 10 years (including ski-trekking 50 miles, over 6 days and 6 nights, to the geographic North Pole), he now works for a debt charity whilst plotting his next three books
For the record, Estelle Crane, the gutsy editor of The Observer newspaper, died after a hard fall on ice. But years later, her son discovers a cryptic note hinting her death might not have been an accident after all.
Was Estelle pursuing a big story that put her life in danger?
That’s what Isabel Long — along with her 93-year-old mother, Maria, her ‘Watson’ — agrees to investigate in Dillard, a town whose best days are in the past.
A former journalist, Isabel follows leads and interviews sources, new and familiar. She quickly finds a formidable threat in Police Chief James Hawthorne, who makes it clear Isabel is not welcome in his town — and who warns her against poking her nose into Estelle’s death.
Of course, that’s after Isabel has discovered the chief’s questionable policing and a troubled history with Estelle that goes way back.
Killing the story means dropping it because there aren’t enough facts to back it up. But Isabel won’t make that mistake. She’ll see this one through to the very end.
Can she uncover the plot that led to Estelle’s murder?
Killing the Story is the fourth in the popular Isabel Long Mystery Series.
Killing The Story is #4 in the Isabel Long mystery series, but it can be read as a stand-alone too.
Private Investigator Isabel Long is investigating the death of Estelle, a newspaper editor. It may not have been an accident!
She begins looking in the events surrounding the death and ends up in danger herself…..
As ever, Isabel is dogged in her determination to find the truth, despite the threats…….she will not kill this story.
Isabel is a well developed and likeable character, strong and certainly determined. This is a twisty murder mystery and thoroughly entertaining.
Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Killing The Story. This is my honest and unbiased review.
Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Killing the Story, published by Darkstroke Books, is the fourth in her Isabel Long Mystery Series, featuring a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. solving cold cases in rural New England.
She draws upon her own experience as a longtime journalist in Massachusetts and New Mexico to create Isabel Long, a sassy, savvy widow who uses the skills she acquired in the business to solve what appears to be impossible cases. She also relies on her deep knowledge of rural Western Massachusetts, where she lives, to create realistic characters and settings — from country bars (where Isabel works part-time) to a general store’s backroom where gossipy old men meet.
She credits her mother, Algerina — the inspiration for Maria, Isabel Long’s ‘Watson’ — for instilling inher a love of reading and the power of the written word.
To everyone who knows her, 28-year-old Marcia Gold leads the perfect life. A good job as a high school guidance counselor specializing in helping pregnant teens as well as a handsome, successful boyfriend, she seems to have it all in 1980 Brooklyn, New York.
However, beneath the shiny surface lurks another reality. Frightening and debilitating panic attacks, which she keeps secret, torment her. As a child of Jewish Holocaust survivors, she knows that her family’s traumas have become her own. In addition, the Iranian hostage situation dominating the news compounds her inner terror.
A series of crises force Marcia to a breaking point. Desperate to free herself from her inner prison, she concocts a plan to be reborn as a new person. Unfortunately, her plan creates its own problems. Can she find another path out of her psychic pain, one that will lead her to true normalcy?
Set in the 1980’s, Marcia sees the Iran Hostage crisis unfold on TV….adding to her own tensions and anxieties. Marcia is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and struggles with her mental health as being constantly bombarded with news events at home and overseas. She is such a great character, I really felt for her.
Escaping The Whale is an emotion packed and incredibly moving tale of inherited trauma, life and finding your identity. It’s beautifully written with light touches of humour too. This would be a perfect read for a book club as there are so many parts just calling for discussion.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Escaping The Whale. This is my honest and unbiased review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ruth Rotkowitz is a second-generation child – the daughter of Holocaust survivors from Austria. This has informed much of her research and writing. She has published fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in a variety of anthologies and literary journals, and was a staff writer and member of the editorial board of the (now-defunct) Woman’s Newspaper of Princeton, winning awards for many of her feature articles. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English and has taught English on both the college and high school levels. She currently leads book talks in the Phoenix, Arizona area, where she lives with her husband.
A MURDER TEARS A SMALL TOWN APART. BUT WHO DID IT?
‘Brilliant, compelling, heart-wrenching writing.’ Peter James
The pretty market town of Sterndale is a close-knit community where everyone thinks they know everyone else. But at a lavish summer wedding a local celebrity is discovered slumped in the gardens, the victim of a violent assault that leads to a murder investigation.
As the police search for answers, suspicion and paranoia build – and the lives of the locals are turned upside down. Secrets that lurk beneath the pristine façade of Sterndale come to light as detectives close in on the truth…
A gripping and moving thriller with the emotional drama of series like BROADCHURCH and LIAR this is the perfect read for fans of Cara Hunter, Heidi Perks and Claire Douglas.
Praise for Erin Kinsley’s first novel Found,
BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice and Sunday Times Crime Club Pick:
‘An unputdownable thriller.’
‘Sensitive and moving…but with a core of pure tension’
‘One of those rare finds – a page turner that is equally remarkable for the beauty of the writing. It will suck you in and take you on a journey’
‘Gripping…once started, impossible to put down!’
Innocent is a clever, character led thriller, set in a small town, Sterndale.
During a wedding a celebrity, Tristan, is assaulted and later dies. DI Gavin Muir, DS Weld and DS Golding begin their investigation.
We then find out about the lives and secrets of the residents of Sterndale, as they search for the killer it appears not everyone is who they seem to be….
The excellent writing by Erin Kinsley really captures the almost claustrophobic atmosphere of a small town. The twisty plot builds a slow tension and is gripping from start to finish.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and ARC of Innocent. This is my honest and unbiased review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin Kinsley is a full-time writer. She grew up inYorkshire and currently lives in East Anglia.
When Marianne’s husband Greg is knocked off his bike and killed on the way to work, she must unpick the life he left behind. Numb with grief, Marianne consoles herself by scouring Greg’s laptop, finding comfort in reading his old emails and tracing his footsteps across the web. Until one day, she discovers that he had been accessing the dark web. Why was Greg, a principled charity worker and dedicated husband, logging on to a website that showcases the worst of humanity’s cruel impulses and where anything is available for a price? Marianne steels herself and logs on. After tentative searching, she discovers her name on a hit list.
In this fast-paced, powerful and exceptionally plotted novel, Marianne must figure out whether Greg was trying to protect her or whether he was complicit in the conspiracy for her murder. As she is pulled deeper into the depths of the underworld that Greg was seemingly hostage to, she gets closer and closer to coming face to face with Sam – the assassin hired to kill her. The dark truths that Marianne uncovers speak volumes about the dark underbelly of our society and forces us to question how far we would go to protect those we care most about.
Marianne was widowed a year ago, still grieving the loss of husband Greg, on a whim she checks his laptop. She discovers he had accessed the dark web.
At first she believes this must have been for his job, he helped trafficked women, but then she finds the hit list. Here you can enter your name to find out if anyone has hired an assassin to kill you. She puts in Greg’s name…..nothing.
But when she enters her own name…….there it is…..someone wants her dead.
I can’t say much more for fear of spoiling the plot. But what I will say is that this is a clever, tension filled and twisty psychological thriller. It is very well narrated by Tuppence Middleton, Stephanie Racine, Damian Lynch, Chris Reilly and Perdita Weeks.
Thank you to Alex at Orion/Trapeze for the opportunity to be part of this audiobook blog tour and for an audiobook copy of The Hit List. This is my honest and unbiased review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Holly Seddon is the international bestselling author of TRY NOT TO BREATHE, DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES and LOVE WILL TEAR US APART. THE HIT LIST will be published in August 2020 in ebook, and April 2021 in paperback.
After growing up in the English countryside obsessed with music and books, Holly worked in London as a journalist and editor. She now lives in Amsterdam with her family and writes full time.
Alongside fellow author Gillian McAllister, Holly co-hosts the popular Honest Authors Podcast.
Welcome to the Bookwormery and an extract from Son Of Escobar. But first a little about the book…..
THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUE STORY
Rescued as a baby from a fatal shoot out at which his mother dies and his father escapes, adopted by an MI6 agent working out of Colombia, kept in the dark about his true identity until the age of 24, sent to boarding school in the UK to avoid escalating kidnapping attempts, and finally given the location of Escobar’s hidden millions, this is the unbelievable true story of Pablo Escobar’s first born son, Roberto Sendoya Escobar.
In 1965, a secret mission by Colombian Special Forces, led by an MI6 agent to recover a cash hoard from a safe house used by a young Pablo Escobar, culminates in a shoot-out leaving many dead. Escobar and several of his men escape. Only a baby survives the bloody shoot out, Roberto Sendoya Escobar. In a bizarre twist of fate, the MI6 agent takes pity on the child, brings him home and adopts him.
Over the years, Pablo Escobar tries, repeatedly, to kidnap his first born son. Flanked by his trusty bodyguards, the child, unaware of his true identity, is allowed regular meetings with Escobar and it becomes apparent that Roberto’s adopted father and the British government are working covertly with the Escobar in an attempt to control the money laundering and drug trades.
Many years later in England, as Roberto’s adoptive father lies dying in hospital, he hands his son a coded piece of paper which, he says, reveals the secret hiding place of Escobar’s ‘missing millions’. The code is published in this book for the first time.
The most notorious drug lord the world has ever seen, and now the subject of the hugely popular Netflix series Narcos, Pablo Escobar was one of the ten richest men on the planet and controlled 80 per cent of the global cocaine trade before he was shot dead in 1993. Each copy of the book offers readers a chance to crack the code and find Escobar’s hidden millions
And now the
EXTRACT FROM Son Of Escobar…
I had two fathers. The one I called Dad – and loved dearly – was my adoptive father, Patrick Witcomb. I knew him as an English businessman who had made a successful life for his family in Colombia. That was only half the story. It wasn’t until years later that I found out he was also an MI6 agent working undercover for British intelligence. But hearing that still wasn’t my biggest shock.
I learned that my biological father was Pablo Escobar, the most notorious gangster in the history of the world. I had met him only fleetingly, unaware of our connection – or that there were times he was prepared to kill to win me back.
This is the story of how the lives of my two fathers became inextricably intertwined. Good and evil. Light and darkness. This story has it all.
When I was a child I knew nothing of all this. I just thought Patrick – Pat to everyone who
knew him – was a regular dad. There were an awful lot of guns and strangeness going on around our beautiful mansion in Colombia but my dad worked for a firm that printed bank notes for governments and ran an armoured car business and as an employee he was subject to attack from criminal gangs. It was just part of our life, although sometimes it felt like violence followed us around and I was grateful for my round-the-clock armed protection.
There were also a few occasions on which my father took me to a place called Medellín where I met a younger man who took a keen interest in me – this was Escobar. And there was the day I saw huge bags of money being loaded on to a plane. Little did I know of the murky dealings that linked these two powerful figures in Colombia’s turbulent history – and the millions of dollars that passed between them.
Only when I was twenty-four did my father – Pat – sit me down to tell me the true story of my extraordinary life. It was 1989 and by then I had left home and was living in Sotogrande on the Costa Del Sol of Spain, near Gibraltar. Until that day I had always been Phillip Witcomb, although I did know that I was adopted. It hadn’t worried me. I always looked upon Pat and his wife, Joan, as my dad and mum. They had told me I had been born in Colombia, which explained my darker hair and features, but until this point both had said that nothing was known about my real parents and I had always accepted it. Now Pat prepared to turn my world upside down.
‘What we told you wasn’t the whole story,’ Dad said. ‘It’s time you knew the whole truth.’
He revealed I had started life as Roberto Sendoya Escobar. They had adopted me from a Catholic orphanage. My mother was dead and they believed my father had given up any claim for me. It was then that he explained how he had come to cross paths with Pablo Escobar.
Dad had been tasked with setting up the Colombian arm of the banknote printing company De La Rue and, as part of his work, he needed to infiltrate the criminal gangs then gaining a foothold in the country’s fledgling economy and pass back intelligence. Some of this information made its way back to UK secret services, but the main beneficiaries for the elaborate, sophisticated and devastatingly effective operation were their US counterparts in the CIA.
Dad explained that the armoured car division often came under attack and their consignments of newly printed Colombian banknotes would be stolen. After one such robbery, Dad received intelligence to the whereabouts of the missing money. With the backing of his bosses in London and his employers in UK intelligence he mounted a daring and heavily armoured mission to recover the cash.
It was in the course of this most bloody of expeditions that I was discovered as a helpless baby in the gang’s hideout and the link with my biological father, Escobar, was established. At the time Pablo Escobar was a teenager and nothing more than a low-level criminal, but as he rose through the criminal ranks he would go on to be a useful asset for the intelligence services who sought to influence the growing gang networks in Colombia.
It was the 1960s and the cocaine trade was in its infancy. There was no way of predicting the way that its cultivation and supply would become one of the biggest industries in the world – or of
knowing that the secret services would play a key role in allowing the gangs to flourish, creating the cocaine cartels that brought so much misery to so many people.
At the time Pat’s goal was simply to safeguard his company interests and provide intelligence for the services back home. Enter one more figure who would much later become notorious on the world stage. An ambitious Panamanian, then just an officer, named Manuel Noriega, did not only assist Dad on the fateful mission that led him to Escobar but would also go on to help him in his dealings with the criminal gangs. Noriega and Escobar were quite the pair, between them overseeing the rise of narcotic trafficking to a global level.
What had begun as a low-level operation in aid of securely transporting government-issued banknotes exploded into a dangerous game: trying in vain to control drug gangs that nobody could have known would become so big that their resources started to outstrip those of many entire nations. Yet for years, US intelligence’s attitude to the amount of cocaine flooding the USA verged on the relaxed. It was only when the amount of dollars for drugs pouring out of the USA – then the largest economy in the world – reached dangerously high levels, that action was at last taken.
The once primitive criminal gangs had by then morphed into huge drug cartels that made more money than they knew how to spend. By the time that I began to find out the truth of my life, Escobar was fearing his grip on power was slipping and had hidden millions of dollars in secret locations. When Dad told me all of this, and hinted that he knew where some of the money was, it was at first too much to take in.
It was only slowly that this incredible story began to make sense to me.
For years I had been plagued by vague dreams of what I thought were explosions and a woman’s screams. Were these somehow related to real events, to that armed mission that Dad had mounted and that had led to my rescue?
I remembered our trips to Medellín. Suddenly, conversations I’d had with a mysterious man with a magnetic presence took on a new significance. Was this Escobar? My biological father?
Over the course of a number of conversations, I listened intently as Dad slowly revealed hidden details about my life. One part of the story was particularly hard for him to recount – the aspect I was most desperate to hear.
How had he known my biological mother was dead?
In explaining my birth mother’s death, Dad shook me to my core, forcing me to question everything I’d ever thought I knew about myself, my legal guardians and the people who brought me into this world.
That wasn’t all.
Many years later, as he lay dying, my father imparted perhaps his most sensational secret – clues to the location of Escobar’s legendary missing millions.
What follows is based on the information given by my adoptive father, Pat, and blended with my own extensive research. This is at last the true story of my life. All the events are factual, although I have inevitably had to dramatise scenes and conversations as I believe they would have happened.
The story begins on the day that I was discovered by Pat. It was an accidental rescue that set the fates of Patrick Witcomb and Pablo Escobar on a collision course, bonding us together for ever.
Welcome to The Bookwormery, I have an extract from Witness, by Mandasue Heller, a dark and gritty thriller….as you will see.
But first a little about Witness.
She saw too much. She knows too much.
Dark and gritty, Witness is a heart-pounding thriller set in Manchester.
Holly Evans and her over-protective mother, Josie, are living a hand-to-mouth existence, moving constantly from one squalid dump to the next. When they move into an illegally sub-let council flat in Manchester, Holly feels settled for the first time in her life – even if she is forbidden to go out, or even open the front door to callers when her mum is at work. What exactly are they hiding from?
Then Holly has a falling out with her best friend, and suddenly finds herself becoming increasingly isolated and alone in the world. But she is about to make a new friend in Suzie – the glamorous woman who lives directly across the road, who Holly witnesses being beaten up by her violent boyfriend. When it happens a second time it’s Holly who Suzie turns to for help, and a bond is quickly formed between the pair. But whoever Holly and Josie have been running from is about to find them, and nothing will ever be the same again . . .
You can only run for so long, and some will kill for your silence . . .
Witness, by Mandasue Heller, is out August 20th, through Macmillan, £12.99 hardback
Here’s the extract…
The girl’s eyes shot open when the back door slammed into the wall below her room, and her heart skittered in her chest when she heard footsteps rushing through the kitchen, the hallway and up the stairs. Unsure if it was the police raiding the house in search of drugs, or one of her stepdad’s enemies coming to fight with him again, she did what her mummy had told her to do and wriggled under the bed, burying herself beneath the dusty clothes, shoes and comics that were stashed in the space between the mattress and the floor.
The footsteps reached the landing and she held her breath as she waited for her door to burst open. They went straight past and, seconds later, her mum screamed and her stepdad yelled, ‘What the fuck . . . ?’
‘Shut it or you’re dead,’ a deep voice warned. ‘You know what we’re after.’
Sure now that it wasn’t the police, because they always announced themselves and ordered everyone to stay where they were, which usually culminated in the fat lady social worker taking her to stay with strangers for a couple of days, the girl jumped when something heavy hit the wall behind her head.
‘Please don’t hurt us,’ her mum cried. ‘I’ll tell you where it is.’
‘Go get it,’ another voice ordered. ‘And don’t fuck about, or you’re dead an’ all.’
‘Y’ain’t gettin’ klish!’ the girl’s stepdad argued, his Jamaican accent thickening with anger. ‘Y’t’ink me don’t know yuh? T’ink yuh can step in me yard wi’ yuh face cover an’ me won’t recognize dem beady lickle ey—’
‘Smoke the cunt!’ the deep voice barked, and the child shuddered at the sound of a violent struggle breaking out. Glass shattered and wood splintered, then a boom that sounded like a massive firework going off filled the air, and she sucked in a sharp breath when her mum screamed again before abruptly falling silent.
A sinister chuckle broke the silence and the girl bit down on her hand when her mum’s bedsprings started squeaking and the head- board banged rhythmically against the wall. She’d been woken by those same noises many times since her stepdad had moved in; and once, when she’d got up to use the toilet in the middle of the night, she had accidentally seen them doing naughties, so she didn’t need to guess what was happening.
After what felt like an eternity, the thudding stopped and the girl heard drawers and cupboards being rifled through. Her bedroom door suddenly opened, and in the light spilling in from the landing she saw a pair of feet clad in green trainers. Praying that the man wouldn’t hear her breathing as he entered the room and turned in a slow circle before approaching the bed, she shrank further back when he crouched down and raised the edge of the quilt. Dark eyes peered into the cramped space and, terrified that he would see her, drag her out and kill her, hot piss trickled out from between her legs and soaked her nightgown.
At the exact moment the man reached out to push the clothes aside, another pair of feet appeared in the doorway behind him, and the deep voice said, ‘Got it. Let’s go.’
Holding her breath until the man in the green trainers retreated from the room, the child listened as he and the other one jogged down the stairs and left the house the same way they had entered. Scared they might come back, even after hearing the squeal of the rusted hinges on the backyard gate, she stayed where she was for several more minutes before plucking up the courage to crawl out from under the bed.
The house was silent, but she kept a cautious eye on the stairs as she tiptoed out onto the landing and darted to her mum’s bedroom at the front of the house. The door was open and the overhead light was on, and her skinny, piss-soaked legs almost gave way when she saw the blood. There was a thick pool of it on the bed, another on the carpet, and a smear on the wall, below which her stepdad was slumped like a broken mannequin, his once-handsome face now unrecognizable.
‘Mummy?’ she whimpered, tearing her gaze off him and looking round for her mother.
A faint groan drifted up from the other side of the bed and the girl picked a path through the shattered glass and debris. Her mum was lying in the gap between the bedside cabinet and the wardrobe, limbs at odd angles as if she’d fallen off the bed, blood-soaked nightdress pulled up over her stomach. She wasn’t wearing knickers and the girl averted her gaze and stared at her face instead, but immediately wished she hadn’t when she saw the mess the men had made of it.
Snapped out of her stupor when a bubble of blood popped at the corner of her mum’s lips, the girl fled from the room, oblivious to the pain of the glass piercing the soles of her feet as she raced along the landing and down the stairs.
The front door was locked and the top bolt was too high for her to reach it. In a blind panic, she ran to the back door, and a shrill, thin scream started trickling from her throat as she lurched out into the jet-black yard.
‘Sshhh!’ someone hissed, clamping a rough hand over her mouth. ‘Come with me . . .’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in Warrington, Mandasue Heller moved to Manchester in the 1980s, where she found the inspiration for her novels. She spent ten years living in the infamous Hulme Crescents and was a professional singer for many years before turning her hand to writing. She has three children, three grandchildren, and still writes and records songs with her musician partner, Wingrove, between books.
‘Heller doesn’t mince words, her gritty plots create a Manchester underworld to rival Martina Cole’s raw and rough East End’ – Peterborough Evening Telegraph.
Cataclysmic events have occurred in the decorous upper middle class enclave within Southsea, Portsmouth, on the south coast of England.
But what were the circumstances that contributed to this violent clash involving a Sherman tank and a bazooka? The strange occurrence is Investigated by Lord Everard Pimple, a naive, upper class twit who not only inadvertently opens a can of worms, but has an introduction into the world of womanly wiles.
Everard’s life is about to blow up like an atom bomb… he just doesn’t know it yet. But after the dust settles, will he still be standing?
#1 in the DaDa Detective Agency series.
I am so pleased that Jack (Jane) and Mandy Austin are back albeit now retired from working in the police force, but again they are thrown into the action. Here are Sherman tanks, bazooka’s ( or is it a rocket launcher?) and danger…..obviously.
Jack has a certain way with words, his malacopperisms that sometimes only Mandy understands. Girl Grey anyone?
The story has a narrator too, who speaks to the reader and the characters which has some fun moments.
Full of fantastic characters such as Pimple, Crumpet, Lovebody and of course The Banana Boys……Dave Lilicrap or Shitlegs as he is known just makes me laugh every time.
Road Kill does have its serious moments, but oh my it’s laugh out loud funny too. Well done Mr Adams. I’m already looking forward to Book 2.
Thank you to Emma at Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of Road Kill. This is my honest and unbiased review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.
Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.
Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.
Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.
Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in Jakarta in a wealthy, eminent, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on only each other for support. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole clan.
As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this brutal act.
Journeying from the luxurious world of the rich and powerful in Indonesia to the spectacular shows of Paris Fashion Week, from the sunny coasts of California to the melting pot of Melbourne’s university scene, The Majesties is a haunting and deeply suspenseful novel about the dark secrets that can build a family empire – and also bring it crashing down.
‘Fresh, sharp, and thrilling… A darkly gorgeous read you won’t soon forget’ Tanen Jones, author of The Better Liar
‘The Majesties, although it rolls out easily, troubles deeply, haunting and even chilling its reader well beyond the final page’
New York Journal of Books
The Majesties is the story of a family. Of their money, power and also corruption.
It is told by Gwendolyn (Doll) who is lying in a hospital bed, in a coma. She’s the only survivor of a mass poisoning that her sister, Estella (Stell) was responsible for.
As she struggles to wake up, she is reliving her memories to try to find out why Stell would do such a thing.
Doll and Stell were sisters, they were very close until Stell married Leonard. They had been born into a very wealthy family and lived a life of luxury and power. But, there is something rotten at the heart of it all.
As Doll remembers, her rose tinted glasses are ripped away as she begins to see the family’s true colours. Stell has made her see the darkness, the secrets that their wealth has been built on, and kept.
This is not a fast paced story, but is slow, immersive and beautifully written and had me gripped from start to finish. It’s not a thriller in the usual sense, but there is a tension throughout, as you wonder why Estella would kill her whole family.
It is full of luxury and opulence, but also domestic violence, murder and secrets.
Doll also runs a business, Bagatelle, where she creates living jewellery, made from living insects and butterflies that are controlled by a fungal parasite ( think zombie ant but beautiful). Just a creepy thought!!
This is a tale of family and love, but also incredible wealth, power and corruption and the lengths taken to keep it. It’s heartbreaking at times too.
If you like a family drama, with a dark edge then you are going to love The Majesties. Just a fantastic read that’s going to stay with me.
Thank you to Poppy at Pushkin Press for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and a copy of The Majesties. This is my honest and unbiased review.
Tiffany Tsao is a writer and literary translator. She is the author of the Oddfits fantasy series; The Majesties is her debut adult novel. Her translations from Indonesian to English include Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s poetry collection Sergius Seeks Bacchus, Dee Lestari’s novel Paper Boats, and Laksmi Pamuntjak’s The Birdwoman’s Palate. Her translations of Norman’s poetry have won the English PEN Presents and English PEN Translates awards. Born in the US and of Chinese-Indonesian descent, Tiffany spent her formative years in Singapore and Indonesia before moving to the US for university. She now lives in Sydney with her spouse and two children
Vintage Crimes will be a CWA anthology with a difference, celebrating members’ work over the years. The book will gather stories from the mid- 1950s until the twenty-first century by great names of the past, great names of the present together with a few hidden treasures by less familiar writers. The first CWA anthology, Butcher’s Dozen, appeared in 1956, and was co-edited by Julian Symons, Michael Gilbert, and Josephine Bell. The anthology has been edited by Martin Edwards since 1996, and has yielded many award- winning and nominated stories in the UK and overseas.
This new edition includes an array of incredible and award-winning authors: Robert Barnard, Simon Brett, Liza Cody, Mat Coward, John Dickson Carr, Marjorie Eccles, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Anthea Fraser, Celia Fremlin, Frances Fyfield, Michael Gilbert, Paula Gosling, Lesley Grant-Adamson, HRF Keating, Bill Knox, Peter Lovesey, Mick Herron, Michael Z. Lewin, Susan Moody, Julian Symons and Andrew Taylor.
This is a collection of short stories by members of The Crime Writers Association, past and present.
Each of the tales are unique, but all have a vintage feel. (Some are vintage!).
This is a great book to be able to dip in and out of, when you have a spare half hour or so.
Lots of murders, mysteries and general mayhem, very entertaining throughout. Anyone who enjoys classic and vintage crime stories will love this.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Vintage Crime. This is my honest and unbiased review.
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Martin Edwards (editor) is the author of eighteen novels, including the Lake District Mysteries, and the Harry Devlin series. His ground-breaking genre study The Golden Age of Murder has won the Edgar, Agatha, and H.R.F. Keating awards. He has edited twenty eight crime anthologies, has won the CWA Short Story Dagger and
the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and is series consultant for the British Library’s Crime Classics.
Alie Gowdie marries Richard Webster during a turbulent time in Scotland’s history. Charles I is about to lose his head, and little does Alie know that she too will meet a grisly end within the year.
Sarah Sutherland is struggling to cope with the demands of her day job, caring for her elderly father and keeping tabs on her backpacking daughter. She wanted to be an archaeologist, but now in her forties, she is divorced, alone, and there seems to be no respite, no glimmer of excitement on the horizon. However, she does have a special affinity with the Kilgour Witch, Alie Gowdie, who lived in Sarah’s cottage until her execution in 1648, and Sarah likes nothing better than to retreat into a world of sorcery, spells and religious fanaticism. Her stories delight tourists as she leads them along the cobbled streets of her home town, but what really lies behind the tale of Alie Gowdie, the Kilgour Witch? Can Sarah uncover the truth in order to right a centuries-old wrong? And what else might modern-day Kilgour be hiding, just out of sight?
Sight Unseen is #1 in the Sarah Sutherland series.
Sarah has a dull job, she’s also caring for her father and she’s lonely.
But she has an escape, she loves the local witch tours where she gets to dress up and share the history and her stories with others. . She is intrigued by one witch in particular and who she feels she has an affinity with, Alie, so she starts investigating her story.
This is a mystery tale with a supernatural edge. It’s a slow burn as you learn more about Sarah and Alie, the traumatic life of a woman accused of witchcraft in the past. It slowly builds to a real cliffhanger of an ending too. A clever mix of history and mystery.
Thank you to Kelly at Love Books Group for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Sight Unseen. This is my honest and unbiased review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandra Ireland was awarded a Carnegie-Cameron scholarship to study for an MLitt in Writing Practice and Study at the University of Dundee, graduating with a distinction in 2014. Her work has appeared in various publications and women’s magazines. She is the author of Beneath the Skin (2016), Bone Deep (2018) and The Unmaking of Ellie Rook (2019). She lives in Carnoustie, Scotland.
A multi-national research team, led by a medical genomics expert suffering from MS, study an ancient pandoravirus at a remote Siberian research facility. Called “Molli” by the research team, the organic substance reveals some unique but troublesome characteristics, qualities that, in the wrong hands, could lead to human extinction.
The researchers soon learn that even in the right hands, Molli is a force too dangerous to escape their compound. But the virus has a mind of its own, and it wants out.
The Apocalypse Strain is an action packed horror story, set in the near future.
A training exercise to the frozen tundra of Siberia, to train astronauts for a planned mission to Mar, let’s loose a virus. Like all viruses, this one wants to spread and evolve. It has an intelligence that’s plain scary…….who will survive?
If you have seen the X-Files episode Ice, you’ll find some similarities, the cold landscape, the tension and paranoia affecting those involved, but that’s where any similarities end.
This is full of tension, action and some really gruesome moments too. A fast paced dark and creepy tale that any fan of horror and sci-fi will love. Thoroughly entertaining.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of The Apocalypse Strain. This is my honest and unbiased review.
Jason is an author of horror, thrillers, and science fiction, though his novels tend to blur the boundaries between genres. From his award-winning first horror/mystery novel, What Hides Within, to his widely applauded supernatural thriller, Seeing Evil, Jason’s work has earned him praise from both critics and avid readers alike.
In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Rhode Island.
In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge… as a civil litigator. When he wanted a change, he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he’s back in the legal field…sorta. But that’s another story.
When he’s not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, and travel to any place that will let him enter. And read and write, of course – he does that too sometimes.
FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Thinking they have put their monster-hunting days behind them, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker return to their normal lives. But when their old ally Robert Roosevelt and his nephew Teddy find a new nest of vampires, they are once again pulled into the world of the supernatural, this time in the American West. A train robbery by a band of vampire gunslingers sets off a series of events that puts Bram on the run, Oscar leading a rescue party and our heroes being pursued by an unstoppable vampire bounty hunter who rides a dead, reanimated horse.
Stoker’s Wilde West is the sequel to Stoker’s Wilde, it can be read as a stand-alone (but then again I have read Stoker’s Wilde).
Here Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde are relaxing after events in the previous book, looking forward to a return to normal life, but then get a call from Robert Roosevelt…..vampires are running amok in America’s west, so off they go.
I love the gothic horror mixed with historical fiction and humour.
We meet Robert and Teddy Roosevelt, Calamity Jane, Mark Twain and others in this tale of vampires, monsters and science fiction, all mixed with Oscar Wilde’s wit and humour. A glorious ripping yarn and I loved it.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Stoker’s Wilde West. This is my honest and unbiased review.
Steven Hopstaken was born in Michigan, where he spent his formative years watching and reading science fiction and horror. He spends his free time traveling; writing screenplays, short stories and novels; and practicing photography.
Melissa Prusi was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, often mistaken for Canada. She’s been a video editor, a semi-professional film reviewer, a three-time champion on the quiz show Jeopardy!, and a Guinness world record holder (1990 edition, for directing the longest live television show).
Their first novel, Stoker’s Wilde, was hailed by Booklist as “creepy and atmospheric. But also, really fun,” which also describes the process of writing it.
They currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they love the arts
scene but dread the winters. While they both currently make a living as website content managers, they have sold two screenplays, which have been lost to development hell. If they’re not writing, you can usually find them at a movie, local theater production, improv show or pub quiz.
A family’s past pursues them like a shadow in this riveting and emotional novel of psychological suspense by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of All the Little Children.
American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, and the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore and present dangers.
Then there are the unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House twenty years ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumors about his past.
When an archaeological dig unearths human remains on the hill, local police sergeant Ellie Trevelyan vows to solve a cold case that has cast a chill over Hurtwood for decades.
As Ellie works to separate rumor from fact, Rose must fight to clear the name of the man she loves. But how can Rose keep her family safe if she is the last to know the truth?
Rose, her husband Dylan and their young son, Aled are moving to Dylan’s childhood home in an English village.
Rose and Dylan met while they were journalists in Africa and Rose is already finding it hard to be excited about the move.
Then there is Ellie, a local police sergeant, who is investigating the human remains found in an archaeological dig.
Village rumours run riot and the mystery of Dylan’s father’s whereabouts rears its head again too.
The Last To Know is part family drama and part mystery, it also deals with the emotive subject of dementia (a truly horrific and heartbreaking condition), as well as village life and how a rumour can cause terrible damage.
There are well developed characters, a thoughtful and deliberate pace with beautifully descriptive writing. Definitely a book to take your time over and enjoy.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of The Last To Know. This is my honest and unbiased review.
After spending a decade as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, Jo Furniss gave up the glamour of night shifts to become a freelance writer and serial expatriate. Originally from the United Kingdom, she spent seven years in Singapore and also lived in Switzerland and Cameroon.
As a journalist, Jo worked for numerous online outlets and magazines, including Monocle and the Economist. She has edited books for a Nobel laureate and the palace of the Sultan of Brunei. She has a Distinction in MA Professional Writing from Falmouth University.
Jo’s debut novel, All the Little Children, was an Amazon Charts bestseller.
In writing Final Cut I wanted to move away slightly from the entirely domestic, urban and claustrophobic feel of Before I Go To Sleep and open the story world a little. I’m returning to my preoccupations of memory, narrative and identity, though bringing a fresh spin and new maturity to them.
The story follows a young ambitious documentary filmmaker whose first film was lauded and her second less so, and who is struggling with her third film. She hits on the idea of making a film about life in a small, northern village and is persuaded, against her better judgement and for reasons unknown, to film in Blackwood Bay.
Once there she discovers a town shrouded in mystery and full of secrets, that threaten to engulf and ultimately destroy her. She has to dig deep to save herself, as well as the lives of others.
In researching the book, I was drawn to the idea of the way we document our lives now, on Instagram and Twitter etc., and the downsides of that, as well as the darkness that can hide in plain sight and the abuses that people can visit on their fellow humans. The sad fact is I had to tone down some of the horrific atrocities I read about, or else the book would’ve been too dark, even for me.
Alex is a filmmaker, she has a new project and arrives in Blackwood Bay, a place she didn’t want to go.
It’s here she begins a search to find out what really happened to the missing girls. What she finds brings back memories long hidden. Just who in this quiet village wants the secrets kept buried?
I can’t say much more for fear of spoiling this marvellously dark and twisty plot, but I can say it’s so packed with tension it will give you the chills.
SJ Watson builds a taut psychological thriller with great descriptive writing, I felt I knew Blackwood Bay (really reminds me of Robin Hoods Bay) and the almost claustrophobic atmosphere of a small community with its secrets and darkness. Just brilliant and I loved it.
Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of Final Cut. This is my honest and unbiased review.
SJ. Watson’s first novel, Before I Go To Sleep, became a phenomenal international success and has now sold over 6,000,000 copies world- wide. It won the Crime Writers’ Association Award for Best Debut Novel and the Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year. The film of the book, starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, and directed by Rowan Joffe, was released in September 2014. S. J. Watson’s second novel, Second Life, a psychological thriller, was published to acclaim in 2015. S. J. Watson was born in the Midlands and now lives in London.